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design | cuisine | art | culture | architecture

edition 15

december 2018

A Very Vintage Christmas

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Tom Dietrich Vice-President

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A Very Vintage Christmas On the Cover The White House Co. + Vintage Rentals: A Very Vintage Christmas Our countdown to Christmas begins with Katie Schiltz, Samantha Klinkhammer and Amanda Rydell of The White House Co. + Vintage Rentals. This creative trio coordinated eight whimsical holiday scenes, inspired by our favorite traditions, beautiful vintage ornaments and modern-day design. Read more on page 32. December Cover photography by: The White House Co. with editing by M. Schleif Photography



Cookies & Cocktails: Chef Judd Eskildsen, Proof Artisan Distillers

Pretty Domesticated: Katie Sullivan’s Chocolate Coffee Cake

Asking this master of meat to bake a holiday treat may have seemed like a stretch, but we promise, you’ll love his bacon, chocolate and peanut butter cup cookies. If that’s not enough, he served up one of his specialty entrees and taught us how to concoct a tasty Tipsy Mocha.

Sullivan knows that while cookies are always a popular choice, a delicious holiday cake can win Christmas. We take you inside her gorgeous kitchen and the secret to her sinful holiday cake with whipped mascarpone frosting and sugared cranberries.



32nd Annual Homes for the Holidays Tour: Designers Christy Brawner-Riley, Julie Alin and Steve Johnson

36 Molly Yeh: Girl Meets Farm With winter in the air and a bun in the oven (due in March), Molly Yeh enters the season of her Food Network show, Girl Meets Farm. Residing in East Grand Forks, this local food blogger once again stirs up the foodie scene and shares a fresh, holiday take on an old favorite.


Trever Hill Design: Styled & Staged Through New Year’s Day

The More the Merrier: Monte Jones and Jerry Erbstoesser’s Holiday Soiree

64 studioBARRED architecture & interiors: From the Mountains to the Midwest See inside a 1,778 square-foot basement overhaul with architect and interior designer, Elizabeth Medd of studioBARRED architecture & interiors.


Fargo Glass & Paint: Framing in the View with Kim Stromberg

80 Essentia Health: Happy, Healthy Holidays! Meet Megan Spencer, a licensed psychologist in behavioral health at Essentia Health in Fargo. As an expert in simplifying stress, she gives her best tips and tricks to protect your health and enjoy your holidays.



Midwest Nest Magazine is a monthly print and online publication which features content and photography focusing on culture, entertaining and home design.



susan hozak-cardinal

alison monke, creative monke monica murray

dan francis photography m. schleif photography molly yeh the white house co. jo stark micah j. zimmerman essentia health fargo glass & paint



EDITOR tracy nicholson


alison monke, creative monke dennis krull, 5foot20 design lounge

COPY EDITORS kelly schulz tracy nicholson reyna bergstrom

CIRCULATION darren gibbins hal ecker


MIDWEST NEST MAGAZINE 4150 40th Avenue South, #310 Fargo, ND 58104 Read Midwest Nest Magazine online each month at For subscription requests go to For advertising inquiries in Midwest Nest Magazine or on, call 701-640-3284 or email Midwest Nest Magazine, LLC, Copyright 2017, Midwest Nest Magazine and midwestnestmagazine. com. All rights reserved. This publication cannot be reproduced without written permission of Midwest Nest Magazine. Midwest Nest Magazine will not be held responsible for any errors found in the magazine. Midwest Nest Magazine, LLC accepts no liability for statements made by advertisers.

molly yeh tara ekren katie sullivan trever hill the white house co. judd eskildsen julie alin steve johnson christy brawner-riley elizabeth medd kim stromberg

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT susan hozak-cardinal tracy nicholson kari lugo jenni carriveau

SOCIAL MEDIA susan hozak-cardinal tracy nicholson



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contributors + team


Contributors + Team Susan Hozak-Cardinal

Dan Francis

Morgan Schleif Nest

Francis is the lead photographer


contributing photographer and

for Midwest Nest and owner

Nest’s publisher and owner.

is the photographer and founder

of Dan Francis Photography in

She graduated from Minnesota

of M.Schleif Photography. With

Fargo, N.D. He is Fargo’s only


a degree in Graphic Design

Master, Photographic Craftsman

with a BS, and then from the



University of Mary, Fargo Center,

Concordia College, she found


with an MBM. Hozak-Cardinal

photography to be a natural

currently vice president of the

is the Marketing Director and Office Manager at Friendly Smiles Cosmetic Dentistry and

combination in serving her abilities with people and composition. She has a passion

N.D. and past board member of the FMVA. Francis brings

a REALTOR® at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier

for connection, community, and creativity which leads to

15-years of experience and quality work to Midwest Nest,

Properties. She is also co-owner of The Private Collection,

endless opportunities in the F-M area. Her style is less

contributing stunning home, art and portrait images to

a furniture rental business in Fargo.

‘posed’ and geared toward capturing a realistic impression

our pages. He is looking forward to showing readers his

of whomever she is photographing- allowing her clients

unique approach to his art that you won’t see anywhere

to be themselves and fully embrace their current phase

else. Francis works out of his downtown Fargo studio and

of life. A photographer by day and pint pourer by night at

can be found at













Professional Francis


Professional Photographers of

Junkyard Brewing Company, she is an extrovert who is

Trever Hill

most inspired by atmospherics, conversation, and human

Opening his design business in 2009, Hill quickly secured his spot as one of the top designers





In 2016, Hill was named the

expression. She is eager to add her take on the vibrant lifestyle that is Fargo, North Dakota to Midwest Nest. To

Kari Lugo

find more of her work, connect with her on Facebook or Instagram @ Mschleif Photography, or view her full portfolio

Fargo native, Lugo partnered


with Midwest Nest to specialize

F-M’s Best Decorator in the

in business development and

People’s Choice Awards and

advertising sales. Twenty years

has consistently ranked in the

in media have taken her through

top three for various, local nominations. As the owner of Trever Hill Design, he takes on a wide range of projects including remodels, spacial planning, staging, decorating and designing new homes. Hill takes readers on an exclusive tour of his latest commercial and residential projects, dissecting the design elements that create beautiful and functional spaces. Find more on Hill’s work at

Darren Gibbins

national radio, television, and film markets as well as global

Gibbins is a believer in the power of print. An itch for storytelling




awareness led him to pursue a




upon graduating with a BS in communications at Minnesota State








her an interesting palette of experience. Upon her return to the Midwest five years ago, Lugo has held positions in both media and marketing in Fargo. She is happy to be living and working back in her hometown again, where she is also a caregiver for her mother, who has ALS.


throughout the Midwest for the better part of two decades molded him into someone who is not easily overwhelmed.

Reyna Bergstrom Bergstrom is Midwest Nest’s first intern. A born and raised North Dakota gal, Bergstrom attended

Are you? Marketing a product or service doesn’t have to be difficult. He understands that. His role here is a simple one. Get your brand noticed. Eat. Sleep. Repeat!

Elizabeth Medd Medd




#33487) is the design principal


and founder of studioBARRED

May 2018

architecture & interiors, based

from Concordia College with a

in Fargo, N.D. Originally from





Lutheran in

degree in Communication. While in college Bergstrom enjoyed

Kim Stromberg









singing and touring with the

Stromberg is a Window Covering

Interior Designer for the past

Concordia Choir and interning for Senator John Hoeven in

Specialist at Fargo Glass & Paint

Washington D.C. She spent her past four summers working



15 years, working regionally and nationwide in the areas of large-scale commercial,

in western Montana as a counselor and art coordinator at

Nest. She brings over 23 years of

hospitality and high-end residential. She holds a Bachelor

Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp, a place she loved because

experience in the industry and

of Science in Design, Architectural Studies from Arizona

it stimulated her creativity, passion for people and love for

offers expert advice on the latest

State University and a Master of Architecture from NDSU.

the outdoors. She currently works as a Marketing Assistant



After moving back to the area, she now focuses her passion

at Family HealthCare and serves the Grand Forks region as

fabrics and technology. Beyond

on the humanity of architecture by developing and exploring

Miss HollyDazzle 2019, promoting her platform on servant

the industry, Stromberg’s true passion is her family; she is married with three children,

how we relate to our built environments and how we are

leadership. In her free time, she enjoys blogging, yoga, acrylic painting, and whipping up big batches of chocolate

one adorable grandson and four grand fur babies. In her off

design drives her desire to create and design from the very

chip cookies for friends and family.

time, Stromberg tests her creativity and grows her faith,

beginning of a project, through to the last detail.

contributor for



working part-time as a Christian Education Director for Pontoppidan Lutheran Church, in Downtown Fargo.

affected by the space we inhabit. Her passion for cohesive

contributors + team


Kelly Schulz

Alison Monke Monke is the owner and designer

Schulz is Midwest Nest’s Copy



Editor and works full time in

N.D. As Midwest Nest’s lead

marketing at Butler Machinery

advertising and layout designer,

Company’s corporate office in



Fargo, N.D. She has a bachelor’s

experience working with a variety

degree in Mass Communications

of companies in their design

from Minnesota State University









She received her BFA in Graphic

The White House Co. From left, Amanda Rydell, Samantha Klinkhammer and Katie Schiltz make up the team behind The White House Co. + Vintage Rentals. They are proud dumpster divers, curbside hunters, DIY’ers, and everyday thrifters. Together, they collect, restore, and create pretty things to share in their store and at hundreds of staged events around the region. Shop the goods at their Downtown Fargo shop or visit their warehouse, which has been packed to the brim








Design from MSUM. Monk has worked on everything from

University of Mary. She resides in North Fargo with her

t-shirts and brand strategies to websites. She is currently a

husband and two children. In her spare time she enjoys

full-time freelance designer helping many small to medium-

camping, thrifting, chalk paint projects, pretending to read

sized businesses and non-profits in the F-M area. Monke

books for book club and chasing after her little ones.

designed Midwest Nest’s logo and works closely with our team to create branding strategies and bring expertise to ad designs, helping local businesses speak their own brand and capture the audience’s attention. Find Monke’s work at

Katie Sullivan Sullivan is a freelance writer,

with a curated selection of vintage and modern rentals.






design. She writes about the rewards

Monica Murray Dennis Krull Krull is the owner and creative at 5foot20 design lounge in

for many different businesses, both locally and nationally. When he is not designing or working in photography, he can be found creating art with his encaustic medium. He is currently president of Gallery 4 artist co-op in Downtown Fargo.

A native of Rochester, MN and

home on her lifestyle website,

current undergraduate student


formal training in journalism






at the University of Minnesota,

design. While working toward

in dynamic DIY content for their website’s readers. Katie’s

a BS in Marketing with a Web

work has been published by various media outlets, including

Design minor, she gives many

the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Scary Mommy. Connect with

free hours over to the execution of brand identity expression—from concept development

her on Facebook @ Pretty Domesticated, on Instagram at @

and artist. He received his BFA He creates and photographs

of first

combined with her husband Daren’s carpentry skills results


in Graphic Design from MSUM.


to the Midwest Nest’s layout

day you will find him working a designer,



passion for order and beauty

Moorhead, M.N., where on any as



PrettyDomesticated, and on Pinterest @ktmsullivan.

to content visuals and logo design. Her free time is most enjoyed when spent baking a new recipe, hiking in the mountains, and engaging in authentic conversation over a quality cup of coffee.

Micah J. Zimmerman As a Fargo-based photographer and videographer, Zimmerman







specialist with Essentia Health in Fargo. As a member of the marketing and communications team, Ekren has the privilege


world, Ekren was raised in Langdon, N.D., where her dad was the hospital administrator and her mom a nurse. Ekren graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a few years later, landed in Fargo. She has worked in a mix of communications, fundraising, and event management roles during her career.

around him since the age of West

14, when a mission trip to India

Fargo, Carriveau specializes in

spurred his passion. Originally

business development. Before

with a focus on landscape

she arrived at Midwest Nest,


she spent three years in San




concert now

photography, specializes

in architectural, commercial, and event photography and

for a prominent Napa Valley

videography. His company, Amdak Productions, provides

chef. After nearly a decade

services across the nation for a variety of industries. When

away, Carriveau had honed her

he’s not shooting or working, he loves to spend his downtime

culinary skills and moved back to the area she loved, only

at the family cabin working on the landscaping and taking

to perfect the recreations of many of her favorite wine

care of the property. His passion for capturing emotion and

country dishes. She was fortunate to be able to stay home

life’s beauty continues to push his work. Follow him on

with her two sons for the first seven years, before starting

Instagram @zhotography & @amdak_productions.


No stranger to the medical



mission to make a healthy in



of sharing stories about their difference

has been capturing the world

Jenni Carriveau

Tara Ekren

a career as a wine and spirits representative, expanding her passion for quality wine and cocktails. With a love for design, culture and cuisine, combined with over 20 years in the customer service industry, Midwest Nest was a natural fit.




The Joy of Giving ... Necessities & Oddities I could use my entire December editorial to

practical and hygienic things. It wasn’t until I

talk about the importance of shopping small

was in college and started to realize the value of

businesses during the holidays, but by now, we

money, that I became grateful for these stocking

should all know the impact that shopping local

stuffers and even more grateful that I didn’t have

can have on our economy and the strength of our

to spend my hard-earned Chili’s paycheck on

community. This year, if you promise to spend

them. Antiperspirant, all of a sudden, seemed like

your dollars wisely and locally, I will spare you

an awesome gift.

my annual rant and share an entirely different concept in “shopping small”.

While these days I’m pushing 40-years-old, thanks to my mom and family tradition, we all

Have you seen the meme that refers to a child

still get a stocking. The hygienic necessities have

telling a mom that they’re out of toothpaste

since lessened, but the oddities have definitely

and the mom instinctively plans to include said

increased. Each year, our stockings get a little

necessary item in the poor child’s stocking?

fuller, stranger and funnier. Since we only give

After all, what’s another couple of weeks without

gifts to the nieces and nephews, our stockings

toothpaste? A good laugh later, it occurred to me

have become one small way the adults can still

of gag gifts that will grab a good laugh. Tire

that my mom wasn’t the only one that did this.

gift each other.

gauges, bacon air fresheners, Star Wars-themed

Stockings were hung and each year they were

We have a great time shopping at gas stations,

just a few of the surprises one might find in their

stuffed up to the white rim of fur with toothpaste,

grocery stores, boutiques and even hardware

stocking. How do we know who the gifter is?

socks, potent holiday lotion and an assorted

stores. Our per-person standard is typically a

Just listen for the loudest laugh; that’s always a

pack of Chapstick, among other completely

couple of small, but useful things, then a couple

dead giveaway. We spend between $10 and $20

toilet decals and light-up undergarments are

on each other, but seeing eight adults laugh as hard as they used to 20 years that’s priceless. This is our Midwest tradition I can only hope becomes a meme. Now that I’ve lured you in with my unusual family traditions, I’m going to swing back to the start. Here is that brief rant on shopping small that I promised I wouldn’t do. This month, I encourage everyone to spend a little less time online and a little more time browsing our local stores. The impact of shopping small can be felt across the entire community - a positive outcome which trickles down to our charitable organizations, schools, athletics, arts and culture programs. With holiday shopping in full swing, please give our local stores a little extra love and stuff those stockings with the funniest things you can find. A good laugh is always a great gift.

Happy Holidays from our Midwest Nest family to yours,

Tracy Nicholson

cookies + cocktails


Cookies + Cocktails Chef Judd Eskildsen, Proof Artisan Distillers Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman Meet Chef Judd Eskildsen of Downtown Fargo’s Proof Artisan Distillers. Just beyond his kitchen, you’ll find an array of nationally-awarded vodka, gin and whiskey; proudly-produced from North Dakota agricultural products, and distilled daily. Those who visit Proof - The Tasting Room, would be remiss to overlook his spirited pairings. With a wide range of seasonal flavors, gracing fresh seafood, beef, pork and chicken, Eskildsen knows how to spin native ingredients with extraordinary flavors. This is a hands-on, foodie experience with spiked seasonings, distilled from scratch - only a few feet from the kitchen.

CHOCOLATE, BACON & PEANUT BUTTER CUP COOKIES 1 - lb. bacon (chopped) – cooked until

PAIRING COOKIES + COCKTAILS Asking this master of meat to bake a holiday treat may have seemed like a stretch, but we promise, you’ll love his bacon, chocolate and peanut butter cup cookies. If that’s not enough, he served up one of his specialty entrees and taught us how to concoct a tasty Tipsy Mocha. This is one holiday menu that will bring the Christmas cheer, one perfectly-aged

done, but not extra crispy 2 - c. flour 3⁄4 - c. cocoa powder 1⁄2 - tsp. baking soda 1⁄2 - c. softened butter 1 - c. brown sugar

barrel at a time.

1⁄4 - c. white sugar


1 - tsp vanilla

“I absolutely love cookies, but they have to be soft. Since I was asked to share a family cookie recipe or one of my favorites, I mixed it up a bit. I love chocolate chip cookies, but there are a million recipes for them. I also really love my Grandma Arlos’ molasses cookies, but I’m a chef, so I went ahead and created an over the top, one of a kind cookie - because it’s not every day that you get your picture taken for a magazine!”

3 - eggs 14 oz. package mini peanut butter cups 1⁄2 - c. semisweet chocolate chips

cookies + cocktails


THE TIPSY MOCHA 1 â „ 2 oz. 2 Docks Vodka 1 â „ 2 oz. 2 Docks Cream Liqueur 1 oz. 2 Docks Coffee Liqueur 6 oz. hot Cocoa or Warm Chocolate Milk Add all ingredients to a coffee mug, top with whipped





needed. I used crushed, chocolate mintcovered pretzels from Costco.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Add butter, brown sugar and white sugar to a stand mixer, and mix with wire whip. Add eggs and vanilla to mixer and mix until smooth. Slowly add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, and mix until a dough is formed. Switch to the paddle attachment, and slowly add peanut butter cups and bacon. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes Scoop dough and place on a greased cookie sheet, using a 1.25 oz scoop (#40). Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack immediately.

Note: Cookies

will not appear to be fully done, but they will continue cooking during the cool-down.

THE TASTING ROOM MENU Eskildsen’s seasonally-changing menu is an eclectic mix of comfort food, elevated bar food and fine dining. His emphasis features fan favorites; from smoked and braised briskets to Southwest, steaks, sliders, authentic Italian pasta sauces and artisan burgers. Throw in his Chicken Wings Confit from the Shareables menu, ask him to pair it with the perfect cocktail, and you’ll likely knock out every possible craving. Chef Judd Eskildsen creates a bi-weekly Chef’s Feature dish that gives him the opportunity to get creative. A recent Chef’s Feature, the Manhattan Filet with Langostino Lobster,

CHEF’S SHIFTER 1⁄2 oz. Glen Fargo American Malt Whiskey 1⁄2 oz Minions Old Tom Gin 1⁄2 oz. Sweet Vermouth 1⁄4 oz. Grand Marnier 1⁄4 oz. Maraschino Liqueur Stir over ice for 30 seconds and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube and an orange peel garnish.

“I’m very confident in my BBQ abilities because of the amount of time I’ve spent working on them. Any time you see my name and BBQ, I highly urge you to be a part of it.” Chef Judd (Justin) Eskildsen, Proof Artisan Distillers

Vermouth Sauce, Aged Gouda Potato Rosti

wing than mine. There may be better sauces

with Sautéed Asparagus, was paired with The

out there, but not a better wing. I haven’t found

Chef’s Shifter. Gouda Potato Rosti with Sautéed

a decent way to dip a wing, so that led to the

Asparagus, was paired with The Chef’s Shifter.

creation of Buffalo & Bleu...why not mix it in right away, and skip the dipping part?”

“I like the idea of ‘elevated bar food’ when it love a great dish like the Steak with Langostino


Lobster and Vermouth Sauce, but who doesn’t

BBQ Beef Burnt Ends - Hickory smoked brisket

like chicken wings? You really can’t beat a damn

with crispy onion and honey mustard aioli

good sandwich either, and if you don’t like tacos,

Chicken Wings Confit - BBQ, Buffalo & Bleu, or

we probably shouldn’t be friends anymore. I’m

Sambal Chili

usually very humble about my food, but I have a

Tacos - Braised beef, Mojo pork, Salsa verde

hard time believing that there is a better chicken

chicken, BBQ pork

comes to appetizers,” said Eskildsen. “We all

CROOKED STOCKING STUFFERS Gift the host, stuff the stocking or brighten up your holiday party with Proof’s newest spirit, Crooked Furrow Bourbon Whiskey.


by their

downtown distillery and create your own two or three-pack gift box with their hand-crafted collection including: 2DOCKS Vodka, 2DOCKS FirebyProof Cinnamon Whiskey, 2DOCKS Coffee and 2DOCKS Cream Liqueur, MINIONS Gin, MINIONS BARRELED RESERVE Gin, MINIONS OLD TOM Gin, MINIONS Vän Skip Aquavit, Glen Fargo - American Malt Whiskey or Crooked Furrow • Harvest Blend. You can also find their Joel Kath, Founder - Proof Artisan Distillers

products at nearly 500 liquor stores, bars and restaurants throughout North Dakota and Minnesota. Proof’s new Crooked Furrow Bourbon Whiskey was distilled and barreled three years ago. It has finally reached the age they’d been patiently waiting for. “The one thing about whiskey is, whiskey is not good until it is good, and there’s really no in between,” said Joel Kath, Proof’s founder and distiller. “Our initial limited release will expand to bar and liquor store shelves by January. However, we are not releasing all of the barrels at three-years; otherwise, we would never get any six, 10 or 15-year old whiskey.”


cookies + cocktails COURSE #3

ONE BATCH AT A TIME Kath takes pride in using locally sourced ingredients; North Dakota-grown corn and barley as well as oak barrels from Minnesota. “Our whiskey production is “one batch, one barrel” - and we patiently monitor it until it’s ready,” said Kath. “We’ve won over 20 national awards across our entire line of spirits and just made the cover of the premier trade journal for North America Distillers. One of four selected this year, out of 1,800 craft distilleries - right here in Fargo. We are all about the passion of the spirit; crafting quality spirits from local products. You can find our products at your favorite bar, restaurant and liquor store.”

MEET THE CHEF: JUDD (JUSTIN) ESKILDSEN Eskildsen was born and raised in Moorhead, Minn., and has been the Executive Chef at Proof Artisan Distillers since 2015. Although he has no formal training, he started young in his mom’s kitchen and has worked in restaurants since he was 15-years-old. Once having plans to go to culinary school, he instead took on an eight-year career as a welder. With nights and weekend off, Eskildsen used his spare time to pursue his long-time passion, eventually purchasing a smoker which dove him deeper into the art of BBQ. Realizing he needed to pursue his true passion further, Eskildsen headed back to the kitchen, working in some of the best restaurants in Fargo-Moorhead. In the summer of 2015, he was asked to create a cocktail party-style dinner featuring Proof’s products. His debut, as a chef who could master pairings, would become the catalyst for a new career in the kitchen of Proof’s Fargo distillery. Many would agree that Eskildsen’s culinary career has been aged to perfection.

For more information, contact: Proof Artisan Distillers, LLC Judd Eskildsen, Executive Chef 315 North 5th Street #100, Fargo 218.979.1010

Cocktails CraftsŁCuisine Sunday Brunch Menu 9 AM to 1 PM Lunch Daily 11 AM to 4 PM Dinner 4 PM to close

Family Friendly Open to Public Daily Features Banquet Space Catering Services

Happy Hour Monday - Friday 3 PM to 6 PM Monday - Thursday 9 PM to close Sunday all day

915 19th Ave. E. West Fargo | | 701-532-2600

Experience an upscale eatery with big city offerings, the warmth and familiarity of a small-town favorite and the mystique of a 1920’s speakeasy! HOURS:

Tuesday - Saturday Restaurant 5-10pm, Bar 5-11pm


5-6pm, 9-11pm Tuesday - Saturday 1/2 priced apps, soups, and salads $7 select wine and libation specials

Dine with us in Downtown Fargo behind the Historic Fargo Theatre! 309 Roberts St, Fargo | 701.364.9479 | |



Holidays 3 2 nd A N N U A L T O U R

HOME #1: DESIGN BY CHRISTY BRAWNER-RILEY Story by Tracy Nicholson | Photography by Dan Francis Photography To kick off the 32nd Annual Homes for the Holidays tour, by NDSU’s Alpha Gamma Delta Alumnae, we visited the 1923 character home of Sara Oltvedt and Dan Olson, in Fargo’s Historic Hawthorne neighborhood. Each November, this tour partners area designers with local boutiques and homeowners to create stunning holiday scenes ready to inspire. This year, we followed local designer, Christy Brawner-Riley who showcased her recent refresh with holiday decor from Eco Chic Home.

holiday design


Oltvedt and Olson moved into their 1923 Fargo home just three years ago and have recently been working with Christy Brawner Interiors to refresh their home’s layout and furnishings. As the fifth family to reside here in 95 years, the home had already gone through a handful of remodels and upgrades, many of them dating back to the 50s and 90s. When they moved in, they brought their own heirloom furnishings and so started the challenge of what to keep and what to respectfully set aside. As beautiful as their furnishings were, many of their existing pieces did not fit the light and bright look they wanted to incorporate. Very carefully, Brawner-Riley worked with the homeowners to update furnishings and room layouts to better suit their family’s needs.

HOLIDAY DESIGN For the tour, Brawner-Riley worked with decor from Eco Chic Home in Fargo, to complete the homeowner’s nature-inspired beautiful







greenery and some of the more natural elements that I

the space,” said Brawner-Riley.

wanted to bring in here. I didn’t want to go over-the-top Christmas,

“The pillows on the sofa were kind of our jumping off point - I found that

but I wanted it to have that classic Christmas feeling with warm and

fabric and loved it; it also had some of the turquoise in the chairs, so we

cozy elements,” said Brawner-Riley. To complement the Eco Chic Home

had those pillows custom-made,” she continues. “This pattern was also the

decor, she also incorporated a few of her own holiday-inspired pieces.

inspiration for some of the colors and more natural aspects of the tree in the nearby sunroom. They have a beautiful garden all around the house, so it’s


kind of nice to bring that nature in. The house just lends itself because it’s

Previously, this room was underused, but Oltvedt wanted this to be an

so classic and centered around simplicity. All of the furniture in this room is

area where she could have friends and family and entertain. “By changing

new, except for the piano. I found the sofa and chairs at McNeal & Friends.

the entire layout of the room and making the fireplace the focus, they

Some of the smaller pieces like the side tables and coffee table were found

will get a lot more use out of it and be able to sit comfortably and enjoy

on Wayfair.”

holiday design


“Since it’s been done, I come out here every morning and I’m amazed

in the sunroom, near their son’s chess table. “The new layout of the

that this is our house, it’s not just something from a magazine that I’ve

living room was designed as a space for entertaining, so we wanted to

seen and want,” said Oltvedt.

keep that as is and not obstruct the flow,” said Brawner-Riley.

With subtle changes in furnishings and layout continuing in each of the

“Sara had wanted to replace all of her Christmas decor, so, shortly

rooms, the homeowners have a running list of areas to update in their

after I found out that I would be doing the holiday design here, I

historic home; including the fireplace’s stone surround and kitchen. To

stumbled upon everything I needed. I was out thrift store shopping

respect the home’s original charm and high-end finishes, each decision

(I’m an avid thrift shopper), I found all of the jewel-toned ornaments

is a balancing act of new and old.

on this tree,” said Brawner-Riley. “I ordered the pompous grass from Hornbacher’s to bring in that feather element and I also brought in

TREASURED TREE After Brawner-Riley had designed a new layout for the adjacent living room, it was decided that the Christmas tree would be better served

the peacock feathers.”

holiday design


THE BAR HARBOR ROOM The room where they spend most of their family time was dubbed the Bar Harbor room, long before their day. Recently, the homeowners were told by a local expert that it was likely built in the 50s, judging by the brickwork on the fireplace. The floorboards were predicted to have come from the original carriage house. For the holiday decor, Brawner-Riley complemented the warmer wood tones and chose classic comfort with plush pillows from Eco Chic Home. “With this room being more of a family room, I wanted to go with a classic red for the tree and decor, and I designed for the little niches and kept it simple,” said Brawner-Riley. The red bird on the coffee table is a treasured piece the homeowner bought for her very first home, many years ago at the first Junk Market held in Eco Chic’s parking lot.

holiday design


ELEGANCE AT THE TABLE The dining room’s floral wallcovering and custom built-ins were originally

tying in the nature print from the formal living room’s pillows. Fur placemats,

designed by previous owners who lived in the home for 28 years. Working

aspen branches, fresh-cut greens and her own vintage bone china, set the

with the home’s historic charm, Brawner-Riley adorned the heirloom dining

tone for timeless tradition and elegance. Near the built-ins and console, she

table with new, more stylized captains chairs and nature-inspired bird prints;

chose pine tree accents from Eco Chic Home.

holiday design GALLERY GALLEYS The Sara Oltvedt’s father is a well-known artist and former MSUM Art Professor, Carl Oltvedt. Nearly every piece of their collection is local or regional, with a few favorites from Bob Crowe, Kay Ornberg, Charles Beck, Dan Jones and many more. Brawner-Riley found the console table near the front entry at SCHEELS Home & Hardware. The artwork behind the floral is a piece by local artist, Kay Ornberg. “Kay used to travel with my dad; this is a tree that she painted from a trip that my dad led in Scotland. My husband, Dan had this painting before we met, so when my dad came over for the first time to his house and saw the painting that he had, he said, ‘I know what tree that is!’ So, later he went home and dug through his photos and brought the photo of the actual tree.



GIVING BACK BY DESIGN “What really brings the designers, volunteers and homeowners together, in one collaborative effort, is knowing that the work we do gives back to the F-M community,” said co-chair Brenna Naseer. “Each year, we choose a different local charity to receive a share of proceeds from Homes for the Holidays. Last year’s event supported the Great Plains Food Bank BackPack Program and this year we chose Churches United for the Homeless. That is one of the biggest reasons why I love being a part of Homes for the Holidays - playing a small role in something that has made an impact for local people over so many years; it’s truly a great feeling.”

For more information, contact: Christy Brawner Interiors 916.956.5330 christy@christybrawnerinteriors .com

Eco Chic Home 3265 45th Street S. Fargo 701.356.6600

Buying or Selling a Home? RE/MAX Legacy Realty provides a wide range of real estate services and utilizes the most current technology, processes and systems to assist you with all your home buying and home selling needs. Whether you are new to the market, an experienced investor or looking to build you dream home, we have the expertise, proven track record, and resources to help you achieve your real estate goals. | 4342 15th Ave. S, Fargo ND | 701.492.5050


All Things Merry At Rocking Horse Farm HOME #2: DESIGN BY JULIE ALIN & STEVE JOHNSON, SCHEELS HOME & HARDWARE Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography

Part two of our walk through the 32nd Annual Homes for the Holidays tour takes us to the home of Lauren and Alex White, in Fargo’s Rocking Horse Farm development. Since design consultants, Julie Alin and Steve Johnson of SCHEELS Home & Hardware had already worked with the Whites to choose the home’s furnishings, they joyfully volunteered their time and the store’s decor to deck the halls for Christmas and a great cause.


WELCOMING THE WHITE FAMILY TO FARGO When the Whites transferred to Fargo for their careers and left their furniture behind, they recruited the help of Alin and Johnson of SCHEELS Home & Hardware, to furnish every square-inch of their stunning home, built by T&S Custom Homes. Alin and Johnson have donated their time and talents to many homes throughout the tour, all of which were previous design clients. The Whites graciously agreed to donate their home for the tour, and the designing duo was thrilled to once again collaborate with their clients that they now call friends. Sadly, this will mark one of Alin’s last professional design projects as she is soon retiring after 24 years with SCHEELS Home & Hardware. “It’s been awesome, I love working with Julie and Steve,” said Lauren White. “When they first came in a year ago, they did our whole house; now I consider them great friends. They are amazing at what they do.”

MAKING ALL THINGS MERRY! For the home’s holiday design, Alin and Johnson first met with Lauren White to discuss her color preferences. Even though the tour is catered to tour-goers, they also wanted to make sure they chose decor that would fit her preference and personal style. After the Whites had decided on a classic red and green holiday, the duo spent nearly three days assembling the decor for each of the main floor rooms. The family brought in their own 12-foot tree in the great room and Alin and Johnson got to work, hauling in holiday cheer. To fill the 2,200 square-foot main level, they would need a 17-foot cube truck and two carloads, filled to the brim with Christmas decor. “Since the Whites chose reds and greens, which tend to be more traditional, we brought in a few more contemporary items for contrast,” said Johnson. “Even though the home has more of an open concept, with the dining room, kitchen and family room sharing the same space, we chose a coordinating, but slightly different flavor for each. The dining room is full of sparkling glitz and glam with silver and metallic accents. We kept the pops of red mainly in the kitchen and a small amount in the family room. In the master bedroom, we chose a metallic and vintage look with a pale blue and green in the ornaments.”

holiday design

VINTAGE IN THE KITCHEN In the kitchen, Alin and Johnson found the perfect recipe for rustic chic, inspired by the cabinetry’s more traditional detailing. “SCHEELS Home & Hardware has an entire department of Christmas decor and we wanted to showcase as much as possible,” said Alin. “Many of the pieces were purchased at market and made up, as is, so we did a lot of layering so we could more easily create that farmhouse vintage look.”

OH, CHRISTMAS TREE! For the tree that would be the transition between each of the styles, Alin and Johnson chose a dash of glam to complement the rustic metals, wood tones and pops of classic red. “The birch ribbon adds a great texture, but it also lends a woodsy look while pairing it with our galvanized ornaments and adding contrast with some of Lauren’s Mercury glass ornaments,” said Johnson. “It’s nice to have the rustic base, but then have that glint of finer ornaments.” For a finished look, Alin and Johnson also added in branch sprays and red Mercury bulbs in two different sizes to give the room a hint of color. To spruce of the family room, Alin and Johnson adorned the furnishings (all from SCHEELS Home & Hardware) with warm and cozy textures like Mongolian sheep wool, faux furs and soft, cable-knit throws.


holiday design



1. DESIGN IN THREES. When it comes to holiday tablescape vignettes and layering, Alin suggests working in threes and making sure to allow for a high, medium and low height in items. Creating those peaks and valleys helps add interest and depth to your design.

2. CREATE EASY, WALK-BY WHIMSY. Alin and Johnson add simple garland and sprays to everyday items like wall sconces, mirrors, door knobs, coat hooks and stair railings. “We love long garland because it can easily wrap around things like chandelier chains and then we can spruce it up with bulbs, floral, sprays, twigs or lights,” said Alin. “One of our biggest tricks of the trade is using long pipe cleaners; they’re soft, they bend easy and they don’t scratch your wood banisters or metal decor. We can pull a whole house together for Christmas with one bag of pipe cleaners.”

3. BRIGHTEN UP DULL DISPLAYS. Complete your design and vignettes with candles, faux candles or mini LED light strings to create a warm glow. “Now you can add lights, where you couldn’t in the past,” said Johnson. “Sometimes the bulky cord of traditional string lights can ruin a look, so I love how the fine wire of the seed LED lights work so well in table arrangements - the wire itself looks like part of the design.”

4. LET THE HOME’S CRAFTSMANSHIP INSPIRE THE DESIGN. In the kitchen, Alin and Johnson took note of the more traditional details like the cabinetry’s braiding and moldings to inspire the surrounding design. “The exterior has a modern farmhouse look, while the interior is more of classic, cottage-style with a twist of traditional,” said Alin. “To make this design work, we brought in a lot of things that looked like they had been collected over time, such as vintage or flea market-style finds.”

holiday design


5. GO BIG AND UNBREAKABLE. Where glass ornaments were once the only option, they have since been replaced with plastic that looks identical to glass. This allows the duo to display larger sizes without adding unneeded weight. “With bigger trees, you really do need bigger ornaments,” said Alin. “On a tree this size, it’s nice to have a mixture of small, medium and large.”

6. TRANSFORM EVERYDAY ELEMENTS. Since the home already had a base of farmhouse decor, Alin and Johnson used some of the onsite items like herbs and ferns, which could easily transition to holiday decor. “We pull a lot of everyday merchandise before we even start installing the holiday decor,” said Alin. “We typically gather as many big urns, pots, tins, buckets and baskets as we can.”

7. FIND YOUR CHRISTMAS CONTRAST. If you’re taking a rustic farmhouse approach, Alin and Johnson suggest using a variance of textures for high-contrast holiday design. Where they’ve used duller finishes like birch, galvanized metal or rustic woods, they’ve also used hints of shimmering metals, Mercury glass or sparkle.

8. APPEAL TO SEASONAL SENSES. Once you’ve brightened up the space with string lights, LEDs or candles, Alin suggests finishing the ambiance with Christmas music and holiday aromas to match the decor. One of her go-to scents for this time of year is Scentsy’s Fresh Cut Christmas Tree, which can also be found at SCHEELS Home & Hardware.

For more information, contact: HOMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS Facebook at fmhomesfortheholidays Elly Peterson & Brenna Naseer NDSU Alpha Gamma Delta, Tour Co-Chairs

SCHEELS Home & Hardware Design Consultants: Julie Alin & Steve Johnson 3202 13th Avenue South, Fargo 701.232.8903

ELTA D DESIGN & CONST. 701-235-1212 ns


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Remodeling with Style! 701-235-1212 ww

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©1997-2018 Delta Design

FROM AROUND THE WORLD! Downtown Fargo 317 Broadway N 701.293.2088


a very

Vintage Christmas Story by Tracy Nicholson with The White House Co. | Photography by The White House Co.

When winter’s in the air and tinsel’s on the town, it’s time to spruce up your tree and everything else around. Ask Santa for a little help and wait till Christmas day...or take your sleigh downtown now, and see what The White House Co. elves have on display. With an eclectic mix of vintage and modern goodies, these holiday collages will inspire hot cocoa and fuzzy footies. Katie




Samantha Amanda

Rydell - they’re the brains behind the design, so if you want to replicate their wintry scenes, they said, “It’s more than fine.” Go ahead, deck the kitchen, family room and hall, and don’t forget...find festive presents for all!

shop + design


Conversation starters… whimsical décor outside of the norm creates a focal point leaving your guests with something to talk about. Who doesn’t need an eye ornament for their Christmas tree?

Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. Not every bulb has to be shiny and bright. Add these little creatures to your décor for a playful setting that everyone is sure to fall in love with.

“At Christmas, all roads lead to home.” –Marjorie Holmes. Cozy, winter scene paint by numbers is a sure way to add that wintry touch without bringing the snow inside. It’s an easy way to mix your vintage collection in with your modern-day ornaments.

34 Ornaments plus more ornaments…you can never have too many. Every ornament holds a story

Tinsel, shiny lights, bottle brush trees, darling little deer and chubby rosy-cheeked Santas…oh my! These are a few of our favorite things.

and memory, creating that family tradition where everyone has their favorites to hang on the tree. Mixing vintage and modern, you can never go wrong. {$2-$12 at The White House Co.}

From butterflies to shiny bulbs, anything can serve as a decoration for the tree. Being creative and thinking outside the box is one of our favorite secrets for designing the perfect tree.

Merry Junking! xo The White House Girls For more information, contact: The White House Co. | Shop + Vintage Rentals Ho ho ho, Santa baby! An easy way to add red into your Christmas décor


without going overboard. Just looking at this jolly little fella can put a smile on anyone’s face. Popular

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inside The White House Co.

Warehouse Location: 910 Main Ave, Fargo Open by Appointment





Story by Tracy Nicholson & Molly Yeh | Photography courtesy of Molly Yeh

With holiday excitement in the air and a bun in the oven (due in March), Molly Yeh debuted the big news last month, during the premiere of her second season of Food Network’s show, Girl Meets Farm. Filmed in the home she shares with her husband Nick Hagen, a fifth-generation farmer in East Grand Forks, this local food blogger has been stirring up the food scene since 2009. Since her number one fans are right here in the Midwest, we reached out to Yeh to help us kick off our holiday baking with a fresh take on an old favorite, brown sugar cookies.

Girl Meets Farm

Brown Sugar Cookies

MOLLY YEH’S BROWN SUGAR COOKIES [Makes about 8 large cookies]

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and


mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out hockey-puck-size mounds of dough (about two ice cream scoops of dough, balled up and flattened slightly) and place them on the baking sheet. It’s


okay for them to sit snugly up against each other for this step. Sprinkle the tops with a pinch of flaky


salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 72. (In a pinch, you can bake

½ - C. SUGAR

Feel free to bake these in batches or freeze some to bake at a later date (frozen cookies can be baked


these after just 1 hour of refrigerating, but curing the dough for 24 hours will yield the best results.) right out of the freezer, but they’ll need more time in the oven). Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.


Place the cookies three inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until the bottoms are lightly browned,


for 10 minutes. Remove to the rack to cool completely.

but the centers are still soft. Begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes. Cool on the pan on a rack

37 37 37

MEET MOLLY YEH! Years before I became hip to Levain or Birdbath (my two favorite cookie spots in New York), or Carol’s Cookies (my favorite in Chicago), or the salty bittersweet chocolate chip cookie at the town bakery, my older sister invented a cookie that is so jarring in principle, it’ll make you either scoot fast in the opposite direction, or stick around just to see if the world explodes; chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. No, it’s not just a sugar cookie, homogeneous throughout and frosted with glee. It’s a chewy, gooey, crackly puck that doesn’t have a name to ride on or a trust fund under its butt. It’s not decorated or fancy. All it has to offer is that it’s a quality cookie. These will show you that with all of the research put out into the world by Jacques Torres and J. Kenji López-Alt, one can achieve a beyond-terrific cookie, sans the hook of them containing chocolate. Because a great chocolate chip cookie isn’t great because it has chocolate, a great chocolate chip cookie is great because it has a foundation of gold; something we don’t give enough credit to. Is this getting preachy? The point is, I appreciate the spaces filled between the chocolate chips, and just like I prefer my challah without raisins, I often prefer my cookies without any chocolate to disrupt the perfect blend of butter and sugar.

"I appreciate the spaces filled between the chocolate chips, and just like I prefer my challah without raisins, I often prefer my cookies without any chocolate to disrupt the perfect blend of butter and sugar." Molly Yeh

FIND THIS RECIPE IN YEH'S COOKBOOK, MOLLY ON THE RANGE: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm © 2016 by Molly Yeh. Reprinted with permission from Rodale Books.

FOLLOW MOLLY YEH! • Catch episodes from her TV series, Girl Meets Farm on Food Network, Sundays at 11:00 a.m. • Watch video exclusives with Molly Yeh and get how-to’s on cake decorating and making your favorite childhood snacks at • Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #GirlMeetsFarm. • Follow Yeh on Facebook and Instagram @mynameisyeh.

4493 Beach Lane S, Fargo, ND 58104 Bed: 5 | Bath: 4 | MLS 18-5387




Picture yourself in this unique two-story on the Osgood Golf Course. This home features heated, stained concrete floors with an open layout. A stunning kitchen design including a large built in seating area perfect for one long table, or 2 smaller ones to fit your needs. A living room with double-volume ceilings and large windows facing the golf course, as well as automatic blinds. The master bedroom has a separate office nook with built-ins, and windows on 3 sides with a door to the back patio. The master bath features dual sinks, dual closets and a large soaking tub surrounded by windows. Enjoy laundry on the main level, including even more built ins and an office area. On the upper level, you will find another living space perfect for relaxation.

Jon Bennett, REALTOR®

Susan Hozak-Cardinal, REALTOR®


701-200-8839 | 1815 38th Street S, Fargo, ND 58103

©2018 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of B Hathaway and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are r ©2018 BHHS Affiliates, LLC. Real Estate Brokerage Services are offered through the network member franchisees of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Most franchisees are independently owned and operated.HomeServices Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Information not verified or guaranteed. If your property is currently listed with a Broker, this is not intended a solicitation. Equal Housing Housing Opportunity. HomeServices of as America, Inc.® Equal Opportunity.

Charitable Gift Card





45TH ST. S.

We Put the World at Your Feet

17TH AVE. S.

Merry Christmas

4601 17th Ave S. Fargo (701) 235-7525 celebrating

from our family to yours...







style & stage through new year’s day TREVER HILL DESIGN Story by Trever Hill with Tracy Nicholson | Photography by Dan Francis Photography With holiday and new year parties

This setting will show you a fun fusion of

nearing, I decided to stage and style a

local art as well as vintage and modern

photo shoot using locally-sourced finds,

decor that you can rent or buy to host

with the idea that it can then be recreated

your holidays. Since furnishing trends

in your own home. The White House

tend to emulate fashion trends, I made

Co.'s downtown warehouse provided the

sure to include a few model friends to

perfect backdrop with a bonus - my pick

show off some bold party looks from my

from hundreds of vintage furnishings in

friends at Downtown Fargo's Others and

a rainbow of rich colors and textures.

Proper & Prim.


BORROWING BEAUTY In the midst of planning a party but don’t think your furnishings are festive enough? Most people don’t realize that if they want to spruce up their space, it’s as easy as hiring a local designer for a consult or renting a couple of items for a day or weekend. You can really make a huge impact by adding in just a few fun pieces in interesting colors or textures.

LOVELY LOUNGING Our festive lounge scene is focused on the velvet settee from The White House Co. along with a coordinating large-scale art piece from my friend, Jessica Wachter. To add a vintage-mod dimension, I included a vintage area rug over the sisal rug, modern coffee table and fun, velvet side chairs. The majority of these items can be rented or purchased in Fargo-Moorhead with the exception of the sisal rug - this was an online find.




EMBRACE YOUR INNER BOOKWORM Vintage, hardcover books are not just for reading. They also make great decor when you coordinate the colors in rows or stacks on shelves, side tables or tablescapes. The White House Co. sells these and often accents the colorful rows with rustic items like deer antlers. For this shoot, I added in a reflective disco ball which can carry the design from Christmas to New Year’s Eve.

DINE IN STYLE To create the dining area, I first found the dining table and tree at Eco Chic Home, then added some color with rustic wood chairs from O’Day Cache. On the tabletop, I strayed away from traditional holiday colors, yet still kept the look festive with floral from Love Always Floral and gorgeous place settings from McNeal & Friends.

ENTERTAINING BUT INDECISIVE? Sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes, so whether you’re working with a designer like myself or a place that rents furnishings, make sure to keep an open mind. Bring a picture and The White House Co. can quickly help you choose from hundreds of rental options and colors. A consult with a designer in your home can help you to see outside of the traditional ideas of holiday decor and seamlessly fuse it with your existing style and furnishings.

Our business is to promote yours.

Models from Left: Atati Mita, Cassandra Colling, Sydney Fritz and Myranda Ingram

DRESS TO IMPRESS Once I’d set the stage, our

• In-house screen printing • In-house embroidery • Top-notch graphic design and digitizing • Promotional products

models had to be equally adorned,



two fantastic boutiques in Downtown Fargo. To dress the ladies, Myranda Ingram, Sydney Fritz and Cassandra



visited my friend Teresa O’Day at Proper & Prim and they were quickly outfitted in glitz, glam and fun materials that played into our vintagemod vibe. Our lone male model, Atati

Mita was

dressed in clothing from Others.




Shop the look! THE WHITE HOUSE CO. Side Chair Rental


Available for Purchase at Target | $258

Arrangement | $149

ALEXANDRA FARMS Roses Grown/Sourced

PROPER & PRIM Sequined romper | $88


PROPER & PRIM Black Sequin Dress | $84

Sisal Rug | $279


MCNEAL & FRIENDS Place Setting & Stemware | $562

THE WHITE HOUSE CO. Pillows | $29 each



THE WHITE HOUSE CO. Books | $3 each

O’DAY CACHE Dining Chair | $65

ECO CHIC HOME Dining Table | $915



Tree | $299

Men’s Dress Shirt | $48



Sofa Rental | $100 daily

Maroon Glimmer Dress | $60



GIFT THE HOST During the holidays, parties are plentiful, so make sure you’re prepared to pamper the host. Here are two fun gift ideas that will spark conversation and spice up the festivities. Photo by Jo Stark

HOT RUBY Hot Ruby was created in 1950 in the kitchen of Ruby Faye in Mabelle, Texas. Faye’s cranberry cider recipe, infused with cinnamon and clove, was famous among friends and family and always served up simmering hot. For familyfriendly functions, try it with sparkling water, ginger ale or club soda. If you prefer spicy and spiked, there are endless ways to serve it up cold with champagne, tequila or ginger beer or make it hot the way Faye intended with vodka, spiced whiskey or bourbon. Get the full story and list of recipes at Where to Buy in Fargo-Moorhead: Shotwell Floral & Greenhouses 4000 40th Street South, Fargo

BĒT VODKA In 2016, BĒT (pronounced ‘beet’) VODKA came to life in Minneapolis. From generations of Midwest family farmers to the cooperative where the harvest is gathered, BĒT distills the bounty of sugar beets from the Red River Valley, down to its simplest and purest essence. The result is a sophisticated premium-pour meant be sipped and savored — unlike traditional vodka. Similar to Midwestern culture, BĒT is served best alongside good company. BĒT Vodka comes in mini bottles and 750 ml. bottles. Check out their full story at Where to Buy in Fargo-Moorhead: Royal Liquors | Happy Harry’s Bottle Shop Bottle Barn | Crown Liquors | 99 Bottles

For more information, contact: Trever Hill Design

Receive up to a



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Shoppes at BLU

Fargo’s Newest Shopping Destination!

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Everything you need for stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, elevating your tabletop & looking your best!



Chocolate Coffee Cake with Whipped Mascarpone Frosting Story by Katie Sullivan, Pretty Domesticated | Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman

I don’t know about you, but when the holiday’s roll around, I survive on two things to get me through decking the halls, wrapping gifts and hosting my family; it's coffee and sugar. But, I’m a mom and that means I’m all about efficiency. Enter my holiday cake, where I’ve combined my two great loves (other than my family, of course). This cake is sure to impress your guests. One: everyone makes holiday cookies, but does everyone make a holiday cake? I think not. Two: it sounds fancy. Throw in words like mascarpone, espresso and naked cake, and people might even think you went to culinary school, when really, you’re whipping up a pretty basic chocolate cake. You may even impress your mother-inlaw, but let’s not get carried away. I’m not a miracle worker, I just know a good cake when I taste one.


Chocolate Coffee Cake 3 c. all-purpose flour 3 c. granulated sugar 1 ½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tbs. baking soda 1 ¾ tsp. baking powder 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt 4 large eggs 1 ½ c. buttermilk ½ c. canola oil 2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 ½ c. hot coffee

Whipped Mascarpone Frosting 2 c. heavy cream, cold 2 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted 2 tsp. vanilla extract Pinch of kosher salt 16 oz. mascarpone cheese, chilled

Sugared Cranberries ½ c. water ¾ c. granulated sugar, divided 1 c. cranberries




Directions To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 °. Grease and line the bottom of three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt on a low speed until well combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, canola oil, vanilla and hot coffee, and beat on a medium speed until smooth. Divide batter evenly among the three pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes, and then turn cakes onto a cooling rack. To make the frosting: In a large bowl, combine heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the cream holds a soft peak. Add the mascarpone cheese and whip until blended.

To make the cranberries: In a small pot, whisk water and ½ c. of sugar to combine. Bring to a simmer and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in cranberries until they are well coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cranberries to a baking sheet and let dry for at least 1 hour. Roll cranberries in remaining sugar until well coated. Let dry for at least 1 hour.

Once cakes are fully cooled, level them and stack with a generous amount of frosting between each layer.

Lightly frost the entire cake. Decorate with cranberries as desired.


This cake and hot cocoa are a match made in holiday heaven. I like to dress up store bought cocoa with a drop of peppermint oil and some homemade whip cream. To make whip cream, use an electric mixer to beat 1 c. heavy cream, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and 2 tbs. granulated sugar until fluffy.






Katie Sullivan resides in West Fargo, N.D., with her husband Daren and their two children, Eva and Kristian.

SOURCES Florals - Love Always Floral Holiday & select kitchen decor - Eco Chic Home Art - The Atelier Collection

Keep up with Katie and her family at Instagram: @PrettyDomesticated Facebook: Pretty Domesticated Pinterest: KtMSullivan



The More the Merrier Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M. Schleif Photography

Famous for their holiday soirees, we consider Monte Jones and Jerry Erbstoesser,



After moving from their Downtown Moorhead condo last year, the two happily settled into the suburbs of West Fargo. While this summer we took you inside their first garden party fundraiser - nearly one year ago, we crashed their Christmas. See inside the couple’s festive, annual gathering, uniting their beloved, old and new neighborhoods with holiday cheer.

Monte Jones & Jerry Erbstoesser


“Everybody, don’t be shy; if there’s a flat surface, park it,” laughed host, Monte Jones. A bit of advice when attending one of Jones and Erbstoesser’s gatherings - leave your formality at the door and get ready to mingle with the friendliest folks around. Don’t let the elaborate decor and Jone’s glittery attire confuse you; what appears to most as an exclusive soiree of who’s who in Fargo-Moorhead, is actually an inclusive celebration of neighbors and friends, old and new. Jones and Erbstoesser are born entertainers with a contagious enthusiasm for gathering in the name of friendship. If we had to guess their party-planning motto, we can only assume it would be, “The more, the merrier.”




Jones and Erbstoesser set the bar high when

“Our friends make us happy and that’s what

it comes to cuisine and cocktails. Both work

makes this party - it’s all of our friends. It’s

in fine dining and catering with Delta Hotels

simple; we like all of our friends, so we assume

by Marriot and Urban 42, so naturally, they

that all of our friends will like each other. That’s

recruited James Labonte, the hotel’s banquet

what brings us joy,” said Jones.

chef to create an exquisite mix of cold and hot appetizers with an array of delectable desserts. Guests happily grazed on antipasto platters, shrimp ceviche, crackers with brie, spiced walnuts and balsamic reduction, along with Southwest skewers and avocado cream, flank steak sliders and spinach and artichoke paninis.

For more information on Jones and Erbstoesser’s catering, contact: Delta Hotel | Marriot 1635 42nd Street South, Fargo 701-277-9000



Hill specializes in residential and commercial projects around the Fargo-Moorhead & Lakes areas. He has shown cutting edge home design, utilizing finishes and products from local stores in staging homes, remodels, new builds and historic renovations. 701-715-3077



From the Mountains to the Midwest BASEMENT REMODEL

Although the Midwest is not known for mountains nor

with studioBARRED architecture & interiors

love for the great outdoors and passion for skiing and

rustic chalets, this Horace couple wanted to bring their travel, into their 1994 home. They entrusted the 1,778 square-foot basement overhaul to architect and interior

Story by Reyna Bergstrom Photography by Dan Francis Photography

designer, Elizabeth Medd of studioBARRED architecture & interiors. To the homeowner’s delight, Medd fused both talents to give them more than they could have ever imagined. Their open-layout basement is based on beautiful craftsmanship with a Spanish, mountain-lodge influence, that is every bit as light and bright, as it is warm and cozy.


RAW BEAUTY UNDERFOOT Heading downstairs, guests are likely to take their time, admiring the sturdiness and raw beauty of the custom staircase. Solid steps made from three-inch-thick reclaimed wood from Dakota Timber Company can be felt underfoot, accompanied by a curved, sleek steel railing from Fargo Fabricators. This design was the brainchild of Medd and created a seamless flow from the original first-floor to the redesigned lower level. To help with the construction, Medd and the homeowner recruited general contractor, Dan Savageau. Recessed lighting illuminates the handrail and Spanish-inspired arches lead the way from room to room.

OPEN FLOOR PLAN = ENDLESS OPTIONS Designed to capture the natural light, Medd worked with the homeowners to create a cozy, travel-inspired escape using Spanish elements with beautiful wood and stone, accompanied by soft textures and colors. The new layout allowed for a redesign of the kid's bedrooms, as well as plenty of extra space for entertaining.

With two kids sharing the lower level, I wanted the space to be able to take a beating; be durable enough for running around and playing, yet still look beautiful and elegant for entertaining,” said Medd. With an open floor plan and nine-foot ceilings, the kids requested to keep the long hallway unobstructed and the homeowners obliged. This hallway was the perfect spot to let their two kids, 10 and 11, kick the ball around, especially in the winter months. White textured walls accent earth-toned furnishings and provide the perfect balance of light and airy with warm and cozy. Wood ceilings and arches add dimension and character to the newly reopened floor plan. A wine bar, pool table area, movie theater and family room all flow effortlessly through the open space. Medd’s goal was to create a space that was every bit as comfortable as it was aesthetically appealing. “It is fairly rare to be a licensed architect and hold an NCIDQ certificate,” said Medd. “Because I am passionate about both fields (architecture and interior design), it was important for me to pursue both. It allows me to design projects that tell the client’s story through the entire language of the project, from the very beginning and down to the last detail.”



WINE & DINE Just beyond the stairs, the wine bar makes a stunning first impression with it's warm, wood






Medd designed the bar to be fully functional with a sink, full refrigerator and freezer. The woodwork and cabinetry were completed by Fargo Cabinets, Inc. with details executed by Dan Savageau Construction, along with custom, built-in cabinets Medd designed for wine storage. Floating shelves accented with lighting are accompanied by a backsplash made of a geometrically patterned, porcelain tile from TileXDesign.

MOVIE NIGHT + TEE TIME A few steps from the wine bar and pool table is the family’s sunken movie theater with nearly 10-foot ceilings. Comfy loungers, side tables and plenty of pillows make the space cozy and inviting. Instead of typical home theater seating, Medd opted to install a more versatile design with specially-designed benches and one large, custom-made cushion.

One of the benches is designed to transform into additional bedding for guests. "The idea was to have one large cushion, custom-made, so it wouldn’t slide around and have uncomfortable separations between cushions," said Medd. "We included a large screen for the theater, and soon this space will also accommodate a golf simulator, so the extra space will definitely be used." Stained, knotty alder wood continues throughout the space with deep Benjamin Moore tones on the walls. To hone in the room’s acoustics and manage any potential moisture issues in the basement slab, Medd chose Kinetics flooring from JJ Flooring; an ideal choice for a lowerlevel movie theater. It’s not just the home’s design that was mountain-inspired; their dog, Alta, takes its name from a ski resort in Utah.



FUN BY THE FIRE The large, see-through fireplace is the primary focal point of the connected rooms and was selected by Medd, then sourced by the homeowners. With a reclaimed, timber mantel from Dakota Timber Company, the clean, simple design is larger than average and placed closer to the floor for a more authentic and connected look. On the pool table side of the fireplace, an additional fun detail includes two arched inlets with chalkboard paint (Benjamin Moore Ebony King) that flank the stone hearth. “Using chalkboard paint allows the homeowners a fun design element where they can keep track of game scores or write fun notes for birthdays or other gatherings,” explained Medd. "Growing up in Arizona, I was exposed to a great deal of desert architecture. When I design, I like to incorporate some of those unique elements that I grew up with and studied early in my career," said Medd. "It’s a part of who I am, so it always comes out in some way in the design process.” As an architect and interior designer, this remodel was Medd's first residential project in the Fargo-Moorhead area, but she has worked extensively with many residential projects in Arizona, Utah and Georgia before she returned to the area.

The blue-grey pool table, which is ornamented with Buffalo nickels, is a statement piece that Medd came across at Hot Spring Spas & Pool Tables in West Fargo.



TRAVEL-INSPIRED RETREAT On the opposite side of the fireplace, the family room's design is centered around the stone hearth and their mountain-top travels. Deep-stained, wood built-ins flank the fireplace and warm wood extends to a coffered ceiling. According to Medd, the empty wall facing the fireplace was originally designed to have built-ins and bookcases, but after further discussion, they decided to keep the wall open. This would allow them enough space to eventually create a gallery wall, filled with art pieces and photos from their family’s travels.

For the family room furnishings, Medd needed to provide ample seating and textures that would reflect elements that were reminiscent of a ski chalet. While the family owned the sofa previous to the renovation, Medd worked with the homeowners to find elements like the back table and coffee table from Pottery Barn, and the side table from West Elm. The nesting tables and chair underneath the stairwell are from Ashley Furniture Homestore and the pottery was found at Scheels Home & Hardware, Eco Chic Home and McNeal & Friends. “Although basements are typically thought of as being cold, I think we’ve done a good job to ensure that’s not the case,” said Medd. “We’ve brightened and refined it with the furnishings and incorporated pieces from their travels. It’s an eclectic mix, but it’s intentional to reflect their personal life, and balance those elements with the natural warmth of what one would think of at a ski chalet.” Although more pieces and artwork will be added, Medd has opted to be patient and wait for the right pieces, rather than rush the remaining details.


"I’m obsessed with layers, details and multiple levels in houses. I love the textural aspect of space and material, and I enjoy the challenge of creating a balanced space that has a defined textural quality. It’s nice to have nooks and crannies and places where you can escape and yet still be a part of the bigger group," explained Medd. A perfect example of this concept is the sunken theater and cozy reading nook that she designed under the stairwell.

"It is important for me to really understand my client and use my knowledge and experience as an architect and interior designer to deliver a design that reflects who that client is, and what that client is passionate about." Elizabeth Medd, studioBARRED architecture & interiors

THEN & NOW The homeowner's once dark and segmented space left Medd with a few challenges before she could even begin the remodel. Due to moisture issues, the entire concrete slab had to be removed and repoured, while the first-floor fireplace was also removed. "When we started digging into the project, it was clear that the first-floor brick fireplace was too heavy for the frame of the house, so it had to go," said Medd. "The house had started sinking and bowing with floor height differences up to three-inches across a room. The contractor, Dan Savageau, worked over the course of a couple weeks to get the structure level again. Dan did such a great job on this project and he was fantastic to work with." To make the kid's bathroom more efficient, they opted to move the existing sauna to its own room; a plan which helped open up more space to expand the bedrooms. Tackling the basement first was a strategic move in order to secure the foundation. For her next project, Medd will be working with the homeowners on plans to redesign the home's first floor and repair the damage that was caused by the original brick fireplace.




ABOUT THE ARCHITECT + INTERIOR DESIGNER Originally from Arizona, Elizabeth Medd is the lead designer and architect at studioBARRED architecture & interiors. After earning her Undergraduate at Arizona State University and later her Masters at NDSU, Medd worked on world-class commercial, as well as hospitality and luxury residential projects throughout the country. Ten years ago, Medd and her husband, Todd Medd along with their two children, moved from Utah to Fargo in order to be closer to his roots; he's also an architect, principal at JLG Architects in Downtown Fargo. Upon the return to Fargo, Medd worked as a job captain and commercial interior designer for JLG for six-years before eventually opting to start her own firm. Central to Medd's design philosophy is the belief that designers must be able to understand people in order to design for them. “I am fascinated by the human mind and how people think; what drives people and makes them do certain things," said Medd. “As an architect and interior designer, it's really important for me to fully understand my client and deliver a design that reflects who that client is and convey what they're passionate about. After all, the client is the one using the space day in and day out, so I want them to feel connected. My role is to be a creative and technical guiding force that wrangles the aspirations and intentions of the client into a successful, and beautiful architectural work."

For more information, contact:

Find the Finishes Stair railing - Fargo Fabricators

Paint - Benjamin Moore (colors: Deep Space, Ebony King, Glacier White)

Cabinetry - Fargo Cabinets, Inc.

Pool table - Hot Spring Spas & Pool Tables 2

Backsplash tile - TileXDesign Movie theater flooring - JJ Flooring

Woodwork, cabinetry contractor & custom mirror frames - Dan Savageau Construction


Tile - sourced from Syverson Tile

Lighting - Henricks, Ferguson Bath Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Pottery Barn

Pool table light - Valley Lights

Interior painting - The Painting Girls

Architect & interior designer - Elizabeth Medd, studioBARRED architecture & interiors

studio BARRED Architecture & Interiors Elizabeth Medd - Architect, NCARB, NCIDQ | Design Principal

Concrete - Cash Concrete Reclaimed wood - Dakota Timber Company

General contractor - Dan Savageau Construction Tile and flooring subcontractor - Floor to Ceiling Carpet One

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ask the experts


THE VIEW Meet the Window Coverings Expert: Kim Stromberg

ask the experts


Story by Tracy Nicholson with Kim Stromberg Photography Dan Francis Photography, Fargo Glass & Paint Company

Whether it’s mid-summer or the dead of winter, window covering specialist, Kim Stromberg, knows that privacy and furnishings deserve to be protected. Even during the snowy months, the sun’s rays can damage fabrics beyond repair, and we don’t have to tell you, that a lack of privacy can have the whole neighborhood talking. Since the standard home no longer has “standard” window sizes, it’s Stromberg’s goal, at Fargo Glass & Paint Company, to figure out precise dimensions, style and specific needs. To find out more, we stopped by the retail store in Osgood to meet with Stromberg and see the latest fashions to frame in your view.

Until recently, we thought Fargo Glass & Paint Company was, well...

and get the exact measurements so you don’t have to. We also have

glass and paint. When the team decided to add window coverings to

independent contractors who can manage the install for you.

better meet the needs of area homeowners and businesses, they didn’t mess around. While they brought in Stromberg to join the team, she

2. Too many options, too little time...

brought her 23 years of window covering expertise.

There are so many different options for window coverings and it’s my job

As a Window Coverings Specialist, Stromberg works one-on-one with

to educate on color, style, function

homeowners and businesses to help guide them through the seemingly

and cost options. Style of the room

endless options. A visit with Stromberg means a free consultation, either

is the biggest factor that determines

at the site or at the 45th Street location, with a meeting to discuss

which direction we go in, then it’s

budget, style and functional needs. Beyond window coverings, she also

size. I don’t show clients every single

carries an array of paint samples with her and has access to two paint

sample because there are thousands

experts in the retail store, Diane Feigum and Paul Heskin. “Cost is

of options in my swatch books; it’s

always a big factor when choosing window coverings. Sometimes, the

my job to weed through them and

function dictates the cost and then offsets that cost at the end. We

find only the ones that will work

can make sure you’re purchasing the right window covering for the

for the client. If a client chooses a

function you need,” explained Stromberg. Fargo Glass & Paint Company

line that doesn’t fit with the sizing

is currently the only retailer in Fargo-Moorhead offering the entire Alta

options, there are always ways to get

window covering line.

around it.


3. Coordinating your window covering

[Kim Stromberg - Fargo Glass & Paint]

to match your decor... yay or nay? Instead of coordinating the window coverings with the room’s decor

1. Everyone thinks they have a standard window size.

and trendy colors, I would recommend doing a more neutral option

These days, there’s not really a standard window size - they all vary

that will have a timeless appeal. If you want to spruce up the look a

depending on brand. What most people don’t realize, is that one-eighth

bit more, try adding in fabric drapery which can be easily replaced with

or one-sixth of an inch can determine what product we can work with,

the upcoming trends. Also, not every window needs to have the same

so it’s not as simple as just choosing a style and color. Ordering custom

exact window covering; some people choose to do the same line and

window coverings require taking different types of measurements, and

style, but different natural or neutral tones in each room.

they have to be precise. Part of my job is to visit the home or business

ask the expert


4. Understand your needs.

8. How do cellulars stack up?

It’s important to figure out what you need the window coverings to do.

The newest cellulars are great

Some people need occasional coverage; main living spaces often require

because once they are pushed

coverage from the sun, and others need blackout linings to get a good

up, they stack up to mere inches

night’s sleep. Visiting the home or business can help us determine how you

near the mount. Even the vertical

use the space and what function it needs to serve.

cellulars can stack an entire patio door’s shade into an approximate

5. Ask about the latest technology.

six-inch area on the left or right.

With newer construction, window placement has gotten creative, out

For many people that find vertical

of arm’s reach and more complicated to cover. Thankfully, the latest

hanging blinds to be too clumsy,

technology in coverings has advanced; being able to operate blinds

these are a great option to consider

remotely with their smartphone, or by an in-home remote. Remotes have

and offer great privacy.

become more of a standard option that we can use on most lines. For those that prefer manual operation, options consist of cordless, cords,

9. What is a multi shade?

cord controls and the more typical wand-style control.

It’s really just two shades in one; the top is always sheer to deflect glare during the day, which will protect your TV, furnishings and artwork. At

6. Not all windows need covering.

night, when you prefer more privacy, another shade comes down to gain

Many newer homes have expansive windows from floor to ceiling. As long

100 percent coverage. A lot of people use these in bathrooms where they

as you have good coverage on the lower windows, sometimes the top

want natural light up above, but full privacy below. Another type of multi

windows can stay uncovered for natural light. You can also go another

shade uses solid bands; when shifted, the sheer bands allow natural light

route and work with us to do a custom glass tint which will still protect

and diffused views, or shifted again to block out light completely. When

from UV rays and glare, without mounting blinds. Most people will do

not in use, the shade can completely disappear inside the headrail for a

the glass tint on just the highest windows; if you do them on the lower

fully unobstructed view.

windows, be mindful that you still might need some type of covering for full privacy. We also have a new line from Mitchell Fabrics if you prefer fabric drapery or decorative window coverings. 7. Know your budget. Shadings and vertical shadings, woven woods and shutters tend to be more expensive; while wood, faux wood, dual shades and cellular, fall in the moderate price range. Classic window coverings like aluminum and vertical blinds for patio doors are economical and versatile. 3D imaging has advanced the designs in window covering textures so they look much more authentic than in past years.

10. Know the process with new construction. For new construction, we have to have the glass in and at least the casing completed, with a piece of sample trim on site. How we measure and install depends on the size of trim, and some houses have no trim at all. We have a lot of clients who prefer to go outside of the trim or above the window so the window appears larger or taller.

ask the experts


WOVEN WOODS These are designed with an open weave, so they’re very natural looking and can be ordered with or without a liner. They come in all different styles and textures of weave and allow for color tones ranging from dark espresso, to lighter tones like bamboo. On a cautionary note, the open weave allows some light to pass through, so outside of the home, you might see a physical shadow. If you want 100 percent privacy, make sure to include a liner.

HONEYCOMB SHADES These have been popular for some time now, but they are still one of the most prevalent choices for many homes and businesses. They are super convenient and can be mounted at the top or bottom of a window with four different opacities to choose the amount of light you want to let in. If they’re mounted at the top and the shade is pushed up, they are easily hidden underneath. They are stain and wrinkle resistant and have a patented D-cell design with five different cell sizes.

SHADING LINES FROM ALTA A type of honeycomb shade this is quickly gaining fans is the Alta SoftStyle cellular shade, featuring double cells for the highest insulating qualities to maximize your home’s energy efficiency. This line is amazing - the offer a really nice, soft, sheer fabric with a vein in the middle and they’re great for diffusing light.

ask the expert


FARGO GLASS & PAINT COMPANY: EVOLVING WITH TIME Fargo Glass & Paint Company has resided on 7th Avenue North in Fargo for over 50 years, but as times changed, so did their client’s needs. Finding

For more information, contact:

a better, consumer-driven location, meant moving their retail store and

Fargo Glass & Paint Company

showroom south, to the Osgood strip mall in 2015. Their original North Fargo

Retail Store - Osgood

location still exists, but these days, it’s strictly used for offices, wholesale paint, their Timberwall line, and the glass door and window displays. You

Kim Stromberg, Window Covering Specialist

can also find their window lines featured at Crane Johnson Lumber and

4323 45th Street South, Suite 107, Fargo

Simonson Lumber in Fargo.

At their Osgood retail store and showroom, homeowners can find everything from Benjamin Moore paint, paint and wall covering supplies, caulking, stains, solvents and removers, drapery and Alta blinds. They even feature a couple of the more popular Timberwall options which boast an array of finishes and designs, including herringbone, barn wood, white-washed planks, reclaimed wood planks and cubed wall designs. 701.271.2516



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Simplify Holiday Stress

Story by Tara Ekren with Megan Spencer Photography provided by Essentia Health

Fa la la la la, la la la la…it’s the holiday season! The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time in our lives, but often the daily stress from work and home turn them into more of an obligation than an enjoyment. “Daily life is full of little annoyances, but when we don’t deal with them appropriately, they create prolonged stress that can lead to a variety of health issues,” says Megan Spencer, a licensed psychologist who works in behavioral health at Essentia Health-South University Clinic, Fargo. In meeting the demands of work and family, we all push caring for ourselves to the bottom of the list. “Stress is a part of modern life,” Spencer says, “but it’s important to recognize when stress is compromising your physical and mental health.” Spencer explains that sleep struggles, getting frustrated or irritated more easily than normal, and finding it difficult to relax or shut your brain off are ways of your body telling you to slow down.


feelings of being overwhelmed and not wanting the holidays to come can be signs that stress is causing problems.

Megan Spencer, Essentia Licensed Psychologist

health at home


Spencer’s Holiday De-Stressing Tips:


Travel after rush hour and if you are driving long distances; give yourself time to stop and rest.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING Ask people what they want instead of scouring stores for the “perfect” gift.

When visiting family with difficult dynamics, set a time limit for the visit, make a plan for leaving and think about the issues you’ll likely deal with ahead of time.

Shop early when there is a better selection. Set a gift budget and stick to it.




Buy prepared foods instead of cooking everything from scratch.

Cook and freeze foods ahead of time.

TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS Simplify holiday commitments and traditions. Discuss which traditions are most important and re-evaluate past traditions. Allow time for yourself and remember to do things you enjoy. Sit down and watch your favorite tv show, get your nails done or just relax. Avoid time crunches by making plans to visit some friends and family soon after the holidays.

Avoid overeating beverages.





Avoid starving yourself in anticipation of eating at holiday parties as this generally leads to eating too much of the wrong foods.

Ask others to bring their favorite dish.



Continue to exercise and watch your diet. “Exercise can be a great way to deal with stress and it’s a natural mood booster,” Spencer says.


MANAGING YOUR TIME Set priorities and let go of impossible goals. Stop to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Don’t spend all your time planning activities for your family, you might end up feeling drained and unappreciated. Take the time you need to finish tasks that are important to you.

Don’t overschedule yourself or your family. Ask others, including the kids, to help complete chores. Tell family members about your commitments so you are not struggling against their expectations.

Rest when your body tells you to.

If stress in your life is becoming too much to handle, reach out for help. Visit with a trusted friend or family member. You can also talk to a mentor, clergy person, your doctor or a therapist.

For more information, contact: Essentia Health - Fargo Megan Spencer, Licensed Psychologist 1702 South University Drive, Fargo 701.364.8900


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Midwest Nest - Edition 15 - December 2018  


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