Nathalie Bajinya’s Future Is Bright

Nathalie Bajinya has been fascinated by textiles and fashion design from a very early age. She once cut up her mother’s dress to fashion into her own clothing designs at age four.

Originally from the Congo and orphaned at a young age, Bajinya learned to sew while living in an orphanage in Kenya. Excelling at the craft, fashion design quickly became a lifelong passion.

Today, under the label Undeniable Bajinya, Bajinya translates her sewing and design skills into exquisite one-of-a-kind garments and accessories in her Lakewood shop, Undeniable Bajinya.

Home to couture gowns, wedding dresses, and custom-tailored fashions, Undeniable Bajinya’s signature designs are vibrant cotton and wool dresses and jackets that combine French fashion with African colors and American styles.

A rare talent, Bajinya can look at a swath of fabric and intuitively know what design will best highlight the fabric’s motif or drape. “When I look at fabric I see something that is telling a story,” says Nathalie.

Often made with distinctively colorful and elaborately designed African wax print fabric – commonly referred to as the “wax hollandais,” “ankara,” or “kitenge” – Undeniable Bajinya’s unique designs encompass innovation, artistic creativity and the consumer’s choice to celebrate life through their clothing.

Recently featured on King 5 Evening, the segment thoughtfully shared Nathalie Bajinya’s journey, showcasing her love of fabric and her passion to design and sew beautiful garments.

In May, with only two weeks to prepare, Undeniable Bajinya featured twelve of her original designs during Africa Fashion Week Seattle in Redmond, Washington.

Without patterns, Bajinya designs, sketches, and crafts each of her beautifully unique fashions from customers’ measurements. She says there is nothing like a dress made exactly to your measurements.

“Back in my country, you don’t buy a dress from a store, you go to a tailor,” Bajinya said. “We don’t have that here in
America. Everyone should have access to custom garments that fit perfectly, not just famous people.”

For Additional Information
Undeniable Bajinya
6405A Steilacoom Blvd. SW, Lakewood
undeniablebajinya.com

KELLY LENIHAN

6 Tips for Winning Over Picky Toddlers

Getting young children to eat a balanced, healthy diet can be a definite challenge. But it’s important to remember that as you help your child learn healthy eating habits for life, the foundation of healthy eating outweighs the challenges by far. Nonetheless, it can still be a difficult phase, so here are some ways
to ease you through this trying season.

1. Minimize mealtime distractions.

Turn off the television, clear toys from the dining table, and implement a “no phone at the table” rule to help everyone focus on the family conversation and their food.

2. Set a good example.

Eat together as a family as often as possible and eat a variety of healthy foods yourself. You are your child’s best role model; let them see you enjoying healthy foods and they will follow.

3. Don’t force your child to clean their plate.

Instead, avoid the power struggle by encouraging them to try at least two bites of everything on their plate.

4. Think about how you brand it.

Food becomes more approachable with a fun name attached to it. Think “pinwheel sandwiches” rather than turkey and cheese rolled up in a tortilla, “pink fish” rather than salmon, or “miniature trees” rather than broccoli.

5. Get your child involved.

Encourage them to help you shop for healthy food at the grocery store, then let them help wash and prepare the fruits and vegetables. Being a part of the process makes kids more interested in the end result on their plate.

6. Let your child have a say by giving them choices with limited options.

Ask questions like: Milk or water with dinner? Purple cup or green cup? Superhero plate or Mickey Mouse plate? This keeps your child feeling like their input matters while also keeping the conversation focused.

Pediatrics Northwest
pedsnw.net

Celebrating 40 Years: Family Eyecare Assoc.

How you treat your customers sets you apart from others in your field. Dr. Spencer Garlick and his Family EyeCare Associates practice embraces that philosophy with his motto Do What is Best for Your Patient.

“When you treat people, including your staff, like family, you can’t help having success,” said Dr. Spencer Garlick, owner of Family EyeCare Associates in Fircrest.

Celebrating 40 years in business, Family EyeCare Associates was started in 1981 by Dr. Erick Hartman. While Dr. Hartman retired in 2016, he still fills in to stay connected with old friends and perform a service he loves.

Specializing in low vision cases, or persons legally blind but with some range of sight, brought Dr. Hartman and Dr. Garlick together in 2013. With the same specialization and more importantly, the same vision for quality eye care through caring customer service and a family friendly atmosphere, the two Doctors of Optometry created a succession plan to keep the practice in place.

A new logo for the practice was introduced this year to celebrate the 40 year anniversary. Designed by a patient, the logo features the nearby Tacoma Narrows Bridge. According to Dr. Garlick, “The logo exemplifies a bridge to future success as well as the communities we serve.”

The pandemic year of 2020 was supposed to be a great year for eyes, but that didn’t work out so well. So, in an attempt to capture some of the special significance, Dr. Garlick discovered some inadvertent hidden meaning in his new logo. A careful inspection shows the bridge has the Roman numeral XX over XX. That also adds up to 40, symbolic of the practice’s 40th year. Clearly, he was happy with his new logo design. It also goes perfectly with the last four digits of their phone number: 2020.

The entire team at Family EyeCare Associates cares about vision and eye health, stressing the importance of annual comprehensive exams. The clinic provides the full scope of optometry services as well glasses, contacts, and medical
eye exams.

Family Eyecare Associates
6314 19th Street West, Suite 1, Fircrest
familyeyecare2020.net

BY LYNN CASTLE

Olympic Landscape: Heart For Community

Olympic Landscape has been designing, building and servicing outdoor residential and commercial spaces in the South Sound for more than 40 years. As an expert landscape contractor, the company creates beautiful outdoor living spaces, unique gathering spaces and specially-themed gardens for homes and businesses. The owner and CEO, Joe Areyano, plans to continue that legacy. He is also adding new services and products that will carry Olympic forward for at least another 40 years. 

“My family started a landscape company in 1980, so I’ve been around the industry for the majority of my life,” says Areyano. “At age 16, I started learning every division of the company, from landscape retaining walls to irrigation.” After about five years, he was promoted to field manager and continued to work his way into greater responsibilities. He’s now a certified landscape professional. This hands-on experience, he says, helps him ensure that customers receive the highest-quality service. 

Since Areyano purchased Olympia Landscape from founder Neil Hedman, he has been expanding the business. The company intends to grow into a regional leader, expanding its service area and the services it offers: landscape design and maintenance, snow and ice removal, and small works. This is good news for local businesses and homeowners who need these services. 

The growth of Olympic Landscape is good news for the larger community as well. The company increased the number of employees to about 50 in 2018. Additionally, Olympic donates 10 percent of net profits to local charities and events. St. Francis House, which eases the hardships of those in need in east Pierce County, and Backpack Kids, which provides food to children in need for weekends and school breaks, are two that Areyano says the company is particularly proud to support.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER 

Physical Therapy with Fun & Family

Owners Kim Bisson and Susan Jankelson wanted to create a clinic that felt like home. Their goal was for each person who walked through the doors, whether patient or employee, to feel like part of the family.

Welcome home to Rainier Family Physical Therapy. What started over a cup of coffee in 2007 has transformed into a thriving practice based on two principles: family and fun! No more boring, stressful doctors’ offices. Rainier Family Physical Therapy wants to be a highlight of your day.

Committed to serving people in their own backyard, community involvement is important to this team. They are proud sponsors of the Run 4 Her Heart 5K supporting women’s heart health, and the K9 5K, a dog-friendly run in support of Bridges Center for Grieving Children.

Rainier Family Physical Therapy uniquely provides personalized treatment plans with expert staff trained in Counterstrain therapy, Muscle Energy techniques, Kinesio taping, therapeutic exercises, and various methodologies to promote overall healing and wellness.

The skilled team of physical therapists offers a variety of exercise, manual, and strengthening therapy options to suit different abilities and prevent future injury. They seek healing beyond the symptoms to find the source of issues for the most effective treatment.

“The therapists are amazing and make you feel like family. There is always a smiling face. I hate to be done, but I am grateful to be healed. Thank you all for your support and getting me back on track,” client Joanne wrote in a thank-you note.

Neighbors from Puyallup, Graham and around the South Sound depend on Rainier Family Physical Therapy for help with back and neck pain; muscle, tendon and ligament injuries; concussions; headaches and migraines; muscle tightness and weakness; pre- and post-surgical support and so much more. They even offer free consultations—with no pressure, only fun.

No one wants an injury. But—just in case—you need someone to call. Who better than family? For physical therapy, it’s Rainier Family.

Rainier Family Physical Therapy
18710 Meridian Ave E, Puyallup
253.875.6826
rainierfamilypt.com

BY EMILY HAPPY

Tacoma Mall Expands

Long known as a community leader in shopping, dining, and entertainment, Tacoma Mall has recently announced plans to further elevate the shopping experience. Looking forward to the 2021 fall season, the Mall will introduce Nordstrom Rack, Ulta, and Marcus Theatres. These additions are expected to be the beginning of a larger redevelopment in the Tacoma Mall.

“We have a continued commitment to invest in the Tacoma community,” said Eric Sadi, Chief Operating Officer of Leasing. “Tacoma Mall is a lifestyle destination. Simon is leading the way with transformational projects in the state of Washington. We will bring a uniquely curated mix of retailers, entertainment, and dining options to Tacoma.”

Next in store for shoppers will be a charming urban village located on the north side of the mall. The intention is to engage visitors with a welcoming, community-friendly environment where shoppers can enjoy a variety of dining and entertainment.

Nordstrom Rack is renowned for fabulous style and great prices and shoppers can look forward to deals on clothing and shoes for women, men and children. This Tacoma location will be much more convenient for South Sound families and avoid a frustrating trip with I-5 traffic.

Ulta, soon to be featured in the mall, is well-known as a premier beauty destination for cosmetics, fragrance, skin care products, hair care products, and even salon services. Ulta carries more than 25,000 products from around 500 beauty brands and is your one-stop shop for cosmetic products and services.

Marcus Theatres will also be added as a trendsetting theatre for not only the Tacoma Mall, but for Washington State. Their first location in the state, Marcus Theatres is the fourth-largest theatre company in the United States and well-known in their Midwest markets. Theatre-goers can look forward to the latest amenities like cushy stadium seating, innovative food and beverage offerings, and 72-feet-wide UltraScreens.

Tacoma Mall proudly serves our neighbors in the communities of University Place, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Puyallup, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Tacoma. With over 150 stores ranging from women’s apparel and children’s fashion to home electronics, Tacoma Mall is expanding it’s shopping offerings in Pierce County.

Tacoma Mall
tacoma-mall.com

BY REBECCA SMITH

Olympic Landscape – Heart for Community

Olympic Landscape has been designing, building and servicing outdoor residential and commercial spaces in the South Sound for more than 40 years. As an expert landscape contractor, the company creates beautiful outdoor living spaces, unique gathering spaces, and specially-themed gardens for homes and businesses. The owner and CEO, Joe Areyano, plans to continue that legacy. He also added new services and products that will carry Olympic forward for at least another 40 years.

“My family started a landscape company in 1980, so I’ve been around the industry for the majority of my life,” says Areyano. “At age 16, I started learning every division of the company, from landscape retaining walls to irrigation.” After about five years, he was promoted to field manager and continued to work his way into greater responsibilities. He’s now a certified landscape professional. This hands-on experience, he says, helps him ensure that customers receive the highest-quality service.

Since Areyano purchased Olympic Landscape from founder Neil Hedman, he has expanded the business. The company is growing into a regional leader, expanding its service area and the core services it offers. As a great landscape construction install company, Olympic offers both landscape design/build and landscape straight to construction. They now offer commercial maintenance and can accommodate snow and ice removal projects too. This is good news for local businesses and homeowners who need these services.

The growth of Olympic Landscape is good news for the larger community as the company increased the number of employees to about 57 in 2019. Additionally, Olympic supports local charities and non-profit events such as St. Francis House, which eases the hardships of those in need in east Pierce County. They also support the Emergency Food Network that supplies 3.9 million pounds of healthy, nutritious food annually to 76 food pantries, meal sites and shelters for distribution to families and individuals in need. Olympic partners with Adorned in Grace, a bridal boutique that uses its profit to teach and train individuals rescued from human trafficking. The company is particularly proud to support our neighbors and give back to complete the community circle.

Olympic Landscape
olympiclandscape.com

BY JULIE LEYDELMEYER

Giving Back in the 253

In any community, a sense of “community” is built on the connections made through unique groups of people that support one another. When I moved to Tacoma five years ago, I was wanting to know my neighbors, to feel that my community supported one another, and to find ways to give back. Quickly, I learned that the 253 has an abundance of opportunities for giving of time or financial resources. I encourage you to join me in this building of community.

If you are looking to give time, the South Sound region is filled with organizations that would love to have you as a volunteer. You can choose to focus on a wide range of interests: recreation, arts, social justice, health and education, to name a few. If you are passionate about education and the development of younger generations, a good place to start is in our schools. Outside of the schools, nonprofits often look for volunteers to do administrative tasks or provide program support.

Two good ways to find out about service opportunities are to join the Volunteers group on Facebook or visit the nonprofit websites listed on the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation page. When you feel your roots settling into the 253 and your heart is called to give back, but your time is limited, a monetary gift can provide hope and resources throughout the South Sound. “Philanthropy” is often misperceived as giving big financial gifts, but a gift of $20 a month goes a long way in creating a sustainable community. For Emergency Food Network, for example, every dollar you donate provides $12 worth of nutritious food for our neighbors in need. Philanthropy in any amount promotes the welfare of others. Your generous gift could change lives.

To find local organizations that qualify for tax-exempt giving, visit the nonprofit listing on the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation page.

gtcf.org/community/directory
facebook.com/greatertacoma

BY TAUNA SHOEMAKER

Enrolling in School in Pierce County

Choosing the best academic environment for your child can seem daunting when you move to a new area. There are numerous traditional options to consider—your neighborhood public school, a charter school, or private school—in addition to alternative options, like online school or homeschool. In this era of COVID-19, parents may feel additionally worried about making the right choice for their child.

Pierce County is home to 16 public school districts and several charter, private and religious school systems. Most of these offer online enrollment for new students on their district or school websites. In general, you’ll need the following information to complete an enrollment form:

  • Name of the school you want to enroll your child
  • Emergency contact information
  • Healthcare provider(s) contact information
  • Previous school address and phone number, if applicable

To complete your child’s enrollment, most schools will also ask parents to provide:

  • Proof of immunization signed by a healthcare professional
  • Proof of residence
  • Parents’ photo identification
  • Proof of age and legal name for the student
  • Previous report cards or transcripts, if applicable

The district’s website can tell you whether in-person learning is occurring. All school districts are following guidance from the Washington State Department of Health and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department about students returning to campuses for  in-person learning in the 2020-2021 school year. When in-person learning is not possible due to the county’s metrics of COVID-19 cases, virtual or hybrid learning systems are being used. When it is time to return to in-person learning at school, remind your child the importance of:

  • Wearing a mask over the nose and mouth
  • Practicing physical distancing by staying 6 feet apart from others
  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Letting you know if he or she feels unwell

Pierce County School Finder Resource

To find your Pierce County school district, go online to matterhornago.co.pierce.wa.us/infobyaddress.
Enter your address on the interactive map and then click the Additional Info tab.

BY JULIE LEYDELMEYER

Life in Pierce County

Vibrant and diverse, Pierce County is made up of over 20 cities, including urban Tacoma, charming Gig Harbor and home of the Washington State Fair, Puyallup. The County is composed of historic structures and buildings, breathtaking waterfront views, lush rural land, quaint and welcoming suburbs, an ever industrious energy, and is the neighbor to magnificent Mount Rainier. There is so much to explore and safely engage in, even during this time of social distancing.

Health & Wellness

Nonprofits MultiCare and CHI Franciscan offer pristine services, top-rated physicians, and have several locations in order to be easily accessible to patients. Try local yoga studios, gym facilities, therapy offices and more. Everything you need to keep happy and healthy is nearby. Be sure to check business hours and number of participants that are allowed in the facility.

Get Some Fresh Air

There are many opportunities to get outside and play in Pierce County’s varied terrain. There are over 5,271 acres of available recreation – trails, golf courses, beaches, skateboard pavilions, parks and more. Remember, Mount Rainier National Park is close by. Be sure to check restrictions and regulations before venturing out and stay home if you are feeling under the weather.

Arts & Culture

Our County is alive with creativity and innovation. Immerse yourself at art museums such as the Tacoma Art Museum, the Museum of Glass, and Asia Pacific Cultural Center during their new business hours. Support local artisans and makers by visiting small-town art galleries, downtown boutiques, and local breweries. Dine happily at renowned restaurants and cafes, being sure to follow Pierce County safety regulations.

History

The County celebrates so much of its past by maintaining historic buildings and sites and by offering numerous museums relative to each area. Many historic museums have now re-opened to the public. The Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, operated by Metro Parks Tacoma, provides visitors with a look at one of the original settlements on Puget Sound.

BY NATALIE BENSON