Maple Grove May/June 2021

Page 1

A Tisket, A Tasket


Photo by Erica E Photography

Photo by Edna Dudinsky

LIVE LIFE IN FULL BLOOM! Spring at the Arb promises 167 varieties of fragrant lilacs, more than seven acres of blooming crabapples and 39,000 tulips in a rainbow of colors. Bring a friend and experience our glorious gardens and collections. Members free, non-members $15, kids 15-and-under always free 3675 Arboretum Drive | Chaska, MN 55318 | 612-624-2200 |

Reservations required:

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M AY/J U N E 2 0 2 1 “When you look good, you feel good and do good, and your fashion and style speaks volumes before you even say any words.” —Nikki Steele, stylist




Editor’s Letter 4 Noteworthy 7 On the Town 27 Tastemakers 30 Last Glance 32

Faces 10


Author explores changing perceptions in debut novel.

Surprise your friends with a lovely May basket.

Family 12


The Write Stuff

The Mother of Invention Resident creates kid- and adultfriendly indoor play spot. Be Well 14

Happy Feet Follow doctor’s orders to prevent sun exposure.



A Tisket, A Tasket

Pineapple Expression Nikki Steele Style empowers clients through inclusive fashion.

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of Plymouth

Inspiring Choices for Senior Living

FROM THE EDITOR Renée Stewart-Hester,


My mom is thriving here. We love how much SHE loves her home at Cherrywood Pointe! Cherrywood Pointe of Plymouth Family Member

ur Maple Grove Magazine team, including staff writers and Editorial Advisory Board members, are always on the lookout for what’s new in the community. I’m especially pleased to focus on three dining spots, which opened their respective doors during a rather tumultuous time for the restaurant industry. Visit page 30 to learn more about Mango Mango, Dessert Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant and The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill. This issue also takes a sweet peek into the past with a feature on May baskets on page 16. While this tradition isn’t “new,” I thought it deserved a fresh look. Like springtime flowers, this season and, hopefully, the waning stage of the pandemic urges us all to reemerge with a sense of renewal, gathering once again with people who we haven’t had much contact with for, in some cases, the better part of a year! Minnesotans are well-versed in finding ways to reconnect with friends and neighbors after extended periods of “indoor living,” and we add to the idea list with a May basket craft from Kori Brown, an instructor at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts, and floral tips from Donato’s Floral’s Anna Donato-Ghani. Donato-Ghani recalls picking lily of the valley from the side of her childhood home’s garage and tucking them into a May basket for her mother. I remember filling construction paper cones with popcorn, small candies and a flower or two from my mother’s garden beds before using pipe cleaners to fasten a handle. Loading up “the red wagon,” as we called it, I’d head out to make deliveries. Simpler times and traditions needn’t take permanent residence in our memories. Remind each other that friendship can be celebrated with a simple act of kindness. Give May’s arrival its proper due—ring the bell, and yell, “May basket!”

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On the Cover Donato’s Floral, photo by Chris Emeott




Cherrywood Pointe of Plymouth

Gentle & effective you can enjoy life…and live well!

Here to serve you in 2021: Safely and Effectively! VOL. 17 NO. 3

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editorial advisory board

KATE BECKER, Kate Becker Photography, owner ERIC HAGEMANN, Osseo Area Schools, communications specialist LISE SPENCE-PARSONS, Maple Grove Arts Center, president/executive director HEIDI NELSON, City of Maple Grove, city administrator ALISON KRUEGER, The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, property marketing manager BIRGIT GRUESS, writer and editor

senior managing art director SARAH DOVOLOS art directors ALLISON NOLDEN EMILY HANDY lead staff photographer CHRIS EMEOTT

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Maple Grove Magazine ONE TIGER OAK PLAZA 900 SOUTH THIRD STREET MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55415 612.548.3180 SUBSCRIPTIONS: Maple Grove Magazine is published 6 times a year. Rates $12 for 6 issues. Back issues $5.95. For subscription and customer service inquiries, please contact or call 1.800.637.0334. ©Tiger Oak Media Inc. 2021. All rights reserved.

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For Older Adults Ready to Live Life to the Fullest SilverCreek on Main helps seniors enjoy a connected and active lifestyle.


ilverCreek on Main offers a vibrant, friendly and welcoming residential community for seniors ready to simplify life without sacrificing quality of life. SilverCreek on Main in Maple Grove is part of SilverCrest Properties, a Minnesota based company which includes independent apartments, assisted living, enhanced assisted living and dementia care for adults 55+. Today’s seniors are more active and engaged than ever before. Residents at SilverCreek are involved in activities that encourage healthier, dynamic lifestyles. Some of the fitness focused amenities include a state-of-the-art wellness center, a 65,000-gallon warm water pool and a HydroWorx therapy pool with an underwater treadmill. Specialized fitness equipment helps guide residents through personalized workouts designed by SilverCreek’s fitness center staff. There are also regular lap swims, yoga classes and other activities tailored toward what older adults need to stay strong and active. Programming promotes social interaction and creativity. Overall, the culture at SilverCreek fosters relationships between residents, their neighbors and staff. The kind

of lasting relationships that make it easier to endure a pandemic together. Executive Director Christine Shidla has been with the company for 15 years and notes many dedicated staff members and residents have been with SilverCreek on Main since it opened six years ago. She stated, “There is so much positive energy in a community focused on active aging. The key reason we have longevity with residents and staff is because of each another.” Life in a residential community like SilverCreek on Main means not going through life alone. The company’s mission is to respect and enrich the lives of residents in a safe and supportive atmosphere. If you’re ready to move from the demands of home ownership and live life to the fullest, apartments are available for prospective new residents. Simply call ahead to schedule a tour.

SILVERCREEK ON MAIN 8200 Main St. North Maple Grove, MN 55369 Call to schedule a tour: 763.955.1750

NOTEWORTHY local tips, tidbits & insights




Your college-age children have been away at college, and you’ve tidied up their rooms during their absence. Before you know it, the academic year is over, and they are back home—with duffel bags of dirty laundry and bedding, various kitchen items and electronics arriving on your doorstep. Now what? Maybe it’s time (if you haven’t already done so) to teach your children how to properly clean and organize their belongings. First and most importantly, clean everything. Run the laundry, wash the kitchen items and sanitize the bedding (blankets, sheets, mattress pad, pillows, etc.), and wipe down any remaining items. Sort everything into three piles of need while home, need at school and items to donate/replace. Once sorted, place the items that won’t be used until the next

school term inside bins, labeling them (sleeping, eating, studying, etc.) to make it easier for unpacking. Pro tip: There are some great dualpurpose storage options. One of my favorites is a storage cube. They can be used as a chair or ottoman with storage inside. Trunks are another option because they can act as seating or as a coffee table while easily storing extra bedding, kitchen items or electronics. After the items are washed and organized, store them in a dedicated spot in the garage or storage room, keeping them in an easily accessible space.

With Mother’s and Father’s days bubbling up, why not make a trip to your local liquor store for some gifts? Drekker Brewing’s beer is difficult to procure. If you do, you are making someone very happy. Consider Odin is My Overlord, part of Drekker’s Valhalla series, a lactose double IPA brewed with CTZ, Mosaic, Enigma and Hallertau Blanc hops. For other options, try a premade old fashioned. Our local friends at Tattersall have you covered with Tattersall rye whiskey (made from 100 percent Minnesota-grown rye and aged in charred American white oak barrels) blended with Tattersall sour cherry liqueur, bitters, sugar and orange. —Contributed by Bill Princeton of Princeton’s Liquors

Kira Vanderlan operates a home and business decluttering, organization and interior design company with a focus on mindfulness. Find her at



Get a handle on returning college students’ "stuff."




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Getting out into nature has been difficult this past year. Give the gift of spring cheer to those who could use it the most—seniors. Whether it’s your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents, show love with the thriving gift of green. If possible, start outside with a readyto-go patio pot for a front step or patio. Your local garden center will have many different sizes and combinations. Geranium combinations are great for sun, and New Guinea impatient combinations work in the shade. A 10-inch hanging basket is a great size to hang in small spaces, or remove the hanger and place the plant on an end table to beautify any space. If the outdoors is not possible, bring nature inside. Blooming houseplants like cyclamen or African violets provide long-lasting blooms and wonderful foliage when blooms are spent. Kalanchoes or a succulent arrangement will continue to last for many months if lack of watering is a concern. Foliage houseplants like pothos, sansevieria and ZZ plants are very forgiving, as well. Use the hashtag #PlantGifts to show off your green gifts. Contributed by Christina Timm, Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery




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Where Love Grows

Catholic Church & School Located at the blessed juncture of Brooklyn Park, Osseo and Maple Grove


FAMILY MYSTERY UNDERSCORES MATERNAL LOVE. At once a study of generational mother-daughter relationships and a tightly-knit family mystery, Eve Chase’s The Daughters of Foxcote Manor travels through time to ask how families are constructed, taken apart and rebuilt—and what it means to belong to one. Set in England and following the interwoven lives of the wealthy Harringtons, their live-in nanny, Rita, and Rita’s future daughter and granddaughter, the novel pieces together the tangled events that led to both a baby and a body being found in the lush woods around the Harringtons’ Foxcote Manor in the summer of 1971. The novel invites readers to listen in on that summer’s secrets, reconstructing the past and becoming part of the fictional family that inhabits it. The Daughters of Foxcote Manor explores how maternal love brings families together, even under the most trying, imperfect circumstances. As much a creeping mystery as it is a family drama, it will leave some readers ready to pick up the phone and call their own mother. —Lauren Foley

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The Write Stuff Author explores changing perceptions in debut novel. BY RENÉE STEWART-HESTER

STACEY POTTER HAS BEEN WRITING STORIES SINCE SHE WAS A CHILD. “In my 20s, I tried to submit articles to magazines, thinking that would land me a writing career, and then I’d have time to write the great American novel. That didn’t pan out,” she says. Potter’s career led her to mostly technical and busi-




ness writing. “Eventually, I started missing creative writing and the idea for The Project kept surfacing, but it wasn’t until I discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2005 that I got over my fear of failure to write a novel, and that’s when The Project was born.” she says. NaNoWriMo, a nonprofit organization, holds an annual contest where participants compete with

The Project is sold online at numerous retailers, or visit @staceypotterauthor @author_potter

themselves to write 50,000 words, equal to a short novel, from start to finish from November 1–30. The Project (December 2020), which Potter describes as “nostalgic, heartwarming and relatable,” opens with college sophomore Sabella Pierce as she embarks on a psych class assignment—volunteering as a companion for an 83-year-old nursing-home resident, May. Sabella’s initial apprehension is quelled as her fascination with May and her life begins to grow. The book takes a look at altering people’s initial judgements of one another. “A lot like myself, Sabella, had a narrow view of older adults in the beginning based on limited experiences with them,” Potter says. “I wanted to show that, through a positive experience with more elderly people, her negative judgement dissipated.” Another plotline explores the topic, as well. "Overall, I wanted to show that if we take the time to get to know people, we will discover that we have more in common than we originally thought,” she says. Writers often write about “what they know,” as did Potter. “I say I write from the point of view of two truths and a lie, since the foundation of all my novels is my life experiences and challenges that I had to overcome,” she says. “The Project is based on a volunteer project I did in college, and then embellished and fictionalized [it] to make it interesting.” Who was the inspiration for Sabella? “Sabella is probably most similar to me ...," Potter says. “… She's mostly an amalgam of traits from women I met in college, those who grew up with money, were relationship focused and very dramatic. Although in our early 20s, we were probably all dramatic.” Potter has written four other novels during NaNoWriMo over the years. “I’m editing a story I wrote over a decade ago about a woman in her late 20s who is recently divorced ... The story follows her journey as she starts over—new job, new colleagues, dating again—all while battling severe anxiety." MG

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D E P A R T M E N T S » F A M I LY

The Mother of Invention Resident creates kid- and adult-friendly indoor play spot. BY RENÉE STEWART-HESTER

MANDY WROOLIE takes “play local” to a whole new level as owner of MiniSota Play Cafe, where kids can enjoy an indoor play “town,” which features Minnesota-related elements. Welcome to the City of MiniGrove on the playful shores of Lake MiniTonka and home to Clearwater Cleaners for dirty toys and Infant Grove Heights, a baby play area. Look for more businesses to “move in” to the town, as Wroolie is partnering with local businesses for sponsorships of some of the “stores.”




Independent free play is the name of the game in this town, but staff is on hand and encouraged to help kids make crafts, play games or whip up a batch of MiniSota putty. “We try our best to ensure everyone has fun, whatever fun means for them, on that day, at that moment,” Maple Grove's Wroolie says. Like any town worth its weight, there are beverages and snacks on hand. Peace Coffee, signature lattes, Rishi tea, tea lattes, smoothies, bottled drinks and more are available, as are a range of

healthy, allergen-aware prepackaged snacks. “We are planning to expand our snack selection to include some baked goods and more light lunch options later this year,” Wroolie says. Just like Maple Grove, MiniGrove features special events. Movie by the Lake is typically offered from 5–7:30 p.m. on Fridays. A special feature is shown on the wall by Lake MiniTonka. Each family gets its own table, craft kit and pizza. Kids can opt to sit at the table, relax near the lake or take an “intermission” and go

Keeping seniors safe. At home. CLEAN AS A WHISTLE All are welcome to visit MiniGrove—except germs. When building out the venue, care was taken in what materials were used. For example, it features polished concrete floors “because, well, kids are gross— that's just a fact,” Wroolie says. “With these floors, we're able to clean anything up with bleach and have it dry in the matter of a couple of minutes.” In terms of toys, “Our litmus test for every single toy is, ‘Can it be cleaned and is it durable?’ We don't use felt or fabric toys. We use hard plastic and wood.” Toys are washed multiple times a day in a high-temperature sanitizing dishwasher. Staff also employs a sani-sprayer, which emits a plant-based, food-grade safe mist. “We try to use as least amount of chemicals as possible, but sometimes they're just necessary,” Wroolie says.

play. Events are also held for New Year’s Eve, Valentine's Day, Halloween and other themed family nights. “Probably my favorite thing we do is Cafe with a Cause,” Wroolie says. "The community can gather to support a family with a child with a life-threatening illness.” Wroolie had to pivot when the pandemic wreaked havoc on businesses. One of the features offered at MiniSota Play is a play bin, specially created to keep kids occupied with various themes and sensory elements. “After we were shut down for a week, my amazing manager, Cassie, told me we should make some bins to sell,” Wroolie says. “... People loved them, so we started selling multiple sizes, themes of sensory bins.” Putty kits, craft kits, T-shirts and other fun items are available from the online store. Previously located in Champlin for two years, the Maple Grove venue opened in January 2020. “Now we've landed in what I believe is the absolute best location we could ask for ...," she says. MG

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D E PA R T M E N T S » B E W E L L

Happy Feet Follow doctor’s orders to prevent sun exposure.

‘TIS THE SEASON for sandals, flip-flops and barefoot walks along the shore—and paying closer attention to our feet. After a long winter bundled up, you may feel tempted to treat your feet to a spa pedicure, or, perhaps you’ve already taken a pumice stone to them at home. Aside from beautification, now is also a good time to check the overall health of your feet. “It’s really important to look at your feet,” says Holly Hanson, MD, from Associated Skin Care Specialists in Maple



Grove. “It’s an area people often neglect, so it’s really important to look at the bottoms of your feet periodically and in between your toes.” Aside from patients’ blisters, calluses and warts that Hanson frequently encounters over the summer, skin cancer is another condition that she encounters on feet, and it’s one that many people don’t pay enough attention to in terms of their own health. Hanson recommends checking for new moles or moles that have recently changed

in shape, size or color. “What you should look for when you’re looking at your skin is any dark moles that are bigger than the size of a pencil eraser or any moles that have black dots in them,” she says. “Any moles that have weird colors in them like gray or blue.” These, she says, are indicative of melanoma. Melanoma is a skin cancer of the pigment-producing cells of the skin, Hanson explains. “With the sun-induced skin cancers, the most common locations are on the areas of the feet that are typically



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* Manufacturer’s mail-in rebate offer valid for qualifying purchases made 4/10/21–6/21/21 from participating dealers in the U.S. only. Rebate will be issued in the form of a Reward Card and mailed within 6 weeks of rebate claim approval. Funds ® WINDOW SHADINGS S I L HdoOnot U Eexpire. T T ESubject to applicable law, a $2.00 monthly fee will be assessed against card balance 6 months after card issuance and each month thereafter. See complete terms distributed with reward card. Additional limitations may apply. Ask participating dealer for details and rebate form. ©2021 Hunter Douglas. All rights reserved. All trademarks used herein are the property of Hunter Douglas or their respective owners.

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most exposed to sun, which is the top of the foot,” she says. This doesn’t mean the rest of your foot is immune. “We also see skin cancer on the sole of the foot, even without sun exposure.” The other two types of skin cancers that are most likely to develop on your feet are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. “Those are typically from lifetime sun exposure on your skin, triggering an abnormality in the DNA that creates a skin cancer,” Hanson says. Possible indicators of carcinoma are pimple-like marks on the skin that don’t heal or scabby spots that bleed on their own. Regardless of their presentation, one of the treatments for all three cancers is surgical removal, so it’s always better to keep prevention at the forefront of your skin routine when applying sunscreen. In general, dermatologists recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen of 50 SPF or higher. “My favorite sunscreens are the physical blockers or the kind that contain physical blocking agents like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide rather than the chemical blockers,” Hanson says. MG

ASSOCIATED SKIN CARE SPECIALISTS 9600 Upland Lane N. Suite 250; 763.416.2380; Associated Skin Care Specialists, P.A. (Maple Grove, MN)


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Surprise your friends with a lovely May basket. Written by Renée Stewart-Hester

Photos by Chris Emeott

A Tisket, A Tasket One of the most charming, if not endearing, childhood traditions has to be the creation and delivery of May baskets. While the annual May 1 tradition might have dipped a bit in popularity, we think it’s time, especially as we look for ways to reconnect with neighbors and friends, to escort the custom back to the fore. One is never too old to appreciate finding a delightful basket of spring flowers or delicate sweets attached to a doorknob or poised on the front step. Confections aren’t hard to find, but it’s a bit early for cutting gardens. Anna Donato-Ghani, co-owner of Donato’s Floral, shows us how purchased flowers can add a personalized touch to May baskets—perfect for friends, family, coworkers, teachers or anyone deserving of a day brightener. “We used to make a May basket out of construction paper as a child at school. We would cut strips, and weave them into a basket,” Donato-Ghani says. “My favorite memory was picking lily of the valley from the side of the garage and putting them in the May basket for my mom.” Today, Donato-Ghani recommends additional floral choices. “We like to design with iris, tulips, daisies, sweetheart roses, pussy willow and filler flowers, like caspia and wax flower,” she says. Other go-to elements include blooming branches, such as forsythia, quince, cherry blossoms, green sheet moss and pods. Since there’s no telling when the recipient will discover the perfect posy on the doorstep, providing moisture to the flowers is a must. “We use soaked floral foam and moss that is moist to keep the flowers hydrated,” she says. “Most important is stems need to be [removed from the basket], cut and placed in a clean glass vase with floral preservative.”



It’s All in the Delivery


Some sources note that May baskets have roots in a pagan festival, marking spring’s arrival. The modern incarnation would find folks leaving May baskets for a sweetheart (secret or otherwise!) with a quick “knock knock” on the door or ring of the doorbell before dashing off to avoid being caught (sometimes with a kiss!) by the recipient. Today’s version affords the giver to take whatever avenue of delivery seems best. But, in our eyes, the element of a sweet surprise sprinkled with mystery always adds a touch of whimsy and fun to any tradition.



Art to Heart Who better to ask for a dose of creative inspiration when it comes to creating children’s May baskets than an elementary art teacher? Kori Brown, the visual art teacher at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts, shares a creativelyappropriate idea. Upcycled Magazine Basket • Magazines • Glue • Masking tape • Ruler • Marker • Scissors Cut three-inch strips from colorful magazines. Fold each strip in half (going the long way), and unfold it, creating a crease down the center. Fold the edges in towards the crease on each strip, and fold it in half again. Glue the strip together. Make 22 strips. (You might need more, but start with 22.) Lay seven strips side by side, taping the strips to a table or other hard surface to hold them in place. Take all but six of the remaining strips and weave them (over, under, over), using glue every so often to make sure it stays in place. Once the glue is dry, bend up the edges of the strips. Take the remaining six strips and glue three together to create longer strips. Use those long strips to continue to weave (over, under, over), going up the sides. Trim the extra material, but leave enough to fold over a little bit. Add masking tape on the top to secure it. To make a handle, create two more strips, and glue them together. Adhere them to the side of the basket to create the handle.

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May Memories In the ‘90s, Donato’s Floral offered prearranged May baskets, and DonatoGhani wants to bring the service back. “I can remember making 150 fresh floral basket arrangements in an adorable wicker basket and offering them to the community to buy to spread some joy,” she says. “We would sell them out of our big floral cooler, and people would buy three to five at a time. In reflecting back to our humble beginnings and in loving memory of our founder and amazing, talented brother, Victor Donato, (He passed away in 2014), we want to offer these baskets this year

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as a sign of hope and joy as we have all suffered through the dreary days of COVID.” Curbside pickup May baskets ($19.99) will be available to the first 150 orders the week of April 28– May 1 or while supplies last. Each basket can come with a note. “It’s a very simple yet profound quote I used to tell my children daily,” DonatoGhani says. “Every day in every way, it’s getting better and better.” MG

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*Gift cards available online


DONATO’S FLORAL 10200 73rd Ave. N. Suite 102; 763.416.0488; Donato’s Floral



Pineapple Expression Nikki Steele Style empowers clients through inclusive fashion.




Written by Ava Diaz . Photos by Chris Emeott

With inclusivity as the forefront of her business, stylist and blogger Nikki

Steele has a unique business motto—Be like a pineapple. Stand tall. Wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside. As owner of Nikki Steele Style, she strives to empower and ignite possibilities for her clients through fashion, one garment at a time. “Fashion is an expression of who you are, and that’s what art is,” she says. “When you look good, you feel good and do good, and your fashion

and style speak volumes before you even say any words.” As a woman who has always loved shopping and sharing her retail finds, Steele embraced style as a way for her connect to herself and others around her. Styling for friends and family from a young age, she quickly gained a passion for making others feel good in an approachable way. “Before meeting with Nikki, I thought [stylists] just helped you shop/buy clothes, but I realized it’s much more than that,”

Maple Grove’s Meredith Speier says. “A great stylist will help you get more out of your current wardrobe, find pieces to complement it, and really develop your own personal style. That’s huge! Not to sound overdramatic, but that could change someone’s life. The image we put out into the world could be even better by investing in a great stylist. While you can always buy new outfits, it’s also really nice to discover your style and new ways to incorporate things you already own, especially those pieces




Steele worked with writer Ava Diaz, helping her rewrite her personal fashion story. Originally tuning in for a half-hour virtual session with Steele, the allotted time quickly doubled, as she took great care in reviewing my style profile and building a rapport to glean a full sense of my personality and lifestyle. After our initial discussion, Steele asked me to pull some of my favorite elements from my wardrobe, which needed fresh pairing ideas to allow for more versatile looks. Focusing on classic elements, such as a denim jacket, a navy blazer, tan Nike Air Force 1 sneakers, a white



button-up blouse and a pair of high-waisted blue jeans, we culled at least three separate looks that can shift from day-to-night and work-to-play settings. Making a point to reinvent what I already had, Steele also asked me about my favorite accessories, including earrings, necklaces, bracelets and headbands. Pulling out my most unique pieces, I wanted assistance in styling my favorite hexagonal, acrylic green hoops and golden-brown floral pendant earrings. Obsessed with the statement that these pieces made, she encouraged me to incorporate them into my dayto-day fashion to level up my appearance and add a spark of personality to my outfits.

Along with the items I had in my closet, Steele suggested the addition of a pair of medium-todark wash skinny jeans, platform sandals, neutral-toned t-shirts and a silk tank top. Mixing and matching new items with old, these suggestions gave my wardrobe a well-rounded revamp and inspired me to break out of my comfort zone. If there is one thing that I will take away from this experience it was her reassuring nature toward outfit repetition. Emphasizing the importance of loving yourself and the clothing that represents you, Steele says that I should feel good in what I am wearing—regardless of how many times others see me wear it.


The Ultimate Why

Spring is in the air...

As part of her business, Steele curates merchandise handmade by women in Guatemala. Her son, Julio, was born in the Central American country, and Steele feels, while she can never fully thank is his birth mother, she is committed to helping other women like her. “Employing and empowering these women, so they can help take care of themselves and their [families] and ultimately changing the world is the best feeling on the planet,” she says on her website.

May baskets specials for 2021 Look for our new collection in May

that you maybe don’t wear as often.” For clients, Steele offers four styling packages, ranging from 30- or 45-minute in-person or virtual sessions to a customized-style package. She also offers group events and has held sessions at local retailers, including The General Store of Minnetonka, Maple Grove’s Leela & Lavender and Winston & Co. Boutique, Medina. To get started, clients fill out a style form to analyze their day-to-day lifestyle and fashion needs. Questions revolve around, for example, preferred brands and styles, amount typically spent on clothing items, lifestyle and style metrics, color and print preferences, physical attributes to highlight or conceal, accessory preferences and more. From the survey, Steele develops style plans and encourages clients to utilize what they own and itemizes to-purchase elements to round out a wardrobe. She strives to keep brand options open to clients, so that they are not too restricting in terms of price points. “I look at my closet differently now and find so many ways to layer clothing and put outfits together,” Speier says. “It’s really liberating—when you think about it—to be able to fall in love with your own wardrobe again and refresh it all the time ... I own several [dresses] but didn’t wear them often because they seemed too formal. Nikki showed me how to style them in a casual, fun way, and I have worn them so much more often as a result …” When Kristi Piehl was planning her family’s photo, she needed assistance. “When our boys were little, it was easy to put them in matching outfits for family photos,” she says. “When we decided to have a photo taken for our 2019

Christmas card, it was more challenging because the boys are now teens. I wanted them to feel confident and comfortable while also coordinating. Nikki and I met, and she learned more about our family, so she could create a style board for each family member. It was so easy to look at the selections as a family and click on the links to purchase items.” Joy Szarke also used Steele’s expertise to get her family photo-ready for its Christmas card (Steele created a Pinterest board with shopping links to each item.), but she also used her for a special event. “Nikki has a wonderful understanding of body types,” Szarke says. “She is the only stylist I have ever worked with who doesn’t attempt to get me into things I know won’t/don’t fit or flatter my athletic build.” Perhaps, Steele’s most important mission is to encourage her clients to embrace who they are and what their unique beauty has to offer. Acknowledging all body types—apples, pears or bananas—Steele says that everyone should consider themselves to be a pineapple, standing tall with confidence. “The fashion industry has a reputation of being really exclusive, and my goal is to make it inclusive—to empower everybody to see their own personalities in style no matter their body type,” she says. In an effort to reach even more clients, Steele hopes to expand her brand by opening a fashion and gift boutique in the area. MG

Nikki Steele Style Nikki Steele Style @nikkisteelestyle

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ON THE TOWN things to see and do in and around Maple Grove MAY 1

NOON-2PM Compiled by Meghan Bishop, Lauren Foley and Olivia Rivera


Maple Grove Half Marathon

Meet up with local community members for Maple Grove’s annual half marathon. Route maps and registration are available online, and the event also offers virtual options for the half marathon, 10K and 5K runs. Ages 18 and up. $50. 7:30–11 a.m. Maple Grove Senior High School, 9800 Fernbrook Lane N.; 651.688.9143;

22 Best Buddies Friendship Walk

Bountiful Bunnies Adopt a bunny—or learn more about your own. BY LAUREN FOLEY

During a year mostly spent at home, having a furry companion has become an even greater comfort for some pet owners. But in addition to time and care, dogs and cats can take up a lot of space. Looking for a smaller but no less companionable option? Local nonprofit Rabbit Rescue of Minnesota is hosting a bunny meet-andgreet and caretaking event from noon–2 p.m. on May 1 at Maple Grove’s Chuck & Don’s Pet Food & Supplies. In addition to meeting the rescue’s available rabbits, guests interested in bunny adoption can discuss proper care, keeping and ownership with the rescue’s knowledgeable volunteers. The rescue will also offer $10 rabbit nail trims and $3 scent gland cleanings for currently-owned rabbits. Chuck & Don’s Pet Food & Supplies, 8115 Wedgewood Lane Suite 1 Rabbit Rescue of Minnesota,, @rabbitrescueofmn





Mother’s Day 5K

Grab your favorite running shoes this Mother’s Day, and run or walk in the 14th annual Mother’s Day 5K— Celebration of Active Generations. Enjoy the beauty of the Arbor Lakes area at this family-friendly event. All Ages. $30. 8–9:15 a.m. Charities Challenge, 7890 N. Main St.;

Fill up your water bottle, and join 40,000 walkers nationwide in this walk to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Both in-person and virtual participation options are available. Register online. All ages. $10. 9 a.m.– 1 p.m. Weaver Lake Community Park, 8401 Dunkirk Lane N.; 952.567.1423; bestbuddiesfriendshipwalk.orh June



After a fully virtual event last year, Chalkfest at Arbor Lakes is back with both virtual and in-person options for everyone to enjoy the art at his/ her own comfort level. Be sure to take lots of photos or screenshots, and vote for your favorite chalk art to win an award before all the pieces are washed away at the end of the second day. All ages. Free. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Main Street;


Maple Grove Outdoor Farmers Market


Looking for fresh produce to welcome the warm weather? Maple Grove’s outdoor market returns in May and run on Thursdays all summer long, offering plentiful options for fresh fruits, veggies and other food items. All ages. Free. 3–7 p.m. Maple Grove Community Center, 12951 Weaver Lake Road; 763.494.5955;

Are you interested in developing your public speaking skills? Brooklyn Park’s Toastmasters Club offers a welcoming, supportive environment to do just that, giving members the opportunities to hone their charisma and confidence. Due to COVID-19, meetings are currently being held on Zoom. Ages 18 and up. Free. 6:30–7:30 p.m. 763.566.2085;

Virtual Toastmasters Meeting





1–2 The Minneapolis Home + Garden Show Here’s a great event to start your spring off right with a little inspiration for your home. All Ages. Prices vary. 10 a.m.–9 p.m. May 1 and 10 a.m.–6 p.m May 2. Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second Ave. S. Mpls.; 612.330.3001;

If you ask any our patients why they picked Grove Health Dental, you’ll likely hear it’s about a feeling of family, comfort, respect, and peace of mind. At Grove Health Dental we want to keep your smile beautiful and healthy while being affordable as well. Dr. Francis and Dr. Kate are now AAFE certified to deliver botox.




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The Ninth Annual Grillfest

Learn all about the latest grilling tips and tricks all while enjoying some amazing grilled food. Each ticket includes food, wine and beer samples courtesy of the over 100 vendors. Ages 21 and over. $60 online, $70 at the door. 1–5 p.m. CHS Field, 360 N. Broadway St., St. Paul; 612.371.5800;


Bud Break Run, Walk, 5K

Support the beautiful Minnesota Landscape Arboretum through this fun activity. This family-friendly event will also offer a 1K for the kids race, as well as a virtual race option. All Ages. Prices vary. 8:30–11 a.m. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3210 W. 82nd St., Chanhassen; 612.624.2200;

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Mother’s Day Tradeshow

Head to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds for the Mother’s Day Tradeshow. This event features annuals and perennials, climbing plants and more. All ages. Free. 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Minnesota State Fairgrounds, 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul;

Join the Saint Paul Concert Orchestra for a relaxing live streamed concert, including a worldwide premiere of a new cello and oboe duet by renowned composer Viet Cuong. Concert can be streamed online or on the free SPCO mobile application. All ages. Free live stream. Begins 8 p.m. 651.291.1144;


Twin Cities Auto Show

We turn your house into the home of your dreams!

Rev your engine for the 48th annual Twin Cities Auto Show. Great for car enthusiasts, casual drivers and curious kids alike, this auto show features over 600 different vehicles and a variety of family-friendly attractions. All ages. Prices vary. 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Minnesota State Fair Grounds, 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul;

16 Doggy Social Wedding Fair Want to involve your fur babies on your big day? The Second Annual Doggy Social MN Wedding Fair features a pup fashion show, custom illustrations and more. All ages. Free. Noon–3 p.m. Machine Shop, 300 Second St. SE, Mpls.;


Bow Wow Film Festival

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A celebration of our canine companions, this fifth annual film festival is sure to move you to laughter and love alike. Proceeds benefit the Wags & Whiskers Animal Rescue of Minnesota. All ages. $11 in-person or virtual individual, $30 virtual family. 24 p.m. Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls.;

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


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TA S T E M A K E R S »


RIVIE RA MAYA CANT INA & RE STAU RANT (O PE NE D O CTO B E R 2 02 0 ) Is spring putting you in the mood for a tropical stay-cation? Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant offers up a taste of Cancun in the heart of Maple Grove. With an extensive menu featuring authentic Mexican staples and fresh seafood, this restaurant says it was designed to make visitors feel like they’re on an exotic getaway. If you want to start with something for the table, consider trying Riviera Maya’s elote, which is Mexican-style sweet corn on the cob, prepared in a street food-style and traditionally topped with creamy mayo, a sprinkle of crumbly Cotija cheese and finished off with chili powder and cilantro. To make the most out of el mar, head to the chef specialties toward the end of the menu. Dip a toe in with an order of Mexican-style shrimp cocktail, or dive in headfirst with the seafood molcajete. This dish offers up the bounty of the sea, including grilled shrimp, scallops and tilapia, all served out of a molcajete—a traditional stone grinding bowl—and includes all the classic taco fixings. To complete the vacation mindset, try a frosty bottle of Mexican beer or a blended margarita. Customer Kim W. writes on Facebook, “The food and service were both excellent, along with the margaritas! The portion sizes were very large. Highly recommend! We will definitely be back!” RIVIERA MAYA CANTINA & RESTAURANT 7904 Main St.; 763.355.5340;

BY MADELINE KOPIECKI Riviera Maya Cantina & Restaurant

30 MAY/JUNE 2021


Maple Grove expanded its culinary adventures threefold with the addition of intriguing new restaurants with cuisine that spans the globe.


M A N G O M A N G O DE SS E R T (OP EN ED N OV E MB E R 2 02 0 ) If you’ve seen the menu for Mango Mango Dessert, you might feel tempted to start with something sweet before dinner. Inspired by the famed hot desserts of Hong Kong, this ice cream shop definitely delivers on the name while offering a few menu items off the beaten path, as well. Those familiar with bubble tea might get a feeling of déjà vu when they view Mango Mango’s signature drink. The special mango juice sago and pomelo with mango sorbet features a goblet filled to the brim with tantalizingly ripe mangos, juice and pearl-like sago balls. Similar to the tapioca pearls in bubble tea, sago is made from starch and brings a chewy texture to the dish. If you’ve never had bubble tea, you’ll get a chance to try that, too. Customer Katja M. writes on Facebook, “I tried the Thai bubble milk tea, and it was absolutely fantastic. In addition, I came back within two days just to get another strawberry mango smoothie. It was delicious and tasted like it was made with crisp fresh fruit (no syrupy fillers). It’s my new favorite.” Looking to dive into an authentic Hong Kong hot dessert? Mango Mango also offers an assortment of sweet and savory dessert soups, including walnut, almond, black sesame and more, all topped with sago. Customer Ka Mei M. writes on Facebook, “They have authentic Hong Kong style desserts in the hot dessert section. I had the walnut soup tonight, and it tastes just like the ones I had in Hong Kong. Thank you for having this restaurant in the neighborhood here. Love it!” MANGO MANGO DESSERT 11630 Fountains Drive; 763.373.8001; Mango Mango Maple Grove

T H E GR E AT G RE E K ME DI T E RRANE AN G RILL (O P E N ED NOVE MB E R 2 02 0 ) There’s nothing better than a homecooked meal, except for a home-cooked meal you don’t have to make yourself. The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill menu features family recipes, as well as freshly-prepared produce and proteins. Aside from handling all the slicing and dicing in-house, The Great Greek kitchen makes all its sauces, soups and desserts from scratch and daily. If it’s all Greek to you, the restaurant offers a go-to glossary. Avgolemono Soup (AV-go LEM-ohno): Essentially breaking down to “egg”

and “lemon,” this soup offers a creamy palate experience without the, well, cream. Chicken is finished off with a bright citrus note in this traditional dish. Baklava (Bah-klah-VAH): You’ll likely have seen this in the bakery section of specialty grocery stores. Think layer and layer of pastry dough married to honey and nuts. Dolmades (Dol MAH dess): This finger food is named after the grape leaves they’re wrapped in. Inside is a mix of rice, herbs and a spritz of lemon juice. Gyro (YEER-oh): This slow-roasted,

thinly-sliced beef or lamb is usually served in pita bread or over salad. Kourabiedes (Koo-rah-bee-ED-ess):

A pillowy-soft butter cookie dusted with powdered sugar. Souvlaki (soo-VLAH-kee): Think of a kebab or a skewer, and you’ll be on the right track. The Great Greek offers four protein varieties for its souvlaki entrees—chicken, steak, lamb or shrimp. Tzatziki (tsah-TSEE-kee): This sauce is ideal to serve as a dip for veggies or pita wedges or drizzled over meat. (Get it with your gyro!) If you’re on-the-go, The Great Greek offers well-reviewed takeout options. Customer Dawn L. writes on Facebook, “Ordered takeout from here and the food was fabulous. The process to order and pick up was super easy. All the extras like napkins forks etc. were included. We had gyros, feta fries and rice bowl with shrimp. Highly recommend.” MG THE GREAT GREEK MEDITERRANEAN GRILL 7860 Main St.; 763.951.3902 The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill (The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes)




Water Works “… the water was glistening.” BY RENÉE STEWART-HESTER


THIRD PLACE Activities & Events


with an iPhone 10, placed third in the Activities & Events category of our annual Focus on Maple Grove photo contest. “We love to go to Fish Lake. That day, we decided to go out kayaking for a relaxing day in the sun,” Sarah Cupryna says, who notes the day’s weather was ideal. “It was a warm



summer day. [The] sun was shining, and [the] water was glistening.” Cupryna is no stranger to taking photos of local vistas. “I love to take pictures all over Maple Grove, mostly outdoors in nature,” she says. “I’ve taken many pictures at parks— French Lake, Fish Lake, Central Park, as well as along the Three River Trail system.” MG