Bellingham Alive | January | 2024

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38 2

HEN IT COMES to menopause, or the

lesser-known andropause, there are some changes we’re just not prepared for. Even if you know on some level what’s coming, many people are caught off guard by certain symptoms or their intensity, and few people have a real understanding of how to manage them. That’s why we gathered information, busted some myths, and spoke with physicians who specialize in this life change, to give you the run-down you need– ideally before the hot flashes start.

JANUARY 2024 14


Heard Around the Sound


Savvy Shopper Allies, a Specialty Boutique


Necessities Stylish, Sporty, and Sustainable


Local Find Perry and Carlson


Beauty Q&A with Gene Juarez Salons and Spas

Maple Market The James Gang B-Town’s New Sunday Brunch Northwater Walking for Health

Photo Courtesy of Apothecary Spa


Featured Home South Hill House in the Trees



Spotlight Labyrinth Artist Kristen Winn

Photo Courtesy of Mythologie Candles

Book Notes Reviews and Events


Local Find Mythologie Candles 70 72

Remodel Skagit Bay Residence Necessities Comfy and Cozy

Photo by Kris Gray Photography




Dining Guide


Kitchen Tips & Tricks


8 Great Tastes


Chef’s Corner Rifugio’s 87

Wine Pick of the Month


Wellness | Spa Guide 19


Photo by Richard Balogh


People in Your Neighborhood Mike and Skye Hill of Hill’s Cheveron Blaine


Dry January Challenge


Local Find Buu Chan


The Mixing Tin Keenan’s at the Pier

Since Time Immemorial Barbara Lewis


Review Maple.Bar


Top Picks


Treaty Day Film Festival


The Scene


Final Word




Shop Local


Medical Profiles


Online Exclusive


Editor’s Letter




Meet a Staffer


Letters to the Publisher

January 2024 3

Notes What’s Online

Online Exclusive

Photo by Ellie Coberly


ARE ONLINE! Are you a knit, crochet, and general craft lover? Do you find yourself seeking vintage rarities and secondhand deals? Owner Elva Eisel has run Wear On Earth Yarn & Rewear for over 15 years, and her knowledge of yarn and quality consignment is reflected throughout the store’s elaborate inventory. At Wear On Earth in Lynden, decades of funky fashion and aisles of fiber and hardware await. Written by Ellie Coberly, with photographs by Ellie Coberly and courtesy of Elva Eisel.


Photo by Kyle Szegedi

Each month we give you the opportunity to win a prize from local merchants. You can enter once per day, each day of the month. A winner will be chosen by random draw and notified via submission email. It’s our way of saying thank you for your support and for continuing to help encourage shopping and dining local.


Join us on Pinterest! @bellinghamalive

EVENTS CALENDAR Be sure to check out our events calendar. If you have an event that you would like our readers to know about, offers an events calendar where viewers can search by day, venue, event type, or city. Go to and submit your event today. Once your event has been approved by our editorial staff, it is live.

BE IN THE KNOW Sign up for our free entertainment e-newsletter to get the latest on upcoming events and more!

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Check us out online at for giveaways, contests, web exclusives, and more!


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Notes Editor’s Letter

Photo by Brandee Simons


Connect with us BellinghamAlive @BellinghamAlive 360.483.4576 x4

I, I’M ANNE— I’m the new

editor in chief here at Bellingham Alive, and I couldn’t be more excited to be here with you! There’s something very satisfying, very neat, about introducing myself to you in January. I’ve always been a bit obsessed with external structure and scaffolding— life is, generally, chaos, and even though I know they’re arbitrary constructs I love to try to fit my life into approachable structures. Hence my need to buy a new paper planner every year, despite mostly using my phone calendar, and my desire to create resolutions for myself around this time of year, to launch headfirst into big changes, despite knowing I probably won’t stick with them. This year, I’m doing something different, and counter-intuitive for me: I’m going to lean into the “nothingness” of January. After the hectic holiday months, before the busy Washington summer, the deep winter of January, February, and March can often feel like a cold, dark stretch of nothing. That can be hard on our mental health. But rather than fighting it, why not structure this time as an intentional pause? Something we can savor instead of thrashing against it? Think about how frazzled we all get when Halloween rolls right over into Thanksgiving and the winter holidays— don’t we all deserve a break? I, for one, plan to at least try to cut myself some slack this month. Maybe I’ll make a commitment to my physical and mental health by scheduling a

massage at one of the spas in our Spa Guide (p. 16) or making a concrete plan to walk one of artist Kristen Winn’s labyrinths (p. 20). As for the cold, the Norwegians have a wonderful saying that I think applies to Washingtonians too: there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. So if you like to get your body moving outside but you’ve avoided it in winter, why not invest in some new sustainable cold-weather workout gear (p. 32)? Or lean into the indoorsiness of the season— I know, that’s not how we usually roll in the PNW, but it can be a lovely way to spend the winter months. I plan to do a lot more reading by the fire, myself. If you don’t have a fireplace, why not light a gorgeous candle from Mythologie Candles (p. 68) and curl up with a novel by local author Tim Donahue (p. 14)? I plan on making more time for friends and family, too. You can catch me drinking a Maple Latte with my husband and our baby at Maple.Bar (p. 80), or brunching with some friends at B-Town’s Sunday brunch (p. 15)— maybe even out on the patio, huddled around a fire pit. I’m also hoping to see at least one of the films at Children of the Setting Sun Productions’s Treaty Day Film Festival (p. 92), to learn more about our Indigenous community members. Whatever you choose to do with your January, I hope you’re kind to yourself. Remember that you can prioritize your health without bullying yourself to “do more;” mental health matters too! t

ANNE GODENHAM Editor in Chief




Providing LOCAL content for 15 years, WE SPEAK to where you live.


WELC To The Neighb ME orhoo d

EDUC AT HEALT ION H SERVIC ES EAT & DR RETAIL INK PROS TO KN OW / SUBSCRIBE For advertising information and rates call or email today. p. 360.483.4577 or

Notes Contributors Spacious Suites

Mary Kinser

Bus Trips to Appointments

Growing up in Washington state, Mary learned early on that rainy days provided the perfect excuse to curl up with a good story. Mary is now a collection development librarian for Whatcom County Library System, where she gets to spend her days spreading the joy of reading. In her free time, she enjoys travel, board games, long walks, and baking delicious treats. She and her husband share their home with one son, one cat, and far too many books.  p. 19

Cable and Wifi Included

24 Hour staffing Great food

Pet Friendly

Kolby LaBree Voted Best Retirement Facility

Kolby LaBree is owner/operator of Bellinghistory Tours with the Good Time Girls, purveyors of guided walking tours and other historical edutainment in Bellingham since 2011. The Good Time Girls are available year-round for private tours and virtual events. See for current offerings!  p. 19

844 W. Orchard Drive Bellingham, WA 360.647.3708

Emma Radosevich As a child, Emma developed a love of literature by reading chapter books with her dad; she made sure he got every character’s voice just right. She still appreciates a great narrator. Emma is a Collection Development Librarian for Whatcom County Library System, where she gets to work with fellow book lovers. When she’s not working, she likes walking on Bellingham trails while listening to an audiobook or NPR podcast.  p. 19




Julie Trimingham Julie Trimingham is a mother, writer, and nontribal member of the Sacred Lands Conservancy (, a Lhaq’temish-led non-profit dedicated to protecting Native sovereignty, treaty rights, sacred sites, and the life and waters of 360-319-3280 Xw’ullemy (the Salish Sea bioregion). Her heart is filled by the work to protect and promote ancestral place-based knowledge so that we can all learn to live here, with one another, and with Mother Earth, in a good way.  p. 22


Notes Meet a Staffer

PUBLICATIONS Bellingham Alive NSL Guestbook Welcome Newcomers Guide


EDITOR IN CHIEF Photo by Brandee Simons

Photo by Brandee Simons

Anne Godenham

Anne Godenham What is your role at the magazine? As Editor in Chief, I head up the editorial department, which means writing, assigning, and editing the content for every issue. Part of my role (which I take very seriously and really enjoy) is mentoring our interns and giving feedback to contributors and freelancers, to ensure that everything in the magazine fits our voice, meets our editorial standards, and serves our audience.

What is your background? I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in English, then moved to London (to be with a boy, but of course) and got my master’s in creative writing. I worked in publishing for four years and published my first book in the U.K., but when I moved back to the States my career veered away from the media world— a dash of finance, a smattering of teaching, a hefty dose of marketing… You get the picture. Through it all, though, I remained loyal to my precious semicolon and the Oxford comma, and I’m thrilled to be able to bring that pedantry to the fore in this new role!

What do you hope to accomplish in the future? I’d love to publish my second memoir and my first novel, and of course I’m hoping to settle in at Bellingham Alive and continue my predecessors’ excellent work, while also bringing my own perspective to the magazine’s voice. Perhaps most importantly, I hope to raise my son to be kind, thoughtful, and resourceful.

What do you do in your free time? Well, I do a lot of childcare, since my son is a toddler now and quite the scamp! But it’s not all cleaning up messes and baking carrot muffins— we try to take him on adventures around the region and as far afield as California, to visit his grandparents, as often as we can. I’m also a big fan of low-stakes creative projects (in other words: not writing) like woodworking and needlepoint.  10


SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Brandee Simons Estella Young

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Amberleigh Brownson Kelley Denman | Michael Roe


WRITERS Leigh Hellman | Amberleigh Brownson Lisa Karlberg | Ken Karlberg

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Kris Gray Photography

CONTRIBUTORS Mary Kinser | Emma Radosevich Kolby LaBree

EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Maya Heinselman | Ellie Coberly



CORPORATE OFFICE K&L Media, Inc. 432 W. Bakerview Road, Suite 101 Bellingham, WA 98226


COVER Brandee Simons

Letters to the Publisher Notes I have been following your magazine for just over two years now and I just had to tell you that this latest issue was absolutely excellent. I can’t wait to try some recipes, and it’s just filled with knowledge I need. My partner is a foodie too, and he and I have really enjoyed and gone to some of the places you advertise inside. You’re just full of information we love every time.  — Barb C., Bellingham

Holiday Dinner



2311-12_BA_1_Cover.indd 1

10/10/2023 10:57:17 AM

Bellingham Alive welcomes comments and feedback for our Letters to the Publisher section. We’d love to hear what you have to say and are open to story ideas about the people, places, and happenings in the North Sound (Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan counties). Let us know what you like, and what you’d like to see in the magazine! Contact our editor at

Publisher: Barb, thank you so much for the kind words, we are so happy you are enjoying the content and our advertising partners within the pages, its readers like you that keep us vital and our local businisses strong —Lisa K.

Publisher: Sue, I love that you and our other readers enjoy our recipe issues. It’s always fun to see what the team pulls together when we decide to add extra recipes to the mix. Keep on cooking! —Lisa K. I have wanted to write in a few times and say that I have really enjoyed your Since Time Immemorial pieces. I wondered if you will be continuing or if you have something new going in next year? Your magazine is beautiful. Great job!  — Wendy P., Ferndale Publisher: Wendy, thank you! We absolutely will continue this throughout 2024! Our readers have really enjoyed this addition and we feel it is vital to continue highlighting our indiginous community members, that being said look for our new travel secttion starting in February, Enjoy! —Lisa K.

I just love your recipe issues! I’ve tried quite a few and they are really great and really get me out of my cooking comfort zone. Keep those recipes coming!  — Sue D., Bellingham

Voted #1 Again!

Thank You!!

“We are thrilled to have been selected Best Furniture Store in the county for the ninth year in a row! We are so thankful to all of you who have supported Samuel’s!”

Bob & Lori Dodge Owners, Samuel’s Furniture



January 2024 11

Make sure to download our app for workouts, meal plans, and group class scheduling.

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of the






ARE YOU IN PAIN? Thank you to all our loyal clients for their continued support over the years, we are thrilled to be recognized year after year and could not do it without you!

we can help, the Natural Way

• Body aches & Pain • Motor vehicle accidents • Old injuries • Work, sport and play • Headaches injuries

Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Mt Vernon, Anacortes, Oak Harbor, Everett, and Vancouver

360.671.1710 |

Labyrinth Artist Kristen Winn 20 Since Time Immemorial 22

Photo by Sarah Hardy

Ways to Stay Fit 24

Spa Guide


18 January 2024 13

Life Heard Around the Sound

WWU Student Becomes Local Novelist Tim Donahue

Photo by Kristen Boehm


A New Market for a Thriving Community


NEW ONE-STOP-SHOP OPENED in downtown Bellingham this past

summer, perfectly poised to pick up the slack left by the September closure of the Cornwall Avenue Rite Aid. Maple Market is on Maple Street, right across from Depot Market Square. It’s a small convenience store that stocks the usual items like drinks, snacks, and a limited amount of groceries and home goods. The shop was opened on July 1, 2023 by the Chana family, the same Bellingham entrepreneurs who own and operate Naan & Brew next door. Convenience stores and neighborhood markets are important parts of any growing, bustling downtown area. On top of being great places for visitors to pop into and re-up on essentials, they provide quick and affordable options to downtown residents, who often travel exclusively by foot or bike. Maple Market is a locally owned, community-serving, centrally-located urban convenience shop— but the Rite Aid closure also took downtown’s central pharmacy with it. The next closest ones are the Unity Care NW Pharmacy on Unity Street and the Fred Meyer Pharmacy on Bakerview Road. While these locations aren’t terribly far from downtown, those without cars may still struggle to get to them in the hot summer or snowy winter, or if the issue they need the medication for makes travel tough. KRISTEN BOEHM

Point Whitehorn Park

5 Places to Walk for Health WRITTEN BY ELLIE COBERLY

Only 0.8 miles long, Point Whitehorn Park trail is a stunning year-round walk. Travel through seaside forest cover as the marine reserve showcases astonishing views of the San Juan Islands. 6770 Koehn Rd., Blaine, 360.778.5850,



Donahue is currently working toward a bachelor’s degree in creative writing at Western Washington University. Though he’s still young, he’s already been involved with several professional ventures. Not only has he written and edited for organizations such as Spellbound Publishing House, LLC and WWU’s Wavelength, but he’s also published several books since 2021. His first three published pieces are a triptych of poetry books and are followed by his first novel: “The James Gang.” While novel-writing is a new venture for Donahue, “The James Gang” has already received several positive reviews and Donahue himself has been invited to do public readings at Third Place Books, the Bothell Library, and other bookhouses. The unique language Donahue employs in his poetry heightens the twists and turns of “The James Gang,” a story about the James family’s experience as the subject of a sitcom. Riddled with flashbacks to the `70s, the 180-page novel leads readers through the trauma and dysfunction of a multigenerational family, made relatable by Donahue’s theatrical and witty voice. You can find copies of “The James Gang” at various online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, including both Village Books locations— make sure to grab one before they’re all gone! MAYA HEINSELMAN

Tennant Lake Trail Meander along this trail and admire Fragrance Garden, Hovander Homestead, and Lake Tennant, featuring a Mount Baker backdrop. An observation deck along the way encourages visitors to take in the serenity of this 2.9 mile loop. 5299 Nielsen Rd., Ferndale, 360.384.3444,

Photo Courtesy of Northwater

Photo by Ellie Coberly

Sunday Bites & Booze at B-Town


LEAR YOUR SCHEDULE this Sunday morning; brunch

at B-Town Kitchen and Raw Bar is here to cater to your breakfast and lunch dreams. The intimate and cozy atmosphere out on the patio is unmatched. Outdoor fireside seating and cushioned chairs invite diners to fully embrace the luxury and comfort of B-Town Sunday brunch. Brunch menu prices are reasonable, and the delicious $1 Mimosas and $5 Bloody Marys are unbeatable. Choose from a BLT Eggs Benedict ($20), Chicken & Waffles ($16), Sunday Salad ($14), or Blueberry Cinnamon Pancakes with strawberry butter ($14). Regardless of which meal you choose, every table is served complimentary warm donut holes and each brunch entree is accompanied by fruit and potatoes. The outstanding service and food provided at B-Town leaves diners with a full belly and heart. Servers and staff are attentive, considerate, and show that they genuinely care for their customers. Whether you’re stopping in with the family, friends, or a brunch date, the creative culmination of dishes at the Sheraton Hotel’s kitchen and raw bar offer something for everyone. The space seats well over 200 people, with a variety of indoor and outdoor dining options. The restaurant plans to permanently host brunch every Sunday through the year 2025. Brunch starts at 10 a.m. and is over by 1 p.m., leaving plenty of time to grab a bite. So indulge in a sweet or savory Sunday treat, and dig in at B-Town! 714 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, 360.392.6520,


New Chef, New Menu at Northwater Northwater ORTHWATER RESTAURANT IS back and better

than ever! With a brand-new menu, the Holiday Inn & Suites bistro is now open for you to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The lodge-style restaurant boasts American cuisine that merges their old favorites, like the fish tacos with spicy slaw and cilantro lime crema, with new staples like carnitas fries topped with braised pork and cilantro jalapeno aioli. The new Northwater menu also includes several options for those with dietary restrictions, including vegan and gluten-free dishes. Grab yourself a seat and discover your new Northwater go-tos today! 4260 Mitchell Way, Bellingham, 360.398.6191,

Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Squires Lake Park Trail

Craft Island Trail

A 3.2-mile walk through the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve’s old-growth forest is soothing for the soul. Visitors can expect to see 400-year-old Douglas Firs, natural waterways, and plenty of critters. 2076 Lake Louise Rd., Bellingham,

Squires Lake loop trail is a brisk and beautiful 1.1 mile-long loop south of Lake Samish. All year this path is bustling with wildlife and abundant forested lakeside scenery. 2510 Nulle Rd., Bellingham,

Bring along some rain boots for this wet-but-breathtaking 2.0 mile beachside walk. The trail shows off remarkable views of Skagit Bay, including hundreds of swans throughout the winter. The end of



Rawlins Rd., Mount Vernon,

January 2024 15

Life Wellness | Spa Guide

The Best Spas for a Little ‘You Time’

Photo Courtesy of Little Oasis Wellness Spa



FTER THE STRESS and chaos of the holiday season,

we all need a little self-care, and what better way to unwind than by taking some time out at a spa? The mellow lighting, fluffy robes, and relaxing music will begin to calm your nervous system as soon as you step inside, and the treatment will take it from there. We’ve rounded up a handful of the best spas Whatcom and Skagit counties have to offer— from massages to facials and everything in between, you can find it here. Treat yourself to a treatment or two!

Massage & Body Wrap Is there anything more relaxing than having your stresses literally worked out of your body by strong, able hands (and maybe an elbow here or there) while lavender essential oils tickle your nose and whale songs play over the stereo? In Fairhaven, The Chrysalis Inn & Spa Bellingham offers more than 10 types of massage, as well as couples massages and a host of specialty add-ons to enhance your experience. If you’re looking for a fewerfrills, just-the-muscle-work option, try Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts in downtown Bellingham, where a supervised student will perform an hour-long massage for just $40. For a renewing (and delicious) body wrap, check out The Apothecary Spa’s Honey Glow Body Wrap, where you’re literally draped in honey while your scalp gets a dreamy massage— it’s offered at both their Anacortes and Burlington locations.

Photo Courtesy of Little Oasis Wellness Spa


Anti-aging Look, aging is part of life, but that doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes want a little perking up of the face we look at every day in the mirror. Why not bundle relaxation with a visual boost? Pure Skin + Wellness Spa, in downtown Mount Vernon, offers a Hydro-Glow Facial that promises to tighten and hydrate skin, while Bellingham’s Crosier Skincare offers a handful of services to make your skin look its best at any age. If you’re looking for something a bit more intense than a facial, try a medspa— RejuvenationMD, in Bellingham and Burlington, offers a range of outpatient anti-aging procedures, from injectables to microneedling.

Photo Courtesy of Little Oasis Wellness Spa

Float Therapy Float therapy offers the kind of sensory deprivation we can only dream of during the busy holiday months. Supported by body-temperature water filled with 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt, in total darkness with your ears filled only with the sounds of your own movement in the water, you’ll be weightless and free of distraction. Still Life Massage and Float, in Bellingham, promises that their float sessions will leave skin silky, not wrinkly, and can lead to improvements in mental health, sleep, and even athleticism. Photo Courtesy of Little Oasis Wellness Spa

Photo Courtesy of Little Oasis Wellness Spa

January 2024 17

Life Wellness | Spa Guide Infrared Sauna The Finnish (and many of their neighbors) have been preaching the benefits of sauna for generations: the heat relaxes muscles, improves circulation, reduces blood pressure, and may even delay the effects of age. But you don’t have to sit in a wooden box and breathe hot air if you find that uncomfortable— infrared saunas enable the heat to penetrate more easily, providing the same benefits of traditional saunas in a less oppressive atmosphere. At Spero Skin Spa & Salon, in Mount Vernon, you can purchase infrared sauna time in bundles of up to 12 sessions, so you can reap the benefits all year long. In addition to their massage and spa services, Little Oasis Wellness Spa, in Bellingham, offers infrared sauna sessions— including longer sessions for return sauna-ers who’ve built up enough of a tolerance for the heat.

Packages If you’re celebrating something special or just taking a whole day for yourself (you deserve it, after all), many of these spas offer multi-treatment packages to help you relax and beautify from head to toe. The Heron Inn’s spa offers a handful of packages, including The Heron Signature Works, which includes a back scrub and classic relaxation massage and ends with a mini facial to leave you feeling revitalized from head to toe. The Chrysalis Inn & Spa Bellingham has four preset packages to choose from, or you can create your own package by combining three or more one-hour services on the same day— you’ll get a 10% discount, plus access to the steam room and relaxation lounge. The Apothecary Spa offers packages ranging from 1 ½- to 3 ½- hour stints (there are more options at their Anacortes location, though Burlington has a few packages as well), including treatments from the standard massage or facial to float sessions and body polishes.

Photo Courtesy of Apothecary Spa

Memberships One trip just not enough? Why not indulge in a membership! At Blessings Salon & Spa, in Fairhaven, a monthly membership gets you access to their dry sauna, steam room, and fireplace lounge, as well as either one or two discounted treatments each month (depending on which package you choose). Bella Soul Spa, in Burlington, offers 60- and 90-minute facial memberships, which include a monthly facial, discounts on products, and priority bookings. t

Photo Courtesy of Little Oasis Wellness Spa


Book Notes Life

Literary Events


January 8 and 22, 6–8 p.m. Silent Book Club

HIGH SCHOOL BEST FRIENDS Zee and Dani have always

Roaming by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki

Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed by Dashka Slater

dreamed of visiting New York City together. In “Roaming,” they reunite in Manhattan for spring break after their freshman year at separate colleges. Tagging along is Fiona, a glamorous new friend from Dani’s dorm who would rather see the “real” New York than visit the museums on Zee and Dani’s bucket list. In strikingly detailed line art with pops of periwinkle and peach, “Roaming” captures the transformative— and sometimes frustrating— experience of traveling with friends. The threesome spends as much time exploring the city as they do bickering in their youth hostel. Fantastical illustrations of Times Square, the Met, and Central Park amplify the characters’ inner struggles as they face conflicting desires and hurt feelings. This new collaboration by the award-winning Jillian and Mariko Tamaki (“Skim,” “This One Summer”) is an ode to New York, friendship, and figuring out who you are. Both Dashka Slater and Jillian Tamaki will present at WWU’s 21st Annual Children’s Literature Conference on Saturday, February 17, 2024. Register at IT BEGINS WITH A MEME. A single image that an Albany High junior sees as edgy, intended to court his friends’ dark sense of humor. Soon that meme is a private Instagram account. The content grows more offensive, more personal— racist and sexist, featuring images not of strangers but of other Albany students. Still private, but not for long. When the account is exposed, the small community is shaken to its core. Account victims are traumatized and angry; account followers grapple with the consequences of their choices. Protests follow, then news features, expulsions, legal actions. In telling this story, author Dashka Slater resists the lure of easy answers. Instead she presents a sensitive, nuanced look at both victims and followers that reveals the longlasting impact of what happened without diminishing the harm caused. Though written for teens, this book is a riveting read for anyone interested in the role of social media in the lives of young people, an analysis that invites both discussion and reflection.

Ponderosa Beer and Books 1225 Roeder Ave., Ste. 101, Bellingham 564.209.7028,

On the second and fourth Monday of each month, Ponderosa hosts a silent book club where you are free to bring in any book to read on your own for one hour, then have the chance to talk about books with others for the next hour.

January 13, 2–4 p.m.

Whatcomics 2023 Celebration Lynden Library

216 4th St., Lynden, 360.354.4883,

The Whatcom County Library System is celebrating the release of its county-wide annual teen art book! Whatcomics gives young artists a platform to publish their work. Artists can come to this release party to chat and pick up their copy of Whatcomics 2023. The original artwork will be on display at the Lynden Library through February.

January 20, 6–7 p.m.

Ron Miller, “They Made the Movies”

Village Books and Paper Dreams 1200 11th St., Bellingham 360.671.2626,

Ron Miller is an experienced author and television professional who will present a new collection authored by himself and James Bawden, “They Made the Movies,” in the Village Books Reading Room. Hear about the conversations with famous filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, and Ida Lupino that fill the novel’s pages.


January 11, 1910

January 15, 1890

January 29, 1904

January 30, 1929

News was received of the death of Hattie Bland, who passed from tuberculosis at her family’s home in Oregon. Saloon operator “Billy” Bland contracted Northwest Granite and Marble works to create the famous Angel statue in Bayview Cemetery in honor of his deceased wife.

A list of the first 38 telephone subscribers appeared in the Reveille newspaper. The only woman on the list was May Wright, a madam who owned brothels in both Whatcom and Fairhaven.

“Lost – On Holly Street, between Elk and Bay Streets, one fur boa. Please return to Love the Piano Man, Clover block, and receive reward.”

Customs officers auctioned off a one-ton Ford truck seized by deputy sheriffs and the United States in the Federal building. The truck had been stopped near Deming and found to have 20 cases of liquor aboard.

January 2024 19

Life Spotlight

The Magic in the Messy Middle Labyrinth Artist Kristen Winn WRITTEN BY ANNE GODENHAM


N KRISTEN WINN’S left inner

wrist is a teal-blue tattoo of an oval seventh-circuit labyrinth, its lines snaking around and around until your eyes almost cross trying to see the path. She got the tattoo 10 years ago, during a time of major transition. According to Winn, labyrinths are all about transition. “There’s only one way in and one way out. In order to get through your sh*t, you’ve gotta work through it,” she says. Eight years later, Winn discussed purchasing a plot of land with her brother; she planned to build an enormous labyrinth on the site. Winn recalls a conversation with a friend about the project: “She’s like, why aren't you building them around the world? And I'm like, ‘You're right. Why aren't I building them around the world?’ And just that one conversation shifted everything.” Winn took a leap of faith, leaving behind her career in marketing and turning her fascination with labyrinths and the “messy middle” of life into a new profession. She’s built labyrinths from pavers and pinecones, in backyards and businesses, and as far away as Morocco. These days, she’s focused on her more immediate community, building in places like Bow Sanctuary’s gardens and local community members’ decks. Each project is different, the materials and style and permanence all based on the environment, circumstances, and purpose of the labyrinth. “At a space that doesn't have a labyrinth,” Winn says, “[the choice of materials] for a temporary one, it’s very much about what's in season, you know what's on the ground, what's around us. I did one with pine cones and just spent five hours building [it]. So the reason [for the labyrinths], the time of the year, their long-term purpose, if they’re temporary or permanent— those all come into play.” 20

Winn notes that, while traditional labyrinths have a single path, with one entrance and one exit, some contemporary designs have been adjusted to meet the needs of their walkers. For example, reconciliation labyrinths have two entrances, so two people can begin at different points and eventually make their way to the center— and each other. That facilitation of connection is at the core of what Winn finds so compelling about labyrinths of all kinds. “With labyrinths, part of what’s compelling about them is how they bring people together, in community,” Winn says. “It really is a way to just feel that sense of connection, and knowing that these have been around for thousands of years and there's labyrinths around the world that people have walked for centuries and still walk today, and knowing that we're all a part of that energy.” More recently, Winn has expanded her business to include labyrinth-focused private group facilitations and one-on-one guided labyrinth walks. She leads everything from midnight moon-howls and dance parties to silent meditations, always with an eye to fulfilling each individual’s needs and facilitating their connection with nature, the labyrinth, and themselves. “That's what keeps a labyrinth alive is the people walking them,” Winn says. “Knowing that I'm creating something that is positive and nourishing and beautiful— that's a gift.” Kristen Winn, Bellingham,

Photo Courtesy of Kristen Winn, t

Photo Courtesy of Kristen Winn

Photo by Kris Gray Photography

People in Your Neighborhood


A Passion for Community and an Eye for Special Gifts Mike and Skye Hill of Hill’s Chevron WRITTEN BY ANNE GODENHAM


HE CHEVRON IN Blaine is my frugal husband’s nightmare and my dream. When you pull up to the pump, it’s pretty similar to any other gas station, besides the Sinatra playing and the sign advertising fresh bread. But then you pop into the store for a drink or a pack of gum and come back out carrying a stuffed axolotl, a handmade mug, and a fistful of whimsical stickers and your husband has a heart attack. For Owners Mike and Skye Hill, the joy and surprise I experienced when I entered their store are exactly the goal. “We want to make this the best gas station in the world,” says Mike. “There aren’t very many other people that think like that, but yeah, I just want to make it so special.” And special is exactly what it is. The gift shop smells like an expensive scented candle, the kids’ section is full of extremely soft toys and unusual books; and the homewares are so appealing that it’s impossible to choose just one. Of course, there’s also the standard gas station fare, including a beer cave that takes up the entire 490-square-foot footprint of the pre-expansion store.

“It’s a sense of community here,” Skye says. “People love coming here to hang out.” “It’s a social gathering space,” Ingersoll agrees. “We just want to keep service, service, service. You can’t get it anymore!” –Skye Hill, Mike Hill, and Amber Ingersoll

Photo by Kris Gray Photography

“It’s always the joke,” says Visual Merchandising Manager and Buyer Amber Ingersoll; a close friend of the Hills. "`Where can you get a six-pack of beer and a wedding gift at the same time?’” The gas station wasn’t always a gift shop— that was added in 2020, when the border closed due to Covid and the Hills went from pumping 5,000 gallons a day down to 500. The shop kept the business afloat all through the pandemic, and now it’s made the Chevron a destination gas station. Skye and Ingersoll do all the buying themselves. “We’re always trying to change; we never want to be stagnant with products,” Ingersoll says. “I try to buy things in small quantities and then not buy them again unless they’re requested by customers, so that people in this small town aren’t running around with the same item.” That’s a thoughtful strategy, especially since so much of the inventory is recognizable. One recent standout? A purse with a corded phone handset built into it— you can plug it into your phone inside and answer the handset if you get a call. Ingersoll says the adults love that piece even

more than the kids, which makes sense, since most kids don’t have a frame of reference for anything older than an iPhone 6. The Hills bought the Chevron in 1992, expanded in 2019, and added the gift shop in 2020, but the gas station has been here since 1908. And although it may look different, the core of what the Hills have done with the business— with the help of Ingersoll and Marketing Manager Tara Nielsen-Kaplan— hasn’t changed from its original purpose. “It’s a sense of community here,” Skye says. “People love coming here to hang out.” “It’s a social gathering space,” Ingersoll agrees. “We just want to keep service, service, service. You can’t get it anymore!” Mike says. Well, it turns out you can. Just south of the Canadian border, at an unassuming gas station in Blaine. 568 Peace Portal Dr., Blaine, 360.332.8412 t

Photo by Anne Godenham

January 2024 21

Life Since Time Immemorial




is a recurring series featuring community members whose families have been here since time immemorial. The ancestral knowledge carried by Lhaq’temish, Nooksack, and other Coast Salish peoples is knowledge about how to live in our shared home in a good, life-sustaining way. We live in a time when we need to restore our relationship with Mother Earth and with one another. We are grateful for these stories, told in the words of each featured individual. Barbara Lewis is a Lummi Tribal member with roots also in Lower Elwha, Nooksack, and Beecher Bay (British Columbia). Since graduating from university, she has worked at Northwest Indian College and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Northwest Indian College Foundation.

Can you share a bit about what you do? I think that finances should be the last thing that our students should have to worry about when they’re focusing on being scholars. At the Foundation, our main goal is to raise money for scholarships; we’re working on an endowment campaign to make sure that there is funding in perpetuity for students that want to attend Northwest Indian College. I like to call what I'm doing friend-raising because we have a lot of support from Tribes, alumni, corporations, and friends of Indian Country. It's community building.

I know you work in the political space as well as the philanthropic space. I'm passionate about getting people to vote, and ensuring that people have access to voting, and that it's done in a fair and transparent way. And I love voting. It's one of my favorite things to do. 22

Growing up, I’d heard lots of family stories, I’d listened to my uncle telling me about my grandpa not being allowed to fish in his ancestral homelands and not being able to move freely in the islands, having all that taken away from him. As I got into politics, I intentionally started delving into history and reading a lot. The more I learned, the more I realized that everything's all about systems. And how, if you understand a system, you can work to change it. I really believe that we can create a healthy, vibrant community for everybody, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, religious background, you know, things like that. That’s what led me to politics. I’m currently a state committee member for the Whatcom Democrats, and am involved with the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and the National Congress of American Indians.

Is there a particular experience that has helped shape who you are today? In 2016, I got invited as a youth delegate to the White House Tribal Nations Conference, hosted by President Obama. So I walk into the White House and there are hundreds of Native people. And they are beautiful. Everyone's laughing and having a good time and chatting. I see ribbon skirts and moccasins, loafers and suits, bolo ties and beaded hats and cedar headbands. A beautiful blend of regalia and professional attire from all over the nation. Everyone is so proud. They're so proud to represent who they are and where they come from. Up until that point, I had joked around and told people that I was ambiguously ethnic. Part of that was being in spaces where I didn't want to stand out and put a target on my back, right? But at the Conference everyone was asking where I was from, and I

was telling them “Lummi,” and they're saying, “Wow, I know your leaders. You guys fought the IRS; you guys fought the Cherry Point coal terminal and won. You guys have done a lot.” Going to the White House I think really was a pivot for me because I realized that I need to represent where I'm from and be proud of that.

What’s a typical day like for you? I am always moving. Wake up, get my kid ready for school, feed the cat, make sure my mom has coffee brewing. Meetings, phone calls, a lot of social events, a lot of galas. And then one day out of every month, I try to get 12 hours of sleep. Honestly, it's kind of ridiculous. But just that one day a month keeps me going.

How about fun? I actually find politics fun! And hiking, snowboarding, movie night with my family, cleaning the house with the music blasting. Waking up and making a perfect cup of coffee. Finding those little moments of joy and peace.

Anything you’d like to add? You know, a lot of people think that Native Americans are an ethnicity but we're actually a political group. We have the opportunity to do things differently as sovereign nations. Northwest Indian College is such a special place because it blends mainstream knowledge and cultural knowledge. You can't get that in very many places. Most of our students move back home after graduation, and they're doing big things. Talk about systemic change! I really want to fully fund every single one of them.

Hy’shqe, Barbara. Hy'shqe, Julie. t

January 2024 23

Life 5 Faves


ITNESS ISN’T JUST a goal you reach at the end of a

journey, it’s a state of being that requires consistent effort! Maybe you’re looking to get in shape, or maybe you’re bored with your routine and want to shake it up. In any case, we have rounded up suggestions for fun, engaging ways to keep working on your fitness!




1 2 3 4 5

Boogie Down Dancing is so fun that you won’t even notice yourself breaking a sweat. Take a class at Unique Technique Dance Studio or drop in to one of B’Ham Hop’s community swing dances!

Pedal to the Metal It’s no secret that we love to bike in the PNW. Grab your ride and explore one of the many bike trails around the north sound or take it to the next level at Bellingham’s Waterfront Pump Track, which features a race course, skills zone, and jump line.

Chase the Burn Running might seem intimidating to some, but you don’t have to train for the marathon right away. Join a community running club, or if you’re more serious, check out an organization like Greater Bellingham Running Club or Skagit Runners, who each put on larger races each year.

Face off on the Field Organized sports can help motivate you to give fitness your all! There’s plenty of teams around, but why not check out Chuckanut Bay Rugby? They’ve been around for 50 years and have teams for kids and adults in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

A Bit of Everything If you want a lot of options, a gym membership could be the best plan! At a full-package gym like Forge Fitness in Lynden, you can swim laps and do water aerobics, join a boot camp, take yoga classes, and lift weights.

January 2024 25

Life Special Advertising

PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cancer Center Provides Range of Patient Support Services WRITTEN BY MATT BENOIT


N THE SUMMER of 2016, Ferndale resident Pat

Flaherty went to an ear, nose, and throat doctor for a hearing test. The doctor also examined Flaherty’s mouth and throat and discovered several growths. Before long, Flaherty was diagnosed with throat cancer and sent to Bellingham’s PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cancer Center for treatment. Still cancer-free today at age 73, Flaherty was aided not just by timely medical intervention, but by a range of patient support services available at the cancer center. From financial advocacy and social services to clinical trials, genetic testing, and nurse navigators who coordinate care, patients can find plenty of help along their cancer journey. “The care was absolutely top-of-the-line, every step of the way,” Flaherty says. “It was a family away from home.”

Multiple Levels of Support Flaherty relied on nutrition classes to learn how best to stay nourished as treatment left him with little appetite. He also used massage therapy services and found support groups most valuable. At these meetings, attendees receive practical and emotional support in a safe and caring environment. Today, Flaherty remains involved, volunteering as a support group co-facilitator. “This is my part of giving back,” he says. “Because people are going through what I went through. You just need support from somebody that’s been in your shoes.”

Nurse Navigators Provide Helping Hands Oncology nurse navigators, like Kim Moses, guide patients and are often the first professionals a cancer patient speaks to after their diagnosis. “We’re reaching out to people well before they’re in this building,” says Moses. “It’s a lot of allaying those [initial] fears: giving them education about their diagnosis, as well as planning.” That planning includes logistics beyond a basic course of treatment, says nurse navigator Kathy Millson. Transportation needs, insurance coverage and coordinating care between institutions are all part of the assessments navigators provide each patient, no matter their situation.


Matthew Smith, another nurse navigator, says cancer center financial advocates often receive some of the most emotional responses from patients when they learn their treatment is covered without financial hardship to them. “It’s very meaningful to be able to provide that individualized support and advocacy for patients,” says Hannah Brown, a nurse navigator specializing in lung cancer. “We meet them where they’re at— angry, calm, or scared…we’re there as a support person and able to help them tailor their care for what their goals are.” The comprehensive patient support services at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cancer Center ensure that no patient walks their path alone. This article has been edited for length and was originally published in Whatcom Talk.

Expert care in your hometown Taking care of my friends and neighbors is a privilege. It comes with a big sense of responsibility and empathy. Mervat Saleh, MD Hematologist Oncologist PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center

Fairhaven Barkley Bakerview Lynden Ferndale Blaine Birch Bay Bothell

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“Your family’s health, comfort, and safety are our top priority.We care for you because we care about you.” — Dr. Aimée Werremeyer 360.318.7678 4101 Eliza Ave Bellingham, WA 98226

We would like to welcome you to our neighborhood with a big smile. Love Dentistry was founded to provide residents, of all ages, in the Bellingham area a dedicated, loving team, comfortable, loving environment, and options in dental care. DENTAL WELLNESS PROGRAM At Love Dentistry we believe everyone needs access to great dental care, whether they have dental insurance or not. Our Dental Wellness Program provides the preventive dental care needed such as check-ups, cleaning and yearly x-rays, all with an affordable payment – no insurance, no problem. Find out how our Dental Wellness Program can optimize your health. We would love to see your smile. Stop by and meet the team and receive a FREE welcome to Bellingham gift. Book an appointment online: or call us at 360.318.7678

Aimee Werremeyer | Saira Ahmed

Allies, a Specialty Boutique 30 Stylish, Sporty, and Sustainable Picks 32

Photo by Kris Gray Photography

Perry and Carlson 34


Q&A with Gene Juarez Salons and Spas


January 2024 29

Style Savvy Shopper

Providing Invaluable Support to Survivors in the Northwest Allies, a Specialty Boutique WRITTEN BY KRISTEN BOEHM PHOTOS BY KRIS GRAY PHOTOGRAPHY

The Shop Can a service be both niche and necessary? Allies, a Specialty Boutique answers that question with a resounding ‘yes’ by providing mastectomy products and compression garments to breast cancer survivors and other patients. Allies is a Bellingham-based business that began in 2014 when Owner Laura DeWitt realized there were no postmastectomy prosthesis or garment resources for patients north of North Seattle. DeWitt herself is a breast cancer survivor who underwent a bilateral mastectomy in 2009, and she knows how vital those services are. “I knew what products should be available and they just weren’t in our community. I just wanted to make a difference to people that joined this sisterhood they never wanted to be a part of,” she explains.

What You’ll Find Allies provides a wide array of breast forms, post-surgery garments like pocketed bras (breast forms fit into the pocket on the inside of the cup), and compression garments. Breast forms are prostheses that come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and even different materials— while many of them are made of soft silicone, active forms are lightweight and can withstand intense exercise and swimming! DeWitt can also fit clients for custom forms with a compact 3D scanner, so that they “fit on like a puzzle piece” to the chest wall. Breast forms and other symmetry shapers meet both physical and emotional needs for people after mastectomies and lumpectomies, according to DeWitt. Physically, you may feel imbalanced and clothing might not fit how you’d like. Emotionally, the forms allow people to take control and present themselves to the world in the way they choose. Allies’ compression garments are medical-grade wearables that help people with lymphedema, lipedema, or serious vascular issues. DeWitt started off with compression sleeves, since lymphedema in the arms can be a side effect after breast cancer surgery, but expanded the selection over the years to meet the complex needs of patients that weren’t being served. 30

The Atmosphere Allies has just moved to a spot on Fraser Street that’s two-and-ahalf times the size of their last location! The new boutique has a front room with a reception area and retail space, a few rooms for storage, shipping, and office space, and a HIPAA-compliant private fitting room where DeWitt meets with clients. At the time of writing, the new shop is being redecorated. DeWitt hopes to create a welcoming, upbeat, and calm place where folks can come for guidance without getting overwhelmed by “a wall of [compression] socks.” “I want people to be able to come in, sit down, figure out what it is they need and want and to not feel rushed, to really get the service they deserve,” says DeWitt.

Key People Allies is accredited by the Board of Certification and DeWitt is a certified mastectomy fitter, one of only 13 in Washington state. Allies also operates in Anchorage, Alaska— DeWitt flies there to perform fittings seven or eight times a year, making her the only mastectomy product provider in the state of Alaska. DeWitt has two employees who help her with scheduling, billing insurance, and operations. Altogether, the team at Allies makes sure that everyone who comes in gets the guidance they need. Being fitted with prosthetics and medical-grade garments involves measuring, trying on, and learning proper use and care, but with the right help it doesn’t have to be scary!

Favorites When asked about her favorite part of her business, DeWitt explains: “Working with people for their first fitting after surgery is really, really special. Sometimes, I’m the first person who’s seen their chest wall after surgery, sometimes even before their family. Having been a breast cancer survivor and having gone through chemo, having gone through radiation, and having gone through reconstructions … I can relate on a level where maybe they haven’t been able to talk to somebody before. So, it’s really special to me for somebody to share that part with me, and I’m always happy to talk about my experience or talk with them about theirs.” 1301 Fraser St., Ste. A-101, Bellingham, 360.676.7363,  January 2024 31

Style Necessities

Stylish, Sporty, and Sustainable Picks WRITTEN BY ELLIE COBERLY



TART THE NEW year off right by shopping for

slow fashion, eco-friendly clothing, and fair labor styles. Made of recycled or organic materials and crafted locally, these sporty finds will last while you’re out, about, and on the go. You’ll not only look good, but feel good too, wearing these sustainable staples. 



Lagom Blue Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket REI, $239 400 36th St., Bellingham, 360.647.8955,


3 1


Tendril Organic Cotton Sweater in Juniper Prairie Underground, $132

New Balance 327 Sneaker Nordstrom, $100,


Organic Cotton Joggers Texture Clothing, $98 1425 N. State St., Bellingham, 360.733.3351,

21 BELLWETHER WAY, STE 107 BELLINGHAM, WA 98225 P. 360.778.1613


5 5

Recycled Metal Universe Stacker Rings Apse, $45 1153 N. State St., Bellingham,


January 2024 33

Style Local Find

Creative Passions Brought to Life Perry and Carlson WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY ELLIE COBERLY


TEP INTO THIS local boutique and art gallery to find

yourself transported into a world dreamed up by Owners Christian Carlson and Trina Perry Carlson. With backgrounds in design, the two renovated the historic 1924 Brunet building seven years ago. The remodel created a live-work concept, giving way to a shop and art gallery in the front, and an art studio and living loft in the back. In the heart of downtown Mount Vernon, Perry and Carlson is a multifaceted business that offers customers a beautiful, highquality shopping experience. “Perry and Carlson was born from a desire to carve out the elusive dream of time and space to create and pursue creative passions,” says the store’s site. The owners have succeeded at this, integrating the concept into every aspect of the shop and gallery. Trina is a textile artist and self proclaimed “inveterate collector of beautiful things.” This is evident throughout the store’s incorporation of vintage and handmade pieces. Her husband, Christian, is a painter and naturalist. In their gallery he showcases the work of artists, both local and living across the country. From handcrafted jewelry and chic sustainable style to children’s toys and artisan home goods, Perry and Carlson has it all. Their MAE soy candles, hand-poured in Oregon, are a personal favorite, with one of the candles smelling of lavender, lemon, and black pepper. The shop seeks out intentional, highquality, and responsibly-made items to share with its customers, supporting small businesses and independent artisans. “It has been a learning experience finding what our customers most resonate with, while allowing room for us 34

to evolve as new things excite us,” says Evan Carlson, Trina and Christian’s daughter and business partner, who joined the team in 2017. “There is so much beauty being created and to get to bring that to our customer base while supporting those makers and artisans has been a delight.” Just three years ago the business owners decided to bring in a selection of women’s clothing, which has turned out to be a difficult but exciting challenge. Feeling like there were fewer options to shop in person locally and sustainably, they made the leap. Perry and Carlson currently offers two fashion seasons per year, spring-to-summer and fall-to-winter. Their focus homes in on timeless and responsibly-made pieces. Adjacent to the boutique side of the shop lies the wideopen, naturally-lit art gallery. The gallery’s mission is to give artists— both recognized and emerging— a temporary home where their work can thrive and express a perspective that is unique to the Pacific Northwest. The space was designed to reflect the couple’s favorite galleries in New York and London. Typically singular artists are showcased through each month, with the occasional exception of a group exhibit. The enthusiasm and dedication Perry and Carlson has for their customers is reflected in the beauty and warmth illuminated at the shop. Intentionally-picked gifts, one-ofa-kind household goods, and thought-provoking art await you, so visit Perry and Carlson for a unique shopping experience. 504 S. 1st St., Mount Vernon, 360.899.5032,  January 2024 35

Style Beauty

Gene Juarez Gives Bellingham a New Look Q&A with Gene Juarez Salons and Spas WRITTEN BY MAYA HEINSELMAN | PHOTOS BY KRIS GRAY PHOTOGRAPHY


ATIE TRENT AND Sarah Rorvig are, respectively,

the CEO and Salon Director of Gene Juarez Salons and Spas. The company strives to provide expert treatments, superior products, and a sustainable approach to the beauty industry. In August 2023 they opened a new branch in Bellingham, and they’re excited to join the city’s business network and support local events to help the community thrive.

What services are offered at Gene Juarez Salons & Spas? We offer a range of hair and spa services tailored to make each guest feel beautiful and pampered. Our hair services include color, highlights and blonding, styling, retexturizing, and specialty treatments that are customized to each individual’s hair type. Our spa services include luxurious facials and peels, brow and lash shaping and tints, and hair removal.

What is the company looking to accomplish in terms of beauty and environmentalism? The beauty industry is notoriously wasteful, producing an estimated 877 pounds of waste every minute. In addition to our beauty waste recycling partnership with Green Circle Salons (with recycling transport offset with carbon credits), we continuously review our tools and retail to find sustainable swaps. Recently, for example, we discontinued using paraffin wax in plastic bags during nail and skincare services and switched to biodegradable collagen gloves.

How has your commitment to sustainability and partnership with Green Circle Salons affected the company as a whole and the communities you work with? Overall, our partnership with Green Circle Salons has led to reduced environmental impact and positive community engagement, and it demonstrates our commitment to environmental responsibility. We reduce our carbon footprint through recycling and properly disposing of salon waste materials, such as hair clippings, foils, and chemicals. Green Circle Salons then ensures the safe disposal of hazardous


chemicals and repurposes the other materials. For example, excess hair clippings can be fabricated into sustainable plastics or used to create hair booms to aid in oil spill cleanup.

How is Gene Juarez different from other salons and spas? Gene Juarez built the company on a culture of service, education, and mentorship. Gene Juarez is unique in providing a platform for artists and therapists to grow in a supportive environment, ultimately graduating into mentorship. We routinely offer advanced and continuing training to our team, ensuring we stay up to date with trends and techniques. Many of our employees go on to open successful businesses of their own, or to work in high-profile jobs in media and entertainment. We are proud of our wide reach and legacy in the industry. Additionally, because we have several locations and a loyal guest following, we are able to provide solid jobs with a full suite of benefits and retirement to our team. That’s rare in our industry. We are proud to be a place where folks can build a career, and not just have a job. 1411 Railroad Ave., Bellingham, 360.308.4000, 


SHOP LOCAL 1. Catalina Sheepskin Arm Chair | Call for price Northwest Fine Furnishings 919 Riverside Dr, Mount Vernon 360.424.8455,

2. NION Negative Ion Electrolytes | $67.99 (30 Pack)



NION Health Everett, WA Save 20%, Code: ALIVE

3. Cinnamon Creamed Honey $17.99 Marie’s Bees 100% Woman-owned | Local | Raw

4. 2 Months | $99 Jazzercise Bellingham at The Majestic



1027 N. Forest St. (Maple Street entrance), Bellingham

5. R1 Percussion Massage Gun from Roll Recovery | $129 Fairhaven Runners and Walkers 1209 11th St, Bellingham 360.676.4955,

6. Premium Haircuts Starting at $35 Midtown Barber



1504 Iowa St, Bellingham, 360.595.7556, @aminahladybarber - Instagram

7. Cheryl Harrison Pottery & Cards | $3.50+ Skagit Valley Food Co-op 202 S. 1st Street, Mount Vernon 360.336.9777

8. Black Star Sweater | $149 Shelley’s Shack 225 E. State St., Sedro-Woolley 360.391.9000


8 January 2024 37






ANDRO PAUSE Written by Anne Godenham and Kristen Boehm


ging is a privilege (after all, what’s the alternative?) but that doesn’t mean it won’t throw some curveballs our way. Changes to our appearance are expected, and to some extent we know our minds and bodies won’t function the same way forever either. But when it comes to menopause, or the lesserknown andropause, there are some changes we’re just not prepared for. Even if you know on some level what’s coming, many people are caught off guard by certain symptoms or their intensity, and few people have a real understanding of how to manage them. That’s why we gathered information, busted some myths, and spoke with physicians who specialize in this life change, to give you the run-down you need— ideally before the hot flashes start.

January 2024 39


What is Menopause? N DIAGNOSTIC TERMS, menopause is a single day.

It’s the point in time one year after someone's last period, signifying the end of reproductive years. Menopause naturally occurs in all people assigned female at birth that live beyond reproductive years. We also use the term to describe the end of female fertility as the ovaries cease to ovulate and to release estrogen and progesterone. Perimenopause: Meaning “around menopause,” also called the “menopausal transition.” A period of time, usually within a decade, before menopause. Often

described as a transitional time where women may experience symptoms in relation to fluctuating hormone levels and declining ovarian function. Postmenopause: Meaning “after menopause,” the period of time after menopause. Most women experience physical and mental changes, largely due to having extremely low estrogen levels. Induced menopause: Menopause caused by medical treatment. Because induced menopause happens all at once, those with induced menopause may experience the symptoms of peri- and postmenopause without the usual gradual onset.

By the Numbers The average age of menopause in America is 51. Perimenopause most often begins between ages 45-55, and usually lasts about seven years. Based on life expectancy, the average postmenopausal period lasts 25-30 years. Levels of estradiol, the most prevalent estrogen during reproductive years, go from 30-400 picograms per milliliter premenopause to 0-30 picograms per milliliter post-menopause.

Treatment Systemic or localized hormone treatment Non-hormonal medication Counseling Lifestyle adjustments 40

Symptoms Vasomotor symptoms • Hot flashes • Sweating • Heart palpitations • Changes in blood pressure Genitourinary syndrome of menopause • Vaginal dryness • Increase in urinary tract infections • Increase in urgency and pain while urinating • Relaxation of the pelvic muscles and incontinence • Decrease in genital sensation Miscellaneous • Mood swings or changes in mental health • Changes in arousal and libido • Joint pain • Changes in hair growth • Changes in weight • Bone loss and an increased risk of osteoporosis • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

What is Andropause?


OMETIMES CALLED BY the misnomer “male

menopause” or even “manopause,” andropause refers to a group of symptoms linked to an age-related decrease of testosterone levels in people assigned male at birth. Unlike menopause, andropause does not have to do with male fertility. After puberty, people assigned male at birth remain reproductive their whole lives, barring complications.

Andropause is not a guaranteed or universal experience, and many won’t experience low enough testosterone levels to induce symptoms. Medical terms for a decline or deficiency of testosterone later in life are late-onset hypogonadism and age-related low testosterone.

By the Numbers

Symptoms • Low energy • Hot flashes • Issues with sleep • Irritability/mood changes • Joint pain • Changes in hair growth • Changes in weight • Decreased muscle mass • Decreased bone density and a higher risk of osteoporosis • Sexual/erectile dysfunction

Andropause symptoms may begin around someone’s 40s or 50s. Males’ testosterone levels naturally decline about 1% per year after age 40. An estimated 10%-25% of older men have testosterone levels considered to be low.

Treatment Systemic or localized hormone treatment Non-hormonal medication Counseling Lifestyle adjustments January 2024 41

Endocrinology 101 B

EFORE WE GET INTO the nitty gritty of it all,

it’s important to have an understanding of how hormones work in the body. Of the 11 major organ systems that keep us up and running, the endocrine system is the one that deals with hormones. Although people have been aware of some of the effects of hormones since antiquity, it’s actually quite a recent field of study! But more on that later. For now, let’s just focus on what the endocrine system is and what it does for us. Organs and glands all over the body produce hormones, which are chemical messengers that travel through the body, mostly via the blood, and help regulate your body’s functions. The effects are wideranging and varied, dealing with everything from appetite and metabolism (like the hormone insulin) to growth and development, reproduction, sleep (like melatonin), stress and mood, response to illness and injury… you name it, hormones probably have a part in it. Organs and glands in the endocrine system are everywhere: the hypothalamus, pituitary, and pineal gland in your brain; the thyroid, parathyroid, and thymus in the chest; the adrenal gland and pancreas in the torso; and, of course, the ovaries and testes, which produce what are called sex or reproductive hormones. Other parts of the endocrine system produce sex hormones, too, but the ovaries and testes are the powerhouses. Remember, hormones are carried all over the body by the blood, and sex hormones are responsible not only for reproductive processes, but also for things like blood pressure, bone density, cognitive and emotional function, and more. Which makes sense, right? After all, sex hormones like estrogens, androgens, and progestogens are utilized in puberty to cause changes all over the body, including the development of secondary sex characteristics like muscle mass, hair, and fat distribution. Contrary to what you might think, estrogen isn’t strictly a female sex hormone, and androgens like testosterone aren’t strictly male. They all work together in every body to regulate things like your blood, bone density, reproductive form and function, mood, and so on. That being said, estrogen is much higher in people assigned female at birth (AFAB), and testosterone is much higher in people assigned male at birth (AMAB). Testosterone is the most common androgen. It’s associated with things like a deepened voice, more prevalent pigmented body hair, sperm production, red blood cell count, and muscle mass. There are three main forms of estrogen: estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Estradiol is the main estrogen in AFAB folks during reproductive years, is considered the most potent form of estrogen, and peaks and falls with the menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, estriol becomes the primary estrogen, and after birth it takes a backseat to estradiol again. Leading up to menopause, estradiol levels fall. After menopause, estrone, considered the “weakest” form of estrogen, becomes the primary estrogen in the body.


Menopause A Brief History


O YOU CONSIDER menopause to be a taboo

subject? Perhaps rationally you don’t feel like it is— it’s a fact of life, we should be able to talk about it! At the same time, it’s not exactly dinner table conversation in many households. But away from the table, people have been theorizing, researching, and talking about menopause for thousands of years. The historical scholar Aristotle wrote about menopause as early as the 4th century B.C., saying that menses cease in most women around 40 or 50 years of age. This was reaffirmed in the first and second centuries A.D. by other wise men like Pliny the Elder and Soranus of Ephesus. As life expectancy waxed and waned throughout history, not much was learned about menopause specifically, although advanced age was associated with infertility in women. In the 18th century, as life expectancy in Europe was on the rise, it’s thought that women started to turn more to their physicians for help with the symptoms of peri- and postmenopause. France in particular saw an explosion of interest and research in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1816 a French physician named Charles-Pierre-Louis de Gardanne coined the phrase “menespausie,” then adopted the name menopause in 1821. By the late 1800s and early 1900s, more effects of hormones throughout the body and hormonal deficiencies in the later stages of life were being investigated. In the 20th century, menopause received a large amount of attention. In the 1920s, the hormone estrogen was isolated and identified. In the 1940s and beyond, more health conditions were linked to menopause or ovarian malfunction, and menopause was considered a disease of estrogen deficiency.

In 1942, Premarin, an estrogen pill created using hormones from the urine of pregnant mares, was marketed for treatment of menopausal hot flashes. In 1966, Robert A. Wilson’s book, “Feminine Forever,” claimed that women could fight off the effects of aging and menopause by taking estrogen in order to remain “feminine forever.” First introduced around the same time, the “Grandmother Hypothesis” postulates that it’s beneficial to humanity for older females to be unable to reproduce— that way, their wisdom and experience can be used to take care of other people’s children and the rest of the clan. Hormone therapy remained popular through the end of the 20th century until a study done by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) linked estrogen treatment for menopause with breast cancer. The results gained lots of attention in the early 2000s, but have since been widely criticized. Experts now extol the roundly positive effects of estrogen treatment, so long as the dosages are appropriate and the effects of treatment are monitored.

“What I see now is really Gen. X taking a lead in education, empowerment, living well, feeling well, aging well, and really wanting to be on top of their health,” says Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD, a board-certified urologist and founding member of Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists in Bellingham. “Which [makes this] a really exciting time to be a menopause expert.”

*this graph is an artistic interpretation January 2024 43

Andropause Clearing up the Mystery


F THIS IS YOUR first time hearing about andropause,

you’re not alone! Many people are surprised to learn that there could be hormone-related issues for men later in life, especially since they’re compared analogously to menopause, which can be confusing. After all, andropause isn’t like menopause in many ways. It doesn’t have to do with fertility, isn’t very well studied, and isn’t something every AMAB person will go through. But andropause, or at least concern about testosterone deficiencies, has been known about for quite some time. Much like people had a vague understanding of advanced age meaning the end of the menses in olden times, the effects of testosterone have been noted since throughout history, before we even knew what testosterone was. In the 19th century, research was heating up and experiments were done with things like testicular extracts and transplants. As we mentioned, hormone deficiencies were studied vigorously in the early to middle 1900s, including in males. Testosterone was first isolated and identified by European scientists in 1935, and shortly thereafter was synthesized for use as a treatment. Testosterone is now understood to affect many systems in the body, just like other sex hormones (see pg. 42 for a refresher). That’s part of why older men who are noticing an onset of full-body symptoms like fatigue, hot flashes, changes in mental health, and sexual dysfunction are stopping to wonder, ‘Could this be a hormone thing?’ Because andropause has emerged as a concern more recently, it’s been through quite a number of monikers. One of its oldest names is “the male climacteric,” which also speaks to its long history of being compared to menopause.

The climacteric is an older term for the period of an AFAB person’s life that includes everything from perimenopause to postmenopause. It comes from old philosophies about a person’s life being broken up into vital moments or climactic stages, and here, menopause is considered the climactic end to the reproductive years. Andropause has also been called androgen decline in aging male (ADAM), viropause, irritable male syndrome, androclise, the male menopause, aging male syndrome, late onset hypogonadism, and age-related low testosterone. However, all of these names refer to one concept: an agerelated decline in testosterone in AMAB people, leading to an array of uncomfortable or undesirable symptoms.

How Do I Know? So, if andropause isn’t a universal experience, how do you know if you’re going through it? Many symptoms associated with andropause, like joint pain, hair loss, loss of muscle mass, decreased energy, and heart and bone issues are also just part and parcel of aging, and it can be hard to figure out the cause. Your doctor might first want to speak to you about your medical history and do a physical exam. They’ll check that your muscle mass, hair, and gonadal health is where it’s expected to be for your age. If your doctor is concerned about your testosterone levels, they may progress to checking your hormone levels, your pituitary gland, and various other possible causes. Whether or not low testosterone is, indeed, the cause of your woes, there are many types of treatment available.

*this graph is an artistic interpretation 44

Treatment Hormonal



way to alleviate the symptoms is by replacing the missing hormones. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is systemic, so it affects the whole body. It aims to get your androgen levels back to what would be considered normal for your age. This should alleviate the symptoms of low testosterone over time. TRT comes in many forms to suit the needs of patients. Injections: Testosterone injections can either be shortacting or long-acting. Your doctor will inject you every one or two weeks under the skin or into muscle for short-acting shots, or at more spaced-out intervals into your gluteal muscles for longer-acting ones. Topical applications: Testosterone can also be absorbed transdermally, or through the skin. Patches, gels, and creams are usually applied on a daily basis. Patches can cause skin irritation from the adhesive, so you want to make sure to rotate application sites. When using gels or creams, you want to avoid skin-to-skin contact with others for up to six hours— after all, what gets absorbed through your skin can be absorbed through others’. There are other forms of TRT, like patches and gels for inside the mouth or nose, surgically implanted pellets, or capsules taken orally, but these are associated with more side effects.

Non-hormonal Hormone therapy isn’t right for everyone, and there are many other ways to treat andropause. Other medications: Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNIs) can help with hot flashes and with the mood changes associated with andropause. There are also non-hormonal drugs to treat vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, and phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors for erectile dysfunction. Counseling or therapy: Having a professional to talk to can help you navigate the irritability, anxiety, or depression sometimes associated with andropause. You may also be going through other changes at this point in your life in regards to your health, career, and family that could be affecting you. Cognitive behavioral therapy or other counseling can help! Lifestyle choices: Your lifestyle choices can make a big difference in your andropause symptoms! Not only will you feel better in general if you introduce more joyful movement and eat what your body needs, you may also be able to naturally increase your testosterone levels. “For men, there is no cliff where the testicals just stop making testosterone, and lifestyle changes really do matter,” says Casperson. “Adequate sleep, muscle-bearing exercise, healthy diet, no drugs or alcohol, and stress reduction. That’s the five-point, naturally-raise-your-testosterone plan.” January 2024 45

Hormone Therapy: I

A Focus on Safety


probably heard of hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, but there’s a lot the average person doesn’t know about hormone therapy. Let’s start with the fact that HRT is actually a misnomer when it comes to menopause in middle-aged women. For most women, who experience menopause in their early- to mid-fifties, the hormonal treatment they’d undergo is called menopausal hormone therapy. This is because the dose is far from a full replacement of the hormone levels we have in our younger bodies. “As we age, our bodies cannot handle those high levels of hormones,” explains Dr. Susan Reed, professor emeritus in obstetrics and gynecology with an adjunct in epidemiology at the University of Washington. “So for example, the hormone doses we use for menopausal hormone therapy, or MHT, are at least 1/4 and often 1/8 to 1/10 the dose of what we would be giving for a birth control pill, for example— a much much lower dose.” It’s only when a woman goes through menopause very early, say at age 30, that the full level of hormones would be replaced and HRT would be the correct term.

Estrogen & Progesterone for Menopause The next thing to understand is which hormones are being supplemented with MHT— for women who still have their uterus, it’s usually a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone or progestin (a medication similar to progesterone) is needed to balance the effects of estrogen on the uterine lining, to decrease the risk of endometrial cancer. Women who’ve had a hysterectomy, on the other hand, can take estrogen without the progesterone, which dramatically reduces their risk of developing breast cancer as a result of the treatment— it’s the combination of estrogen and progesterone that creates that risk. For vaginal dryness and urinary symptoms, a low dose of localized estrogen can be used, but to treat a broader range of symptoms patients need a higher-dose product delivered through systemic therapy such as a pill, patch, or cream. 46

Dr. Susan Reed

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Susan Reed

MHT has been proven to improve bone density and significantly reduce the symptoms of menopause, but it does carry risks. The most important thing to know is that doses are much lower than you might imagine, which means so are the potential side effects— for most people. “For individuals who have the highest number of symptoms… doses of hormones we’re giving are quite safe for people without risk factors. [So] all of the things that we heard about from [the] WHI [trials in] 2000 to 2004, they don't apply,” Reed notes. “A lot of people’s fear is because of that Women’s Health Initiative study,” agrees Casperson in a separate interview. “Hormones aren’t right for everybody… but by and large, if you look at the prescription medications that people take, these are among the safest medications that are out there.”

Common Menopause Myths The Myth: Menopause won’t happen to me until I feel old, and then there’s no way of knowing when it’ll happen.

The Truth: Menopause can begin at various points in your life, including prematurely, either naturally or due to medical complications, or as late as your 60s. As for knowing when it might happen, while you won’t have a guaranteed date you can make an educated guess based on medical averages and when your mother went through it.

The Myth: I won’t have any symptoms until I’ve officially hit menopause, so if I’m still having periods then whatever I’m dealing with can’t be menopause.

The Truth: Sometimes women will notice their perimenopause symptoms, but don’t realize they’re a part of menopause. In fact, symptoms usually begin before the last period, during what medical professionals call “the menopausal transition”—sometimes this is even when symptoms are most severe.

The Myth: Menopause is linked to the uterus. The Truth: Menopause is actually the result of the ovaries no longer making reproductive hormones. So if a woman has her uterus removed but not her ovaries, she’ll no longer have periods (and will therefore qualify as menopausal) but she won’t experience symptoms as long as her ovaries keep producing hormones. Removal of the ovaries, on the other hand, will trigger symptomatic menopause.

The Myth: Menopause isn’t that bad; you should just grit your teeth and bear it.

The Truth: Even if you can bear the symptoms of menopause (which is genuinely impossible for some people with severe symptoms), why should you? You deserve to get help for medical symptoms of any kind! There’s absolutely no shame in asking your doctor about your treatment options.

The Myth: You can’t have sex (or at least good sex) after menopause.

The Truth: This is absolutely not true— in fact, some women have better sex lives after menopause, often because they’re more in-tune with what their bodies need to feel good and more motivated to communicate with their partners about it. The WHI study pointed to things like increased risk of And while the first three conditions are much less likely to apply to patients without prior risk factors, breast cancer is still a concern for patients under the age of 60. “What does appear to matter is the duration [of hormonal treatment],” Reed says. “Taking menopausal hormone therapy for four to five years, if [... for example you were on] birth control pills right up until the time you started your menopause hormone therapy, then [you have]

The Myth: Hot flashes are the only noticeable symptoms. The Truth: While we’d love to reassure you that you’re the only one who’ll ever know you’re going through it, menopause can be noticeable to others— especially to those who know you and your body well. Symptoms like vaginal dryness, mood changes, and hair loss— and gain, in places you might not expect— may let your partner know that

continued on next page... January 2024 47

Common Myths continued

something’s going on. So even if you think you can hide the hot flashes, you’re better off just talking to them about it.

The Myth: Menopause is the beginning of the end for your body, so there’s no point in continuing to prioritize your health.

The Truth: This is so grim, we know, but some people really believe it! That said, we’re here to tell you that there’s absolutely still value in keeping healthy. If anything, your body needs your attention even more. Regular low-impact exercise like biking or swimming can help stave off osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures— plus it’s great for your mental health.

The Myth: Your body’s nutritional needs won’t change much as a result of menopause.

The Truth: Our nutritional needs are, by nature, changeable. They shift according to our levels of movement, our general health, and, yes, our age. When it comes to the menopausal transition, you’ll want to pay particular attention to your calcium intake— postmenopausal women need about 200mg more than they did before menopause. And in order to absorb that calcium, you’ll need to get more Vitamin D as well— but make sure to talk with your doctor about supplements and dosages, because too much of either of these can lead to kidney stones and other side effects.

The Myth: Once you hit menopause, your confidence tanks.

The Truth: Actually, many women feel more confident after menopause. Likely in part because they’ve just had more time to get to know and like themselves, but there’s also something to be said for the freedom that comes with getting older, especially as women in a patriarchal society. It gets easier to let go of people-pleasing and speak up about your own needs and desires as we age out of the ingénue stage.

maybe another five years at most [of MHT]. For people who have not been on hormone therapy, you're probably fine for 10 years, and not increasing your breast cancer risk.” That said, the risk does exist, and it needs to be considered in conjunction with your doctor. Fewer than one in 1000 women per year will develop breast cancer as a result of taking hormones, which is actually lower than the breast cancer risk associated with increased estrogen in larger bodies— to put things into perspective. “Some people will say, ‘Oh, that sounds pretty low, not too bad,’” Reed says, “But we all know people with breast cancer, and you don't want it to be you. And as a prescribing physician, I don't want this for my patients at all.” Before we move on, Reed has one more important point to make about hormonal therapy. Make sure to stick with FDA-approved products and avoid unregulated treatments like pellets or compounding pharmacy products. “FDA-approved products are relatively safe; things like pellets are not safe,” she states firmly. “Pellets are an increased risk for endometrial cancers and breast cancers because of the doses— they just can't be controlled. [...] The FDA regulates that whatever is on the label is what is in that product that you're putting into your body; [pellets and] compounding pharmacies are not regulated by the government in that same way.” The bottom line: Your doctor is the best person to help you decide whether HRT is right for you. As with any medical decision, it’s all about communicating with your doctor and making informed decisions. Your physician will help you weigh the intensity of your symptoms and the likely dosage against your unique risk factors and length of treatment, to come to the right answer for you.

The Myth: Being around men can help delay menopause. The Truth: In 2020, a study published by the Royal Society of Open Science disproved the wive’s tale of male pheromones having an impact on when people go through menopause, but they did find a correlation between being married and later menopause. The two likely causes were less stress due to a higher household income (because it was combined with a partner’s) and sexual activity at least once a week. It turns out that any type of weekly sexual activity has a correlation to delaying the natural onset of menopause, likely because engaging in reproductive/sexual behavior makes the body think that it’s worth preserving the highenergy resources needed for ovulation and periods. 48

“FDA-approved products are relatively safe; things like pellets are not safe,” she states firmly. “Pellets are an increased risk for endometrial cancers and breast cancers because of the doses— they just can't be controlled." — Dr. Susan Reed

Testosterone for Andropause Medical professionals don’t agree about the significance of the drop in testosterone that occurs in men as they age. Unlike menopause, andropause doesn’t carry immediate, identifiable symptoms that set it apart from the natural process of aging. Which is why some doctors don’t recommend testosterone replacement therapy in most cases of male aging— it’s unclear whether it will make enough of a difference to justify the potential side effects. There haven’t been many studies on men with healthy levels of testosterone, so there’s no solid baseline against which to measure either the success or the side effects of TRT. The risks are also less well-known than those of MHT for women, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Males who take testosterone aren’t just adding it to what their body already makes— they’re replacing their natural function. There’s a feedback loop that controls the production of testosterone in the testes. When your body realizes you have more testosterone circulating, your testes will reduce their production and may even shrink in size. For men who use testosterone in the long term, there’s a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular issues— including death from heart disease. In older patients who are already more likely to have heart problems, this is even more of a concern. Some medical professionals are also wary of testosterone therapy’s potential to increase the growth of prostate cancer cells. While evidence isn’t conclusive, many doctors will shy away from prescribing TRT to men with a higher risk of prostate cancer. With andropause and menopause both, marketing can be dangerously misleading. Men may seek testosterone treatment because of advertising urging them to ask their doctors about “possible signs” of low levels— many of those signs include vague symptoms that can be attributed to a range of causes, like fatigue, brain fog, and joint pain. Unsurprisingly, many of these symptoms are also attributable simply to the process of aging. “A lot of people are trying to make money off [...] people with symptoms,” Reed says. She goes on to advise readers, “Be very careful on the internet. Anything that you click on has to say it's an ad or that it's sponsored. [...] I would beware of those.” For men who are experiencing symptoms beyond a general fatigue or aching joints, though, a lab test can be done and, if their testosterone levels are below normal, their doctor may prescribe testosterone therapy in the form of injections, patches, or a topical gel. January 2024 49

Sexual Function After

‘The Change’


Improving Sexual Function: Manage GSM Symptoms

OR BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, the decrease in

reproductive hormones during ‘the change’ can lead to a symptom that’s as common as it is taboo: loss of sexual function. What does that mean? Well, for women in the menopausal transition or postmenopause, it means a decrease in vaginal lubrication, a thinning of vaginal tissues, and reduced libido. For men, the most common and noticeable issue is erectile dysfunction. “Those things are not only changes in hormones, but they're related to aging as well,” Reed points out. “Our nerves don't work as fast or blood supply to various places in our body is not as great. And so it's a complex problem.” That complexity is not helped by the fact that our society sets us up to hide our concerns about our sexual function. Issues like sex drive or performance or ability to orgasm are cloaked in shame and “should,” which only perpetuates them. But there is hope for a great— if different— sex life after menopause or andropause.

“Genitourinary syndrome of menopause, or GSM. Before they named it that, it was called vaginal atrophy … before that, it was called senile vagina. Nobody liked [those terms],” laughs Casperson. “So genitourinary syndrome of menopause is a mouthful, but it really explains all of the changes in the pelvis because of low estrogen.” Not only does low estrogen after menopause cause changes to your pelvis like more frequent urinary tract infections, an overactive and leaky bladder, and more pain while urinating, it also affects sexual function. Vaginal dryness, thinning tissues, and pain with intimacy are all pretty common symptoms. Casperson recommends localized estrogen to treat these symptoms. People who might not be eligible for systemic estrogen may still be prescribed localized estrogen, which is delivered to the vulva and vagina via creams, rings, capsules, or other methods. Some estrogen does still enter the blood, but not as much as with systemic treatments,

GSM Symptoms thinning vaginal tissue

vaginal burning

genital itching

decreased vaginal lubrication

vaginal dryness

light bleeding after sex


and the dosage level is very low. Female genitalia have a big surface area, lots of blood flow, and plenty of mucosal membranes, which absorbs the medication and retains a high amount of it locally. While localized estrogen is highly recommended as it treats the cause of the issues (lack of estrogen) and all symptoms of GSM, vaginal dryness and pain during sex can also be treated with moisturizers, lubricants, a few other drugs, and even the use of vaginal dilators and topical painkillers.

Improving Sexual Function: Train Your Brain One of the best things you can do to improve your sex life during or after a decrease in reproductive hormones is try to reframe how you think about it— after all, the largest sexual organ is the brain! Life is made up of a series of changes and challenges, and attempting to keep anything about our lives static is an exercise in futility. Sex is no different. As we age, our bodies change, and if we can find a way to accept and adjust to those changes there’s no reason we can’t continue to have a fulfilling and satisfying sexual experience. “Sexual intimacy and pleasurable sexual activities can continue into late life,” Reed says. “We just have to adapt and modify based on what's coming at us. The challenge becomes: orgasm occurs because of vascular supply and

nerves, and these are just slower. So orgasms typically become blunted and it takes longer to achieve an orgasm. So different types of sexual activity are important. More gentle foreplay is important.” And that’s not just for women. Reed’s rule of thumb is that 50% of men in their fifties experience some level of difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection, and that increases proportionally with age— so, 60% of men in their sixties, 70% in their seventies, etc. An increased focus on gentle foreplay, trying new positions, and even introducing vibrators or other sexual devices can not only help women achieve orgasm more reliably but can also take some pressure off male partners to ‘perform’ in the way they’ve become accustomed to performing. “The best thing is to see a professional to help couples understand what is important for their sexuality and their sexual pleasure, to re-set,” Reed says. “It's important to have an understanding between partners— how often do we really want to be doing this, what gives us pleasure— and make sure that you can try to find a match.” She also notes that, for women, certain types of stimulation actually increase with age. Specifically, the clitoris becomes even more important, which means any male partner who doesn’t have an intimate understanding of the clitoris would do well to learn all he can from a knowledgeable clinician or sex therapist.

vaginal discharge

urinary tract infections

frequent urination

discomfort during sex

burning with urination

urgency with urination January 2024 51

Resources K

NOWLEDGE IS POWER, especially when it

comes to your health. Going into a doctor’s appointment with a rough understanding of what you’re experiencing, potential treatment options, and any questions that came up for you during your research will maximize your time with your physician and make things easier for both of you. When researching any medical condition, it’s essential to make sure you’re looking at reputable sources. Hospital websites are a great resource— the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic have tons of great information— as are large informative sites like Healthline. The most important thing to look out for is whether the source of the information is trying to sell you something; if so, it’s not a good resource. Our experts have recommended the following sources to help you get started:

Online Resources North American Menopause Society The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) is an authoritative resource on all things menopause and aging. A 501(c)(3) organization, NAMS is composed of 2,900 experts in the field of women’s midlife healthcare, including medical, nursing, psychology, sociology, anthropology, nutrition, and epidemiology leaders. Both Dr. Casperson and Dr. Reed recommend NAMS as an excellent source of research-based, science-backed information, including videos.

Kelly Casperson

My Menoplan My Menoplan provides women with accurate, current, science-based information about the many different treatments available for perimenopause and menopause. It’s a great resource for clear, concise, simple-language explanations of your options. Rosy Rosy is a holistic sexual wellness website designed by doctors and psychologists to empower women to take their sexual health and happiness into their own hands. In addition to their website, Rosy has an app to enable subscribers to access their content from their phones.

“You Are Not Broken” Dr. Kelly Casperson, one of our experts, not only has a book titled “You Are Not Broken: Stop ‘Should-ing’ All Over Your Sex Life,” but also a podcast called “You Are Not Broken.” Through both of these, she talks about womens’ and sexual health, her insights on menopause as a urologist, and empowering folks in their bodies. 52

Photo by Radley Muller

Andrea Phillips, ARNP, CNM of Spectrum Reproductive Health & Gender Affirming Care provides reproductive and gynecological care and hormone therapy to a diverse body of patients. She is a Health at Every Size (HAES) provider with training from the North American Menopause Society, among other reputable medical institutions. 200 Old Fairhaven Pkwy., Ste. 202, Bellingham, 360.230.4460,

Dr. Jennifer Scanlon of MauveMD is committed to providing evidence-based care and support to women in midlife, especially during the menopause transition. 119 N. Commercial St., Ste. 310, Bellingham, 360.230.8436,

Photo Courtesy of Spectrum Reproductive Health & Gender Affirming Care

Local Specialists & Clinics

Andrea Phillips

Photo Courtesy of MauveMD

Dr. Emily Sharpe is a Bellingham-based naturopathic physician who specializes in hormone conditions, including both menopause and andropause. 2219 Rimland Dr., Ste. 201, Bellingham, 360.734.1560,

Karen Lee, ARNP, NCMP of Woman to Woman in Mount Vernon offers gynecological and reproductive healthcare for women of all ages, including specialized menopause diagnosis and treatment. 1725 S. 10th St., Mount Vernon, 360.424.2112,

Jennifer Scanlon

Emily Sharpe

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Emily Sharpe, N.D.

Karen Lee

Photo Courtesy of Woman to Woman

January 2024 53

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Health & Medical Profiles

Northwest Gastroenterology & Endoscopy Providing comprehensive digestive healthcare. Visit our state-of-the-art facility in Barkley Village at 3111 Woburn Street.

WHAT DO WE DO AT NW GASTRO/ENDO? At Northwest Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, we promote digestive health and ensure the well-being of our community. We offer expert care for prevention and management of diseases of the digestive tract. Some of the most common issues we treat are: • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): IBS is a common condition with a wide range of presenting symptoms. We can modify factors influencing IBS, such as diet and the gut-brain axis. Biofeedback and medicines can be used for treatment. • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Reflux occurs naturally in small amounts. When it occurs too frequently, patients can develop complications such as inflammation or pre-cancerous changes in the esophagus. We can perform diagnostic tests and offer treatments to control this. • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have become more common over the past few decades. We have expertise in diagnosis and management of these conditions. • Cirrhosis and Liver Disease: Liver disease can be related to infections, autoimmune processes, metabolic disease and more. Management is a combination of addressing these causes and preventing future complications. • Colon cancer prevention

The Vital Role of Colonoscopy in Colorectal Cancer Screening When detected early, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable cancers. The cornerstone of early detection is colonoscopy. • What is a Colonoscopy? A colonoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a gastroenterologist uses a flexible tube with a tiny camera to examine the entire colon. This comprehensive

examination allows for the detection and removal of polyps, which are precancerous growths that can lead to colorectal cancer. • When Should You Get a Colonoscopy? Colorectal cancer screening guidelines recommend that individuals at average risk should begin colonoscopy screenings at the age of 45. Earlier screening is suggested if there are risk factors. Your gastroenterologist will help determine the appropriate timing for your screenings. • What is the Screening Process like? The procedure itself typically takes around 30 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis. You will be sedated to ensure your comfort throughout the process. • What are the Benefits of a Colonoscopy? A colonoscopy is not only a powerful screening tool but also a preventive one. If polyps are discovered during the procedure, they can be removed on the spot, significantly reducing the risk of colorectal cancer.

Why Choose NW Gastro/Endo? Northwest Gastroenterology was founded in 1979 and is the largest gastroenterology group in Whatcom County, with 10 physicians and 5 advanced practitioners (ARNP, PA-C). We offer in-person clinic visits, telehealth appointments, and a physician managed infusion suite and endoscopy center, all located at our new facility in Barkley Village. We also maintain privileges at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center. To ensure the highest quality care, we have incorporated artificial intelligence algorithms for polyp detection, and we participate in the GIQuiC national registry, a program dedicated to continuous improvement in GI health care performance. Our staff of over 100 people are fully dedicated to ensuring your digestive health.

PHYSICIANS Jash Bansal, MD Alison Freeman, MD Donald Gullickson, MD Kelly McCullough, MD Gregory Munson, MD Kristina Ross, MD Benjamin Siemanowski, MD Dylan Stanfield, MD Rinad Tabbalat, MD Todd Witte, MD

ADVANCED PRACTITIONERS Jody Bauer, ARNP Megan Britson, PA-C Kristin Page, ARNP Elizabeth Waltman, PA-C Darla Woolman, PA-C

Northwest Gastroenterology & Endoscopy New address: 3111 Woburn St., Bellingham 360.734.1420,

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Health & Medical Profiles

Birth Story Obstetrics Your Body, Your Baby, Your Birth We provide individualized prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care aimed at making each patient feel valued, respected, and at ease throughout this dynamic journey. Our goal is to ensure every patient is educated and confident so they can realize the full transformative power of pregnancy and birth. We care for a limited number of families to guarantee ample time for in-depth and intentional care, with you as an integral author of your birth story. We honor your voice, experience, and intuition.

At Birth Story Obstetrics you can expect: •

Evidence-based care that prioritizes shared decision making To be greeted by your physician when you walk into the office Unhurried prenatal appointments in a relaxing environment Direct phone access to your doctor To know who will deliver your baby from day one!

• • • •

Anna Dowling, MD is an experienced boardcertified Ob/Gyn who’s been providing women’s healthcare in Bellingham since 2011. She has a passion for genuine, heartfelt connection with her patients and their families. Her holistic approach to medicine reflects her belief that we all possess innate wisdom meant to be nurtured and honored in order to truly thrive. Learn more about us at

Anna Dowling, MD, FACOG Birth Story Obstetrics Cell 360.220.9854 119 N.Commercial St, Ste 740

Anti-Aging Northwest Looking for a low-T clinic in Bellingham? Anti-Aging Northwest offers online testosterone replacement therapy and hormone optimization for men and women as well as personalized care for menopause, Thyroid conditions, and more.

Our Mission Provide the highest quality care in the field of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Empower people with the tools they need to be at their best in all aspects of their lives. To genuinely connect with patients and offer them a safe place to rest and gather the tools they need to excel.

as the latest in research. To ensure this Dr Faler attends symposiums and lectures quarterly as well as reading the latest research related to general medicine as well as his specific field. Dr Faler is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine. For experienced anti-aging and low T doctors in Bellingham, Washington, contact Anti-Aging Northwest today! Dr. Philip W. Faler, ND Licensed with the​ Washington & Oregon Boards of Naturopathic Medicine

Our Values We are committed to excellence in customer service and as a small family-owned business we are patient-centered and build long-lasting relationships of genuine value with each patient. We are committed to excellence in care and make use of both time-tested techniques as well


4265 Meridian St Suite 104 Bellingham WA 98225 509.474.0597

Health & Medical Profiles

Mount Baker Vision Clinic We live in a world that is visually vibrant, dynamic, and demanding. Safeguarding the health of our eyes and the quality of our vision is essential as we experience the wonders of life. Mount Baker Vision Clinic is dedicated to helping our patients maintain a lifetime of good vision in a professional, comfortable, and caring environment. It has been our honor to serve the people of Whatcom County since 1951. With our three convenient locations in Bellingham, Lynden, and Ferndale, we are ready to provide you with top-of-the-line eye care.

The health care providers at Mount Baker Vision Clinic utilize cutting edge technology and diagnostic techniques to provide full-scope eye care for the entire family. We offer a wide variety of services:

Comprehensive Eye Care • Pediatric Eye Care • Family Eye Care • Senior Eye Care

Emergency Eye Care: • Eye Injuries

• Acute Eye Infection or Inflammation • Ocular Foreign Body Removal • Sudden Vision Change or Vision Loss

Medical Eye Services: • • • • • •

Dr. Hannah Joyner

Dr. Brian Koning

Dr. Steven Koning

Passionate, empathetic, and detail-oriented, Dr. Hannah Joyner is devoted to providing quality patient care with clear communication.

Positive, open, and full of enthusiasm, Dr. Brian Koning has a zest for adventure and an easygoing manner that is a joy to his patients.

Kind, thoughtful, and even-mannered, Dr. Steven Koning is considerate, helpful, and shows a warm concern for others.

Diabetic Eye Examinations Age-Related Macular Degeneration Glaucoma Cataracts Corneal Eye Disease and Dry Eye Pre- and Post-Surgical Eye Care

Specialty Contact Lens Services: • • • • • •

Soft Contacts Rigid Gas Permeable Contacts Scleral Contacts Orthokeratology Hybrid Contacts MBVC is now Northwest Washington’s exclusive fitting center for the new posEYEdon scleral contact lens. If you find yourself struggling with contacts or seek to enhance your viewing experience, ask us about how this completely customized and innovative lens can optimize your vision.

As a locally owned clinic, we understand the importance of community and are so proud to call Whatcom County home. We love taking care of our neighbors and friends. Our friendly front desk staff members, prompt medical technicians, and savvy opticians are here to make you feel at ease every step of the way. Thank you for letting us serve you.

Dr. Jeff Ness

Dr. Kelly Larsen

Enthusiastic, caring, and dedicated, Dr. Jeff Ness has a passion for learning and has taken an active role in mentoring the next generation of eyecare professionals.

Compassionate, goodnatured, and self-described science geek, Dr. Kelly Larsen is committed to providing the highest quality of care to her patients.

Mount Baker Vision Clinic 720 Birchwood Ave., Bellingham 360.733.1720 1610 Grover St., Ste. A3, Lynden 360.354.7933 1887 Main St., Ste. 101, Ferndale 360.255.0555

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Health & Medical Profiles

Resilience Wellness Programs

SeattleNTC Experience life from a brighter perspective.

If you are one of the millions of women and men affected by or are struggling with chronic fatigue, belly fat, autoimmune disease, brain fog, hair loss, high blood pressure, and/or digestive issues -

When depression has you ready to give up, you need doctors who won’t. We have the expertise, persistence, and compassion to make a difference for you.

Our Stress, Hormones, and Health Masterclass is for YOU.

At SeattleNTC, our sole focus is finding the best combination of therapies for treatment-resistant neuropsychiatric conditions. We offer TMS and Spravato in our Bellingham office.

Scan the code below with your cell phone camera, and we’ll invite you to our next in-person Masterclass with a FREE gourmet dinner!

Resilience Wellness Programs

11 Bellwether Way, Suite 210 Bellingham, WA 98225 206.467.6300

Bellingham Fitness With the grand opening of their 3 new indoor pickleball courts (3 outside covered courts to follow) and 5 specialized studios opening soon, Bellingham Fitness is unveiling its vision of offering our community a wide variety of fitness options, all under one roof. Their goal is to offer you many different ways to improve the cardiovascular system and muscles so your body is always being challenged in new ways, and your progress doesn’t plateau. In the same week, you can literally drop your kids off in Kids’ Club and go work out with a trainer, play pickleball, take Zumba or take advantage of one or all of the studios. PURstudios will soon be grand opening their 4 separate studios including Spin, Yoga (heated), Barre, Pilates and a second turfed functional training area. Bellingham Fitness also provides a Recovery Solution for after workouts with their Spa (hot tub, steam room and dry sauna), Massage chairs, Massage Guns and Compression Boots.


Bellingham Fitness is offering our community a high-end club experience with all the studios under one roof at very reasonable prices, when you compare trying to have all this at separate locations. You can build and modify your own membership based on your ever-changing fitness goals and desires. NonMembers are welcome to play picketball, tan, and massage as well. Visit bellinghamfitness. com and see more photos.

Bellingham Fitness 1730 N. State Street, Bellingham 360.733.1600

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WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE? For the latest from Bellingham Alive in local events, news, giveways, and more!

100 5th Street, Lynden, WA 98264




WECU.COM | 360-676-1168


Apply online at *Terms and Conditions Apply. Requirements to receive the $250 bonus: open a new Spend Plus account, set up and receive a direct deposit of $100 or more into that new account within sixty (60) days of account opening. Bonus will be deposited into the account on day 61, if requirements are met. Offer expires 3/31/2024. WECU may change or discontinue this offer without notice.


South Hill House in the Trees 66 Mythologie Candles 68

Photo by Benjamin Benschneider Photography

Stay Cozy and Comfy 72


Skagit Bay Renovation

70 January 2024 65


Featured Home

South Hill House in the Trees Bellingham Bay Builders WRITTEN BY DAVE GHAN | PHOTOS BY RADLEY MULLER PHOTOGRAPHY



HIS SOUTH HILL home bends

with the trees above Bellingham Bay as it clings firmly to the steep sandstone bedrock. It’s a place to retire, relax, and have access to the PNW outdoor way of life. All needed amenities on the main floor allow the occupants to age in place, while still giving them space to host family and friends on a lower floor. This Northwest contemporary home is built on an infill lot, giving access to all Bellingham has to offer. Building Design Services worked with the homeowners, alongside Bellingham Bay Builders (BBB), to create a home that reflects the natural beauty of the surrounding environment. This forest habitat provides excellent indoor air quality, energy efficiency, and a durable envelope. The overall aesthetic of this house is enhanced by the collaborations with talented local designers and craftspersons. Debbie Dickinson designed a beautiful mosaic tile floor in the entryway, Crosby Glass Studio

provided stained glass, and Smith and Vallee provided the cabinetry. BBB worked with our fabricators and team of highly skilled subcontractors to ensure immaculate attention to detail and quality installation of all products. Moving through the house, one can see timber harvested from the property, recycled timbers, and intricate tile installations. Look behind the facade and the integrity of the structure complements the finishes. A metal roof and ventilated cladding offer longstanding durability. Attentive air sealing and robust insulation details minimize temperature fluctuations. Modern mechanicals include a mini-split heat pump, a heat recovery ventilator, and heat pump hot water heater. This all-electric home’s energy consumption is further shrunk by a solar array on the roof. We are confident the owners of the house will never tire of gazing off the floating deck and watching the land return to its natural vegetative state. 2111 King St., Bellingham, 360.733.7500,  January 2024 67


Local Find


Hi there, could you please introduce yourself and Mythologie Candles? I'm Leah McHenry, founder of Mythologie Candles, which was born in Lynden, Washington! We create high-quality, handcrafted candles for lovers of history, fantasy, and mythology. We officially launched in March 2020 during extremely uncertain times, which was very interesting. Despite encountering many obstacles, our little family business exploded almost overnight. It's been a wild ride and we are excited about what the future holds!

You also have an amazing music career in Celtic metal! How did you find that niche? My first and primary "career" is being a mother to my five kids, all of whom have been homeschooled these past 17 years (they range in age from 17 to 9). I am also a singer and songwriter, and early on, I decided to infuse my love of fantasy and Celtic culture with heavy metal and see what I came up with! The result is what some fans have described as "Loreena McKennitt, Lord of the Rings, and Metallica in a blender." Since I was a full-time mom, touring was not a realistic route for me, so I had to learn online marketing in order to promote my music and find fans who were looking for my style of music. … I soon began to build my career purely online. [Learn more about McHenry’s music at]

We read that Mythologie Candles came about after a project for your fifth album! What’s the story behind that? Yes, I originally began creating candles as a reward for an album crowdfunding campaign! I wanted to find a way to create a more immersive listening experience. I imagined people listening to the album and lighting different candles, then closing their eyes and feeling like they had been transported to another time and place. That was when I realized that I had a knack for scent design and storytelling through fragrance. … After all the wonderful feedback from my fans about the candles, that was when I really began to crystalize the idea of creating a brand around fantasy candles.

What is the philosophy behind using scent to create an immersive experience for your customers, while listening to your music, playing 68

a D&D campaign, or even reading their favorite fantasy novel? The philosophy behind these candles is that when you're watching a film, reading a book, or playing a game, you're utilizing all your main senses except for one very important one: your sense of smell, which is one of the most powerful senses of all! We all have memories and nostalgia attached to different scents, but what if you could create and change the entire vibe of an experience by transforming a space or event through fragrance? That's what we're aiming to do. If someone plays a tabletop game and they are in a fictional forest, imagine being able to really feel like you're there because the entire room smells like damp moss, mushrooms, and dirt with fresh fir needles? That game will be incredibly memorable and more fun!

r o f e s s i ona l Ca r Ca re ete’s Auto Repair, LLC

rofe ssiona l Ca r C are

How do you create your candles?

ete’s Auto Repair, LLC

We work with a fragrance house in the USA, and I custom design our scents by mixing various oils together to achieve really unique scents that can't be found anywhere else! We manufacture all our candles in-house, which are hand-poured by real people in the local area. We have all the raw materials and make it all by hand, from melting huge drums of wax to custom-mixing fragrance oils, to pouring thousands of candles per week, and inspecting every single candle for quality!

6209 PORTAL WAY FERNDALE, WA | CALL 380-CARS | 360-380-2277

Do you have any favorite candles, or anything else you’d like to tell our readers? O r g a n i c & Wi l d

Some of my favorite candles include our Camelot Collection and our staples such as Book of Kells, The Alchemist, and Cave Troll! We have a lot of exciting plans for future expansion and look forward to putting plans in place in the new year. … Although we've been primarily an online business, we're eager to meet locals and find ways we can help the community transform their spaces and hobbies into a more immersive fantasy experience! Lynden,


“Board and Bishop” candle

r o f e s s i o n a l C a r C a re

Locally owned and operated by Pete and Nita Harksell

Locally owned and operated by Pete and Nita Harksell

WWW.PETESAUTOREPAIR.NET Locally owned and operated by Pete and Nita Harksell

LIVINGapothecary EARTH

H a r v e st e d

1411 Cornwall Ave Bellingham, WA

MONDAY–SATURDAY 10am–6pm | SUNDAY 12–6pm | | 360.734.3207






announce the completion of an addition and renovation for a residence in La Conner, Washington. The owners of this architecturallydesigned existing house purchased it several years ago for its views and setting, but parts of the house didn’t quite fit with their lifestyle. They set out to reimagine the upper floor as an age-in-place, functionallyappropriate living floor for the two of them. The best parts of the original design were maintained and a strategic new arrangement of spaces opened up new possibilities for living.

An addition was used to create a library/reading room overlooking the private east terrace. This also allowed for the primary bathroom to be expanded and the laundry to be moved near the bedrooms. The owners loved the natural light in the hallway between the entry and the bedrooms, so the addition was designed to allow for the new library and still naturally light this important circulation space, highlighting some of the owner’s beautiful artwork. 70

A formal office on the south end of the house was eliminated in order to open up the kitchen and dining area into one larger and light-filled space with a small desk area off the kitchen. This move completely reframed the light and feel of the three spaces, making them much more usable and pleasant throughout the day. The dining room now also has a large sliding door to the deck. Outside, the water-facing decks were refurbished with new railings and decking,

and the siding and trim were stained to provide a fresh, contemporary new look. HKP loves to work with existing properties for both the challenges and opportunities they bring. “When you are confined to existing parameters (and in this case, design review restrictions as well) you have to work creatively inside the box to make new spaces that fulfill the needs of the owners. Doing that well is really so rewarding,” notes Julie Blazek, partner on the project. “We never imagined the possibilities in our house until we worked with Julie and Spencer, and we could not be happier with our new home,” say the owners. HKP Architects has been providing architectural services to the Pacific Northwest since 1952. The firm focuses on civic buildings and spaces, educational facility planning and design, non-profit and community-oriented projects, and private homes. All of their projects emphasize long-term value for clients through efficient use of space, appropriate use of materials, sustainability, and the benefits of natural light. HKP Architects is a Women Business Enterprise (WBE)-certified firm. HKP Architects, 204 W. Montgomery St., Mount Vernon, 360.336.2155, 

Skagit Bay Residence | Project Details Architect: HKP Architects Owners: Private Project Location: La Conner, Washington

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E’RE IN THE midst of

winter and there is nothing better than snuggling up by the fireplace with a good book and a warm blanket. Below are some items to help transform your living space into the perfect cozy spot to warm your soul. 


Tipsy Swivel Chair by Fairfield Samuel’s, starting at $1,639 1904 Main St., Ferndale 360.384.3388

Give Yourself the

Gift of Better Hearing! Your hearing plays a fundamental role in your overall health and well-being. You rely on your hearing to effectively communicate with your friends and family. It’s important to take care of your hearing health with an annual hearing screening.

Call for your free hearing screening today!

360.312.7272 Pamela Spencer, M.A., CCC-A, FAAA Suzie Jennings, Au.D.


Capitola Hand-Tufted Wool Rug Pottery Barn, $149-$2,799 3000 184th St. SW, Ste. 944, Lynnwood 425.774.5441

2114 James St • Bellingham • 360.312.7272 •

Your neighborhood pharmacy with competitive prices. Thanks for supporting small businesses and for voting us Best Pharmacy.

3 4

Woven Wool Blend Throw with Fringe Greenhouse, $49 1235 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham 360.676.1161

Garekton Candle Holders Furniture World, $170 600 Cascade Mall Dr., Burlington 360.755.6762

Durable medical equipment and multi-dose packaging that bundles medications by date and time for patients.


CW Happy Creations Bellingham Pillow Fringe, $42 1147 N. State St., Bellingham 360.312.4067

• Friendly Experienced Staff • Drive-Thru Window • Call-Text When Ready • Most Insurance Plans Accepted

We give vaccines Walk-ins always welcome!

Monday-Friday: 8am-6pm Weekends: Closed

1223 E. Division Street, Mt. Vernon • 360.428.1710 •

Thank you for voting us Best Steak! 115 Samish Way, Bellingham Daily 3:30–9PM 360.756.0058

Buu Chan 78 Maple.Bar 80

Photo by Dean Davidson

Chef’s Corner: Rifugio’s 86


Dry January Challenge

76 January 2024 75

Taste Dry January Challenge

Mocktail Variety

How a Dry January Will Set You Up for Success in 2024 WRITTEN BY KRISTEN BOEHM


HE NEW YEAR is all about

rebirth, fresh starts, and setting attainable goals. The key word there is “attainable.” Vision-boarding is all well and good, but every successful plan has a first step and a finish line. If one of your resolutions this year is to drink less alcohol, you’re in luck! You can join people all over the world in tackling Dry January.

What is Dry January? The trademarked Dry January campaign was officially launched in 2013 by Alcohol Change UK, a charity focused on raising awareness and support around alcohol abuse and changing the culture around the use of alcohol. It’s pretty straightforward— if you take up the challenge, you abstain from drinking for the 31 days of January. Alcohol Change UK describes Dry January as “a break and a total reset for the body and mind.” Over the past 10 years, the campaign has grown beyond the UK and is now known internationally, often used as a way 76

to jumpstart a health-conscious new year. Even Western Washington University has developed their own take on the challenge, although they don’t demand perfection— their version is called “Dry(ish) January.”

Why take on the challenge? So what’s the big idea behind a sober January? Besides a great way to recover after the holiday season’s indulgences, the overall intent behind the practice is to examine your relationship with drinking. By making an effort to abstain, you’ll probably see things from a fresh perspective. There are also short- and long-term benefits to cutting back. One of the first things you notice will be the impact on your wallet. Whether you’re used to buying up bottles or just having a few drinks with friends each week, skipping out on that expense will notably reduce spending. You can even put the money you save toward local nonprofits that provide substance abuse and behavioral health services, like Unity Care NW, Compass Health, and Catholic

Larrabee Lager Co

Community Services and Catholic Housing Services of Western Washington. Then you’ll start seeing improvements in your health. You might not realize it, but alcohol affects your sleep by disrupting your body’s sleep cycles, leading to nights of tossing and turning. Not to mention the brain fog, headaches, and dehydration the next day! After your sleep starts to re-balance, you’ll notice an increase in energy, focus,

How to make the most of it!

and productivity. It’s part of what makes Dry January a great accompaniment to other New Year’s resolutions around health! That workout won’t seem so onerous with a good night’s sleep behind you. Plus, depending on what drinks you go for, drinking can increase your caloric, sugar, and starch intake, inhibiting weight loss and even contributing to insulin resistance. Longer-term health benefits include an improved complexion and lowered

The great news is that you don’t have to stop going out, having fun, or even enjoying interesting beverage concoctions during your go at Dry January. There’s been an increasing focus on mocktails and non-alcoholic options at many of our fantastic local bars and restaurants. Revival Lounge in Mount Vernon is unmissable! They go above and beyond to offer non-alcoholic spirits and mix them into drinks that feel every bit as crafted as regular cocktails, like the Sour Poet, which mixes Wilderton Lustre, lemon juice, blackberry syrup, and egg white. Suggest Gruff Brewing, Boundary Bay Brewery, or the new Larrabee Lager Company to your friends when

Revival Lounge

deciding where to go! These, amongst other breweries, have at least one N/A brew available. At Frelard Tamales, enjoy a mocktail made with their house-made agua frescas, or check out Culture Cafe for kombucha galore! Alternatively, take your drinks into your own hands and collect everything you need for delicious sipping at home. Local companies Shrub Farms and Girl Meets Dirt produce flavorful shrubs— concentrated mixtures of vinegar, fruit, and sugars— that you can add to teas, sparkling water, and more at home for tasty drinks. The Skagit Valley Food Co-Op also carries non-alcoholic beers and wines for you to stock at home, including beers by Athletic Brewing, Clausthaler N/A, TÖST sparkling rose, and Pathfinder non-alcoholic spirits, among others! If you’d like additional Dry January resources, Western Washington University’s Dry(ish) January page has prompts and suggestions for each of the month’s 31 days. Alcohol Change UK has a handy app that will help you tackle the challenge, and they reported that more than 70% of people who use their resources to take on the Dry January challenge are drinking more healthily and feeling better even six months down the line. Remember that it’s not about being deprived of alcohol— you’re opening up a new world of possibilities for yourself! 

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Photo Coutesy of Boundary Bay Brewery

Photo by Amber Fouts

blood pressure. Your liver will also thank you! This organ works hard to filter alcohol out of the bloodstream, and can get damaged over time. But the liver is regenerative, and if you’re a light drinker, even a few days off can be enough time for it to start healing. While all this is going on, you’ll also be paying closer attention to your relationship with drinking. Do you rely on having a drink or two every night to unwind? Do you drink socially with friends? Do you spend more time and money on it than you were realizing?

Boundary Bay Brewery

Photo by Tony Mueantonthian

Gruff Brewing

Photo Courtesy of Gruff Brewing

Photo by K Kate Milne

Girl Meets Dirt

Taste Local Find

Hot Sauces and Heritage Journeys with Buu Chan WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY LEIGH HELLMAN



aisles, discerning shoppers can find a rotating selection of fresh kimchi (a popular traditional Korean side dish made with salted and fermented vegetables) from Buu Chan— a local food business that specializes in authentic and fusion Asian sauces, seasonings, and side dishes— produced and sold right here in Bellingham. Rika Wong, owner and operator of Buu Chan, LLC, has been working professionally in the food industry since she graduated from Western Washington University in 2015. After training with a local food truck and managing some kitchens, Wong decided to leave her full-time kitchen job in 2020 to start Buu Chan. “I like to call it my pandemic baby,” Wong shares with a smile. “Food has always been my passion and I thought long and hard about what I wanted to share with the


community and what I thought would sell well.” Inspired by her early bouts of homesickness when she first moved to Bellingham from Seattle, Wong decided to focus on offerings that reminded her of the comfort foods she missed having locally available back then. This includes Buu Chan’s best-selling chili garlic crisp, her take on her father’s version of the staple Chinese sauce that has helped make her feel more connected with her Chinese heritage. Half Chinese and half Japanese, Wong drew from her own cultural fusion to build her business. The name Buu Chan means “little piggy” in Japanese and was her grandmother’s nickname as a child. Wong recalled

watching her grandmother cook while she babysat, bringing bento boxes to their childhood sporting events and concerts, and teaching her grandchildren how to prepare traditional Japanese foods for New Years celebrations. Although her own personal heritage is evident in her products, the bulk of what Buu Chan makes is varieties of the Korean side dish kimchi. As her business has grown, Wong has also begun branching out into items like fermented hot sauces and miso (a traditional Japanese seasoning made with fermented soybeans). Wong is particularly passionate about her kimchi and the conversations that it has opened up with her customers, stating: “I hope that folks feel comfortable coming to us, asking questions, trying things, and opening their minds and palettes to these foods that are culturally significant and have such rich histories.” Aware of the importance of uplifting other community members, Wong is a strong advocate for supporting local farms and agriculture. She emphasizes how grateful she is to live in a space with access to abundant produce and often tailors seasonal products to make the most of the regional harvests. Additionally, she hopes to continue to be a source of representation and resources for young women of color in the local food industry. “Food has this great power of bringing people together across differences and barriers like culture and language for them to share and learn. It’s central to my family and how we celebrate, so I kind of always knew that that’s where I would end up,” Wong muses. “I hope that people find connection through what we offer, whether that be to a memory, community, or a person— past or present.” Online orders for Buu Chan are taken at with delivery available from Whatcom to Seattle as well as local pickup. They can be found at the Bellingham Farmers Market on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Keenan’s at the Pier Bananagram Ingredients: Novo Fogo Silver Cachaca, creme de banane, fresh lime, pineapple Price: $13


N THE DEEP winter months,

everyone reaches for warming spices and roasty flavors for their food and drink alike. But after all those holiday meals and hot cocoas, you might start feeling a little over it. If you’re thoroughly done with cinnamon for the season, we’ve got a refreshing drink recommendation for you. The Bananagram is a cold cocktail served at Keenan’s at the Pier, and it’s the perfect fruity drink to help you shake off those winter blues. So what if it’s still freezing outside? Indoors where it’s nice and warm, the Bananagram’s creme de banane, fresh lime, and pineapple will transport you to a sunny paradise— perhaps

somewhere like Brazil, the country of origin of the drink’s spirit, cachaca. Cachaca is made from fermented sugarcane juice, and has been referred to as a Brazilian white rum in the past, although these days it’s understood to be in its own category entirely. The liquor generally has a sweet, fruity, and spicy aroma. Novo Fogo’s Silver Cachaca boasts flavors from the terroir of Southern Brazil: banana, florals, sea salt, and red pepper. It’s rested in stainless steel to smooth it out, which checks out upon drinking the Bananagram— the drink is effortless to imbibe! Inside the The Chrysalis Inn & Spa Bellingham, 804 10th St., Bellingham, 360.392.5510, KRISTEN BOEHM

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Taste Review



HE FIRST THING you’ll notice

when you walk into Maple. Bar, in Bellingham’s Cordata neighborhood, is the color palette. It’s decidedly groovy, with muted taupes and browns swirling around mellow yellows and pinks, offering a notably different feel from the usual PNW coffee shop. Owner Adam Foy says that’s intentional. “I wanted to be just really different. Different than Woods, different than Starbucks, different than even a downtown vibe coffee shop,” says Foy. Maple.Bar achieves that goal, with a unique brand identity that’s immediately recognizable (and Instagrammable). Foy has spent most of his career in construction and real estate, with an eight-year stint building local brands and sales platforms in the food and beverage industry— all of those experiences came together to help him build, both literally and figuratively, his dream coffee shop. Foy has long been a coffeehouse aficionado, following businesses whose aesthetic he likes on social media and always prioritizing finding unique


coffee shops during his travels. That mild obsession has paid off with Maple.Bar, where Foy’s attention to detail has manifested in a cozy-yetcool atmosphere and one of the most delicious flavored lattes I’ve ever had (and I’m picky). The Maple.Bar Signature ($5 for a 12-ounce), a maple latte with a deep, authentic flavor and no hint of sickly sweetness, took around a month to perfect. “We were trying to create a signature drink that didn’t taste like maple syrup,” Foy says, “and that took some research.” The eponymous Maple Bar Donuts ($1.80 each, four for $6, or six for $9) also took some time to nail down. It wasn’t just the flavor and texture that mattered, either— Foy felt strongly about the size and shape as well. “At first we were doing regular maple bars,” Foy says, “and I would watch parents hesitating, or [they’d] ask me for a knife to cut it.” Finding someone to wholesale the exact donut he wanted was a challenge, but it was worth it. Since they started selling the small, fluffy squares— almost beignet-sized— nobody has balked at letting their kid eat a whole one.

Maple.Bar is a labor of love, very much Foy’s creative vision, but he’s quick to point out that it’s a family affair. His partner, Kelly, and daughter, Meg, help out with shifts and contribute ideas (the other kids will work shifts when they’re old enough) and his mom makes the greeting cards sold up at the front. And the family-friendliness doesn’t stop there, either: the first thing I noticed, when I stopped in at the bathroom, was a real, sturdy changing table stocked with diapers as well as feminine products. When I ask about it, Foy says, “I have five kids. […] So it’s a no-brainer.” It’s these little touches— the bathroom amenities, the thought-out seating areas designed to invite conversation, the perfectionist donut size— that make it so clear what kind of business Maple.Bar is. Foy’s goal is to create an inclusive space for gathering, where all are welcome and feel supported. Yes, the food and drinks have to be fantastic as well, but Foy’s main focus is the vibe. And the vibe checks out. 4252 Cordata Pkwy., Bellingham, 360.441.5440, 

Dining Guide Taste

DINING KEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . up to $9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10–19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20–29 . . . . . . . $30 or greater . . . . . . . . . . . . . Breakfast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brunch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lunch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dinner . . . . . . . . . .Family-Friendly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Takeout . . . . . . . . Outdoor Seating . . . . . . . . . . Reservations . . . . . . . . . . . Happy Hour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vegan . . . . . . . . . . . New Review Menu items and prices are subject to change, so check before you go. See all our restaurant reviews on our Eat and Drink tab at Local restaurants need you now more than ever! However, due to COVID-19, some restaurants may be temporarily closed. Remember to call ahead or check online for delivery and pick-up options. * Review provided by restaurant.


taste them. The intimate, casual setting will make you feel like you’re at a friend’s house.

BIG LOVE JUICE American 1144 10th St., Bellingham 360.383.5336, Cold press juices make up the bulk of the menu at Big Love Juice. However, these aren’t your average juices. Big Love Juice uses a hydraulic press, rather than the traditional high-heat methods that eliminate much of the vitamins and nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. Customers looking for something a little heartier can also pick from a multitude of smoothies, soups, salads, bowls, and loaded toasts.

BLACK PEARL ASIAN FUSION Asian Fusion 1317 W. Bakerview Rd., Bellingham 360.746.2030, Bellingham has an abundance of Asianinspired restaurants; the trick is to find one that stands out— like the Black Pearl. With all the available extras, it is almost impossible to get the same flavor twice. The pho is clean and refreshing with a variety of different meats to try and sauces to add as extra seasoning.

BLUE FIN SUSHI Japanese 102 S. Samish Way, Ste. 105, Bellingham 360.752.2583, Delicious fresh sushi is a given, but Blue Fin also offers a full menu of non-sushi food items, from classic bento boxes to fish and chips. Peruse their vast menu with help from their friendly waitstaff, then enjoy a mouthwatering close-up as chefs prepare your food behind the bar.

1232 N. State St., Bellingham, 360.778.2336 BRANDYWINE KITCHEN Regional NW 1317 Commercial St., Bellingham 360.734.1071, Named for the farm where they began growing their decadent heirloom tomatoes, Brandywine Kitchen sources many of its ingredients locally, upholding their “from seed to plate” philosophy. The menu offers vegetarian and gluten-free options and a rotating selection of beer from local breweries.

7 Bellwether Way, Bellingham 360.527.3473, The Hearthfire menu speaks to the everyday eater, not just the special occasion treat of Anthony’s. Seasonal items, such as peaches or huckleberries in the summer, complement salads, entrees, and drinks. Steaks, seafood, and items on the Woodfire rotisserie round out the selections.

Fat Shack offers a variety of burgers, wings, and their specialty: densely packed sandwiches. The typical “fat” sandwich is some combination of grilled steak and fried chicken, along with cheese and a host of sides, all pressed inside a fresh hoagie roll. It is not for the meek, or for someone looking for a salad bar. Along with its unapologetic embrace of deep-fried food, Fat Shack serves up some surprises. Its hamburgers are handpressed, hand-seasoned, and never frozen.

GRAHAM’S RESTAURANT American 9989 Mount Baker Hwy., Glacier 360.599.9883, Graham’s Restaurant is the classic, rustic stop for a good burger and brew in Glacier, especially for hungry travelers. Built in 1904, the building represents a long-gone era in the Mount Baker wilderness. Connected to an oldtimey grocery store, the cabin-like restaurant is made complete by black-and-white photos of the cast from the 1935 film “Call of the Wild,” starring Clark Gable and Loretta Young, warming their hands over the little stove oven which still sits there today.


Italian, Mexican, Chinese

Infusion Cuisine has a menu that features a little bit of everything. The three most popular types of cuisine are Italian, Asian, and Mexican, and all the dishes on Infusion Cuisine’s menu fit into one of these categories. No matter what you’re in the mood for, there’s something for everyone at Infusion Cuisine.

JACK NIEMANN’S BLACK FOREST STEAKHOUSE German, Steak 638 Peace Portal Dr., Blaine 360.306.8342


414 W. Bakerview Rd., Bellingham 360.366.8752,

6912 Hannegan Rd., Lynden 360.778.1726,

ACCOMPLICE American If you’ve been to Carnal in downtown Bellingham, you know meat is their forte. For even more protein-forward goodness, head to the restaurant’s burger offshoot, Accomplice, located right next door. Originally created as a destination for casual takeout during the pandemic, the space was remodeled to include a quirky dining area plus variety of sandwiches and house-made sauces.

FAT SHACK American


685 Peace Portal Dr., Blaine 360.656.5958, A board inside Drayton Harbor Oyster Company tracks when the last oyster delivery was made and how long it takes the oysters to get from the ocean to the kitchen. The record? 13 minutes. This level of freshness means oysters so good that people come from all over the globe to

Black Forest Steakhouse offers a versatile dining experience. It’s fancy enough for special occasions, anniversaries, and graduation celebrations, but it’s also a place you’ll want to go to any day. Black Forest cooks their steaks different than most other steakhouses: They broil them in a 1,600-degree oven, leaving the meat tender and flavorful.

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Taste Dining Guide

Kitchen Tips & Tricks: Homemade Kitchen Staples and Supplies Fragrant Filth Fighter This homemade spray implements the acidity of white vinegar and aromatics of citrus to eliminate odor and mess. Pack a jar with rinds of your choice (e.g. lemons or oranges), add one cup of distilled white vinegar, seal the jar, and leave it in an area with natural light. After several days, strain out the rinds, transfer the mixture to a spray bottle, add two cups of warm water, and spray away (but avoid using on porous surfaces).

Custom Coffee Creamer Want to replace your store-bought creamer with a healthier, equally delicious alternative? This recipe combines 3/4 cup of half and half, one cup of milk, 14 ounces of sweetened or unsweetened condensed milk, two teaspoons of vanilla extract, and one to two teaspoons of almond extract, cinnamon, cocoa powder or any other flavor of choice. The creamer lasts for approximately one week in the fridge or one month in the freezer.

Fluffy Flour on the Spot Oat flour is an easy and healthy substitute for the all-purpose flour you buy from the grocery store. It also adds a chewier, crumblier texture to baked goods. All you need is a blender and a few cups of oats (any kind). Grind the oats in a food processor, blender, or coffee grinder until you have a finely-ground, consistent texture. Voila! You have homemade flour that can be stored in an airtight container for several months.

JALAPEÑOS MEXICAN GRILL Mexican 1007 Harris Ave., Bellingham, 360.656.6600 501 W. Holly St., Bellingham, 360.671.3099 2945 Newmarket Pl., Bellingham 360.778.2041, Jalapeños Mexican Grill lures you in with promises of a cheap lunch special, but after looking at the menu, you won’t stop there. There’s a variety of flavored mojitos and margaritas, and the “Big Mama” alone is proof that Jalapeños doesn’t play around with their drinks. The glasses are huge, and the drinks are good to the last drop.


Northwest, American & Seafood

804 10th St., Bellingham 360.392.5510, Located inside the The Chrysalis Inn & Spa Bellingham in Fairhaven, Keenan’s at the Pier features fresh, local cuisine and a full bar. Keenan’s highlights the beauty and style of the Pacific Northwest with fresh ingredients that are seasonal and regionally sourced. Enjoy Bellingham Bay views from every table. Reservations are highly recommended.

KURUKURU SUSHI Japanese, Sushi 11 Bellwether Way, Bellingham 360.392.8224, KuruKuru Sushi, which translates to “go around Sushi,” offers not only a good meal, but a good experience as well. Along with the more traditional sushi, delicious lightly tempura-fried sushi also makes its way around the conveyor belt. If you don’t see something you like, the chefs behind the counter will gladly make something for you.

Natural Aromatic Air Freshener During the cold winter months we tend to keep our windows shut, which is why using an air freshener to clear stale air is key. However, candles and artificial air fresheners are more frequently reported to contain hazardous toxins. Boil oranges, cinnamon, and cloves over the stove for several minutes, then bottle the mixture up for future use. It’s the perfect natural air freshener that’ll fill every room in your home with a cozy, clean scent. ELLIE COBERLY

THE LOFT Northwest, American & Seafood 1801 Roeder Ave., Bellingham 360.306.5668, In a world of freeze-dried and processed prepackaged foods, The Loft strives to be an exception. From the fresh, locally caught salmon and halibut, to the cage-free organic eggs, they believe the ingredients make the dish. Their dressings, sauces, and seasoning are all from scratch, with original recipes using fresh, local, organic products as often as the seasons allow.

MAPLE.BAR Coffee Shop 4252 Cordata Parkway, Bellingham 360.441.5440 | Head to Maple.Bar for a cozy-yet-cool atmosphere, great coffee, and perfectly-sized donuts. Try the Maple.Bar Signature latte, a maple latte with a deep, authentic flavor and no hint of sickly sweetness. If you really want to go all out, add one of their eponymous Maple Bars, or choose


another flavor of donut— they’re all small, almost beignet-sized, squares of fluffy deliciousness.

PEL’MENI RESTAURANT Russian 1211 N. State St., Bellingham 360.715.8324, Step off busy State Street after your late night festivities for an inexpensive and satisfying fill of plump dumplings. Stuffed with either meat or potatoes, these dumplings are piping hot and sprinkled with cumin, paprika, and cilantro. Because they pair so well with tasty libations, Pel’meni manages to consistently have a line out the door as soon as the sun goes down. Smother them with vinegar, sour cream, and hot sauce for the full effect.

THE PENNY FARTHING BAR & RESTAURANT American 1309 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham 360.738.7179, Between craft cocktails and creative dishes designed for sharing, a night spent at the Penny Farthing will be one to remember. The bar and restaurant is operated by (and located within) Chuckanut Bay Distillery, and their house-made spirits are complemented by creative and locally-sourced dishes.

LUNCH Mon-Sat 11am-3pm DINNER Nightly 3pm-10pm HAPPY HOUR Mon-Thur 3pm-6pm SUNDAY BRUNCH 10am-3pm LATE NIGHT Every Night 10pm-close

PEPPER SISTERS Mexican, Pacific Northwest 1055 N. State St., Bellingham 360.671.3414, Customers have been diving into their plentiful plates of comforting burritos, quesadillas, and other specialties since 1988. The spunky atmosphere only elevates the already upbeat mood of the place. With bright booths, samplings of art, and lively music, it’s nearly impossible to feel sour. Regular patrons groove to Stevie Wonder as they plunge their forks into massive burritos filled with red chili pesto, sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions, potatoes, green chilies, and cheese.


5415 Mount Baker Hwy., Deming 360.592.2888, Rifugio’s brings fine dining to the “wilderness.” Fifteen miles out on Mount Baker Highway, just past Deming, sits a funky old cafe that has been transformed into an oasis for foodies and coffee-lovers alike. Menu items befit their Italian name and the dinner menu changes weekly, begging for a second trip. A small covered deck with colorful lanterns sits adjacent to the dining room for your al fresco pleasure. Just beyond, in a meadow, sits a red deck used as a stage and centerpiece for special dinners under the stars.

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WANIDA THAI CUISINE Thai 1213 Dupont St., Bellingham, 360.746.8642, 3200 Northwest Ave., Bellingham, 360.393.3138, Bellinghamsters who love Thai know the name Wanida! Now with two locations, Wanida Thai serves up authentic Thai food from appetizers, soups, noodles, curries, and stir-fry. Whether you’re satisfying a craving with Phad Thai or trying something fresh like their Papaya Salad, you won’t be disappointed by their menu.

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12885 Casino Dr., Anacortes, 360.588.3525, Located on the waterfront within the casino, 13moons is sure to catch your attention. The menu offers a wide variety including first plates, entree salads, seafood, and steaks. Give this go-to place for locals a try and you will be walking away satisfied.

BASTION BREWING COMPANY American 12529 Christianson Rd., Anacortes 360.399.1614, On the Bastion Brewing Company menu you’ll find classic salads, an array of interesting burgers, and crispy chicken wings drenched in your choice of sauce. Food arrives impressively quick, and even more impressive is the quality of the food.

CONWAY PUB & EATERY American 18611 Main St., Conway 360.445.4733 Don’t let tiny Conway fool you— this pub packs big flavor. Though the town is unincorporated, business is never slow in this watering hole. Farmers often come here after a hard day’s work, as well as bikers making a pit stop on a scenic weekend ride. Brimming with beer and Americana spirit, Conway Pub & Eatery is a Skagit Valley icon.

THE FAIRHAVEN Deli 100 N. Burlington Blvd., Burlington, 360.746.3183, Offerings at The Fairhaven are diverse enough to please every palate, and the flavors of each ingredient are carefully considered. Rotating specials and seasonal dishes make each visit unique and exciting.


Dining Guide Taste




CAPTAIN WHIDBEY INN American 2072 Captain Whidbey Inn Rd., Coupeville 360.678.4097, The entire menu features down-to-earth items that are reasonably priced, locally sourced, and well-balanced. While the inn does serve as a special-occasion spot, folks dressed in shorts and a T-shirt are also welcomed. Built in 1907, Captain Whidbey Inn is a historical gem.

Photo Courtesy of Larrabee Lager Co.

CYNTHIA’S BISTRO American 65 Nichols St., Friday Harbor, 360.298.8130, Located in a renovated 1920s home, this local San Juan Island staple is known for their innovative menu selections. You can enjoy lunch, or even an extended breakfast, daily in spring and summer. They are famous for their brunch, but you might try stopping by later in the evening for their dinner menu — a special treat.

DOE BAY CAFÉ American 107 Doe Bay Rd., Olga 360.376.8059, Whether you’re heading toward the San Juan Islands or don’t mind taking a trip for an unbelievable meal, be sure to make reservations at the ever-popular Doe Bay Café. This iconic cafe has stuck to its mission of providing world-class seafood and vegetarian dishes.

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FRIDAY HARBOR HOUSE Regional NW 130 West St., Friday Harbor 360.378.8455, It’s hard to beat the view of the ferry landing, marina, and San Juan Channel from Friday Harbor House — the hotel and restaurant provide a sweeping panorama of water and sky. In addition to the delicious food menu, Friday Harbor House is one of the few island restaurants to offer a full bar at brunch every day of the week.


INN AT LANGLEY American 400 First St., Langley, 360.221.3033, If beauty were a taste, this would be it. As a guest, you’re taken on a mouth-watering culinary journey through a multi-course tasting menu. Not only is the meal a delight for the taste buds, but there are also surprises at each turn, whether it’s the presentation or the accoutrements. Each guest is served as if they are the only one in the dining room. The menu is prix fixe, with an additional charge for wine pairing. Dinner here is more than just a meal; it’s an experience. $$$$



Ralf’s Bavarian Pretzel, with its salt topping and stone ground mustard on the side, is a great addition to any one of the beers on tap at Larrabee Lager Company.

Grabbing dinner and a movie has never been easier thanks to Luna’s Bistro, conveniently located right next to the Barkley Village movie theater. Their Halibut Tacos are topped with cabbage, pico de gallo, and mango mojo sauce, and are great for a premovie meal. With an abundance of fresh ingredients and finished with a white wine sauce and herbs, the Bucatini and Clams at Great Blue Heron Grill is just the meal you need after a long day of golfing at the Semiahmoo Resort. Enjoy a plate of Smoked Salmon Penne at Mambo Italiano Café. Artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes complement the smoked salmon to make an entree that pairs perfectly with a glass of Mambo’s Washington-brewed Vino Pinot Grigio.


Looking for a meal with a little bit of everything in it? Try Luxe Thai’s Ultimate Fried Rice! It has rice, eggs, chicken, beef, pork, prawns, and vegetables and is tossed together with a mouthwatering curry powder.


Start your night by trying out Cafe Akroteri’s Spanakopita! This fresh spinach and feta mixture is wrapped in layers and layers of flaky filo to make each and every bite irresistible.

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The Professor is a fruity, complex drink you can find at Miller’s Back Door (although their menus change all the time!). Their take on a traditional rum sour, this unique drink consists of a blackberry-balsamic reduction, egg white, rum, and Back Door’s house-made sour.

One of five locations, Mt. Vernon’s Burgermaster does not disappoint! One of our favorites is their Gardenburger, a veggie burger kept sweet and simple with tomato, lettuce, and mayo on top.

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Taste Chef’s Corner

Photo by Richard Balogh

Photo Courtesy of Rifugio’s

Photo Courtesy of Rifugio’s

A New Chapter in Culinary Arts Rifugio’s Country Italian Cuisine WRITTEN BY MAYA HEINSELMAN


HEN RIFUGIO’S FIRST opened, it was a reflection of a traditional Italian cafe and only served one family-style meal a

day. Along with their Sunday brunch, Rifugio’s now offers more of a unique fine dining experience for its customers. Located right off Mt. Baker Highway, this country Italian restaurant aims for customer service that’s “catered to perfection” and is planning to create a U-shaped dining layout as a visual representation of their customer-centered approach.

Lasagna Bolognese

Instructions Filling

Ingredients 1 pound spicy Italian sausage 1 pound 80/20 ground beef 1/2 cup minced onion 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped 2 ounces of red wine 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground fennel seed 1 tablespoon of red chili flakes or to taste 2 ounces of heavy cream 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 12 lasagna noodles 4 ounces of unsalted butter divided 2 tablespoons flour 2 cups of milk ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese Chef’s Tip: Use whole spices when you can for a fresher, stronger flavor! 86

• In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well-browned. • Pour in red wine and let evaporate. Stir in crushed tomatoes and season with Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, ground fennel, red chili flakes, heavy cream, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about one and a half hours, stirring occasionally. • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for eight to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. Besciamella Sauce • In a pan, add the milk, 2 tablespoons of flour, salt, freshly grated nutmeg, and 4 ounces of

melted butter. Turn on the burner to medium heat and whisk until it is a thick but fluid sauce. • Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Assembly • To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. • Arrange six noodles over the meat sauce. Spread with one-half of the Besciamella mixture. Top with a third of the mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. • Repeat layers and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. • Cover with foil (to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese). Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.




Meet the Chef Chef Richard Balogh founded Rifugio’s in 2008. As a culinary artist, he wanted to create a space that would serve as a place to rejuvenate or, as the restaurant’s website boasts, as a “sanctuary of food and culture.” Hence, the name Rifugio’s (meaning “refuge” in Italian) and its customer-focused dining style was born. Alongside cooking at Rifugio’s, Balogh has also begun to teach a cooking class through the Community Food Co-op. He has led students through the process of making dishes like the restaurant’s jumbo meatballs with rigatoni, and often includes homegrown and locallysourced ingredients in his recipes. The homemade Georgia Flame Pepper Sauce he serves at Rifugio’s, for example, is made with peppers grown on the personal farm of a friend of his. Experience the one-of-a-kind flavors and exceptional dining yourself by grabbing a table at Rifugio’s, or follow Balogh’s recipe to the left to make their signature Lasagna Bolognese at home! Rifugio’s Country Italian Cuisine, 5415 Mt. Baker Hwy., Deming, 360.592.2888, t

2022 Rhone White Blend, Horse Heaven Hills, WA WRITTEN BY AMBERLEIGH BROWNSON



some of the most highly coveted (and consequently expensive) wines in the world, so it’s no wonder Washington winemakers have looked to this area for inspiration and to follow the steps of tradition, at times with great success. Alexandria Nicole’s Shephards Mark is one such example, having recently earned the most prestigious (in my opinion) Platinum Award from Great Northwest Wine’s Platinum Wine Competition, wherein only Golds and Double-Golds from the region’s competitions qualify for entry. In other words: the best of the best. For January’s Wine of the Month, I am pleased to introduce this beautiful iteration of white brilliance. Winemaker duo Jarrod Boyle and Reid Klei have created a stunning example of their flagship white blend this 2022 vintage, being 55% Rousanne, 30% Marsanne, and 15% Viognier. She shows up early across the table when first poured (thank

MEET OUR SOMMELIER Photo by Sharon Beth

Photo Courtesy of Rifugio’s

Shepherds Mark by Alexandria Nicole Cellars

you Viognier), with a classic cologne scent reminiscent of Artemis shrouded in honeysuckle blossoms on a warm breeze, and continues to stun as she unwraps… Alexandria Nicole Cellars has spearheaded the introduction of this classic blend to Washington State with their first vintage in 2004 (thanks to valiant industry names having some influence: Wolfe and Mercer). The 2022 growing season, after some fears of fluctuating circumstances of nature, finished off with an ideal vintage characterized by a late start to the spring, and ending with warmth extending into the fall. Chuckanut Manor in Bow serves Shephards Mark, or you can find it in Bellingham at Bens Market on Alabama Street or Haggen in Barkley Village. Alexandria Nicole Cellars’s website also offers myriad places to taste, stay, and learn about their journey, as well as a comprehensive wine club program; you can find all you need to know at  Tasting Notes: White flesh peach, riverbed, clover honey, freshly sliced starfruit scents - palate has zippy limeade, mild banana, honeydew, Meyer lemon and apricot with a gentle ginger velvety finish on the back palate. Simply delicious. Pairing Suggestion: Chicken Pad Thai, Roasted Red Peppers, Lobster, Cold Melon Soup, Arugula Salad, Coconut Custard Pudding

Amberleigh Brownson Amberleigh Brownson has been a local sommelier and international wine judge in Whatcom county for eight years. She is a four-time award winner from Wine Spectator for her wine program and wine pairing dinners, and has become an opinion leader in the Washington wine world, particularly in Whatcom County.

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January 26

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YESTERDAY & TODAY The Interactive Beatles Experience February 3


March 10

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April 7

April 26

April 27

And So Much More!



Treaty Day Film Festival

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JANUARY TOP PICKS Photo by Jim Williams

PADDEN POLAR DIP & RESOLUTION RUN/WALK January 1, 11 a.m. Start the new year with a walk or run around Lake Padden, then change into your swimsuit and take a refreshing dip in this cold lake. Enjoy snacks and warm drinks as you share your enthusiasm and resolutions for the next year with other eager individuals. There’s nothing like a shock to the system to wake you out of your holiday daze! Lake Padden Northwest Entrance, 4882 Samish Way, Bellingham, 360.778.7000,

POLAR BEAR PLUNGE AT BIRCH BAY January 1, 10 a.m. For those even farther north, the Polar Bear Plunge is Birch Bay’s annual test of bravery and fortitude! Right on the water at Beach Cat Brewing, you’ll find representatives of the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce in a heated tent for registration, a costume contest, live music, and with lots of merch for sale. 7876 Birch Bay Dr., Birch Bay, info@,


Photo Courtesy of Aspire Adventure Running

This annual winter race series, which runs November-February, spotlights the community history behind Galbraith Mountain’s trails and celebrates shared mountain stewardship. The races are presented by Aspire Adventure Running and Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, include courses for all ages and abilities, and finish up with an apres-party at Wander Brewing! Galbraith Mountain, 360.961.2457,

Photo Courtesy of Aspire Adventure Running



On January 1st enjoy a fee-free hike for “First Day Hikes” along any of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest hiking paths. Following first day hikes, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 15th) entry is free at Mt. Rainier, Olympic National Park, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie, and other Washington State Parks. Indulge in a refreshing and enlightening day outdoors, without fretting over the cost.

Join the community in saying goodbye to MoNA’s environmental exhibit, “Surge: Mapping Transition, Displacement, and Agency in Times of Climate Change.” This is a drop-in event where you can wander the exhibit, take everything in, and then head to the MoNA Art Studio and express how the show impacted you. The resulting piece will be a community-wide collaboration. Sasha Petrenko, an artist who worked on Surge, will also be giving a tour of her interactive exhibit, “Forest Time Water.” Museum of Northwest Art,

Outdoor Recreation Information Center, 222 Yale Ave. N., Seattle, 206.470.4060


121 1st St., La Conner, 360.466.4446,

Events Agenda

CLASSICAL MARINA ALBERO’S “GAIA” January 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Marina Albero began playing music at an early age while touring the world with her family. She continued to study classical piano, and researches and performs different music styles, including jazz, flamenco, andalusie, and latin, creating her unique personal flair. Now coming to Bellingham is Gaia, Albero’s new and exciting all woman group. FireHouse Arts & Events Center, 1314 Harris Ave., Bellingham, 360.305.9858, Photo Courtesy of Marina Albero



Considered the “biggest little orchestra” around, Pink Martini is a group of a dozen musicians who cross classical, jazz, and oldfashioned hip hop genres. The group draws inspiration from all over the world and performs in up to 25 different languages. China Forbes has been the band’s lead singer since 1995 and flawlessly vocalizes with an Ella Fitzgerald-esque style. Mount Baker

The Seattle Opera chorus is traveling Puget Sound, bringing to life the characters and lore from several popular operas. They will showcase several celebrated chorus selections, such as “The Bell Chorus” from “Pagliacci,” “Choral Dances” from “Gloriana,” and “Stomp Your Foot” from “Tenderland.” You won’t want to miss out on these well-loved, gripping performances.

Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham, 360.734.6080,

McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon, 360.416.7727,

PETER AND THE WOLF January 28, 2 p.m. Skagit Symphony’s new Assistant Conductor, Sebastian Serrano-Ayala, will lead this symphonic storytime for the whole family! “Peter and the Wolf” is a beloved children’s composition written by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936. Serrano-Ayala will introduce each instrument in the orchestra to the audience, and then the story of Peter and the Wolf will be told through narration and music that represents the characters. McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon, 360.416.7727,

Photo by Sean MacAskill

CONCERTS DIRTWIRE January 14, 8:30 p.m.


MARTIN SEXTON January 27, 7:30 p.m.

If you love experimental music, Dirtwire’s show is a can’t miss. They combine genres, instruments, and techniques from across space and time to create “back-porch space cowboy blues, swamptronica, and electrotwang” music that promises a wild ride. They always aim for their shows to be deeply engaging group experiences, so buckle up for an adventure through sound! Wild Buffalo

Bluegrass and string band music has always enjoyed popularity in Bellingham, but Yonder Mountain String Band can be credited for helping bring the genre into mainstream venues over their 25-year career! Their latest album, 2022’s “Get Yourself Outside,” has earned them a Grammy nomination. Experience their high-energy acoustic jamgrass at the Wild Buffalo this month! Wild

Martin Sexton is an independent artist with a voice that “comes from a deep soulful place that knows no bounds.” From headlining The Fillmore to Carnegie Hall, Sexton’s blend of folk, blues, rock, and americana will bring music to your ears. The North American tour highlights his newest EP, “2020 Vision,” several of his classics, and critically acclaimed solo pieces. Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N.

Buffalo House of Music, 208 W. Holly St., Bellingham, 360.746.8733,

Commercial St., Bellingham, 360.734.6080,

House of Music, 208 W. Holly St., Bellingham, 360.746.8733,

January 2024 91

Honoring the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855 Through Film Treaty Day Film Festival WRITTEN BY ANNE GODENHAM | PHOTOS COURTESY OF PICKFORD FILM CENTER


F YOU’RE LOOKING for something to do that will

connect you with the community this month, why not combine entertainment with education at Children of the Setting Sun’s Treaty Day Film Festival? This will be the sixth installment of the annual event commemorating the 1855 signing of the Point Elliot Treaty in Mukilteo. The Point Elliot Treaty is an agreement between the sovereign nations of the Lummi Nation and the United States, outlining how the two nations’ people would share the land of this region and its resources. While agreeing to share the wealth of their homeland, the Lummi people also ensured their water rights, their hunting and fishing rights,

and their right to their way of life through the treaty. Every year on Jan. 22— the day of the signing— members of both nations acknowledge the binding agreement and renew their commitment to its terms. Previous films run during the Treaty Day Film Festival have included "Spam Is Life," "Temosen," and “Edge of the Knife”— the first feature film to be made completely in Haida language. The festival usually showcases two feature-length films and a handful of shorts, and often includes a panel with filmmakers. For more information about this year’s films, check out the Pickford’s website. Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay St., Bellingham, 360.738.0735, t

POTTED POTTER January 24, 7 p.m. This playful parody condenses all seven Harry Potter books into a 70-minute comedy show. Guaranteed to “tickle the funny bone of every age group,” the parody has raving reviews from numerous sources, including The London and New York Times. Created by two-time Olivier Award-nominated actors Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, Potted Potter will have the whole family roaring with uncontrollable laughter. Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham, 360.734.6080,

TWILIGHT BOWL January 26-28, multiple showtimes

THEATER THE MET LIVE IN HD: X: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MALCOLM X January 6, 2024, 1 p.m. This live Metropolitan Opera performance streamed straight from New York is a staging of the influential 1986 opera, “X: The Life & Times of Malcolm X” by Anthony Davis. With rising young stars and a newly-revised, jazzy score, this show reimagines the life of civil rights leader Malcom X as a story untied from a specific time and place. It’s a powerful reflection on issues that affect us all. San Juan Community Theatre, 100 Second St., Friday Harbor, 360.378.3210, 92

The Bellingham Theatre Guild presents Rebecca Gilman’s “Twilight Bowl,” a play which covers a young group of rural American women, who are struggling to “make something” of themselves. This comical and mature twist on coming of age and facing adulthood questions the concept of living a “successful” life, and embraces the unknown journey of growing older. Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St., Bellingham, 360.733.1811,

HEALTH AND WELLNESS DEEP RELAXATION AND INTRO INTO YI REN QIGONG January 2, 6-7:30 p.m. Join L.M.H.C. Miriam Drake in releasing stress and worry and refreshing your creative spirit. Yi Ren Qigong encourages increasing awareness of energy flow, and interactions within the physical body and our living environment. Drake asks people to follow her voice and rest deeply in the first half, and in the second follow her moves to rebalance and harmonize the inner energy system. Bellingham Naturopathic Clinic, 1313 E. Maple St., Bellingham, 360.738.3230,

STARTING YOUR YEAR WITH MINDFULNESS January 3, 6 p.m. Tim Burnett founded Mindfulness Northwest in 2011 in order to spread mindfulness practices throughout the Pacific Northwest. Come learn some techniques to promote in-the-moment awareness and well-being. The event will be a total introduction, from the history of mindfulness to stress physiology and simple yet effective practices to help you start your year off right! Village Books and Paper Dreams, 1200 11th St., Bellingham, 360.671.2626,

YOGA + BEER AT BASTION BREWING January 7, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Krysti of Anacortes’s Ink + Wool hosts this hour of Vinyasa yoga, complete with a beer, cider, or non-alcoholic drink of your choice. Bastion Brewing Company’s dark and cozy brewery is the perfect place to get out for some soothing, body-toning exercise and low-impact socializing on a chilly Sunday— and the best part is, your drink is included in your ticket price. Bastion Brewing Company, 12529

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Agenda Events



DRINK & DRAW January 8 & 22, 7-9 p.m. Kulshan Brewing Co. encourages you to sip on one of their delicious brews and unleash your artistic talent. Bring your own pens and paper to drink and draw over at Kulshan’s Roosevelt Taproom for this laid-back art sesh! After getting something down on paper, show your beertender the masterpiece for $1 off your beer. Kulshan Brewing Co. Roosevelt

SEATTLE CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: CORTEO January 17-20, 1, 5, and 7:30 p.m. Cirque du Soleil has brought back its elaborate carnivalesque show, Corteo. The show features stunning acrobatics, aerial arts, contortionism and addition to a wide array of jaw-dropping performances. This stunning tribute to the class “circus clown” captures the intimate, silly, tragic and complex beauty of perfection and imperfection in life. Climate

Taproom, 1538 Kentucky St., Bellingham, 360.389.5348,

WILDHAVEN WRITERS: WOMEN’S BODIES, WOMEN’S WORDS January 21, 2-3 p.m. If you missed their book launch in October 2023, the Wildhaven Writers are back with another in-person event about their collection of personal essays and poetry. Local writers Nancy Canyon, Leslie Wharton, and Suzanne Harris will be at Village Books in Lynden to speak on their writings regarding women’s rights, autonomy, and health. Village Books and Paper Dreams, 430 Front St., Lynden, 360.526.2133,

STAND-UP COMEDY: SAM MILLER January 26, 7:30 p.m. Unwind with a night of laughs at Lincoln Theatre! Sam Miller is your headlining comedian, a local from Olympia “who can joke about what it’s like to be a sober parent and what jail is like in Yakima.” This rising star is joined by host and comedian Travis Sherer and featured comedian Vanessa Dawn, who each bring their unique voices to the stage and round out the evening. Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. 1st St., Mount Vernon, 360.336.8955,

CHRIS MORGAN: A LIFE IN THE WILD, FROM PYTHONS TO POLAR BEARS January 26, 7:30 p.m. You’re in for a thrilling evening with naturalist, carnivore ecologist, and adventurer Chris Morgan! At his live event, he shares stories, insights, film, and photos from more than 30 years of global exploration. Morgan studies large carnivores and approaches conservation by finding the connections between all living things. Hear from this inspiring and award-winning personality in the flesh! Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham, 360.734.6080,


Pledge Arena, 334 1st Ave. N., Seattle, 206.752.7200, Photo by Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil

VISUAL ARTS THE FIRST WHATCOM MUSEUM FIRST FRIDAY January 5 Beginning in January 2024, the Whatcom Museum will offer free admission on the first Friday of each month. First Fridays will coincide with special programming, lengthened hours until 9 p.m., and will extend to both of the museum’s exhibition sites. The “Access for All” grant was awarded by the Art Bridges Foundation to make it easier for those in the Whatcom community to experience art. Lightcatcher Building, 250 Flora St., Bellingham, 360.778.8930, Photo by Tim Bies

FREMONT SOUPOCALYPSE January 25-28 The Fremont Soupocalypse invites you to celebrate your love of soup and support the local soup community! Participants get a soupassport, souper stickers, and can win super souper swag. Walk through Fremont trying new eateries, accompanied by a warm belly filled with soupy goodness. All you need is eight stamps to redeem your passport, just two soups a day over four days. Fremont Mischief Distillery, 132 N. Canal St., Seattle, 206.632.7286,

VANCOUVER, B.C. BOWIE BALL 2024 January 13, 7 p.m. A tribute to the life and legacy of David Bowie, the annual Bowie Ball raises money for the BC Cancer Foundation while also showcasing local artists. This year, the ball will feature 11 musical acts performing Bowie covers, as well as an art sale, silent auction, 50/50 draw, and a costume contest! Rickshaw Theatre, 254 E. Hastings St., Vancouver, 604.681.8915,

NEW YEAR’S WINTERFEST 2024 January 18-20 Vancouver’s annual metal and extreme music festival welcomes you to come and experience the “frostiest fest in the west” with them. Held over a three day period and showcasing over a dozen bands from both Canada and the States, this is a heavy metal experience like no other, so come ready to rock! The Wise Hall & Lounge, 1882 Adanac St., Vancouver, 604.970.9664,

The Scene Agenda Photo by Brandee Simons

Photo by Brandee Simons Photo by Brandee Simons

Photo Courtesy of Lisa Karlberg

Photo by Brandee Simons

Photo Courtesy of Lisa Karlberg

Photo by Brandee Simons

Dancing the Night Away at the 2023 Best of the Northwest Party More than 400 people brought the party on October 20 to celebrate the 381 winners of Bellingham Alive Magazine’s 14th annual Best of the Northwest readers’ choice awards. The Holiday Inn and Suites Airport provided an hors d’oeuvres table and passed appetizers, and minglers sipped cocktail specials made with Bellwood Farms vodka and gin, wine provided by GLM, and beer from Aslan and Boundary Bay— Hotel Bellwether also served a congratulatory champagne toast as winners entered. Belle Flora festooned the space with flowers and Oh Snap set up a photo booth for attendees to make memories of the night! ANNE GODENHAM

January 2024 95

Notes Final Word

Surviving Manopause Loretta Returns to Separate the Wheat from the Chaff WRITTEN BY LORETTA W. KLEESE, A.K.A. KEN KARLBERG


O BE HONEST, I’d never heard

of andropause (commonly referred to as “male menopause” or, as I now affectionately say, “manopause”) before this issue’s health feature. I figured, perhaps, that it was a manly term to describe the time lag between beers. So color me skeptical. Is andropause real or just male disinformation? My search for the truth started by employing a process of elimination unique to many, if not most, females who lovingly endure men’s idiosyncrasies. My therapist encourages me to “tip my emotional bucket” from time to time. Oops, bucket tipped. Humor alert! My initial reaction to the description of the medical condition was: “Whoa, time out— sounds like a false-flag operation orchestrated by men to explain their marital transition from bull to steer.” No, that’s a different marital phenomenon altogether, fellas. Check the return policy in the fine print of your marital partnership contract. Read it and weep. “They” are redundant after marriage like belly buttons, which had a practical use at one time. There’s no cash refunds. At best, you get store credit to be used toward your next marriage. My second reaction was only slightly less draconian— andropause may be men’s desperate cry for sympathy, a kind of strategic false equivalency to counter the living hell of women’s menopause. Sorry, gentlemen, you can keep waiting for a tear to form in my eye if that’s your play. Don’t go there. The shutdown of women’s reproductive


systems is not to be compared to man things. No trifling allowed— take your blue pills and be happy with your store credit. Menopause is a third rail. When in doubt, refer to the prior paragraph. Then, of course, there’s the credibility gap. Decades of false bravado by cisgender males make me suspicious. Age-related decline in testosterone levels from andropause may lead to loss of energy, loss of libido, reduced muscle mass, and loss of hair (unrelated to manscaping) after the age of 55. But what explains the same symptoms between age 30 and age 55? I guarantee that my ex-husband’s butt prints on the sofa cushions did not result from manopause. And please stop with the glorified stories of how far you could pee in 6th grade. Women are not impressed. Nor was I there to verify this gravity-defying manly feat. That was then, this is now. By age 45, you all stand directly over the toilet— waiting and pleading. Face it. If you need to answer nature’s call mid-hole while playing golf, just let the group behind you play through. Everyone knows what you are doing— or trying to do— in the woods. Buy yourself some time. So, what’s the difference between andropause and my playful humor at men’s expense? The answer: a serious, but seldom-discussed topic about men’s mental health as the circle of life begins to close. The physical challenges of aging are inevitable, e.g., loss of muscle mass, hair, stamina, virility, and mental acuity. No male is immune from some or all the physical impacts of andropause. Perhaps the

most difficult challenge, however, may be psychological. Mental health is such a delicate balancing act, regardless. But the andropause transition phase of life for men brings a new level of self-doubt and vulnerability that causes many men to struggle emotionally. So much of the male identity is connected to the bravado of their professions, muscularity, sexuality, or other perceived standards of manhood. The transition can bring fear— fear of mortality, fear of loss of intimacy, and perhaps worst of all, fear that you no longer matter in the world. Depression is often the result. Tongue-in-cheek humor aside, there’s a much-needed lesson to be learned from this issue’s health feature. The emotional parallels between andropause and menopause are inescapable. Each potentially puts the health of our relationships with each other, as partners, family members, or friends, at risk. It is unrealistic and unfair to hold ourselves and each other to the same standard of expectations of our younger days. As we age and our bodies change, the psychological treatment plan should be a healthy prescription of emotional support, constant reinforcement of selfworth, and open-armed acceptance. I urge all our readers to go to your loved ones, male or female, and give them the affirmation, dignity, and grace they deserve as they age. “Final Word” is an essay series written by Ken Karlberg, one half of our magazine’s founding team and husband to Publisher Lisa Karlberg. t


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