give them something wildly different this holiday season
give them something wildly different this holiday season wildly different holiday gifts

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Message from Gail Ridings, TallGrass Owner

Some years are better than others. This past year, I was blessed by many wonderful experiences with family and friends - including many of you - but, personally, I'm ready for a new year and a fresh, new perspective.

I haven't quite decided on my goals for this year but, as I've gotten older, losing weight is finally not one of the top three things I want to accomplish. Staying healthy and enjoying my husband, my family at TallGrass, and my dogs and horses (which are like my children) are the priorities. It sounds pretty boring and basic, but I do want to appreciate every moment with everyone, as I know that each of us has only today assured. Living in the moment sounds like the very best goal I can have for 2014.

I hope that this new year is full of days lived fully for you and yours. We hope to share one of those days with you very soon!

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Claudia O'Donnell, Spa Babe

Look for Claudia at the makeup station just outside the TallGrass hair salon. You'll find her applying light touch-ups to guests' eyes and cheeks and cheerfully chatting away. "I'm Irish," she says "I have the gift of gab."

Claudia's history with the makeup station goes way back. It was one of her first experiences at TallGrass. She was a guest. Her girlfriend surprised her with a Full-Day Escape and it included a makeup application. In those days, her experience with cosmetics was next to nil because, having come of age in the '60s, Claudia was a flower child who espoused the au naturel look. She never bothered with makeup, even later on in adulthood, except for dress-up occasions.

Fast forward to 2010 when Claudia joined the TallGrass staff in the retail department where she learned about Aveda products and became adept with makeup artistry. This was where her talents, especially her knack for drawing and shading figures, came into play. "I go back to my painting skills and pretend the face is a canvas and I draw with makeup," she explains. "I always liked art and I love making people look beautiful."

Being so creative about her job and helping guests look and feel great makes Claudia the perfect candidate for Spa Babe, TallGrass' highest honor.

Pictured here: Claudia O'Donnell with TallGrass owner Gail Ridings

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Philanthropy Report

We wrapped up our 2013 philanthropy program with two of our favorite service projects - the Mountain Resource Center's holiday party for children of families in crisis and our Soldier Box Project which sends care packages to our troops in Afghanistan.

These are truly labors of love that give us so much joy. The expressions on children's faces as they visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and receive the giant-sized stockings that we stuff with toys make out hearts sing. And, the letters we get from soldiers thanking us for the boxes full of personal care items - and especially the cards and letters that we enclose - give us so much pleasure and bring a few tears to our eyes, too.

All in all, in 2013, we donated over $15,000 and volunteered over 1,300 hours, raising funds and awareness in behalf of clean water, pampering Moms for Mother's Day at area senior centers, washing dogs to raise money for an animal protective agency, parading down the runway at our annual charity fashion show and donating hundreds of gift certificates to charity auctions.

Thanks to everyone - generous guests, friends, staff and our owner - who support our efforts to make a difference in the world.

Pictured here: Donovan Schar Davis (front) donated his collection of hotel-sized toiletries to the Soldier Box Project, his brother Tanner (top) contacted his dentist for contributions of dental supplies, along with TallGrass Spa Director Tarah Howard


Available for Adoption

Shepherd, female, 8-mo-old, 35lbs
High energy, social, friendly and a great snuggle companion; prefers to have company all day; loves hikes and being outside; responds to most commands; best in a home with younger dogs and older children; good with cats, too!

Available for adoption at Evergreen Animal Protective League