Monday, December 16, 2013

Andrea Berlatsky and Altier Salon

Meet Andrea Berlatsky of Altier Salon. She moved here 17 years ago from Los Angeles, California and has been doing hair on the island ever since. She has built a client base that has kept her very busy (and kept them very happy). She says "I love to build relationships with my clients and it has served me well as many of them have been with me from the start."

She graduated from Charles Ross school of Hair Design in Beverly Hills California, and since then has studied at Vidal Sassoon and Toni&Guy academies in Los Angeles.

Keeping up with the latest training is important. "I have over 30 years in the business and I keep up with trends and techniques. It's not easy to do living here, but the internet sure helps. Webinars, videos, YouTube.... it's awesome. That and the occasional class when down in L.A."

"There is no excuse to get  complacent. I love that there are so many hairstylists here, each offering something a little different to the island. For me, I have a commitment to each and every client that they not just like but love their hair - I strive for consistency."

Check out her Altier Salon over at 278 A Street #5, or call 378-8835.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Darleen Nixon

Darleen Nixon has been a glass artist since 1998.  She works in both lampwork glass and fused glass media.  She has studied with some of the leading glass artists in the United States, and is a member of the Glass Art Society and International Society of Glass Beadmakers.
Darleen's work is carried in stores and galleries across the country from Maine to the Virgin Islands.  Locally, her glass jewelry and fused glass serving dishes are available at Island Studios in Friday Harbor. Check out her website for more info.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Deb Langhans

Deb chose a basket to contain & suggest the services she offers, but I think she should have used an iceberg... Many of us know Deb as a touch therapist & life coach. Some of us also know Deb as a versatile actor who’s been in a dozen shows at SJCT, as well as Madame Arcati in Island Stage Left’s "Blithe Spirit."

What most of us don’t know is that Deb used to act, sing & do voice-over work professionally... she’s been a graphic & pen/ink artist... has two of her photographs in the City of Olympia’s permanent gallery... was primary organizer for one of the largest political events (500-600 citizens in WA & OR) in Olympia, WA... designed a multi-arts program for adults with developmental disabilities... and founded, directed & wrote for an award-winning Readers Theatre ensemble for senior women for 10 years.

When asked to summarize her work over the years, Deb shares a recent client testimonial -
“Deb nourishes my body, heart & soul”
and then she says,  “I’ve been a dabbler all my life, and a wellness educator for over 20 years, and what I love most is helping others discover the beauty, wisdom & power within."
Deb currently offers 4 popular services through her local business, Wholistic Health Options:

  1. “Reflexology massage” - her own blend of Swedish, Thai Yoga & “SRM” (soothing Stretching/Rocking Massage) combined with powerful reflexology on the feet, ears, face & hands.  
  2. “Wholistic" health coaching - helping both individuals & couples navigate through life’s ups, downs & in-betweens, with life coaching informed by her Psychology BA & former counseling experience.  
  3. Inner Journey Collage (IJC) -helping women access their inner wisdom through this fun & therapeutic collage process of her own design which allows them explore various themes, e.g., “selves,” in order to better understand & accept themselves and their world.
  4. Wellness workshops - designed & facilitated for a wide variety of venues including business & service organizations, hospitals & retirement communities.  For information on Deb's upcoming venue, see:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Isla Botanica

This is Amanda Thiel of Isla Botanica, a company she founded in 2009. She handcrafts delicious tea blends and herbal health and body products using herbs grown on San Juan Island using original recipes based on age-old traditions of plant use. The garden is located on the 120 acre Talking Horse Ranch and produces over 30 species of medicinal plants which are featured in teas, tinctures and other products such as medicinal salves, aromatherapy spritzers and more.

You can find her teas at many fine island restaurants and cafes and her other products are available at the Saturday Market, the SJI Co-op and Sandpebble. She will have a retail shop opening on the farm soon as well.

Amanda is an herbalist with a B.A. in Herbal Medicine in Cultural and Ecological Contexts from Fairhaven College in Bellingham. Her experience lies in formulating products, gardening and teaching about herbs. She made her first medicinal tea over a decade ago and has been in love with herbs ever since.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Rumor Mill - Oren and Peggy Combs

There is only one place in Friday Harbor where you can take the whole family, most any time all year long, and enjoy different varieties of live music, have some dinner, some drinks, and do some dancing to live music. With the Rumor Mill, Oren and Peggy have created a great atmosphere for local music lovers and a great venue for local musicians. The dining area was designed specifically with a stage for performers, and a dance floor which is separate from the 21-years-and-older bar area, so your kids can enjoy some local culture too. Roll-up windows let the fresh air in from the sidewalk, and passers-by often stop to watch a band play before continuing on their way.
They have just recently hired a new chef and revamped their menu offerings (I hear the fish n chips are great!) They wanted to create a menu with foods reflecting their ethnic heritage, as well as taking advantage of locally sourced goods. Some of their local suppliers are: Lopez Creamery, Jones Family Farms, San Juan Coffee, San Juan Pasta Co., various vendors at the Farmer's Market, Guard Sundstrom and San Juan Vinyards, just to name a few.
Opened in the Summer of 2010, July 3 will be the Rumor Mill's 3 year anniversary. And Oren and Peggy are still happy after working together for more than 25 years!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Shannon Evans

Shannon Evans is a 2nd grade teacher at Friday Harbor Elementary School, where she has taught since 2006. She and her daughter Joanna, a 5th grader at FHES, moved to the island for the Mayberry-esque community and the inspiring natural beauty. Teaching second graders is Shannon’s dream job; she says, “they’re old enough to tie their own shoes and speak in complete sentences, but young enough to still have a deep sense of wonder and think their teacher walks on water”. When she’s not teaching, Shannon enjoys volunteering, gardening (though she claims to be more of a plant-killer than anything), performing in singing groups and local musical theater, reading, and spontaneous road trips with friends and family.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Melisa Pinnow

Melisa Pinnow has quite a lot going on these days. She's a Senior at Spring Street School (Graduating next month and will attend Evergreen State College), she's a certified marine naturalist who works on the Odyssey for San Juan Excursions, one of the whale watch outfits based here in Friday Harbor. She volunteers at the Whale Museum, on other boats and out at Whale Watch Park, and she's an activist working towards educating the public about the plight of both captive and wild whales from around our waters.

She can identify all of the Southern Resident orcas, as well as some Transient and Northern Resident orcas. She has just recently launched a very informative website, which includes sections devoted to Orca identification help, a blog of recent encounters, and a page devoted to getting a wild caught Southern Resident orca called Lolita back to her home and family here in the islands. She also made a video about Lolita, which can be viewed on her website.

And if all that is not enough, she also maintains a Facebook page with biographies on whales that have passed, with the purpose of keeping their memory alive. With this, people will know more about them in hopes that knowing more will mean caring more.

Quite an extrordinary young woman, following her passion and doing extrordinary things. So much that she's the first person on This is Our Town to get two photos!* We are lucky to have her in our community.

*The pasta company 2nd photo doesn't count - it's a machine photo and simply a close-up detail shot of what the machine does.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kerry and BooBoo

Kerry Andrews and BooBoo James are the two women who got Run Ladies Run going here on the island. Their friendship started about 13 years ago when they worked at the Ale House and evolved into "babes in backpacks" with walks around the island. Eventually their walks turned into runs.

They started signing up for races and traveling around the northwest hoping to beat their last Personal Record. Running has always been a social thing for them. A chance to be truly alone with their best friends, spilling their guts about all the fabulous and not so fabulous events in their lives.

Kerry says: "We started Run Ladies Run in the fall of 2008.  With the hopes to get more women off the couch, to start doing something for themselves. It evolved into putting on races, allowing local women who had started running & walking a chance to set goals and experience the excitement of crossing a finish line!"

They want you to know that they are just regular women who decided to make running and fitness a part of their lives... And that so can you!

Monday, March 11, 2013


Carol Jackson (left) and Dilys Goodman are business partners and the co-owners of Serendipity Bookstore. The store was originally started pretty much on a whim one evening in 1995 when Carol and the late Betty Stewart said: "We're both former teachers and librarians - Let's open a book store!" and so they did. Betty's husband Norman built many of the shelves that they are still using today. In 1997, Dilys joined them and that same year they moved directly across the street from their original location on A Street and have been in their current location between the Market Chef and the Hungry Clam ever since.

Carrying 2nd hand books with a computerized inventory system, they now have 50,432 titles on hand, and if they don't have the one you want, they will let you know when it comes in. Currently there are about 1,500 requests (from all the islands) for specific books and every day Carol or Dilys calls someone to let them know their book is available. The phrase "Floor to ceiling" may take on new meaning when you walk into Serendipity - every room, every wall, every nook & cranny is lined with books. It's really quite a fun experience to browse around and see what you might find.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mary-Brooke Barger

This is Mary-Brooke spreading the love at Mirabella Skin Care over on Mullis Street. She began her career as a clinical massage therapist 26 years ago in Boulder, Colorado, and never stopped learning. After several years she discovered a new passion - the science of skin care - and she became a licensed aesthetician.
She now specializes in using technologies like microcurrent facial toning, (try saying that 3 times) and products that specifically target aging skin. She also offers deeply relaxing and restorative facials, (ask the other woman in the photo above if she's feeling any stress right now - I'm pretty sure I heard her purring throughout the whole photo-shoot), gentle therapeutic massage, and lymph drainage therapy which is especially beneficial to clients who are undergoing cosmetic or facial surgical procedures.
Last year she got a certification in oncology aesthetics so she could offer safe, relaxing treatments to clients undergoing cancer treatments.

When she’s not at Mirabella you’ll most likely find her alongside her husband Paul, who teaches Ballroom Dance at XYZ Movement Arts after his day job.
When they first moved here from Alexandria, Virginia, they felt like they’d found Paradise. And now, nearly 7 years later, they still have "pinch me" moments - those moments when they need a reminder that they really do LIVE here, it’s not just a dream!

The doors at Mirabella are open to the public every Tuesday from 9-5 for product and makeup sales or complimentary consultations. Other hours are by appointment. Go say hello. She's in the Guard Building at 818 Mullis Street in Suite #2. (360) 378-4250