Sharing the Love: Buy a Wedding Dress and Help a Good Cause

Planning a wedding can be costly, but finding a beautiful dress that makes you feel like a million bucks doesn’t have to break your budget. Brides for a Cause, a nonprofit bridal boutique with locations in Tacoma, Seattle and Portland, specializes in connecting budgetconscious brides with the gown of their dreams at a fraction of the suggested retail price. The icing on the cake (pun intended) is that every purchase helps fund donations to local and national organizations supporting women.

“All of our dresses are donated,” explains Erin Scharf, founder of Brides for a Cause. “We receive dresses from around the country from traditional retail bridal stores, designers, manufacturers and individuals.” Each dress is then priced by style, popularity, condition and age. When dresses hit the racks for sale, they are marked at 30–70% off retail prices. Special events, like the boutiques’ 50% off sale and $150 Dress Dash, can bring prices down even further.

“In six years we have collected more than 10,000 dresses and donated more than half a million dollars to women-focused charities,” Scharf says proudly. The nonprofit is on track to donate $175,000 in 2018 to beneficiaries like the Seattle chapter of Young Women Empowered—an organization focused on giving girls confidence, resiliency and leadership skills.

Buying a sample, discontinued or repurposed gown isn’t for everyone. But many brides rave online about their experiences finding the perfect dress at Brides for a Cause boutiques. “If you don’t find your dress on your first visit, come back or check a different location,” says Scharf. “We put out new inventory weekly.”

If you have a dress you’d like to donate, drop it off at any of the locations or mail it to the shop. Dresses must be five years old or newer and in reasonably good condition.


For Additional Information
Brides for a Cause
Locations in Tacoma, Seattle and Portland

Celebrating More Than 70 Years—Panowicz Jewelers

Even after seven decades, Panowicz Jewelers still holds true to its founding: a legacy of quality, integrity and value. Founded in 1948 by Anton Panowicz Sr., the local-family-owned jewelry store recently celebrated its 71st anniversary serving the Olympia community.

“Retail has to be about outstanding customer service and care,” says Rob Panowicz, son of the late founder. “We continue to cater to our customers and put them first in all aspects of the business.”

“As a store we genuinely care about our customers,” echoes Leslie Panowicz, general manager. “One of our favorite aspects of this business is being a part of clients’ special moments that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”

She said customers will often come into the store and recount a memory when her grandfather or father helped them choose a ring that was perfect for the occasion and fit within their budget. “These memories are so special and help us remember our roots,” Leslie said.

Indeed, adds Rob Panowicz, a unique quality of his team is the longevity of tenure and the services they provide. With two goldsmiths and two certified gemologists on staff, Panowicz Jewelers is able to offer many services in store that other retailers would often need to outsource.

Panowicz Jewelers prides itself on its history while also remaining contemporary in both variety and selection of merchandise. You don’t need to travel to a big city to find that special piece of jewelry, says Leslie. “Panowicz is on par with the larger, upscale corporate jewelry stores with quality and selection. We can also custom-order jewelry to fit your occasion.”

To stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends, Leslie Panowicz travels nationally and internationally to Antwerp, Belgium, and Thailand. She hand-selects diamonds in order to offer the best value and quality in the Puget Sound. She says it’s all part of continuing the 70-plus year legacy of serving the community’s jewelry needs.

Panowicz Jewelers
111 Market St NE, Olympia


Gift Guide 2018

We scoured the area and compiled this list of our favorite gifts.

Glassy Baby: votive glass candles
Each hand-blown glass votive is a work of art. As unique as the individual who chooses one, formed by eight hands, born in the USA, each with its own name, one of a kind. Kind of like you.
Indoor Skydiving
Experience the thrill of skydiving without jumping from a plane.
~$79 and up
Batdorf and Bronson gift set
Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters would love to send you and the people you love coffee cheer for the holidays.
Copper River Knife
Chopping it up, Alexandra Paliwoda’s handforged knife’s curved, easy-grip handle and beveled blade allow the knife to make quick work of fresh herbs, cheese, and crispy pizza. A hand-forged, notched steel stand offers convenient storage and display.
Out of print tote
Out of Print turns beloved books into wearable fashions like tote bags and T-shirts to spread the joy (and importance) of reading to communities in need. For each product sold, a book is donated.
Artisan stoppers
Hand crafted, locally made, wood wine stoppers by Peter Yohann.

Training Helps Avert Mental Health Crisis

Mental health problems can affect anyone. Research has shown that one out of five people have a mental health problem at some point in their life. Early intervention is the key to minimizing the risk of a mental health problem escalating to a crisis. CHI Franciscan Health and community partners across Pierce County launched the Prevent-Avert-Respond, or PAR, Mental Health Initiative in 2016 to address this growing community need.

One component of the initiative involves providing free training to individuals who live or work in Pierce County. The training teaches them how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The Mental Health First Aid curriculum was developed by the National Council for Behavioral Health. During the eight-hour training, attendees acquire the skills to provide immediate help to someone who is developing a mental health problem or who is in a mental crisis, such as having suicidal thoughts.

“As a psychologist, I know firsthand how important it is to identify the early signs of a serious mental health issue,” says Karen Hye, PsyD, who is a Mental Health First Aid instructor. She says that Mental Health First Aid is not meant to take the place of a trained professional. Instead, the course teaches “regular people” to identify

the signs of a crisis. It gives them tools that can help stabilize an individual in crisis and connect them to appropriate care and support.

Mental Health First Aid is often compared with CPR training, says Monet Craton, director of the PAR initiative. The more people who are trained and prepared, she says, the more often interventions can occur. The training is particularly helpful for people who regularly interact with a wide range of the public, such as those in social services, the court system and education. As of this writing, more than 4,000 people in the county have been trained.

Mental Health First Aid sessions will be offered by CHI Franciscan Health through May 2019. To enroll in a session or arrange training for your organization, contact Monet Craton at


For Additional Information
CHI Franciscan Health

Mental Health First Aid

MultiCare signs to acquire Olympia’s Capital Medical Center

MultiCare Health System has entered into an agreement to purchase the majority ownership interest in Capital Medical Center in Olympia from subsidiaries of LifePoint Health, a holding company based in Tennessee. 

Capital Medical Center is a full-service, 107-bed community hospital that opened in 1985 and serves communities in Olympia, as well as Thurston, Mason, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties. When this purchase is complete, MultiCare will have the majority ownership interest in Capital Medical Center. A small percentage of the ownership of Capital Medical Center (less than 10 percent) is held by a group of community physicians. Current plans are for the physicians to maintain these ownership interests, but this could change in connection with the transaction closing.

The agreement comes after nearly two years of discussion between LifePoint Health and MultiCare, as well as a rigorous review process that included evaluating the hospital’s finances, quality, compliance status, facilities and technology, as well as employee and provider relationships.

MultiCare has offered an array of services in the Olympia and Thurston County region since the late 1990s when we opened a Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital satellite clinic in Olympia. Today the services we provide in the greater Olympia area include pediatric care, laboratory services, OB/GYN care, orthopedics and sports medicine, cardiac care through Pulse Heart Institute and urgent care services at a number of Indigo Urgent Care locations.

Capital Medical Center — which will become MultiCare Capital Medical Center after the acquisition is finalized — will be an important addition to the organization. It will allow MultiCare to partner with more patients and more communities; have a larger impact statewide as an essential system of health; and give MultiCare greater ability to help shape the future of health care in the Pacific Northwest.

Despite the challenges we’ve faced in 2020, we are continuing our journey to become the Pacific Northwest’s highest value system of health. Over the years MultiCare has been a good steward of our organization’s resources, giving us the financial reserves we need to continue to invest in our existing organizations and services, to develop new clinical services, and to further extend our services into new geographic regions.

Read more about this agreement on Capital Medical’s  website

10 Favorite Washington Wines

Some of the best Washington state wines have been described as having the structure and finesse of the Old World while displaying the flashy and ripe fruit of the New World. We’re pleased to present our third annual list of favorite Washington wines—perfect for sharing with friends and family this holiday season.

DeLille Cellars
Malbec, Red Willow Vineyard, 2015
Nearly opaque in color, redolent of blueberry, licorice and eucalyptus, with plenty of energetic acidity and fresh fruit flavors to complement its complex tannic framework.

Alexandria Nicole Cellars
Affinity Albariño, Columbia Valley, 2017
Laden with gorgeous notes of Meyer lemon and lime zest, it leaves just enough room for the nuances of fresh-cut nectarine and orange blossom to shine through.

Col Solare
Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, 2015
Aromas of black cherry, berry and dark chocolate fuse with smooth notes of vanilla and spice, finished with the long lingering flavors of cocoa, black fruits and anise.

Gramercy Cellars
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, 2014
Red flowers with a combination of red and black fruit, gravel and tobacco—a perfect balance of Old World finesse, liveliness and earth with New World fruit and power.

Gamache Vintners
Estate Boulder Red, Columbia Valley, 2015
Tasty, toasty and tart, this table-ready blend is entirely estate-grown. Dark cherries on the nose with delicious flavors of raspberries and spices to complement this unique blend of varietals.

Brian Carter Cellars
Corrida (Spanish for “bullfight”), Columbia Valley, 2014
Tobacco, licorice and black cherry dominate in this exotic Spanish blend, followed by elegant, streamlined fruit flavors.

Garrison Creek Cellars
Malbec, Les Collines Vineyard,
Walla Walla Valley, 2013
A brilliant bouquet of dark fruits dance on the palate with subtle hints of vanilla and spices on the finish.

Kiona Vineyards
Estate-Bottled Riesling, Red Mountain, 2014
This bottling uses fruit from the winery’s original 1975 plantings. Aromas of jasmine, flowers and lime lead to off-dry, lightly spritzy, stonefruit flavors that linger.

Lauren Ashton Cellars
Proprietor’s Cuvée, Columbia Valley AVA, 2011
A dark and luxurious blend whose depth and complexity echoes aromatics of black currants, black cherries, plum and cocoa, with a hint of spiciness and a touch of minerality.

Matthews Winery
Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, 2017
Rich but bracing, ripe and chewy, with plenty of bright acidity on the finish. Lots of tropical notes—pineapple, guava, mango, grapefruit—with a touch of lime or creamy lemon.

Hands On Children’s Museum, Summer Splash!

Summer Splash guests mixed and mingled throughout the night at the Hands On Children’s Museum. They enjoyed signature cocktails and gourmet bites while bidding on exceptional silent auction packages. They played like a kid again inside the museum, silk-screening koozies and T-shirts, tasting liquid nitrogen ice cream, and capturing memories in the photo booth. And they danced under the stars to the Craig Lawrence Band.

The Summer Splash Festival and Gala raised nearly $300,000 for summer programs, access programs and a new exhibit. The Hands On Children’s Museum stimulates curiosity, creativity, and learning through fun, interactive exhibits and programs for children, families and school groups.

Winter 2018


The Center Stage Awards & Gala
Hands On Children’s Museum Summer Splash!
Meet the New CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County
Tacoma Treasure: A Centennial Celebration for Tacoma Little Theatre
Doing Business with a Philanthropic Heart
Exposing Children to the Arts One Matinee at a Time – Arts 4 Youth
Ukelele as a way of Life: Jake Shimabukuro at Tacoma Arts Live
A Half-Century of High-Performance Electronics


Romantic Restaurants Serving up a Great Date Night
10 Favorite Washington Wines

Design & Style

Tree – Naturally Beautiful Eco-Chic Furnishings and Finishes
Holy Lamb Organics Opens New Olympia Showroom
Fairy-Tale Wedding Love Story
Sharing the Love: Buy a Wedding Dress and Help a Good Cause
Panowicz Jewelers: Celebrating 70 Years
Gift Guide 2018


7 Ways to be Active During the Holidays
Capital Medical Center: Raising the Bar in Health Care
Training Helps Avert Mental Health Crisis