April Knutson is lifestyle-focused journalist producing stories for the Forum News Service about people, health, community issues, and services. She earned her degree in both English Literature and Mass Communications. After working as a digital marketing specialist and web design consultant for a few years, she joined Forum Communications in 2015. She grew up on a farm near Volga, S.D. Follow her on Twitter @april_knutson.
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FARGO — I've come to terms with many unfamiliar phrases — first with gender neutral-pronouns, then with gendered phrases, through conversations with transgender women. This month, I spoke with two North Dakotan couples who shared their own "coming to terms" story.
FARGO — When you were a kid, all it took was begging your mom for permission to jump on your bike to claim the open road forever with your friends ... at least until dinner. But as you age, your biking expertise becomes riddled with potholes. What do you wear? Where should you ride? What do you need to know to be safe? Fear not — avid cyclists offer their tested tips and techniques to fill any information gaps.
FARGO — "You throw like a girl." "You sound like a man." "You're the man." "You go, girl!" Gendered phrases like these are traded regularly, but the hidden judgements about them often go unnoticed or unexamined. "I think the anxiety of ourselves being judged by our gender never goes away," says 31-year-old transgender woman Rebel Marie, describing the high levels of anxiety she felt during the early years of her transition. "But I never could hide. I tried so hard to bury this."
FARGO — It's an inevitable fact of life for us all: death and taxes, and waste ... or if we're being informal, poop. We all cringe at the slightest mention of any bowel movement, but naturopathic doctors and holistic lifestyle advocates agree: poop needs to be talked about it, if we are serious about overall health. "No one wants to talk about pooping. It's a taboo thing," says Andrea Krejci Paradis, a yoga teacher and holistic life coach from Moorhead. "In our culture, it's defined as 'gross'."
FARGO — Before graduation, area teens have to say "yes to the dress" while parents hope the rising costs of prom won't break the bank or deplete their college fund. "Back in 2011 when my daughter attended her first prom, I was absolutely floored by the prices," says Audra Mehl about her oldest daughter Morganne's prom shopping experience. This year, Mehl's daughters Sophia and Karrly, both 16, will attend their first prom. "Morganne's prom dress her senior year in 2012 cost more than my wedding gown in 2013 when I married Karrly's dad, Matthew Mehl," she says.
In the year of #MeToo and #timesup, a painful but practical reminder emerged from an unexpected place: an old notebook full of supply-demand graphs. I recently recycled some old notebooks. As I flipped through pages of graphs, I recalled my professor's efforts to explain the supply-demand relationship, as students' eyes glazed over. • The law of demand states that if all other factors remain equal, the higher the price of the item, the less the people will demand that particular product.
FARGO — Picture this: Your coworker Jill is loudly talking about her upcoming trip to Jamaica. You sigh and listen politely while silently wondering how she can afford a beach getaway while you are resigned to a "staycation" under your infrared lamp. Fargo natives Nick Serati and Jared Kamrowski of ThirftyTraveler.com want others to learn that finding and booking a budget getaway is now within reach.
FARGO — During these long winter months, Midwesterners tend to spend long hours in their home, soaking up the light when they flip on a switch instead of sprawling out under the sun's warm rays. Like the sun, interior lights are expected to shine bright without thought. But to simulate sunlight in each room of the home depends much more on the type of light bulb in order to produce the desired effect for the homeowner.
FARGO — Flowers, jewelry or chocolates may have been expected in the past, but this Valentine's Day more and more couples are opting for an experience together rather than purchasing traditional tokens of love. "There's a depth to non-material gifts. It's more thoughtful, it's more intentional and it's not something you can discard," says Randi Kay Olsen Heinold, a bodyworker, registered yoga teacher and self-care mentor. "It's a memory that can stay with you forever." Heinold says technology creates ongoing distractions in our modern world.
FARGO — Ask most people when camping season is, and they'll probably tell you May through early October. But to a growing community, these people are missing out on a significant, magical and character-building season to camp. "Every time I go camping during the winter I learn so much, improve skills and develop friendships," says Jon Walters, the 29-year-old founder of Nature of the North, a community organization dedicated to promoting outdoor adventures, interpersonal connection and character-building experiences.