November 2020 253 Lifestyle

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ISSUE NO. 23

NOVEMBER 2020

LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

Beautiful Tacoma PLACES THAT WHISPER PROMISE

Q&A WITH XOLA AKA KID SENSATION | HIP HOP RECORDING ARTIST, AUTHOR, ACTOR, ACTIVIST, ADVOCATE 253 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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This information is not intended to be an indication of loan qualification, loan approval or a commitment to lend. Other limitations may apply. ©2014 Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation FIMC NMLS ID#2289 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) EQUAL HOUSING LENDER WA. License Number MLO-248580. 253 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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C assie R iendeau WASHINGTON DIRECTOR

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MARKETING WASHINGTON DIRECTOR Cassie Riendeau | 360.798.3061 cassie@like-media.com WASHINGTON EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Julie Reed | 253.273.8524 julie@like-media.com

EDITORIAL EDITOR IN CHIEF Jillian Chandler | jillian@like-media.com STAFF WRITERS Colin Anderson | colin@like-media.com Abigail Thorpe | abigail@like-media.com

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253 Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly and distributed freely throughout the Pacific Northwest. Opinions expressed in articles or advertisements do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. 253 Lifestyle Magazine is not responsible for omissions or information that has been misrepresented to the magazine. 253 Lifestyle Magazine is produced and published by Like Media, and no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without the permission of the publisher.


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PUBLIS HER’S

Picks

Steve Russo Executive Director

To Give Thanks and To Give THE SEASON OF THANKS IS UPON US. Though many of us have suffered with confusion and frustration, and sometimes anger, over what’s currently happening in our nation and in our own communities—the political discord, the health crisis, job insecurity and more—now is that time to reflect inward and focus on all that we do have to be thankful for. And with all that we have been blessed with, know that others have not been so fortunate. While we give thanks for all we have, it is also important to give to others in their time of need. With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, we begin to compile our guest lists and plan our menu. While at the store picking up your ingredients, why not pick up a few additional items that you can then donate back to a local food bank, church or other organization that is accepting food donations. Some grocery stores even give you the option to purchase a Thanksgiving meal at checkout to be given to a

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BEAUTIFUL TACOMA: PLACES THAT WHISPER PROMISE

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Q&A WITH XOLA: MUSIC ARTIST INSPIRING CHANGE

family in need. Food fills the soul—why not do that for someone in your community? Here at Like Media, we are truly thankful to our dedicated and loyal staff, our advertisers and our readers. We could not bring you 253 Lifestyle Magazine each month if it were not for all of you. The generosity and support that abounds within our small community pours over and truly fills our hearts. In this issue of 253 Lifestyle Magazine, you will once again find content that is engaging and uplifting, highlighting topics and people that help make this community truly shine. We hope these stories inspire you and bring hope, helping you to see the good that is all around us. Be thankful, be giving, be kind. Happy Thanksgiving!

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SIMPLIFY THANKSGIVING: FILL THE HOLIDAY WITH LESS STRESS AND MORE JOY

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A FAMILY TRIP: HAVE A COVID-19 SAFE THANKSGIVING DINNER


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CONTENTS 16

32

12

H OME A Home for the Holidays: A reflection of the season

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16

28 Q& A

HE ALT H & LIF E S TY L E

Simplify Thanksgiving: Tips to fill the holiday with less stress and more joy

Q&A with Xola AKA Kid Sensation: Hip hop recording artist, author, actor, activist, advocate

The latest tips and trends about living a healthy, active lifestyle

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TR E NDING

TACOMA FO CUS Beautiful Tacoma: Places that whisper promise

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TH E ART S

BU S IN E S S P IN P O I N T

The Beating Pulse: A live event ecosystem

Edward Byler Violins: Combining a love of wood and music


sneak peek into November ... 60

40

58 44

58

F E ATUR E

FAL L R ECIP E

Fight Like a Girl: Female wrestling has broken barriers, in the Northwest and beyond

Fall Favorite: Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Pork Belly

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60

ENTE RTA I NMENT

TRAV E L & LE IS U R E

The events and autumn fun that you don’t want to miss out on!

A Family Trip: The best way to have a COVID-19 safe Thanksgiving dinner

About The Cover FEATURED ON THIS MONTH’S COVER IS XOLA MALIK, a hip hop recording artist, author, actor, activist, advocate, husband, and father of four. With a mission to educate and help guide young men in the right direction, as well as embrace and empower women, Xola is changing the world through his music. Be ready to be inspired with our Q&A with Xola on page 28. Cover Photo by Samantha Elise Tillman

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Home

a home for the holidays A REFLECTION OF THE SEASON BY NIKKI LUTTMANN, INTERIOR DESIGNER

I

n these strange times, it may seem difficult to find things that we are thankful for, but one thing I am always very grateful for is the roof over our heads. Our house may not be picture-perfect, but it is ours, a safe haven for our family.

We have moved seven times in the course of our 16-year marriage, which now that I think about it, seems a bit extreme! Each home has had its set of challenges, even the new home that we designed and built ourselves. Each home requires a settling in period, a different set of furniture (we’ve had eight different dining tables, my husband likes to remind me) and general sprucing up. I guess you could call us serial remodelers. We’ve painted and refinished trim work, installed flooring and tile and new plumbing and light fixtures. We’ve revamped old heating systems and added new ones. I’ve rearranged furniture more times than I can count, and my husband has borne most of it with a smile—mainly because he knows how important our home is to me. Beyond being just my livelihood, interior design is a deepseated passion that I know many of you share. Our home is a constantly evolving canvas, and quite literally, my life’s work. A home should not be stagnant; it should change and evolve as those who live within it change and evolve. I love the idea of decorating for the seasons, particularly in fall and winter, when we spend so much more time indoors. By bringing in seasonal decor, we are honoring the passage of time and the particular quality of each time of year. For Thanksgiving, I love to bring in natural elements—fall leaves and branches, pumpkins and gourds. I also enjoy swapping out pillows and throws for more autumnal hues like gold and rust. The jewel tones of autumn are my favorites and really complement a neutral palette. Come December, we all enjoy the traditions associated with that time of year, from hunting for the perfect Christmas tree in the woods to bringing out our collected holiday decorations. It is a special time when we can remember loved ones and also look forward to the festivities to come. Baking cookies, enjoying games with friends and family, preparing special meals. What all of these activities have in common is the concept and consistency of home.

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So, treat your home with the care it deserves this time of year. Dress it up for the holidays, keep it clean for company, and set fresh flowers or greenery around to scent the air. Invest in a new dining table for family gatherings. Or add a new area rug to replace the old. Replace your damaged flooring or spruce up your windows with new blinds. After all, our homes are the backdrops for our lives. Investing in your home is truly like investing in yourself. Small Touches to Bring the Holidays to Life in Your Home This time of year can be both exciting and stressful, but there is nothing quite like decorating for the holidays and transforming your home into a festive oasis. Bringing the outdoors indoors is always a simple, yet beautiful way, to enhance your home for the holidays. From branches and pinecones to leaves, enhance your mantle, entry table or dining room table with these natural staples; many of which you may find in your own backyard! Flowers, seasonal plants, fruits and berries make the perfect centerpiece any time of year. Whether you opt for deep reds, oranges and yellows or keep it simple with whites and greens, adding fresh foliage to your home is always a sure way to add a bright touch and warmth to your home for the holidays. You can pair pumpkins and candlesticks for a whimsical feel. Baby white pumpkins with neutral-colored candles and candlesticks of varying heights make for a beautiful, and classy, combination sure to impress your guests. Opt for a beautiful door wreath that welcomes your guests. Wreaths are also acceptable throughout the home: above the mantle, at the top of the staircase, on the inside of the front door. There is no need to overwhelm yourself. Keep the decorations simple, and if possible, ones that carry over from Thanksgiving to Christmas and through the new year! 14 253 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE


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Trending SIMPLIFY THANKSGIVING Tips to fill the holiday with less stress and more joy By Taylor Shillam

H

ow thankful would you be for a less stressful holiday hosting experience?

As much joy as the holiday season brings, for those who take on the role of host (especially at the highly coveted Thanksgiving dinner), it’s not uncommon for major preparation-related stress to distract from what the holiday is truly about. This year, it’s time to change the game—take steps to simplify the process so you can focus on loved ones and gratitude. Consider implementing these stressreducing preparation tips to add saved sanity to the list of what you’re thankful for this year. Plan your menu early. It sounds simple enough, until the week of Thanksgiving arrives and you’re rushing to the grocery store alongside everyone else scrambling to gather essentials at the last minute. Aim to plan your menu and grocery list the first week of November. Separate your grocery list into perishables and non-perishables, so you can prepare to stock up on a few items right away, such as canned items and seasonings. You’ll breathe easier watching your grocery list shrink as the holiday comes closer. Ask for dietary restrictions ahead of time. While it’s

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This year, focus on what you love about hosting Thanksgiving: the classic recipes you cherish and the experience of gathering loved ones around your table to share in gratitude. impossible to please every guest at a holiday function, guests with dietary restrictions and allergies will be more at ease knowing the occasion is guaranteed to offer something for them. Get guests’ dietary details well ahead of time so you can make the necessary tweaks and accommodations, or at least communicate about what a guest can contribute as a diet-friendly dessert or side dish. Include this step in your menu planning and early shopping trips, so you can make a note to look for any diet-friendly ingredients or substitutions you need. Avoid overdoing new recipes. While you’re planning your menu for the big day, avoid the tempting notion that newer, trendier, fancier dishes are needed for a successful holiday. As intriguing as it can be to try all your newest Pinterest recipes at once, consider how overwhelming it could get when prep time comes and most of your menu is unfamiliar territory. Keep some classic, simpler dishes on the menu and allow yourself a bit of creativity with one or two new recipes. It also wouldn’t hurt to plan a test run of those new recipes a week or two before the big day to work out any kinks and ensure they’re worth a place at your holiday table. Take advantage of store-bought swaps. There are certainly instances when it makes sense to allow someone else to do your

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prep work for you, especially when it comes to appetizers and finger foods. Take advantage of time-saving grocery store options like chopped veggies, ready-made platters, dips and charcuterie boards. Save time in appetizer prep so you can focus your attention on bigger items; the less you have on your plate when the actual holiday comes around, the better you’ll feel and the more time you’ll have to spend with guests. Keep your decor simple and hands-free. Skip the centerpieces that need constant attention and instead opt for displays you can set up early and promptly leave alone. Instead of floral arrangements, opt for festive and functional, like mini pumpkins, candles, dry greenery and succulents. Be strategic about table settings. Get intentional about where you place your guests—is there enough room for everyone to move about the table to make their way back to the kitchen, exit or bathroom? Do the seat assignments place guests in a way that will allow the best flow of conversation and social dynamics throughout the day? Take a few moments as you set your table to refine this experience-making piece of the process. When dinner time comes, the comfort and flow of conversation will continue to ease stress levels.


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Delegate. Use the helpers available to you, whether it’s children staying at home or the guests who arrive early, to take a few small tasks from your plate. Simple tasks like finishing touches on place settings, filling drinks, hanging coats and assembling appetizers can save you major mental energy when it gets down to crunch time. The same can be done with post-meal duties; don’t feel bad about taking guests up on their offers to help with cleanup. Preserve refrigerator real estate. Refrigerator space is sacred on this holiday, so make sure you aren’t letting an inch go to waste. Fill a cooler with ice packs and use it to hold your everyday refrigerator shelf-fillers: dressings, sauces, lemon juice, pickles and so on; having those smaller items out of the way for at least a day or two will ensure efficient use of storage space. Get creative with the tools and ingredients you have on hand. Your

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slow cooker can keep potato dishes warm and moist. Thermoses can be used to warm gravy and sauces. Common kitchen ingredients you already have, like dried herbs and chicken broth, can be used to revive dishes that need flavor and moisture in a pinch (including a dry bird)! Be ready for leftovers. Leftovers are an essential component of Turkey Day, so gather ample to-go containers to simplify the process of dishing them up for guests. Guests will leave happy, and you’ll be left with more refrigerator space, for a win on both sides. This year, focus on what you love about hosting Thanksgiving: the classic recipes you cherish and the experience of gathering loved ones around your table to share in gratitude. Let in the joy and let go of unneeded stress with these few simple shortcuts—a bit of extra planning and preparation can go a long way in keeping you thankful for a chance to enjoy more of the holiday.


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Tacoma BEAUTIFUL TACOMA

PLACES THAT WHISPER PROMISE BY RACHEL KELLY

T

hirty years ago, Tacoma was a different kind of place. The kind of place that made a reputation, but not in a good way. Outsiders looked at Tacoma then and saw nothing but decay, but the insiders knew better. We know better. Tacoma is a lot of things: It’s grit, it’s adventure, it’s hard work and it’s free abandon. But more than that: Tacoma is a place of promise. As we nestle into this year’s rainy season, here are 10 beautiful Tacoma places sure to lift you out of the 2020 gloom and doom. Maybe, if you listen closely, you just might hear the whisper of promises yet to come. First up! Opera Alley. Originally devoid of sidewalks, with plenty of corners for litter, this hidden alley was built before there were automobiles, which means that its nooks (and boots) are made for walkin’! It is also the site of the first Tacoma post office. Developed in the late ‘90s by George Chambers, it now houses a salon, yoga studio, a late-night tiki bar and the iconic Over the Moon Café. This is the kind of place that lends itself to cozy conversation and the kind of intimate comfort that we just don’t see anymore. Next we have the Umbrella Wall, circa 2012. Part of the Tacoma Murals Project to reduce graffiti, this mural was designed to capture the movement and diversity of the Dome District. Unfortunately, it was vandalized in 2015. Thankfully, it lives on today fully restored due to the investment of the city and the love of its community advocates. This little spot is right in on the action. It’s perfect for a quick photo-op between activities.

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Third is the Les Davis Pier. Once a reminder of pollution, this water local has been clean for over 10 years thanks to Stormwater Pollution Prevention. It is an extremely popular site for scuba diving. Scraps of the collapsed Narrows Bridge were dropped in the water to make an artificial reef, making a site for adventure and exploration out of destruction. On a clear day, the pier is an excellent place for photography both under and over the water. It’s also a great place for some innercity fishing. Fourth, we have Sanford and Sons in Antique Row. This particular building has a full history, having been both a rail yard until it transitioned into an auto repair shop. Today it houses three stories of antiques from around the world. The top floor houses some pretty unique objects (I won’t spoil the fun by telling you), and the bottom floor houses a twotier library of vintage books. This mishmash of opulence and history is completed by the addition of a marble staircase. When exploring here, prepare to spend most of the day. Number five is the Glass Museum, which can be seen rising above Foss Waterway in pure conic beauty. Since its opening in 2002, the medium of glass has been celebrated in its hallowed walls through the education and nurturement of its artists (both young and old). Through partnerships with artists and nonprofits, the Glass Museum contributes to its community not only through beauty but by ensuring access. Free tickets for four can be rented through any Tacoma branch, so that no one is left in a lurch.

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Number six on our list of Tacoma beauties: the 10th and Commerce footbridge. Just a bridge over a bus stop, you say? Not important? Nonsense. It is easy to miss. However, it’s listed here so that you don’t. Its brightly painted walls and domed glass cover make it a perfect place for watching rainy day drops. Address: 923 Commerce Street, Tacoma, WA 98402.

BEAUTY.

Number seven is none other than the Murray Morgan Bridge, which was named after the long-time Tacoma resident Murray Morgan (go figure!). Mr. Morgan was key to the bridge’s smooth upkeep, which in turn became a symbol in the story of Tacoma’s growth. In later years, the bridge was scheduled for demolition; it was closed to traffic in 2007 due to its derelict state. Thankfully, it was fully renovated in 2013, and today it’s hard to imagine Foss Waterway without it. Long live Murray Morgan Bridge! Between 9th and 11th on Market Street can be found number eight: the Market Street Murals. This ever-changing landscape

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of public voice is sure to challenge your point of view, adding more than a little color to your stroll. Bring your camera, because the murals are often replaced with new ones. If something really moves you, a picture may be the only way that you can keep it. The ninth spot sure to entertain you on a dreary day is the Chambers Bay Golf Course. The land on which the course was built has a history of use spanning more than 200 years. The history of the area and its various usages date back to 1832. It was a rock quarry. Since then, it has been used as a paper mill, lumber mill, a mine, a bus barn ... the list goes on. Today, however, it is home to a world-class golf course. In 2011 it was expanded to include over 930 acres of public recreation. Renovations and additions continue to be revealed in this gorgeous landscape, with views all along the trails. For our 10th and last location, we have the East 34th Street bridge. This bridge was built in 1937 to replace an old wooden one that previously spanned the gap. It makes this list not just because it’s a treat to drive under, but because it provides a lovely view. It’s the perfect place to take a minute. It’s also great for mapping out where you feel like exploring next. If there’s anything we learn by taking a hike through our favorite Tacoma places, it’s that there’s beauty everywhere. Over a bus stop, between highways, in alley ways, covering the walls, by docks; Tacoma surprises us with beauty. And with that, it carries us forward with the promise that nothing stays the same forever. We have only to come together, to hope, and life is made new.

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Q&A

XOLA - AKA

KID SENSATION

HIP HOP RECORDING ARTIST, AUTHOR, ACTOR, ACTIVIST, ADVOCATE BY MARGUERITE CLEVELAND

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“HAVING THE BEST INTERESTS OF OTHERS AT HEART MEANT BEING DISCIPLINED ENOUGH TO DO THE RIGHT THING. THE RIGHT THING ISN’T ALWAYS EASY, FUN OR CONVENIENT. THE INCREDIBLE FEELING OF STANDING ON INTEGRITY AND A LIFE BUILT ON THE FRUIT OF GREAT DECISIONS IS THE PAYOFF.”

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X

ola (Ko-la), or Kid Sensation as he was known back in the day, has been a busy man. His latest Kid Sensation single “Feelin’ Myself ” is a bouncy track perfect for beating the COVID-19 blues. In these times of racial tensions, the video for the single is filled with a diverse cast of characters including families and children—not something you would expect in a hip hop video. You can check out his music at XolaMusic.com. He was born and raised in Seattle and currently lives in Tacoma with his wife Liberte and their four children. His youngest, Mattias, is a budding rapper who goes by “Kendi Fresh.” Encouraging young men inspired his latest project. Xola recently completed a new book “Kings – Young Men Discovering Purpose and Shaping Their Destiny” and its accompanying soundtrack. It is full of lessons from his life and wisdom for young men.

Q. Your song, “New Man,” talks about changing from a young man who made mistakes to a new man who is selfless instead of selfish. What inspired you to become a “New Man”? A. Honestly, it’s a reflection of emotional and spiritual growth. As babies we all start out selfish; life is all about “me.” As we grow, we learn to share, give and get joy from seeing others be fulfilled. Growing up without a father caused my growth to be stunted, but becoming a father taught me true selflessness. Having the best interests of others at heart meant being disciplined enough to do the right thing. The right thing isn’t always easy, fun or convenient. The incredible feeling of standing on integrity and a life built on the fruit of great decisions is the payoff. My face may look similar, but my heart reflects the man I’m becoming. Q. Some rap music has a reputation for being misogynistic, but your music as Xola celebrates

women. The line in your song “Incredible” states, “They wanna see you in a strip club on a pole, I’d rather see you in a boardroom in control.” It is an immensely powerful message. Can you share with our readers a little bit about the single mom who raised you and what caused you to recognize the hardships that women go through? A. My mom was like a superhero to me. She often worked two jobs so we wouldn’t have to be on Welfare (although at times we were). My dad returned from war changed, and he divorced my mom, no longer wanting to be a dad or husband. I was 2 and my brother 3. As I began to grow in understanding, I saw women in a completely different light. We as men are meant to complement their strength and beauty as we bring out the best in one another. Too often us young men learn from a sexually charged society where commitment and discipline aren’t popular. We hop around, use women, show them that their value is measured by exterior features. We teach them to cash in that value by serving the fantasies and fetishes we come up with. Then at some point with all the garbage we put women through, they are supposed to “settle down” and become virtuous, wise wives, mothers, aunts, grandmothers. Many incredible women do just that, but some struggle. The bottom line: We owe our women better. Q. Growing up without a father, you were blessed to have a strong male role model in Anthony Lorenzo “Sir Mix-a-Lot” Ray. What role did he play in helping to lift you out of poverty and stay away from gangs and drugs? A. There were some things Mix simply got right, straight up. He had a relationship with his father which likely impacted him as a man. He elected to not drink or do drugs. Period. I looked up to him as a music and personal mentor. I tried weed and drinking a couple times to be “down” with

my friends, but I didn’t want to disappoint Mix, so I ditched it faster than I picked it up. So many of the guys I grew up with turned to gangs and selling drugs. Once I was on TV, radio and music charts, most of them (especially the ones a couple years older than me) not only wouldn’t let me be around any of their activity, but I was threatened often that if they heard of me getting involved or affiliated that swift consequences would follow. In their minds, I was too valuable to the hope of the neighborhood kids to do anything stupid. They meant business, and I listened. Q. Your music is sold as two artists, Xola, and from your younger days Kid Sensation. You recently recorded your old Kid Sensation albums without any profanity. What prompted the change? A. Xola (Malik) is now my legal name. I changed it from Stephen Spence when I was in my 20s. I didn’t feel comfortable carrying my father’s last name when he wasn’t part of my life. I was still resentful and wanted to distance myself from his identity, which was impossible with him being half of me. I got the name Xola from an African name book, it means “stay in peace.” I gave my life to Jesus, and it changed everything about my flow as a man and artist. I even reconnected with my father. I started recording under my own name, but I also wanted to acknowledge the role the Kid Sensation brand played in my life and career. I considered deeply the impact of my language and material, that my albums would be around long after I’m gone and what I wanted that legacy to look like. I want kids to recite every lyric, what does that look like? It had to change. Without destroying the authenticity of my journey, removing the profanity for me was a suitable compromise.

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Arts

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hether it’s your first concert ever or the fifth time you’ve seen your favorite musical, the energy that comes from a live event is undeniable. It’s as if there is a unified pulse circulating the venue as you watch a live stage performance surrounded by the community. Theater, festivals, dances, concerts, comedic acts, musicals, art studios and more give us flashes of brilliance that pierce our memories. These arts and culture events are the beating pulse of a city or region’s heart. Within that heart’s core is an entire ecosystem of the arts and events industry, which are interconnected communities that play a significant role on the local and global economy. Within this economy, which has been severely impacted by the global pandemic, we may never see the collective experiences the same again. According to We Make Events, a coalition of trade bodies, businesses, unions and live events workers, the live events industry employs more than 12 million people and contributes to over $1 trillion annually to the United States economy. This industry is comprised of independent venue owners, promoters, artists, musicians, agents, box offices, volunteers, designers, production teams, stage crew and administrators. When COVID-19 arrived in Washington state in March 2020 and the Stay Home Act was mandated, an entire season of events was decimated in a matter of days—the equivalent of more than a half a million dollars in impact. Since then, the South Sound’s live events scene has experienced hundreds of rescheduled, postponed or canceled events, and there is uncertainty as to when they can safely

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resume. Places of public gathering were among the first businesses to be forced into closing operations and will likely be the last to reopen. In a 2016 study by Americans for the Arts called “Arts and Economic Prosperity 5,” it was noted that the City of Tacoma’s nonprofit arts and culture sector supports nearly 3,700 full-time jobs, generating $86 million in household income to local residents, and delivers $14 million in local and state government revenue. Our City of Destiny is home to many venues with distinct characteristics and history. From the Tacoma Dome, the world’s largest wooden dome structure; to the historic theater district, home to the Pantages Theater, Rialto Theater and Theater on the Square; to the hundreds of smaller venues like Jazzbones, RealArt Tacoma, Keys on Main, Tacoma Little Theater and many others. These locations are brought to life by an entire network of teams, community members and businesses that are reliant on continued operation. Some organizations are adapting their programs to stay afloat. There is an influx of creative solutions including live streaming events, digital education content and adjusted seating plans to accommodate physical distancing. However, not all arts organizations can sustainably support these required accommodations, thus prolonging any reopening. With the great pause of the arts and entertainment sector caused by this pandemic, a wave of local and national relief advocacy efforts has been on the rise. On the home front, the Washington State Arts Commission works with National Endowment for the Arts, Kennedy Center and other national agencies to advocate for arts and creative workers while supporting the profound losses to local organizations. On the national and global level, people have banned together to raise awareness and advocate for the live events sector during COVID-19. Creative campaigns like the #SaveOurStages and #WeMakeEvents have flooded social media news feeds. On September 1, 2020, independent venues and promoters across the globe showed their support by illuminating theaters, iconic structures, stages and residences in red in the #RedAlertRESTART. As passersby read the marquees on venues throughout the city displaying messages like, “We Love You Tacoma,” there is a passionate and united desire to rebuild what has been lost in the past six months, and counting. The world of arts and culture delivers joy and entertainment to our lives and gives us the opportunity to be a part of a shared community. These experiences can inspire, provoke, illuminate and reflect new ideas and emotions that allow and empower us all to see the world differently. When it is safe to reopen, the South Sound will be creatively and vibrantly revived with the return of its beating heart: arts and culture. 253 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE 35


Health RETINOIDS What is the difference, how to use them safely, and which one is right for my skin? BY KRISTIN CARLSON, MEDICAL ESTHETICIAN

T

his family of anti-aging, blemish-fighting, pigmentpunishing, cell-renewing golden girls are probably the most popular and widely known ingredients in any skincare regimen. If used correctly, retinoids can reduce, slow-down and improve our most problematic skin concerns. What are retinoids? The retinoids are a class of chemical compounds derived from vitamin A. They are an effective treatment option for skin conditions such as skin cancer, acne, psoriasis, photoaging and wrinkles. They also work as an antioxidant to combat free radicals, which contribute to signs of aging. How should you use them? For anti-aging purposes, my personal opinion is the sooner, the better with retinoids. As soon as signs of aging begin, or if your breakouts have become unmanageable, start incorporating one into your routine. Retinoid ingredients vary based on strength and molecule size. Regardless of which one you choose, the key is not to introduce too much product too quickly. Even lower concentration, over-the-counter retinoid products can be irritating if misused. Start slow with a pea-sized amount two to three times per week. Allow your skin a chance to get used to the ingredients and build from there. If you are using a prescription retinoid, follow the instructions given by your provider. What are the side effects? Sun exposure is a factor when using retinoids. I have read some conflicting theories on whether retinoids make you more susceptible to sunburn (in my experience, they do!); however, UV rays will break down the active ingredients in retinoids, making them less effective. Use them at night and always wear SPF to be cautious. In addition to increased sensitivity to sun exposure, other side effects include mild irritation, dryness, redness and a slight tingling sensation upon application (subsiding within a few seconds). As your skin builds a tolerance to the retinoids, these side effects will subside. However, intense, lingering burning, peeling or redness that does not subside are an indication to stop using the product. You may be too sensitive to the particular retinoid chosen, or it could be a sign of an allergic reaction. General conditions such as eczema and rosacea typically do not work well with retinoids.

What are my options? • Retinoic acid: Retinoic acid is considered the most potent of the retinoids. It is the active form of vitamin A. In this broken-down form, it can penetrate down into the layers of the skin for optimal repair. It promotes cell growth, stimulates collagen and elastin production, improves hyperpigmentation and discoloration, and treats psoriasis. • Retinol: The most commonly used molecule in the retinoid family, retinol is a less potent version of retinoic acid, typically found in over-thecounter products. It is best known for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles while preventing new ones from forming, brightening dull skin, evening pigmentation from sun damage and aging, and controlling breakouts. • Tretinoin (Retin-A): Tretinoin is a prescription topical retinoid. It is pure retinoic acid used mostly for anti-aging but also for the treatment of acne. Tretinoin is approximately 20 times more potent than retinol. • Tazarotene (Tazorac): Depending on the percentage prescribed, tazarotene treats acne and psoriasis. A bonus, it helps reduce wrinkles, shrink pores and lighten the pigment. • Isotretinoin (Accutane): This prescription oral vitamin A derivative is more potent than topical varieties because it is ingested. It is made up of pure retinoic acid and is used to treat severe cystic acne. • Adapalene: An over-the-counter, gel-based solution, adapalene is an excellent option for those with sensitive skin. It is less irritating than its sisters, has anti-inflammatory effects and low absorption rate, making it easier for more sensitive skin types to tolerate. It effectively treats acne and helps with wrinkles and sun damage. It may take some time to find the right combination of products and retinoids for your skin type. Be patient, and remember a healthy lifestyle, adequate sleep and hydration are just as important as choosing your skincare products and treatments. Please remember to always talk with your dermatologist, provider or skin-care professional before starting any new treatments.

If used correctly, retinoids can reduce, slow-down and improve our most problematic skin concerns. 36 253 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE


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Health ACID REFLUX Causes, symptoms, and effect on oral and physical health BY DRS. KARLA BLOOMQUIST AND CHIARINA IREGUI SOUNDBRIDGE DENTAL ARTS AND SLEEP THERAPY

T

he definition of acid reflux: A condition in which acidic gastric fluid flows backward into the esophagus, resulting in heartburn.

The cause of acid reflux is not related to one particular thing. Foods you eat, consuming large meals and/or eating late at night, certain beverages such as alcohol or coffee, the stress in your life, obesity, pregnancy, hiatal hernia, certain medications such as aspirin, and obstructive sleep apnea are a handful of contributing factors that can result in an attack of acid reflux or heartburn. It might make sense how the foods you eat or the medications you take can affect your chances of suffering from acid reflux, but the lack of an open airway while you sleep (obstructive sleep apnea) might not make as much sense. If you are a person who suffers from snoring, gasping for breath when sleeping, dreams of drowning or any of the numerous signs of obstructive sleep apnea, you are also more at risk of suffering from acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When the airway narrows or closes while you sleep, a negative pressure is produced in the breathing tube and acid from the stomach is “sucked� up into the esophagus, much like a vacuum picks up debris from a floor or carpet. This results in acid sitting in the esophagus, mouth and sinuses. Continued exposure to acid is not healthy for any of these tissues. Damage to the lower esophagus from stomach acid causes scar tissue. This in turn narrows the food pathway, which can lead to difficulty swallowing. Some scientists suggest that congestion in the

morning is due to acid aerosols that irritate the tissues of the nose and sinuses. This aerosol is caused by acid reflux. This type of morning congestion is often mistaken for allergies. If your teeth are exposed to acid continuously, the enamel will erode, leaving you with craterlike lesions on your teeth. Subsequently, your teeth become more susceptible to decay and are generally more sensitive. The perfect storm of tooth destruction occurs when acid reflux is caused by a narrowed airway when sleeping. When the negative pressures mentioned above suction the acid from the stomach into the esophagus and mouth, this acid sits on the teeth while you sleep. Because saliva is thicker at night and its production decreases, your teeth do not benefit from its neutralizing and washing effect, therefore, leaving the teeth bathing in acid. Now consider that a lot of people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea also grind their teeth while sleeping. Nocturnal grinding wears down teeth just by the mere action of the rubbing of teeth together. Combine this with the softening of the teeth due to stomach acid in the mouth from acid reflux, and you can see how your teeth can wear away before their time. It is crucial that if you suffer from acid reflux, you manage it appropriately. Find out and treat the cause! It very well could be obstructive sleep apnea. In addition, your teeth will suffer erosion, wear or pitted enamel as a consequence. Your body will thank you if you take care of it!

The cause of acid reflux is not related to one particular thing.

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COMBINING A LOVE OF WOOD AND MUSIC Inland Northwest musician creates beautifully crafted instruments BY JILLIAN CHANDLER

G

rowing up in the Missouri Ozarks, Edward Byler began woodworking with his father from a young age, and when it comes to his fine craftsmanship with wood today, he follows his heritage. “My father worked as a carpenter, and my grandfather built furniture,” Edward says.

The close-knit family also had a love for making music. Developing his skills in the carpentry business with his father and brothers, paired with the love of music fostered in him throughout his childhood, inspired Edward to unite those woodworking skills with his passion for music—and he began to build his own musical instruments. As a teenager, he crafted a banjo, followed by a hammered dulcimer and then a guitar. A true artist, Edward was also afforded the opportunity to take painting lessons during his youth, and he received training in art and sculpture by the late Dennis Anderson. It was 30 years ago that Edward, his parents and brothers moved to Bonners Ferry, Idaho. “We loved the west—and in particular North Idaho,” he smiles. Today, you will find Edward carefully crafting violins and violas as a luthier at Edward Byler Violins, which he introduced to the small North Idaho community—and musicians across the globe—in 2013. It is here where his senses of sight, sound and touch come to life through the elements of wood and string, uniting his love of music and wood craftsmanship to create beautiful violins with world-class tone. “My goal is not to build quantity as much as it is to build them with personality,” affirms Edward. He makes his own purfling and cuts the channel by hand, giving each instrument a more organic appeal. He cooks his own varnish and pigments in the attempt to have them look as much like the colors on the old Italian instruments as

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possible. “I build mostly del Gesu model violins and am impressed by the humanity that shows through the originals by the tool marks and wear they’ve gotten over the centuries.” More recently, in addition to the del Gesu model violins he is known for, Edward has focused on making Amatis; each handcrafted violin is built with undeniable love of his craft. “My wife and family have been huge supporters of my passion, and God has given me the ambition and the talent to rise above the challenges and stay focused,” says Edward. “I have also been very fortunate to have my friend, and world-class violin maker, Ryan Soltis, teach me everything from construction and varnish to tonal adjustments in the final setup of the violin.” Edward has attended the Acoustic Workshop at Oberlin College and is a member of The Violin Society of America. Over the years, at various competitions, he has won numerous medals including several gold and silver in tone and workmanship. When it comes to what he finds most rewarding in his work, Edward says, “It’s the solitude of my shop and the antiquity of the craft; also competing in violin makers competitions and hearing brilliant players playing my instruments. It is truly fulfilling meeting players who can present my work with their gift of playing.”

IT IS HERE WHERE HIS SENSES OF SIGHT, SOUND AND TOUCH COME TO LIFE THROUGH THE ELEMENTS OF WOOD AND STRING, UNITING HIS LOVE OF MUSIC AND WOOD CRAFTSMANSHIP TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL VIOLINS WITH WORLDCLASS TONE.

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FIGHT LIKE

A GIRL

FEMALE WRESTLING HAS BROKEN BARRIERS, IN THE NORTHWEST AND BEYOND BY ABIGAIL THORPE

“I

finally see her for the first time as we shake hands. She is taller than me and looks like a wrestler in head gear ready for a fight, not a girl ... and she’s got 30 pounds on me. Right off the bat I realize an advantage—my take-down skills were advanced, and I could take her down and release her three or four times. She was probably stronger than me, but not as fast.

“Second period I’m leading 8 to 3, my confidence is high. She’s down and I’m just getting ready to get set, and the ref blows his whistle early before I’m set. Her first move is a perfectly executed standup, which included an elbow shot to my nose sending blood everywhere ... the crowd went crazy. We were both on our feet. I could hardly focus from the pain. The crowd is now cheering for this girl.” It’s 1978, and Larry Steckman is a sophomore wrestler at Bonners Ferry High School in North Idaho, and he’s never fought a girl. Until now, that is. It’s toward the end of the season, and the team is in Newport, Washington, fighting a small school on the border. Steckman’s opponent is moved down a weight class, and he has no one to fight. Unless he’ll fight a girl. She has the advantage in weight—155 to Steckman’s 126 pounds. It’s not the weight that phases him, there’s no way he’s fighting a girl. “If you feel like the difference in weight is a disadvantage, she did cut 10 pounds and made weight for her match,” Steckman’s coach cuts in. She cut weight? She made weight? What if he loses to a girl and everyone hears about it? What would his new girlfriend, cheerleader Shelly Barton, think about it? But his female opponent is the only option, so Steckman takes the fight. He wins the match, but not without a bloody nose and eyebrow for his efforts. “When the whistle blew you would have thought she just won a state title ... what just happened?” recalls Steckman. “Something had changed in this girl. She had fire and fight and swagger. This match changed her, she was an equal, respect was deserved, respect was given, and she earned it.” The subject of women wrestling in high school was a controversial subject in schools at the time. Steckman remembers a few what he termed “Joan of Arc’’ women who wanted to wrestle and compete in high school-level sports; many were denied the opportunity, but Idaho had agreed to allow women to wrestle in JV and Varsity weight classes—competing against male wrestlers.

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Steckman’s view at the time was simple: No way. “My biggest objection was when I walk out on that mat I’m going for the kill using state-of-the-art technique moves that inflict pain, and until I win, period,” he says. “I was also taught that you never raise your hand or hurt a woman period. Even at 126 pounds I was pretty sure my record was not going to be blemished by a woman.” He had seen six matches between a guy and girl, and no girls had emerged victorious, further supporting his opinion that the issue of female wrestlers was going to be short lived. That day in Newport changed his mind. “This match changed my life and my chauvinistic heart about women as a young man,” remembers Steckman. His opponent had suffered multiple defeats and she almost quit, but “it wasn’t about the score, it was about the fight inside her to keep going,” says Steckman. Over the next year, Steckman watched his opponent take a bronze medal in a tournament. He remembers asking her, “How many guys bled for that medal?” And she responding with a laugh, “So many I quit counting, but you bled the most.” Over the next two years, he saw more and more women participating in wrestling. It wasn’t an easy fight for women. Conservative values were an ingrained part of the wrestling community, and the topic of girls and boys wrestling—and all the moral, medical and physical questions that go along with it—created quite a stir. But then there were the economics of the question. Many smaller division schools needed women to fill their teams. “To say the least it was a double-edged sword that no one wanted to land on,” says Steckman. It took more than 40 years for female Idaho wrestlers to achieve their own state tournament. “There were hundreds if not thousands of humble women and girls that bled and suffered and fought with no names and few victories; they just looked like wrestlers with headgear who got respect the honest and humble way. They fought for it and earned it,” says Steckman. “I see the heart of women in the very same way today unknowingly and humbly building on the hallowed ground of those before them and making a new path. It’s truly beautiful when you see the path over 40-plus years.” Starting in the 2021-22 school year, Idaho female wrestlers can compete for their own state championship in a girlsonly state tournament. The decision makes Idaho the 29th

“IT WASN’T ABOUT THE SCORE, IT WAS ABOUT THE FIGHT INSIDE HER TO KEEP GOING.”

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Courtesy of The National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution


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Starting in the 2021-22 school year, Idaho female wrestlers can compete for their own state championship in a girls-only state tournament. state in the country—and one of the last in the west—to host a female-only official state wrestling tournament, according to Wrestle Like a Girl. It’s been a long fight to get here. Idaho women can now compete from the youth level on, and the decision opens up the path for collegiate and Olympic competition to Idaho women. It also provides more educational opportunities for women, opening up investment in competitive women’s wrestling programs at colleges and universities, points out Steckman. But this isn’t the end of Idaho’s—and Steckman’s—journey with female wrestling. Steckman would go on to marry that high school cheerleader, Shelly, and the couple formed a deep and lasting relationship with another Idaho wrestler, Dan Russell. Around the same time Steckman was fighting his first female wrestler, Russell was in Southern Idaho fighting for another state wrestling championship. He went on to be a world-class wrestler and coach, and, along with his wife Joy, the founder of Wrestling for Peace, a nonprofit organization with the U.S. Wrestling Foundation that provides support to various communities throughout the world through leadership development, sports diplomacy, medical aid, emergency response, prefabricated buildings, outreach, and wrestling gear and equipment donations. “When I met Dan he was connected to the world of Olympic Wrestling and wanted to expand women’s wrestling to the Middle East world,” recalls Steckman. “I laughed at first thinking of all the issues, and then I was humbly reminded of my opponent’s path to victory, and got behind a strategy to strengthen support.” Wrestling for Peace is founded on the idea of wrestling as a universal “language” for community. Each community, and individual, is facing its own wrestling match, and the same dedication, perseverance and commitment that wrestling teaches is essential in life as well. “Sport diplomacy is a simple and effective tool for building bridges crossculturally,” shares Russell. “Especially in underserved populations, sports can play a big role in teaching character and values. We have recently met with several organizations utilizing sports as a vehicle to build community. We are excited to see how Wrestling for Peace can partner globally in these efforts.” Most recently, Wrestling for Peace and Russell have been working to advance female wrestling in Jordan. They were asked by the Jordanian Wrestling Federation to help the Jordanian Wrestling Team in their acceleration toward the 2021 Olympics and also tasked with finding a female head women’s coach for the future Jordanian Women’s Wrestling Team. “The greater gift is not to be the champion, but to raise them up,” says Russell. “Part of maturing is recognizing the greatness in others and finding joy in elevating them. The Olympic torch is passed as a symbol of the fire burning within each person. We, too, must allow

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the fire burning within us to be passed. And this eternal flame must not be quenched.” With its unique significance in the Middle East, wrestling has continued to open new doors in the area, and beyond. Wrestling has its roots in the ancient texts of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, points out Russell, and as such it also has the ability to open conversation, build understanding and forge cultural and religious bridges. “King Abdullah II and the royal family of Jordan descend from a long line of wrestlers who are now working to create more opportunities for Jordanians,” adds Russell. One of these opportunities the Russells and Steckmans are passionate about is the expansion of Jordanian women into the sport of wrestling. Women’s status in the political, social and economic culture of Jordan in large part stems from legal, traditional, tribal and religious values. “At the request of the national leadership, our 50 253 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

vision is to improve the status of women in Middle Eastern society by reflecting these core values: one, honoring the great tradition of wrestling, and two, serving the community to help others,” explains Russell. Through opening up the pathways to wrestling for women in both Idaho and Jordan, Russell hopes to use story and media to create a greater awareness and appreciation for the struggle of women—one that will create a spark that spreads much farther than just Jordan. “With the help of female wrestlers and coaches from across the globe, we hope to see both the Jordanian team rise to prominence in international competition, and greater honor and opportunity in roles and leadership for women. We believe Jordan can be a model for the region,” says Russell. And the first step in that process is already in the works. Recently the Russells were granted a oneyear residency decision by the Jordanian Ministry

“PART OF MATURING IS RECOGNIZING THE GREATNESS IN OTHERS AND FINDING JOY IN ELEVATING THEM. THE OLYMPIC TORCH IS PASSED AS A SYMBOL OF THE FIRE BURNING WITHIN EACH PERSON.”


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JORDAN CAN BE A MODEL FOR

THE REGION of the Interior, a step forward in their goal to create a women’s wrestling program. Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the quarantine has halted team practice, but that hasn’t stopped Russell. He’s been hosting a clinic, visiting local wrestling clubs throughout Jordan and building relationships with Jordanian athletes. He even met the sparring partner for Muhammad Ali. Though COVID has slowed progress, it has not halted it. Russell has continued humanitarian efforts through Wrestling for Peace and is actively working with leaders in Amman to spread Wrestling for Peace efforts throughout Jordan, Lebanon and beyond, hoping to bring medical aid to those in need and strengthen amateur sports in the region. “Because of those warrior young girls wrestling for their place of victory and love of the sport for over 40 years and those young women today wrestling and fighting in their footsteps, FOI (Laboratories) and Wrestling for Peace are serving the Women’s Wrestling community in Jordan and beyond,” says Steckman. From Idaho to Jordan, women’s strength, perseverance and patience is creating a new era in which women’s wrestling is a recognized, valuable and supported sport. But even more than that, it is a reflection of women’s worth and contribution to sports, society and the challenges we “fight” each and every day.

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November 2020


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SHOP LOCAL ON

NOVEMBER 28 MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR SMALL BUSINES S SATURDAY By Jillian Chandler

A

fter the excitement—and stress—that Thanksgiving Day brings, and your guests have returned home after enjoying their fill of a warm delicious meal prepared with patience and love complemented by wonderful company from near and far, it’s time to start planning and shopping for the holidays ahead! As many people forego the traditional Thanksgiving feast to stand in long lines to beat their neighbor to that big-screen TV, or give up a night’s sleep to weather the cold to be first at some big box store on Black Friday, make plans to do something a bit different but with greater reward and benefit to your local community. Small Business Saturday falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 28 this year) and encourages community members to visit their small locally owned businesses. By choosing to shop local, you are showing your support to local business owners and

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their employees—your friends and neighbors. You can rest assured by shopping local that the money you spend will stay in your community. Many local shops, galleries, boutiques and restaurants will be offering special deals during Small Business Saturday. So take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that abound to shop and dine local—you may even discover some new favorites! As the giving season is here, and small businesses have truly felt the effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic, consider patronizing your local 253 businesses, not only on Small Business Saturday, but throughout the year. Shop small so that local, independently owned businesses can grow. Let’s all do our part to help local business thrive.


19 FOR EVE NTS, VISIT 253LIFESTYLEMAGAZINE.COM.

/ November

ENTERTAINMENT

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21

ZOOBILEE RE-IMAGINED Zoobilee was a tradition in the Tacoma community, bringing together leaders and philanthropists to sample great food, dance to live music, and bid on items to support the Zoo. The format changed in 2012 to a focused fundraising gala event, with some elements of the original Zoobilee. This year, they’re re-imagining the event in a way they never have before! A virtual experience not to miss, Zoobilee Re-Imagined offers a unique evening featuring special zoo animal appearances, silent auction, live auction and a special call to action to support the daily needs and quality care for every animal during this critical time. Though the virtual event will be held Friday, November 13, starting at 7pm, the auctions begin November 6. Register to bid or donate beginning November 1 at Zoobilee2020.ggo.bid. To attend and learn more, visit TheZooSociety.org/zoobilee-reimagined-virtual-event.

WINTER MARKET AT BROADWAY Find a feast for your table and gifts for the holiday at Tacoma Farmers Market’s Winter Markets. Shopping local this holiday season couldn’t be easier! Join the Tacoma Farmers Market Thursday, November 19, for their Broadway Winter Market, where you have the opportunity to connect with local farmers and small businesses to find the freshest food, tastiest treats and best gifts around. Here you can visit with new and returning vendors and shop in an open-air market. Stop by between 10am and 2pm. The Winter Market at Point Ruston takes place November 29, December 6 and 13. Find out more at TacomaFarmersMarket.com.

THANKSGIVING FOR THE HOMELESS Come out and help serve a Thanksgiving Dinner to the homeless on Saturday, November 21, from 2 to 3pm at Nativity House (702 South 14th Street in Tacoma). Beloved Outreach and Overcomer Covenant Church will be providing an amazing Thanksgiving meal to families and to those in need. They will also be giving away sacked lunches, blankets, clothing and hygiene bags. Those looking to volunteer or those able to donate are encouraged to do so. (All volunteers are required to provide a copy of their food handlers card.) If you would like to donate, they are requesting the following items: turkeys, potatoes, stuffing, elbow noodles and shredded cheese (for Mac & Cheese), cranberry sauce, turkey and brown gravy, pies, cakes and cookies, rolls, Cup of Noodles, granola bars, PB&J, fruit, chips, instant coffee, juice, water, blankets and jackets.If you would like to provide a cooked dish to serve that day it is always welcomed. For more information, email outreachbeloved@gmail.com.

* Please note, as of press time, these events were still scheduled to take place as planned. Due to the current health crisis, there is the possibility that event schedules may change or events canceled completely. Be sure to visit event websites to stay up to date with current information.

SUBMIT YOUR EVENTS ONLINE! Want your event to appear on the largest event site in the Northwest? Submit your events to us online at Events.DirectoryNorthwest.com 24/7, 365 days a year! 253 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE 57


Eat & Drink

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO WITH C R I S P Y P O R K B E L LY Recipe Courtesy of Tina VanDenHeuvel You can follow Tina @madebetterforyou on Instagram

INGREDIENTS: 1 lb. pork belly, cut into cubes 1 tbsp. butter 1 cup onion, diced 2 tbsp. fresh sage leaves, chopped 1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped 2 tbsp. fresh garlic, minced 4 cups cauliflower, minced 1 tbsp. reserved pork belly grease 2 tsp. tapioca powder 1 cup canned butternut squash puree 1/3 cup coconut cream 1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt 1/2 tsp. pepper 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

METHOD:

• Preheat oven to 400˚F. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, bake pork belly for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside. • In a large sauté pan, heat butter over medium heat. To the pan, add onion and sage. Sauté until onion is soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until mushrooms are soft. Add cauliflower and sauté another 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add pork belly grease. Add tapioca and whisk. Add butternut squash and coconut cream, salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, let cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. • Add sauce to the cauliflower and mix until fully incorporated. Serve warm and top with pork belly and grated parmesan cheese.

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A Family Trip T H E B E S T WA Y T O H AV E A C O V I D - 1 9 S A F E T H A N K S G I V I N G D I N N E R BY MARGUERITE CLEVELAND

T

hanksgiving is usually celebrated with a big dinner and family members coming in from all over to gather for the holiday. Having a group of 20 to 30 in a house for dinner is not the safest thing to do currently, especially for the more vulnerable population. A safer option might be to travel to a full-service lodge or resort during offseason. Families can have separate rooms and eat meals in small groups spread out across a restaurant. Blaine, Washington, and the Semiahmoo Resort are a great, safe destination. November is a slow time of year for this busy summer town, and less crowds means more room for social distancing. Blaine is one of the western most U.S. towns and is nestled near the border with Canada. This quaint town sits on Drayton Bay and has a vibrant, historic downtown. Water activities die down in the winter, but there is still plenty to do in the area. When planning for your trip consider the weather. November is the rainiest month of the year in Blaine, with an average of more than 6 inches of rain, and the average high temperature is 49 degrees. Outdoor activities can still be comfortable if you pack the proper gear.

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Travel

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A must see when visiting this area is

the Peace Arch Historical State Park, which is located right on the border with Canada.

Where to Stay

The Semiahmoo Resort is located at the end of the scenic Semiahmoo Spit. It is surrounded by water—Drayton Harbor to the right and Semiahmoo Bay to the left. The spit was once home to the Semiahmoo indigenous people. History abounds at the resort, as it uses some of the buildings from the Alaska Packers Association, which at the time was the largest salmon cannery in the world. Time slows down to a peaceful crawl in the late fall and winter. Many rooms have water views, and the pet-friendly rooms on the first floor have a patio with easy access to a grassy lawn. Throughout the resort are areas both indoors and outdoors with seating spread out for social distancing. Enjoy the roaring fire in the lobby or head outside to enjoy your coffee. Weather dependent each night, the resort lights two or three bonfires, depending on how many guests are staying so social distancing can be practiced. You can also book your own bonfire with a separate firepit just for your family. The Discovery Movie Theater offers a family rental package with popcorn and sodas. With 50 seats it is large enough to accommodate a big family group and keep 6 feet apart. Bikes are available to check out at the front desk. The paved paths on Semiahmoo Spit are nice and flat, perfect for a family ride. Where to Eat Due to COVID-19, the Semiahmoo Resort will not have their famed Thanksgiving Day buffet, but they will be offering dinner in their restaurant, Packers Kitchen, featuring Thanksgiving favorites. Meals in the restaurant are available for dine-in or takeout. In addition to Packers, the resort has the Seaview Café and General Store for grab-and-go breakfast, lunch and coffee.

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The Railway Café in Blaine is in an old caboose, and owner Vicka Haywood has some serious baking skills. Her scones and muffins are so chocked full of ingredients you must look to see the base. Her burekas are a puffed pastry stuffed with spinach, feta cheese, spices and herbs and make a great breakfast. Add one of her unique coffee drinks like a cardamon- or lavender-infused latte. Haywood is beloved by locals for her food and hospitality. There are a few seats but they mostly serve takeout. Many people just park in the lot and enjoy their breakfast while overlooking the marina. In Blaine, the Jack Niemann’s Black Forest Steakhouse has long been a fixture in town and is known for its steaks and its German food. There is a huge variety of schnitzels including an old-fashioned favorite Cordon Bleu and Oskar, which is a breaded fried schnitzel topped with crabmeat, asparagus and smothered in bearnaise sauce. A more recent addition to the food scene is the family owned Vault Wine Bar and Bistro. Lots of care goes into their menu to create food that pairs beautifully with the wines they serve by the glass or bottle. Things to Do A must see when visiting this area is the Peace Arch Historical State Park, which is located right on the border with Canada. The iconic Peace Arch just went through a restoration and cleaning for her 100th birthday. It was dedicated in 1921 to commemorate the centennial of the signing of the treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812. It is a state park on the U.S. side of the border and a provincial park on the Canadian side. You can freely stroll through both sides of the park without a passport, but you must remain in the park. With the COVID-19 outbreak, the park has become a meeting place for families who have relatives on both sides of the border.


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The Semiahmoo County Park is located a short walk from the Semiahmoo Resort and is considered the best place to go for a walk on the beach in Whatcom County. A 1.6-mile beach walk at low tide will take you on both sides of the spit. Boardwalks offer beach overlooks and access to the beach. The Coast Millennium Trail has a .8-mile loop on the spit and has great views of Mount Baker and Drayton Harbor. Keep an eye out for seals. Buildings from the Alaska Packers Association Cannery were moved to the area and restored. A former bunkhouse is available for rent as an event venue and is perfect for a family gathering. The museum is closed for the season, but interpretive signs are placed around the site. Blaine has a nice walkable downtown area with shops and restaurants. For more outside time head to the Blaine Marine Park for 2 miles of trails. A public pier offers a scenic view of the Semiahmoo Resort across the harbor. Children will love the playground with its year-round rubber safety surface depicting sharks swimming around the play structure. It is a work of art featuring a sailing ship,

climbing boulders and a lighthouse. Six image panels depict the maritime history of Blaine. The park also has covered structures where you can bird watch without getting wet. If you feel like venturing further afield, the cute towns of Lynden and Ferndale are worth a visit. Lynden feels like a trip to the Netherlands with its Dutch heritage and windmills. Ferndale has an historic downtown, and the Hovander Homestead Park with its historic farm, wetlands, a 50-foot viewing tower and boardwalks through the marsh are well worth a stop. For more information about Whatcom County, stop at the visitors’ center in Bellingham on your way to the Semiahmoo Resort. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation is constantly evolving, so before taking a trip, review current rules, call your lodging a week prior to your trip to verify your reservation and get an update on local pandemic rules. Do not travel if you or anyone in your family has virus symptoms. 253 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE 65


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