In the past few years, it has become clear that you can make new brain neurons starting in your 20s and continuing well into old age, in effect rewiring the brain with new parts as the older parts wear out. There are steps you can take right now to preserve, protect and enhance your gray matter.
A healthy body really does mean a healthy mind. Researchers have found that the areas of the brain that are stimulated through exercise are associated with memory and learning. Exercise boosts brainpower by stimulating formation of new brain cells (neurons). Also, exercise strengthens connections between those cells.
Physical exercise may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Several studies have confirmed that regular physical activity reduces the risk of cognitive decline and dementia as you age. Debbie Baker, Community Relations Director at Weatherly Inn has observed that seniors who participate in daily exercise programs benefit physically, emotionally, and socially.
For many people, after graduating from high school or college, their pursuit of new knowledge bottoms out over time. They may be masters at what they do, but they aren’t learning new things. But there is clear evidence that learning and mental stimulation produce favorable changes in the brain. Researchers believe that intellectual activity plays a neuroprotective role against dementia.
As you continue to learn and challenge yourself, your brain continues to grow. Says Sarah Idstrom of Franke Tobey Jones: “This helps your brain store and retrieve information more easily, no matter what your age.”
How can you challenge yourself? Scientists agree that anything that is new and expands your knowledge base will be effective, such as learning to play a musical instrument, starting a new hobby, learning a new language or simply cooking a new dish. If you let your brain be idle, it’s not going to be in the best health.
The seeds of creativity live in everyone and, if nurtured, blossom throughout the lifespan. Martha Graham danced until she was 75; Pablo Picasso painted in his 80s; Antonio Stradivari was making violins at 92. Singer Tony Bennett, in his 80s, has become as well-known for his oil paintings (under his birth name Anthony Benedetto) as for his legendary songs. Although most of us aren’t Picasso, there is growing recognition of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging.
The healing powers of imagination in people with Alzheimer’s disease are also evident.
Dr. Gene Cohen, noted researcher on the human brain and aging, has said that “art is like chocolate to the brain.” He has put forth a number of fascinating, groundbreaking scientific theories suggesting that creative activity can significantly improve the mind-body connection as we age, improving long-term health and well-being.
What this means for all of us, and particularly for seniors, is that just like an investment of money that pays dividends over time, an investment in time spent exercising, learning and enjoying creative pursuits yields increased brainpower and memory retention.
Embrace the top handbag trend for 2012 by carrying your handbag, rather than wearing it. This trend was seen on the runways of Versace, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Tommy Hilfiger. The styles remain consistent, including the top-handle satchel and the daytime clutch. This year, consider how you carry your purse—even if it has a strap.
To bring attention to your most practical accessory, the handbag, wear oversized rings, gloves and unique bracelets. Big and bold rings will continue to be hot fashion items in 2012. Flashing a ring of crystals, pearls, charms or beads is an ultimate conversation starter. Create a uniquely thoughtful flair and make a statement with accessories by mixing vintage and contemporary pieces.
Hot trends seen on the runways for 2012 include:
Heavenly Fabrics – Wear soft, feminine dresses and blouses that are light as a cloud to make you feel like an angel! Consider chiffons in sorbet shades to give a low-key, ladylike vibe.
Sheer Brilliance – See-through blouses, dresses, pants and skirts were seen on the runways of Michael Kors, John Galliano and Christian Dior for both classic and formal occasions. Consider wearing these layered over a slip for a more practical look.
Pleats Please – Pleats were seen on nearly every major runway, in skirts, shorts, dresses, tops and bags. They were seen as wide and thin, subtle and obvious.
Gardner’s Seafood & Pasta
111 Thurston Ave NW, Olympia
Located in a historic building with exposed beams and hardwood floors, Gardner’s is a downtown Olympia favorite. The establishment’s 11 tables are candlelit for a setting that is both elegant and intimate. Executive Chef, Leon Longan, has been creating soups, sauces and desserts from scratch for more than 25 years. The menu reflects the selection of choice local and seasonal ingredients.
Delicately flavored razor clams are a worthy starter. The tender seafood is lightly breaded, quickly fried and simply presented in butter gently laced with lemon. Stuffed mushrooms, steamed clams and Dungeness crab dip are laudable appetizer alternatives.
Gardner’s offers a choice of soup or salad with every entrée. Mixed greens with fragrant honey-orange vinaigrette are accented with sliced almonds, Asiago cheese and fresh mandarin orange segments. Savory shrimp, crab and clams are abundant in the eatery’s New England-style seafood chowder.
The portabella mushroom ravioli are earthy and satisfying. It’s complemented by a flavorful olive oil and garlic sauce, and a splash of sherry adds depth and complexity. The dish is studded with sautéed button mushrooms and parmesan. Sautéed scallops are quickly seared until golden and served on a rich, garlicky cream sauce with caramelized shallots, lemon and a hint of fresh dill. The accompanying five-cheese scalloped potatoes are baked until crispy around the edges. Other entrees include chicken piccata, beef tenderloin and fettuccine Alfredo.
From the dessert tray, marionberry cobbler contrasts sweet-tart fruit with succulent topping. The decadent peanut butter cup brownie is rich and intensely flavored. Both are served with a generous scoop of Olympic Mountain vanilla ice cream. Lemon mousse, apple bread pudding and white chocolate cheesecake are also available.
Gardner’s is just a block from Olympia’s waterfront. Exceptional food and outstanding service make it a popular destination—a suitable venue for a special occasion or a celebration of everyday living.
Bayview Cooking School—Olympia
bayviewschoolofcooking.com | 360.754.1448
At Olympia’s Bayview Cooking School, courses are taught by regional chefs, cookbook authors or one of the institute’s own talented instructors. Held on the mezzanine level of Bayview Thriftway, most are demonstration-style, showcasing an entire meal during one session. Students explore cutting-edge trends and state-of-the-art techniques and tools, with emphasis on Pacific Northwest flavors and tastes from around the world. Sampling is encouraged.
Toscanos Café and Wine Bar—Puyallup
toscanospuyallup.com | 253.864.8600
Toscanos’ Executive Chef, Tom Pantley, has been teaching cooking classes for more than 25 years. Classes are typically offered every other month and include a five-course dinner, wine samples, and recipes. Pantley gives practical tips on shopping for value and food and wine pairings. He serves up ideas for unique icebreakers and discusses the history of ingredients and styles. The format is relaxed with plenty of time for questions. “We try to have fun with it,” he said.
Marlene’s Market and Deli—Federal Way
marlenesmarket-deli.com | 253.839.0933
Marlene’s is a family-owned-and-operated natural food store with locations in Tacoma and Federal Way. Weekend seminars are offered at the Federal Way location. Taught by guest authors and chefs, the seminars emphasize cooking for health and enjoyment. The store’s regular offerings include instruction on the preparation of vegan, gluten-free, and ethnic cuisine. Sustainably- produced, 100% organic produce along with other unrefined, natural products can be purchased at Marlene’s.
As Julia Child said, “Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”
Clearly, using glass in the design of an office, home or business adds a reflective ambience and architectural beauty that is distinctive. Puget Sound homeowners, contractors and designers have been turning to Sound Glass for their glass needs for over 27 years.
When the owners of the Hotel Murano began the design of their hotel, they had a vision of creating a building that was reflective of the glass culture that Tacoma has become known for, and they appointed Sound Glass. Tom Wright, Vice President of Sound Glass, explains that first of all, the Hotel Murano wanted to create a showcase where glass artists could be featured. “They also wanted all of the building to have a wonderful green, glass look to the design build,” he says. “We collaborated with the artists to achieve their vision and craft a finished end result that is technically stable over time.”
One of the most complex pieces of this project, Wright explains, was hanging glass in the elevator. They wanted the elevator to be completely surrounded with glass. Technically, Sound Glass had to figure out how to place e-lighting in strips that would illuminate the width of the glass. “We worked with the designer to accomplish this and today the end result looks finished and amazing,” says Wright.
Another striking design statement on display at the hotel is the facade’s glass entrance canopy. The designers’ idea was to have as little hardware as possible to create a finished appearance, so visitors would see only glass. “Not a lot of other glass companies could pull this off due to the technical expertise needed,” says Wright. “But Sound Glass has creative salespeople on staff with design and engineering backgrounds, and CAD (computer-aided design) drawings are done in the showroom,” he says.
Sound Glass founder Warren Willoughby set up a philosophy of customer service that has allowed the business to excel. “Everyone knows that we have a philosophy to simply take care of the customer,” says Wright. Indeed, Sound Glass has served a number of influential people in our community by focusing on customer needs. When Gary Milgard, the local window legend and pioneer, was building a home, he hired Sound Glass to design the glass in his home.
From simple projects to the extravagant, Sound Glass has a long history of caring for customers in the Puget Sound area and designing glass to meet unique design needs.
Showrooms in Tacoma and Bremerton
soundglass.com | 800.468.9949
In 2011 Artist Trust received an impressive total of 133 Arts Innovator Award applications from artists practicing in a variety of disciplines across the state of Washington. Award recipients Pat Graney and Eyvind Kang were honored as the two arts innovators for the year, receiving the largest monetary award available to generative artists in the state. The Arts Innovator Award is made possible through a three-year gift from the Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation.
Award recipient Pat Graney is a choreographer who has taken her work into diverse communities, creating new and enduring connections to art. The award for her is a life-changing gift.
“Support from Artist Trust and the Chihuly Foundation for the Arts Innovator Award is monumental!” said Graney. “These funds will allow me the very important time for exploring a new work and to be able to step away from my everyday obligations to go into the ‘creative channel.’ This is a life-changing award. It not only affords me more time to work creatively, but also speaks to acknowledgment from my peers—both are incredible gifts.”
Award recipient Eyvind Kang is a composer, arranger, performer and multi-instrumentalist whose work spans and masters a variety of genres. His Arts Innovator Award affords him resources to make his music dreams a reality.
“For several years I was daunted by a big recording project—concerto for Persian ney and orchestra. I wrote the piece for Ostad Hossein Omoumi a few years ago and it’s solid, but I needed orchestra musicians who are familiar with the Persian music system. I found them. Just a few days ago we started the recording!” said Kang. “I’m thinking this award has been an affirmation. Those works, which had been abandoned or which I was ambivalent about, are back on. I’m really grateful for this support, for all those that made it happen—the Chihulys [and] Artist Trust. Also, it’s very humbling.”
Artist Trust’s mission is to support artists that are residents of Washington state. “We are always delighted when we are able to provide support to any artist that is creating new works that enrich the cultural landscape of the Pacific Northwest and beyond,” said Miguel Guillen, Program Manager. “These two artists have been recognized by a panel of their peers for the outstanding work they are doing in forging innovative paths within their discipline.”
This year marks Artist Trust’s 25th anniversary. Join them in 2012 to celebrate 25 years of developing programs to support, honor and encourage Washington’s practicing artists. For more information, visit artistrust.org.
Tacoma City Grocer IGA
1250 Pacific Ave, Tacoma
While most shoppers search grocery store aisles for milk, bread and eggs, the new downtown Tacoma City Grocer IGA adds original artwork to your grocery list.
Because store owner Tyler Myers and his team knew the arts were at the heart of Tacoma’s city center, a gallery was an important part of the initial planning for the store. “We knew it would be a great fit for the downtown Tacoma arts community. Every month we feature a local artist in our gallery located at the front end of the store,” said Myers.
The Tacoma City Grocer IGA has also just enrolled in the Tacoma Art Bus, a program for the city’s Third Thursday of the month art gallery tours.
In addition to showcasing local artists, the grocery store does not disappoint those in search of fresh, local or gourmet food. Shoppers will delight in the store’s huge produce department with lots of hard-to-find items, a great deli, an extensive wine collection, excellent cheese selections, gourmet deli meats, espresso, freshly baked pastries and donuts made in-house, and delicious breads from locally sourced bakeries.
The store offers a wide variety of products for working, living and playing in downtown Tacoma, which typically is not an area populated with full-size supermarkets.
“Downtown Tacoma is our second downtown urban location, following the Kress IGA Supermarket in downtown Seattle at 3rd and Pike,” said Myers. “We like these locations because they often serve a market that has become known as a ‘food desert’—an area where finding a grocery store has traditionally been difficult.”
“As more people have been looking to the inner city as a place to work, live and shop, we have tried to be an early participant in helping to grow these new urban neighborhoods.”
After beginning operations in December 2006, Commencement Bank has achieved noteworthy growth during a slumbering economy. As a result, the financial organization is expanding operations in a new location.
“During our search for a new location, we discovered that clients of ours owned what is known as the ‘bank building’ at 1102 Commerce Street,” said Hal Russell, Commencement Bank president and CEO. The downtown Tacoma site was most recently Union Bank. Russell notes that one of the appealing things about the location was that both he and Jennifer Nino, Chief Financial Officer, worked in the building earlier in their careers. It was a perfect match and the process ensued.
The relocation means that Commencement Bank will have more retail space, expanding from 6,200 to 12,500 square feet, according to Russell. The architect Jon Graves has designed a boardroom with a separate side entrance to the street. This means the boardroom will be available to nonprofit organizations that need space to conduct their board meetings. “This speaks to our commitment to giving back to the Tacoma community,” said Russell.
At five years old, Commencement Bank is one of the highest capitalized banks in Washington state. When asked how the bank has experienced such sizable growth, Russell said, “We have been doing a lot of shoe leather work and we have a great customer base. This, coupled with a strategic model that emphasizes the leveraging of technology and e-services, has moved our operations forward.”
Commencement Bank will share the newly designed location with the public during its grand opening in April 2012.
Visit the newly opened location at 1102 Commerce in downtown Tacoma. 253.284.1800 | commencementbank.com
The 9th annual Born to be Wild auction held at the Great Wolf Lodge brought 550 guests in biker attire to support the Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County. Jerry Farmer emceed this extraordinary event with dinner, a live auction and music by Lott Troubadours. $375,000, was raised at the event with proceeds funding the Boys and Girls Club’s mission of helping more than 2,000 kids in Thurston county realize their full potential and have a safe, fun place to go after school.