Plymouth Magazine - December 2022

Page 1

Gumdrop Wishes and Sugar-Plum Dreams Plymouth startup offers luxury sleepover experience

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D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 2 /J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 3 “I recalled the warmth of the days when your mom might tuck a note in your lunch, or when we would exchange handwritten valentines and how special a written note was. So I created a place in the neighborhood where people could leave and receive written notes.” —Don Prisby, creator of the Blessing Post

DEPARTMENTS 10 — Blessing Post Neighborhood message board spreads hope.

12 — Wintertime Security Family-owned business ensures safety for Plymouth homeowners.

14 — High Spirits for the Holidays A quick and easy wine guide for winter.

FEATURES 16 — Brush of Diva Add energy and intrigue to your home with jewel tones.

20 — Gumdrop Wishes and Sugar-Plum Dreams Plymouth startup offers luxury sleepover experience.

TASTEMAKERS 30 — Let Them Eat Cake



4 — Editor’s Letter 7 — Noteworthy 27 — On the Town 32 — Last Glance

Photo: Chris Emeott

Local cottage baker provides endless options for diet restrictions.

LOVE Happy Holidays from




it’s a first job experience.

On the Cover Tiffany’s Picnic and Parties, photo by Chris Emeott, page 20 4

See what we’re doing behind the scenes and around town! Plymouth Magazine @plymouth_mag @plymouthmag

December 2022/January 2023

Photo: Chris Emeott

It’s more than just a cookie...

ast winter, my partner caught COVID-19 right before the holidays. Instead of Christmas with our families, we were stuck in quarantine. To make the most of it, we set up my Charlie Brown novelty Christmas tree on the coffee table and played a YouTube loop of a crackling fire on the TV. The past few years have seen a lot of interruptions to traditions. his year, hopefully, sees a return to something a bit more normal. A renewal of large gatherings and merry events. To help us get into the festive spirit, our themes this issue are food, wine and entertaining. Toast your family and friends with our holiday wine guide (page 14) with our upcoming new Sip contributor Christian Nesheim of Vinifera Wines and Ales. You can also find his recipe for a Winter Rum Old Fashioned on This time of year is also a good opportunity to practice thankfulness. Growing up, my mother always impressed on me the importance of handwritten thank you notes. One Plymouth local has taken this sentiment to heart, inviting the community to count its blessings with a community message board (page 10). An interruption can bring attention to what we take for granted. In the end of 2022 let’s hug a little tighter, make more time to gather and revive those traditions we had to put on hold. Happy New Year! See you all again in 2023. Sincerely,

VOL. 19 NO. 5

publisher Susan Isay

editor Madeline Kopiecki

managing creative director Renée Stewart-Hester

managing editor Hailey Almsted

digital editor Madeline Kopiecki

copy editors Kellie Doherty Sherri Hildebrandt

staff writers Zoe Deal Ava Diaz Hanna McDaniels Daniel Huss Staci Perry Mergenthal Kira Schukar

contributing writers Emily Maxson Christian Nesheim Nikki Steele Amy Sundet Katie Timcho

editorial interns Nicole Berglund Megan Hegenbarth Hanna McDaniels Paige Schuller

editorial advisory board Kelley Burfeind, Interfaith Outreach Meghan Milovich, blogger and fundraiser for Children’s Hospitals Zach Nelson, Wayzata School District Mark Poppendeck, Beez ‘N Treez Foundation Brian Rosemeyer, City of Plymouth LuAnn Svendsen, Plymouth Reads chair and community volunteer

senior managing art director Sarah Dovolos

art director Allison Nolden

junior designer Jamie Klang

lead staff photographer Chris Emeott

production director Brittni Dye

production manager Lisa Stone

production coordinator Mimi Coz

senior account executives Brooke Beise Cynthia Hamre Sara Johnson Kathie Smith

president Pete Burgeson

To subscribe to Plymouth Magazine, please visit: For customer service inquiries, please contact or call 612.208.6248. ©Local, LLC 2022. All rights reserved.


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WE HAVE AN IDEA … … LET’ S STEP IN TO 2 02 3 with the spirit of gratitude and support for Plymouth and its local businesses that have served us all so well over the previous year. What’s the best way to say, “Thank you,” to your favorite dining spots, service spaces, shopping venues and more? Vote for your favorite local businesses and community venues in our annual Readers’ Poll—this year’s Best of Plymouth 2023. Our contest is live throughout January at plymouthmag. com, where you can vote for your “best of the best” in a growing number of categories. While some of your favorite categories return for another year, our editorial team has included a few more sections that further embrace our retail and business communities. Curious? Go online to vote!

December 2022/January 2023

Here’s what you need to know:

Voting is live with three simple rules*: 1. One entry is allowed per person; each ballot needs to include an email address. 2. Ballots must be completed by 5 p.m. January 31, 2023. 3. Voters need to vote in at least five categories to ensure their ballot is counted. 4. The top three finalists will be announced online on March 1, 2023. 5. Watch for our much-anticipated Best of Plymouth in the June/July 2023 issue, where the winners and runners up will be revealed—along with Editor’s Picks and a host of other community highlights. *Any rule not adhered to may result in entire surveys being discarded, and all results are subject to editorial discretion.





With holiday festivities underway, here is a wide variety of genres to help ring in the new year. The Bodyguard by Katherine Center is a romp of a romance that’s 100 percent fun. Hannah is a bodyguard hired to protect Jack, the world’s sexiest man, under the guise of being his girlfriend. Sparks and witty banter fly on Jack’s family’s ranch as these two try to convince his family they are an item … but are they? The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah is a heart-wrenching historical fiction novel about a


family living in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. They must decide whether to stay and protect their land after numerous

An Easy Holiday Entrée Option

dust storms or move out West in hopes of a better future. Roast beef tenderloin is a special occa-

» 4 Tbsp. ghee

The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark is a

sion dish that’s perfect to serve during

» 1 Tbsp. salt

fast-paced suspense about a bril-

the holidays; it’s the most tender cut of

» 2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

liant con woman and the ambitious

beef and always a crowd pleaser. With this recipe you can roast the meat

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Place

her. But what is the difference

a few hours ahead of time and store it in a

tenderloin on a parchment-lined baking

between justice and revenge? This

cooler until you are ready to serve it. It will

sheet. Spread ghee all over the tenderloin.

is a Robin Hood-style scenario that

hold its temperature.

Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

keeps the reader gripped as the truth unfolds.

This works great if you are entertaining

Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the

and plan to serve dinner immediately fol-

thermometer reads 135 degrees F for

lowing a church service or program. It also

medium rare. Remove from oven and wrap

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor

works well if you are bringing a dish to a

tightly in aluminum foil. Place the wrapped

Jenkins Reid is a contemporary

friend or family member’s house.

tenderloin in a cooler. The tenderloin will

fiction novel about what would

Tenderloin works well as an entrée, but

hold for up to 2 hours in the cooler.

happen if you changed one deci-

it can also be served as a heavy appetizer

sion. Would your life end up the

with soft rolls. Horseradish sauce or grainy

derloin and slice. If serving right away, allow

same or would it be different?

mustard make great condiments.

meat to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Make Ahead Beef Tenderloin

Emily Maxson is a Plymouth food blogger and author of Emily’s Fresh Kitchen Cookbook. For more recipes you can visit or follow her on Instagram @emilysfreshkitchen.

When you are ready to serve, unwrap ten-

This is a great book if you enjoyed The Midnight Library.

Serves 8–10 as an entrée

Local bookworms Katie Timcho and Amy Sundet run the book blog @overbookedmoms.


» 1 whole beef tenderloin, trimmed (4–5 lbs.)

December 2022/January 2023

Photo: Belén Fleming of Belu Photography

female reporter trying to expose


Holiday Special

Fashions of a Feather


Fashion is particularly fun to think about around the holidays because there are plenty of work, social and family gatherings to dress up for. This holiday season, a trend to consider incorporating into your holiday attire is feathers. Think “feathers” instead of “sequins” this holiday season. Feathers easily add value to any style due to their unique texture and flamboyant nature. We’re seeing a surge in feather trim;

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on the collar of a jacket, the cuff on a blouse or a pant cuff. This use of feathers in fashion exudes an upscale style because of its detailed placement. This would work great for the work holiday party you’re attending. Attending a not-so-dressy event but still want to sport feathers? A great way to dress down the feather trend (as much as that’s possible) is to pair feathers with denim. One way to do this is to find a feather top, preferably a strapless top, pair it with your favorite denim pants, then pop a blazer over the top. You will definitely be the bird—I mean belle— of the ball, with your feathers strategically peeking out from beneath your jacket.

Nikki Steele is a stylist serving the Plymouth community and more. For more style tips, follow Nikki on Instagram @nikkisteelestyle or visit her at

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Blessing Post Neighborhood message board spreads hope.

TECHNOLOGY keeps us more connected than ever, but texts and DMs don't always have the power of the personal. That's why if you have something nice to say, it can be made even sweeter by writing it yourself. What started as the passing of handwritten notes on a Saddlebrook neighborhood bike path has turned into a standing invitation to write thoughtful words. The Blessing Post connects people through messages of hope and encouragement, and it is available to everyone who walks or bicycles by. The man behind the Blessing Post, Don Prisby, put hundreds of notecards in a mailbox, which he placed on a post in his backyard. It was May 20, 2018, when he pinned the inaugural blessing to a corkboard for the first person to enjoy.


That person would, in turn, write an anonymous blessing and leave it for the next person to come along, blessings like, “Stay strong—the trees around you have weathered many storms, and they have grown from the rain.” Or, “God made you exactly who you’re supposed to be. Love yourself so you can love others.” Prisby mulled over the concept for years. “I recalled the warmth of the days when your mom might tuck a note in your lunch, or when we would exchange handwritten valentines and how special a written note was,” he says. “So I created a place in the neighborhood where people could leave and receive written notes. I called it the Blessing Post as a nod to how we post things online but [here] we’re posting actual blessings to one another.” During the pandemic, Prisby modified

the Blessing Post into a chalkboard, low enough for children to make their mark, too. He writes a theme or message, encouraging passersby to ponder its meaning or leave thoughts of goodwill by writing a message or answering weekly questions like, “Who’s your hero?” or “Who was your favorite teacher?” or “One positive of family time?” Prisby placed the Blessing Post about 8 feet into his backyard, lining the pathway with stepping stones and adding a solar lamp for a soft nighttime glow. People tell him they like the chalkboard even more because they see the message from afar and can think about it as they approach. One day, Prisby found two notes and a gift card at his front door, delivered by kids from Wayzata Free Church.

December 2022/January 2023

Photos: Don Prisby

By Staci Perry Mergenthal

Join us in welcoming Dr. Brian Brumfield to our team! The youth group had nominated people who contribute to the neighborhood. One note read, “ Thank you for doing The Blessing Post in your backyard. It made my day when I got to fill it out. Thank you for making the neighborhood a better place for everyone.” Prisby and his friend up the street, Tony Kauch, take turns snow blowing the neighborhood path. “Whenever Tony cleans the path, he makes a pathway to the Blessing Post, so that tells me it’s valued,” Prisby says. Neighbor Patrick Woods agrees. “The Blessing Post is a lovely waypoint along our neighborhood trails, encouraging all who encounter it to pause, reflect and choose gratitude and kindness,” Woods says. “We’re fortunate to have this beacon reminding us what truly matters.” Whether in Prisby’s neighborhood or not, you can lift someone’s spirit. “Reach out to people. Write notes to one another. While our efficiency of digital communication is wonderful, let's not forget that we need to be connected with real words and real messages of kindness and goodwill,” Prisby says. “There’s nothing like seeing the human hand in handwriting.”

7000 E. Fish Lake Rd . . 763.420.7958

The Blessing Post is located on the path connecting Yellowstone Lane N. and Walnut Grove Court in the Plymouth neighborhood of Saddlebrook. Learn more at

A selection of notes received at the blessing post

Watch for the

small things that make you smile.

You are amazing

just the way you are. May the beauty of

the new fallen snow bring you joy and thankfulness.



Wintertime Security Family-owned business ensures safety for Plymouth homeowners. By Hanna McDaniels


busiest travel months of the year and leaving your home behind can be a big source of anxiety. No matter if you’re visiting family across the country or taking flight with the other snowbirds, the specter of the film Home Alone tends to haunt otherwise merry travels. Michael Frey has been an expert in everything relating to homes and maintenance for 10 years. Graduating from Minnesota State University-Mankato with a bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks and leisure services, he started working at Three Rivers Park District in the maintenance department. “[Having

December 2022/January 2023

THE WINTER SEASON is one of the

Tips to Ensure Safe Holidays • Make sure all electronics are unplugged before leaving your home. • Turn off the furnace. • The thermostat should be set to 62–64 degrees F. • If you leave your AC on,

Subscribe to your community’s magazine or purchase additional copies at

the thermostat should be set to 75–78 degrees F. • Turn off your water (optional but recommended).

Enriching your life together an] eye for detail is a huge thing in this business, and at Three Rivers Park District I learned a lot that has suited my credibility in this field,” Frey says. Frey started his own company in home protection and maintenance after he and his family were on a trip in Colorado. They noticed a lot of homes that seemed to be empty and wondered who was taking care of them. While mulling this over, inspiration struck Frey. Soon after, he and his wife founded Elite Home Professional (EHP) in 2019. “Our overall goal is to prevent big problems from happening in homes,” Frey says. “Risk mitigation. We’ve caught small leaks in people’s basements, toilets or sinks.” A lot of EHP’s clients are away from their homes anywhere from one month to an entire year, so small, unchecked leaks can create a big problem. EHP walks through clients’ homes in-person at a rate decided on by the client, whether it’s once every two weeks or twice a week. While in the house, Frey and his team create the illusion that someone is home while also checking the home’s HVAC system, pipes and anything else that could weigh on a homeowner's mind and wallet. “Cameras in your home can only reach so much,” Frey says. “A person that knows what they are doing can catch everything.” Frey says that something that sets EHP apart for Plymouth homeowners is its credibility. EHP is part of the National Home Watch Association, an accredited association involving many home watch companies. Elite Home Professional;

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High Spirits for the Holidays A quick and easy wine guide for winter. By Madeline Kopiecki

fledged holiday wine guide. Whether you’re shopping for something to put under the tree or a bottle to enhance your holiday dinner, wine can bring a little extra cheer to the season. To get in the Christmas spirit and prepare for New Year’s festivities, we spoke with Christian Nesheim, certified sommelier and owner of Vinifera Wines and Ales in Plymouth for over 10 years.

What’s a good wine to take to a Christmas party or holiday party? “Bubbles!” Nesheim says without hesitating. “Especially if you’re coming to a


holiday party, and you’re going to be able to share it. I think bubbles set the tone of celebration.”

What’s a good wine to give as a gift?

This one is a tricky one, Nesheim notes, especially if you don’t know the recipient’s palate. The safe bet is almost always cabernet sauvignon. “Everyone knows what cabernet is, and there’s great cabernet at every price point,” Nesheim says. “That’s always a really safe way to go because wineries pride themselves on making sure their cab is good, because that’s their namesake.”

What Christmas wine would you pair with a holiday dinner?

For fish and chicken, Nesheim says it’s truly up to the person. “Grab what you like. It’s going to work. Especially with fish and chicken; those whiter proteins work so well with so many different whites,” he says. He notes that sauvignon blanc is more traditionally paired with fish and chardonnay with chicken, but as long as you find something that tastes good, it’s going to suit those two proteins. “For red meat, I always love a heavy red with lots of tannic structure, which is that dryness,” Nesheim says. Although cabernets and red blends are standard, he says he likes to look for something a

December 2022/January 2023

IF WINE IS ON YOUR HOLIDAY LIST we have a little gift for you: a full

little more delicate. “Something Spanish, something with a little bit more like a Tempranillo. It’s got weight, but it might not have that high acidity.”

What Champagne or sparkling wines are you stocking up on for New Year's Eve or Day?

Bubbles are bubbles, according to Nesheim; there’s no reason to get caught up in the prestige of Champagne over other sparkling wines. “Champagne comes from that French region, and they’re extremely expensive. With the tariffs and all the shipping issues we’ve had in the past few years, they’re even more expensive,” Nesheim says. Vinifera stocks up on Prosecco during the season, which Nesheim says is a great choice for everyone. “I think Prosecco is perfect because there’s always a little bit of residual sugar left in it,” he says. “It doesn’t make it sweet, it’s just not as dry, and everybody likes it.”

In your opinion, what’s the best wine of 2022?

Perhaps a sommelier’s most difficult question. “People ask me, ‘What’s your favorite wine?’ And it’s like ‘I don’t know, which is your favorite child?’” Nesheim says. To help narrow it down, we went with a low price point and a high one. “I have a $14 wine called Luberri. It’s a Rioja from Spain that I just can’t get enough of,” Nesheim says. “It probably is one of my top 10 for the year.” For high end, Nesheim chose a cabernet. “There’s some great high-end cabernets out there right now. Venge is around $70 and, for an impressive bottle of wine, there’s nobody doing it better.”

Happy Holidays As 2022 comes to a close we want to thank our clients for another great year. We are grateful for your partnership and we look forward to helping you create new possibilities in 2023. What can we make possible for your business? EDINA • 952-285-5800 MINNEAPOLIS • 612-746-5050 MEMBER FDIC


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For an extended wine guide courtesy of Nesheim, visit


Vinifera Wines and Ales, 1400 County Road 101 North Suite K5; 763.473.0008;


Vinifera Wines and Ales @viniferawinesandales







1421 East Wayzata Blvd. Wayzata, MN 55391

@ViniferaWines Shawn Sailer D.C., Caroline Brost-Sailer D.C., Ryan Elton D.C., Barbro Brost D.C., Aaron Schulte D.C., Aarti Goyal D.C. Tyler Knutson D.C.

952.473.9637 • 15

n di





Written by Staci Perry Mergenthal


Photo: Chris Emeott

Ad d e n e r



home with j



g ri


our y o t

A BRUSH O F DIVA From rich emerald green to vibrant ruby red, jewel-toned colors are seemingly everywhere in interior design today. When done correctly, adding jewel tones to your home can create an elegant, classy space that brings your personality to light. We dropped in on Wendy Doornink of Hirshfield’s to find out how the color specialist and Realtor helps homeowners incorporate these trending pops of color to their homes. “I see this movement of jewel tones add richness and luxe in places where people just want to embrace a feeling of warmth and intrigue, a little mystery and differentness,” Doornink says.

SOPHISTICATED SHADES Emerald green is having a huge moment and is appearing on cabinetry, wood wainscotting, accent walls

December 2022/January 2023

in bedrooms and entire powder bathrooms. It corresponds to the trend of incorporating natural colors into our environment. Green is healing and calming, the color of growth and renewal. Cerulean or sapphire blues are timeless, and, as crisper and clearer colors, can add energy in addition to anchoring the room. Blue cabinets are almost a staple in design at this point, and bolder colors stand out from the norm. Citrine, a yellow tone, is a stronger color personality and should be added with care so as not to overwhelm a space. A great place to start with this tone is in décor like pillows, artwork, bedding, curtains—things that can be added in smaller quantities. Amethyst tones are grayed-down versions of red that lean a bit purple but not too much. To find the right jewel tones, look for natural colors—ones that feel like they could


763.577.9864; Hirshfields




December 2022/January 2023


Photos: Hirschfield’s

Hirshfield’s, 1975 Annapolis Lane N.;

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have been created naturally, like dyeing cloth with beets. These colors feel comforting, homey, easy and true. Amethyst falls perfectly into that category.


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GETTING IT RIGHT Jewel tones are a perfect choice for people tired of homes full of neutrals and ready for vibrancy and energy. Doornink notes that breaking the style norm is good, but there’s a right way to do it. Pick one color as your main jewel tone and accent with the rest. “You’re usually drawn to one or two. Use one for your main accent walls and bring the rest in soft décor like furnishings, chair covers, rugs, pillows, drapery and couches,” Doornink says. Avoid using strong colors throughout. It’s overwhelming and makes your house feel small, even with good lighting. “There’s usually one star of the show—one color that’s dominant and the rest of the colors are supporting players,” Doornink says. “You have to let the diva be the diva.” Test a swatch before committing. Paint two coats on a swatch on your walls, and look at the color at the time of day you’re going to spend the most time in that room. “Every room feels different—a north facing room feels so different from a sunny west in the afternoon,” Doornink says. Don’t go too bright. Once you get it on the wall, color shines like crazy. “I have a saying, ‘When in doubt, gray it out,’” Doornink says. “Make it more gray than you think, and it’ll still come through with a lot of color.” She also recommends using a matte or eggshell paint instead of a satin or semi-gloss when painting with jewel tones.




763-420-8595 7237 Forestview Lane N. • Maple Grove, MN 55369



* Gumdrop Wishes and Sugar-Plum Dreams *

Plymouth startup offers luxury sleepover experience. written by Mollee Francisco photos by Chris Emeott


It could have been a scene lifted directly from the poem ’Twas The Night Before Christmas. A crackling fire in the fireplace, a twinkling Christmas tree, fuzzy white stockings hung on the mantle, plus a trio of tiny tents and the warm glow of fairy lights. All that was missing was the children nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. But that would come later in the day, when mom and dad surprised their three children with a luxury sleepover experience, courtesy of Tiffany’s Picnic and Parties. Tiffany Ohotto and her twin sister, Brittany Kozan, specialize in whimsical picnic and sleepover experiences. Their emerging Plymouth-based business is not quite 1-and-a-half-years-old, but it continues to grow with

December 2022/January 2023

new customers. Some find them through word of mouth, others are drawn in by the dazzling photos of their work on social media. “We love to make things memorable,” Ohotto says. Party planning has long been a passion for the creative duo, but it hit a fever pitch when they each started having their own children. “We always went all out,” Ohotto says, referring to the birthday parties they threw for their children. “We’ve always liked décor.” As they planned one over-the-top fête after another for their kids, family and friends took notice and started asking them to plan their baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties and more. In July 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, the sisters took the plunge and launched Tiffany’s


Picnic and Parties. With a collection of 10 cotton teepee-style tents and a host of rugs, fairy lights and throw pillows, they started offering whimsical picnics during Minnesota’s temperate seasons. Customers booked their picnics to host everything from birthdays to showers to romantic dinner dates. By fall, the women had expanded their collection of tents to nearly 30 and had added luxury sleepover experiences complete with mattresses, festive bedding and games to their repertoire. It proved to be a fruitful move that kept them busy during the colder months and afforded some insurance against bad weather. “The holidays ended up being very busy,” says Ohotto. And she expects this holiday season to be even busier with their ever-expanding collection of wintry sleepover themes like Let it Snow, The Grinch, Merry and Bright Holiday and a cozy red and white setup. The party planning generally starts a couple weeks out with a phone call to discuss logistics. Ohotto says she likes to begin talking through the party size and space available. The typical sleepover size is four to six people. Ohotto has found that most people’s


homes can comfortably accommodate four of the teepee setups with full-size air mattresses. Clients can select one of their established themes—non-holiday offerings include the popular boho, unicorn and camping themes—or customers can collaborate with Ohotto and Kozan to customize their experience. Ohotto is partial to The Grinch sleepover theme, but she is always happy to work with clients if they have a vision that doesn’t fit one of their existing themes. “Absolutely, we’ll figure it out. I love the creativity. It’s so fun to bring a vision to life,” she says. On the day of the event, Ohotto and Kozan take care of the delivery and setup. They inflate full-sized air mattresses, dress them with mattress pads, sheets and blankets and top them with colorful accent pillows. They erect the teepees over the beds and string the fairy lights around. They set up trays and decorate them with themed decor from battery-powered lanterns and miniature Christmas trees to books and games. A sprinkling of balloons and party favors rounds out the setups. Ohotto says she doesn’t leave until everything is in its place and the vision is complete.

“I’m a perfectionist,” she says. The next day, Ohotto and Kozan return and take it all down (they operate within a 20-mile radius of Plymouth, but will travel beyond that range for a fee). Clients never have to lift a finger, although Ohotto says many of her clients have a hard time not pitching in with folding sheets, washing dishes or helping carry the party décor back to her vehicle. “Honestly, I have the best clients,” she says. While they are happy to plan sleepovers for any age, Ohotto says that, for the most part, her clients are parents trying to create a special experience for their children. Their picnics skew older, but sleepovers tend to be booked for the 4- to 12-year-old crowd. Happily, many of their clients have found that one sleepover just isn’t enough. “A really good chunk of our customers are repeats,” Ohotto says. One of Ohotto’s favorite parts of the job is seeing the reactions to the magical scenes they’ve created. “I had one sleepover where the mom was surprising her daughter, and she let me stick around when her daughter saw the setup,” she says. “She was so excited. She was

December 2022/January 2023


Tiffany’s Picnics and Parties co-founders Brittany Kozan (left) and Tiffany Ohotto (right).

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screaming. I thought to myself, ‘ How lucky am I?’” Those moments make all the work worthwhile, Ohotto says. They also give her hope for the future. Right now, Ohotto and her sister continue to work their day jobs—Ohotto’s background is in teaching, and Kozan is a sleep technician—but someday, Ohotto dreams of turning party planning into a fulltime gig. “It would be amazing to do this full time,” she says.


Ohotto’s dreams for the business also include opening a studio space where she can be creative, host events and store her growing stash of party décor. “There’s so, so much stuff,” she says. “I’m running out of space to put it all.” Tiffany’s Picnic and Parties; 763.233.8976; Tiffany’s Picnic and Parties @tiffanyspicnicandparties

December 2022/January 2023

Offering in-home, customizable, private partner dance lessons for couples and parties. Be wedding ready in as little as one lesson! Community group classes also available. Proudly introducing Minnesotans to the joy of social dancing for over 70 years. Constantine Dance Classes Serving all the Metro area &surrounding suburbs 612.240.8329

Experiencing pain or health problems that won’t go away? Dr. Lee uses acupuncture and herbs to reduce pain and optimize your health. Book your appointment today to start your natural and holistic journey to a healthier, pain free life. Dr. Lee Acupuncture Clinic 1907 Wayzata Blvd. Suite 170, Wayzata 763.691.9570

Women-owned law firm with over 45 years Helping your family focus on the future!

Mundahl Law, PLLC 6499 Sycamore Court N. 763.575.7930

New Location - New Look

Enjoy food, Enjoy life. Weekly personal chef services and meal prep solutions customized to your family’s needs. Delicious meals prepared in your home by a professional chef.

We love flooring! We also specialize in area rugs, counters, backsplash, custom railings, and interior design. Check us out online or visit us at our new studio. Let’s start something new!

Fed and Watered, LLC Meals Prepared in your Home 507.218.7106

Floors of Distinction 3555 Holly Lane N. Suite 60 763.553.1800

Family owned and operated with a selection of 2,000+ frames and sunglasses. Six doctors are in office 7 days a week! We Know Eyes at Maple Grove Pearle Vision.

Right at Home provides best-in-class home care services for seniors and elderly adults who may be facing medical or nonmedical home care services needs. Contact us to learn how we can assist you and your family.

Maple Grove Pearle Vision 13195 Weaver Lake Road 763.420.5112

Right at Home 4205 Lancaster Lane N. Suite 104, Plymouth 763.231.5720

School Day 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Prospective Family Info Session January 21, 2023 at 10 a.m. RSVP:

COM M U NI T Y • K-8, Tuition-Free Public Charter School • Character Education • Daily Spanish


• Rigorous Curriculum • Middle School Honors Program • Student Uniforms

3415 Louisiana Ave N, Crystal, MN 55427 | 763-546-9999 |


CHARACTER • Healthy Lunch Program • Free Busing • Smaller Grade Sizes



th in g s to se e a n d do in and aro und Ply m o uth


Compiled by Nicole Berglund and Megan Hegenbarth

Kick off the season right this December with Holiday at the Hilde. in Plymouth on December 3 with the second annual Holiday at the Hilde event. The outdoor Hilde Performance Center will be decked out with holiday lights to add a magical touch to this fun family event. Recreation supervisor Ann Mosack says the event will include photo opportunities with Santa Claus as well as live reindeer. “We’ll have chamber singers singing holiday carrols. We’ll do a take-home craft,” Mosack says, adding that there will be hot beverages and holiday treats, as well. “[Families] come to enjoy the sights and sounds and smells of the holidays. It’s all there,” Mosack says. “It should be a really fun event for the whole family.” Holiday at the Hilde is an outdoor event; dress appropriately for the weather.



Fire on Ice 12/02–12/04 Get ready for all the hockey you can watch at the Wayzata Fire on Ice Tournament. The tournament will last two days with Divisions B2 and C in the 10u Squirts competing against

—Madeline Kopiecki

each other. All ages. Check website All ages. Free. 4–7 p.m. Hilde Performance Center, 3500 Plymouth Blvd.;

December 2022/January 2023

for times. Plymouth Ice Center, 3600 Plymouth Blvd.;



Fire on Ice

Times vary. Guthrie Theater, 818 S. Second St., Mpls.; 612.377.2224;

44th Annual Old-Fashioned Holiday Bazaar 12/01–12/03 Handcrafted items from Metro artists are available for purchase including jewelry, wood pieces, paintings, soaps and plenty more. All ages. $5 for adults, free for kids under 12. 10 a.m.– 7 p.m. Landmark Center, 75 W. Fifth St., St. Paul; 651.292.3225;

Candle Making Experience 12/01–12/31 Bring up to three friends to make a custom candle at Roseline’s Place. While you wait for your candle to dry, you can enjoy the venue’s restaurants and brewery. All ages. $30. Times vary. Keg and Case Market, 928 Seventh St. W., St. Paul; 612.355.6900;

Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet 12/02–12/03 Watch as Christmas figurine dances in Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet at the Orpheum Theatre, a performance filled with large puppets, incredible acro-

Be Audrey Hepburn For A Day 12/03

vary. Providence Academy, 15100 Schmidt Lake Road;

batics and extravagant costumes. All ages. Tickets starting at $33. Times vary. Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.; 612.339.7007;


Holiday Flower Show

Grab your luxurious gloves and sunglasses and head down to Resale Select


Event. The selection will include high-end

Como Park Conservatory is sure to

jewelry, watches, handbags, sunglasses

Holidazzle Craft Market

please with this year’s holiday flower

Through 12/18

display. Elegant white poinsettias are

This recurring family-friendly event

complemented with other arrangements

An Intimate Christmas

features Santa visits, food and drinks,

for a unique viewing experience. All


handcrafted items and live entertain-

Enjoy a night filled with Christmas

ment including an interactive art

spirit as Lorie Line invites everyone

installation. All ages. Free. Fridays, 5– 9 p.m.; Saturdays, noon–9 p.m.; Sundays, noon–6 p.m. Loring Park, 1382 Willow St., Mpls.; 612.376.7669;

and clothing. All ages. Free. 10 a.m.–noon.

Resale Select, 1605 County Road 101;

to listen along during An Intimate Christmas. Ages 10 and over. $65. 3–4:30 p.m. Providence Academy, 15100 Schmidt Lake Road;

Seussical Jr.

A Christmas Carol

ages. Free, reservation required. 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, 1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul;

The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Show 12/03, 12/10, 12/17


At this interactive comedy show, enjoy


A Christmas Carol is back at the Guthrie

a full-course dinner while solving a

Join Horton the Elephant, the Cat in

Theater, where Ebenezer Scrooge meets

murder mystery. And watch out! The

the Hat and many more Dr. Seuss char-

the ghosts of Christmas past, present and

criminal may be nearby, and you might

acters in Seussical Jr. All ages. Times

future. Ages 8 and up. Tickets $15–$134.

be the prime suspect. Teenagers and


December 2022/January 2023

for their Breakfast at Tiffany’s Shopping

up. $69.95 tickets. 6–9 p.m. Courtyard Minneapolis Downtown, 1500 Washington Ave. S., Mpls.;

We turn your house into the home of your dreams!

Minneapolis Minifest 12/03 Have fun with the Minneapolis Minifest presented by Bridging The Music. This festival will be packed with music, art and community for the whole evening.

All ages. Online tickets $24.83, door tickets $30.24. 6 p.m.–12:30 a.m. The Southern Theater, 1420 S. Washington Ave., Mpls.; 612.340.0155;

Jingle Bell Run 12/10 Grab your coats, running shoes and santa hats and join the Jingle Bell Run presented by Arthritis Foundation. All ages. Free. 8:30 a.m. U.S. Bank Stadium, 401 Chicago Ave., Mpls.;

Vintage Market

J Brothers Design l Build l Remodel 763.732.8731 • • MN LIC #BC326186

12/11 Get your tote bags ready for the Minneapolis Vintage Market at Machine Shop. The market will have two floors of the best vintage finds, and there will also be a bar, a food truck and a complimentary coffee pop-up. All ages. Free,

early bird tickets $10. noon–4 p.m., early bird 11 a.m. Machine Shop, 300 Second St. SE, Mpls.;

Elf 12/17–12/18

Understanding Your Needs, Protecting Your Rights

Listen to John Debney’s rendition of Elf while the film plays on the big screen.

All ages. Tickets starting at $50. 2–4 p.m. Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Ave., Mpls.; 612.371.5656;

To have your event considered: email by the 10th of the month three months prior to publication. Due to the fluidity being experienced in

Businesses Litigation & Dispute Resolution Business & Corporate Law Real Estate Nonprofit Law Employment Law

Individuals & Families Estate Planning Probate • Elder Law Family Law • Custody Conservatorships

the current environment, please note that some events/dates and even some business operations may have changed since these pages went to print. Please visit affiliated websites for updates.

763.560.5700 | 6900 Wedgwood Road, Suite 200 Maple Grove, MN 55311



Let Them Eat Cake Cottage baker provides endless options for diet restrictions. Written by Ava Diaz

Photos by Chris Emeott

A B A K E R S I N C E S H E WAS A C H I L D, Donna Mehta remembers

being inspired by the techniques of her grandmother and mother. She began to develop her passion for the craft when she was attending high school in Turkey, where she took the same home economics course twice. She says it was in this class that she truly learned the ins-andouts of home baking. “My teacher really instilled in me that you only bake from scratch,” she says. Taking to baking, she continued to experiment with it throughout the following years and was in the process of working her way through the entirety of The Joy of Cooking cookbook. However, it wasn’t until her young daughter developed celiac disease in 2013 that she tried her hand at allergy-friendly treats—a challenge she was not ready to face at the start. “When my daughter was diagnosed, I didn’t realize how many things had gluten in them. It is kind of crazy,” she says. Mehta says the diagnosis immediately changed the kitchen protocols in her home. She quickly removed the contaminated utensils and appliances from cupboards, drawers and countertops. “The remnants of gluten can linger in just about everything,” she says. “The molecules are so tiny and can get into things … you could have cross-contamination without even knowing it.” But allergy-proofing the kitchen was just Mehta’s first step. Next, she needed to learn the science behind allergenfree baking. The year 2020 found Mehta in the kitchen, but she wasn’t creating crusted sourdough like so many other people that year. Instead, she began her own culinary experiment by acquiring every gluten-free box cake mix she could get her hands on. From there, Mehta says her family conducted taste tests. After seeing what


December 2022/January 2023

DONNA’S GLUTEN-FREE OFFERINGS Mehta’s creations are open-ended for all her customers. With no further restrictions to their already restricted diet, she wants to be a bakery where the possibilities are endless for them and their taste buds. Customers can build their own flavor combination starting with the base choice of seven different cake flavors. From there, they choose the type and flavor of

the consistency and taste were supposed to be like, she set off to try baking her own gluten-free cakes from scratch. The first one, vanilla, fell flat. But, to her surprise, the second go at it, chocolate, struck gold with her and her family. After that sweet success, Mehta began baking as much as possible, not only to be mindful of her daughter’s dietary restriction but also to feed into her passion for creation. She was baking consistently for her family and neighbors and started running out of people to bake for. So, she joined an online gluten-free baking group to start selling her creations to the greater community. It was in this group that she learned about how to obtain her Minnesota Cottage Food Producer license to launch her business, Donna’s Gluten-Free Cakes. The stringent requirements for the license actually put her more at ease, and Mehta says she is grateful for the state’s attention to detail to ensure the safety of her customers. “When you go to a commercial bakery, it is not guaranteed that there is no cross-contamination,” she says.

Spreading the Love

Although she has experience cooking and baking a variety of gluten-free items in her home, Mehta’s business focus is strictly cakes. “The great thing about cake is it is a year-round thing fit for any occasion,” she says. “The variety is what makes it fun.” And fun is exactly what Donna’s

Gluten-Free Cakes brings to the Link family. After finding out that their daughter has celiac disease, Cheryl Link says her family went into lockdown and didn’t order anything from anywhere in fear of the cross-contamination. Discovering Donna’s Gluten-Free Cakes online, Link says she was quick to order. A construction-themed cake for her son’s birthday was delivered shortly thereafter. “We ordered a gluten-free and dairy-free cake for him, so that my daughter could also eat it,” Link says. “[Mehta] has just been really great and kind of a blessing for my family. My daughter doesn’t feel left out anymore.” One thing that Mehta says is important to note about many people with celiac disease is that it’s also common for those individuals to have other dietary allergies such as nuts or dairy. That is why she has made an effort to provide a variety of gluten-free, nut-free and vegan options for her clients’ vast needs and preferences. “One customer ordered vegan, and this is the first time her whole family was able to eat the same cake,” Mehta says about one of her ongoing clients. “That almost made me tear up; it feels so good that I am able to provide that for somebody.”

frosting (buttercream or cream cheese frosting), the filling and the size. If choosing the right flavor is overwhelming, she also provides a variety of suggested combos, such as lemon blueberry and cookies and cream, as well as premade, quick order options. “The first thing I do is make sure it tastes good, but my biggest passion is making it look beautiful,” she says. Enjoying birthday cakes most, Mehta says these types of cake can offer the most variety in terms of design approach. She has made anything from a Wreck-It Ralph cake, a Barbie cake and even a cactus-inspired concept for her kids. “The experimentation actually comes from my customers [and their

Donna’s Gluten-Free Cakes; 612.314.9831;

kids],” she says. “It is;

always a challenge to

make it my own but

Donna’s Gluten-Free Cakes @donnasgfcakes

also have it resemble what they want.”


By Madeline Kopiecki


Picture Plymouth Photographer captures winter beauty on Medicine Lake.

P LY MOU T H LOC A L Pat Yentzer says that he was inspired to take this photo when he noticed the stark white background and the grace of the wind pulling his son across the lake on his skates. “‘Art is order out of chaos’ is the quote I love,” Yentzer says when explaining what draws him to photography.



Pat Yentzer

Title: Brad Kite Ice Skating

iPhone 10 Medicine Lake

Equipment: Location:

To view other Picture Plymouth photo contest winners, visit

December 2022/January 2023

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