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Best grooves of the summer

What would happen if a bunch of music fans, with decades of experience in the business, got together to plan their perfect festival?

They’d find a killer venue, nestled beside a mountain lake, bring together top-tier acts like The String Cheese Incident, Garaj Mahal and Five Alarm Funk, and give them as much opportunity as humanly possible to play.

That’s exactly what the organizers of the Element Music Festival did. Now entering its second year, the home-grown festival is bringing its stellar lineup back to one of the true hidden gems of the B.C. Interior, the Snug Lake Amphitheatre in Princeton.

The amphitheatre sits snuggled amid 160 acres of wilderness, next to an alpine lake. As an attendee of last year’s inaugural festival wrote, “this is as magical as it gets for outdoor live music!”

Justin Picard is a spokesperson for the festival, and admits that, while Snug Lake is one of the most beautiful places he’s ever been, the real magic of the Element Music Festival lies in the passionate band of Canucks behind it.

Picard says he’s never met a group of organizers more devoted to making sure the music at Element is given its proper place.

“I cannot express enough how big of music fans the organizers really are,” he says. “These guys wanted to do something big with their favourite bands, and in doing that they’ve created this amazing festival that harkens back to the old jam band festivals of the late 90s.”

Everything about Element is designed to showcase the acts and make it as easy as possible for fans to actually see the shows, instead of spending their time scrambling from stage to stage as they try to catch sets.

At Element, Picard says, there are no overlapping sets. Bands take to the festival’s only stage one at a time, and no show is shorter than 90 minutes.

Many of the big acts also play several times during the course of the four-day festival, giving fans plenty of opportunity to get their groove on.

“In a time when corporate music festivals are taking over and quashing the independent festivals, here’s a handful of guys who are going against that, and creating this beautiful festival in the process,” Picard says.

This structure also means fans get the chance to frolic in the stunning, untapped wilderness that surrounds the venue.

Picard says there will be plenty of time for plunging into the alpine lake, or hiking and mountain biking along the trails that crisscross the area, and still get back to “soak in the amazing live music that will fill your soul all night long.”

The Element Music Festival runs from Aug 3-6 this year. For the complete lineup, and more information, check out the festival online.


Is your kids' money OK?

It’s a difficult thing for any parent to watch their kids grow up and strike out into the world on their own.

When they’re young, we spend countless hours preparing our kids for that inevitable day; we teach them to be good people, help them develop their unique talents, encourage them to study hard and to get good grades.

Parents invest an inordinate amount of time and money in our kids’ futures, but many of them are missing out entirely on one of the most important skills they’ll need to thrive in the world: financial literacy.

“Each of us as adults have to make decisions every day about our financial future: our budget, where to invest, what mortgage to get, whether to take out a loan, and more,” explains Nicky Scott, a Family Enterprise Advisor at Penticton’s Canadian Family Financial. “What are we doing to prepare kids for this inevitable reality?"

Many young people who were supported by their parents growing up step out into the real world and get swamped by the hard reality of budgeting and complex financial decisions.

There are skills that are not really taught in schools, and Scott says that many young people have already built up bad credit from cell phones or credit cards by the time they hit university.

Meanwhile, they often don’t even know what a credit rating is, let alone how to manage their own.  Many also struggle to get a handle on how to manage spending.

“When kids aren’t forced to pay close attention to spending growing up, they don’t build good  skills around that. Then once they get their own place there’s never enough money at the end of the month,” Scott says.

Without the proper financial education, she says, our kids can easily flounder.

Right now, however, there aren’t many places for young people to learn how to actually manage their finances—especially if parents are busy building a business of their own, or don’t have the skills to effectively pass on sound financial knowledge.

At Canadian Family Financial, Scott works with families to help ensure the younger generations get the proper financial education to set them up for adulthood. That includes everything from helping transition a business from parents to their kids, to educating young adults on basic financial skills and more complex things like managing trusts or inheritances.

She says parents are constantly asking where they can send their kids to help them learn these skills, so Canadian Family Financial designed a program especially for young adults to teach them everything they need to know.

“A lot of people are lost as to where they might even start that process,” she says. “So we’ve made it part of our mission to help them navigate that in a way that’s actually fun and engaging.”

A few simple financial skills can make a huge difference as young person strikes out on their own, Scott says, and be the difference between their overall success or failure.

Scott and the team at Canadian Family Financial also work closely with families navigating the often choppy waters of passing on wealth or a business from the older to younger generation.

There can be a lot of emotion wrapped up in family wealth, and Scott says it’s vital for families to handle it effectively and professionally.

Often, she says, accountants or lawyers provide advice and planning for the current request (for example, an estate freeze), but do not educate the people who are taking on that responsibility in the future.

At Canadian Family Financial they have made family financial education their speciality—the firm is even run by Scott and her mom Kathy Reich—so they aim to make sure all generations are carefully considered in a family’s financial decisions.

Pair that with their experience and qualifications (Reich is a certified accountant with experience as a tax professional), and Scott says they have all the tools to solidify your legacy.

“We eat and sleep family business, so when we give advice it’s from our personal experience,” she says.

Because what’s more important than making sure our kids thrive after we’re gone?

Help in a red hot market

With the Okanagan real estate market in a seeming state of hyperdrive, buying or selling property today can feel like an incredibly daunting task.

According to the CMHC, homes are flying off the market at a dizzying pace, and bidding wars for the few available properties are common.

How is the average home buyer supposed to navigate these tumultuous waters, and how can people selling their homes properly capitalize on the situation?

Hiring an experienced professional is a good start, but as realtor John Green points out, there’s a ton of them out there, and finding one who will navigate those stormy seas the way you need and want them to can have an enormous impact.

“Each person is looking to get something a little different from their experience buying or selling a home,” Green, a founding partner of Green Kinash Jakes Real Estate Group says. “You should be choosing a realtor who can best help you have that custom experience.”

For example, someone looking to buy or sell an agricultural or investment property will have wildly different needs than someone looking for the best value and quality in a family home. It only makes sense they would need different skill sets in their realtor.

The person looking for an investment property, Green says, should turn to someone like Keith Jakes. Jakes has spent decades helping clients with commercial transactions.

He’s helped clients sell everything from Okanagan’s largest vineyard, to shopping centres, industrial property and apartment complexes. His knowledge and skill is in assessing the viability of a commercial or investment purchase, critically analyzing the opportunity and making recommendations on whether the investment opportunity fits the buyer’s requirements in the short and long term.

Green says that kind of specific knowledge can also be valuable when looking at real estate through a wider lens, assessing all the variables to get the most out of real estate and the property on which it sits.

He points to Taras Kinash, whose academic and practical background in building design and property development give clients an experienced insight in how to visualize and realize more from real estate.

“Having a realtor in our team who designs buildings and assists local developers in creating more housing projects is not only a benefit to our clients but also to all looking for brand new housing options in the City of Penticton” says Green.

Green says a family looking for its next home might be better served by a realtor like Bruce Dilley, the newest addition to the Green Kinash Jakes Real Estate Group.

Dilley, he says, can draw on years of experience actually building homes to help his clients assess the physical structure of potential purchases, pointing out the details that require immediate attention and helping them figure out if the purchase is sound.

Clearly, Green says, the right skill set in a realtor can dramatically impact a person’s experience when buying or selling a home, but above and beyond that, he says you should be looking for a realtor whom you trust, one who advises you of all of your options, and one that will represent you in the best light, especially in such a competitive market.

He says he’s proud that the team at Green Kinash Jakes Real Estate Group ensures transparency in service, and believes it’s the reason why the firm is respected in the community.

“I am most proud of the personal relationships we create and the life long friendships we form in our business” he says.

"Clients before commissions is how we have grown our business. Maintaining this approach allows us to build our network and ensure we have happy sellers and buyers.”


Modern mouth magic

The impact of a truly dazzling smile can sometimes feel limitless, so it makes sense that many of us want to do as much as we can to preserve our pearly whites.

But sometimes we need a little help to bring out the best in our smiles, and that’s when we turn to trained professionals.

These days, modern orthodontists have so many cutting-edge tools to help fix your smile they can sometimes seem closer to wizards than the highly-trained professionals they actually are.

So as the season of smiles approaches, we’re offering you a glimpse at some of the near-magical things orthodontists can do to make your mouth a happier place.

They can wave a wand to map your mouth

Remember being a kid and having to hold back gags as you struggled to chomp down on that strange pink stuff to get dental impressions?

“Nobody liked it, and now we rarely have to do it,” says Judy Meinzinger, from Kelowna and Westside Orthodontic Centres.

Today, the orthodontist at Kelowna and Westside Orthodontic Centres has a camera he can wave through your mouth to get a complete map of it—no pink nightmares necessary.

The iTero scanner is a digital scanner, that looks like a small wand, that the orthodontist moves around in your mouth, coming away with a complete 3-D rendering of your teeth.

Dr Jeff Stewart points out that, not only is this process exceedingly more comfortable than old-school impression taking, it actually gives him a more accurate picture of your pearly whites, making it easier to fit products like Invisalign.

And Invisalign has its own special kind of magic, doing almost the same job as braces, but without the traditional heap of hardware.

That’s right, you don’t have to be a metal-mouth to straighten your teeth

Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible, and in the hands of a skilled orthodontist can handle almost anything traditional braces can.

They are removable, see-through aligners, specifically crafted to fit your mouth, that gradually cause your teeth to shift position.

Every two weeks you change the aligners for a new set that will cause your teeth to move a little more.

As the treatment progresses your teeth will straighten into their proper positions, almost like magic.

They can literally shake your teeth into place

Dr. Stewart says Kelowna and Westside Orthodontic Centres are also using a mind-bending new product that’s changing the way people think about braces.

Propel is a product that patients wearing teeth-straightening devices can use to dramatically cut their treatment time.

Essentially, Dr. Stewart explains, you bite into the device and its vibrations change the bone, allowing your teeth to move more freely through your gums.

“So you bite into it for a few minutes while you’re watching television, and poof, your treatment time is decreased,” he says.

“Not only does it lessen the treatment time, but it also helps with soreness. So you’re teeth don’t get as sore if you’re using this product,” he adds.

They can work their magic on patients as young as six

But wait, won’t a child’s teeth all fall out, anyway?

Of course kids will lose their baby teeth as they age, but Meinzinger says there’s an incredible amount an orthodontist can do to set a young person’s mouth straight (so to speak) for when their adult teeth come in.

At Kelowna and Westside Orthodontic Centres, they will often treat a child’s teeth when they’re young to lessen the amount of work that may have to be done later, holding space in a child’s mouth for when their adult teeth come in.

“If we see that a child’s teeth are really, really crowded, we can actually hold open space so that their adult teeth have the best opportunity to come in straighter,” Meinzinger says.

They can also remove a youngster’s ivories a little early, as well as redirect jaw growth.

There’s even more mouth magic a good orthodontist can accomplish, and if you’re looking for more information, Meinzinger encourages you to check out Kelowna and Westside Orthodontic Centres.

No referral from a dentist is necessary, and the consultation is always free. Many insurance companies will cover orthodontic work, but if you don’t have a plan, interest-free, monthly payment plans are available.

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