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The Crown Jewel of Her Community’

Hairstyling by Choya Woods includes lessons that build confidence and self-acceptance. 

From the Editor

Shari Hegland, Editor

Who am I? Who would others say I am? My LinkedIn profile will tell you I am a writer, editor, content creator and even more, a storyteller.

Over on Facebook my brief bio says “runner, writer, wife and mom.” I’m not entirely sure why I chose that order when I first wrote it years ago, though the alliteration at the beginning probably played a role. Or maybe it was not wanting to start my identity with who I am in relation to others. Not everything in that short bio fits as well now—my running has tapered off in recent years—but that doesn’t mean I’ve left it entirely behind.

And then there are the other parts of me: I’m a Nebraskan at heart, though I’ve been gone from that state just as long as I lived there. I’m a daughter, a sister, an aunt and great-aunt, a niece, a granddaughter. I’m a country kid who grew up a long way from a small town that really was the middle of nowhere. I’ll always identify as a horse person, though I’ve only ridden once in the last 13 years. I’m a college graduate. I’m a friend (something I’m not always as good at as I would like to be). I’m an introvert and homebody, and I have a strong need for time outdoors in nature. 

Who we are and the sense of self we carry inside can be at odds with who others see us as (or want us to be), and many women may struggle to balance the internal and external pressures surrounding those identities.

Maybe we’re the mom who needs, as Lindsey Meindl recommends, a little more protein on our plate and a little more self-forgiveness in our heart.

Maybe we struggle to love the body we have, as Zoe de Boer experienced in her teens. Let her story help you see the perfection in who you are.

Counselors Monica Gorski and Cindy Erickson say that we can reconcile our various identities by recognizing them as they change across our lives, whether that means setting goals and taking baby steps toward the objectives that matter most to us or simply acknowledging that every new stage will likely bring conflicting emotions. And that’s OK.

Within these pages we invite you to explore your sense of self.

If you are an extrovert, express your artistic side when hosting your holiday parties with a charcuterie masterpiece following the steps Emily Boland uses to wow her customers at Hunt & Gather Grazing Boards.

Introverted like me? Grab your crochet hook or knitting needles and spend a quiet evening creating precious signs of love for The Little Heart Project.

Or explore your adventurous side and join Darcie Breidel on the slopes of Mt. La Crosse to make the most of the winter weather that will inevitably find us here in the Coulee Region.

However you choose to treat yourself this season, embrace who you are. Celebrate that woman—with all of her diverse interests and talents, all of her wrinkles and eccentricities, all of her doubts and all of her gifts. As Gorski says, we are a rich tapestry (maybe a bit frayed in places, but still beautiful). Celebrate your self.

There’s just one more ME I have to share. A “me” that our cover woman Choya Woods saw and pulled out in the briefest of conversations. I am, if only just barely, a “curly girl”—and Woods gave me the advice that will help me live out that self more fully (with more body, even!) going forward. 


Cheers to good hair days, good friends and being our authentic, complex, messy selves in 2024!

Shari Signature.jpg

What is inside this month's issue:


    Something New Every Season

    Darcie Breidel shares pride in improvements entering her 35th year at Mt. La Crosse.



    “We’re All a Little Weird”

    Lisa David Olson’s Stranger Connections podcast is just one more way to feed her passion for communication and humor.



    Love Yourself

    Former Miss La Crosse Oktoberfest Zoe de Boer champions body positivity.



    “It’s Normal to Feel Good”

    One Coulee Region mom reclaimed her happiness—now, she helps other moms do the same.



    Reflecting Their Family

    Modern farmhouse details create a sense of home for a Holmen family.



    Grazing Through the Holidays

    Follow Emily Boland’s instructions to create charcuterie boards that add delicious art to your party.



    Dressing with Dignity

    Clothes closets offer a welcoming atmosphere and fashion that feels good.



    Little Hearts for Healing

    Onalaska’s Kathleen Jensen turns yarn into positive thoughts for mental health.



    Managing Life’s Transitions

    How to find and keep your sense of self through changing roles and relationships.



    The Coulee Region Women Self Gift Guide

    Turn the tables on gift giving with a few indulgences from local boutiques.



    Ireland—DIY Style

    These 10 stops give you the flavor of the Emerald Isle on a drive-it-yourself tour.

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