Ask Us Beauty Magazine: Leveling Up 2023

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Fearless, Fabulous & Always Funny Powerhouse Vocalist

PIA TOSCANO and the perseverance to her debut album


10 PRODUCTs to Elevate your Skin

Dear Beauty

AUB Reader Questions Answered

Sherri Shepherd

Activate the Power of Your Skin From Within SERUCELL.COM | @SERUCELL G ET 20 % O FF YO U R FI R ST PU R C HA S E US E CO DE A S KU S B E AUTY20 AT C HEC KO UT.





CONTRIBUTORS Ali Landry Amber Shaw Ari Zucker Dr. Beverly Pedroche Carrie Ann Inaba Diane McMillan Elena George Jessica Fenyin Jordan Peden Kylie Malcolm Laurie Yannon Wing Marcia Agius Marianne Pienias Nia Dennis

CREDITS Cover: Sherri Shepherd Photography Corey Guevarra (IG) @cyoerphoto Hairstylist: Theo Barrett @tb_hairstylist Stylist: Willie Sinclair @willie_thethird Make-up: Rodney Jon @madebyrodneyjon PIA TOSCANO Hairstylist-Eduardo Ponce Make up artist-Stephen Moleski Photographer-Michael Stewart

DEAR BEAUTY ADVISORS Dr. Darien Sutton-Ramsey Dr. Jennifer Ashton Dr. Sabena Toor Dr. Victoria Givens

CONTACT Contact Us at or visit our website at


Ask Us Beauty Magazine looks to provide our readers with educational and empowering content. We ask our contributors to share their stories through their own words and beliefs. Our content providers are not employees of Ask Us Beauty, and while we do seek out contributors that we consider subject matter experts to the stories we share, we do not represent or guarantee their contributions and note that we are independent of the information they provide. We are committed to providing accurate information. If an error is brought to our attention, whether grammatical or factual, we will be happy to make the appropriate changes. Please feel free to contact us Ask Us Beauty Magazine participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorial chosen products through our links to retailer sites. These are products/services that we believe may offer value to our readers. This does not affect our decisions on the products or services we select. We always want to champion that our readers decide for themselves on all beauty/wellness decisions which is the mission of our platform.

MISSION Ask Us Beauty Magazine is a quarterly magazine with content designed to educate, empower, and inspire individuals on all things beauty and wellness. This is done by bringing together people of all backgrounds to share their knowledge and stories through our pages. Whether it’s through products, services, procedures, or personal brands, our mission is the change the narrative, allowing each one of us to define beauty on our own terms. Why? Because we believe beauty is not limited to our outside appearance. It is within us. It is in our professional lives and our personal passions. It’s in our health and wellness and our relationships with our families, friends, and loved ones.






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Photos courtesy of Tawni Weaver, Renu Medispa



Photos courtesy of Hayes Valley Medical


Discover the results that only Nitrogen Plasma Technology can deliver. What made you decide to offer the all new AgeJET Eye treatment? We were looking for a standout eye treatment and AgeJET Eye met our rigorous requirements. It is an easily delegated treatment that doesn’t require intraocular shields, has minimal downtime with highly reproducible and consistent results. Where do you find the most value in AgeJET Eye? Patient comfort is a big advantage for the treatment. However it is also very quick to perform, and patients frequently reschedule themselves due to result satisfaction. What has the patient response been from those who have had AgeJET Eye? Since we launched it the response has been very positive. The number of procedures has been increasing monthly from patient referrals. We’ve had to do very little marketing to date to fill the schedule. How soon can AgeJET Eye results be seen, and how long do they last? Results from AgeJET in terms of texture begin immediately after the skin sheds post treatment. However studies with plasma technology have shown results to continue to improve up to a year. We have only had the device for less than a year so I can’t personally speak to longevity since our patients are still well within the collagen and elastin production cycle but we expect result duration to be consistent, if not better than, with traditional modalities for skin tightening and resurfacing. How do results of the AgeJET Eye compare to other common non-invasive cosmetic treatments? In my opinion the AgeJET Eye treatment is in a class of its own when it comes to energy treatments around the eye. By providing a means to treat the entire eyelid skin architecture with a controlled safe energy source we are seeing quicker results with less downtime than with fractional or ablative procedures.

Tawni Weaver, Founder and Owner of Renu Medispa What makes Renu Medispa so exceptional is the philosophy Tawni upholds and adheres to without exception: to be THE BEST. Period. Tawni understands that to be the best, it must begin with her. As such, she has immersed herself in the finest training available in this field. Tawni holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University, as well as advanced training in drug physiology, chemistry and physics.

AgeJET made my skin so much clearer, tighter, and younger looking that my friends were asking what I had done. When I told them it was an awesome new plasma skin treatment, they literally called the office to schedule an appointment. - Sarah W. (Columbus, OH)




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Answer to a

CALLING Written by: Marianne Pienias


’d like to believe that even the worst of tragedies have silver linings….

collision, she was struck by a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed and severely injured in the line of duty.

We probably all have had defining moments in our lives, moments that inevitably change the whole trajectory of our being. For Ashley White, her moment was 9/11. She was comfortably sitting in her high school Spanish class when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Little did she know that her whole world was about to change. That was the day she knew in her heart that her calling was to serve her community as a firefighter. To pursue her dream, Ashley became certified in the State of Florida as an emergency medical technician, a firefighter and a paramedic. All the while, Ashley knew her road as a woman firefighter would not be easy; however, Ashley’s determination never wavered, and she eventually became a Lieutenant Paramedic for Palm Harbor Fire Rescue Department. As we all know, firefighting is a noble and selfless profession. It takes a special person to put others’ lives before their own, but that is exactly what Ashley did on September 22, 2021. While working in the roadway on scene of a previous motor vehicle 8


Lt. Ashley White with husband, Lt. Kevin White (retired) and daughter Zoë.

She started the morning helping others and ended it being taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. Many lives were changed that day, including Ashley’s. Ashley’s story is not one of regret, it’s one of perseverance. Ashley’s dream of being a firefighter did come true, but sometimes dreams aren’t exactly as we first imagined them to be. When others are asked about Ashley, they comment on her strength and positivity through her healing process. We are happy to report that Ashley has returned to light duty and continues to be on her path to recovery. She is overwhelmed by the incredible support of not only her family (her husband Kevin, a retired firefighter and Lieutenant Paramedic, and daughter Zoë) and friends, but the entire community. Her wish is for others to be inspired by the hope that she still has that things can always get better. When asked her definition of beauty, Ashley replied, “being a good person on the inside, paying it forward and helping others when we can.”

Lt. Ashley White with firehouse dog Ruby who was rescued from a house fire and adopted by Palm Harbor Fire Rescue.

Well said, Ashley, and thank you for your on-going service.




nd the winner is… YOU! That’s right. It’s you! I believe it. Why? Well,

first off, you are reading this, so in my book, that’s a win. Hello, my winner-friend. Question: Have you ever dreamed big for yourself? We know that all winners are dreamers, and here we are–the best time of year to dream, feel inspired, and believe anything is possible. Let’s open up the possibilities and think about those famous words from Eleanor Roosevelt: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Or my personal favorite from Tupac: “Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real!” So, what defines a big dream? That’s up to you. Dreaming doesn’t have a limit or a timeline; it just requires us to make some changes in our lives, to take it up a notch. It includes small steps and celebration, failures and falling down, but always getting up again. Inside this issue, my dream is that you become inspired by the stories of great people who have stepped up and dreamed big for themselves. Read them as if you were in their shoes, and imagine what it would feel like to go through their wins and losses, all to a place of living and achieving their dreams. Hopefully, this will encourage you to take some time and reflect on what you want for yourself, and then act. Remove the naysayers and shut off that self-critic. Remember, you

If you have fallen off onto the ‘forget it’ train, get back on the ‘I’ve got this’ bus. Remember, you are a Winner, and with a dream, belief, and hard work, you can achieve great success, however you define it and whatever it may be. See you in those dreams!

are a winner! XOXO, My dear friend and AUB Contributor Marcia recently shared with me the power of YET. When you hear yourself saying something you can’t do, end the statement with the word “yet.” How awesome is that? This just means your dreams are still in progress. 2023 is about next-level thinking and doing. If you have already started on those big dreams, keep going.




Are you ready for an authentic connection? Expect Exceptional. Never Settle.

(800)490-5369 LEVELING UP



By Ali Landry for @alilandry @reshapebyalilandry



spent most of 2022 reflecting on my life

mindset at the time and the personal reasons I

because I was writing my first book. It’s

had for competing in Miss Louisiana and then on

amazing when we look back at the dreams

to Miss USA; it was all business for me. I saw it

we had as kids growing up. I grew up in the

as my way to see the world and experience life

most beautiful little town in Louisiana, and my

in a way I had always dreamed of. I’ll always be

extended family all lived nearby. Our house

grateful it was God’s plan for me to win because

was always busy, as my mom’s hair salon was

it became my path to see the world in full color

attached to our house. But, as much as my

and have the exposure necessary to create a

family and community offered, I had a vision for

bigger dream for myself.

my life that stretched far beyond my little town. I’ve naturally been a person who likes to explore, While writing the book, I remembered my 12


educate myself, try new things, meet new

people, and hear people’s stories. For me, these

Learn more about Ali’s book here

experiences have developed a pattern within

me to stay present and be very intentional about


my life. The practice of living an intentional life certainly takes practice. It takes getting to know yourself on the deepest level with your heart, mind, soul, and health. It’s work, and this has been a lifelong journey for me. The most difficult moments, just as the most beautiful moments, are life’s greatest teachers. When we were young, dreaming seemed to come much easier. We didn’t know yet what the pressures of life could bring. But to really live a life of your dreams, I believe that spending time to develop yourself is the key to creating a vision for your life in order to see those dreams realized. It’s been my experience that it takes implementing routines, creating a personal strategy for your day-to-day, identifying what is most important in your life and letting go of what’s not, finding your passion projects, coming from a place of gratitude and surrender in all things, and creating a circle around you of family and friends who feel like sunshine and can see your superpowers. In the book, I talk about how it is never too late to reshape your life. Don’t settle for the things that are not working for you. Don’t let fear, past disappointments, or mistakes define your life. You can create a life you love, you can accomplish your goals, you can set a big dream for yourself, and you can craft a plan for how to reach it. You are worth every minute you spend on yourself. You only get one life. It’s up to you to reach for your biggest and best dreams and make your life a masterpiece. Here’s to reshaping your life in 2023 and dreaming big! LEVELING UP


LEVEL UP Getting Out of Your Own Way and Showing Up as Your Future Self By Amber Shaw IG @msambershaw Website:


ne of the things I love most about January is

of the habits required to actually get you to the gym

the opportunity for a fresh start. Many of us


kick off the New Year with big goals, amazing

resolutions, and lots of hope, but as many of us have

For instance, when you put your focus on just getting to

experienced (myself included), sometimes good

the gym every day by 5 am but do nothing to change

intentions don’t lead to consistent results.

your late night nighttime routine, sooner than later, you are going to fail.

For instance, how many times have you set resolutions around a new exercise routine that didn’t exactly pan

Successful habit formation comes from getting to the

out? Maybe you committed to an aggressive five-day-

root of what’s blocking you from achieving your goal

a-week plan and totally crushed it for the first two weeks

and starting the shift from there.

of January, but as the month went on, your bed just got cozier and cozier, and the snooze button began calling

When you focus on the process and not the outcome,

your name. By the time February rolled around, the stress

the outcome will be the byproduct without as much

of work, family life, and just life in general took over, and

effort and struggle.

somehow exercise lost its place on the priority list. So this year, when you sit down to write your goals, start Sound familiar? If so, don’t worry–you aren’t alone!

by asking yourself, “What are the daily habits of my

This is a common scenario that most busy women find

future self?” and come up with a comprehensive list

themselves in year after year.

instead of just focusing on one big outcome.

The truth is that sustainable change isn’t found in

One last mindset shift for success: Whenever you are

aggressive goals. It’s found in making slow and steady

wavering on prioritizing your goal, always ask yourself,

changes that work for YOUR life. It’s about forming

“What would my future self do?” When you make

habits based on your future self–your fit, strong self.

decisions from the point of view of your future self, you’ll be surprised how much more you show up.

So when you set your goals, don’t just focus on the end result (getting to the gym); set your goals based on all 14




Hit The Reset Button

& GET READY FOR A FRESH START By Laurie Yannon Wing | @medianewsblast


ing in the new year with a goal to boldly live your best life! An entire year lies ahead, full of promise, where you can hit that magical reset button. Instead of New Year’s resolutions, why not create a Bucket List or a Dream List? Since resolutions are all about what you think you should do, create your own list of things you WANT to do. Life is fleeting, so make a commitment to do the things you’ve been putting off and make them happen, one step at a time. Your biggest obstacle is yourself, so get out of your own way, take that first step, and don’t look back—you’re not going that way. And like Nike says, Just Do It! You can break down the more challenging items on your list into weekly or monthly tasks, so they’re more achievable. Here are some suggestions: 1.

Taking care of your physical health can improve your mood, energy, and mental health. Start out small–walk 10 minutes a day and do stretches for one week. Then do 15 minutes of walking and light weights the following week, and so on. Cut out sugar for a week. Get natural sunlight each day for Vitamin D. Eat one fruit and one veggie each day. Listen to music. Take a power nap. Wake up a little bit earlier to pray or meditate. Get regular checkups and better sleep. Start small to go big!

2. Practice gratitude and kindness each day. Give a stranger or co-worker a compliment or buy them a coffee just because. Write in a gratitude journal each night, reflecting on your day and what you’re most thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive aspects of your life and improve your overall sense of well-being. 3. Declutter & organize your home by tackling one space at a time. Throw away five unneeded items each day. If you are not using them, you do not need to store them. Clean out a drawer. Donate unused items to your favorite charity. A clean and organized 16


space creates a sense of accomplishment, calm, and peace. 4. Book a trip–whether it’s your dream vacation or a weekend getaway. Seek out new experiences. Try new things and step outside of your comfort zone. This can bring excitement and a sense of adventure to your life. 5. Enjoy the simple things in life. Eat breakfast for dinner. Binge-watch a good show. Call a friend or family member instead of texting. Read a good book. Watch the sun rise or set. Pick fresh flowers. Engage in activities you enjoy. Do things that make YOU feel good. This could be a hobby, sport, or any other activity you have been putting off. Everyone is different, so take stock of what your personal dreams and desires are because your happiest days are in front of you–but you have to take that first step so you can experience them. May this new year bring you the success you deserve as you strive for more joy, happiness, and new adventures! Here are some products that will bring some bliss into your life as you celebrate the new year:

Nap Time Is My Happy Hour

Molecule CORE Mattress Molecule’s benchmark mattress combines hyper-targeted support with advanced airflow for soothing alignment. It has an innovative triple-layer supportive design with the cooling comfort that experts agree helps you sleep deeply and recover. Features a cool-touch cover (with MOLECULEshield™ antimicrobial protection), improved breathability, and optimal support with HexFLO™ 7- zone technology. $599-$999

Move More, Feel Better

WEGYM Rally X3 Pro is perfect for at-home workouts of all levels. The resistance ranges from 10-110 lbs., allowing users to make their workout as easy or difficult as desired. Users are also able to track their progress and to customize their own fitness routines with free professional training courses, all on the WEGYM app. WEGYM resistance bands are the perfect start for your New Year fitness program. $249

Super Foods For A Super Life

MacroLife Immunity Pack – 10oz Macro Greens + 10oz Miracle Red supports your immune health and goes far beyond basic nutrition in maintaining health. You can take lots of capsules, eat a whole lot of fruits & vegetables or take just one tablespoon of Macro Greens and/or Miracle Red powder supplements daily. You will get all the nutrients, minerals and energy that surpasses the nutrition of five servings of fruits & vegetables without the calories or carbohydrates. $112 macrolifenaturals. com

Power Up And Conquer The Day!

Pureboost Superfoods gives you up to 6 hours of clean, superfood-boosted, crashfree energy with no sugar, no Sucralose, and no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. Each packet contains 7 organic red or green superfoods. Boosted by B12, 100 mg of natural green tea caffeine, and 25 different vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids. You’ll feel alert and energized no matter what the day throws at you. 30-pack for $34

Less Is The New More

Organize Your Home 10 Minutes at a Time is a 52-card deck designed by professional organizers. This one-of-a-kind card system will help organize, declutter, and tidy one small area at a time in just 10 minutes a day. Each of the 50 cards outlines 4-6 steps to accomplish one task in a 10-minute time span. Using this deck of cards regularly is a technique that will reduce stress by organizing your home and breaking large chores down into 10-minute simple, easy tasks. $20

Wake Up And Smell The Coffee

Sunday Morning Box by Lavender & Pine is full of the best breakfast essentials to start your Sunday morning or a fun evening enjoying breakfast for dinner. Big fluffy pancakes, mouth-watering cinnamon vanilla syrup, and a delicious cup of coffee make for a sweet moment to be enjoyed by all! $120

We Gotta “Hand” It To You!

The GuitarGrip brings functional art into your home with this hand-shaped guitar hanger that holds guitars and grabs attention — any questions? Grips are cast in high-quality resin, sanded, cleaned, and painted using real metal coatings. Each hanger is custom glazed and aged by hand. $95

Reflections In The Keys

The Piano Wall Mirror is a celebration of music! This decorative 24” Piano Wall Mirror incorporates all 88 keys of a standard piano while its curved design evokes the curves of the clef symbols. As functional as it is beautiful, the frameless mirror features a clear center design allowing you to easily incorporate this piece into any room of the home. $295

Health Is The Best Wealth

Complete™ Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor + EKG by OMRON is the first blood pressure monitor with EKG capability in a single device for at-home use and is registered by the FDA as a medical device. Complete has the unprecedented ability to monitor two critical risk factors for stroke – AFib and high blood pressure – together at home with a single device. It’s user-friendly and syncs with the OMRON Connect mobile app. $150

No Filter Needed!

MYSKINBUDDY by Sunshine Botanicals is the revolutionary facial device that utilizes four proven technologies to help you achieve a clearer complexion, brighter and even skin tone, and a more youthful appearance. The device’s technological features include ultrasonic vibration, ion care, Photon LED therapy (Light Emitting Diode) Red/ Blue/ Green, and Thermal Heat Therapy. $375 LEVELING UP






Fearless, Fabulous &

ALWAYS FUNNY Written by Michelle Emmick


herri Shepherd has always had a captive

There’s no doubt that laughter is Sherri’s

audience. The Daytime Emmy-winning talk

superpower, and she’s perfected her craft over

show host, comedian, actor, best-selling

the years through her incredible experiences.

author, and entrepreneur was destined for the

Even her first paying jobs provided her material

mic from her earliest days. “At that time, I didn’t

for quick-witted comebacks and communication

necessarily know I would have a talk show, but

skills like no other. “I worked in the return

I knew that I liked to talk! I would have my dolls

department at Sears, followed by the register at

lined up on the chair with a paper towel roll or

Marshall’s. Customer service was the creme de

toilet paper roll in my hand (whichever we ran

le creme of jobs. When you work at the return

out of first).” That was the start of her dreams,

desk, you [have] the power to say, ‘No, we’re

and these days Sherri Shepherd is living them

not taking that back! How many times did you

BIG, keeping us all entertained with her very

wear that?’ Or, ‘Yes. I’m gonna go ahead–don’t

own daytime talk show–an authentic, heart-

say nothin’ to the manager–but I’m gonna give

centered, side-splitting 55 minutes of joy and

you that refund at the regular price instead of

fun. Totally entertaining, just like Sherri herself.

the sale price, which I know you bought it at.’ My words had power!”

Growing up, Sherri knew how to command a room and make everyone laugh. “I could

After her parents divorced in her teen years,

make people smile, with the exception of my

Sherri and her sisters moved with their mother to

teachers (although I’m sure they were laughing

the west coast. With dreams of warm weather,

inside, too). Every report card, every teacher

Sherri’s mother spun a globe and waited to see

conference, when my parents had to go sit in

where it landed, resolving to move wherever that

those little seats, I dreaded it. They would say,

may be–closest to some sunshine, of course.

‘Sherri is the sweetest. She gets great grades,

That place was California, so off they went. “ I

but she does NOT stop talking!’” Even though

admire my mother’s strength so much. She had

she may have annoyed a few teachers along the

always been a housewife and [had] never been

way, her talking kept people laughing through

outside of Chicago. She was terrified but did it

the toughest of times. “And [I] even used it when

anyway–packed me and my two sisters up in a

we moved to the suburbs of Chicago; when there

car, got us an apartment, and worked two and

was very loud racial tension, I used my humor to

three jobs to take care of us. I realize now that

disarm people. It worked.”

I’m older and a parent, the immense sacrifices she made.” LEVELING UP


During her time in California, Sherri worked as

As comedy began to fill Sherri’s world with

a legal secretary until making the decision to

possibility, it also became so much more for

pursue her dream of being a comedian. That first

her: a lifeline. Sherri shared that, in the midst of

step towards using her God-given talent was

her comedy hustle, her mother was suffering

grabbing the mic for a comedy showcase where

from severe complications with diabetes. “I

all her colleagues came to see her perform.

would leave the club and drive 67 miles to San

“The very first moment I got on stage, it was like

Bernardino because she’d be in so much pain

this euphoric feeling. To hear that laughter and

and needed me. I’d have to drive around for

to think, ‘Oh my gosh, you like me!’ I went out

hours and hours because she couldn’t go to

pretty much every night after and would hit any

sleep. “I’d give my mom her medicine, then I’d

comedy club I could find. I’d be out till two in

drive back to LA to my legal secretary job, hit a

the morning, taking the bus three hours away.

comedy club, then back to check on her. When I

Whatever it took, I had to get on stage.”

lost my mom, comedy was the only thing that I had. During those years, I also left a religion that I had been in for a long time. I was really a very shy woman because I had been so sheltered in my life, so being able to get on stage and have this kind of sassy personality where I could be who I wanted and say what I wanted to say was powerful. Standup comedy helped me be able to share what I was going through. To see people laugh made me feel better.” Sherri continued to use her voice and live her dream, propelling her on a tremendous path of success. She spent seven years as a co-host on the daytime talk show The View, receiving multiple Emmy nominations and winning one in 2009. Sherri has also won a Boston Society of Film Critics Award, one NAACP Image Awards, and two Gracie Awards. She has starred and guest starred in popular sitcoms like The Jamie Foxx Show, Sex Lives of College Girls, Less than Perfect, Everybody Loves Raymond, 30 Rock, and How I Met Your Mother, just to name a few. She has published two books, one even making The New York Times Bestseller list. She’s hosted game shows, award shows, recorded animated film voiceovers, and has even graced the Broadway stage. “I don’t take any of this for granted. I went through so many hardships and so much in my life to get here, and I know how







fleeting success is–my business especially. I look at my life every day like, ‘Lord, thank you for giving me this chance to do what I love. You made this dream come true, and I’m so thankful for it.’” Sherri is also quick to recognize all the incredible people who have helped her reach her dreams, especially with her new talk show, appropriately titled Sherri. “I have a great assistant who’s been with me for 11 years, and I brought on my best friend and industry veteran Jawn Murray, who is a talk show phenom.” Sherri credits her beautiful friendships for keeping her dreams alive and strong. “Friendship, to me, is everything. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by amazing women.” Niecy Nash and Kym Whitley are two women Sherri leans on. “Being able to call my girlfriends and go, ‘I’m down right now, and I just need a few minutes,’ and know that these ladies will stop what they are doing to lift me up. It means everything. I encourage every woman to find that kind of support. I don’t like it when I hear a woman say they don’t get along with women because they’re catty–then you’re with the wrong ones, or maybe you need to look at how you are! Whom are you attracting in your life?” In addition to running her daily show, Sherri prioritizes herself and her family. “My focus is my son Jeffrey, and I also make sure to give myself some me time. I get up at 4:45 in the morning, and I’m out of that door by 5:15 AM to get to my trainer for workouts. I tell myself this is for my mind and body, and I need to make that time. Every day it’s a choice.” Whether it’s personally or professionally, Sherri’s advice when it comes to dreaming big is knowing your why. “You gotta know why you wanna do anything. It’s gotta be something that you love that you know is going to change the world, and LEVELING UP


with this special gift inside of you, you’re going to

‘Sherri you bring me joy. I brought my mother

impact people. Connect to that because when

and my grandmother here, or my niece,’ it’s

the going gets rough–and it does and it will–you

generational. That’s what I love to see in my

gotta hold onto something. Our blessings are not

audience. Generations of people coming to the

just about us, and they come with hard work.”

show, having a great time, an escape from the

Sherri shared that there are many talented

craziness, and to know that laughter is changing

people she’s met and worked with along the

people’s lives. It’s never been about being

way who gave up too soon. “There were people

famous or signing the autographs; it’s, can I just

who were funnier than me, more charismatic.

change somebody’s world for the better?”

They, for whatever reason, chose not to stay in the game. I tell people, ‘you want the dream, you

Whether it’s film, television, theatre, or comedy,

gotta stay in it, stick it out.’”

Sherri Shepherd has reached incredible levels and dream-big moments. With her early years

When it comes to fame, I asked Sherri if she

and experiences, undeniable work ethic, great

remembers her first ‘I’m famous’ moment. “I

friends, personal growth, and the endearing

sure do! I was with actor and comedian Garrett

down-to-earth ability to light up a room with

Morris from Saturday Night Live; we had been on

laughter, Sherri shows us just how dreams and

a sitcom together. We were in a McDonald’s, and

talent can align with the stars: bright, beautiful,

somebody recognized me and said, ‘Can I get

and one of a kind.

a picture and an autograph?’ I said, ‘No, no, it’s just me. I’m not worthy; I’m not taking a picture.’

Make sure to check out more on Sherri’s hit

I just felt like, why would you want a picture with

daytime talk show taped live in NYC in front of a

me? What it looked like to that person was that

studio audience and find out where to watch in

I was being arrogant. Garrett Morris said to me,

your area by visiting

‘Sherri, they don’t care about all the stuff you’ve

gone through. They know that they’ve seen you

IG @sherrishepherd

on TV, and there’s a moment that they want with you. It’ll be the six seconds they will remember positive or six seconds negative, and that’s on you. Let all that go and take the picture because they will always take that with them.’ And I just never forgot that. That’s beautiful and so true.” Sherri has continued with that “six seconds” concept by always remembering what’s important and keeping those that love her up close and personal, from colleagues to friends and even her studio audience. “I reached this incredible dream of doing what I love, and I want to make it great for everyone. I go outside before my show to hug people and take pictures with them. To have somebody say to me, 24





Premium Wines with a premium taste, just the way you like it. The best of the Italian classics and unique Zero Sugar Wines. Always made with 100% organic grapes, certified vegan and of the finest quality. Naturally unique, naturally delicious. Bellissima is created to celebrate life’s most beautiful moments amongst friends, family, and lovers-to-be. So have fun. Smile. Laugh. Love. Open your eyes to all the beauty the world has to offer. And in those moments, remind yourself: #LifeIsBellissima., IG: @bellissimaprosecco








PIA’S PERSEVERANCE Written By: Michelle Emmick


ot surprisingly, most of Pia’s fondest memories are those of music. “When I was a little girl, Andrea Bocelli was always playing in my house, for as long as I can remember and understand music. He used to sing the song “Time to Say Goodbye” with Sarah Brightman. I’d always run around the house singing it.” When I interviewed singer and songwriter Pia Toscano, she was en route to her next performance that evening–a performance singing right alongside none other than the extraordinary Italian tenor himself, Andrea Bocelli. To say that Pia Toscano is living her dream is an understatement. From touring with the Emmy and Grammy decorated songwriter/producer David Foster, to a Vegas residency show alongside Jennifer Lopez, to the release of her debut album, Pia has been using her beautiful gift her entire life. Pia’s musical studies and formal training began at a young age, as she attended LaGuardia Performing Arts School. Then, at the age of 21, she reached her first “dream big moment” when she was selected from thousands of hopefuls for the hit TV show American Idol. What makes her story so beautiful (as we focus this issue on living our dreams) is that despite her immense talent, Pia has always had to have tremendous perseverance. It took Pia five tries to make it onto American Idol before being selected for the show. And while many would have given up, a true dreamer never quits.

Part of every big dream is having people around you who support your dream. For Pia, those supporters go by the names of Mom and Dad. Pia credits her parents for the positive push all those years, believing in her talent even in times she didn’t. “I started auditioning for American Idol when I was 16 years old. My father took me to every audition, no matter how far it was. After those failed attempts, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back the last time. But it was my dad [who] gave me the words of encouragement I needed to showcase my talent. And sure enough, I was the first audition of the day.” Although her run on American Idol did not end in the big win, the show provided Pia with opportunity. “It jump-started my entire career. It’s the reason why I am able to work with incredible artists, and [it] opened every door that I needed it to. It was a really beautiful, challenging experience.” Pia recently released a PBS special with another powerhouse vocalist, a finalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, Daniel Emmet. “As a little girl, I dreamed of being on PBS. I would watch the performers with my family. When mine finally aired, my mom called me up sobbing. She’s always been the one saying, ‘Keep pushing for your dreams, Pia. You keep at it no matter what kind of rejection you’re facing. You can achieve whatever you want!’” Like most artists, Pia has experienced her fair share of rejection. What sets her apart, however, is her belief in the blessing of setbacks. “Rejection is God’s protection. I always keep my hope and [don’t] become jaded because God is protecting me from something [He] doesn’t like.” LEVELING UP


sparked this fire in me that I had to continue doing my music. I soaked in everything like a sponge, and she was just so inspiring!” In her first ever and independently recorded album I’m Good, Pia is reaching her dreams once again with a collection of beautiful and soulful power ballads and sing-along anthem records co-written and produced by some of the best in the industry. When it comes to overcoming obstacles, Pia shares her experience openly and honestly. “I believe my adversity has given me a story to tell and songs to write. It gave me the fight and the drive to help heal other people because that’s what music does and has always been to me. It’s an escape and gives me the ability to share similar experiences.” With an industry that’s evolved and accessible, Pia uses her social media platform to reach her large fan base. “I love that I can get my music out there. Everything now has to come from a really genuine and authentic place with me. I want to make an impact, no matter if it’s to one person or to the masses.

This protection has opened a path for Pia with incredible people and beautiful music. Iris Smith, whom Pia calls her Guardian Angel, recognized Pia’s talent and took her under her wing, introducing her to wonderful people and investing in her to make her debut album. “She’s an incredible advocate and supporter of musicians, the music industry, and live music.” Another iconic mentor to Pia was entertainment queen Jenifer Lopez. Jenifer was on the judging panel of American Idol. Clearly she was impressed with Pia’s talent because Jenifer later provided Pia with a dream opportunity. “It was supposed to be a short promo tour, and I ended up doing her Vegas residency. That opportunity 30


Pia is now performing her original music and has plans to tour next year in what she describes as more intimate and acoustic settings. “I think we’re always trying to get to what’s next, and I really enjoy what’s happening in the moment. I really appreciate that I still get to do what I love for a living, and [I’m] grateful that I have these opportunities.” Pia said that her best advice to those working towards their dreams is to stay humble and be your own biggest fan. “Don’t be too hard on yourself, surround yourself with the right people and those you trust, and believe in your dreams.” With her recent move to Nashville and with the amount of crossover now in music, I asked Pia

if she’s gotten bit by the country bug. “Yeah, a little bit! I went to a writer’s room the other day, and I had dinner with my boyfriend. We watched these incredible writers, and I’m like, ‘oh my God, I wanna do country music!’” Whether it’s pop, classical, or country music, this incredible vocalist can sing any genre–as the old saying goes, she could sing the phonebook. Pia is living her dream, doing it her way, and paying

it forward as a guardian angel herself through her beautiful music. Download Pia’s album I’m Good on all streaming platforms.



Renewal-Time to

ELEVATE Your Beauty

Elena George



It’s time to EMPOWER

yourself by taking control of your skin.





your health and take the time to invest in a great skincare routine, whether at home or through a dermatologist.

yourself enough so that you are willing to make an investment in your overall wellness.


energy, and strength will give you an undeniable glow so remember, great skin isn’t just about the products you use.



and inspire others to look fabulous and, learn from those around you to help motivate you to reach your own personal beauty goals. It’s knowing that just as great energy makes an impact.

This year is all about elevating your life and elevating your beauty! I want everyone to feel confident and fearless when it comes to beauty. 32



finding a sense of calm will make an immediate impact on our overall health and well-being. Stress affects us and that is why it is so important to take time for yourself and relax. Carve out a little time for self-care so that you can look and feel refreshed.


know that great skin takes time, and there is no rush. It’s a longterm investment that, with a small amount of time set aside, can provide you with an elevated outcome for beautiful skin.

Here are a few of my top product picks that can help you feel rejuvenated and refreshed when it comes to your skin. LUA Anti-Aging Red Led Eye Patches

Get ready to feel the skin under your eyes tighten! These LED eye patches are powerful and will help you boost your under-eye radiance.

NuFACE® Mini And Fix Starter Kit

This mini microcurrent is going to stimulate! A device used to help improve facial contour and smooth and tighten skin that packs a powerful punch. SOLAWAVE

Advanced Skincare Wand With Red Light Therapy

If you are wanting to de-puff and get the feel of an at-home spa facial, this wand does the trick.

MISA Silicone Facial Cleansing Brush

This soft silicone facial cleansing brush works great for deep pore cleaning and circulation. It’s waterproof, so it can be used in and out of the shower. Great for daily skin rejuvenation.

FOREVER YOUNG Hot & Cold Rejuvenating Wand

This is a great addition if you want to step up your skincare routine. The hot mode will help open up your pores to boost absorption of serums and moisturizers, while the cool mode helps shrink

pores and soothes the skin, helping with redness and puffiness.

SONICBLEND® PRO Sonic Makeup Application Brush

Sonicblend Pro is a patent-based sonic makeup brush that helps you apply our liquid, cream, powder, and mineral makeup for an airbrushed-like application. It will certainly elevate your look!

SONICLEAR® PETITE Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush

This cleansing brush is suitable for all skin types and definitely helps leave your skin feeling refreshed, cleaner, and healthier looking.

HIGHERDOSE Red Light Face Mask

A great addition to your skin care routine, this face mask will help rejuvenate your skin, providing a gentle and noninvasive treatment that warms the skin and enhances your natural glow.

DR. DENNIS GROSS DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro

This is a great at-home light therapy device that takes minutes a day and helps treat blemishes, diminish discoloration, and evens your skin tone.



1% BETTER My Journey to Elevating Life… Nia Dennis @niadennis


his journal entry is dedicated to taking steps to elevate my life. Being a retired gymnast has its ups and downs. I love that my body is finally

allowed to heal from injuries, but because gymnastics had been the center of my life for so many years, I was feeling a bit lost when I finished my career. I was in a funk for a while, feeling a tad depressed because it felt like I had no other skills besides gymnastics, but there was so much I wanted to do. I also did not like how my life went from completely controlled to me making decisions for myself. In the past, I had a very regimented schedule, and now I had to create that schedule for myself. The steps I took to elevate my life started with journaling– figuring out what my real problem was and why I was in a funk. I then decided that I wanted to be active, so I started creating a schedule around physical activity while trying new things. I have found new ways to work out without working myself to the bone, resulting in a healthy body void of injuries. I have indulged in yoga, pilates, walking, weight lifting, and dancing as means of physical activity. These all make me feel good when I finish them. I feel like I’m getting 1%


better in life and for myself, when I do these activities

connections with the right crowd. I also have goals in

on my own time. It means I did it for myself and not

the modeling industry. I have invested in myself to gain

because anyone told me to, and that’s very rewarding.

some training on how to pose, get comfortable in front

I have taken more steps to elevate my life by putting

of the camera, and learn professional atmospheres.

myself out there. I have created goals that I want to

Investing in myself has been the most rewarding thing

obtain in my newfound dance career. I have been

I have done to elevate my life. I finally have the means

introducing myself to the right people, making amazing

to take care of myself as a young woman & give myself

connections with people I wouldn’t have expected.

the resources I need to achieve all these goals. I’m super

I am proud of myself for having the courage to build

proud of myself and eager for the future.



Written by: Jessica Fenyin @jessicafenyin

your beauty this year!


t’s time to clean up your beauty. I mean that in the most loving way. Are you buying out of habit or buying with intention? With social media, beauty feels like a never-ending sales pitch. I’m asking you to look deep into your makeup bag and ask if you are making the best decisions for your health. Did you know that switching your routine products to a healthier version can impact your overall health? Clean beauty is discussed a lot now, but it’s always been there– just not as easily accessible.

Before you throw away all of your makeup, ask yourself these questions: Is this healthy for me? Is this healthy for the environment? My clean beauty journey runs parallel with my natural hair journey. Two years ago, I chose to wear my hair in its natural state. Some of you may know this as the ‘curly girl method,’ but to me, it’s a ‘wash n’ go.’ Over the past few years, a lot of articles have popped up exposing harmful ingredients in hair products geared toward women of color. The amount of harmful ingredients in beauty products is alarming. When I visited a salon focused primarily on curls, I was introduced to a wide array of products that were healthy for my body, hair, and the planet. I love to use the following platforms to learn about my beauty products: Environmental Working Group, one percent for the plant, the Yucca app, Skincarisma, Beautypedia, and many more. My top 5 beauty products are: 1. ILIA Beauty - Super Serum Skin Tint 2. Innersense Organic Beauty - I Create Hold 3. ILIA Beauty - Limitless Lash Mascara 4. Tower 28 - SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray 5. Innersense Organic Beauty - I Create Lift Volumizing Foam Now, before you feel overwhelmed, take time to understand what you want from your beauty products and go from there. My initial goal was to find products that wouldn’t irritate my skin with contact dermatitis or make my scalp dry and flaky. My beauty goals are everchanging; however, the constant goal is to find the best products to keep my mind, body, and spirit healthy. XO, Jessica LEVELING UP







In Case You Missed It…

As by Celebrities… How do you define beauty? Christie Brinkley

“That special something that makes a person’s eyes sparkle with humor, that makes a smile genuine and kind. It’s something in a warm hearty laugh that lights up a room. It’s an open hand and heart, lending support to those in need. Full-spectrum beauty that comes from someone’s soul. People have searched the world over to find the fountain of youth, but guess what–it’s right inside each and every one of us, in our own heart and soul! That is the fountain of youth because that’s the part of beauty that will never fade. That’s the beauty you want to cultivate.”

Carrie Ann Inaba

One sentiment that stuck out to me was that of understanding your place and sense of self – something that has significantly grown out of social media as we become so hyper-focused on ourselves and accomplishments, always trying to exceed those things. “When your sense of self is too large, that’s when you start to think of yourself as too important. That becomes immense pressure. What I’ve learned when you are seeking wellness is that everything else fades to the background. It’s about knowing who you are and keeping life simple and focused. It becomes much easier.”

Robin McGraw

“Beauty has nothing to do with your physical looks. Beauty is confidence, beauty is empathy, beauty is being curious about the world...When I see a truly beautiful woman, I’m not thinking about her hair or skin. Beauty, to me, is an undeniably warm energy that glows from within. There’s not a lipstick in the world that can create TRUE beauty!”

Ari Zucker

“When [I] feel healthy, getting my sleep, and taking care of myself and my relationships.” She also told us, “I really discovered in my 40s the importance of relationships with other women and the amazing energy that my friends provide.”



Kayley Ronayne, The Resident

“Beauty is authenticity. Whether it is a person or a painting, when something is not trying to be anything but itself, that is beautiful.”

Laila Ali

“To me, a person who loves and appreciates herself/ himself enough to figure out the best way to take care of themselves spiritually, emotionally, and physically will exude true beauty. Beauty comes from within.”

Kendra Scott, designer, founder and philanthropist

Kelly Hu

Robyn Schall, Comedian

Nia Dennis

“There are all different forms of beauty! Beauty to me means celebrating those unique traits that make you one-of-a-kind.”

“Beauty is feeling confident inside and outside. It’s the whole package. You gotta feel good and believe it. Also, a good chest and no flyaways help, too.”

“Beauty is so vast. It comes in all forms and is really about the type of person you are and how you treat other people.”

“To me, what makes something beautiful is in the discovery. It’s all the components of an individual, and once you discover it, that’s what makes it beautiful. That’s the beauty.”





r. Anahita Azharian loves making dreams come true. She is living her dream life, having built a successful boutique practice that supports women on their transformational journeys.

We see them go through all the stages, and by the time they leave us and complete those steps, they feel great about themselves, and they are set free like a butterfly to enjoy their new journey.”

A good majority of patients Dr. Azharian and her team see are women who have experienced a major weight loss transformation. “We meet with women who have put in so much work and commitment to lose weight, which is great; however, they are left with excess skin. That loose skin is a constant reminder of their past and, for many, feeling less than the best version of themselves. When they come to us, their dream is to finish the last piece of the puzzle, to complete their very personal transformation. We get to help them see their dream become reality.”

Dr. Azharian added, “Our patients go through such a beautiful transformation and are then ready to spread their wings, go out, and celebrate life. That’s the goal of it for me. It wasn’t so much to make you perfect, but more to make you the perfect version of what you are still preserving, your imperfections, everything that goes along with making that individual unique to themselves. That’s my dream and truly the best and most gratifying part of my profession.”

Dr. Azharian shared that she never wanted her office to be the cookie-cutter plastic surgery practice where you walk in and feel intimidated by all the people who work there. And for that reason, she has staff that represent different ages, ethnicities, from different walks of life, different shapes, etc. “Part of my dream as a physician and practice owner is for every patient [that] walks through our doors to feel comfortable to share their story with us. We understand what a big decision they are making for themselves and the importance of a safe place where they can feel confident in their decision [in having] plastic surgery.” Dr. Azharian also shared that about 95% of her patients are female, and of those, 50% have gone through a major weight loss transformation. “When women who have lost a significant amount of weight come to my office, we always start with a congratulations on their success. Then we want to know what the dream is for themselves at this point in their journey. It’s exciting to get to be part of their next step, and we don’t ever take the significance of that for granted.” Ketsy DeJesus, Office Manager & Patient Coordinator, has been by Dr. Azharian’s side for the last two years, helping her bring her vision and dreams to the forefront. According to Ketsy, “When patients come into our practice, they come in as cocoons, very shy. 40


If you are considering a cosmetic procedure and interested in a consultation, contact Magnolia Plastic Surgery or call directly at 813-563-2220.







’ve always struggled with my weight. On top of the

20 lbs. that I continuously battle, I gained another 40 lbs. during Covid and cannot get it off! I’ve lost 15 lbs. a few times, but it just goes right back on, and I am frustrated and depressed. I’ve been hearing about a new weight-loss medication, and now it’s all over my social media. Can you provide more information on whether this is something I should pursue? We went to the expert, Chief Medical Correspondent for ABC News and Good Morning America 3 Co-host, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, to find out more.

Dr. Jen @drjashton

Right now, the gold standard in the United States, in the field of obesity medicine, is really a pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid is what we recommend for everyone, which is good attention to the way we eat and the way Photo Credit: ABC News we move. I call that food and fitness. We can’t really tackle the conditions of being overweight or obese unless we change our behaviors. The middle part of that pyramid is recommended FDA-approved weight loss medications. These are really not new; some have been out for six or eight years. They go by a couple of brand names: Qsymia, Wegovy, Ozempic, Saxenda, and Contrave. Lastly, if you go to the top of the pyramid, is Bariatric or weight loss surgery, like a sleeve gastrectomy or a gastric bypass, which is reserved for someone who has a hundred pounds or more to lose. 42


Many people say, ‘I want to lose weight naturally.’ Cancer and death are also natural. We need to be careful when it comes to a very rigid way of thinking when we approach our health and wellness. The fact of the matter is, and the literature is crystal clear on this, a lot of people can lose a lot of weight, but at the two-year mark, 85 to 90% of those individuals have regained it all, and in some cases, even more so; it’s not about whether you can do something in the short term. After years of talking to my patients about weight, I can honestly say that conditions of overweight and obesity are not as simple as willpower, dedication, determination, and just eating carrot sticks. These are complex disorders, and they need to be managed no differently than we manage depression, anxiety, or high blood pressure. We know that, if untreated, being overweight or being obese will eventually lead to some very bad health outcomes. Weight-loss medication is not for someone who wants to lose five pounds before a party. This isn’t like treating strep throat, where you take it for a week, and then you come off of it, and everything is fine. Often the medication needs to be used indefinitely. Dr. Jen wants those struggling to know it’s not the lazy or easy way out. “You’re not cheating. You are being aggressive and proactive in addressing something that may already be affecting your health negatively. And if it isn’t already, it will be at some point in the future. Weight-loss medication is not only therapeutic medicine but preventative as well. After getting my degree in Nutrition, becoming Board-Certified in Obesity Medicine, and taking care of women as an OBGyn for 18 years, I’ve learned one thing for sure: weight management, and losing a significant amount of weight if one is overweight or obese, is a very difficult, complicated, often long journey. It is not about will-power, commitment, dedication or effort. It is a process- one that has ups and downs. And it is also about more than a number on the

scale; it’s about mental and physical health and well-being, and about connecting the dots.” If you are interested in finding out more about these types of medications, always speak to your doctor, and Dr. Jen warns that because many are not familiar with these medications, it’s important not to give up and keep asking about them.


’m 41 and have recently lost 35 lbs. I feel great, but my face is still round, and it bothers me. I’ve always had chubby cheeks. What are my options?

Dr. Victoria Givens @drvictoriagivens

exercise, and lifestyle regimen.

Congratulations on your personal transformation journey! Unfortunately, the appearance and persistence of chubby cheeks is a common complaint and difficult to naturally get rid of—even with the best diet,

Roundness of the face is due to prominence of the anatomical buccal (pronounced “buckle”) fat pads. The buccal fat pads are naturally occurring deposits of cheek fat that cushion the jaw and lower face. While they begin to disappear during puberty, an excessive amount of cheek


y doctor recommended that I go see a pulmonologist. What is a pulmonologist? What can I expect during my visit, and what tests would they typically run?

Dr. Sabena Toor Usually a pulmonologist will address a chronic or acute respiratory condition, such as a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, etc.

“These medications are safe and effective. It’s important to make yourself a priority because we want you here for a long, long time!” Watch our exclusive video from Dr. Jen at

fat can result in a full or round appearance of the face, commonly termed “chubby cheeks.” As the buccal fat pads are refractory to diet and exercise, excessive cheek fat must be surgically removed to achieve a naturally slender and lifted cheek contour. Buccal fat removal, or a cheek reduction, is the permanent solution to get rid of chubby cheeks for a naturally slimmer and balanced facial shape. This procedure can be performed in the office in less than an hour. Ideal candidates are those with full, round cheeks due to genetics and weight fluctuations. Precise contouring through two small incisions within the mouth not only improves cheek definition but also highlights the beauty of the cheekbones and jawline. As the buccal fat pads are variable in size, it is important to consult with your board-certified surgeon to determine the correct amount of cheek fat to remove for the ultimate enhancement of facial contour and shape.


Dr. Victoria Givens is a board-certified surgeon focusing exclusively in plastic and reconstructive surgery of the face at her private practice Givens Facial Plastic Surgery in Austin, Texas.

After a careful physical exam and history taking, a myriad of tests can be ordered ( i.e., oxygen saturation level, pulmonary function, and peak flow tests) to assess lung function. An important add on would be how to improve breathing techniques, in general, and how to eliminate smoking and vaping! Boosting the immune system is essential also. Feel free to contact Dr. Toor for telemedicine advice at sabenatoor@ for an appointment and more information.


Dr. Sabena Toor is a pulmonologist in Los Angeles, California. She received her medical degree from the University of California (San Francisco) School of Medicine and has over 30 years of experience in the medical field. LEVELING UP



have always been an emotional eater both in good times and bad! I really need to get my mind right, focused on ME this year and stop the self-sabotage when it comes to unhealthy food choices. I’m also considering B-12 shots. Any advice? Dr. Darien Sutton-Ramsey, Board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician, and regular on-air Medical Contributor for Good Morning America says it’s all about elevating your mindset around food!

Dr. Darien SuttonRamsey @doctor.darien

First and foremost, food is fuel. I, personally, have had quite some difficulty in my lifetime trying to understand my relationship with food, and it wasn’t until I understood how mindfulness works that I really got a grapple on my choices to make healthier dietary changes to improve my overall health and, as a side effect, lose weight. So, what is mindfulness? Unfortunately, we all have this internal dialogue in our minds that can lead us to sabotaging ourselves and making wrong decisions. Historically, a lot of that is based on our relationship with food, which might be associated with love and comfort and warmth, but again, food is fuel. So, you have to change that mindset! Replace it with positive affirmations. Remind yourself why you’re eating something and remind yourself what you want to feel like afterwards. Do you want to feel light? Do you want to

feel rejuvenated? Do you want to feel rested? And that will usually lead you into the healthier choice. And, of course, after you’ve gotten a grapple on your mindfulness and understand your relationship with food, treating it as fuel, making those healthier decisions, you can then change your activity. Make sure that you’re exercising, at least moving your body 20 minutes a day, sleeping at least seven to nine hours a night, and drinking enough water. There are different options for medical intervention, so you should always consult with a provider. Currently there’s a host of different medications out there commonly being used and then there are other new innovations, for example, lipotropic B-12 shots, that have been shown in some studies to increase metabolism, boost mood, and help you lose weight. Talk to a provider about what intervention works best for you and acknowledge any risks. Make sure that you decrease your risks by understanding the possible side effects, which can include things like kidney and liver disease and pancreatitis. It’s important to understand that these medications work very similarly, so they should not be used together in most situations. If you’re going to get a prescription, make sure you’re getting it from a doctor that understands the complications and issues around it. The goal of 2023 is to elevate your experiences. Elevate your thoughts about how you make decisions. Elevate your movement about how you feel about your body. Even elevate your relationships with your medical providers to make better decisions for your overall health and keep moving forward! your movement about how you feel about your body. Even elevate your relationships with your medical providers to make better decisions for your overall health and keep moving forward! To listen to Dr. Darien’s interview, visit

“The goal of 2023 is to elevate your experiences. Elevate your thoughts about how you make decisions. Elevate your movement about how you feel about your body. Even elevate your relationships with your medical providers to make better decisions for your overall health and keep moving forward!” ~ Dr. Darien





BERRY CHIA Parfait By Kellyann Petrucci @drkellyannpetrucci

This parfait is incredibly satisfying for breakfast or dessert. Recipe from Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Breakthrough, available at most national retailers; visit Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D., is a board-certified naturopathic physician, nutrition expert, and resident health authority on numerous TV programs including Good Morning America, The Talk and Good Day LA. Dr. Kellyann is recognized as the originator of the Bone Broth Lifestyle. She is the author of 10 books translated Chia seeds have been touted for their health benefits for centuries. They were an important food source for both the Maya and Aztec cultures of Mexico and Central America. Two tablespoons of chia seeds have almost 10 grams of fiber. That’s around 40% of the recommended daily intake. Because of that, they are very satiating and will keep you feeling full for a long time. They are also highly nutritious and contain antioxidants, protein, B vitamins, omega-3s, and linoleic acid. 46


into 9 languages, including her 2022 book The Bone Broth Breakthrough and 2015 book Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet, which became a New York Times best-seller. Dr. Kellyann holds a D.O. from Logan University and a Master’s of Science from St. Joseph’s University. She is certified in biological medicine, by the esteemed Dr. Thomas Rau of the Paracelsus Clinic in Switzerland through the Marion Foundation.

Berry Chia Parfait Prep time: 10 min. Chill time: 30 min. or more Yield: 4 servings Ingredients: 1 quart (4 cups) almond, coconut, cashew, or other unsweetened nut milk 1 teaspoon vanilla Stevia or monk fruit sweetener equal to 3 tablespoons sugar 8 -12 tablespoons chia seeds, see notes ¼ - ½ teaspoon cinnamon, optional 2 cups sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or any combination In a mixing bowl, combine milk, vanilla, sweetener, chia seeds, and cinnamon. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. It’s even better if you can chill it overnight. To assemble the parfaits, spoon ½ cup chia pudding into 4 short canning jars or glasses, top with ¼ cup berries, ½ cup chia pudding, and top with the remaining berries. Refrigerate.



It’s Not As Easy As It Sounds Written By: Monica Bivas @monicabivas


t takes a lot of courage to want to raise children; the desire is noble. If you are thinking about adopting a child, you are probably a strong, courageous person who wants to devote your time and energy to showing love to another person. We salute your ambition and recognize the range of thoughts and sentiments it evokes. But the path to parenthood is not always straightforward. In fact, having a child may seem outright impossible for same-sex couples, single people, and those struggling with infertility. In spite of the fact that modern medicine has thrown the conventional expectations of love, marriage, and childbirth on its head, these expectations nevertheless dominate society. The good thing is that having a child today can be accomplished through various methods, including medical treatments, assisted reproductive technologies, and even egg donations. Making intelligent, informed decisions that will bring you closer to creating the family of your dreams begins with understanding the conception alternatives that are accessible to you. What is Assisted Reproductive Technology? Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is any procedure in which eggs and embryos are handled outside of the womb. Typically, eggs are removed from a woman’s body, combined with sperm in a lab, and

then returned either to the same woman’s body or to a surrogate’s womb. Depending on the circumstances surrounding a couple’s infertility, the eggs and/or sperm may be taken from the couple themselves or from a donor. There are a numerous types of ART available: 1. In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) 2. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) 3. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) 4. Egg Donation 5. Sperm Donation 6. Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer and Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer As an IVF Coach with first-hand experience in trying ART, specifically in In-Vitro Fertilization, (went through 5 cycles of them and was bless with 2 beautiful IVF girls, but also had a stillbirth baby girl at 39 weeks on my 3rd cycle and a miscarriage at 7.5 weeks on my 4rth cycle ) I can say that couples usually try IVF after exhausting all other possibilities. Not only is it a very pricey treatment, but also one that is often not covered by insurance. Me & my husband did it because after exhausting all the “natural” possibilities, that was really our only choice. That is why having a coach who can offer guidance in helping to choose what would be the best method to parenthood is a big help, as TTC no matter if is naturally or via ART, can drain us emotionally & spiritually, without even counting the financial impact that can bring if ART is the last choice, and the medical teams are not prepared or do not have the time to approach this emotional part, that can be crucial in the outcome of having a baby in our arms. If you are interested in knowing more about the coaching service I offer, feel free to go to to see what role I can play in your journey to parenthood. Monica Bivas is a fertility coach, writer, and founder of The IVF Journey, an online support community for couples seeking or undergoing IVF treatment. She helps women and couples reframe their IVF experiences, using positivity and mindfulness to help them affirm their choices and manifest successful outcomes. When not supporting her IVF Tribe, she is a joyful, hands-on mom to her three daughters, and finds any excuse she can to go out dancing with her husband.




Become Your Best Self Clinical Psychologist Dr. Beverly Pedroche



OW! You’re awesome, and you’re capable of great things! Wait. What? You don’t always feel that way? Sometimes you doubt yourself? You get down, frustrated, and anxious? There are times when you’re stressed out and just want to throw in the towel? Well, I have good news for you. You are not alone! These are some of the most common complaints that I hear from my patients, and through the process of psychotherapy, specifically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), I help people become their best selves and live their best lives. There are many possible reasons why you aren’t achieving the success that you are capable of achieving or why you may be struggling to make your dreams a reality, usually involving some combination of unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. CBT is based on the concept that how we think (cognition), how we act (behavior), and how we feel (emotion) are interconnected. By changing how we think and act, we can change how we feel and function. In other words, by changing your thoughts/perspectives and actions, you can change the way you feel (about yourself, others, and the world) and, therefore, the way you live your life. So, how can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy help you become your best self? We knew you’d ask, so its benefits are listed below. Learn Coping Skills – Develop skills to aid with improving relationships, decision-making, problemsolving, boundary-setting, effective communication, and managing stress, depression, and anxiety.

Boost Confidence and Empower Yourself – Identify your strengths and embrace them. Gain the courage and confidence to take control of your life, squash your goals, and then set bigger ones! Correct Your Self-limiting Beliefs – Recognize the thoughts that have become barriers to growth and achieving your dreams, such as fear of failure, catastrophic thinking, and avoidance of discomfort, and learn ways to correct these thoughts. Improve Insight and Increase Self-Awareness – Gain an understanding of why you do the things you do and then change unhealthy and/or unhelpful behavioral patterns. Find Balance – Determine what is important to you and how to allocate your time and energy accordingly. Learn when to say yes and when to say no. Obtain Support – Receive unbiased support from a professional who is trained and experienced in using research-based tools to help you feel better. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you will collaborate with a trained therapist who will use a variety of techniques specific to your needs to help you achieve your therapeutic goals. There is ample research that indicates that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. If you’re an awesome woman (you ARE, you just may not believe it yet) and you are ready to take the next step towards being your best self and living your best life, psychotherapy is for you!




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Unleash Your

SUPERPOWER Arianne Zucker @alohalifecoaching | @ari8675


n our day-to-day lives, it’s hard for us to believe

If any of this resonates with you, you are not alone.

that something better is around the corner. Most

Unfortunately, this is how most people choose to

of us have a hard time even creating a plan for

ourselves and then sticking with it. We might even start

live. It’s how most of us were taught to live. Have @ari8675 you ever asked yourself what it would take to create

working on a plan, only to see it wither away because

meaningful purpose in your life? To consistently

we would rather live in the space we know than

remove and replace negative thought patterns? To

venture off into the unknown–even if the space we

use self-awareness to make better choices? To truly

know is keeping us down or stopping us from finding a

create a life of meaning by “Unleashing YOUR Unique

way to succeed.

Potential”? What does that mean? It means learning to trust that your

Why do we do that? Why are we so

thoughts followed by action will win

afraid of the unknown? A healthy

you results. However, this comes

answer is because we fear what we

with having to commit to yourself

don’t know. With the life we have

and having patience.

built, we know (at least we think we know) who we are up until right now.

The first step to start creating your

Ironically, even though we may feel

goals to “Unleash Your Unique

we can control our current outcome

Potential” is to get a pen and paper

for the future, it’s still the future.

and start writing. Write down what

It’s uncontrollable. We can expect

your current habits are. Write down

what bills we have to pay, the car

the fears you have about shifting

we drive, the place we work, so on

those habits. Ask yourself why you

and so forth. For the most part, life

are blocking yourself from moving

is working for us. We have our relationships and all

forward. Keep soul searching until you have an answer.

the drama that goes with them. We have our jobs but

Find clarity in your why, then start building the life you

usually secretly want more. We have our home that

believe will fulfill your heart and soul. At Aloha Life,

works, but we usually desire something bigger or in a

Shawn and I like to call this your superpower. We all

different location.

have it. Sometimes we just need a jumpstart!

Then we have our thoughts– the thoughts that tell

If you are ready to jump in and work on you, we have

us how we are feeling, the thoughts that may be

the right thing to get you started. Our on-line courses

leaving us with low energy and feelings of annoyance,

with Shawn are self-guided courses that help you

sadness, anger, fear, and more. If we focus on the

create and find “Your Unique Potential”. Just click the

low-energy and negative words in our life, where do

link below to begin your journey!

you think we will live internally? When I was younger and used to ride horses competitively, my horse trainer

We are excited for your journey to create new found

would say to me, “If you keep looking down on the

passion and purpose in your life!

ground, where do you think you are going to end up?”


Much is the same with the way we think.

slam-offer-1 for more information. LEVELING UP


Inspire Always

Marcia Agius

IG: @_inspirealways. Website: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” The Inspire Always community has truly come together and inspired me throughout our #52weekkindnesschallenge. They have shown the influence a small act of kindness can have on ourselves and others. As we reach the end of our #52weekkindnesschallenge, we wanted to keep the momentum of this impact going. That is why we are launching the “Kindness Circle” on February 17th, which is the same date as Random Acts of Kindness Day. The Kindness Circle gives regular ways to be kind as part of a caring community. When life gets busy, the Kindness Circle will give you opportunities to make a difference in your life and the lives of others. Visit our website to learn more, be a part of our community, and make a difference by joining the Kindness Circle, where small acts and big dreams come together!


Janine Bowen

Ellen Schwartz

Susanna Liller

Romy Marlo

Founder of hercollected IG @hercollected

Founder of Project Give Back & Author of Lessons from Jacob and Without One Word Spoken

IG @susannaililler

IG @romymarloellis IG @weareromyandmichelle

Favorite Quote: “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving; we get stronger and more resilient.” - Steve Maraboli

IG @ellenlevyschwartz @project_give_back @jakessundayjam

What inspires me? That’s a great question. Possibility inspires me–the potential to be better, experience more, share and be more. I come from humble beginnings. There were times when I felt alone in the world; that’s when I had to believe in myself and build my resilience. Life put its fair share of roadblocks in my path, but something inside me has pushed me to move past them. I’m not entirely sure where it comes from, but I know it exists. And because it exists in me, I actively seek out others with the same passion for possibility, so I can share their story and inspire those who don’t see their potential. So, in truth, I’m inspired by the potential for greatness that lives inside all of us, waiting to be released and shared with the world.

Favorite Quote “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou


What inspires me? Watching a student’s eyes light up as they gain a new concept that will be life-changing for them. Witnessing acts of kindness for nothing in return other than just being kind. There is so much that inspires me every day, but I think love is the biggest inspiration of all–love that is unconditional, forever lasting, heartbreaking, and heartwarming.

Favorite Quote: “We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains. That’s what I want—to hear you erupting. You Mount St. Helenses who don’t know the power in you—I want to hear you. . . If we don’t tell our truth, who will?” – Ursula K. Le Guin” What inspires me? More than anything, I love to hear the stories of women awakening to their true selves–not the selves their parents wanted them to be, not the selves they thought they should be, but awakening to who they really are. I ask them to describe the moment when they got the call to make a big change in their lives, and they tell me such powerful stories of leaving long-time comfort zones and venturing out into the unknown–going on their own personal Heroine’s Journey. I am so inspired by these stories of courage to respond to an inner voice, inner wisdom, instead of to external obligations. I am inspired to help them be the volcanoes and find the power that exists within them.

Favorite Quote: “When women heal their stories and speak up in the name of truth, love, and the greater good, mountains move, and lives are saved. “ What inspires you? Women inspire me! No matter how many stories I hear or how many lives I touch, I continue to be moved by the women around me. Women are my greatest teachers and my most abundant sources of inspiration. They remind me that the power to heal our lives and untether our hearts from pain is limitless. No matter how tragic, traumatic, or unusual our story, when we engage our Spirit and allow our truest essence to lead our lives, we are bound to be the recipients of endless grace, love, abundance, and joy. Nothing is more inspirational than a woman risen!

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Rozaliya, you’ve studied different methods of Holistic Therapies and Crystal Healing. Can you share a bit about the power of symbols and crystals and their benefits to healthier living? One of the most powerful instruments for transformation is crystals, which exist in many different colors, forms, and shapes. Crystals are the only existing living beings that have the same matrix structure and wisdom as us humans, yet they do not have the five senses–that makes them stable and free from all the poisons of the human mind. Crystals have the possibility to communicate with us on a very high level and to transform our energy to the higher vibration they possess or the color that corresponds to our energy centers and emotional astral and mind body. Crystals always know what is the best for us and can stop sharing the energy when the right vibration is already created. They have a hidden mission for us: how to evaluate to the level of dimensional beings, and the one who is ready will access this different mind level very smoothly. Crystals are like our friends who help us go to the next level of energy and understanding of the world. Symbols, on the other hand, can really change lives and project future events. There are many kinds of symbols humans use. They all have meaning, even if given by our belief or the dimensional wisdom. The most powerful sacred geometry signs are actually a special dimensional language that connect to different levels of consciousness. Then they can give us power, energy, or even change events in our 54


dimension so we can achieve what we want. Rozaliya Jewelry is a journey of self-discovery. Can you share more about that? Yes! I created Rozaliya jewelry after my long period of fasting and silence. My only intention was [to find out]: What is the easiest way to help people to connect to their high potential and to their real inner nature? I wanted to help people to connect to their power and understand how the world works. Jewelry came first as an instrument I sometimes used to help friends. Then I saw the amazing results and started to create bigger collections, and I opened the first stores for only spiritual jewelry. Through my collections and the transformational methods, I saw many lives and journeys transformed. Sometimes if you wear a powerful crystal with the right formula, you can really change your life forever without any real effort. It just happens naturally. The vibration of sacred geometry can also change the space and environment energy, not only our body. I work with crystal placement and consultations for homes where you can create a different dimension of energy just by hiding specific crystals as sacred mandalas. You can heal relationships or your body or increase success depending on what you really want or, more specifically, what you need. We all know that deep inside us, we are already the best version of ourselves, and these methods and instruments just help us to rediscover the wisdom we already have.

Energy Healing

AND THE LAW OF ATTRACTION By Kylie Malcolm & Edita Hill at Divinity Collective

fully immersed in the light and ready to harness your energy, you can move on to the next step.


o doubt you’ve heard about the Law of Attraction, but did you know that energy healing can help you to harness it?

Contrary to what you may have been told, the law of attraction is incredibly simple. Every experience you have had in your life (or will have in the future) is the product of the thoughts, emotions, and energy that you’ve sent out to the Universe. What you attract is heavily linked to the energy you send out. If your energy and thoughts are positive, you are likely to attract the same experiences. And this is where energy healing can be the perfect partner to manifestation. Here’s how to do it: Step 1: Set your desires and intentions The first step is to gain crystal-clear clarity on what it is that you want to attract into your life. Be as specific as you can to help the Universe support you. Keep your desires positive and present them as a way to reframe your goal. Instead of saying, “I don’t want to have another bad day at work,” say, “My workplace is a positive and productive environment this week.” This way, you’re signaling to the Universe what you DO want and acting as though it’s already a reality. Your goal is automatically within reach because you’re not framing it into the future. Step 2: Purify your energy Firstly, take a few deep breaths. As you breathe out, let go of all negative energy in your body. With each breath in, imagine a bright white light at the top of your crown filling your body up with healing white light. This light is deeply purifying and is a blank springboard for your energy. Once you feel

Step 3: Energize your intention With your hands in a prayer position, speak your desires and your intention (either out loud or just to yourself). Imagine your palms glowing with a white light that infuses and energizes your intention. Step 4: Express gratitude With your hands still in prayer position, express gratitude for the energy you have just harnessed and for being able to call your desires into reality. Feel the gratitude for your desires coming true in the future, as if they have already happened. Keep it positive and in the present tense to reinforce the messages and energy you’re sending to the Universe. A Final Word Harnessing universal energy in this way is the stepping stone to amazing, positive outcomes in your life. You could even go further with your energy healing by being attuned to Reiki Energy Healing, harnessing universal energies to manifest, clear blockages, heal parts of your life, and open space for positivity. About Edita and Kylie Edita and Kylie, co-founders of Divinity Collective, are spiritual alchemists, helping the world to understand universal life-force energy in a way that is unique to them. Both Edita and Kylie are Advanced Reiki Master Teachers, Meditation Teachers, Expert Sound Bowl Healers, Breathwork Teachers, Intuitives and Oracle Card Readers. Website: Shop: Instagram: Facebook: @divinitycollective LEVELING UP



to hear from you! 56




Small Town,

Big Heart Eunice Chiweshe Goldstein Written by Jordan Peden


he quaint, coastal city of Astoria, Oregon, is home to many things: cliffy shorelines, ancient pines, a bustling and historic downtown district, and let’s not forget that it’s the site of one of America’s greatest films–I’m speaking, of course, about The Goonies. You might be surprised to learn, though, that Oregon also possesses the type of rich land that makes it an ideal home for a lush vineyard. Better yet, it’s become the flagship for Oregon’s first Black female winery owner and winemaker, Eunice Chiweshe Goldstein. To know (or, in my case, speak to) Eunice is to be inspired by her. After launching a successful career in the film industry, Eunice found herself pulled to winemaking, drawing on the influence of her grandparents in Zimbabwe. “My grandfather, when I was little, used to brew beer, so I would watch him. And then my grandmother was a big cook; she was big on cooking different foods and also making wine.



I was heavily influenced by them from an early age,” she told us. Merging her love of film and wine was a natural next step for Eunice. She spent her time at UCLA film school brewing fruit wines for her friends. Guidance from mentors–like fellow UCLA alumnus Francis Ford Coppola–planted the seed of belief that she could

forge a fruitful path in both. Lured by the dreamscape created by its natural beauty, Eunice soon found herself purchasing property in Oregon. Eunice Chiweshe Goldstein Winery came to fruition in 2018, followed by a tasting room housed in Astoria the very next year. The wine, however, was only part of Eunice’s vision. She set out with bold intentions of creating wine as an agent for change, and through the #purposewine campaign, her dream is realized each month as the winery donates a portion of its profits to an organization in need. The concept of charitable wine is deeply embedded in the blueprints of ECG Winery, as service and community are in Eunice’s DNA. “My parents and my grandparents, they just help,” Eunice shared. “Watching them do what they do really opened up my eyes because they help all the time. I think #purposewine was meant to uplift my grandmother, my grandfather, and the ancestors before me, and it feels right. I feel like we are connected, the world is one, and the faster we realize that the better things get. So it makes sense to have this wine with purpose where we help other charities or organizations.”

So what makes Astoria the perfect place for an actress/filmmaker/screenwriter and Oregon’s first Black female winery owner and winemaker? For Eunice, this is an easy question to answer. “There’s something about small, little towns. They have a big place in my heart–Astoria, especially, I hold in my heart because it gave me my licenses. It’s an amazing town that just drew me in. It has a lot of personality. It’s home for our winery, and my gratitude for it is beyond what I can express in words.” Astoria has given ECG Winery a village in which to display its beauty, a beauty that Eunice defines by what’s in the heart. “It’s what’s inside. I think that’s where the beauty lies–the heart. If you have a heart of gold, you win all around.” Eunice believes that there’s nothing you can’t fix with the right heart, and her heart is in the right place. “Whether it’s through the wine or whether it’s through film, I want to say something, and I want to keep pushing a message and making a difference because if we don’t, what are we doing? What are we here for?” As I said, to know her is to be inspired by her.

By paying homage to her ancestors and continuing a legacy of giving, Eunice has been able to further humanitarian causes, from food insecurity to racial justice. ECG Winery has supported organizations like NAACP, Women for Women International, Airway Science for Kids, Inc., Stone Soup, Black Lives Matter, Breast Cancer Awareness, the Brian Grant Foundation– the list goes on and on, not to mention local efforts. The winery also partners with organizations to produce special, limited edition bottles, like Pinot for Parkinson’s, I Can’t Breathe, and Pandemic Relief Rose, just to name a few. Eunice is especially enthusiastic about the 2023 release of the Rise of She bottle, promoting gender equality.

You can find Eunice Chiweshe Goldstein Winery and Chiweshe Company at: Facebook: @eunicewinery & @chiweshecompany Instagram: @eunicechiweshegoldsteinwinery & @ chiweshecompany

As Eunice continues to spread the message of human connection, ECG Winery continues to grow and expand. The brand has already added the Chiweshe Company line of family and handmade soaps and candles. In 2023, it will further diversify by venturing into beer–a natural and exciting development for Eunice and her team.







Books & Media

we love


What are the benefits of goal-setting? Setting goals is crucial to your overall happiness and to thriving instead of merely surviving. Just a few of the many benefits of goal-setting include greater levels of daily motivation, the ability to manifest your dream life, increased productivity, and an improved sense of well-being. Setting goals that are both realistic and measurable can transform your mindset, your well-being, your daily habits, and your overall confidence. Why is journaling so powerful? Writing your thoughts and goals down in a journal not only forces you to get clear on what you want to accomplish, but the act of writing plays a part in motivating you to complete the tasks necessary for your success. In essence, journaling is extremely beneficial as a tool for self-discovery and self-development. More specifically, journaling is more than self62


expression. According to the research, it’s good for your health! Here are some of the short and long-term health benefits of putting that pen to paper to manifest your goals and dreams: reduces stress, encourages a safe space for your negative thoughts, keeps your memory sharp as you age, boosts your mood, and helps you problem solve in your life, just to name a few. What are some meditation techniques? How can you use meditation and relaxation’s healing powers? Harvard researchers found that yoga, meditation, and even repetitive prayer and mantras all induced the relaxation effect. The more regularly these techniques are practiced, the greater the benefits will be. Try one or more of these techniques for 5-15 minutes per day. 1. Body Scan: Starting with your head and working down to your arms and feet, notice how you feel in your body. Taking in your head and neck, simply notice if you feel tense, relaxed, calm, or anxious. See how much you can spread any sensations of softness and relaxation to areas of your body that feel tense. Once you reach your feet, work back up your body. 2. Breath Focus: Sit comfortably. Tune into your breath, and follow the sensation of inhaling from your nose to your abdomen and out again. Let the tension go with each exhalation. When you notice your mind wandering, return

closed for 5-15 minutes and mentally repeating a simple word or sound, such as “Om.” 4. Guided Imagery: Imagine a wonderfully relaxing light or a soothing waterfall washing away tension from your body and mind. Make your image vivid, imagining texture, color, and any fragrance as the image washes over you. Want to try a guided meditation? Enjoy this little five-minute body scan: A6gDElBaSTY

to your breath. 3. Mantra Repetition: The relaxation response can be evoked by sitting quietly with eyes LEVELING UP




Do you have a favorite book, podcast, or app that you just can’t live without? We’d love to hear about it! Send your best media picks to hello@

You can use Forest to stay focused on your work and not on your phone. Forest lets users plant digital trees by setting a timer, but if they leave the app before the timer expires, their tree will die.


Among all sleep and meditation apps, Calm is the best. Meditations, Sleep Stories, music, and more will help you live a happier, healthier life.


By using your Pocket app, you can capture and save all the content that comes at you throughout the day, and curate your own space with only the topics you’re interested in!






n December 5, 2022, we released an episode with nationally renowned psychiatrist and author Dr. Donna Kashani. During this conversation, we achieved an ‘A-Ha’ moment of epic proportion that deserves to be dissected. Dr. Kashani explained the concept of “Observe and Don’t React.” What the hell does this mean, and why is it important? We’ve all been there–a situation when we are confronted by our partners, kids, friends, and even strangers, and we get TRIGGERED. We speak only for ourselves on this, but our natural response can be emotional, judgmental, and at times, hurtful. We react (and TBH, overreact) to the individual and scenario, and in the process, we can lose the ability to be empathetic and thoughtful and neglect to give the benefit of the doubt. This doesn’t help the situation or the person on the other side of the equation, and often the immediate gratification of losing our shit and being self-righteous is replaced with guilt, sadness, and regret. Who the heck needs to feel like that? Not us! So, what does it mean to “Observe and Don’t React?” After an in-depth conversation on this topic, coupled with possessing a fair amount of reactions behind us (we are indeed 10 Times 5 women after all), we composed some key recommendations from

our observations: Take a beat to breathe, manage emotions, and consider the consequences of our response. When we force ourselves to take a moment to reflect and collect ourselves and our emotions, we often make better decisions. We start to take actual facts into consideration, and we engage the part of our hearts and brains that are capable of operating in the gray. It gives us the time and allowance to consider the whole picture and the lens of the person whom we are confronted with. It makes room for empathy and consideration of the consequences of our response. We all can do a little better in dealing with others—whether that be faceto-face or over a device. We all could stand to improve ourselves and our dealings by observing and not reacting. Don’t we all feel better by giving someone the benefit of the doubt versus jumping to conclusions based on emotions and our personal biases and lens? She’s a 10 Times 5 is about to become scientific— we are going to work on the art and language of observation. Who’s with us? IG: @shesa10times5 FB: She’s a 10 Times 5








Curb the Urge


t’s not always easy, but it can be done. In fact, it’s

This will help you save without even thinking about it!

easier than ever before! With the right tools and tips, you’ll be able to curb your urge to splurge and

start saving money in no time.

Make sure that all of your accounts are linked together so that it’s easy for you (or an accountant) to see where all of your money is going at any given time. This way,

Budgeting is hard. It’s a fact. But it doesn’t have to be.

if there’s a discrepancy between what you thought was

The key is finding the right

in one account versus what

approach for you, and then

actually ended up being

sticking with it. Here are some

deposited there, it’ll be easy

tips and ideas that might help:

to spot and fix quickly before too much damage is done!

Start small: If you’re new to budgeting, start by setting

Looking for an app to track?

aside just $10 or $20 per

Here are some of the best:

paycheck. That way, if you spend it all on something


Mint--This app will help

frivolous (which happens),

you track your spending and

at least it won’t be as painful

make sure that you’re staying

when it comes time to pay

within budget. It also has a

next month’s bills!

feature that lets you set up

Set goals: If your goal is

and monitor savings goals.

to save up for something specific--like a vacation or


Acorns--This app

college tuition--then set

rounds up every purchase you

aside money specifically

make and invests the change

for that purpose every month so that when the time

into an investment account for you, so it painlessly

comes, you’ll already have enough saved!

helps build wealth over time!

Make a list of things that make life better: Then cross

3. Digit--Digit monitors your bank account and uses

them off once they’re done (or at least start working

artificial intelligence technology to predict when

on them). This will help keep things in perspective

you’ll need money in order to avoid overdraft fees

when the urge strikes to splurge on something frivolous

or other surprises (like having insufficient funds) at

instead of saving up for something important like

checkout time.

retirement or health care costs later on down the road! Here’s to a healthier and wealthier new year! Automate: Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account into a savings account every month. LEVELING UP







Live E.P.I.C? C

By Kristin Noto @krisin_noto

hoosing to be E.P.I.C (Excellence

that you’ve received a benefit from someone

Personified In Character) is a way of

or something. We can learn to practice

life. It’s embracing growth in personal

gratitude, be grateful, and actively incorporate

character little by little, learning as you go. The

a grateful mindset, or an “attitude of gratitude,”

goal isn’t perfection, it’s simply excellence.

throughout each day in a meaningful and

Author Kristin Noto shares a snapshot of seven

beneficial way.

virtues that we use every single day that impacts the quality of our lives. Together these virtues


and the ways in which we use them — or ignore

Believing in yourself, others, or a higher power

them — shape our personal character.

Faith is believing in the right thing. It’s a confidently held belief, a trust in someone or something you



can’t see, but which you’re hoping for. Faith allows

Being thankful and humble

us and empowers us to believe in ourselves, others,

Gratitude begins the moment you recognize

and the world as we choose to see it.



To pick up a copy of Kristin’s book visit her

Being truthful with yourself and others

website ttps://

Honesty is defined by being truthful, genuine, and free of falseness, deception, and fraud. It’s arguably the most important factor in establishing authentic, deep, and meaningful relationships. Perseverance: Seeing things through to the end Perseverance is sticking to a wise course of action, especially in the face of challenges and adversity on the path to pursuing your goals. It’s finishing what you set out to achieve, ultimately with a reward that will deliver happiness. Charity: Love or giving Love, residing at the core of our human existence, is arguably the most powerful and important of all the virtues. The most important form of love is self-love, loving and accepting yourself, being kind to yourself, encouraging and taking care of yourself. Wisdom: Making better decisions Wisdom involves insight toward the greater good, often a moral good. Wisdom assists you in making good decisions from knowledge based on a life of experiences, learning, discerning, and deep understanding. True wisdom doesn’t depend on your level of education or intelligence. Prudence: The art of forward thinking Prudence is the ability to govern and discipline by the use of reason. You demonstrate prudence when you make an educated assessment based on information and knowledge that has practical and positive implications. LEVELING UP


Beauty Focus Collagen+ Rev up radiance, visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and boost hydration for all-out gorgeous skin 72




EverydayBEAUTIES Dreaming the Accessible, Accessible Dreams Written by: Nancy Berg

Nancy Berg

IG @Accessible402 My name is Nancy Berg. I live in Omaha, Nebraska, with my husband, daughter, and two dogs. When I was 16 years old, I was a passenger in a car that lost control and hit a tree. On impact, I sustained a spinal cord injury that changed my life forever. I lost my ability to walk independently and had to relearn how to do things that I had once taken for granted. I now rely on a manual wheelchair to get around. I started my platform in 2019 on the anniversary of my car accident. I wanted a centralized place to discuss what my life was like with a spinal cord injury. I also wanted to share wheelchair-adaptive and accessible activities that I had discovered throughout the years. Accessibility is important because if it is done right, nobody is left behind. When you notice accessibility issues, it is important to advocate for yourself and



others and let businesses or your city know. Through my posts, I have made real changes to make my city more accessible. I am proud of that. I am currently working on starting a non-profit in my state to support those those impacted by spinal cord injury/disorder (SCI/D). When I was first injured, I didn’t know anyone with a spinal cord injury, and I felt very isolated. I had an amazing support system, but at the end of the day, I wanted to know someone whom I could relate to. This non-profit will bring those impacted by SCI/D together through social gatherings, education and support. I am excited to see this dream become a reality.

Catherine Mertz IG handle: @ catherinemertz

It has taken me a while to be able to describe my own beauty effectively, but the past two years have given me the power to hold my own beauty with confidence. As a Montana woman, fourth generation to be exact, who loves my Levis, Carhartt, and messy bun, I decided to have my children by my side during the pandemic. I also decided to enroll myself back in school to obtain my second degree in the fall of 2020 and started a chain of events in my life which some only dream of. Taking that step opened so many doors which I decided to go through, and I ended up running for Mrs. America in 2021 and for Mrs. American 2022. I became the first Montana woman to walk on the Mrs. America, Inc., stage at the Westgate in Las Vegas two years in a row. (And to think I didn’t know a thing about makeup or walking in heels in the beginning!) This journey and all the lessons, accomplishments, connections, art, and growth I experienced highlights the beauty I hold inside and out.

Rasheda Williams

IG handle:@ empoweredflowergirl As someone who sees beauty everywhere, I’m dedicated to not allowing others define who I should be. And as a mentor and youth advocate, I work to empower girls and young women to do the same. My beauty definitely comes from within, from my energy to how I treat others. There is beauty in our spirit. There is beauty in our being.

Andrea Hunt

IG handle: @living.

Andrea Hunt is an online transformational life coach & EFT Practitioner for expats and digital nomads. A US expat who’s lived in 7 different countries, Andrea helps those who boldly took the road less traveled to thrive abroad with confidence. She understands the challenges of planning a move abroad, integrating into a new culture, finding new friends and social circles, and rebuilding life after a job loss or breakup while living in another country. She helps you empower your mindset and erase your limiting beliefs to thrive.



Moving with

PASSION & a Purpose Arul GoldMAN-PoleArity Palace @polearitypalace


rul GoldMAN has always looked at life through a heart-centered lens. Tuning into the creative guide that drives her, she has

found purpose and a new avenue to help others along their own paths toward becoming their next greatest version of themselves. Having spent the last 13 years as the founder and director of SantaVita, one of NYC’s top holistic cleansing centers, Arul knows firsthand the power of health and movement. A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Certified Lymphatic Drainage Therapist and cleansing expert–along with extensive courses in NES biofeedback, Arul recently opened PoleArity Palace, an empowered movement studio and holistic suite designed to uplift your being through healthy movement practices that encourage conditioning, agility, and the freedom of expression,

in addition to holistic services that help balance the mind, body, and spirit. Like many of us looking for self-care options during the pandemic, Arul found a love of dance and expression through virtual dance classes. It was there that she decided to merge her two loves, founding and co-directing PoleArity Palace, a safe place for all people to experience the freedom to be themselves and embrace their own bodies. “Through rituals of self-care, cleansing, dynamic health practices, and the power of expressive movement, PoleArity Palace helps guide you to the next best version of yourself,” says Arul. Arul is accompanied by Studio Director, Amy Danielson who has made her way around the world as a sought-after choreographer, performer, and instructor. Amy brings a beautiful balance, increased healing, wellness and fun to the empowered movement studio and holistic suite. Featuring both online and in-person wellness services and movement classes in everything from Pole Fitness, Yoga, Dance Cardio, Pilates, Sensual Movement, Heel’ography, Sound Baths, Infrared Sauna, Biofeedback, Lymphatic Drainage, Massage, Acupuncture, and much more, PoleArity Palace is a place you must check out. For more information on the studio, visit





he hottest nail trend of the moment is press-

nails. They will not chip, crack, or peel like traditional

on nails. If you’re sick of looking at your

nail polish does, so you can confidently wear them

half-chipped nails that you just painted last

for weeks. They are also much easier to apply than

week or you don’t have the time or money to spend

traditional nail polish. You can apply them yourself

on manicures, there is a quick and easy solution

and be ready to go in just a few minutes!

that you can do from the comfort of your own home, press-on nails.

Press-on nails come in all kinds of designs, styles, shapes and sizes. They are made from high-quality

Press-on nails are perfect for all occasions, and they

materials that resemble the natural beauty of your

offer many hidden benefits not found in traditional

original nails. So, what are you waiting for?! Throw

nail polish. These artificial press-ons are designed

away those dried up bottles of old polish and cancel

to fit over your own natural nails and come in many

your manicure appointments. Hop online and check

varieties, so they’re perfect for anyone who struggles

out the hundreds of varieties of press-on nails

with trying out new looks due to commitment issues.

available at your fingertips! Happy Shopping!

You can change up your nail art whenever you’d like without having to worry about damaging your real



Fundraising WITH A HEART Written by: Marianne Pienias


ichelle Connors was recently featured in February’s Costco magazine for her nonprofit organization Rustic Love. For some reason I was compelled to meet Michelle, and I can honestly say that what unfolded throughout our Zoom conversation was so much more than I had bargained for. We soon became kindred spirits talking about life’s wonderful surprises. Michelle had been in the marketing sector for over 20 years and showed no signs of stopping. In fact, she had just accepted a new job in January of 2020. Well, as you may have guessed, as with so many other people, Michelle’s life took a sharp turn when the pandemic hit in March. She found herself furloughed from her new job and at home with a houseful of five children who were no longer able to go to school. And that’s when the unimaginable started to morph into action. Michelle quickly took note of the people and organizations in her community who were working tirelessly to help people in need, especially kids and families experiencing food insecurity. She wanted to help, and a seemingly simple idea emerged: Using an old, left-over wooden pallet and a heart template from one of her kid’s plastic folders, the first of many heart signs took shape. No one knew then that her kids’ backyard art project would flourish into a highly regarded nonprofit. Michelle and her crew recruited neighborhood kids and families to help make signs. Soon they were making and selling hundreds of hearts. These 12 X 12 heart signs began to sprinkle the yards of Vienna, Virginia. And as



their heart sales grew, so did the heart of the whole community. Many local businesses joined her mission and used her trademarked logo on a variety of products ranging from jewelry to craft beers, all in an effort to ease food insecurity. As an adoptive parent to her Ethiopian son, Michelle’s mission to help feed her community was one that was especially close to her heart. Over 5,000 hearts and $380,000 later, Michelle admits that her learning curve keeps evolving every day, ready or not. When I asked Michelle what her biggest challenges are, she replied, “weather and distribution.” One thing I love about Michelle is her willingness to learn and seek advice from others. She now has an amazing allfemale board, all selflessly sharing the burdens and joys of Rustic Love’s rapid growth. As we know, sometimes success takes a village, so if you are a business owner looking to support a good cause or you are an individual who can help Michelle’s organization through a financial donation or even helpful merchandising and distribution tips, Michelle can be contacted through their website: Congratulations to Michelle for following her passion and making the world a better place. We know your non-profit organization will be a success because your heart is in the right place (pun intended).

Photo Credits: Rustic Love (header background & group photo) | Suzie Bauer (headshot)



n order to level up, we need to show up, and showing up takes effort. Each new year offers endless possibilities for us to become the best

version of ourselves, so we should spend our time wisely. It means saying no when you need to say no, saying yes when it makes sense, and taking action when you know something needs to be done. Being your best self is a lifelong journey. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen without hard work. But here’s the thing: if you work hard and keep at it, you’ll see progress over time. And when that happens, you’ll feel like an unstoppable force! Start by picking the one area that has the most impact on your life - then, find a way to make the magic happen. And remember… 1.

Don’t give up! Even if it feels like nothing is happening, your journey is still happening—and that means that someday you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come.

2. Keep showing up! You can’t expect to see results if you don’t show up every day with a commitment to being better than yesterday. Remember: it doesn’t matter how long it takes… as long as it doesn’t take forever! 3. Level up! We all have areas where we could use some improvement—and there’s no shame in that! Keep working on yourself by managing your weaknesses and capitalizing on your strengths instead. So, what are you waiting for? The time to start is right now, and it all begins with you taking a leap, a first step. I hope the pages within this edition inspire you to dream bigger and morph into the best version of yourself. May 2023 be filled with personal growth, professional success, and good health for all to enjoy.





DREAM BIG and show up for your future self

Unleash Your


Sherri Shepherd

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