Saturday, November 16, 2013

Business On My Minds

A Note of Thanks

By Jeri Mae Rowley, M.S.

Should I write a thank-you note? The answer is usually “yes.”

This November, commemorate Thanksgiving with a handwritten thank-you note-one of the most thoughtful and relationship enriching of traditions. The thank-you note communicates appreciation, acknowledges the efforts of another person, and expresses sincere gratitude. According to Emily Post, “When asked if a thank-you note should be written, the answer is usually ‘yes.’” 
If you’re unsure how to write a thank-you note, read on.

How to Write a Thank-You Note

Both business and personal thank you notes should include the same basic elements: Greeting, Gratitude, Connection, Appreciation, and Good Bye.

The grand master of relationships, Dale Carnegie, advocated using a person’s name in conversation and correspondence. Greet the person you are thanking by name.

Business Example: Dear [Name of person]:
Personal Example:   "Dear" may seem too formal. If you know the person well, use "Hi, John:" or “Hello, Sarah:” Or, simply begin with their first name, followed by a colon (:).  
Choose a salutation appropriate to your relationship with the giver. Seniors may desire more formal salutation. For example, a note to my grandmother would begin “Dear Mrs. Brown:” if you wrote it. A note to my grandmother would begin: “Mimi:” if I wrote it.
Express your gratitude. Then describe how you use or plan to use, their gift … the application. What do you like about it? How will you use, or benefit from, the giver’s generosity?
Business Example: “Thank you for speaking to our association. We deeply appreciated your willingness to share the top three marketing tips with our members. I especially enjoyed learning about your family’s business. I’ve already put two of your ideas to use promoting our new services.”
Personal Example: “The warm gloves are a perfect gift for a long Montana winter. I’m using them each morning to drive to work and am reminded of your thoughtfulness.”
The gratitude and application paragraph(s) of the thank-you note are where we express how much we value the giver’s generosity and why. It’s a great place to personalize the thanks.
The connection paragraph establishes why you value the giver. It can highlight your past together or acknowledge something personal/special to that individual. Describe your connection with the giver. What’s your relationship? What is your past together? What do you hope for your future together? 

Business Example: It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since we met at the National Convention in Orlando.  I’m so glad we’ve been able to stay in touch over the years.
Personal Example: I look forward to spending time with you and the kids this summer in Montana.   Our reunions are the highlight of my year.

“Thank you again for …” It's not overkill to say thanks again. So say it.

Like the salutation, your sign-off is based on the nature of your relationship with the giver — and who the giver is (status in organization, their generation, how long you’ve known them, and so on.)
Business Example
“Sincerely,” “With Sincere Appreciation,” or your personal business sign-off. I sign my business correspondence “Laugh and learn.”
Personal Example "Love" is fine for family members and close friends. For others, some choices are "Yours Truly," "Regards," "Warm Regards," or “With love.”
When you sign your name, make the autograph neat enough to read easily — so it’s clear the message is coming from you.
Gratitude is Good for You
Being thankful has proven to have a positive impact on your well-being. A recent Wall Street Journal article cited research indicating that adults who feel grateful have "more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not ...." 
Take time to express your gratitude with a thank-you note. Get it in the mail and become an active participant in the act of expressing your thanks with a handwritten note.
Is it time for you to send a thank-you note? The answer is definitely “yes.”
Jeri Mae Rowley, MS Human Resource Management   This saddle maker’s daughter delights audiences with her unique brand of Western Wit and Wisdom for Your Workplace.™ Please visit her website: and learn more about her growing menu of speaking and training products.      

Business Occasions That Merit Handwritten Thank-You Notes
  • When a customer has referred you to another.
  • When a competitor has referred you to a customer.
  • After receiving a promotion or payraise.
  • After a business lunch, dinner or party. 
  • When your employee took special initiative.
  • After your boss has invested in you: training, resources, membership in professional associations, for example.
  • When a co-worker went the extra mile to help you.
  • When an acquaintance has given you time and advice.
  • When a manager, or professor, has supplied you with a reference letter.
  • To co-workers who’ve given you a gift (this may fall into the “personal” category, depending on how well you know your colleagues).
  • After attending a job interview. (Send an email as well, expressing your gratitude for the opportunity and your interest in the position. Emails are becoming more acceptable after job interviews due to their speed. Send both.)

Top 10 Thank-You Note DON’Ts:
  1. Don’t delay. (Keep stationery for thank-you notes on hand.)
  2. It's never too late to say “thank you.” Don't not send a note because it’s been “too long.”
  3. Don't talk about yourself. This note is about the giver and the gift.
  4. Don't write anything negative, even as a joke.
  5. Don't name the dollar amount. Say "Thank you for the generous gift." (Exception: Charitable donations where the exact amount is needed for business purposes.)
  6. Don't print out thank you notes on your computer. Handwrite them whenever possible. Email is appropriate for a more casual thank you.
  7. Don't be generic with your job interview thank you notes. Use the note to express your unique self. Do check your spelling.
  8. Don’t lie. Focus on what you are thankful for and honestly do appreciate.
  9. Don’t have recipients write their own addresses on envelopes.
10.     Don't use pre-printed or fill-in-the-blank thank-you cards. Ever! Ever!
Adapted from:

Be A Force of Beauty

Complementing Color with Color
By Miriah Kardelis

You know how the story goes. You like to wear eye shadow, you want to wear eye shadow; but you don’t know what colors to wear that will compliment your eye color.  Instead of coordinating with your clothing you should first match the shadow with your actual eye color.  Rest assured; help is here.  We’ve got some quick tips on which eye shadow hues will look best with your eyes.

Blue Eyes
When it comes to blue eyes you want to wear earth tones. Browns, greys, or a taupe color will make your eye color pop.  You want to make sure to stay away from anything blue; it will drown out the color you already have.  If you want to try something outside of the box try a pink or a purple. The coolness of those tones will be a nice contrast with your blue eyes.

Brown Eyes
Brown eyes can get away with wearing almost anything.  A green tone always looks great with brown.  Especially if you have any gold flecks in your eye.  A pink shadow will give your eyes an extra glimmer; but you take some time when it comes to looking for that perfect brown shadow.  Too much brown and it will give a muddy look to your already beautiful brown eye color.

Green/Hazel Eyes
In order to get green eyes to pop, you should try wearing anything purple.  The high contrast between green and purple will give a more dramatic look.  If you want a more natural look try a warm brown, or anything with a slight golden undertone.  Since most green and hazel eyes have a variety of flecks, it’s easy to experiment in finding the right tone for you.

Final Tips
Keep in mind you should have fun with your eye shadow.  Try to keep your shadow color and your clothing color within the same family - or a complimentary family color.  Last, sometimes less is more; there are times when all you need is a quick swipe of color to get that mesmerizing look.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

From The MW Kitchen
By Cindy O’Boyle
Ginger Poached Pears with Honeyed Vanilla Custard

I am a huge fan of pears.  I plan on planting a pear tree – I’ll take a pear over an apple any day.  They are sweeter, softer and have a great texture.  Pears are at the markets now and seem to always find their way into my grocery cart. 

I recently discovered a new pear recipe that has secured a spot on my favorite dessert list.  Yes, it is that good!

4 semi-ripe Bosc pears
4 12-ounce bottles of potent Ginger Beer (I use Reeds Extra Ginger Brew)
The zest of one lemon, cut into strips that can easily be fished out of the poaching liquid
2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons honey
½ vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup pecans, toasted
4 ginger snaps
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger, finally chapped

1.  Peel the pears, cut them from top to bottom (keep the stem on one half, if you can, for presentation’s sake) and core them.  I like to dig a bigger core hole than necessary as it makes a ready-made receptacle for the crumble topping when you serve them.

2.  Pour the ginger beer in a pan big enough to hold the pears in a single layer and add the raw ginger and lemon zest.  Arrange pears cut side down in the poaching liquid.  To keep the pears from floating, I invert a pan cover that is slightly smaller than the pan I am using to poach the pears and place it on top of the poaching pears.  Bring the liquid to a slow simmer and poach the pears until they can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife.  For large pears, that takes about 25-30 minutes. 

3.  When the pears are done, carefully remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool completely.

4.  Use a slotted spoon to fish out the lemon zest and ginger and put the poaching liquid back on medium low heat to reduce to about ¾ of a cup of spicy ginger syrup. Strain the reduced syrup into a pitcher.

5.  To make the crème anglaise custard, pour the half and half and honey in the top pan of a double boiler. Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape its contents out of the pod. Place both the vanilla pod and its seeds into the cream mixture. With water in the bottom of the double boiler, put the pan on the heat and bring it up in temperature to just below a simmer. In a separate metal bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. When the cream is hot enough, slowly whisk 3-4 tablespoons of the hot cream into the egg mixture. Add another 3-4 tablespoons of cream to the egg mixture continuously whisking. Whisk the thinned egg mixture into the hot cream mixture and put the combination over the double-boiler heat until it reaches about 180 degrees on an instant read thermometer. When it hit that mark, strain the mixture through a sieve into a pitcher and set aside to cool.

6.  Pulse the pecans a few times in a food processor. Add the ginger snaps and pulse a few more times until they are broken down. Stir in the crystallized ginger and cranberries.
To assemble, pour a bit of syrup on the plate. Arrange one or two pear halves on top of it and pour a bit more syrup over the halves to give them a nice sheen. Generously fill the core holes with the crumble mixture. Either serve each plate with a small pitcher of custard, or pour a good amount over the pears before serving.

Jewels’ Gems
You Wear It Well…or Do You?
By Jewels Devine

 There are two sayings that come to mind when it comes to fashion:  “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” and “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”  I must admit, darlings, it’s difficult at times not to judge a book that’s dressed in pajamas in the middle of the day, or who seems to be missing the lower half of their shirt.  I do know lovely people, however, who couldn’t give a rip about the brand or cut of their jeans, and to judge them based on their wardrobe choices would be a sad mistake.
Personally, I love fashion, but I don’t believe that every trend is meant for everyone!  I developed my own sense of style long, long ago…way back in the 1980s!  Those were fun times; neon colored over-the-shoulder sweatshirts, leg warmers, ankle boots and parachute pants.   I was wise enough to know that leg warmers were not for me, but took to big hair like a fish in water!
I’ve never been afraid to make my own unique fashion statement.  My mother once questioned a pair of shoes I wanted because they were too old-fashioned!  But I saw them, loved them, took them home and “rocked” those babies ‘til they fell apart months later.  They made me happy, and I believe that when something makes you happy, your natural beauty shines even brighter.  Of course, if the “something” that makes you happy is a pair of ultra low-cut jeans and you’re not careful, your natural booty is what everyone will be gawking at. 
Good fashion, in my opinion, is a mix of good sense, carefully selected pieces that flatter you and a little extra something that makes your style unique.  The more comfortable you are with your fashion choices, the more confident and striking you’ll be.  So my advice, darlings, is to be true to yourself, avoid unflattering fads and make your fashion statement with confidence and pride.  When it comes to good taste, everyone wears it well.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Note From Cindy

Welcome to Montana Woman’s 223rd issue.  It is hard to believe that nineteen years ago Montana Woman Magazine hit the stands as a single sheet of paper.  February 2014 marks our 20th year!  Plans have already begun in preparation of our anniversary issue and it promises to be spectacular!

This issue is full of Montana treasures, sites, history and just plain fun.  While planning our ‘Road Trip’ issue I was reminded that MW’s journey has much in common with a road trip.  Each issue is like a new destination.  The excitement of a new adventure brings us pure joy.

Destination:  As with road trippin’ one must have a destination in mind. This is the stage where the dreaming occurs.  The bigger the dream and the further the distance the more opportunity for adventure. After picking your vacation spot, it is important to plan a route to get there. 

Plan: The MW team never settles for mundane.  We like excitement and choose a different route each month.   The team maps out the course and comes up with a plan to ensure our journey is enjoyable.  We make sure to keep it flexible enough to embrace the unexpected. 

Points of Interest:  During our ‘trip’ we meet amazing people who inspire use to travel further than we thought we could.  They share points of interest and introduce us to friends and relatives that change our lives forever.  They entrust us with their life stories and allow us to preserve their history.

Be Prepared for the Unexpected:  No matter how well you plan and prepare things happen.  The bends in the roads keep things interesting and us on our toes. Planning any trip requires a little care and consideration, but in the case of a true adventure, it is especially important to be thorough and leave leeway for the unexpected. I have found that this is when the magic happens!

Enjoy the Journey:  Road trippin’ is a wonderful adventure where it truly is the journey and not the destination that matters most.  It is important to maximize the opportunity and see as much of the country’s diversity as possible. With all the American movies and songs and books about the joy of the open road, it’s hard to take a normal road trip without huge expectations.  Don’t allow those expectations be the ruler used to measure the enjoyment of the trip.  

Savor the Memories:  The iconic road trip seems to be reserved for young people, heading out with a few buddies and nary a care in the world.  But that is not true!  Memories are there for the taking for travelers of all ages.  Each issue of Montana Woman has a special place in our hearts and our memory banks.  Memories we love to share!

As the MW team puts an issue ‘to bed’, we take a deep breath and jump into our next adventure with true enthusiasm and anticipation.  Being a monthly publication allows endless opportunity to be the first to travel unfamiliar territory and share treasures not yet discovered.  I am honored to share our adventures with you every month in every issue.  Thank you for sharing our journey!

Take Care,


Let's Strutt Your Stuff

Ask the Coach
By Sherri Gerek

Dear Sherri:

My life is a pressure cooker right now.  The company I work for is going through some major changes, and as a result I may soon be transferred or looking for another job altogether.  On the personal front, I am at my wit’s end with the man I’ve been seeing for the past three years.  I had hoped we might be married someday, but the longer we are together the more I see that he is not the right man for me.  We have different priorities, and he is a pessimist while I am the eternal optimist.  Mostly, I want to end the relationship, but I have invested three years already and think I should continue to work to overcome our differences.  So, here I am thinking I had it all figured out when it looks more like my life is unraveling at the seams.  I know I need to make some changes, but fear I will make the wrong decisions and end up with an outcome I am unhappy with.  What advice can you provide?


Dear Unraveling:

Thank you for sharing!  It is understandable that you feel life is a pressure cooker when, undeniably, you are facing the potential for major changes at home and work.  It is only natural for you to feel the way you do.

Often people will stay in circumstances that have become uncomfortable or they have outgrown, because they fear what they may have to go through in order to benefit from change.  Perhaps it is fear of facing a problem that has been overlooked for far too long.  It might involve confronting another individual in some way, finding new ways of “being” that are much different from a person’s current state of being, or learning some new skills.  All change requires growth, and that unknown transition – that place between point A and point B, can be scary!  Good for you on your decision to reach out for assistance.  Fears that are not addressed and overcome will become a block to one’s progress.
Following are three steps to break through a block you may be facing:

Ø     Take a bird’s eye view.   From this vantage point see what needs to happen overall and what needs to happen now.  Instead of becoming overwhelmed by addressing everything in your life– take a look at what is urgent and important.  For example, if you are in a burning building– you don’t stand around contemplating whether or not to rebuild…you tackle what’s urgent and important first! Evacuate the building first, then call the fire department…and so on. Try to keep your situation in perspective so you don’t become bogged down or overwhelmed by change.
Ø     Consider the options.  Assess your situation.  Ask - What and who will be affected by this change?  What happens if I do nothing?  Will the situation be better, worse, or remain the same? How do I feel about those outcomes? Then - If I have an opportunity now to better the outcome or prevent the situation from deteriorating, what will I choose to do? Often,  viewing the potential you have to alter the outcome in a way that is good for you will provide enough incentive for you to move forward.
Ø     Move in the direction you wish to go.  Ask yourself, in order to cooperate with change, What would I need to do right now?  What step can I take? If the transition is a big one, at times a small step in the right direction is all that’s required to put you on the positive path to progress.  From there you can continue to step forward in the direction of change as your life continues to unfold.
Ø     Address the fears you may have.  What is behind the belief you hold about potentially making a wrong decision while knowing that you need a change?  Perhaps it is the belief that is blocking you.  What IF making a decision is exactly what you need to get yourself “un-stuck?”  What will you choose to do?

When we look for the opportunity within every challenge we face, we become open to the possibilities within change.   One of the best skills one can ever hope to master is the ability to adapt early to change.  By accepting change as a normal part of life, life works a little easier.  When resisting and fighting it, change will still come.  The question is – will you be open to it, and ready to adapt when it does?

Call me to explore how to fully live according to your best potential.  406-270-8098    or  I coach women like you on communication, relationships, goal setting, work/life balance, and the power of positive thinking!  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wanna Go for a Ride?

The Road Trip Issue is en route and scheduled to arrive in June!  Look for another beautiful cover and the story of a Montana Woman who is creating the map to her own success, one road trip at a time.  Our talented contributors will take you with them as they share their insight about journeys that involve rafting, mountain biking, hiking, navigating spiritual and personal quests, and provide a few tips and anecdotes about what to do, or what NOT to do, on your adventures.  

Every day in the Montana Woman office is a trip in and of itself.  We keep our compass handy, knowing that we'll occasionally run into a fork in the road, but this is a woman's magazine after all, so we're never lost for long!  We are constantly intrigued, excited and eager to explore the road less traveled, revealing the beauty and inspiration that awaits in the most unexpected places.

If you're ready for a getaway, simply open the cover of Montana Woman.  We'll take you a journey and have you back before bedtime.

Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet....

I am excited to share the second issue in the 2013 Montana Woman Collector Series with you.  I have dreamed about this issue for the past two years.  This issue is full of fashion geared (no pun intended!) for all ages of Montana women who are willing to embrace the exploration of unusual fashion. 

Steampunk has intrigued me from the very first time I saw it in 2008.  Steampunk is a loose term used to describe an extraordinary fashion trend.  By remixing styles from the Victorian era, the Wild West, classic Goth, gypsy, aviation, and industrial fetish, steampunk fashion creates a unique and beautifully disturbing look. 

The May issue explores many venues of fashion – not just clothing.  The pages are overflowing with fashion for the home, food fashion, jewelry fashion, shoe fashion, pet fashion and much, much more!  Prepare yourself to be inspired by color, images, articles, and many amazing Montana women.

In addition to our bold expressions of fashion, you will notice a new look and layout for this issue.  The man responsible is Rick Anderson, and he has totally rocked the May issue.  Rick joined the Montana Woman family in February and brings over 25 years of professional experience to the team.  Stemming from a background in design and advertising, he has worked with print campaigns, the Web, magazines, photography, and package design.  Rick graduated from Flathead High School and moved west to earn his degree in graphic design, where he honed his craft with various companies as a designer and a creative director.  He began freelancing in 2000 and was drawn back to Montana to enjoy the culture and great outdoors. 

I want to thank the entire Montana Woman family for helping bring my dream to fruition.  I am blessed to be surrounded by an amazingly talented team of people who embraced my vision.  It has been a bit of a challenge pulling this off in less than 30 days, but that is just one of the joys of being the only monthly publication in the state.   Deadlines, limited time and a unique concept are often the magical ingredients necessary to create greatness. 

As you flip the pages of our Fashion Issue, please take note of all the talented artists involved in the creative product you are holding.  Montana is blessed with people who are willing to think outside the box while helping others achieve their dreams.  Some may say this issue is a bit edgy.  I agree.  I like edgy.

Grab a cold drink, make yourself comfortable, and take your time with the May issue of Montana Woman Magazine.  Rest assured that we have many more surprises in store for you in 2013!  In closing I would like to leave you with the words of Bachman Turner Overdrive.

You ain't seen nothin' yet
B-B-B-Baby, you just ain't seen nothin' yet
Here's something that you never gonna forget
B-B-B-Baby, you just ain't seen nothin' yet

Take Care,

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The History of Makeup

Living Beautifully 
By Emily Myers

Ever wonder how far back the world of cosmetics goes? What about the products used to moisturize the skin, fight blemishes and enhance beauty? The saying, “There is nothing new under the sun,” isn’t too far from the truth here. You may be surprised to find out that research has dated cosmetics all the way back to 10,000 B.C. The early Egyptians wore makeup to improve their appearances because they believed it would make them more appealing to the gods. They made everything from creams used to reduce stretch marks to ointments to combat blemishes and an array of perfumed oils, to not only moisturize the skin, but also to combat odor (since water was invaluable in their harsh climate). Sometime around 4,000 B.C., both men and women started using kohl liner around their eyes. It may not be well known however, that this wasn’t just used to improve appearances; it had other uses as well. Apparently, it also helped to keep bugs away from the eye area, was believed to restore poor eyesight and reduce eye infection. This kohl liner was made of a combination of crushed antimony, burnt almonds, lead, oxidized copper, ochre and ash.  It was around the same time that women in Greece discovered using crushed berries as rouge and lip-stain. Women in China used rice powder to whiten their faces, which the current day Geisha still use to this day.
It seems that no matter the economic climate, women have always found a way to make themselves feel better by improving their appearances. Leonard Lauder, chairman of the board of Estee Lauder, put out a report called The Lipstick Theory, where he compiled over 50 years of consumer cosmetic/lipstick sales and compared those numbers with the current economic state. What he found was that when the economy is down, lipstick sales skyrocket! Compared to other cosmetic items, lipstick costs less, but still gives us immediate gratification.
So, what are we to gain from this information? As women, we all want to feel beautiful. Through the centuries, that feeling has not dissipated; in fact, it has only increased. I’m not saying, however, that this is necessarily a good thing; we should all feel like the beauties that we are, considering God made us in His image. Regardless, cosmetics are here to stay. I, for one, am thankful for them. There’s simply something about starting out my day with my makeup ritual and walking out the door feeling like a million bucks. I believe in the motto, “When you look good, you feel good, when you feel good, you do good.” So, don’t forget, it’s about your outward appearances matching the beauty that lives inside of you!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Montana Magic History

Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Profound New Vision of Growing Older
By Ina Albert

            We are celebrating our 12th year in Montana, and what a journey it has been.  Like many of you, we have lived in many places before discovering this paradise.  Work and raising my children took me from New York to New Jersey to Florida to Chicago, and finally to Whitefish.
Each stop along the way represents a jumping off place for the next phase of my life, as I guess is true of most of us.

But Montana was different.  As soon as I saw the mountains, my heart uttered a gigantic “Yes!”  My eyes filled with tears when I looked at the house we would be buying in the next month, and I felt completely at home.  This was a big jump for a city girl from the East Coast and Chicago, and one that my friends could not imagine would fit my habits or personality, but they were wrong.

What we found here is that we could make more of a difference in our small community than we ever did in a large city.  Montana has built its history around the deeds, industry and commitment of individuals who sunk their teeth and their life goals in this terrain.  Strangers are welcome and our conversations seem to immediately settle around how long you’ve lived here and where you came from.  We don't focus on what you do or your status in society, as is the case in many other communities I have experienced.

Acceptance is such an important quality in a community.  It can be seen in of our habit of waving to people in passing cars as we walk our dogs and saying hello to folks we pass on the street, whether we know them or not.  When the history of Montana is written for the 21st Century, it should start with a “Hello, there!”

I have met many people whose parents were pioneers, but one story sticks out.  Governor Brian
Schweitzer’s mom was a mainstay in her son’s first gubernatorial campaign that was run out of a house in Whitefish.  As we stuffed envelopes and put campaign packages together on her dining room table, she spoke of growing up in the state’s early days, of having her dresses made from sack cloth, of walking to school through mountains of snow to a small school house.  Through her I got a feel for the vast differences in her experiences growing up and those of us city folk.  Those early days must have strengthened her commitment to her values and to seeing our state be the best it can be.  She never stopped working toward that goal.

We are much more sophisticated now.  There are no more homesteaders or sod houses, and flour sack dresses are no longer in style.  But we have other concerns.  Can we remain an accepting and caring community that welcomes strangers?  Can we maintain the beauty of our state and be a good place to work at the same time?  Will we continue to stand up for the rights of others and recognize the need to protect our property?

Some of these goals are paradoxical and require considerable compromise.  They are not easy problems to solve, and tempers can flare as we try to resolve them. The Southern Poverty Law Center tells us that hate groups are growing all over the country, and that Montana has twelve groups that are bent on white supremacy and racial hatred.  Love Lives Here in the Flathead Valley, a group founded several years ago to offer an alternative to this philosophy and to encourage caring, openness and inclusiveness, has now become an affiliate of the Montana Human Right Network and is encouraging valley residents to join with them to resist violence and promote peaceful and open conversations to solve problems. I ask that you support this organization and join them in their efforts to maintain the Flathead as a “happy” valley for everyone.

As we age, it is important to stand firm for our beliefs and pass on the wisdom that we have acquired through years of life experience.  I pray that our beliefs reflect the peace and beauty that brought us to this Garden of Eden.

Ina Albert, CSL, Life Transitions Coach and author can be reached at

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mouse in the House Salad!

Company is coming for dinner tomorrow evening, over twelve hours away, and I am wide-awake laying here in bed thinking about how much fun it will be making this salad.  I absolutely love planning dinner and especially when adding creative touches like this adorable mouse to my salad.  It makes me feel like Montana’s Martha Stewart!  Seriously, I wish I could jump out of bed right now and get busy fixing this scrumptious Italian salad shown in the photo.  This creative, crunchy side dish is bound to break the boredom of the usual everyday green salad.
Being as I can’t sleep, let me get up and write it down for you.  Perhaps giving you the recipe will appease my actually making it right now. 

2 heads of romaine lettuce
1 large tomato
1 cucumber
4 olives
1 small jar of Delallo Olive Bruschetta
1 cup croutons
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese, or 4 wedges
1 bunch of radishes with roots
12 whole black peppercorns
Serve with balsamic vinegar or blue cheese dressing

Here’s how to prepare:
Split both heads of romaine lettuce lengthwise, cutting off the tops and placing each half on a salad plate.  Add a tomato wedge and slice of cucumber.  Set an olive, along with a teaspoon of bruschetta, on top of the lettuce.  Place a few croutons on the side.  Now comes the fun!  On the salad plate, add either a wedge or small pile of mild cheddar cheese; you know what a mouse’s favorite snack is!
To make a mouse, wash radishes and remove only the green tops, leaving the roots.  Select four radishes out of the bunch that have long curly roots.  Obviously the root is the tail, so point the tail to angle upward.  To get our roly-poly mouse level, slightly slice off the bottom of the radish.  Thinly slice off the tail’s opposite end for the face, discarding that first slice.  Now carefully slice off two more slices for the big ears.  To attach ears:  slice across the top of the radish, about three-quarters of the way down, making a place to insert those cute edible ears.  Now give Mickey his adorable eyes and nose by pushing in three peppercorns.
These quick and colorful salads served with your favorite Italian dish will bring great raves from your dinner guests.
Problem is… now that I wrote the recipe down, it’s teased my appetite, making me hungry at 4 A M.  It’s a good thing I have chocolates hidden here somewhere in the drawer of my nightstand for emergencies like this.  Ah-h there they are!  Did I ever share my middle of the night philosophy about why every Montana woman should have chocolate stashed at arms-length beside her bed?  As they melt in our mouths, they help soothe us back to sleep so we can have sweet dreams. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Get Cozy with Montana Woman

This is the time of year for enjoying the simple things in life:  the comfort of home, a lovingly prepared meal, quiet time enhanced  by the beauty of falling snow, or a walk through the magic of a Montana winter.  One of my favorite winter pastimes is reading.  This is the perfect time of year to check some titles off of your reading list, catch up on favorite blogs and, of course, sit down with your favorite magazine!
Magazines and blogs are fantastic when you're busy and either only have a few minutes to spare at a time or, like me, tend to fall asleep just a few minutes after you get started!
Montana Woman is wonderful to snuggle down in your bed with at night, relax with during a break at work or, better yet, enjoy during a leisurely afternoon.
Remember that you can have Montana Woman delivered to your mailbox each month with an annual subscription.  Subscriptions are also great gifts, especially for native Montana women living out of state.
We would like to make your experience as enjoyable as possible and encourage you to drop us a line, telling us what your favorite article or column is, and why.  What would you like to read more about? Check in on our Facebook page, send an email, or simply leave a comment here on the blog.
We hope you enjoy many quiet moments this season, and thank you for reading.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year

The stunning lady on the January cover is Courtney McKee, co-owner of Headframe Spirits in Butte, MT.  The first of an upcoming series of collector's issues, the January 2013 Prohibition Issue is a historical and visual treat, taking us back to the Roaring 20s, when Prohibition sent honest, hardworking people quietly into the shadows to conduct both their business and pleasure.  
In the Cover Story, Courtney and John McKee share the story of Headframe Spirits and its secrets to success.  Also, you'll find Happy Hour recipes they have generously provided for the Western Comfort column - so get ready to mix things up a bit!
Jewels Devine delves into her family's history and sheds some light on what was once a dark family secret in Jewels' Gems.
Not only do we take a wistful look at the glamorous yet clandestine past in this issue, but we look, of course, to the future and what the new year might hold for us.  Bev Erickson, sister of Dr. Betty Kuffel, provides Thirteen Self Improvement Thoughts for 2013.  Her personal story is inspiring and motivational.
Always at the top of our resolutions list are health and well-being, and, of course, they are not overlooked in the first issue of 2013. Ask the Coach, Everyday Fitness and In the Know address the issues that so many of us struggle with, or at least wish to improve. 
Here's to the new year, the Roaring 20s and the readers and contributors of Montana Woman.  Let's make 2013 a remarkable year in history, as well. Cheers!