MADE IN WYOMING: Strasser Log Furniture

We are thrilled to team with the Wyoming Business Council to feature a Wyoming First business every week on our blog! Wyoming First is a program that promotes Wyoming member businesses. Visit their website (click here) to learn more about this service — and if you are a Wyoming business who’s not a member, be sure to inquire about membership! There are many benefits!

This week we are featuring Strasser Log Furniture of Cheyenne

Mike Strasser, Strasser Log Furniture 10121 Branding Iron Cheyenne, WY 82009   307-349-9741

Strasser Log Furniture is a family owned and operated furniture, crafts and gift workshop in Cheyenne. Mike Strasser started looking for log furniture sites and magazines featuring log furniture and decided he could build it himself. In 2009 he began making log furniture as a hobby. It has since become a growing business in which he builds beautiful, high quality, handcrafted products made from Wyoming Pine at an affordable price. Mike’s goal is to be building log furniture full time when he retires from his career in the Wyoming Army National Guard.

Each log is hand peeled, hand sanded, and then dried into a custom creation here in Cheyenne. Hand peeling helps preserve the pine’s beautiful grain, rustic knots and unique color variation. Because the logs are dried naturally they may feature worm tracking, cracks and checks, which add to the natural beauty of the wood and also gives each piece its own character. All orders for Strasser Log Furniture are custom orders.

Mike is looking for retail shops to sell his work at this time. Mike is a native Wyoming citizen. His parents and grandparents were in the timber industry, and Mike has kept that tradition alive with Strasser Log Furniture. Instead of harvesting timber for communities, Mike harvests trees for the household by putting log furniture in the price range that Wyoming residents can afford. Strasser Log Furniture products vary from coasters, candles, pet beds, full size beds, bunk beds, end tables, book shelves and custom military awards. Cost range from $10 to $1500. Contact Strasser Log Furniture directly via phone, email and their website regarding questions and to discuss orders.

SHOP WYOMING: Outlaw Rodeo Wear

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Outlaw Rodeo Wear of Ten Sleep, WY has new merchandise available – and they’re up for a FedEx Small Business Grant! Learn more below, and be sure to visit them via the links!

Originated in the rugged Big Horn Mountains in Northern Wyoming, Outlaw Rodeo Wear is dedicated to the rough and hell-raising lifestyles of the most famous outlaws such as Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, The James Gang, and especially some more current hometown outlaws. Named after the wild and crazy Beauty and the Beast Rodeo in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, Outlaw Rodeo Wear strives to bring you tough looking, great feeling rodeo and western wear. Designed by true cowboys and cowgirls, Outlaw Rodeo Wear will make everyone look and feel a little more outlaw.

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click here to vote for Outlaw Rodeo Wear in the FedEx Small Business Grant contest – and be sure to share it too!

NEWS FROM THE PARKS: Lost Skiers Rescued in GTNP During Major Winter Storm

Lost Skiers Rescued in Grand Teton National Park during Major Winter Storm

MOOSE, WY — Three skiers unintentionally ended up in Grand Teton National Park’s Granite Canyon backcountry on Friday, February 7, prompting a search and rescue mission by park rangers the following day during a significant winter storm. Despite a high and rising avalanche danger, park rescuers successfully assisted the three out of the Teton backcountry by 9:30 p.m. Saturday, February 8.


Tom Barry, 59, of Jackson, Wyoming, Zoe Tong, 49, and Dave Catero, 52, from San Francisco, California, left the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boundary from Gate 1 at about 11 a.m. on Friday with the intention of skiing an area called Four Pines, adjacent to the ski resort. The three mistakenly skied into Granite Canyon instead, and became lost in Grand Teton’s more remote backcountry.


By 4 p.m. Friday, the three skiers realized they were lost, so they decided to dig a snow cave and stay put for the night. By Saturday morning, the group was out of food and water, and only one of them was carrying an avalanche transceiver. They decided to send a text message to a friend indicating they were lost and needed help.


Teton County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers received the call for help, and notified park rangers at 8:30 a.m. The skiers were able to provide their location by GPS coordinates derived from their cell phone, and through a text message, rangers determined that no one in the party was injured. Due to high winds and low visibility, a helicopter reconnaissance and rescue was not possible, so rangers prepared for a ground-based rescue.


Rangers spent most of the day weighing options to help the trio while analyzing the risk to rescuers. With concerns that the three might not survive a second night in the backcountry, rangers ultimately decided to attempt a rescue. If rescuers had encountered signs of slope instability, or if the avalanche danger had been any higher, rangers would not have attempted the rescue. Ultimately, four park rangers departed the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on skis at 4:00 p.m. Saturday and reached the party at 7:30 p.m. The group was then escorted out of the backcountry and back to the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.


Rangers remind backcountry users and those who leave the ski resort boundary that a rescue is not guaranteed. Pursing these activities requires a high level of personal accountability and responsibility. All members of a backcountry party should have appropriate avalanche gear, including a transceiver, shovel, and probe.  Backcountry skiers and snowboarders need to be prepared to spend more time than anticipated by bringing extra clothing, high energy snacks and water. They should also consider their physical limitations and time restrictions when choosing a destination, and bring a map of the area and know how to use it before setting out.


The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center reported the avalanche danger as “considerable” to “high” on Saturday with increasing danger due to strong winds, warming temperatures and abundant new snow. It’s important to note that the avalanche forecast center does not provide reports for extreme terrain. This was the first major search and rescue in Grand Teton National Park this winter.

WY FOODIE: New Recipe from WY Beef Council + Bin22 Jackson

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Looking for a fresh idea for dinner tonight? Check out this recipe from our friends at the Wyoming Beef Council! We greatly appreciate all the hard work they do promoting the advantages of beef – a Wyoming agricultural staple and the income for many of our friends & neighbors!

Mediterranean Beef and Salad Pita

Total recipe time: 25 to 30 minutes

Makes 4 servings



1 pound ground beef

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1/3 cup crumbled herb-flavored feta cheese

1/3 cup prepared regular or reduced fat non-creamy Italian dressing or other vinaigrette

1/4 cup Kalamata or ripe olives, chopped

4 pita breads, toasted



  1. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add ground beef and bell pepper; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Pour off drippings.
  2. Add lettuce, cheese, dressing and olives to beef mixture; toss to combine. Top pitas with equal amounts of beef mixture.

Test Kitchen Tips

Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed ground beef. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef ‘doneness.’

JACKSON:  Bin 22

Bin22 in Jackson Hole reflects the sophisticated energy of New York City and the rustic elegance of the Italian countryside, all in a quaint space in the heart of Jackson. This cozy downtown addition flaunts a diverse selection of great value wines, craft beers and regional spirits unparalleled by any shop in the Valley. Adjacent to the libations lies a small grocer featuring homemade pastas, pizza dough, cheeses, salumi, ice cream and more. Venture beyond the specialty grocer and bottle shop to the intimate wine bar area and outdoor deck, open for lunch and dinner daily. Order from the extensive wine, beer and cocktail menu while enjoying Spanish and Italian style tapas and delectable desserts. Belly up to one of the community tables and get lost amidst the rustic wood surroundings or stop for a quick visit with the cheese monger pulling fresh mozzarella at the open kitchen window. Sip Wyoming Whiskey from the state’s first legal distillery, poured straight from the cask behind the marble bar. An experience for the senses, Bin22 offers a contemporary take on an old world culinary experience.

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International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race Kicks Off TONIGHT!

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We dare you to say the name 10 times fast – or even the acronym, IPSSSDR — I always get hung up on S #2. 🙂 This beyond awesome, annual event finds dog teams mushing across the western half of Wyoming, stopping in small towns along the way, and bringing together a whole lot of folks excited to see this wintry spectacle. The event kicks off TONIGHT, January 31, in Jackson (see event details below!) – and continues through February 8 with stops detailed below… Stay tuned to their website & Facebook page for pictures, details, updates & more!

Photos in this blog post taken from IPSSSDR Facebook page

The excitement of the 19th annual IPSSSDR will be unleashed tonight at the Town Square in downtown Jackson, Wyoming. It’s easy to find the starting line if you listen for the enthusiastic howls and excited barking of more than 300 sled dogs. And they are ready to run!! Prepare yourself for a full evening of events as this week shifts into high gear.
The first teams leave the starting chute at 6:30PM so come early to take advantage of the unique opportunities this race offers. You can meet and greet the mushers, see the lovely Rebecca Podio, Miss Wyoming 2013, watch video of previous races, and, on this cold night, enjoy some hot food and drink. You can even win prizes at the PEDIGREE® tent. Then pick out a choice spot to watch the teams as they race through the streets of Jackson on their way to the Snow King Resort. After you’ve seen the two and four footed athletes head down the block and out of sight, catch the free shuttle START BUS from Town Square to the Snow King Center. At the finish line you can congratulate the mushers and maybe even pet a dog or two, then watch the torch light parade as it snakes down the mountain (see photograph), the Jackson Hole Air Force participate. And if that isn’t enough, there will be dazzling fireworks, too.

The race continues for the next eight days, covering 330 miles with stops in Alpine, West Yellowstone, Lander, Pinedale, Big Piney/Marbleton, Kemmerer, and, crossing the final finish line February 8, in Evanston. Follow the race right here on Facebook or visit the official race website for exclusive coverage, photos, and current standings.

MADE IN WYOMING: Tom Balding Bits & Spurs

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We are thrilled to team with the Wyoming Business Council to feature a Wyoming First business every week on our blog! Wyoming First is a program that promotes Wyoming member businesses. Visit their website (click here) to learn more about this service — and if you are a Wyoming business who’s not a member, be sure to inquire about membership! There are many benefits!

This week we are featuring Tom Balding Bits & Spurs of Sheridan, WY

Tom Balding, Tom Balding Bits and Spurs  655 Riverside  Sheridan, WY 82801  307-672-8459

After leaving the fast-paced life in California, Tom Balding moved to Sheridan, Wyoming.  Being an avid outdoorsman he was drawn to the area after a visit to Sheridan.  Tom admired the breathtaking scenery and limitless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.  He takes pleasure in supporting his community and his days are full running the business, spending time with family and being involved in the community; however, he also takes time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors that captured him in the beginning.

Tom has always been drawn to working with metal. In 1984, a neighbor asked Tom to repair a broken bit — and that began his journey to Tom Balding Bits and Spurs.   The business began with Tom putting together scrap sailboat parts to create the first bit design.  He quickly learned through trial and error what was required of the bits in order to perform at the level his clients required.  Tom decided to pursue bit and spur crafting full time and the process was refined into the high quality craftsmanship that Tom Balding Bits and Spurs is known for today.

For 15 years Tom ran the company as a one man operation.  In 1998, a multiple winner of American Quarter Horse Association World Championships began using Tom’s bits.  Word got around the western horse circuit; Tom sold his house and built his shop and began hiring his team, which he calls a small family.

Tom works closely with professional riders during the development of new products to make certain of their performance, and feedback is considered for the final designs.  It can take up to a year before the final product is offered to the general public.

Almost all bits and spur orders are custom orders.  They have a list of parts, finishes, and extras for their bits and spurs and people choose exactly what they want.  People can order products via the website (, phone (307-672-8459), or email (  The base price on bits is $125 and on spurs $240. They can become as elaborate, and in turn more expensive, as the customer desires.

Along with the famous Tom Balding Bits and Spurs, customers can find belt buckles, bracelets, earrings, scarf slides, key rings and money clips on the web site and at the store.  Tom and his team pay just as much attention to detail for these items that they do with the bits and spurs.

They were recently featured on three segments of Discovery Channels “How It’s Made” —  one segment on spurs, the second on bits, and the third on belt buckles. Their reputation and customer base is worldwide.

Tom Balding Bits & Spurs offers tours Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm MST, which includes a walk through of each product’s process.

Valentine’s Day Fun in WY – Singing Flowers in Laramie, Wintry Fun in Green River…

Laramie’s Fresh Flower Fantasy Brings Harmony to V-Day

In Laramie and looking for something fun & unique for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day? Fresh Flower Fantasy offers singing valentines! Have your beautiful roses or other flowers delivered by some very talented musicians – and you can even name your tune! Delivery charges are tiered, from the non-musical variety to a selection from the list below…or add your own for just a little extra! Details — call 307-742-7616!
A list of the selections you can choose…or name your tune for just a little extra: 
“1, 2, 3, 4” by the Plain White T’s — “It Only Takes a Moment” from the musical Hello, Dolly — “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz — “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars — “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri — “You’re Still the One” by Shania Twain — “Mine” by Taylor Swift — “Lucky” by Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz (duet only) — “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” duet originally by Elvis — Duets or solos available, unless marked otherwise!

Green River — 2014 Crystal Classic Winter Festival Offers Wintry Fun, Food & Heat for the Whole Family! Say wha?! Read on for more…

Be sure to check our the Crystal Classic Winter Festival in Green River, where you can enjoy fun of the chilly — and hot — variety… Confused? Here’s a list of what you can enjoy:  ice carving competitions — Snow Boot Softball Tourney – 5K Walk/Run — fireworks at Expedition Island — ice bar — Ice Cube Hunt — soup cook off & s’mores stations — live music to heat you up… just to name a few activities! Check out the Sweetwater County Tourism website for a full schedule of events – and head to Green River to get your winter adventure on!

Liberty Lausterer: “This Wyoming Life”

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Earlier this month I saw Ira Glass give a talk at the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts in Jackson, WY. Glass is the host of the public radio show This American Life. He appeared on stage wearing a skinny grey suit and tie, having flown in from NYC, and joked that he was way overdressed for his Wyoming audience. His blue jean wearing, ice pick carrying audience cheered him on in agreement.

Then Glass did what he does best, he told stories. The stories he told, like those heard on This American Life, ranged from the weirdly mundane to the shockingly bizarre. But every story, whether it was one about an AWKWARD gaff at work, or questions surrounding a bizarre murder case in North Carolina, were told in a spirit of mystery and intrigue. Glass has reclaimed the ancient art of storytelling. Based on the huge success of the radio show and the buzz in Jackson around Glass’ appearance (a second show was added when the first one sold out in just four hours), I’d say there is something in all of us that still longs to hear a good story.

That’s the truly magnificent thing about stories, everyone has at least one to tell. And since there are only a half million people living in Wyoming that means that Wyoming stories are pretty rare as stories go. It just so happens that Wyoming Public Media has started a project to collect stories from around the state. Anyone can participate. All you have to do is show up and tell one or several stories of your life in Wyoming. You can listen here to stories that have already been collected, and you can get information about where to go to share yours.

Because while there is something exciting about someone flying in from NYC to share stories that are broadcast all over the nation and beyond, I’d say there’s something even more meaningful about hearing stories from this Wyoming life.

C.J. Box Releases “Stone Cold”

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I was thrilled to receive my copy of C.J. Box’s newest book, Stone Cold, published by Putnam. The 14th novel in Box’s acclaimed series about Wyoming game Joe Pickett, will publish on March 11. C.J. Box is a long-time resident of Wyoming – I was beyond thrilled to interview him for our Sprinter 2012 issue of WLM! A graduate of Kelly Walsh High School in Casper, and a reporter for the Saratoga Sun, C.J. Box discusses topics that are sympathetic to the west and Wyoming. “My goal is that with every book, readers are exposed to different points of view on controversial issues that they may not have known before,” Box said during our 2012 interview.

Critics call Box’s 2013 national bestseller Breaking Point “explosive” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel), “superlative” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer), “thrilling” (Publishers Weekly) and “exceptionally well-told” (USA Today).  Stone Cold puts Joe Pickett in the middle of an investigation of a mysterious new resident…

“In a distant part of Wyoming, a very rich stranger has settled in and built a virtual fortress for himself and his rather menacing staff. Located in the remote Black Hills of Wyoming, this grand estate poses a number of mysteries… Joe Picket, still officially a game warden, but now mostly a troubleshooter for Wyoming’s controversial Governor Rulon, is assigned to find out what the about the mystery man is. But as Joe investigates,  he soon realizes there is more to the situation than he’d anticipated…” Putnam Publishers

Loved by readers across Wyoming, the nation and world, C.J. Box continues to capture and hold readers’ attention through his suspenseful stories. Be sure to reserve your copy of Stone Cold at your favorite store!




Gain Free Entry into Grand Teton National Park on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

MOOSE, WY — Grand Teton National Park will waive entrance fees on Monday, January 20, 2014 in recognition of the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. Grand Teton will join the more than 400 other units of the National Park System to acknowledge this special day as part of an effort to encourage families and individuals to visit and experience the wonders of their national parks. The entry fee for a private, non-commercial vehicle to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks normally costs $25 for seven days.

In addition to waiving entrance fees during this upcoming holiday, Grand Teton will also offer free admission on eight other days throughout 2014. The additional fee-free dates for the calendar year include:

•             February 15-17 (President’s Day weekend)

•             April 19-20 (National Park Week opening weekend)

•             August 25 (National Park Service’s 98th anniversary)

•             September 27 (National Public Lands Day)

•             November 11 (Veterans Day)

Weekend visitors to Grand Teton can enjoy winter activities from auto-touring, wildlife viewing and photography to cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing across the snow-covered landscape.  A popular winter trail—that spans the unplowed Teton Park Road from Taggart Lake parking area to Signal Mountain Lodge—is open, and although not machine groomed, it is packed and tracked by previous skiers.

In addition to skiing, photography and wildlife watching, ranger-led snowshoe hikes take place each Tuesday, Friday and Saturday day at 1:30 p.m. from the Taggart Lake parking area. The two-hour guided walks offer an opportunity to learn about snow science and winter ecology. Previous experience is not necessary, and snowshoes are available for a rental fee of $5 for adults and $2 for children, 8 years or older. Reservations are required and can be made at 307.739.3399.

For complete information about winter activities in Grand Teton National Park or the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, go to Visitors can obtain winter season information about Grand Teton and the JDR Parkway in the following ways:

  •  The park’s website at
  • The Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center on North Cache Street in Jackson.
  • The park’s information line at 307.739.3399, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday— Saturday.

“Mama, Rock Me Like a Wagon Wheel…”

Thanks to our contributing blogger, Liberty Lausterer, for a look into square dancing! Thought of as country past times, square dancing and line dancing can be found throughout Wyoming. Liberty takes a look into the art of square dancing…

by Liberty Lausterer

Square Dancing Caller to Dancers:

“Bow to your partner. Corner too. Circle left. Heads up to the center and back. Sides, Grand Square. Turn a corner. California Twirl. Dosados and swing your partner!”

Old Crow Medicine Show

If this square dancing speak reads a little like a foreign language, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Up until two months ago I had no idea what most of these calls meant. But when we moved to Wyoming it seemed like the perfect way to embrace the west. Plus the Quadra Dangle in Laramie is just a really neat space, and piece of Union Pacific Railroad history in Wyoming. And when the caller played Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” Mumford and Sons, Stevie Wonder, and Zumba music during the open house I was all in.

Next month my husband and I will complete our three months of Mainstream Lessons. Mainstream means we can literally travel anywhere in the world and dance the same exact calls we dance in Wyoming. But that’s not even the best part. What is truly amazing about square dancing is that you get to embrace a piece of western culture, and you get to embrace your partner (not to mention lots of other people’s partners).

A fast-paced scene at Laramie’s Quadra Dangle, courtesy Liberty Lausterer

I happen to dance in Laramie, but there are clubs all over the state. The Quadra Dangle will offer another session of lessons in January. So rock me mama like a wagon wheel!

Laramie’s UW Women’s Club Features 2013 Holiday Home Tour

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The University of Wyoming Women’s Club Holiday Home Tour is scheduled from noon-4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15. Tickets cost $10 in advance and are available at Ace Hardware and Turtle Rock Coffee. Tickets also are available the day of the tour for $12 at the featured homes. Children 12 & under are by donation.
From a new custom-built home to a historic tree-area Hitchcock home, the public will have the opportunity to view a variety of housing styles, all decorated with holiday cheer.

“The Holiday Home Tour is our main fundraising event for the year with the proceeds providing for a scholarship to assist non-traditional female students to attend UW,” says Kristen Klaphake, the tour’s co-chairwoman.
Stops on this year’s tour include a contemporary-designed home featuring interesting pieces from Thailand. A 1980’s home on the tour was beautifully and creatively remodeled into an attractive, modern space. Also on the tour is a historic tree-area home designed by Laramie architect Wilbur Hitchcock that has been beautifully renovated.
“This year we have a selection of beautiful homes decorated for the holidays. Taking the tour is a great way to bring in the season and to appreciate the architectural home designs we have here in Laramie,” says Klaphake.
For more information, visit or call Klaphake at (307) 399-1363.
Photo credit, University of Wyoming Women’s Club: This house at 2036 Nighthawk Drive will be among those featured during the 2013 Holiday Home Tour.

MADE IN WYOMING: Wyoming Silvers

visit our website & read the new Winter 13-14 issue of Wyoming Lifestyle Magazine

We are thrilled to team with the Wyoming Business Council to feature a Wyoming First business every week on our blog! Wyoming First is a program that promotes Wyoming member businesses. Visit their website (click here) to learn more about this service — and if you are a Wyoming business who’s not a member, be sure to inquire about membership! There are many benefits!

These week we are featuring Wyoming Silvers of Upton, WY

Jill & Dennis Hendrix, Wyoming Silvers  PO Box 872  Upton, WY 82730  307-630-4166

Jill & Dennis Hendrix began selling wholesale to gift shops and state parks across the country.  In 1997 they began direct sales and discontinued selling in the wholesale market.  Wyoming Silvers offers a diverse product line from jewelry to lariat baskets and clocks.  Jill and Dennis have received several fine art awards at art shows across the Midwest.

Wyoming Silvers creates art glass jewelry and some silver work.  Each piece is one-of-a-kind, blown, fused and torch-work glass.  Dennis creates lariat rope baskets and lariat clocks.  He also creates the custom name rings. Each one is made with the customer’s personalization on a comfort fit stainless steel band.  They are very reasonably priced, which includes the ring and all the personalization.

Normally, Wyoming Silvers’ products can be ordered via their website, however, this month they are in a kiosk in front of Christopher Banks and Kay Jewelers at Frontier Mall in Cheyenne.   Visit their web site or stop in at the mall, this is a great opportunity to own a handcrafted unique piece of art.

Wyoming Silvers recently received licensing to use the Bucking Horse and Rider logo on their line of personalized jewelry of rings, pendants or bracelets and happily will work with customer on custom pieces.  They are made to order, and if purchasing at their Frontier Mall kiosk in Cheyenne you can pick up your ring the same day.  Products ordered are generally shipped within 48 hours and the shipping is free to the customer.

This year they have added more sculptural glass work and gift items.  Blown glass ring holders and nifty purse holders are priced under $20.  In the jewelry line, Jill has added convertible necklaces that can be worn with or without the pendants.  These necklaces come with matching earrings.  All jewelry is gift boxed with the Wyoming first seal.

ELAN Home in Jackson Hole



Luxury vacation home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming combines custom architecture with hidden home systems to make a breathtaking and simple-to-use getaway for guests.


PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA, November 25, 2013 — Designing a home automation system that homeowners will love usually comes down to one thing – usability. If the system is easy to use, delivers all the functions the owners desire and makes their daily home life easier, it’s a dream come true.  Simplicity becomes an even bigger factor when the home will serve as a guest rental for much of the year.

For Tom Taylor, a veteran high-end residential architect, this level of sophisticated yet simple home automation was a must-have for his new home and rental property at the Amangani Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. To achieve this, he hired Connecticut—based C&T Systems to install an ELAN® g! Entertainment and Control System that makes it easy to control the home’s lighting, heating, audio/video, pool, spa, security and surveillance systems.

According to Andrew Spalla, C&T’s director of engineering, every step in the project was carefully considered and the design was fully orchestrated before installation began, ensuring a smooth process and a perfect result. “We agreed that for the home to be comfortable for the Taylors while also being simple and luxurious for guests, it needed to provide controls that are intuitive and can be operated by anybody with zero training,” he said. “And it was important to minimize the visual impact of the control system keypads while keeping the operation simple for lighting, music and AV.”

All the lighting controls throughout the house are intuitive, from LED light strips and recessed lights that have pre-set ‘high’ and ‘low’ dimming levels to motorized window shades that can be raised or lowered through the ELAN g! mobile app or an ELAN HR2 remote. Each room has a lighting keypad that includes buttons for ‘high’, ‘low’ and ‘off’, plus up and down arrows for diming that allow guests to set their perfect lighting level.  The system is intelligently designed to fit each space in the home, so that the ‘high’ level is brighter in the kitchen than the ‘high’ level in the master bedroom, and that certain light fixtures automatically adjust brightness at night and in the daytime. In addition there are select scenario buttons that set scenes throughout the house for things like entertaining.

The owners have special settings for themselves that use the intelligently hidden LED light strips to accentuate the grain of the redwood walls, stone fireplaces and the texture of the semi-transparent Lutron window shades that block sunlight but allow the views of the mountains to show through.

The shades are an important component, giving the Taylors and their guests control over sun glare when enjoying TV or a movie.  A simple tap on an ELAN keypad, HR2 remote or the g! app on an iPad or iPhone lowers the shades and then fires up the home theater or living room entertainment area.

“When designing this home and the electronics systems, aesthetics always came first,” Spalla added. “We used Sunfire speakers in the home theater to provide true theater quality sound, and we replaced the spa system’s ugly controller with an attractive keypad that matches the home’s décor and design.  By combining all the home’s functions into the g! system we eliminated a lot of standard wall clutter, like light switches, thermostats and a spa control dial. Now it’s all controlled from a single light keypad in each room, or from an iPad or iPhone. We also kept the system as hidden as we could, using Niles and SpeakerCraft speakers that mount flush into the ceiling and can be painted.  Unless someone points them out to you, you’d never even know they were there.”

The Lutron lighting keypads can be specially programmed, such as the one located near the doorway to the outdoor seating area; it features a special ‘Spa’ button that tells the ELAN g! system to turn on the patio lights and hot tub jets, while automatically turning on the outdoor audio system and playing selections from the owner’s playlist or streaming sources such as Pandora.  Spalla and Taylor chose Niles speakers for the outdoor area because they are extremely weather-resistant and provide superior sound quality. Other rooms use multi-function buttons as well, such as the bedrooms where a ‘Suite Off’ button switches off any lights, TV and music that are currently on in the room.

The keypads are wonderfully easy to use for each room, but managing the entire home’s bevy of electronic systems requires a true touchscreen experience, which Spalla delivered with a 10-inch in-wall ELAN TS10 touch panel in the kitchen.  Through the TS10 the Taylors and guests can manage, monitor and control everything in the home, from the audio, video, security systems and surveillance cameras to the snow and ice melting system.  All of this control is also available on the ELAN g! mobile app, which the owners and guests use on their iPads or iPhones to adjust heating, lighting, windows shades, audio and video without getting off the couch, or even when away from the house.

Setting up for a movie night is easier than ever using the ELAN HR2 remote or an iPad, which allows the viewer to turn on the home theater or living room media system, choose their favorite program or movie, turn down the lights, turn up the volume and set the heat to their ideal level. And several of the home’s TVs are recessed into the wall, creating another super-custom touch that makes the architecture and design the main attraction.

C&T Systems is a division of C&T Electric Corporation, located in Vernon, Connecticut.  C&T has been in business since 1973, and became one of the first ELAN certified dealers in 1989. The company offers a wide variety of solutions for electrical, telecom, generator, lighting control, whole house audio, entertainment and integration systems. For more information visit

About ELAN® Home Systems:

Founded in 1990, ELAN® Home Systems is an industry leading manufacturer of innovative, award-winning whole-house entertainment and control systems that are distributed through a comprehensive channel of select dealers and distributors throughout the United States, Canada and more than 58 countries worldwide. To learn more, visit

ELAN is part of Core Brands®, LLC, a Nortek company. Core Brands combines the product and marketing strengths of ten iconic audio, power management, and control brands into a single business unit that includes the ATON®, BlueBOLT®, ELAN®, Furman®, Niles®, Panamax®, Proficient®, SpeakerCraft®, Sunfire® and Xantech® brands.

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WY FOODIE: Yummy Recipes from WY Beef Council

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A new series of great holiday recipes from our friends at the Wyoming Beef Council! We greatly appreciate all the hard work they do promoting the advantages of beef – a Wyoming agricultural staple and the income for many of our friends & neighbors!

As we begin to think about having guests over for the holidays, we can’t help but imagine all the wonderful possibilities. When it comes time for friends and family to gather ‘round your table, our holiday recipes will delight their senses—from the smell of a roast in the oven and the taste of cranberries to the sight of a hearty breakfast after a brisk morning walk in the snow.


Appetizers like Bite-Sized Sweet & Spicy Beef Ribs and Mini Meatballs with Apricot Dipping Sauce will wow your guests and start the event off right! They’ll be the perfect pairing with fruity holiday wines.

Mini Meatballs with Apricot Dipping Sauce: are made with lean Ground Beef and can be kept warm in a slow cooker.

Bite-Sized Sweet & Spicy Beef Ribs:

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms: These perfectly bite-sized mushrooms are stuffed with a savory blend of Ground Beef, blue cheese and chives.

Beef and Couscous Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers: Tiny peppers are packed with Ground Beef, spinach and couscous for a colorful appetizer that’s easy on the waistline at only 35 calories each.



Main courses like an awe-inspiring Classic Tenderloin with Cranberry Drizzle or a comforting North Woods Hearty Pot Roast will fill the bellies around the dinner table.

Classic Tenderloin with Cranberry Drizzle:

North Woods Hearty Pot Roast:

Crumb-Crusted Top Sirloin and Roasted Garlic Potatoes with Bourbon Sauce: Is just as glorious as a more expensive roast, but is easy to prepare and a breeze to carve.

Walnut-Crusted Roast with Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes only looks like it took you half a day to prepare. The simple walnut crust comes together quickly and the roast is placed in the oven for about two hours—the perfect amount of time to set the table.


And finally if breakfast or brunch are more your style, serve a twist on a classic breakfast pastry with Beef Sticky Buns. For those busy mornings, a quick and easy Beef and cream cheese bagelwich will cross one more thing off your growing to-do list. Not to mention, adding protein to your morning meal will keep you satisfied longer.

Beef Sticky Buns:

Beef and cream cheese bagelwich:


You can view the entire collection of holiday recipes, perfect for any dining occasion on While you’re there, don’t miss the newsroom for more story ideas.