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Tis the season of Love Turning the calendar to February brings thoughts of love, hearts and joy. While the history of Valentine’s Day is often shrouded in mystery, we do know February has long been celebrated as a month of romance. Valentine’s Day, as we know it, has its roots in both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. Whether its origin is truly after St. Valentine, a martyr, or a pagan fertility festival, says Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written valentines didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The tradition certainly caught on. Today, approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular cardsending holiday after Christmas. Cards, candy and flowers are the most popular gifts for the holiday of love, followed closely by an evening out, and then by jewelry, clothing and gift cards. In our current issue, we take a look at new trends in love. It used to be people met at school, church, work or in a bar, or maybe through a friend or relative. (My husband, Mike, and I actually met in a supper club/bar, where we were introduced by a friend of his; photo above is in our early years together, circa 1980.) In today’s tech society, many people meet their dates online, either through a dating site or other social media sites. There are many options for online dating platforms, catering to the uniqueness of varying lifestyles, backgrounds and ways of making a living. The first online dating site – – launched in 1995. Our cover story focuses on a local couple who met on that particular site. They share with us their unique story of love and the success they found together after meeting online. We also share with you some advice about starting and maintaining relationships, including those that may begin through an online dating site. Our Spirits column proposes more ideas on the subject of love, and our Life Happens columnist takes us through the idea of embracing the unknown. In our food column this issue, we offer a few good ideas for a healthy breakfast and our fitness column shares the importance of movement and physical activity. And, for those looking to get away to a warmer climate, our Style column offers a few tips for packing essentials you may not have on your list. We hope you enjoy all the tips and ideas shared in this issue. And, as always, if you have a topic you’d like to see in Live it!, send your story ideas to We love to hear from our readers. You can also “like” us on Facebook or send us a tweet @Lilveitmag. Life in west central Minnesota … it really is a beautiful thing …

! t i Live

Sharon Bomstad Live it! Editor

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Watch for our next issue out April 7, 2017. May we publish your letter?

On the December/ January cover piece on blended families: Such a great article! So proud of Tyler and Michelle! — Krista Swenson, via Facebook It was a great article! — Melanie Braun, via Facebook This is great Michelle & Tyler! — Kelly Nelson Dahlke, via Facebook Great article! — Ann Stratmoen Amundson,

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We love to hear from our readers. “Like” us on Facebook, send us a tweet with your comments or even a new story idea, or email us at Watch for our next issue due out April 7, 2017.

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MAGAZINE EDITOR To contact Live it! call 320-235-1150 or email

Writing & Photography Gretchen Brown Carolyn Lange Anne Polta Jen Anfinson Briana Sanchez Kenzie Tenney

Marketing Consultants Kevin Smith, Director

Jan Queenan

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Steven Ammermann, Publisher Kelly Boldan, Editor

2208 W. Trott Ave., Willmar MN 56201 Volume 6, Issue 1

Copyright © 2017 West Central Tribune Live it! magazine All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that prior permission be obtained.

Cover Story A look inside online relationships


February 2017, Volume 6, Issue 1



Couple shares success with online dating Q&A: Be cautious in today’s tech society Physical movement of utmost importance Packing for spring break? Don’t forget these items




from our readers


HEALTH & FITNESS Movement aids


DO-IT-YOURSELF Chevron art


STYLE IT! Spring break essentials


LIFE HAPPENS Challenge yourself


READ IT! Community Read


MONEY MATTERS Human behavior


HOME 101 Things to consider


EAT IT! Breakfast staples quick and easy


SPIRITS ‘Tis the season of love



physical, mental health

is all the rage

to embrace the unknown


trend hits Willmar vs. investing

if buying a home

calendars now


A match made on

6 Live it! Magazine



heir love story began like many others: with a wink. “And I winked back, thinking nothing would come of that, because he was a farmer who lived two and a half hours away.� The only difference? This wink was virtual. Continued on page 8

Live it! Magazine 7

Online dating grows in popularity

among other age groups. In 2015, 21 Hundreds if not thousands of dating percent of those 35 to 44 years old websites exist. Eharmony, OkCupid and had dated online, according to Pew PlentyofFish are hugely popular, with millions of registered users. Claudette and Laverne Larson may Research Center. In June 2008, Claudette had just As dating online has grown in never have crossed paths in person, but they did on The rural New moved to Farmington, Minnesota, from popularity, new websites have popped London couple has now been happily New York. Laverne – born and raised up specifically for different groups married for seven years. in rural New of people: “We just seem to fit together really London – OurTime. well,” Laverne says. “And where I lack, had just “The nice thing about meeting com (for the she fits in.” sold his 50+ crowd), (online) is … You can read Claudette is bubbly and talkative dairy cows. about someone and get to know FarmersOnly. with a slight New York accent; His family com (for Laverne is quieter and wholeheartedly had been them in more of a specific way.” farmers) and Minnesotan, but not afraid to throw a involved in ChristianMingle – Claudette joke into the conversation. dairy since (for Christians). Both were in their late 30s when he was a child. Each site has its own niché. In most, they made the fateful decision to sign Both say they joined the site because users personalize profiles with their up for the dating website. Each joined they wanted to date intentionally. Long interests, likes and dislikes and hobbies. with a friend. working hours limited their free time. They can also get serious, noting “Got the nerve together, I think,” They wanted to date in a serious way. whether they want children, whether Laverne says. “For me, I wasn’t someone that was they are spiritual or religious, and their They’re not alone: 15 percent of interested in going to bars,” Claudette education and income levels. people say they have used a dating says. gives users personalized website, according to Pew Research “It was just never my thing, either,” matches based on compatibility with Center statistics. Laverne adds. their profiles, but they can also search The numbers are only growing. “The nice thing about meeting outside of those matches. Then, they That’s up from 11 percent just two (online) is … you can read about can contact people who they think they years ago. Online dating is especially popular someone and get to know them in more might want to get among the 18 to 24 crowd, but also of a specific way,” Claudette says. Continued on Page 9 to know.

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Online dating

Laverne with a smile as she recalled ring in Claudette’s Christmas stocking. their first date. They were married in 2009. Continued from Page 8 They seemed to click. So they set Claudette moved into Laverne’s Claudette said it’s important to be up their next date a few weeks later in rural New London home. She has honest when setting up a profile. That’s Litchfield. since opened a counseling practice in one reason she and her husband may downtown New London, called Willow They knew they came from very have been matched so well. Don’t set Creek Counseling. different lifestyles: Claudette was up a photo that doesn’t look like you, Laverne moved from timeborn and raised in New York City, and she says. Do try to accurately convey consuming dairy Laverne your personality in your profile. to slightly had “I think it just takes a lot of that farming For Laverne, working seven days less busy work always a week on the farm made it hard to initial guess work out of it. You raising Angus lived on meet people. Living in a rural area a rural find people that are looking for cows, along with means living farther away from your corn and beans. farm. neighbors. It’s one reason sites like what you’re looking for.” They live in a “As we may have grown in farm home that – Laverne got more popularity. they’ve worked serious, “I think it just takes a lot of that together to renovate. They have a dog, the concept of moving and living on initial guesswork out of it,” Laverne Sally, and a few cats. A fireplace roars a farm was something that I had to says. “You find people that are looking in their living room filled with high consider,” Claudette says. “Was that for what you’re looking for.” ceilings and natural light. The two had talked to others online something I could handle?” Of course, like in traditional For Laverne, dating someone who before they found each other. It didn’t relationships, living together takes wasn’t used to his rural lifestyle was amount to much. some sacrifices. Claudette’s family out of his comfort zone, but he didn’t But after their initial winks to moved from New York to Farmington, see fault in trying. each other, Claudette and Laverne but she left many friends behind in “I thought, well, we’ll just date, and sent messages. That became an email both places when she moved to New correspondence for several weeks. That see how things go,” he says. “And if it London. turns out that she can’t handle the farm turned into frequent phone calls. Her mother has health issues, so then, well, it’s nice to meet people.” Finally, the two decided to meet in she has to be intentional about visiting Taking a chance paid off, and things person at a neutral place: a restaurant often. Laverne’s mother still lives in a fell into place. in Hutchinson. home next door on their New London “You were super quiet and nervous, They were engaged on New Year’s property. Continued on Page 11 and I babbled,” Claudette said to Eve in 2008 - Laverne proposed with a

Photography By Briana Sanchez

Live it! Magazine 9

Dating websites: – Meet REAL beautiful people who actually look in real life as they do online. – For black singles. – Find your honey app for phone or tablet. – Meet and date single men and women that have the potential to trigger real chemistry. – For Christians. – Uses compatibility matching. – For farmers. – For Jewish singles. – Fun, pressure-free dating. – Help singles find the kind of relationship they’re looking for. – Uses math to find you dates. – For the 50+ crowd. PlentyofFish ( – Uses a relationship chemistry predictor to find matches. SeniorPeopleMeet – For the 50+ crowd. – For single parents. Tinder ( – Looking for friendship, fun, love and marriage. – Empower everyone to lead a more fulfilling love life.

10 Live it! Magazine

Online dating Continued from Page 9

Laverne says his parents didn’t have any major reservations about the relationship. “They said … ‘You’re happy, and that’s all that matters,’” Laverne says. Claudette said her dad loves having a farmer for a son-in-law. “My parents love coming here. They think it’s great,” Claudette says. “They both grew up in New York City. To have a daughter that lives on a farm on 400 acres is pretty neat.” As online dating becomes more popular, it is also becoming more positively viewed. Nearly 50 percent of Americans now know someone who uses online dating, according to the Pew Research Center, and 59 percent of Americans think online dating is a good way to meet people. That includes Claudette and Laverne, who each have friends who have also met significant others online. For them, it was a perfectly great way to meet a meaningful person. They hope others begin to view it that way. “I think that we have to change how we perceive people meeting one another in this modern time,” Claudette says. “And we have to be a little bit more understanding that not everybody meets people the same way.” Gretchen Brown is the public safety reporter and features writer for the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at gbrown@


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take work

Couples today often rush into things too quickly BY CAROLYN LANGE


llie Knutson has been a licensed independent clinical social worker since 2002 and owns and operates Knutson Counseling & Seminars Inc. in Willmar. She works with individuals, couples and families in a variety of capacities including marriage and premarriage counseling. She said the therapeutic relationship with a professional counselor is similar to relationships someone has with a doctor or lawyer that’s based on trust, respect and expertise. It’s a relationship that builds as the client experiences a confidential, non-judgmental, safe relationship, she said. Live it! asked Ellie to share her expertise about starting and maintaining relationships, including those that may begin through an online dating site.

Live it!: Starting a relationship with a potential mate has always been complicated. What do you think are the new challenges for men and women to connect with people today that weren’t present in the past?

Ellie Knutson: I enjoy historical novels. One of my observations is that the development of intimate relationships had very distinct steps that were rarely skipped. In contrast, today we see people rush into relationships without taking time to observe, get acquainted or evaluate the character and values of the other person. Then

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they wake up after the honeymoon wears off and find themselves incompatible. I also find that people often do not know their own values and beliefs well. They don’t know what core values to hold steady on and where they have room to compromise without losing their sense of personhood.


hallenges for developing new relationship challenges in our fast-paced society are:

1) Weak self-development. If you do not know yourself, you won’t be able to identify your needs in a partner or hold balance in the relationship. 2) Rushing. It is ok to slow down. Good relationship-building needs time. 3) Sexual boundaries. Folks who rush into physical intimacy before they have established good communication and commitment often find it hard to go back and rebuild those foundational skills.

Live it!: What advice do you have for clients who want to find a partner but have been burned in the past and are tempted to give up?

EK: Commit to learning from all your life

experiences. Take responsibility for your portion of past problems and things you have some control over like attitude, reactions and judgments.

With that self-awareness you can change, forgive, learn and grow. Healing takes time, so it is wise to invest in help and work yourself through a healing process before you begin a new relationship. Without this self-care, you will likely repeat the relationship traits that were troubling with a new partner. Live it!: Why do you think online dating sites have grown in popularity? EK: In our tech society, it is the place to go. Here you can check out dating options and never leave the security of your home. You can also remain anonymous in the process with little risk of embarrassing yourself or rejection at the early stages. Live it!: What differences, if any, do you see in the pace and style of how relationships develop with couples who meet online versus traditional settings? EK: People who find partners in church, clubs and community have a better sense of that person in environment. They may get a chance to know other mutual friends and family. This has more reality and credibility check points. It is hard to pretend to be someone else when there are folks around who have known you for years. In contrast, online relationships happen in a vacuum of environment and reality checks. People online can keep up a persona that may be hard to detect until you are emotionally invested in the relationship. This can lead to vulnerability to abuse. I hear stories of being asked for money, stalking and verbal abuse in online dating. I also hear of people who find themselves on a date with someone who has serious mental health issues. These abuses have also now improved some of the online dating sites. I hear of services that have full screening, credibility checks, supervise the introduction and first dates. These services ensure a much safer dating relationship. Live it!: What advice do you have for someone thinking about joining an online dating service? EK: Shop around for the right dating service. Read the reviews. Invest in the one that has the most evaluation and screening, as well as security and safety features in the process. Your information is vulnerable – work with credible agencies. Develop a clear vision. Write out your own list of values that you hold and want in a partner. Go into dating with good personal boundaries – don’t be rushed, pushed or too needy or you will not be wise and discerning. Don’t get involved financially or sexually before you have a committed, safe relationship.

“People often do not know their own values and beliefs well. They don’t know what core values to hold steady on and where they have room to compromise …” Live it!: No matter how people meet, what do you think are the key components to a happy and loving relationship? EK: I consider these qualities to be essential pillars of a good relationship: 1) Trust. I must be trustworthy for my partner. I must know they have my best interest, security and safety at heart. 2) Respect. I must be able to respect their judgment, insights and wisdom and they must demonstrate that respect for me also. 3) Integrity. I must be the same person in front of them as behind their backs, and be predictable in my behavior. They must demonstrate this same integrity. 4) Love. To have compassion, understanding, kindness, forgiveness and grace in our humanity. Intimate love also needs to have a personal attraction – a spark that fuels desire and intimacy. 5) Commitment. Happiness can be fleeting. To work through all the stages of relationships and life, we need love that is bound up in the life commitment. Love is not just emotion, but a commitment to serve each other. 6) Deal with reality. All good mental health deals realistically with life challenges. People get sick, budgets are stretched and people make mistakes. It takes an ability to see our own issues and deal with them before we can realistically help others, even our partners. If I always blame others, I don’t grow and learn. A good relationship also has no place for demeaning conduct, abusive name calling, undermining, critical spirit, cynicism, or abuse of all sorts – emotional, sexual or physical. These are death threats to a good relationship. Good relationships require effort, common interests, shared values and ongoing maintenance. Ellie Knutson is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker at Knutson Counseling & Seminars, Inc. in Willmar. For more information go to

Live it! Magazine 13


The why and how of physical activity



ou need to be more physically active. Most of us have heard this a time or two in our lives, but we may be asking why? Daily physical activity, beyond your day-today routine and work movement, is important for your physical and mental health. Being physically active leads to improved cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength, and better balance and agility. When someone is being physically active, muscle contraction occurs, and one of the major muscles working is the heart. When active, the heart pumps at a faster rate to supply oxygenated blood to the working muscles in the extremities to allow for continued movement. As physical activity is repeated over time, the muscles start to grow, allowing for more endurance and strength. Physical activity also helps mental health by allowing time to think or burn off steam if something is bothersome. Our body creates endorphins when we are physically active. Endorphins create a sense of happiness or calming and also reduce pain. Physical activity is often the best medicine, whether you suffer from arthritis or depression. So, what constitutes physical activity? Physical activity can be anything from walking to shoveling to gardening. To gain benefits from being physically active, one must elevate their heart rate and keep it up for 10 minutes or more. The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for exercise include: doing 20 minutes of vigorous activity three times a week or 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week to improve cardiovascular fitness and maintain health.

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If you are looking to lose weight, the recommendations suggest six to seven days a week of activity for 45 to 60 minutes a day. Keep in mind you can break your exercise up into 10-minute bouts and add them up to your targeted exercise time for the day. Also, don’t try to reach these levels right away if you haven’t exercised in a long time, you want to gradually build your days and times in two-week increments to help prevent injury and excessive pain. The key to being physically active is to do something you like. People come to me and say they want to run a 5K, but then say “I really don’t enjoy running.” I tell them, don’t run. Being consistent with physical activity is so important, and the best way people can do that is by doing something they enjoy. We tend to do things we like, not things we don’t like. Keep this in mind for yourself as you start putting together your personal exercise plan. Try something new,

maybe it is crossfit or taekwondo, this will help with reducing boredom which can lead to discontinuing physical activity. Time is also a factor many people struggle with. There is a video on YouTube called “23½ hours” by Dr. Mike Evans that gives insight into the importance of exercise and how we can fit it into our day. A couple tips to be sure you follow through with your exercise: Schedule physical activity into your day or have an accountability partner. Physical activity is one of the best things a person could do to improve quality of life. Remember, physical activity can be as simple as walking the dog daily – just get out and do it. Amber Chevalier is the ReYou Wellness Program coordinator and Wellness Care Guide at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

Live it! Magazine 15

Do-it! yourself Chevron Wall Art Decorate with this trendy new piece BY JEN ANFINSON While you are all cozied up inside this winter, do a little decorating update in your space. You will love this trendy new piece of art for your walls and, who knows, it may jumpstart a whole room redo. It’s the perfect project for winter. LET’S GET STARTED

Step 1 All you need is some yarn and a dowel and you’re ready to go ...




Step 2 Decide what color scheme you would like to use and start cutting long pieces of yarn to the same size. Cut your strips a bit longer than you want your finished product to be, as you will be cutting off your bottom to your desired shape when you are finished.



Step 3-4 Fold your pieces in half. Take all your bottoms and string it through the loop on the top, while on your dowel.


Step 5-6 You can play around with the amounts of yarn you use each time you attach. Use more yarn strips for a fuller/ chunkier look or less for a more streamlined look. Run your fingers through the yarn on your dowel so they are all straight. Cut off the bottom of your yarn in a chevron shape or any other shape you’d like.

Happy Winter! Jen Anfinson creates jewelry and other homemade items from her studio in Paynesville, and teaches DIY classes all over the state. For more information on upcoming classes, check out Jen Anfinson Studio on Facebook.


Step 7

You now have a fun new piece of art to look at this winter when you are sipping your coffee, waiting for spring. Do send me pictures of your finished product on my Facebook page ... Jen Anfinson Studio!

Live it! Magazine 17

Style it!


(Not so obvious) spring break essentials 18 Live it! Magazine

Ahhhh ... vacation!

A much needed break from the bitter Minnesota temps. The (very missed) sunshine warming your skin while you relax on the beach reading a book you just can’t put down — you can’t beat it! We all know to pack the cute bag, the sunblock, the bikinis and the towel, but there are some items we don’t always think about. We’ve come up with 6 not-so-secret but not-so-obvious items that will effortlessly keep you looking stylish and fresh during your winter break.

3. One-piece swimsuit One-piece swimsuits are making a comeback again this season and the best part about them is they can be so versatile! Sport your stylish one-piece with a cute maxi skirt for an easy beach-to-dinner outfit.

1. Tinted SPF lip balm & waterproof mascara As I’ve preached before, sunblock is a must all year round and we cannot forget about our lips! The tint in your lip balm will give you a casual and colorful pout, while still protecting your lips from harmful UV rays. Don’t worry about splashing around in the pool or ocean and coming out looking like a drowned raccoon. A healthy waterproof mascara will keep your eyes looking bold and bright (and not smudged!) all afternoon.

4. Slide sandals 2. Dry shampoo

For a more unexpected and put together look, ditch the flip-flops and invest in a trendy pair of slip on sandals for your day at the beach or pool. Another versatile piece you can easily transition throughout the day.

Vacation shouldn’t be about checking the clock and a routine schedule. Freshening up with a good dry shampoo will give you longer time by the pool before dinner. Daily hair-washing can also be bad for your strands, so it’s a winwin, for sure!

5. Body wipes A fun day in the sun and sand can leave you feeling a bit grungy. Gentle body and face wipes will have you feeling, smelling and looking fresh throughout the day.

Kenzie Tenney is a freelance writer for Live it! Magazine

6. Maxi skirt

Although the evenings in the tropics are quite a bit warmer than the freezing Minnesota winter nights, the temperature can still feel a bit chilly after a full day in the sun. A breathable and fun maxi will keep you comfortable all evening long.

Live it! Magazine 19


Embrace the unknown



or the first time in a long time, I am happy to say adios to the passing year. 2016 was a challenge. We lost some true icons, and found our country divided over an election that brought up behavior from adults that very often didn’t qualify as adult behavior. We all have a lot of healing and unknowns ahead of us, but that is really the essence of life, isn’t it? Facing the unknowns. Unknowns are extremely uncomfortable because they test our comfort zones. Try as we might, we just can’t control them. Unknowns involving people are especially harrowing territory. Being able to control other people’s beliefs and behaviors is an illusion. That certainly doesn’t stop us from trying. The trying is all about suppressing and relieving our own anxiety. But what if we could perceive unknowns in a different way? Perhaps we can be open to the unknowns that we can’t control? Perhaps we can learn that not controlling other people’s thoughts, opinions and behaviors is exactly as it is meant to be. It frees us of a lot of responsibility that isn’t supposed to be ours. It allows us to focus on ourselves and see where we truly end and where the “other” begins. Unknowns aren’t always negative; they can be wonderful opportunities for joy and growth. They

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are roads not otherwise taken, if not for a moment of courage to do something different for once. Saying yes when you usually say no. Going out when you usually stay home. Trying something new when you’d really rather do the same old thing. Breaking habits is all about opening up to the unknown. Success for many of us is a big unknown. Success in relationships, finances, career and even the way we look and feel. It requires change and doing things differently. It’s making choices that aren’t doing the same thing and getting the same result. It’s giving up our comfort zone of ho-hum. We always have the option of staying stagnant, but what doesn’t change and grow rarely survives or thrives. It’s a new year. We can do it ho-hum or we can do it with a heart wide open. Remember that how you perceive the unknowns is entirely up to you. Make the most of every invitation. If you can see the unknowns you encounter as potential opportunities that can enrich you physically, spiritually or emotionally, you will start to feel your need to control release itself in beautiful ways. Take care. Claudette Larson, LICSW, RPT is owner of Willow Creek Counseling in New London and enjoys working with children, teens and adults for the past 16 years.

- READ IT! -

One Book Willmar

Community Read enhances unity through literature BY MARY HUESING

Faith Sullivan “Good Night Mr. Wodehouse” has been selected by the Wall Street Journal as one of the 10 best novels of 2016. In “Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse,” Sullivan returns the reader to the small town of Harvester, Minnesota, the setting of several of her previous novels. The triumphant return of a great American storyteller to “a reliably inviting world” (Wall Street Journal), “Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse” celebrates the strength and resourcefulness of independent women, the importance of community, and the transformative power of reading. (Milkweed Press) Mary Huesing is a retired educator and avid reader, who has been an active member of the Willmar Friends of the Library for many years.

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ood Night, Mr. Wodehouse” by Minnesota author, Faith Sullivan, is the novel selected for Willmar’s first-ever Community Read. The purpose of One Book Willmar is to offer our community an opportunity to read, think, talk, listen and grow together. Everyone reads the same book and then gathers to discuss the book, bringing people together to share a common experience. The first Community Read was held in 1998, and since then they have spread across the country, enhancing civic unity through the reading of literature. Sullivan will be speaking at the Willmar Public Library at 6:30 p.m. March 30. Since there is limited seating it will be necessary to have a ticket for the event. Tickets are free and may be picked up at the Willmar Public Library after March 1. Faith Sullivan is the author of eight novels, including “Gardenias,” “The Cape Ann,” “What a Woman Must Do” and, most recently, “Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse.” A “demon gardener, flea marketer and feeder of birds,” Sullivan is also an indefatigable champion of literary culture and her fellow writers. She has visited with hundreds of books clubs. Born and raised in southern Minnesota, she spent 20-some years in New York and Los Angeles, but now lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Dan.


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Your money and your brain



cientists often claim your brain is more advanced than the most powerful supercomputers. As an investor, this is a power tool you have at your disposal. Yet all too often, our brain gets in the way of making rational investment decisions. Actual decisions made by investors versus what academia says they should do is explained by the study of behavioral finance. Benjamin Graham, considered the founder of security analysis, wrote in “The Intelligent Investor” in 1949: “The investor’s chief problem – and even his worst enemy – is likely to be himself.” Why is this believed to be true? Raw emotion frequently triggers a wide range of human behaviors, including how we invest. Plus, cognitive abilities that help humans survive in the real world – like recognizing patterns or focusing attention – can lead to behaviors with negative consequences in the financial world. Studying human behavior can make you a better investor. Understanding behavioral finance is knowing that it defies certain accepted beliefs about investing. Its premise is that people neither act rationally nor consider all available information in decision making. It also does not assume markets are efficient. Emotional biases cause decisions to deviate from the rational decisions of traditional finance. Here is a brief overview of some common investor pitfalls. Overconfidence stems from the fact that people are not aware of what they do not know and tend to be overconfident when making decisions involving uncertain outcomes. Overconfidence also leads to hindsight bias, whereby individuals recall their own predictions as more accurate than what they were because of the bias of knowing what has already happened. Illusion of control is the belief investors can control or influence outcomes when, in fact, they cannot. Said differently, people tend to mischaracterize future events as being determined by one’s skill rather than chance. The outcome of the aforementioned is often assuming risk that is actually

22 Live it! Magazine

beyond one’s comfort level, non-diversified portfolios, and excessive trading. The investor typically overstates their actual past performance. Anchoring and adjustment relate to how individuals estimate probabilities. They tend to anchor to an original estimate (or purchase price) and have difficulty adjusting to new information when it is presented. This leads to loss aversion, which causes investors to favor avoiding losses over achieving gains. Studies suggest that psychologically losses are twice as powerful as gains. Investors who suffer from this bias tend to hold losers too long and sell winners too early. Narrow framing occurs when investors evaluate each portfolio holding in isolation rather than in the context of the entire portfolio. It is the enemy of diversification. The performance of the U.S. stock market versus that of international markets over the past several years serves as an example. The outperformance of U.S. markets has caused many investors to forget about the diversification benefits of owning non-U.S. stocks. Avoiding these common biases is difficult. Working with a financial advisor to address and mitigate them is an important step. To help take emotions out of investing, he or she can develop an investment philosophy and process focused on your long-term goals. Through repeated use of the process – especially during periods of market volatility – your investment strategies may be tested and improved. Finally, a broad view should be applied when evaluating performance. Focusing on long-term portfolio-level performance and achieving specific goals may also help you avoid the emotional pitfalls of investing. All investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or a loss. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Craig Popp and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Craig Popp, CFA is a financial advisor at the locally-owned, independent office of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC at 115 Litchfield Ave SE in Willmar.

- HOME 101 -

New year, new home? BY NICOLE DAHL


he holidays are over and the new year has begun. With that, I have had a couple of people ask me what they should do if they are considering buying a home. Buying a first home is a huge milestone for most people. The first thing you should do is speak with a lender and get pre-approved for a housing loan. We are blessed to have many great lenders in our area who can tell you the loan type and how much you are approved for. When writing an offer, sellers like to see a pre-approval letter. It makes your offer that much stronger. “The kitchen is theoflife Once you have been approved, make a list the things of the party, for sure.”

you would like in your home – 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a double car garage and close to work. That will help the search. However, when you go to look at a house, be realistic. With your price range you might not be able to afford a lakeshore place or a 10-acre property with 6 bedrooms. After you have found “the one” ask yourself one question: can I see myself staying here long term? Nicole Dahl is a licensed real estate agent with Edina Realty in Willmar; 320-262-2380,; facebook. com/NicoleDahlEdinaRealty

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it! up!

Start your day with a home-cooked breakfast



ith a new year underway, it’s the perfect time to enhance your daily routine with something healthful: a home-cooked breakfast to power you into your busy day. This might sound intimidating. For most of us, mornings are usually hectic with little time to spend

in the kitchen. But with a few simple ingredients and/or prep that can be done ahead of time, you can put together a breakfast that fits easily into your schedule and into your goal of better eating. Just add fresh seasonal fruit and enjoy! Anne Polta may be reached at or follow her on Twitter @AnnePolta.

Breakfast Sandwich I

This is fast and filling and can be multiplied to make as many as you need. Wrap tightly and take with you for breakfast on the go.


1 whole-grain English muffin, split and toasted Thinly sliced deli ham 1 egg, lightly beaten Honey mustard

24 Live it! Magazine


Spread toasted muffin halves with honey mustard. Arrange 1 or 2 ham slices on lower half. In a small skillet, melt 1 to 2 teaspoons butter; swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Add egg and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until set. Layer scrambled egg on top of ham. Top with upper half of muffin.

Breakfast Sandwich II Ingredients:

1/2 to 1/3 French-style baguette 2 slices cheddar cheese 2 to 3 tomato slices 1 egg

Here’s another breakfast sandwich version. It’s especially good in summer when fresh tomatoes are available. Choose a good-quality cheddar; provolone, fontina or gruyere also are tasty. The egg can be fried easy over or sunny side up, whichever you prefer. Again, this can be multiplied into as many sandwiches as you need to feed your crew.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice baguette in half horizontally and place in oven, cut sides up, until lightly toasted. Place cheese on each bread half and return to oven until cheese begins to melt, 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 1 teaspoon of butter in a small skillet. Add egg, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and fry to desired stage of doneness. Top lower half of baguette with fried egg. Layer tomato slices on top of egg. Cover with upper half of bread and press down lightly.

Live it! Magazine 25

Granola Squares This recipe was shared a few years ago by newsroom colleague Linda Vanderwerf and has become a favorite morning go-to. As a bonus, these granola bars freeze well. I almost always have a few of them stored in the freezer. They can easily be pulled out the night before to defrost for a quick breakfast the next morning. Peanut butter chips are a tasty substitute for the mini chocolate chips.


3 cups quick-cooking oats 1 cup flaked coconut 1 cup sliced almonds 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk 2 tablespoons butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9-by-13-inch pan. In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and melted butter until well blended. Spread mixture in pan, pressing down firmly until surface is even. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until bars are lightly browned around the edges. Cool for 5 minutes. Cut into squares. Let bars cool completely before serving.

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2 cups flour 1/3 cup sugar 1½ teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 large egg 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract 2/3 cup dried cherries


Make-ahead buttermilk scones

Hot, flaky homemade scones are a delicious way to start the day but morning routines often don’t leave much time for baking something from scratch. Here’s a shortcut: Mix the dough for these scones the night before. Gather up the dough, flatten it into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the dough the next morning, bring to room temperature and follow the instructions for preheating the oven, shaping the scones and baking. The hot scones can be split and buttered, with the addition of honey or jam if desired. For a variation, use raisins or dried currants instead of the cherries.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut butter into half-inch cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture. With a pastry blender or two knives used scissor fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir to

combine, kneading with your hands if necessary. Stir or knead in the dried cherries. With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into an 8-inch-diameter circle on an ungreased baking sheet. With a serrated knife, cut into 8 wedges. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Cut wedges apart and transfer to rack.

Live it! Magazine 27



Amore! It’s in the air BY RON SKJONG

t’s the time of the year when love – Amore – is before everyone of us. Amore – we can’t live without it but, at times, we wish we could, right? As most of us know, that’s because it causes opposing emotions that sometimes confuse us – it overwhelms us with passion, it causes us to do “those” things we don’t normally do; but at the same time, it feels good, warm, comforting and surprisingly vulnerable. Ah, Amore – there’s nothing like it. Valentine’s Day brings all these confusing emotions to the forefront – no wonder women and men start searching their brains for ways to show and prove their love for that special person. Valentine’s Day is akin to the third leg of the Holiday Trifecta – first we have Christmas, then New Year’s Eve and after a bit of recovery, there’s Valentine’s Day staring us in the face. How does one prepare for this final event of the trifecta? Oh, there are ways and allow me to offer a few liquid solutions in the form of wine. Let’s set the stage – wine is the perfect example of love – Amore. Historically it’s the one beverage that was set at the lover’s table because it exemplified love. It smelled agreeably, was a pleasure to view, tasted so sweet and made one smile. That’s not a bad picture of love, is it? But with so many wines from which to choose, which wine do I select to make my love – who smells agreeable, looks fantastic, is so sweet and makes me smile – know that I’m serious about this period of time called Valentine’s Day? Luckily, we look right in our own neighborhood. Glacial Ridge Winery between New London and Spicer has a couple of wines that are all about love. Its American Vermentino called Bacio (meaning ‘kiss’) is a good place to begin the celebration. This Italian-based old vine white wine is semi-dry (so you don’t lose your pucker!), produces a wonderful fruity aroma, and has citrus notes of pear and grapefruit. As you sip this wine, feast your eyes on the bottle’s label

28 Live it! Magazine

with its graphic showing a pair of bright red lips. Don’t think that label isn’t telling you something! In addition to Bacio, Glacial Ridge has a smooth dry red wine called Zinful Bastard – I wonder what’s behind that name? It pours dark red into your glass (think of a red heart), has notes of cherry and pepper, and will go a long way to spice up your evening dinner. I wonder what the label is trying to tell us with its mysterious stranger dressed in black and a hat tilted over his face? Can this man be trusted – can this wine be trusted? Absolutely! Try it, you’ll love it! Amore – love – makes us happy and I recommend a couple of wines from Clara City’s Hinterland Vineyards as well. Valentine’s Day should be a happy time and Hinterland’s Happy Creek White will make you smile at each other. This semi-sweet wine has a wonderful floral aroma that leads to its tasting notes of peach and grapefruit. If you prefer a red Hinterland wine, offer your significant other a toast with its Happy Creek Red – a wine that’s also semi-sweet but has a great fruity aroma that passes to its tastes of strawberry and cherries. This wine tempts you to have more than one glass – especially if that certain someone is looking right into your eyes ... There is a vineyard in Pennsylvania with the name of Amore Vineyards and Winery and it produces a most seductive wine called Bella Donna. It’s sweet and has a fruity finish – does that remind you of anyone? It’s Amore time! Enjoy the day as you pour your Amore a glass of Amore and tell that person how much you Amore them! As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon. Cheers! Ron Skjong writes primarily about the wonderful world of wine but likes to explore various spirits and beers, too. He is married and has four grown children. While stationed in Germany, he was introduced to German wines and from that introduction, a lifelong pursuit developed to find that perfect bottle of wine.


What’s happenin’ ? February – March 2017 Glacial Ridge Winery

Every Friday Spicer, 5 to 9 p.m., Glacial Ridge Winery, state highway 23 between New London and Spicer; free music concert by different individuals and groups.


Jazz-N-Java Willmar, 6 p.m., Jazz-N-Java; 913 Business 71 N.; free music concerts by different individuals and groups.

Willmar Community Center

Every weekend Willmar, afternoons, Willmar Community Center; free Saturday and/or Sunday music concerts and dances by different individuals and groups; watch the West Central Tribune’s Thursday Showcase section for details.


Feb. 3 Collegeville, 8 p.m., Humphrey Theater; CSB/SJU’s music faculty ensemble performs a wide range of instrumental and vocal music from the Baroque to the 21st century; call 320-363-5777 or online at

Kling and Perrin

Feb. 4 Dawson, 7:30 p.m., Memorial Auditorium; DawsonBoyd Arts Association present “Kindly Relying on the Strangeness of Others” by author and storyteller Kevin Kling and singer Simone Perrin during Winterfest weekend; adults $15, students $5; call 320-769-2955, ext. 246, 9 a.m. to noon.

Step Afrika

Feb. 4 St. Joseph, 7:30 p.m., College of St. Benedict’s Escher Auditorium; stepping is a dance form that uses the body as a percussive instrument to create rhythms that pound the floor and fill the air in supercharged performances; call 320-363-5777 or online at

‘9 to 5: The Musical’

Feb. 9-14, 18-19, 23-26 Willmar, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9-11, 13-14, 18, 23-25, 2 p.m., Feb. 12, 19, 26, The Barn Theatre; The Barn Theatre presents “9 to 5: The Musical;” adults $20, ages 18 and younger $10; 320-235-9500, thebarntheatre. com.

‘Opal’s Million Dollar Duck’

Feb. 9-11, 16-18 New London, 7 p.m. Feb. 9-11, 16-18, The Little Theatre; The Little Theatre presents “Opal’s Million Dollar Duck; adults $15, ages 12 and under $8;

Refugee All Stars

Feb. 11 St. Joseph, 7:30 p.m., College of St. Benedict’s Escher Auditorium; formed in a West African refugee camp, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have risen from the ashes of war to bring the world songs of hope, faith and joy, Africa’s most inspirational

To list your event, email

band continues to ascend as they share their message of peace and hope; call 320-363-5777 or online at

for dancing; call 320-363-5777 or online at

Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra

March 18 St. Joseph, 7:30 p.m., College of St. Benedict’s Escher Auditorium; this bluegrass band is just as comfortable at a dirt road pickin’ session as they are on a concert hall stage; the quintet of string players (dobro, guitar, fiddle, double bass, and banjo) skip comfortably from ancient jigs to radio ditties to spacious new experimentation; call 320363-5777 or online at

Feb. 12 Glenwood, 3 to 7 p.m., Lakeside Ballroom; Winter Dance Club open to all, music by Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra; $10 per person, $5 ages 17-30; no jeans or shorts.


Feb. 18 St. Joseph, 7:30 p.m., College of St. Benedict’s Escher Auditorium; what began as a street-corner barbershop act, evolved into a unique style of a Capella that is peppered with loads of humor; the group ping-pongs between eras and styles, always bringing their special brand of cleverness to their inventive arrangements and hilarious on stage theatrics; the concert is fit for all ages; call 320-3635777 or online at

Lily Cai Chinese Dance

Feb. 25 Morris, 7:30 p.m., Edson Auditorium, University of Minnesota; Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company “defies expectations” through a fusion of classical, traditional and folk Chinese dance with modern dance and Western ballet styles; for tickets call 320589-6077 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays or visit

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Feb. 25 St. Joseph, 7:30 p.m., College of St. Benedict’s Escher Auditorium; made up of seven brothers from the south side of Chicago, the band freely mixes rich brass traditions with generous doses of hip hop, soul and funk, creating a boisterous blend that is just barely contained in their live stage shows; their song “War” was featured on the soundtrack for the film “The Hunger Games”; call 320-363-5777 or online at

Live It Up Downtown

March 4 and 25, April 1 Willmar, 7:30 p.m., The Barn Theatre; The Barn Theatre, 321 Fourth St. S.W., downtown; Lehto and Wright Celtic Rock on March 4, Erin Schwab concert on March 25 and Trip Wire concert on April 1.

Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra

March 5 Willmar, 3 p.m., Willmar Education and Arts Center; “Once Upon a Time”; adults $10, ages 5-18 $5, under 5 are free, family pack of 2 adults and unlimited children $25.

Las Cafeteras

March 17 St. Joseph, 9 p.m., College of St. Benedict’s Gorecki dining and conference center ballroom; seamlessly fuse traditional Afro-Mexican music with modern rhythms and rich storytelling to create a fresh urban folk sound from the streets of East Los Angeles; seating will be limited with plenty of room

The Infamous Stringdusters

American Spiritual

March 25 Collegeville, 7:30 p.m., Humphrey Theater, St. John’s University; from a lush setting of Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar” to old American shape note hymns, prison work songs, blues, gospel and original compositions, this quartet draws on the rich history of roots music to find songs that uplift and connect audiences; the College of St. Benedict’s Women’s Choir will lend their beautiful harmonies to this performance, creating a truly special experience; call 320-363-5777 or online at www.

Velvet Brass Band

March 26 Glenwood, 3 to 7 p.m., Lakeside Ballroom; Winter Dance Club open to all, music by Velvet Brass Band; $10 per person, $5 ages 17-30; no jeans or shorts.

U.S. Navy Concert Band

March 27 St. Joseph, 7 p.m., College of St. Benedict’s Escher Auditorium; the premier wind ensemble of the U.S. Navy, presents a wide array of marches, patriotic selections, orchestral transcriptions and modern wind ensemble repertoire. Reserve your free tickets by calling the box office at call 320-363-5777, not available online.

West Central Connection Chorus

April 1 Willmar, 4 and 7:30 p.m., Willmar Education and Arts Center; West Central Connection Chorus, a men’s barbershop chorus, annual spring show.


April 7 Dawson, 7:30 p.m., Memorial Auditorium; DawsonBoyd Arts Association presents “Beginnings: The Ultimate Chicago Concert Experience” which brings to life the music of Chicago, and expertly recreates every decade of the band’s hits; adults $30, students $10; call 320-769-2955, ext. 246, 9 a.m. to noon; tickets go on sale March 28.

Liz Vice Trio

April 8 Collegeville, 7:30 p.m., Humphrey Theater, St. John’s University; Gospel, soul and R&B combine in the powerful vocals of this inspiring, up-andcoming artist; dedicated to making positive change through her genuine yet playful approach to soulfilled music; call 320-363-5777 or online at

Live it! Magazine 29

Get it! The Barn Theatre “9 to 5: The Musical”

Feb. 9-14, 18-19 & 23-26 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees only; $10 for students, $20 for adults. Reserve your seat today!

Coming in April: “Kitchen Witches” April 20-23, 27-30 320.235.9500 | 321 4th St SW, Willmar

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February/March 2017 issue of Live it! Magazine  

West Central Tribune Lifestyle magazine

February/March 2017 issue of Live it! Magazine  

West Central Tribune Lifestyle magazine