White Bear Lake Magazine - May 2022

Page 1

METAMORPHOSIS Local business brings new life to pressed blooms

DANA & MARK ASHBY 651-287-4040

JIM KRAMER 651-247-7484

AMY STOCKER 651-242-1586

JOHN MONETTE 612-720-0545

DENISE LARSON 651-271-8560

DOUG DONOVAN 651-261-5544

JAN NIEMIEC 651-248-4100

BRYAN PELTIER 651-353-0388

GAIL GENDLER 651-210-1699


DON JOYCE 651-442-4085

POWERS & LUDWIGSON GROUP 651-315-4119 | 651-285-4939

BEN STEWART 651-271-0877



KEVIN LARSON 651-402-0846

TERRI WYKLE 612-619-5425

KATHY & LISA MADORE 651-592-4444 | 651-216-1335

TOM BECKER 651-402-1398

ERICH YOUNG 612-220-1191

LAURA WHITNEY 612-387-3052

XIQING (SHIRLEY) LI 612-910-4877


612-750-1215 | 651-587-7562

White Bear Lake Office / Hwy. 61 & 4th St. / 651.426.7172

GRETCHEN LOCKEN 763-370-3197


PAT FRUCCI 651-470-7807

TRAVIS PELTIER 612-708-2296

URGENT CARE OPEN 8-8 DAILY. Feel better faster at our walk-in urgent care locations. At Twin Cities Orthopedics, we make it easy for patients to take control of their health. Walk-in urgent care locations are open 8-8 daily. You don’t need a referral or appointment. And, we accept all major health insurance.

99% Patient Recommended. TCOmn.com

“Cheers!” Whether buying or selling a home, we create a seamless real estate experience! As lifelong area residents and experts in our field, we provide the market knowledge, sales and marketing skills, and personalized service you deserve! We learn about your home wants and lifestyle needs, and we offer solutions to fit your real estate dreams and your financial goals. We work with you on your timeline, and we are with you every step of the way! Contact us today, and you’ll be saying “Cheers!” to a successful real estate transaction!

BACCHUS real estate professionals

HEATHER & RANDY BACCHUS Bacchus@edinarealty.com www.BacchusREP.com

M AY/J U N E 2 0 2 2 “All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.” —J.R.R. Tolkien




12 — Growing Little Gardeners

20 — The Open Road

6 — Editor’s Letter 9 — Noteworthy 35 — On the Town 40 — Last Glance

Elementary students cultivate lessons of community.

14 — Womaness Taking the “pause” out of menopause.

Vanlife is changing the way we live and travel.

26 — Adorned Homes Full-service design showroom opens in White Bear Lake.

16 — Metamorphosis


Local business brings new life to pressed blooms.

36 — Oh, Kale Yes! Garden expert weighs in on the benefits of leafy greens.


Photo: Gina Marie Photography

PAGE 2 0

Fine Jewelry


50th & France


Highland Park

Jewelry & Watch Repair



White Bear Lake Area Schools

F R O M T H E E D I TO R Zoe Deal, zoe@localmedia.co

Join us! Why Be a Bear? Our students benefit from:

• Safe, nurturing and challenging environments. • Differentiated instruction. • Hands-on learning. • World language experiences. • Focus on academic, social and personal development of all students. • Career Pathways opportunities and College-level courses. •

Enrollment info at isd624.org/enroll


year ago, I was in the midst of great change. With my gaze set on an open road, I left the familiarity of life in the Pacific Northwest for a monthlong road trip through the Southwest. My passion for new people and places was reignited on endless mountain highways and nights spent sleeping in my SUV on empty desert roads. Though, as the days went on, it became clear that I was ready to put down roots. And when I returned home, it was not to the northwest but my hometown nestled in the St. Croix River Valley, where I decided to settle down with my partner, October, and our cat, Aster. I don’t plan to stop traveling any time soon, but there’s nothing better than cultivating a life beside family and friends. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do both. In this issue, we’re welcoming back summer adventures, making memories with family and cultivating our ideal homes and gardens. This month, writer Staci Perry Mergenthal talks with Oneka Elementary teacher Amy Corner about a gardening program that encourages kids to explore and understand their food system (page 12). On their discoveries, she says, “It’s ... [nature’s] miracles that inspires the kids, piques their curiosity and helps them ask questions.” Also in White Bear Lake Magazine this month, writer Dan Amundson speaks with Narrow Road Van Conversions owner Erik Lokken about how his company helps people of all ages experience the country in new ways (page 20). And on page 14, I chat with Sally Mueller of Womaness about how her beauty brand helps women feel empowered and supported through menopause. Whether you’re looking forward to days with family on the lake or road trips across the country, make sure to soak in every moment spent with those you love. It’s times like these that we’ll always remember. Happy travels,

• E-NEWSLETTER - The Community e-Newsletter is sent out weekly, with alternating text and video editions. Subscribe by emailing communications@isd624.org. • STAY SOCIAL - Join White Bear Lake Area Schools’ social media circles - Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for 624 Fact posts and weekly video share-outs.

651-407-7500 isd624.org /isd624 6

See what we’re doing behind the scenes and around town! WHITEBEARLAKEMAG.COM @WHITEBEARLAKEMAG


On the Cover Pressed Flower Shop, photo by Chris Emeott

May/June 2022


Photo: Chris Emeott

Check us out online!

VOL. 11 NO. 3 whitebearlakemag.com

publisher Susan Isay

editor Zoe Deal

managing creative director Renée Stewart-Hester

managing editor Hailey Almsted

copy editor Kellie Doherty

staff writers Ava Diaz Dan Amundson Daniel Huss Madeline Kopiecki Staci Perry Mergenthal

contributing writers Hollie Blanchard John F. Farrell III Rachael Perron

editorial interns Emily Deutscher Hanna McDaniels

editorial advisory board Karen Alnes, Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation Ellie Fuelling, White Bear Center for the Arts Jackie Reis, Community Volunteer Marisa Vette, White Bear Lake Area Schools

senior managing art director Sarah Dovolos

art director Allison Nolden

lead staff photographer Chris Emeott

production director Brittni Dye

production manager Lisa Stone

senior account executives Brooke Beise Katie Freemark Cynthia Hamre Sara Johnson


president Pete Burgeson

SUBSCRIPTIONS White Bear Lake Magazine is published 6 times a year. Rates $12 for 6 issues. Back issues $5.95. For subscription and customer service inquiries, please contact hello@localmedia.co or call 612.208.6248. ©Local, LLC 2022. All rights reserved.


Distinctive Homes in Extraordinary Settings

Building finely crafted custom homes since 1969 651-483-0518 | info@zawadskihomes.com | ZawadskiHomes.com #BC345856

Roofing Siding Windows Gutters Storm Damage Repair Contact Timberline Today! 612.284.5329

License # BC705008



lo c a l t ip s, tidb its & insights


LEARNING TO LIVE AND LOVE THROUGH TRAGEDY Eleanor Oliphant is definitely not fine. As a result of a difficult upbringing steeped in tragedy, Eleanor creates a safe life for herself with strict routines while avoiding most social interactions and living in the shadows. But when she is forced to interact with a rather odious man from her office, her orderly life shifts and she starts to experience the outside world in a new way. During our member discussion of this book, the White Bear Lake Book Club discussed the emotional pain that many people experience in their lifetime,


to what degree it alters one’s life

New Possibilities

Eleanor’s quirky, introverted

and ultimately how to cope. Our book club loved character and cheered her on throughout Gail Honeyman’s award-winning debut novel.

Artwork: Spencer Meagher

While the White Bear Center for the

Last year we met an amazing painter,

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely

Arts (WBCA) building was closed

Spencer Meagher from Illinois, who won

Fine is a laugh-out-loud funny

during the pandemic, its operations

an award for Best Acrylic/Oil Paint-

book that will have readers

were definitely not. As the building

ing. His work is exquisite. The expertise

glued to the pages.

experienced a transformation—with

displayed in his painting Femme Osage

the construction of two new galleries,

Morning could only come from the con-

a spacious atrium and charming retail

fidence and maturity of someone with

space—WBCA stepped into virtual pro-

his level of ability.

grams and events. The gallery was able

Meagher will be one of the judges of

to reach new people and places all over

this year’s Plein Air Contest, which will

the world as a result.

take place at various locations around

The Into Nature: International Plein

Gail Angone is a member of the White Bear Lake Book Club. Join in on the conversation at meetup. com/white-bear-lake-book-club.

the community and culminate on June

Air Contest was one of the amazing

19 at WBCA with a celebration of the

new events to come out of the pandem-

work and awards. Meagher will also

ic. WBCA was able to connect online

teach a workshop that week.

with some of the best plein air painters in the world, as well as new upcoming artists right in our backyard. You’re probably not surprised by how much talent is right here in the Midwest.

May/June 2022


Danielle Cezanne is the gallery director at White Bear Center for the Arts. Learn more at whitebeararts.org.




Gardening and Getaways When that final patch of snow

• Invest in a drip irrigation system

melts on the north side of the

that runs on a timer.

house and brightly patterned pansy

• Before leaving for the weekend,

planters arrive at the supermarket,

take down the most vulnerable

you know spring has arrived and

hanging baskets and movable

it’s time to venture out to your

planters and place them in the

local garden center.

shade in a pan (or a kiddie pool)

Perhaps you are in search of your favorite variety of salvia or your

filled with water so they can selfwater from the bottom of the pot.

must-have mint plant for those

• Purchase hardy and resilient

mojitos you enjoy all summer on the

plants, such as succulents,

deck. But let’s remember, summer in

lantana, dragon wing begonias,

Minnesota also means time up north

geraniums, celosia, gomphrena,

at the lake and weekend getaways.

portulaca and zinnias.

So, whether you are choosing the perfect color palette of annuals or

With a plan in place to care for

picking up new vegetable cultivars

your plants during those weekend

for your garden, take some time to

getaways (and a regular fertilizing

develop a strategy for caring for

schedule), you will be surprised how

your plants in your absence. How

long your annuals will showcase

will all those planters and garden

their brilliant blooms for you. And,

plots stay watered and maintained?

when in doubt, your local garden

Plan ahead to keep your blooms in

center can help answer plant ques-

good health.

tions. Enjoy your summer!

Ideas to consider:

Karin Costa is the owner of Costa Produce Farm & Greenhouse. Costa Farm Greenhouse @costaproducefarmgreenhouse

• Enlist a green-thumbed neighbor to take over watering duties in your absence.



Last summer my husband built

some herbs only for their blooms.

I also make a Panna Cotta with

me a new garden, complete with

Few dishes make it to my table

Rosemary-Grape Compote that’s

raised beds, storage for supplies

without a sprig of one or another

a dinner party winner every time.

and a gate to keep out the “neigh-

herb on top. The core reason I

Perhaps my favorite way to use

bors,” AKA deer and bunnies.

grow herbs is for their fresh flavor!

rosemary, however, is in a rosemary

The plan for this season includes

My favorite herb has always

pesto. Made similarly to traditional

the usual suspects—tomatoes,

been rosemary. I use it in grain

basil pesto, you can serve it with

peppers, lettuces, radishes, lots of

dishes, in chicken and lamb

feta cheese on crackers, on a lamb

peas, flowers, fennel, chard and

recipes, and with a surprising

chop or burger.

of course, herbs. Herbs are one of

number of sweet foods, too (finely

my all-time gardening favorites

chopped rosemary is a tasty ad-

because most of them continue to

dition to a shortbread cookie!) It’s

grow and produce all season long.

especially beautiful and delicious

I’ve taken to growing way more

with roasted grapes, which I

than I can use simply because I

love to serve on a flatbread with

love the look of them; I even grow

prosciutto, gorgonzola and honey.

Rachael Perron is the culinary and brand director for Kowalski’s Market. Find her recipes for Rosemary Pesto and Panna Cotta with RosemaryGrape Compote on our website at whitebearlakemag.com.

May/June 2022


Photo: Joel Schnell



Bootleg Season Memorial Day weekend is the official kickoff of the bootleg season. Bootlegs are Minnesota’s version of a Mint Julep/ Mojito (favored by the Kentucky Derby crowd) and one of our state’s best kept summer cocktail secrets. The recipe varies from place to place, as does the actual origin of the drink. Many country clubs in town sell bottles of their own Bootleg mix, and these vary in color from swampy (fresh mint) to bright green (food coloring), but the basics are lime/lemonade, fresh mint and simple syrup. I put one can of limeade in a blender with as much fresh mint as I can fit. (Remove the bitter stems.) As I blend, I add a bit of water until the blender is about 80 percent full. I add about ½ cup of simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar, simmered until the sugar blends in) to smooth it out. I store this in the refrigerator and refill it as summer goes along.

Bootleg Fill a tall glass with ice. Add 1.5 oz. of your favorite rum, vodka or gin. Add Bootleg mix to about ¾ full. Fill the glass with club soda or 7UP. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Photo: Chris Emeott

John F. Farrell III is vice president of sales and merchandising with Haskell’s The Wine People. Find more at haskells.com.



Growing Little Gardeners Elementary students cultivate lessons of community.


child engage with nature. And, at schools across the White Bear Lake area, teachers have incorporated learning gardens into curriculum, encouraging students to discover connections between food systems and nature in a digestible way. From seed to spaghetti day, secondgrade students at Oneka Elementary learn all about growing and harvesting foot at their outdoor garden. As part of teacher Amy Corner’s planting and growing unit, students add soil, plant seeds and tend crops in six farm troughs. “When it’s theirs they get excited about the wonder of it all,” says Corner. “When they found a caterpillar on a leaf—it’s the ... miracles that inspire the kids, piques their curiosity and helps them ask questions.”


Activities in the outdoor classroom are aimed to help students strengthen skills in science, math, reading, writing and researching. Corner says students can often be found leaning on the troughs reading or doing math on clipboards. And there are also lifelong lessons being taught throughout the year, such as patience, transformation and nutrition. Marigolds that bloomed throughout the warm months are left over winter to dry and be opened as the weather warms. “Every single dried bud has over 100 seeds,” Corner says. “The kids count and sort them into groups of 10, so there’s a lot of learning going on through those types of experiences.” Her students’ favorite part of the year is spaghetti day, a day in autumn designated to harvesting and eating herbs,

tomatoes and peppers from their garden. “It’s super fun,” Corner says. “We read books about spaghetti, sing songs like On Top of Spaghetti and do math with spaghetti—making triangles and rectangles with our raw noodles.” In summer, kindergarten–grade five students in the extended day program’s gardening club nurture the garden. Guided by Oneka Elementary activity lead Sheila Higgins, the club weeds, waters, trellises and harvests the vegetables and herbs. All produce is donated to Hugo Good Neighbors Food Shelf. “The kids love that what we grow goes to families in need in Hugo, so they get a sense of pride,” Higgins says. And when the garden comes to life, producing a variety of goods, the students get to take their favorites home.

May/June 2022


Photos: Oneka Elementary

By Staci Perry Mergenthal





“[It’s] just so much fun to watch,” Higgins says. “The conversations that happen in the garden are priceless.” Come September, Corner will welcome a new second grade class to the outdoor garden to harvest the tomatoes, herbs and zucchini planted by their predecessors. “I hope and pray it inspires them to grow stuff and say, ‘Mom, let’s do a little garden’ or ‘Dad, let’s try this’ to try it on their own,” Corner says. For many kids, the outdoor classroom is their first time planting a seed, nurturing a garden and tasting a fresh tomato warmed by the sun. This fall, Corner is expanding into more student-led learning where students guide lessons by uncovering the answers to their own questions.



65 1 . 7 6 2 . 8 0 4 0 | CA R L S O NCH I R O . NET 13


Womaness Taking the “pause” out of menopause. By Zoe Deal


Sally Mueller


exists. And though it’s yet another taboo that women tend to keep to themselves—when 6,000 women enter a four-to-six-year relationship with menopause each day, it’s not a topic that should be kept in the shadows. Enter Womaness, a wellness brand devoted to empowering women as they age with products to support them through menopause. “Around 70 percent of women feel very uninformed going into menopause,” says Sally Mueller, Womaness co-founder and CEO and White Bear Lake native. “We want women to feel positive about this time of life.” Mueller’s personal experience with menopause symptoms was the catalyst for Womaness. Though she expected the drying skin, hot flashes and mood changes, Mueller didn’t connect her other symptoms with menopause until a new doctor pointed it out. “I knew I was in menopause, but I didn’t know what I was experiencing was related to menopause,” Mueller says. “And that’s very, very common.” The doctor directed her to a line of products to aid her symptoms, but upon closer look Mueller was astonished at their ingredients and packaging. “I said to my husband, ‘I’m never buying any of these products,’" Mueller says. “No disrespect to the doctor’s taste level, it was the best she could find out there.” As an industry leader with decades of experience marketing and incubating brands for women at Target Corporation and within her own business, Mueller quickly came to a realization. “I felt like there was a real lack of one destination brand that could really address all the major symptoms of menopause, that was accessibly priced and made with really good ingredients,” Mueller says. She says she told herself, “‘After all these years of building brands

May/June 2022


Simply. Save. More.

TERMS TO KN OW Perimenopause: The period leading up to menopause when hormone production declines. Menstrual cycles may become more irregular after onset between ages 35–45, and side effects such as hot flashes and sleep difficulty may begin. Menopause: The production of menstruation-causing hormones halts, with no period for 12 consecutive months. At this stage, intense symptoms may appear. This typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.

From lower loan rates to fewer fees, Cities CU members simply save more over big banks!

Lower loan rates = lower payments Fewer and lower fees than the big banks • Free checking with no maintenance fees • •


We welcome those who live, work, worship or attend school in White Bear Lake. Experience the Cities difference! 3625 Talmage Circle, Vadnais Heights, MN 55110 • citiescu.org • 651.426.3773

Photos: Womaness

Post-menopause: The stage after menopause has occurred, with symptoms of menopause mostly disappearing for most women four to five years from their last cycle.

for women, I should tackle this space.’” And that’s just what she did. Alongside friend Michelle Jacobs, Mueller launched Womaness in March 2021. The brand offers a line of clean products to treat common menopause symptoms, alongside a website chockful of information and affirmations to help women feel confident and encouraged. Some of their best-selling products for skincare include Overnight Magic, a hydrating night cream, and Let’s Neck, a neck and décolleté serum. Womaness also offers products targeting a variety of feminine health subjects, including sleep, sexual health, mood and energy. In the year that has followed the Womaness launch, Mueller has watched women get behind the brand and their mission of “menopositivity.” “I think women are like ‘Hallelujah, finally someone’s talking about this,’” Mueller says. “We’re not invisible.” Whether you’re in menopause or soon to be, Mueller encourages all women to become informed, talk to their girlfriends and start to have conversations with a doctor, even before any severe symptoms of menopause arise. “Menopause isn’t a bad thing,” Mueller says. “It’s just another phase we all have to deal with.” Womaness; womaness.com My Womaness


Shop Online. Pickup at All Locations. C R E AT E Y O U R L I S T A N D S H O P T H O U S A N D S O F I T E M S S H O P. L U N D S A N D B Y E R LY S . C O M

4630 CENTERVILLE ROAD, WHITE BEAR LAKE, MN 55110 L U N D S A N D B Y E R LY S . C O M | 6 5 1 . 6 5 3 . 0 0 0 0



Metamorphosis Local business brings new life to pressed blooms. By Daniel Huss


May/June 2022


Crazy about Strawberries


Come to Pine Tree’s Strawberry Heaven and enjoy Minnesota grown strawberries. Call for harvest update after June 10. And those fresh strawberry pies and other treats from our own bakery ... Oh my!

C’mon out... This is the place to make you smile.

Photos: Chris Emeott

AFTER A WARM MID-SUMMER AFTERNOON spent picking dandeli-

ons in their yard, the two eldest Torrez boys, ages 3 and 5, raced through the backdoor, a bounty of blooms in hand. Settled with their favorite books, the boys flipped through familiar pages, pressing each bright yellow flower within equally colorful stories. “They thought they’d be like me,” says Caitlin Torrez, a White Bear Lake business owner and mother of three whose job is to do just that—though on a much grander scale. Torrez owns and operates Pressed Flower Shop, an in-home company that specializes in pressing wedding bouquets and memorial flowers, preserving and transforming the beauty of each bloom via hangable and wearable art. Reflecting on her children pressing dandelions stirs memories of Torrez’ own path to pressing flowers. It all began with a pressed-flower birthday gift for her mother. By high school, she pressed flowers for friends. And by college, she sold her work on Etsy while pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. Today, it’s a passion that’s blooming out of control. “I have more bookings than I can handle, but I hate saying no,” Torrez says. Pressing flowers is an art form that’s been around since the Victorian era. And for Torrez, it seems like that long since she got her start. But the true craziness started about three years ago, after she posted an image of her work on Instagram. “A lady in New York saw it and sent her bouquet overnight,” she says. As the months went by, friends of the New Yorker sent their own bouquets. And so

Pine Tree Apple Orchard

651.429.7202 | www.pinetreeappleorchard.com North of White Bear Lake off East Hwy. 96 Fresh apples and pies available in August.

Discover the most

INNOVATIVE approach to

UROGYNECOLOGY Bladder leakage, pelvic pain, prolapse, and other pelvic floor conditions can really impact your life. If you are struggling with a condition that keeps you from doing what you love, we can help. At Minnesota Women’s Care, we develop individualized treatment plans using a full range of non-surgical treatment options and pelvic strengthening programs from WomanWorx our new pelvic floor and women’s fitness center. When surgery is necessary, we use the most advanced surgical techniques - ones that are known to provide for a faster recovery. Talk to us and get started on your recovery. We’ll work with you to find the right solution.

Melvin Ashford, MD

Rachel Warnsholz, PA-C

Rachel Tank, DNP

MINNESOTA WOMEN’S CARE Visit www.mnwcare.com · Phone 651-600-3035 Maplewood · Woodbury · Hudson · Apple Valley



Some flowers, like orchids and lilies, require more attention. Some, like dandelions, are nonstarters. “They’re just hard to press,” Torrez says. Each project is meaningful to Torrez, who recognizes the significance of each client’s bouquet—a memento of an important day in a stranger’s life. There’s a story in every petal, though a few projects do stand out to Torrez. “Bouquets and memorials are all so special, but one of my favorites was a wedding bouquet made of yellow daffodils,” Torrez says. “The bride chose daffodils because

they were her grandma’s favorite.” The pressure of working with these little bits of history isn’t lost on her. Though, because Torrez completes about 75 pressed-flower projects each year, she feels confident and comfortable going into each new piece. “Brides spend a lot of time picking out their flowers. Their bouquets are pieces of art,” Torrez says. “But I’ve done this so often, it’s become routine.” Along with her pressed-flower flat art, Torrez also transforms wedding and memorial flowers into necklaces, orna-

May/June 2022


Photo: Chris Emeott

on, until Torrez’ budding passion became a flourishing business. The bouquets themselves are deconstructed one flower at a time. Sometimes, Torrez takes them apart petal by petal. Each reconstruction takes on a life of its own. “You can see a flow and movement,” says Torrez. “My favorite part is adding layers and depth.” Torrez says the typical project, often in 10”x10” or 11”x14” frames, takes 10 to 20 hours to complete. But it all depends on the type of flower and size of the bouquet.






Register today for an incredible summer on the lake!


651.426.8176 bruggemanexteriors.com info@bruggemanexteriors.com 2555 County E Suite 104 White Bear Lake MN 55110

Roofing Siding

Photos: Caitlin Torrez

ments and jewelry holders. “It’s not like a photo album that might get looked at on an anniversary,” says Torrez. “When you display art in your home, you can look at it every day.”

Windows Gutters

Pressed Flower Shop; thepressedflowershop.com Pressed Flower Shop by Cait @pressedflowershop



Photo: Gina Marie Photography



May/June 2022



Picture this. You drive up a dusty gravel road, traveling through tall evergreens. As the road goes on, the trees give way to a view of the mountains. Below, the cool blue water of a river winds through the landscape. You park and take a deep breath of fresh air, watching the sky turn a fiery blaze of reds and yellows. You’re home. The open road has become home to many in recent decades. And in the past few years, Americans have flocked to embrace the fluidity of this lifestyle en masse, downsizing their lives in exchange for tiny homes, RVs and most recently: vans. What once was a lifestyle restricted to nomads has entered the mainstream. All generations have turned to vans as a cheaper, simpler way to explore the country in comfort for weeks or even years. One of those people is White Bear Lake resident Erik Lokken. Lokken owns and operates Narrow Road Van Conversions, a company specializing in converting vans to be selfcontained—meaning they don’t rely on an external power source. Customers bring a van to Narrow Road, and Lokken’s team installs all the desired amenities to make the van livable. So, whether you’re living or vacationing in the van, everything you need to survive in comfort is at your disposal, without the hassle of finding an RV friendly site to park. “That way you can camp anywhere,” Lokken says. “It’s easier than having to find a spot with a hookup.” The ability to get away from crowded RV parks is what made van life an attractive idea for Lokken in the first place. By choosing a van instead of a traditional camper, travelers can often park on public land (when allowed) instead of being limited to a campground, a practice called dispersed camping. Lokken has even camped out of a van on a lake while on an ice fishing trip, in five degree weather. “It’s such a popular thing right now,” Lokken says. “[COVID-19] really ramped this movement up, as people wanted an activity away from crowds.” While Lokken and his wife initially slept in the back of his SUV on their travels, he soon realized the amenities and usability of converted vans could level up their adventures. And when the dreams of hot meals over a stove, a cozy bed and a toilet and shower became overwhelming,


he decided to go all in, buying two vans with plans to convert and sell them. With the profits, he’d build his dream van. But it didn’t take long for him to realize that this was more than just a means to an end. The first build went so well he decided to quit his job and do van conversions fulltime. While a growing population lives and works out of these vans, Lokken says most of his clients use them for vacation-


ing. Many are retirees and empty nesters looking for a fun way to visit family and friends across the country. While on the road, they can take advantage of new places and experiences and, once there, sleep in their own van. And when converted vans are simpler to drive, store and park than a traditional RV, it’s easy to see why they’re on trend. Van life has become so popular that there’s even movies about it. In 2020,

the Academy Award-winning film Nomadland was released. It follows a woman in her 60s who, facing financial hardship, journeys through the American West in her van. Along the way, she finds comfort within a community of likeminded nomads. Over the years, Lokken has refined his conversion process to make the ultimate adventure vans. To transform a simple vehicle into

May/June 2022


Photos: Gina Marie Photography

Erik and Gina Lokken

KILL LAKE WEEDS Proven AQUACIDE PELLETS Marble size pellets. Work at any depth


10 lb. bag treats up to 4,000 sq.ft. $108.00 50 lb. bag treats up to 20,000 sq. ft. $394.00. FREE SHIPPING! Certified and approved for use by state agencies. State permit may be required. Registered with the Federal E.P.A.


Order online today, or request free information.

Photos: Erik Lokken

Our 67th year

a mini house, Lokken installs modern kitchen appliances and working showers and toilets. He also makes the most of the limited space of each vehicle, incorporating a variety of dual-purpose elements, like bench seats that serve as extra storage, that will perform year-round. “We focus on making everything fully electric and four-season capable,” Lokken says. “Winterization is important in our builds.”

Lokken says the difficult part is not converting a van—but finding one. Inventory is low because large companies have started to buy them up for deliveries, in addition to increased demand within the private sector. Lokken says one advantage of the shortage is people can buy and convert a van with a safety net. If they decide they don’t like it, they can often get their money back and then some.


PO Box 10748, DEPT 59K White Bear Lake, MN 55110-0748



Help provide critical supplies and support to children affected by the war in Ukraine.

unicefusa.org/tigeroak © UNICEF/UN0598518/MOLDOVAN

May/June 2022



“The market for these things right now is crazy,” Lokken says. Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans are common for vanlifers, though Lokken has also converted many Ford Transits and Ram ProMasters. The complexity of converted vans varies, though most of Lokken’s conversions are large custom build projects that take around three months to complete and typically range from $70,000–$80,000. In the three years since he started his business, Lokken has been so busy converting vans for clients, he hasn’t had a chance to start on his dream van, yet. But, on occasion, he gets to live out his vanlifer dreams on delivery runs for clients across the country. It not only gives him a chance to test out his build, but it also serves as a fun vacation. His wife even tags along. If you’re looking for change of pace and a way to live life off the beaten path, Lokken recommends trading the RV for a van. “You’re always in your own world,” Lokken says. “It’s just kind of neat.”


Narrow Road Van Conversions; 651.269.0547; narrowroadvanconversions.com Narrow Road Van Conversions LLC @narrow_road_van_conversions

Gooseberry Falls

Erik Lokken With the melting snow and abundant rain, the rivers run a little faster come spring. Minnesota is lucky enough to have a plethora of beautiful waterfalls, and now is the best time to go see them. As close as Minneapolis and as far away as the Canadian border, there are several options for day trips or weekend getaways.

Weekend E xcur s ion: THE NORTH SHORE The North Shore boasts an impressive number of waterfalls, and you’ll almost certainly need a weekend to see them all. Start with Gooseberry Falls just north of Two Harbors. There are four sets of waterfalls on this river before it spills into Lake Superior, and they can all be accessed in Gooseberry Falls State Park.


Continue north to Tettegouche State Park to check out the falls of the Baptism River. There are four sets of waterfalls here as well, but the most notable is the High Falls—one of the highest waterfalls in the state. Next up is The Devil’s Kettle at Judge C.R. Magney State Park near Grand Portage. This waterfall has a mysterious hole in the rocks that water pours into. This hole has been the center of controversy as onlookers wonder: Where does the water go? Does it flow into Lake Superior? Is it a secret tunnel leading elsewhere? The answer may not be very exciting (the water rejoins the river), but the waterfall is worth a visit. End your excursion on a high note with a stop at the tallest waterfall in Minnesota. At 120 feet, High Falls of the Pigeon River

May/June 2022


What do you want your glasses to say about you? Whatever your needs, our experienced doctors, knowledgeable opticians and stylish eyewear can make it all a reality. Call today to schedule your appointment for a comprehensive eye examination including our latest technology, Optos retinal photography. All optical visits are also by appointment.

651-429-3379 • whitebeareye.net

4750 Washington Square • White Bear Lake, MN 55110

in Grant Portage State Park is a transnational waterfall that defines the border between Minnesota and Canada. No waterfall journey is complete without a stop here! You can also extend your trip with some smaller waterfalls along the Split Rock, Cascade and Temperance rivers. And with a bounty of state forests along the way, it’s easy to find a place to stay overnight, especially if you’re in a van.

Photo: Sarah Dovolos

Day Tri p: MINNEAPOLIS If a multi-day trip up North isn’t on your itinerary, there’s some impressive waterfalls close to home. Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis is a little gem in the heart of the city. With a neat park to eat lunch and explore, it makes for a perfect day trip.


S to r y by Av a D i a z

A White Bear Lake boutique interior design company is taking a new approach to full-service home offerings. The passion project of longtime area resident Katie Kurtz, Adorned Homes encompasses all things real estate, remodeling and furnishings. And, as of spring 2022, its scope now includes a showroom containing kitchen designs, furniture and other curated products. In partnership with Monogram Appliances and Bertch Cabinet, the Adorned Homes showroom is set to feature a fully functioning kitchen to be used for cooking events and demonstrations. Patrons will be able to engage with the products and community during these events, watching and learning techniques that can be used in their own spaces and building relationships with other community members. “We definitely want to be a source of inspiration for people in the area,” Kurtz says about the showroom. “We want to be a place where people can start dreaming up their next big project.” Adorned Homes will also host quarterly

P h oto b y C h ris E m eott

sales for the general public to shop designer curated furniture pieces, dishware, linens, decorative items and more for their own spaces. These sales not only help the studio cycle through inventory, but also provide a way for community members to get excited about their own spaces. Kurtz has always had a penchant for renovation. Her first step into the industry was working on investment properties alongside her husband. The pair initially specialized in flipping high-end residential real estate. “We then worked with clients on finding houses in the right neighborhood and would renovate to make them their own special long-term houses,” Kurtz says. From there, Kurtz dove headlong into real estate, interior design and furnishings—entranced by the way a home can impact one’s emotions and wellness. Now, along with being a licensed realtor, Kurtz specializes in kitchen and bath design and has made a name for herself by streamlining all her services to provide clients with an all-inclusive experience. “We do it all from the ground up,” she

Adorned Homes Full-service design showroom opens in White Bear Lake.


May/June 2022




she’s seeing in the remodeling world and how people can up their interior design game to suit these changing times.

SEE WHAT’S TRENDING Reimagined layouts

It’s no secret that COVID-19 created a resurgence in home design. After months cooped up working and learning from home, Kurtz says many realized that productivity could be increased with higher functioning spaces. And it was one modern design in particular trend that created issues. The beloved open floorplan. While aesthetic and great for gathering, this

May/June 2022


Photos: Chelsie Lopez Productions

says. “We take care of literally all of it so that people can just move into the house and start living in it.” Kurtz blends her design prowess with logistics, developing designs that functionally make sense for clients’ day-today lifestyles. This involves considering factors such as aisle widths and appliance and storage placement, as much as the beautiful furnishings. “I went into kitchen and bath design because I like to make spaces feel good rather than just look good. I want there to be thought put into it,” Kurtz says. “The guiding factor is the focus on the functionality of a space.” We spoke with Kurtz about the trends

cornerstone of modern home and commercial design is not the most effective environment for quiet workspaces. “For a long time everyone was wanting open concepts and ripping out all of the walls,” Kurtz says. “Now, I think more people are conscious of separate spaces.” Though this modern layout is still common in most communal spaces, Kurtz says she’s seen more attention focused on the separation of adjacent spaces. Whether that is an office or wellness place, or a playroom for the kids, Kurtz says delineating these spaces can help foster healthier living patterns by creating separation between work and play.

Warming up

In a shift back to natural roots, interior design in 2022 is trending away from industrious metals and cool grays to a mix of woods, fibers and warm tones. “There is just a richness in using natural materials,” Kurtz says. “There is a warmth to it, and I think that people just want to feel comfortable in their homes.” A timeless pairing of lighter-washed woods and white creates a solid base that is neutral enough to complement any style and adds a feeling of brightness to a space. And, though it may seem


Blending styles

While mixing styles is hard to do right, the risk can often pay off by adding a unique, multi-layered look to a space. Kurtz is fully behind this trending approach, applauding the way it can add a bit of personal style to a space. “I love how [the industry is] mixing modern furniture with traditional homes,” she says. “The juxtaposition of it makes the design


so much more interesting.” When blending tradition and trend, it is important to let one style dominate. Kurtz recommends creating balance between the two styles. One way to do this is to allow the traditional features of the home to be the focal point, complimenting with modern furnishings. This ensures the space is well balanced and allows for specific elements such as a light fixture, accent chair or decorative element to shine on their own. “It is definitely not boring, and it adds definition,” Kurtz says about this approach. “There is more personality, and it is not one sided.” Adorned Homes; adornedhomes.com Adorned Homes @adornedhomes

May/June 2022


Photos: Spacecrafting; Chelsie Lopez Productions

simple, the color white is far more complex than one would expect. As a color that anchors spaces, Kurtz says the shade of white many use today is far softer and less stark than in years past. “There are thousands of shades of whites alone, but we are choosing warmtone off-whites paired with the natural stains,” Kurtz says.


www.ballastadvisors.com @BallastAdvisors Ballast Advisors LLC is a registered investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 Registration does not im l# a certain level of skill or training More information about the firm including its services and fees can be found in our A Part 2 or Form CRS which is available on our website or without charge u on re uest ,






Discover the Difference

Infant (6 weeks - 16 months) Preschool (3 years - 4 years)

Toddler (16 weeks - 36 months)

Pre-Kindergarten (4 years - 5 years)

Before & After School Care (K-4th)

School-Age Summer Camps (K-4th)

Full-Time & Part-Time Schedules Accepted Monday-Friday, 6:30 am - 6:15 pm

Little Canada 651.484.4931

Vadnais Heights 651.653.9871


From kitchens and bathrooms, to all of your exterior finishes, we are your local home remodeling contractor.

Bald Eagle Construction 5131 Long Ave. 651.357.6599 baldeagleconstructionsite.com

A celebration of food and flavor. Charcuterie boards beautifully curated to please all of the senses. Available for personal boards as well as events! Fig&Bleu 1064 Gervais Ave. 651.500.3597 @figandbleu

Vintage mid-century modern furniture. Curated vintage decor. Well-designed modern home goods. Follow us @haustheory on Instagram for updates + sneak peeks!

Building Strong, Confident Leaders through Small Class Sizes and Individual Attention Grades K–8 Schedule a Tour Today!

Extra virgin olive oils, thick balsamic vinegars, fresh ground bulk herbs and spices, pasta, sundries, gifts.

Haus Theory 2182 Third St. 651.429.0963 haustheory.com

Magnuson Christian School 4000 Linden St. 651.478.7317 magnusonschool.org

The Olive Branch Oil & Spice Company 4770 Banning Ave. 651.653.2207 theolivebranchmn.com

Discover your true potential! We are experts in holistic health who empower individuals to heal disease at its root and live abundant lives.

Whether you are a famous celebrity or a “regular” person, everyone needs a good estate plan. Let me help you put together a plan that suits you and your family.

We are able to achieve the above by making sure that our patients always come first! Call us, and experience the White Bear Smiles difference!

Secoya Health 7650 Currell Blvd. Suite 330 651.738.7800 secoyahealth.com

Sheila J. Kelly Law Firm, LLC 4856 Banning Ave. 612.568.8758 sheilakellylaw.com

White Bear Smiles 4778 Banning Ave. 651.426.8998 whitebearsmiles.com


Teeth are restored to correct aesthetics and function

A local practice with national respect. Find out why breathing and how long you live is a dental issue. See our website on why we are different. The practice that understands function, esthetics and airway for long term health.

Scholar Club Member of the Dawson Academy & Faculty Member of the Spear Institute for Dentistry Oak Ridge Business Centre 4801 Hwy 61 Suite 301 White Bear Lake, Minnesota 55110 Call for your Complimentary Consultation 651.762.8474 www.lakeareadentalpa.com Recognized in America’s Top Dentist by Consumers Research Council of America 2003-2022 Minnesota Monthly Top Doctor America’s Best Dentists 34


th in g s to se e a n d d o in and aro und White Be ar Lak e

HEAD TO THE MARKET Enjoy summer fun at White Bear Lake’s 31st annual Marketfest. S I N C E ITS H U M B L E B EGINNINGS three decades ago, Marketfest has established itself as one of White Bear Lake’s most popular annual events with fun and entertainment for all ages. Starting on June 16 in conjunction with Manitou Days, it will return to downtown White Bear Lake every Thursday from 6–9 p.m. through July 28, featuring live music, pony rides, a classic car show and more than 180 vendors. Weekly educational features, including White Bear Lake History Night and Environmental Expo, will take place on Fourth Street. “Marketfest kicked off in 1991 with the goal of bringing people to downtown White Bear Lake,” says event director Lisa Beecroft. “Many downtown businesses and restaurants join in on the festivities by showcasing their goods and services at Marketfest.” Thanks to the effort of volunteers and local businesses, the event has become a beloved summer tradition for residents and out-oftown visitors alike. Marketfest is hosted by White Bear Lake Main Street, Inc., a nonprofit committed to the promotion of small community businesses in downtown White Bear Lake. For more information about Marketfest, visit marketfestwbl.com. —Emily Deutscher marketfestwbl.com



Compiled by Emily Deutscher and Hanna McDaniels

Adult and Child Fishing

Derby Day Affair



Tackle this summer’s lakes with a fishing

Dress in your Kentucky Derby outfits and

Festive Spring Salads

camp. The focus of this course is on hav-

get ready to sip wonderful wines and bid


ing fun and learning how to fish. All fish-

on artists. This event will offer an array

Learn how to cook a superb salad this

ing equipment including life jackets, poles

of activities while also giving you the

spring at Festive Spring Salads. Hosted

and tackle will be provided, but if you

opportunity to meet miniature horses as

by Laurel Severson, the menu for this

have your own, you can bring it too.

evening’s class is a wild rice and chicken

All ages. $60 per pair. 10–11:30 a.m. Tally’s Dockside, 4441 Lake Ave. S.; whitebear.ce.eleyo.com

well as Great Danes and bunnies. Ages 21 and over. $100-$600. 2:30-6:30 p.m. Minneapolis Club, 729 Second Ave. S., Mpls.; functionalfoodfoundation.com


salad or a wild rice salad with fresh mushrooms and cashews. The main dish will be

Photo: Marketfest

a vegetarian quinoa-based salad. Ages 18 and over. $53. 6–9 p.m. White Bear Lake Area High School South Campus, 3551 McKnight Road N.; whitebear.ce.eleyo.com


May One Run

To have your event considered:


email whitebearlakemag@localmedia.co

Lakeshore Players Fundraising Gala

Choose between the 10M, 5M, 5K or

by the 10th of the month three months

Kids Run to run in support of Hope and

prior to publication.


Homes for Teens. Featuring swag, finisher

Support Lakeshore Players Theatre in its

medals for all participants, virtual options

Due to the fluidity being experienced in

70th season at the annual gala. The event

and chip timing. All ages. Prices vary.

the current environment, please note that

features silent and live auctions, musical entertainment, specialty cocktails from the Alchemist and more. Ages 21 and over.

$100. 5:30–9 p.m. lakeshoreplayers.org

May/June 2022


7:30–11:30 a.m. Upper Landing Park, 180 Shepard Road, St. Paul; info@mnrunseries.com; mayonerun.com

some events/dates and even some business operations may have changed since these pages went to print. Please visit affiliated websites for updates.



Oh, Kale Yes! Garden expert weighs in on the benefits of leafy greens. BY ZOE DEAL PHOTOS BY CHRIS EMEOTT


Take it from a vegetarian who often can’t stomach the idea of yet another salad— leafy greens, cooked in new ways, can actually taste good and amplify a recipe’s look and flavor as much as they nourish. With a variety of textures, flavors and colors, these nutrient-rich vegetables can be sautéed and baked, pureed and wrapped. Think kale chips, green smoothies, stir-fry and soup, and you’re still on the tip of the iceberg. Even the most leafaverse can find something to enjoy! To get an introduction into growing and preparing leafy greens, we turned to local expert Mhonpaj Lee, whose Hugobased farm Mhonpaj’s Garden became the first Hmong-owned certified organic farm in the state in 2010. Her responses have been condensed for clarity. How would you define a leafy green? What vegetables fall under the “leafy greens’’ category? I define leafy greens as salad greens, pot herbs, vegetable greens or simply greens like plant leaves eaten as vegetables — because they are leafy and green and nutritious, they’re basically all leafy greens! What are the top three most nutrientrich greens? What are some health benefits associated with them? Kale is usually in the spotlight because of its nutritional value as it is rich in


May/June 2022


THREE TO KNOW: Sick of romaine? Take your daily portion of greens up a notch with some of Lee’s favorite leafy veggies.

BOK CHOY A vegetable widely used in Asian cuisine, bok choy has a bulbous stem that extends into wide leafy greens. Beautifully crisp, with sweettasting roots and ruffled leaves, bok choy can be roasted whole, though Lee prefers to use the vegetable in soup or sauteed with garlic.

Bok choy is a spring and fall crop. Plant seeds in April for summer harvest or in July to harvest before frost. MUSTARD GREENS With a peppery flavor and sharp bite, mustard greens are a great wild card to incorporate into salads, though many prefer to mellow out the vegetable’s intense flavor by boiling or sauteing.

Mustard greens grow from spring to fall. Seed in late April to harvest through summer and fall. WATERCRESS This aquatic superfood is a favorite of Lee’s family. With dark leaves and a crisp texture, watercress can be added to grains, soups, salads and more. The health benefits alone (think lowering blood pressure, cancer prevention and stronger bones) make this leafy green worth a try.

Watercress thrives in running water or moist soil, like streams. It is an invasive species, so practice caution if growing your own. For best flavor, harvest in cooler months.



vitamins A, C, K and B6, calcium and magnesium. Watercress is a favorite in our community. It’s an aquatic plant, and it has a lot of vitamin K and about four times as much beta carotene as apples. Spinach provides 6.5 milligrams of iron in every ¾ cup. If you’re iron deficient, the combination of iron and vitamin C in the Malabar spinach variety helps with absorption. Which varieties are easiest to grow in home gardens, specifically in Minnesota? In Minnesota, everything grows! If you have a raised bed, try salad greens in one


corner (as a one-time growing) and in the other corner try greens that’ll keep growing like kale and Swiss chard. You should diversify your bed because you can’t eat one variety all season long! When and how should leafy greens be planted in outdoor gardens? In spring, you want to seed in a warm place as soon as possible, about three to four weeks prior to the frost date … [or] get planters from a professional. They all take around 30 days to grow from seed, except kale, which takes longer. You also need to incorporate compost into your soil before planting. If your

soil has no vitamins, you’re going to have yellow, unhealthy plants. How do you know when leafy greens are ready to be harvested? Is there any technique for harvesting leafy greens? It’s all about what you grow. Usually, when a plant has lot of leaves (about 40–80 days from seed) it’s mature. For Swiss chard, eat the leaves, not the shoots [for continued growth]. For kale, leave the newest leaves on top, but harvest from the bottom when the leaves are young and tender and prune often. Kale knows how to get old and doesn’t know to reproduce if you don’t eat it.

May/June 2022


Mhonpaj’s Garden 651.278.1009 mnvegetableorganic.weebly.com Mjonpaj’s Garden

MHONPAJ LEE’S VERMICELLI SALAD RECIPE Ingredients 6–12 oz. dry rice noodles 1 lb. lean boneless pork fillet 3 Tbsp. soy sauce 1 Tbsp. garlic powder ½ cup carrot, julienned ½ cup cucumber, seeded and julienned ½ cup mint or cilantro chopped ¼ cup peanuts, chopped 3 prepared egg rolls or 3 spring rolls ¼ cup Vietnamese fish sauce or sauce of choice 1–2 cups Malabar spinach or preferred leafy green

Directions: 1. Cut pork into thin slices 2. Marinade pork strips in soy sauce and garlic powder for 1 hour 3. Slice up vegetables and cilantro, set aside 4. Stir fry or grill pork until no longer pink; set aside and keep warm 5. Boil water in large pot; add rice noodles and cook for 1–2 minutes; drain water 6. Heat egg rolls and cut into 1-inch pieces 7. To noodles, add vegetables and leafy greens and top with pork strips and egg roll pieces 8. Sprinkle peanuts to garnish and serve with a small dish of Vietnamese fish sauce

Inspired by Rice Vermicelli Salad recipe from food.com.



By Emily Deutscher


An Evening Paddle FOR OV ER 2 5 YEA R S, Debbie Hartmann has pursued her passion for wildlife and nature through photography. In her winning photo, Evening Paddle Through the Marsh, she captured a shot of her Mahtomedi Community Education dragon boat team from the vantage point of the Manitou Island Bridge on White Bear Lake. “I like to take pictures when I can so … they will have a visual memory of their experience in the boat,” she says. “The paddlers were taking a rest from paddling, and the water was very calm, so overall this is a very peaceful image to me.”


Photographer: Debbie Hartmann

Title: Evening Paddle Through the Marsh Equipment: iPhone SE

To view other Lens on White Bear Lake photo contest winners, visit whitebearlakemagazine.com.

May/June 2022


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.