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AUSTIN WOMAN MAGAZINE |  DECEMBER 2019

“Pursue your passion and everything else will fall into place.” –Gabby Giffords


WE DELIVER

MORE BABIES IN Austin AND CENTRAL TEXAS THAN ANYONE ELSE BECAUSE OF HOW WE DELIVER THEM.

On one of the most important days of their lives, more moms look to us because of how we look after them. It’s why we’re one of the best healthcare providers in the country.

The Best Is Here.


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Starting annual mammograms at age 40 saves lives. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and one in six occurs in women ages 40-49. The fact is mammograms can find cancer before a lump can be felt and early detection saves lives. The average time for a mammogram at ARA is less than 30 minutes. And with our online scheduling and extended hours, it’s more convenient than ever to take care of yourself. Visit ThanksMamm.com to schedule your appointment. You’ll be glad you did.


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GO GREEN THIS HOLIDAY SEASON Texas Disposal Systems is keeping Central Texas clean by recycling Christmas trees free of charge beginning Dec. 26.

Most likely, recycling is not on the top of your mind recycling free of charge throughout Austin and San during the holiday season. But it should be. During this Antonio. From Dec. 26 through Jan. 31, TDS will time of year, waste generation peaks, and bubble wrap, accept unflocked (free of artificial snow) trees, holly, ribbons and other décor create towering reminders of pumpkins and other ornament-free living decoraholidays past at landfills throughout the country. tions at its Christmas-tree collection sites. TDS will According to the Environmental Protection Agenprovide curbside pickup for certain neighborhoods cy, 23 million extra tons of waste are created between as well. So, before you throw out your tree this year, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That’s close to the remember TDS is here to lend a hand. same amount of food waste Americans produce in an When dropping off your compostables at the entire year. It’s time to make a change. As 80 percent collection sites, be sure your items are free of lights, of holiday waste can actually be recycled, let’s learn ornamentation, metal and other non-living compohow we can protect the planet this Christmas. nents, or a cleaning fee will be charged. Also, when It’s refreshing to see organizations and municipalities bringing loads for drop-off, make sure the material is taking steps to help our environment, especially during tied and secured, per Texas law. the holiday season. Wreaths Across So, what happens after items are America Austin is focused on makdropped off at TDS’ collection sites? ing its event a truly green endeavor. Once sorted, your holiday items will GIVE MOTHER The National Wreaths Across be repurposed into nutrient-rich America Day ceremony is dedicatmulch and compost through TDS’ NATURE A GIFT. ed to honoring veterans and fallen composting division. soldiers by placing wreaths on their graves. After The finished products will then be available for purthe event, the wreath shipping boxes and balsam-fir chase at Garden-Ville stores throughout Central Texas. wreaths are sent to Texas Disposal Systems’ facility to In addition to recycling with TDS, think about be recycled and composted. ways to reduce your carbon footprint and waste proThis year, give Mother Nature a gift. Instead of duction at home. When wrapping holiday gifts, use throwing out your recyclable holiday decorations, recycled paper, save and reuse holiday bows and try turn to Texas Disposal Systems. TDS is one of making your own packing materials. If we all reused the largest independently owned waste-collection, just two feet of ribbon, the miles of ribbon saved would be enough to wrap a bow around the planet. processing and disposal companies in the nation and If every family wrapped three presents in recycled or has been at the forefront of recycling and composting reused materials, enough material would be saved to education for more than 40 years, teaching Central cover 45,000 football fields! There are many ways to do Texans how they can better help the environment. your part this holiday season. Don’t be a Grinch. And for the past decade, TDS has done its part by Get recycling. offering Christmas-tree and organic-decoration

THIS YEAR,


What Texas Disposal Systems Will Accept 3 unflocked Christmas trees 3 pumpkins 3 holly 3 other living holiday decorations

What Texas Disposal Systems Will Not Accept 8 wrapping paper 8 cellophane 8 bows 8 plastic 8 bubble wrap 8 ornaments 8 holiday lights

For more information and a list of Christmas tree collection sites, visit texasdisposal.com/christmas-tree-recycling


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50

ON THE COVER

WELCOME TO THE HAPPY HOUR BY COURTNEY RUNN

58

FEATURE

TO THE RESCUE

Photo by Annie Ray.

BY JENNY HOFF

Generation Love Abigail sweater, $275, available at Estilo, 2727 Exposition Blvd., estiloboutque.com; jewelry, model’s own.


CONTENTS

Photo by Sarah Snyder.

DECEMBER

48 SAVVY WOMEN

GOURMET

22 C OUNT US IN Women in Numbers 24 G  IVE BACK Sanctuary Project 26 F ROM THE DESK OF Samantha Olvera-Moreno 28 S TART THE CONVO Reducing Holiday Waste

64 R  ECIPE REVEAL

ATX WOMEN TO WATCH 32 COLETTE DAVENPORT 33 ALLIE LINDENMUTH 34 L ISA VASQUEZ, BROOKE NICHOL AND VICTORIA HUNTER

35 GINA KRESS FAIST 36 KATIE HE IM AND AMANDA TULLOS

DISCOVER 39 TEXAS TRIPPIN’

Marathon

Tamale House East’s Family Tortilla Soup

66 A MUSE

Crafting a Holiday Cheese Board

WELLNESS 68 W  AITING ROOM 70 H  ER ROUTINE

Seasonal Depression

Austin Musician Eliza Gilkyson

POINT OF VIEW 72 O  N THE MONEY Holidays on a Shoestring 74 ASK LUCY Family Gatherings With Your Pup 76 I AM AUSTIN WOMAN Sylvia Allsup-Edwards

ON THE COVER

STYLE + HOME

Photo by Annie Ray, annieraycreative.com

42 T RENDS New Year’s Eve Looks 48 AT HOME WITH Sarah Snyder

Shot on location at Guild Red River, theguild.co

12 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  DECEMBER 2019

Hair and makeup by Gertie Wilson, elevecosmetics.com

Monique Lhuillier flutter-sleeve maxidress, $595, available at Estilo, 2727 Exposition Blvd., estiloboutque.com.


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WANT TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS?

A PUBLICATION OF AW MEDIA INC.

VOLUME 18, ISSUE 4

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FROM THE MANAGING EDITOR COMMUNITY

S

PARTNERS

Publication of Austin Woman would not be possible without the support of our monthly advertisers and sponsors, who believe in the impact we are making in the Austin community. The following businesses have stepped up their support of our efforts beyond traditional advertising and we are proud to recognize them as our partners. The team at Austin Woman is grateful for these businesses that have shown their commitment to the advancement of women in Austin and hopes you, as readers, recognize their efforts and support these businesses and all our regular advertisers.

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eason’s greetings, Feliz Navidad, happy holidays and bring on the Champagne! The holiday season is my favorite time of year in Austin (and not just because those scorching summer days are well behind us), and I’m ready to welcome in all the joys of the Yuletide. At Austin Woman, that means a festive holiday party (complete with silly yet thoughtful white-elephant gift exchanges); spirited chats about our favorite local light displays, holiday movies and memories; and potluck-style gatherings featuring far too many holiday cookies and delicious, delicious pies. But December is also when we celebrate the moving stories of Central Texas women pursuing their passion and purpose. This is our inspiration issue, after all. And this year, we went all out to bring you stories that are sure to uplift and encourage you, fill you with promise and hope, and maybe even spark a fire in you to chase your own long-held aspirations. Our outspoken and ebullient cover woman, Jamie Ivey, certainly fits the bill and is a welcoming and encouraging voice in the rocky terrain of cynicism and contempt that define much of the media landscape these days. Her forthright approach and willingness to share even the most personal struggles she faces in life—and to do so with authenticity and grace and without judgment—are definitely refreshing. We’re certain you’ll be as impressed by her story as we are. And our feature story about the exceptional women of Travis County Star Flight is sure to get your blood pumping. Bravely putting themselves in harm’s way every day to skillfully save the lives of Central Texans, these accomplished flight nurses are beyond inspiring, and we’re so happy to be able to share their emotional and extraordinary stories with you. Whether you’re in search of nonprofits to contribute your time and extra funds to, want to make a positive environmental impact this season, need a few ideas for decorating your home for the holidays or simply fancy a dazzling party dress, this issue has got you covered. Whatever your holiday plans, we at Austin Woman wish you a safe, fun, peaceful and joyous season. Cheers!

CHANTAL RICE

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE (HOLIDAY) THINGS

baking (and eating) tasty holiday treats

Join the conversation @AustinWoman

16 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  DECEMBER 2019

decorating all the things!

spending time with loved ones, including the four-legged variety, like my buddies Scratch and Cinco

Headshot by Korey Howell. Bottom photos courtesy of Chantal Rice.

Managing Editor


BOLD GOLD COLLECTION

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CONTRIBUTORS This month, we asked our contributors: What inspires you most during the holiday season?

ANNIE RAY

COVER PHOTOGRAPHER, “WELCOME TO THE HAPPY HOUR,” PAGE 50

Since 2005, Annie Ray has focused on bringing out the “real stuff” in everything she shoots. Her relationship with every subject will make 1,000 words say so much more. “Christmas music!”

JENNY HOFF WRITER, “TO THE RESCUE,” PAGE 58

Jenny Hoff is a certified financial educator, life strategist and former managing editor with Bankrate, where she hosted a financial podcast with notable guests such as Tony Robbins and David Bach. Before a five-year stint in Europe, where she obtained her Master of Business Administration degree and worked for Germany’s public international broadcast-news station, Deutsche Welle, she was a reporter and anchor for KXAN-TV in Austin. Her work has also been featured on CNN and NBC, in Forbes and on money.com. Additionally, she has a holistic-life-coaching business, hofflifehealth.com. “I love this season because there is the promise of new beginnings just ahead. It’s so important to break out of our daily routine and take stock of what matters most, what we want our lives to be like and think about what we can do to best live our true selves. We gather with family and friends to bid farewell to the year that was and get energized for the one ahead!”

GIVE DELICIOUS.

GERTIE WILSON

COVER HAIR AND MAKEUP, “WELCOME TO THE HAPPY HOUR,” PAGE 50

Gertie Wilson is founder and creative director of local nontoxic beauty line Elevé Cosmetics. She has more than a decade of experience as a makeup artist. When she’s not working on location, she can be found at the Elevé flagship store in South Austin. She and her husband love living in Austin with their spirited 2-year-old daughter and two sweet pups. “Family and friends. Top that with delicious food, snuggling up by the fire, bundling in layers, watching classic Christmas movies and, of course, fancying up my makeup and nails. It is definitely the most wonderful time of the year!”

REGINE MALIBIRAN WRITER, “REDUCING HOLIDAY WASTE,” PAGE 28

Regine Malibiran is a creative specializing in writing, social media and event production. As a lover of words and stories, she is committed to elevating unheard and marginalized voices through her work. She also loves cats, trying new food and Beyoncé.

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“During the holidays, I’m most inspired by the season’s focus on gratitude and reflection. To me, the holidays present an opportunity to spend time with loved ones (including ourselves!), but also to reorient our priorities, motivations and goals for the coming year. During the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I take some quiet time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished during the year, how I can build on it in the new year and what motivations will help me push through.”


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Dressember. Starting Dec. 1, Austin women are ditching jeans for dresses. Dressember, a nonprofit founded in 2013, challenges women to wear a dress every day for 31 days to raise awareness for sex trafficking. Though not founded in Austin, it caught on quickly in the city’s burgeoning ethicalclothing scene and local teams have championed the movement, raising thousands of dollars to support trafficking survivors.

➥ Swoovy. The latest dating app for Austin singles, Swoovy is on a mission to make dating fun and purposeful. The app matches users based on philanthropic interests and suggests local volunteering events as an alternative to the traditional first date over coffee or drinks. Meet, match and do good!

perfection in her exhibit at the Blanton Museum of Art. Open until Dec. 29, the exhibition critically examines replicas of Greek and Roman sculptures, exploring physical perfection and whiteness as beauty standards in classical art.

WIN THIS! VINCA JEWELRY FROM

THE KITCHENETTE COLLECTION This month, Austin Woman shows our appreciation for our readers with this sentiment: Knife to meet you! Thanks to the whimsical and fantastically weird folks at Vinca, one lucky Austin Woman reader will be able to update her accessories collection with some truly cutting-edge jewelry. From Vinca’s Kitchenette Collection, this month’s giveaway includes a Chef’s Knife hair clip (valued at $32), extra-large Chef’s Knife earrings (valued at $20) and an extra-large Chef’s Knife floater necklace (valued at $30). (Check out some of Vinca’s sharp accessories in our Style section in this issue.) To enter to win, follow us on Instagram @austinwoman and stay on the lookout for the giveaway announcement. A winner will be chosen by the end of the month.

DON’T MISS Women@Austin Roundtable The Lean Approach: Marketing on a Budget Dec. 12, 6 to 8 p.m. Capital Factory, 701 Brazos St. womenataustin.com

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20 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  DECEMBER 2019

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar Dec. 13 through 23, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Dec. 24, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road armadillobazaar.com

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Dancing With the Stars Austin Benefiting Center for Child Protection Dec. 14, 6 p.m. JW Marriott Austin, 110 E. Second St. centerforchildprotection.org

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Dressember photo by Lauren Scotti. Swoovy photo courtesy of Swoovy. Lily Cox-Richard photo by Gianni Zorrilla. Win this photo by Niki Jones.

➥ Lily Cox-Richard. Artist Lily Cox-Richard is shifting the perception of


Austin Oral Surgery is a trusted family tradition. “My wisdom teeth were removed in my early 20s. My wife completed implants last year, and now, my grandson needs his wisdom teeth removed. We always turn to Austin Oral Surgery for the care and expertise our family depends on.” The surgeons of Austin Oral Surgery are boardcertified specialists offering a complete scope of oral and maxillofacial services at 12 convenient locations in Central Texas. Before you consider oral surgery for your family, call 512-591-9557. AustinOralSurgery.com.

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COUNT US IN

WOMEN IN NUMBERS

Chasing their entrepreneurial dreams in greater numbers, women are ditching corporate America in favor of their passion projects. BY ABBY HOPKINS, ILLUSTRATIONS BY JESSICA WETTERER

90 Percent More young women are quitting their corporate jobs to cash in on entrepreneurial endeavors, according to a recent study from consulting firm Real. Of the 246 millennial female entrepreneurs surveyed, 90 percent said they left their corporate jobs specifically to start their own businesses, with 43 percent noting they resigned from corporate America because it wasn’t giving them the opportunity to follow their passions.

No. 2 Maybe we should revise the capital city’s slogan to Keep Austin Woman-owned. According to Seek Business Capital, Austin ranks second among U.S. cities for the highest percentage of woman-owned startups, at 32.7 percent, behind only St. Louis. The majority of woman-owned startups in Austin are in the real-estate, rental and leasing industries, whereas nationally, the majority are in health care and educational services.

17,000 Austinites BossBabesATX, an Austinbased nonprofit that celebrates and connects female creatives and entrepreneurs, hosts a variety of women-centric programs attended by more than 17,000 Austinites each year. BossBabesATX programs like CraftHer Market, #Work and Babes Fest are focused on creative entrepreneurship, arts empowerment, diversity and equality, all while providing spaces for curiosity to flourish.

Six Winners Some of Austin’s biggest female players in tech, hospitality, education, professional services, real estate and activewear were honored recently during the Austin Business Journal’s 2019 Profiles in Power event. Though more than 100 candidates applied, only six rose to the top as the creme de la creme of influential women in Central Texas. They include Esolvit’s Usha Boddapu, Leigh Christie of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Nicole Conley of the Austin Independent School District, Accenture’s Tamara Fields, BuildFax’s Holly Tachovsky and Outdoor Voices’ Ty Haney. Congrats, ladies! 22 |  AUSTIN WOMAN | DECEMBER 2019

3 Out of 4 Passion projects are at the top of many Americans’ to-do lists, with nearly three in every four people seemingly valuing purpose above job security and leaving a stable job to pursue their true passions, according to insurance company NetQuote. However, on average, Americans weigh the risks of such a move for 19 months before committing to pursuing that dream.


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FROM TRAUMA TO TRIUMPH

Sanctuary Project helps sex-trafficking survivors rebuild their lives through creative employment opportunities. BY ALEXIS GREEN

“I needed to learn how to survive in a world that I had no skills to survive in,” Hayes says. “I had a criminal record. I had been homeless. And my trafficker had really beat my self-esteem down to the point that I had no value other than what a man would pay for me.” On the path to redefining herself, Hayes landed a job in a humble yet legitimate trade: shoe shining. Cleaning shoes gave Hayes a sense of purpose and comfort. But it was not just the job that uplifted her; her co-workers, also sex-trafficking survivors, bolstered her. “I was in a community with other survivors, so my story started to become less…scary to me,” Hayes says. “I felt less afraid to face the world because I was around all these other people who are facing the world too. We were all doing it together.” Hayes continued working with various organizations that helped women transitioning from a life of trauma. While she loved the community work, Hayes had bigger dreams, ones of creating a jewelry line that exhibited her love for European minimalism. With her passion for uplifting women and her eye for design, Hayes created Sanctuary Project, a nonprofit social enterprise that sells handmade jewelry, the proceeds from which fund job opportunities and training for survivors of trafficking, addiction and violence. “I have a unique lens to this and am able to mentor women because I’ve walked through it,” Hayes says. “I’m not just some do-gooder coming at them like, ‘I’m going to help you or save you.’ I wish somebody had walked with me and did this.”

By offering employees short shifts and $10 an hour, the project provides women with the chance to heal at their own pace. Part of Hayes’ overall goal is to show survivors they are limitless and that past traumas do not define them. “It helps build their self-esteem,” Hayes says. “A lot of times, they felt like they had no worth coming out of [trafficking], or it only came from their sexuality. We’re able to say, ‘No, you’re a valuable asset.’ ” Through Sanctuary Project, women can build resumes and the confidence necessary to find permanent jobs, though Hayes admits it’s somewhat bittersweet to lose them as employees. She says it’s sad watching them leave but is happy to help build “them up to the point where they feel safe to fly the coop.” Rebuilding a sense of self-worth comes from more than just an hourly wage. It comes from a sense of community. For the women of Sanctuary Project, that comes in the form of a charming white house in East Austin that’s adorned in stained-glass windows. Upstairs, they sit together during work shifts, sharing laughter and stories while crafting jewelry pieces. Creating a sense of home is what drew Hayes to this location, which will also open as a retail space early next year. Offering free beverages and treats, Hayes also wants the store to act as a refuge for people in need. “We want to be a beacon in this neighborhood and to be a place where people really feel they’re welcome,” Hayes says. “This is a home for everyone to come make beautiful things, look at beautiful things and buy beautiful things.” Sanctuary Project jewelry, which ranges in price from $22 to about $60, features statement pieces like dainty branch earrings and necklaces, as well as stunning marble pendants. The designs are an ode to Hayes’ time spent in Paris and inspired, fittingly, by the idea of sanctuary. Her affinity for the theme came from a powerful scene in The Hunchback of Notre Dame in which the friendless Quasimodo yells, “Sanctuary!” upon saving a girl from execution and retreating to the cathedral. “I think we’re all the hunchback in some way, and we’ve all been hurt by the world, especially as survivors of trafficking and…addiction,” Hayes says. “I wanted to create a place that had that feeling of a sanctuary. Once you cross this line, you can’t be touched. You get to cry sanctuary like the hunchback. You’re safe here.”

Holly Hayes

24 |  AUSTIN WOMAN | DECEMBER 2019

Photos courtesy of Sanctuary Project.

Coming out of a life of sex trafficking, Holly Hayes had no idea where to turn. She had no experience holding a job outside of sex work, and the world of legal employment seemed foreign to her.


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The Texas branch ambassador of the Bourbon Women Association works to build sisterhood within the Texas bourbon industry one glass at a time. BY GIANNI ZORRILLA, ILLUSTRATION BY MADISON WEAKLEY

Gender doesn’t matter when it comes to crafting a quality glass of bourbon, and Samantha Olvera-Moreno is living proof. The first Latina in the Lone Star State to craft bourbon “from grain to glass,” Olvera-Moreno doesn’t play by the rules. From the outside looking in, the alcohol industry is definitely a man’s world, but any insider like Olvera-Moreno can attest that women are on the rise—and have been for decades. Passion is often a winding road. OlveraMoreno originally went to school to study respiratory therapy but discovered Garrison Brothers Distillery while managing a bar in the Hill Country back in 2014. When she started working in production at the facility, she was the only woman. While more women have joined the team throughout the years, Olvera-Moreno remains the only Latina. Bourbon is America’s only native spirit, and Olvera-Moreno is at the forefront of Texas women in whiskey. She was a pivotal force in bringing the Bourbon Women Association to Texas, an effort that, after two years in the making, became official this year during Women’s History Month. Now, as the Texas branch ambassador of the association, Olvera-Moreno facilitates events throughout the Lone Star State. Attracting the likes of female lawyers and teachers, housewives and soccer moms—and then some—she helps to drive forward the central mission of bringing women of all walks of life together over a fine glass of bourbon. Olvera-Moreno shares her top tips for breaking into—and mastering—a maledominated field like the alcohol industry and crafting your career to your passions. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. “I received a degree in the medical field, but life brought me to the bourbon world instead. I wouldn’t change a thing. The point when it all changed for me was when I was in hospitality, learning how to do tours. When they got to the part of the rules that go into making bourbon whiskey, a lightbulb went off. And that’s when Garrison Brothers created a monster. I just love bourbon. I love the craft, the history, everything that goes into making it.” 26 |  AUSTIN WOMAN | DECEMBER 2019

WORK HARD. “Don’t work hard to get noticed; work hard because you love what you do. I pull my own weight. For about a year and a half, I was working night shifts. So, for about eight hours, I was by myself. There were barrels that weighed more than I do that I was having to move. It would take hours doing it by myself, but I figured it out. As a woman, what I always love telling other women is, ‘Work hard and figure it out.’ Never think you can’t do it. You can do it. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. Just figure it out. There are no wrong questions.” MAKE YOURSELF AN EXPERT. “There is always more to learn, no matter what field you’re in or what you end up doing in life. Stay open-minded to it all. There’s a book that I always love sharing called Whiskey Women. Fred Minnick wrote it and breaks down how in-depth women have been in this industry. Women were the ones during the Whiskey Rebellion keeping the stronghold of the distilling process, and there’s a lot of women behind so many other distilleries going to Scotland and Ireland and Kentucky. It’s just a reaffirmation that, yeah, we’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s been a man’s world, and we women have really risen up. And we’ve always been there. Did it suck to be in the background? Yes, absolutely. But it’s not that way anymore. The more women come together, the stronger we truly are.” ADAPT AND BECOME RESILIENT. “Life has a way to test you when you’re not looking. It’s OK to feel what you feel, but don’t let it break you. Let it make you stronger and focused. No matter what happens in your life personally, don’t ever get discouraged. Always look forward.” STAY HUMBLE. “Love what you do. Be great at what you do. Never forget others that came before you or the ones that it will be passed on to.”


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START THE CONVO

REDUCING HOLIDAY WASTE

Spread holiday cheer—without the trash—with thoughtful and environmentally conscious gifts. BY REGINE MALIBIRAN

purchasing material gifts.” The idea for inLieu sprouted from one of Terry’s own gift-giving experiences. One holiday season, she found herself without an appropriate gift for the host of an upcoming holiday party and no time to go shopping before the event. Terry had to make a choice: show up empty-handed or give a dear friend a gift she knew she didn’t need.  “I wanted to show up with something meaningful,” Terry shares. “And what I According to The Use Less Stuff Report, Americans discard had access to that day was not going to be meaningful. Instead of just checking 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s the box and saying, ‘Well, this will do,’ I wanted to find a better solution.” Day than any other time of year, amounting to 25 million tons After begrudgingly giving her friend a scented candle, Terry resolved to build of extra waste. Included in all that waste is $11 billion worth what she ultimately couldn’t find: a way to redefine gift-giving to make it more of packaging material, more than 2.6 billion holiday cards, 15 socially impactful while still retaining the thoughtful intention of the giver. But million Christmas trees and 38,000 miles of ribbon—enough habits are hard to break, as Terry discovered after launching inLieu. to tie a bow around Earth! “There is a need to show your love and your gratitude “When this holiday material is discardand your appreciation for people. That’s real for everybody. ed, it can be headed to landfills, where…it “We’re conditioned But how that shows up is different,” she says. “And how undergoes bacterial decomposition, which and what is acceptable is different. We’re conditioned as a as a society produces ‘landfill gas,’ a mixture of presociety to consume.” dominantly greenhouse gases, including to consume.” The National Retail Federation reports holiday retail methane, carbon dioxide and water vapor,” spending has consistently increased in the past two decades reports the National Environmental Edu(with the only exception being 2008 because of the Great Recession), growcation Foundation. “Methane, a greenhouse gas with an iming from $416.4 billion in 2002 to $717.5 billion in 2018. The NRF also estimates pact on climate change more than 25 times greater than that holiday spending will increase by between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent in 2019. of carbon dioxide, is the second-most prevalent greenhouse With not even a recession able to stop it for long, holiday spending clearly shows gas emitted in the United States from human activity. Carbon no signs of slowing down. The question then becomes: How can we focus more of dioxide, the other major ingredient in landfill gas, is the first.” those dollars into environmentally conscious practices? The effect of single-use waste is a year-round concern, but With inLieu, gift givers can get in the holiday spirit of charity and goodwill, the significant spike during the last few months of the year give thoughtful and personal presents and feel good about reducing their carmakes avoiding gift-material waste an easy way to be more bon footprint. environmentally conscious. “[When I donate,] I’m helping make an impact in a place that’s really, really Kathy Terry, co-founder of Austin-based P. Terry’s Burger important to that person,” Terry says. “I have a deeper connection with my Stand, recently launched an app to address this exact modern friends. I’m giving to social impact to make a change in the world. And I’ve just problem. inLieu is “the ultimate platform for charitable helped save the planet. It’s a no-brainer.” giving” and allows users to “make donations in lieu of

The holidays are a time for cherishing loved ones, great food and joyful music. But in the midst of all the holiday cheer, there’s a consequence that tends to go unaddressed in many households: gift-material waste.

HOW TO START THE CONVO

HOLIDAY WASTE BY THE NUMBERS

Get creative with this year’s gifts. In addition to giving donations in lieu of material gifts, there are other environmentally conscious ways to gift. Experiential presents like concert and movie tickets, as well as homemade gifts, reduce your carbon footprint while showing your loved ones how much they mean to you.

25 MILLION TONS

Avoid trendy gifts. Do you remember the fidgetspinner craze a few years ago? Consumers have since moved on, but those millions of trendy plastic toys are still out there. When giving material gifts, consider how long the recipient will actually use it—and how much waste it will create.

2.6 BILLION

Use packaging alternatives. Save some trees by using recycled wrapping paper and reusable packaging like decorative tins and boxes.

According to The Use Less Stuff Report, if every American family wrapped just three holiday gifts in reused materials (recycled wrapping paper, Sunday comics, magazine pages), it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.

Go digital. Skip the post office and send holiday cards online instead of through the mail.

28 |  AUSTIN WOMAN | DECEMBER 2019

Americans produce an additional 25 million tons of trash during the holiday season, mostly from packaging and giftwrapping materials. This amounts to about 1 million extra tons of garbage each week. The National Environmental Education Foundation notes Americans buy more than 2.6 billion Christmas cards each year, enough to fill a football field 10 stories high.

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C O L E T T E DAV E N P O R T

F O U N D E R A N D C E O O F B A D A S S E M PAT H U N I T E D

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s the founder and CEO of Badass Empath United, Colette Davenport gets to live her life’s purpose “leading empaths to their fullest potential so they can be the badasses they were born to be.” Davenport knows firsthand the struggle of being different in a world that values fitting in. She also knows the satisfaction and success that come from owning those differences and standing out. She believes people with empathic sensitivities are meant to develop their gifts and build businesses that leverage their emotional intelligence and intuitive guidance. As an international coach, speaker and author of Get Your Magic Back: Emotional Mastery for Empaths, Davenport is on a mission to help coaches and healers come out of hiding and claim their roles as leaders in the transformational space. Her next book, The Six Figure Healer, is slated to be out next year. colettedavenport.com

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ALLIE LINDENMUTH

F O U N D E R O F A N O O K AT H L E T I C S

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llie Lindenmuth is a mama, prenatal yoga teacher and entrepreneur who has worked with hundreds of women in Austin. With a background in the nonprofit sector and years of teaching yoga to mothers of all walks of life, Lindenmuth was always on the lookout for how to better serve the mothers of her community. When she became a mom in 2016, Lindenmuth noticed there was a huge gap in the athletic-apparel market. Due to the lack of high-quality maternity and postpartum workout gear, pregnant and nursing moms (herself included) were having to make their nonmaternity workout clothes work. Blending her passion to serve women and her love for all things yoga, Lindenmuth launched Anook Athletics. She believes motherhood is one of the biggest transitions in a female’s life, and support through this time is crucial. Lindenmuth wants all women to feel empowered to support their bodies physically, mentally and spiritually. anookathletics.com

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t Saving Face, it is the belief that a boutique injectable lounge should be more than a place where you come to treat wrinkles and shadows. It should be a sanctuary where you can find rejuvenation for your appearance, as well as for your heart, mind and spirit. Saving Face is a unique anti-aging-injectable-only boutique that specializes in relationships and conservative outcomes. This beautifully designed practice is perfect for anyone considering injectables for the first time or someone who is looking for a more intimate, comfortable setting without a clinical feel. Saving Face specialists take their time and offer an in-depth consultation, ensuring guests are fully informed and educated about the procedures they’re interested in. These ladies are at the top of their game in this industry and pride themselves on safe, natural results that leave you looking rested and feeling your best. At Saving Face, the mantra is: You have to look good to feel good to do good. savingfaceaustin.com

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ina Kress Faist is a seasoned marketing and sales professional and dedicated community servant. Family, philanthropy, fashion and food are her passions. Born and raised in Austin, she has seen the city grow in each of these areas and more. She is blessed to be an Austinite and is inspired by the designers who create beautiful spaces for their clients and manufacturers who create amazing products. Having received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing and entrepreneurship, she never thought of being in sales; she knew only the “usedcar salesman” way. But she’s happy that in her career, she now sees sales as a partnership with the accounts and brands she represents. And owning her own business provides the flexibility to raise her two children while being in an industry that values family just as much. Kress Faist is excited to see Austin continue to be a source of boutiques and showrooms to all design enthusiasts. ginakressfaist.com

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K AT I E H E I M A N D A M A N DA T U L L O S FOUNDER OF RE VOLUTIONS BOOKKEEPERS A N D F O U N D E R O F G R E E N E X U S C O N S U LT I N G

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ore than 25 years ago, Katie Heim and Amanda Tullos met and became friends. With a passion for real estate, they started The GetAlong Productions and recently made an investment in commercial property in South Austin. Heim is a QuickBooks-certified pro advisor and founder of Revolutions Bookkeepers, striving to provide unmatched support to clients while upholding a balanced, growth-oriented workspace for employees and cultivating a positive impact in the local business environment. Amanda Tullos, AIA, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-accredited professional, is the founder of GreeNexus Consulting, a sustainability-consulting firm with a vision of creating a regenerative future for people, nature and the built environment. Her team removes the barriers to creating a built environment, maximizing the triple bottom line of economic value, social responsibility and environmental impact. Heim and Tullos joined forces to bring commitment to sustainability, inclusion and innovation to the communities they serve. revatx.com, greenexus.com

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36 |  AUSTIN WOMAN | DECEMBER 2019


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CREATING A PATHWAY TO COLLEGE FOR CENTRAL TEXAS’ DIVERSE STUDENT POPULATION Some people are born determined to make a difference. Eva GarzaAs the first Hispanic chair-elect of the Breakthrough CenNyer, educator, counselor and Breakthrough Central Texas board tral Texas board, Garza-Nyer is paving the way not only for chair-elect, is such an individual. students to obtain hard-sought education, but for community With nearly 20 years of experience as an educator and college members from diverse backgrounds to get involved. advisor, Garza-Nyer works one-on-one with students and families at“Throughout my undergraduate, graduate and professional tempting to traverse the college-admissions process. She has dedicated journey,” Garza-Nyer says, “I struggled to connect with herself to Austin’s educational system in numerous ways. Garza-Nyer leaders who might fully understand the Mexican American spent four years working in the president’s office at the University of experience, mainly because of the poor representation of Texas, has taught at Austin Community College and served as a college this population in higher education and corporate America. counselor in the Austin Independent School District for 13 years. This There’s an unspoken power that exists when you can see is where she was introduced to Breakthrough. yourself in other successful people.” Garza-Nyer’s passion for helping teenagers Breakthrough Central Texas encourages plan for their future led her to establish Texas inclusion and multiplicity among students, staff “We are paving the way for College Advisor, an education-consulting and supporters. In addition to Garza-Nyer, students to be included company that helps families navigate the nine members of the board represent Central in circles society has told college-search process. Throughout the Texas’ Latino community. Additionally, nine years, she has helped increase the number board members are first-generation college them they can’t access.” of students who apply, enroll and complete graduates themselves. This diverse representatheir college education. tion echoes the organization’s makeup, as 76 “I have seen just how hard it is for far too many students,” Garza-Nypercent of students and 30 percent of staff are Hispanic. The er says. “It can be nearly impossible for students to get the kind of supsingle qualifier for Breakthrough students is that they must be port they need to navigate the complicated path to college, especially the first in their family to earn a college degree. for students who are the first in their families to go.” “Inclusion will always be foundational to what BreakThat’s where Breakthrough Central Texas comes in. For Garza-Nyer through Central Texas is all about,” Garza-Nyer says. “We and many other Austin-area educators and philanthropists, Breakare paving the way for students to be included in circles through is the solution to the education inequity facing students in society has told them they can’t access. By seeing individuals Central Texas. By partnering with students and their families on a supporting their goals who look like them, come from similar 12-year journey from sixth grade through college graduation, Breakbackgrounds and share culture, we are setting the precedent through Central Texas makes a transformative impact in the lives of that everyone deserves to be here. That sense of belonging is students, their families and our entire community. one of my biggest hopes for every Breakthrough student.”


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TEXAS TRIPPIN’

MARATHON 2 MARATHON They say the hardest part is getting there—including months of training to run this celebrated half-marathon in West Texas. BY HANNAH J. PHILLIPS

Photo courtesy of Hannah J. Phillips.

Standing at the starting line of my first half-marathon in the wilds of West Texas, I knew one thing for certain: Whatever I would face for the next 13.1 miles, I only had myself to blame. As a strip of red sky outlined the dark silhouettes of desert mountains, I shivered in the morning cold. Looking around at 100 other bundled runners, all lunging and stretching and queuing up their playlists, I confirmed a growing suspicion: My love of West Texas is officially out of hand.

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TEXAS TRIPPIN’

Starting out slow, I kept up my CG workouts, punctuated by neighborhood runs averaging 2 1/2 miles. My proudest training days were when I still managed to squeeze in a run during trips to Colorado and Canada. I couldn’t deny I was far behind the distance I needed to reach, but overcoming the mental hurdle of simply lacing up shoes and getting out there ended up being half the battle. “It’s all mental,” Travis LaFaitte, my CG trainer, told me two weeks before race day. By then, I was up to only 4 miles and worried my lack of preparation could result in injury. “If you can’t run, walk. Don’t jog,” he said, reminding me poor form is the biggest culprit. He affirmed my CG training would take care of the rest. I was less certain but did manage to clock 6 1/2 miles around Lady Bird Lake the Tuesday before the race. For better or worse, I decided since I had visualized at least half the time and distance, my brain could double it. Was that a scientific fact? Perhaps not. Did it help? Absolutely. Arriving the night before M2M, my race buddy and I traced our path down U.S. Route 385. Together, we made a race plan, picking out landmarks to celebrate along the way and deciding our main goal was simply to enjoy a beautiful morning in a place I hold dear. If that meant slowing down to take a better look, so be it. As it turns out, that permission gave me the momentum to run all 13.1 miles, coupled with the incredible camaraderie of the race itself. This year, there were more registrants in the race (500-plus) than permanent residents of Marathon (about 400), with the whole town either volunteering at water stops along the route or cheering at the finish line. The event is a Big Bend community affair: During the race, we met the principal of Marfa High School and ran a mile with a gallery owner from Alpine. One local police officer jogged the 5K in full uniform “on a dare.”

Photo courtesy of Hannah J. Phillips.

Tracing a scenic stretch of U.S. Route 385, the Marathon 2 Marathon finishes in the historic railroad town of Marathon, Texas. Founded in 1882, the town is surrounded by plains that reminded seafaring Capt. Albion E. Shepard of the Grecian village where a fabled messenger once sprinted news of victory to Athens. Now in its 17th year, M2M recalls that famous run, with all race proceeds directly benefiting local groups, including the Marathon Volunteer Fire Department and the Marathon Public Library. “The hardest part is getting there,” notes the M2M website, but I found the opposite to be true. While I don’t enjoy running, I’ll take any excuse to visit the Big Bend region. My obsession started two years ago. Alpine, Texas, was my first stop on a road trip to Montana, and I’ve made a point to go back to the area as often as possible. Each visit adds a new reason to return: Alpine’s Annual Artwalk, for example, or the longstanding chili cook-off in Terlingua, Texas. So, when a friend shared she was training for a half-marathon, I sent her the M2M link and told her to come to Texas. Before I knew it, we had both signed up. The problem, of course, is that this was in April, when Austin mornings still bear the promise of an occasional breeze. By May, even the wind gives up and stays inside. As a result, my summer “marathon program” consisted almost entirely of cross-training at Camp Gladiator in Austin. (I did sprint 3 miles through tall grass in San Angelo State Park in August, but I blame the overzealous ranger who warned me about snakes. That’s a story for a different time.) By September, the weather hadn’t changed, but I had to face the reality of my predicament. I had already paid the registration fee and agreed to host my friend from California. I knew it was a bad sign when the Nike Run Club app wouldn’t let me download training programs within eight weeks of race day, but there was no turning back.

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Those last few miles were the most difficult. U.S. Route 385 slants ever so slightly uphill before descending to meet U.S. 90 into Marathon. An old hamstring injury started nagging me near mile 9 about the same time a 40-mile wind came up from Big Bend. After mile 12, even Beyoncé couldn’t save me. But as Marathon came into view, with blue mountains beyond and a beer waiting at the Brick Vault Brewery, I did pick up the pace for that last mile. Crossing the finish line, we proudly received our halfmarathon medals before collapsing on the lawn in front of the Gage Hotel. Watching the rest of the runners pour in, we cheered as two local women in their 90s walked the 5K with their families. Afterward, everyone feasted on barbecue while the organizer, who owns the local grocery store, awarded custom M2M belt-buckle medals to winners from each age bracket. This year, a woman won the overall race for the first time, a historic moment I witnessed through tears, thanks, in part, to post-race endorphins. Full of barbecue, beer and peach cobbler, we spent the afternoon resting up for a Big Bend adventure the next day. After a short recovery hike and visit to the scenic loop along the Rio Grande in the state park, we relaxed at El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas, relishing outdoor showers and the cozy bed in our safari tent. Packing up on our last morning, I routed us through Fort Davis, Texas, resisting turns that would double back toward Marathon or buy us just a few more hours in Big Bend. The hardest part isn’t getting there; it’s having to head back home.

Photos courtesy of Hannah J. Phillips.

Closed Canyon Trail at Big Bend Ranch State Park

BEFORE THE RACE: TIPS FROM A NONRUNNER

AFTER THE RACE: TIPS FROM A WEST TEXAS LOVER

Real talk: Chafing is a fact of life on long-distance runs. To avoid it—or at least stave it off—run at least 6 miles in leggings of your choice before race day to test out the material, and give Body Glide For Her a try.

Drive some dirt roads in Big Bend Ranch State Park. With less traffic than the nearby national park, it offers equally magnificent hikes and views. We found two dog-friendly trails along River Road, which traces the Rio Grande between Presidio, Texas, and Terlingua, Texas, and makes for an excellent scenic loop back to Marfa, Texas.

Fun fact: Before 1972, men barred women from major marathons, apparently for fear their uteruses might fall out mid-race. Yes, that was less than 50 years ago, and no, your uterus will not fall out during a marathon—but your organs do take a beating. Among other unpleasant symptoms, nausea can last as long as a day, so post-race hydration is key. The right choice of shoes is the most important decision you can make. Even with the right pair, you may lose a toenail or two. They’ll grow back. And it’s all worth it, right?

Relax in Marfa at El Cosmico, where accommodations include trailers, teepees, yurts and safari tents. Serving excellent morning coffee, the hip hacienda is the perfect place to unwind before a day of exploring the nearby Chinati Foundation and local galleries. Leaving Marfa, take another scenic route toward Valentine, Texas, to check out the famous Prada Marfa installation before circling back on Texas 166 toward Texas 118 and back up Texas 17 to I-10. Passing Mount Livermore, Texas, this dramatic drive curves through the highest point on Texas highways.

The author’s sidekick, Lucy, at El Cosmico

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S

TYLE

TRENDS

RIOT, GIRL

Amp up your look to greet the new year with a bang. PHOTOS BY RUDY AROCHA STYLED BY NIKI JONES HAIR AND MAKEUP BY ALICIA BELLER MODELED BY HAVEN HABHAB SHOT ON LOCATION AT HOTEL ZAZA

Opposite page: Aidan by Aidan Mattox metallic jacquard offthe-shoulder puff-sleeve minidress, $220, Christian Louboutin Croc booties, $1,595, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, neimanmarcus.com; Vinca Tiger & Tail hoops, $38, available at Vinca, 1800 E. Fourth St., vincausa.com.

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Photo courtesy of Eli Halpin.

This page: Tibi Tech patent sleeveless bodysuit, $295; Herve Leger zebra-print pencil skirt, $990; Christian Louboutin Dirditta patent platform pumps, $875, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, neimanmarcus.com; Vinca Chef’s Knife earrings, $18, available at Vinca, 1800 E. Fourth St., vincausa.com.


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Pages 44 and 45: Aidan by Aidan Mattox V-neck sleeveless draped jersey cocktail dress, $113; Saint Laurent Hall glitter platform sandals, $895, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, neimanmarcus.com; Vinca XL rainbow earrings, $39, available at Vinca, 1800 E. Fourth St., vincausa.com. Page 46: Cinq á Sept Tous Les Jours Giles satin jogger pants, $265; Alice + Olivia Brenna sequined fitted puff-sleeve top, $395, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, neimanmarcus.com; Vinca sugar skull metallic gold earrings, $18, available at Vinca, 1800 E. Fourth St., vincausa.com. Page 47: Herve Leger ruffle-collar minidress, $1,490, available at Neiman Marcus, 3400 Palm Way, neimanmarcus.com.

HOTEL ZAZA AUSTIN Situated in the heart of the Warehouse District, Hotel ZaZa Austin marries big-city sophistication with authentic Texas style to create the city’s preeminent luxury hotel. Designed by Texas-based interior-design firm Design Duncan Miller Ullman, Hotel ZaZa Austin features 159 guest rooms and suites, including the brand’s over-the-top signature Magnificent Seven Suites and four concept suites. Hotel Zaza Austin offers a collection of individually themed suites, and guests can stay in a retro six-suite Palm Springs-inspired bungalow with bold bursts of color, intricate patterns and mod furniture or opt for the rock-’n’-roll-themed Back Stage Pass king suite dressed in rock-star fashion with animal prints, leather, velvet and a vibrant mix of furnishings and art. Hotel ZaZa Austin is complete with a destination-worthy spa, chic sky lounge and restaurant Group Therapy, craft cocktail bar Perfect Strangers, rooftop pool and cabana bar with panoramic downtown views, as well as ample meeting and event space. hotelzaza.com/austin

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ATXWOMAN.COM |  47


H

OME

AT HOME WITH

SARAH SNYDER

The CEO and founder of Chalkfulloflove shares a peek inside her winter wonderland. BY COURTNEY RUNN

At Sarah Snyder’s house, the lights and tinsel come out mid-October. She grew up as an after-Thanksgiving decorator, but with seasonal products to market and Instagram followers eager for her Pinterest-perfect décor, the Christmas tree now debuts a few months early.

Photos by Sarah Snyder.

“I ultimately want to be a source of inspiration for others when it comes to decorating,” Snyder says. “I hear it a lot from my followers that they don’t know how to put things together, so if I can give them examples of what I bought and how I put it together, I love helping them out.” Snyder moved to Austin in 2013 and started selling hand-lettered chalkboards on Etsy as she looked for a job. But what started as a side gig soon became a full-time job. She has since expanded her online Chalkfulloflove store to include mugs, candles, prints, sweatshirts and phone cases, all marked by her signature loopy cursive. With

Instagram-ready phrases like “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “It’s Fall Y’all” and her Gilmore Girls-themed “Stars Hollow Fall Festival” sweatshirt, Snyder deals in the currency of cozy, seasonal and feel-good items. Her products are essentially the Hallmark Channel come to life. Beyond decorating tips and aesthetically pleasing Instagram pictures, Snyder also hopes to offer her followers and customers practical advice about surviving the early days of entrepreneurship. She compiled all her advice from her first four years of running a small business into The Shop Talk Guide, a digital download for purchase that includes information about marketing, taxes, manufacturing, branding and more. She even includes links to where she buys specific product materials and what apps she uses for “serious lady bosses who are ready to take their businesses to the next level.”

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“I think, in my head, I am a minimalist decorator but in my heart, I am a more-is-more kind of lady with some hoarding issues. I tend to always enjoy the home with minimal decorations or neutral color schemes. But then I try to do it and I just can’t stop adding. I am always finding inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest.” —Sarah Snyder

Photos by Sarah Snyder.

The holiday season is busy for any business owner, but especially for one with seasonal products. Snyder says the “earlier you start marketing and planning, the better,” and this year, she got an extra-early start while on maternity leave. She gave birth to her daughter, Emerson, this summer, making this holiday season all the more special. “I am so excited to share my love of the holidays with Emerson! I can only hope she enjoys them as much as I do,” Snyder says. “I hope she remembers our home as warm, cozy and full of love, so much so that she would want to come home every holiday.”

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Welcome to the

Happy Hour From traveling to the border to learn about the refugee crisis to owning her struggles, Jamie Ivey is going first—but she wants you to come with her. Through her podcast, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, she’s challenging women to step outside their comfort zones. BY COURTNEY RUNN

|

PHOTOS BY ANNIE RAY

HAIR AND MAKEUP BY GERTIE WILSON SHOT ON LOCATION AT GUILD RED RIVER

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E

ach week, women throughout the country tune in to Jamie Ivey’s voice. They listen to her as they walk on the treadmill, do laundry, shop at the grocery store and commute to work. Even before upbeat background music can fill listeners’ ears, her voice starts each podcast episode the same way: “Hey friends, and welcome to The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast. I’m your host, Jamie, and I’m so glad you’re here.” Recording from her tiny-house studio in Dripping Springs, Texas, Ivey has a reach that extends well beyond Central Texas. As of midNovember, she had 5,800 reviews on the Apple podcast app, with an average five-star rating, and more than 90,000 followers on Instagram. As a Christian speaker and author in 2019, it would be odd if she didn’t have a podcast, but, unlike many of her peers, Ivey was a podcaster first, releasing her first episode in May 2014, before the podcast craze truly overtook the country. Each week, she chats with a different woman, their candor providing the feel of actually dropping in on happy hour with friends. A mom of four and a pastor’s wife, Ivey seems like someone you’d encounter in the carpool line or behind you at JuiceLand. While she might blend in walking past you at church, her fans recognize her because, to borrow fellow Christian media mogul Jen Hatmaker’s self-descriptor, she is “low-grade Christian famous.” In her book The Preacher’s Wife: The Precarious Power of Evangelical Women Celebrities, Kate Bowler addresses the concept of Christian celebrity, writing, “But in evangelical and Pentecostal Christian subcultures, these women garner the level of adoration (and scrutiny) and more often are associated with the entertainment industry. They must hire assistants to help them navigate gawking crowds or keep book signings from becoming therapy sessions as fans turned to them as gurus on marriage, parenting, miscarriage, singlehood and faith. Whatever they are called, they are not to be underestimated.” Ivey takes her platform seriously. She’s deeply aware that in a tense, polarized culture, she’s in a unique position to speak directly to women in a space where they’re comfortable. She can’t meet them for queso and margaritas, but she can let them listen in as she and her guests wrestle with everything from racial tension in the country to the refugee crisis at the border to adoption. One question guides her show: How can we let you think about something that is not part of your everyday life? The podcast is simple in nature, far-reaching in execution. Proximity to issues breaks down barriers and The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey allows listeners access to people and topics they might never encounter on their own. As Ivey looks past her own cultural background and worldview, she invites listeners to go with her. Five years in, Ivey has found her voice, her people and her mission. 52 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  DECEMBER 2019

Ivey grew up in Brownwood, Texas, and moved to the suburbs of Houston

in middle school. She graduated from Houston Baptist University and shortly after, married her husband, Aaron Ivey. After a stint in Tennessee, the couple moved to Austin in 2008 for Aaron Ivey to become a worship pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church, a nationally known church planted in Austin in 2002. In 2011, Jamie Ivey stumbled into the world of broadcasting after winning country radio station KVET-FM’s contest to find a new morning DJ. In the matter of a few weeks, she went from being a stay-at-home mom of four to DJing 6 a.m. radio shows and loving it. She had found her life’s purpose. But several months in, the dream became costly. Her children—two of whom she and her husband had recently adopted from Haiti—weren’t doing well, marriage was hard and the pressure mounted. Four months in to her dream job, she quit. While she had no regrets choosing her family, she grieved for her newfound hidden passion. A year and a half later, she was a guest on a friend’s podcast and left the experience thinking, “I could do that.” In 2014, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey was born. In the early days, she invited her real-life friends to come on the show and chat. She never expected it to be anything more than a fun hobby, a creative channel for her talk-show dreams. “If you listen to [episode one], it’s the worst thing you’ve ever heard,” Jamie Ivey says with a laugh. “In the most humble way, I’m so proud of that girl who just said, ‘I’m going to try this.’ ” In the beginning, she Skyped guests from her closet. Today, she records with real recording equipment and she only conducts interviews in person. Guests fly to her or she squeezes in recording at overlapping speaking gigs. Her live events sell out quickly and she travels the country speaking at conferences. Two decades ago, Jamie Ivey never would have imagined she would be a role model for other women because, for a long time, she didn’t feel safe in church, not because she had been a victim of the church but because she wasn’t sure her life would measure up to its rules. In 2018, she released her memoir, If You Only Knew, vulnerably detailing her childhood growing up in the church amid the purity culture of the 1990s and her double life of promiscuity. Two unplanned pregnancies that both ended in miscarriage during college left her wounded, broken and ashamed. Marrying a pastor was not in her plan; becoming a pastor’s wife—and all that label brings with it—felt impossible for someone with her past. Despite growing up in Christian culture, Jamie Ivey says she didn’t actually become a Christian herself, claim Jesus died and was resurrected, until after college. Unlike many pastors’ wives who bear the responsibility of checking off requisite boxes, Jamie Ivey is a refreshing break from that mold. With ink decorating her arm, she knows she doesn’t look like the stereotypical pastor’s wife either. “Pastors’ wives are real people,” Jamie Ivey writes in her book. “And if you’re in a church that creates a culture of putting its leaders on a pedestal, where they’re better than the rest of the church, I ask you to question how it’s affecting people who walk into your church feeling broken, in need of love and acceptance, and already not feeling good enough to receive it.” Pedestals have proven fragile in the past few years, particularly given the Christian community did not escape the reckoning of #MeToo. In February, the Houston Chronicle published a six-part series documenting the abuse of 700 sexual-assault victims during the course of 20 years within Southern Baptist denominations. Well-known pastors, leaders and entertainers have been accused of sexual assault, harassment and abuse. A social-media movement launched with the hashtag #ChurchToo, offering an opportunity to anyone who felt unsafe within the church— from sexual-assault survivors brushed aside by pastors to people with disabilities who felt their needs were never considered—to speak publicly about their experiences. Twitter has become a debate floor for clashing sanctions of Christianity to hash out doctrine, helping to sort who is willing to publicly decry injustice and believe victims of all forms from who remains uncertain or blatantly dismissive.


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“”

IF WE HAVE PRIVILEGE, HOW CAN WE ELEVATE PEOPLE WHO DON’T? THAT’S WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE TAUGHT ME AND THAT’S WHAT I’M LEARNING. —JAMIE IVEY

In each social-media debate, it seems for every outraged and wounded response, there is an accusation of overreacting or a plea to move forward in the knowledge that everyone makes mistakes. It is a familiar narrative bound to repeat. When grace and forgiveness are core doctrines, theology can be twisted in the hands of abusers and well-intentioned onlookers who neglect justice in exchange for consequence-free redemption. “There’s this powerful impact women are having on the culture right now,” says Kevin Peck, The Austin Stone’s lead pastor. “Power has been massively misused in our society. It’s a cyclical thing about humans. Whenever some group gets power, they misuse it. … God is greatly using women right now to uncover or reveal some massive misuse of power that’s happened in all segments of society.” With roughly 10,000 monthly attendees, The Austin Stone qualifies as a megachurch. (In her extensive research on the topic, Bowler defines a megachurch as “a Protestant congregation with more than 2,000 regular attendees, including both adults and children, in weekly worship services.”) Unlike many other megachurches, The Austin Stone seemingly avoids much of the baggage and stereotypes the label brings. Instead of one celebrity pastor as the face of the church, it intentionally has 12 who rotate preaching duties. Instead of filling a stadium on Sundays, the church meets at six locations throughout the city, several of them at high-school gyms and auditoriums. Instead of large internal events, the church partners with more than 200 local nonprofits, mobilizing its congregation to volunteer and donate en masse. Sunday mornings, the Ivey family is on the front row of The Austin Stone’s downtown location in the Austin High School gym. Heads turn to catch glimpses of the Ivey kids (they regularly make cameos on their mom’s Instagram account and have their own fans) but otherwise, it’s difficult to tell them apart from any other family. “[The Iveys] are the celebrities you would meet that don’t smell like celebrity when you meet them,” Peck says. “I think that’s what’s so appealing, particularly about Jamie on her podcast, is that the Jamie you get on her podcast is actually the Jamie you get in her living room.”

J

amie Ivey asks her followers to step out of their comfort zones but she doesn’t ask them to go alone. She steps forward first. Oct. 13, she posted on Instagram: “I woke up this morning to the news that another black citizen was killed in their own home, minding their own business. ... Today, all I have to offer is my sadness for all of my brothers and sisters here in America that live daily with fear because of the color of their skin.” It is an ache close to her heart. With three adopted black children, Jamie Ivey worries about raising her children in this country. As a family, they recently watched When They See Us, a Netflix miniseries about the 1989 Central Park rape case that led to the wrongful conviction of five teenage boys of color. The next day on the way to school, Jamie Ivey asked one of her black sons how he felt after watching it. His answer: scared. Earlier this summer, after watching a documentary about Martin Luther King Jr. and the way the media portrays young men of color losing their lives, Jamie Ivey had a similar conversation with one of her sons that ended in a poignant question: “Will this ever happen to me?” “I can’t look at my son and say, ‘That will never happen to you.’ I can’t do that. I can’t lie to him like that. How do I know? ...” her voice fades as it cracks. “He’s a black boy in America.” Jamie Ivey credits her children with opening her eyes to the realities of living in America as a person of color. “If we have privilege, how can we elevate people who don’t?” she asks. “That’s what my friends have taught me and that’s what I’m learning.” This fall, she traveled to El Paso, Texas, with 12 other women, then on to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to meet with refugees seeking asylum. Her friend Tess Clarke asked her to join the trip as an opportunity to learn about the border crisis firsthand. “All women have a space in their communities and churches and families where they are the credible voice and so, we know not everyone can go bear witness but if we can provide opportunities for women to go, we know that that witness will multiply,” Clarke says. “That’s really our goal with those trips…to allow people to see for themselves, to hear for themselves and then to come back to their communities and tell those stories so that they’ll go forward and we can change the way people see immigrants, change the way people see migrants, see asylum seekers, see refugees.” ATXWOMAN.COM |  55


As the director of the nonprofit We Welcome Refugees, Clarke works to educate evangelical women about the topic of immigration and the refugee crisis. Last year, she was included in a profile by The New York Times about longtime Republican women in Texas who were voting for Democrat Beto O’Rourke. She also appeared on the publication’s podcast, The Daily, to explore her relationship between her faith and politics. Before her trip with Clarke, Jamie Ivey admits she didn’t think the border crisis deeply affected her everyday life. As a Christian, she says the plight of refugees and separated families should “break her heart,” but in reality, it was a passing thought in her day. While in Mexico, she met a man who fled Guatemala after he was threatened with violence for demanding justice for a girl in his apartment building who was molested. He left behind his wife and three children in hopes of keeping them safe. “I met a man who would walk to the ends of the earth to get a better life for his kids and to save his life so he could be a better dad,” Jamie Ivey says. “It changes the narrative. I’m not solving any political problems here but I’m saying with every kind of issue, when you see somebody and hear somebody, it changes the lens that you see the problem through.” The day she got back, she released her podcast episode with Clarke and posted on Instagram that her “eyes and ears were opened.” Anticipating pushback simply based on the topic, she included a disclaimer: “Friends, if you hear the topic of this show and think this episode might be a political one, let me just tell you it isn’t. This episode will encourage you to lean in and listen more, and to view things that others will call a political issue as very much a humanity issue.” And because her followers trust her, they listened.

2020 is fast approaching and with it, the U.S. presidential

election. Since 2016, the Christian community, and specifically evangelicalism, has fractured in self-examination, forcing its leaders to take clear stances and enter the political foray like never before. “I wasn’t vocal in the [2016] election,” Jamie Ivey says. “I just have never found politics my lane. I still don’t find politics my lane but I’m feeling this it-doesn’t-matter-if-it’s-your-lane-or-not tension in 2020.” One way she’s combatting the tension is through a new podcast she’s launching in the spring with her husband. Called On The Other Side, the new podcast will have the couple interviewing people who have been through significant life changes in hopes of sparking conversation about the human side of politicized issues. She also has a second book set to publish in the fall, more events scheduled for the new year and, as always, weekly episodes of The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. When the world feels heavy, Jamie Ivey is tempted to bury her head in the sand. The latest tattoo on her right arm reminds her there is hope, there is purpose. It’s a piece still in progress: Orange ink spills over black, spotlighting a single flame on her forearm. “[The world] feels super dark,” she says. “I want to be a light. I want my kids to be a light. I want people to look and say there’s something different, and I hope they hear that through this show, every time I speak, through books, every time I meet people. I just want the love of God, the light, to shine.”

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“”

I’M NOT SOLVING ANY POLITICAL PROBLEMS HERE BUT I’M SAYING WITH EVERY KIND OF ISSUE, WHEN YOU SEE SOMEBODY AND HEAR SOMEBODY, IT CHANGES THE LENS THAT YOU SEE THE PROBLEM THROUGH. —JAMIE IVEY

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TO THE

RESCUE

As part of an elite team of emergency-rescue helicopter nurses, the women of Travis County Star Flight are everyday heroes putting their lives on the line to perform high-risk, lifesaving missions. BY JENNY HOFF | PHOTOS BY TAYLOR PRINSEN

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T

ravis County Star Flight is considered one of the premier emergency-rescue helicopter services in the country. It also employs more female rescue nurses than any other organization of its kind. The current team of 34 providers includes four women, a milestone for the industry. Star Flight does more than just provide critical care and quickly transport injured people to the hospital. The team performs dangerous still- and swift-water rescues, search and rescue operations, high-angle rescues, firesuppression and aerial-reconnaissance services, and law safety assistance. For Ashley Voss-Liebig, Jennifer Roberts, Rita Sears and Holly Kareiva, it’s not just a job; it’s a personal mission. DAY SHIFT: 7 A.M. TO 7 P.M. It’s a gray and rainy morning. I-35 is in the throes of rush-hour traffic and the slick roads set the scene for likely accidents to come. The Star Flight hangar is bustling with activity as the pilot, medics and nurses complete a lengthy safety checklist and set out their gear. The atmosphere is both serious and playful; each crew member meticulously completes his or her checks while also engaging in some good-natured jabs with each other. It’s clear this group is more than simply a bunch of co-workers. “We’re more like a dysfunctional family,” Ashley Voss-Liebig, Travis County Star Flight head nurse and clinical supervisor, says with a laugh. “As a crew, we have to feel very safe with our team. Even if we don’t always like each other, we love and respect each other.” This particular morning, Voss-Liebig is with crew chief Jennifer Roberts, whose job it will be to lower other rescuers down on the hoist into whatever precarious situations they confront: floods, wildfires, accidents. While directing the hoist is slightly less hazardous than being attached to it, the task comes with more stress. Roberts must perform her duty exactly right to ensure the safety of her rescuer and patient. There is no room for error. Windy and rainy days like this one don’t make the job any easier. “Every hoist rescue is crazy,” Roberts says. “Even though we train all the time, when you actually do it in real life, it’s always stressful.” While rescuer fatalities are rare, this is a dangerous job that requires absolute precision. Just before Roberts and Voss-Liebig joined Star Flight, another rescue nurse, Kristin McLain, died during a rescue mission when her carabiner detached from the hoist and she fell 100 feet. An investigation concluded she was not properly attached to the helicopter’s hoist system. McLain was a seven-year veteran of Star Flight, and her loss hit the community and tight-knit crew hard. The hangar where the crew is prepping this gray morning is now named for her.

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“It can be dangerous,” Roberts says. “But you have trust in the procedures and policies. If you’re always thinking, ‘What if?’ you can’t do your mission.” Both Roberts and Voss-Liebig are no strangers to dangerous jobs. Though Voss-Liebig started her adult life as a lobbyist with aspirations to become a senator, her course changed when she joined the U.S. Army after 9/11 and completed a tour of duty in Yusufiyah, Iraq, in a region known as the Triangle of Death. “I knew I didn’t want to hurt people, so I joined the medic unit,” she says. “I did well. It turned out I could keep my cool under pressure, run fast and obey orders. All of my comrades were coming in injured or dying, and I was able to mother all of them, look after them, and it felt like I had found my thing.” Today, Voss-Liebig considers herself the mother hen of the Star Flight crew. She’s emotionally aware and protective of her colleagues. She spends a good deal of her working hours educating other EMS workers, teaching them how to handle stressful situations. It’s not a role she leaves at work. She’s also mother to a 12-year-old girl, Ainsleigh, who Voss-Liebig encourages to think for herself and work hard. “She understands commitment and that she isn’t the center of the universe,” Voss-Liebig says. “She understands Mommy has a super-cool job and that I’m part of a team, and she’s proud that her mommy is one of the only women who does this.” As a mom, Voss-Liebig admits some of the rescues she’s had to perform on children were especially hard. “Not long ago, I was called out to a rescue where a 4-year-old boy—who looked so much like my daughter at that age—was trapped under a vehicle,” she says, her eyes watering at the memory. “We knew that the likelihood of him surviving would be nil. I just remember thinking that we were playing God, trying to resuscitate this child that didn’t have a chance. Was that the right thing to do?” The child died at the hospital, where his family had to make the decision to remove life support. Weeks later, Voss-Liebig spoke to the family, and she came out of that conversation feeling much better. The family had been grateful they could at least donate their son’s organs. “In every single one of these emergencies, these are people,” Voss-Liebig says. “Each person is someone’s someone, and you can’t fix it for them all the time. We’re fixers; we want to fix everything and we don’t always get to.” After every rescue, the team conducts a debriefing meeting to discuss how they could have done better, how they could have moved faster and how they could have shaved seconds off their response time. “After a difficult rescue or high-stress situation, it takes a toll,” Roberts says. “I’m mentally replaying my actions and always asking myself, ‘What could I have done better?’ I’m trying to find the smallest lesson and improvements for next time.”


come in at the last minute if a crewmate gets sick. Roberts admits it can Despite such constant and uncomfortable questioning, Roberts knew put added pressure on personal life. at a young age she was meant to rescue people. As a teenager working as “If I get called in on a day off or when my shift is over, my girlfriend a ski patroller in Maine, she witnessed a helicopter rescue that changed will sometimes ask, ‘Why you? Why does it have to be you?’ ” she says. “I her career plan from doctor to rescue nurse. have to remind her that I signed up for this. I was asked She went on to study nursing at the University in my job interview how I could commit and I said, ‘I’m of Utah and worked in hospital emergency rooms all in.’ ” for five years before taking to the skies with a As crew chief, Roberts is often in charge of hoist flight program in Phoenix, where she stayed for rescues, which are used when a situation is so critical nine years. Star Flight was the pinnacle, however, ground EMS can’t reach a patient in time or the victim and she was thrilled when she made it to the team is in a place an ambulance can’t get to. Roberts lowers a in 2015, joining at the same time as Voss-Liebig. rescue nurse, who is attached with a carabiner to a cord, The application and training program for into the scene. Star Flight is rigorous, with an intense physical“In my first rescue, I lowered our nurse into the fitness test and in-person interviews for only the Greenbelt, where someone had fallen about 40 feet,” best of the best. Applicants must demonstrate a – crew chief Jennifer Roberts she says. “He then detached himself, got the patient, did dedication not only to extreme teamwork, but stabilizing procedures and packed them to then hoist out. Once I lifted also a commitment to the time-consuming lifestyle. them, we got to the hospital in less than two minutes.” With three 12-hour days of work a week (7 a.m. to 7 p.m., followed by While the work is stressful, Roberts says she couldn’t imagine doing 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and then 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.), downtime is usually spent anything else. The ability to help people in some of the most critical recuperating and getting back to a normal sleep schedule. Since Star situations offers her a different perspective on life. Flight is funded by the government (as opposed to most flight-rescue “It shows you how fragile life is,” she says. “You really can’t take teams in the country, which are for-profit), its Dell Children’s Star Flight anything for granted. I’m just grateful and thankful for what I have.” helicopter operates 24/7, meaning the small team is always prepared to

“”

Every hoist rescue is

crazy.

ATXWOMAN.COM |  61


NIGHT SHIFT: 7 P.M. TO 7 A.M. When crew chief Rita Sears and Holly Kareiva, the newest nurse on the Star Flight team, show up for work, the sun has already set behind the Star Flight helicopter, this one parked on the roof of Dell Children’s Medical Center. Travis County Star Flight helicopters are unique in that they’re the only of their kind used by a rescue team in the United States. Made in Italy and costing more than $8 million each, the AW169s are too expensive for private rescue services to buy. They are decked out with top-of-the-line safety features, making them the ideal rescue vehicles for Travis County Star Flight. Unlike Star Flight’s previous helicopters, they have two engines and are fully automated to land themselves if necessary. Sears is a one-woman rescue machine, described by her colleagues as “incredibly strong.” It’s no wonder. She’s not only a certified nurse practitioner, paramedic and rescue nurse; she’s also a trained firefighter. Why? “So I can fight fires,” she says, confused by the absurdity of the question.

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Like Voss-Liebig, Roberts and Kareiva, she has many years of hospital-emergency-room nursing experience and flight-nurse expertise from previous jobs. While she isn’t fazed by much, she admits some rescues are tougher than others. “In my first swift-water rescue, I was lowered down to get a man who was clinging to a tree with water up to his chest,” Sears recalls. “Only when I hit the roof did I see he was standing on his car. That’s how high the water was. We safely removed him, but when I got home, it really hit me how dangerous that situation was for me too.” But it’s not always the most dangerous rescues that are the most jarring. “Attempted suicides are rough,” Sears says, “because you get them, but you know, in the end, their suicide will be successful.


But you think, ‘If I can get them to the hospital, their family can make a decision to donate their organs.’ So, sometimes you have to look for the silver lining.” It can be a heavy load to bring home. With a fiance in the military, Sears says she prefers to hike and exercise on her days off, to feel the calm of nature to balance the intensity of work. The schedules can be intense too. With four weekends on the job followed by four weekends off, it can be tough to maintain relationships. Kareiva says her last relationship ended partially because her partner couldn’t handle her schedule. Her current boyfriend is more understanding. “We just make big plans on the weekends we have together to make up for the ones we’re apart,” Kareiva says. Sometimes that means booking a flight for a getaway the day before,

only once she is certain she won’t be called into work. But the emotional toll, late nights and danger are all worth it, she says, because she gets to experience her purpose every day. “I was involved in a rescue where this guy was in a tree on the side of the cliff,” she says. “After I rescued him, I thought, ‘I’ve been a nurse for nine years, but today, I actually saved a guy’s life.’ I just wanted to do it again and again so I can keep getting better.” With four brothers, Kareiva says she feels at home working with mostly men in the male-dominated field she’s chosen. But, she admits, in the beginning, it was a bit daunting. “My first rescue, when I hoisted in, I was going over all the steps in my head,” she says. “When I got down there, there were 20 big, burly firefighters I had to tell what to do. Afterwards, I thought, ‘On my next rescue, I need to exude more confidence to manage the situation.’ ” What Kareiva and Sears say they do bring a little more of to rescue missions is communication, which comes less from their being female and more from their backgrounds in hospital work, they say. “I think we see the families more,” Sears says. “We’ll go over and introduce ourselves and explain what’s happening. I like to think we bring a gentler touch to the situation.”

A CONVERSATION WITH THE LIFESAVING LADIES OF TRAVIS COUNTY STAR FLIGHT Austin Woman: What is it like working mostly with men, especially during 12-hour shifts? What is the dynamic like? Ashley Voss-Liebig: “The guys that we work with here are just awesome. We are 100 percent equal, respected and loved. They have gone out of their way to make sure we are successful. Several of them are older than us. It’s like having these big brothers who are constantly looking out to make sure you’re good. We all bring something different. I’m soft like a mama bird. Jen will get on their butts if something needs to happen. I think it’s good for them.” AW: What is absolutely necessary to work in the emergency-rescue/medical field? Jennifer Roberts: “Confidence in yourself is what we all have in common. I’m not as strong as Rita or as fast as Holly, but we all have confidence in our own capabilities.” AW: On the job, is there a constant adrenaline rush or is there a lot of downtime? Holly Kareiva: “Some days are super busy and some days, you don’t go out at all. I walk in the door and I never know what’s going to happen. I like the organized chaos of it all.” AW: What do you like most about your job? Rita Sears: “I really feel like I make a difference in somebody’s day. I feel that, because of me, someone’s day is not as bad as it could have been.”

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G

OURMET

RECIPE REVEAL

SOUP’S ON!

Bring a bowl of warmth to your family this chilly holiday season with Tamale House East’s prized family recipe for tortilla soup.

Photo courtesy of Juan Valera.

BY SABRINA LEBOEUF

64 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  DECEMBER 2019


Tamale House has been a part of the Valera family and the Austin community since 1958, longer than many locals can remember and definitely longer than most current Austinites have called the city home. The first location was opened by Diane Valera’s parents at 100 Congress Ave., and other family members later opened their own branches that have since closed. Now the legacy continues with Tamale House East, owned and operated by Valera’s five children. Valera and her daughter Carmen Valera lead the restaurant that’s been serving Austinites for more than 60 years. Together, they create new menu items to feed their repeat customers, as well as visitors from far-off places who find Tamale House East without the help of billboards or traditional advertising. Customers find their way to the restaurant’s famous migas, breakfast tacos, dinner plates, enchiladas and tamales by word-of-mouth. When Austin starts to cool off in November, the Valeras bring their beloved tortilla soup back to the menu. Like the restaurant, the tortilla soup recipe has been with the family for years on end. For Diane Valera and Carmen Valera, the tortilla soup was just “chicken soup” growing up, and Carmen Valera fondly remembers eating it at her grandma’s house on cold days. “We’re a big family,” Carmen Valera says. “During the holidays, one of the easiest things to do to feed a big family is to make—and it wouldn’t be too expensive to do that for the whole family—to make a big pot of soup.”

TAMALE HOUSE EAST’S FAMILY TORTILLA SOUP

Ingredients 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 medium white onion (half sliced, half diced) 4 garlic cloves 1 level tablespoon caldo de pollo chicken bouillon powder 4 dried cascabel chile peppers 2 tomatoes, diced Chile paste to taste Tortilla strips, fried (for garnish) Avocado, sliced (for garnish) Monterey Jack cheese, grated (for garnish) Directions 1. Boil the chicken breasts, salt, black pepper, sliced onion, garlic cloves and chicken bouillon powder for about 45 minutes. Once done, remove the chicken, shred it and set it aside. Save the broth. 2. B  oil the cascabel chile peppers in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes or until soft. Once soft, blend the deseeded peppers in 2 cups of the water they were boiled in, strain and set the chile pepper broth aside. 3. In the saved chicken broth, add the shredded chicken, diced onion, diced tomatoes, chile pepper broth and chile paste to taste. Boil all these ingredients for about 20 minutes. 4. Serve the tortilla soup in a bowl garnished with fried tortilla strips, sliced avocado and grated Monterey Jack cheese. For added cold-weather comfort, serve the soup with a side of Spanish rice.

ATXWOMAN.COM |  65


G

OURMET

AMUSE

HAVE A BLUE CHEESE CHRISTMAS

Spread & Co. Co-owner Rosemary Ewald shares her tips for crafting the perfect holiday cheese board. CHEESE PICKS Blue: CKC Farms’ Baby Blue Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company’s Bay Blue Jasper Hill Farm’s Bayley Hazen Blue Carr Valley Cheese Company’s Penta Creme Semi-firm/Firm: Milton Creamery’s Flory’s Truckle Parish Hill Creamery’s Reverie Soft and Bloomy: Sweet Grass Dairy’s Green Hill Tulip Tree Creamery’s Trillium

THINK OUTSIDE THE RIND: FAVORITE CHEESE-BOARD ADDITIONS nuts fresh fruit jam mustard

honey pickles dehydrated fruit

pate de foie gras hard salami prosciutto

TRIED-AND-TRUE PAIRINGS soft and bloomy cheeses + berry jam blue cheese + dark chocolate aged cheeses + nuts washed rinds, smelly cheeses and cheddars + pickles and whole-grain mustard

Cheesy tip: For the best flavor, bring your board out of the fridge about an hour before serving so the cheese comes to room temperature.

66 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  DECEMBER 2019

Photo by Julia Keim.

Cheesy tip: Plan to serve 1.5 ounces of cheese and .75 ounce additional charcuterie per person.


W

ELLNESS

WAITING ROOM

UNDER THE WEATHER

Seasonal depression is a real disorder, but it’s only a temporary setback with the right tools. STORY AND PHOTO BY BRIANNA CALERI Julia Stempko, a certified yoga trainer and wellness marketer who grew up in Round Rock, Texas, already knew she had depression but thought she was backsliding. Living in Portland, Ore., she struggled to convince herself to wake up in the dark fall months and start her day. “It feels like waking up on the wrong side of the bed and then feeling paralyzed by that negative feeling,” Stempko says. The yogi learned her worsened depression was directly tied to the changing seasons and found new ways to maintain a balanced life year-round. Now she lives in Austin, where the climate makes seasonal depression less common—although not obsolete—and she makes sure to get outside, maintain her gratitude journal, use an ambient alarm clock for a gentler morning and more. “I don’t do anything too ritualistically,” Stempko says, “but I do have an arsenal of tools I can pull from to address what I’m feeling.” Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is like regular depression, but it only lasts a few months each year. It’s a real, medically recognized mood disorder, and although it can be mild, it can worsen existing depression or be just as severe on its own. The sunlight we receive from day to day sets biological rhythms and produces hormones that help us sleep an appropriate amount and regulate moods. Sun exposure measurably affects serotonin production, vitamin D production and the functionality of the hypothalamus, which can lead to altered emotional responses. Although SAD is usually associated with a lack of sun in the fall and winter, it can also happen during the spring and summer seasons, when too much sun brings out the more agitated and manic qualities of the disorder, which can accompany depressive episodes. Central Texas’ inhospitably hot summers can also get Austinites feeling down, either because of actual sun intake or because it’s harder to enjoy outdoor activities and get together with friends.

FIGHTING SAD Always be aware. Seasonal Affective Disorder can happen at any time of year, and temporary symptoms can be just as serious as long-term concerns. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Stay physically active, see friends regularly and learn positive self-talk. Try tools like meditation, journaling and limiting tech use at night. Listen to science. SAD is a medical disorder and can’t always be whisked away with positive intentions. Light therapy, vitamin D and antidepressants can provide a muchneeded positive push. Seek help. Different networks can offer different kinds of help. Keep your friends close and understand the specific strengths of a general practitioner, psychiatrist and therapist. Robyn Zymowski

68 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  DECEMBER 2019

Robyn Zymowski, a licensed professional counselor, puts a special emphasis on the importance of situational factors in depression. Moving from Boston to Austin, she noticed a dramatic decrease in people with seasonal depression, but she knows not to brush off the little things. Signs of depression include social isolation, poor energy and concentration, increased negative self-talk and thought patterns, sleep disturbances and weight change. In contrast, Zymowski says she could spot a manic episode if someone had excessive energy despite a dramatic lack of sleep, was irritable, lacked boundaries, developed addictive tendencies or became obsessed with certain topics. Those looking for help can turn to several sources. Zymowski suggests first visiting a general practitioner for bloodwork and a check of thyroid activity and vitamin levels. If those results are normal, she suggests sufferers visit a psychiatrist or psychiatric clinic. Professional help can include light therapy (exposure to special lamps that mimic sunlight) and cognitive behavioral therapy (training a defense against negative thoughts), among endless other therapeutic practices. An even more accessible approach for people with a vitamin D deficiency is available over the counter. With or without medical guidance, there are hundreds of ways to find more balance and joy in the world every day. People with SAD—and everyone else—can benefit from keeping plants in the house; practicing meditation; limiting tech use, alcohol and processed foods; and especially maintaining a strong network of support. To be that network for someone else, Zymowski recommends simply asking how friends are doing and giving an open, empathetic response. Most people can relate to feeling sluggish, especially in winter months. Inviting friends out—or even enjoying a movie together at home—can often give them the excuse they need to stop isolating. Thankfully for Austinites, this city is one of the best in the country for getting outside year-round and weathering a not-too-cold winter.


Sponsored Content

HOW TO KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO FILE FOR DIVORCE Divorce attorney Janet McCullar answers your questions. BY JANET MCCULLAR

January is a busy month for divorce lawyers, who often see people who don’t want to spend another holiday with their spouse. Whether or when to file for divorce is an extremely personal choice, but here are some frequently asked questions that might help you with your decision.

Most of all, if you are worried about whether to stay or go, stop torturing yourself. Go see a divorce lawyer. Gather information. Learn about your rights. Don’t take divorce advice from friends, family or your spouse; they are almost always wrong. Talk to a divorce lawyer instead.

How will I know it is time to file for divorce?

Most people agonize about or contemplate divorce for years before they actually file for divorce. There are many aspects to consider: impact on children, relationships with family and financial security. If you’ve been contemplating divorce, gathering information by meeting with a lawyer can help you to process your decision. Trust yourself too. Give yourself all the time you need to make the decision. You will know when it is time.

Are there times when a person must file for divorce? Rarely. However, there are times when it may be strongly recommended or even urgent. Have you discovered your spouse has cut you off financially? Has your spouse made a threat to take your children? Have you been injured by your spouse or been scared by a threat to harm you physically or financially? If you are worried or scared for any reason, see a divorce lawyer.

What if I am scared physically or financially?

If you are being abused, leave right away. If you can, make a safe departure without saying you are leaving. Keep a set of keys and some cash in a safe place that you can easily access if you have to leave immediately. If you have children, it’s OK to take them with you; it doesn’t mean you will lose your home or your children. If you are worried about safety or finances, talking to a lawyer can help. Don’t worry if you don’t know about your finances. A divorce lawyer will help get you the information you need.

Can I get a legal separation?

In some states, there is a process for legal separation, but that is not the case for Texas. Part of the divorce process is figuring out who is going to live where, how finances will be handled and visitation with children. Filing for divorce doesn’t always mean divorce. Sometimes people file for divorce and later reconcile.

Photo by Caitlin Candelari.

I’ve been given divorce papers. What do I do?

The papers may look overwhelming to you and may make you feel angry or hurt. They may be hard to understand. They may look bad and worry you. Most divorce papers have a lot of dos and don’ts. But most divorce papers just contain a lot of legalese. If you’ve been given divorce papers, see a divorce lawyer right away.

Janet McCullar is a nationally respected trial attorney known for her skill and success in the courtroom. She has represented clients in hundreds of complex divorce and custody cases. Although she represents clients during trying times, her cases are routinely resolved amicably to save the client the time, cost and pain involved in litigation. McCullar is board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She was also selected as a fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, an organization that consists of the nation’s top divorce attorneys.

The Law Office of Janet McCullar, P.C. | 3200 Steck Ave., Suite 300, Austin | 512.342.9933 | jmccullarlaw.com


W

ELLNESS

HER ROUTINE

BAZAAR WORKOUT

Austin music legend Eliza Gilkyson stays in shape by rockin’ out at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar this month. BY GRETCHEN M. SANDERS

Don’t tell Eliza Gilkyson singing isn’t exercise. The two-time Grammy Award nominee burns calories every time she belts out her songs.

“The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is go back to bed. I wake up at 4:30 a.m., read for a while and go back to sleep until 8:30 or 9 a.m. I like to stretch in bed before I get up, even in hotel rooms.” THE WORKOUT:

“I carry well over 100 pounds of gear and suitcases when I tour. I do exercises at home to build muscle so I can run through airports or climb stairs with all of my gear. I focus on keeping my knees strong. I have a stationary bike in my house that also works my arms, and I ride it for at least 20 minutes every day. It gets my heart rate up, stretches my knees and helps me build strength. When I exercise on the road, I go to hotel fitness centers or walk outside. I must have

Photo by Robert Jensen.

“Singing is yoga,” she says. “I’m onstage for hours at a time, moving so much oxygen through my body. It’s a great workout.” Gilkyson, one of the world’s most respected Americana, folk and roots musicians, grew up in a musical family in Los Angeles and has made 20 records in her nearly 50-year career. She moved to Austin in 1981, and, at age 69, still rocks this town—and stages worldwide. Austinites have the chance to see Gilkyson work out—and rock out— for two hours at this year’s Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, a gig she started playing in the 1970s. The Austin Music Hall of Famer takes the bazaar stage with her full band at the Palmer Events Center at noon Dec. 14. Here’s how this singer, songwriter and activist keeps the beat.

THE A.M.:

70 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  DECEMBER 2019


good genes because I really don’t exercise very hard. I’m not motivated to work out, but I am motivated by pleasure and nature. I will push myself up a hill because it feels good to move my body, not because I need a workout.” THE DIET:

“I’m more disciplined with nutrition than I am with exercise. I eat mostly vegetables, grains and organic fish and chicken. I don’t eat gluten or sugar and I don’t drink alcohol or smoke. I haven’t had a cup of coffee in 40 years. Sticking to my diet gets tricky when I travel, and sometimes I’m just starving on the road. I carry curry bouillon cubes with me and an assortment of teas to tide me over until I reach food. I keep snacks backstage, and I go to Whole Foods. (There’s one everywhere and sometimes when you’re on the road and hungry, you’re just so glad they’re there.) I buy certain basics and keep them in my hotel fridge or collapsible cooler. I usually eat Thai food when I go out to dinner. Curry is so comforting on the road.”

Thank you for a banner year at Hospice Austin’s Beauty of Life!

Presenting Sponsor Texas Oncology

THE GEAR:

“I have an amazing guitar, a 1951 Gibson. It’s an acoustic guitar but it has an electric pickup, so it has two fabulous, completely different sounds. I can get a rock sound from it, and then I can change the jack and get a really beautiful acoustic sound. I carry it on my back when I travel. I also carry one suitcase for my gear and one for my clothes. They can weigh at least 50 pounds each. I bring a pedalboard for my guitar and a stomp box for beatboxing, along with heavy songbooks and at least 60 or 70 CDs to sell. For stage clothes, I pack a black blazer, two Western shirts, a pair of black pants and one jacket. I bring herbs, vitamins, supplements and salves with me. It’s like a small apothecary shop. People make fun of me for always wearing black, but I have to keep things simple, especially when I’m traveling through different climates. I just went from the frozen tundras of Winnipeg and Alberta, Canada, down to Los Angeles, where temps were in the high 80s and low 90s. The other day, I caught a ferry, hauling all of my gear, and there were no [luggage] carts. That’s why I have to stay fit.”

Beauty of Life chairs Robin Banister, Amanda Poses, and Katie Starley with Emcee Erin Cargile of KXAN News.

Presenting Sponsor Heritage Title

THE MOTIVATION:

“I don’t know who I am if I’m not making music. I get such satisfaction from performing. It’s how I make a living, and I love what I do. I want to stay healthy so I can do it until the end of my days.” THE MINDSET:

“Be human. Strip yourself down and be authentic. People don’t care if you make a mistake. They care about how you react to your mistake.”

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THE P.M.:

“I could easily go to bed around 9 p.m., but if I stay up until 10 or 11 p.m., then I get a second wind. Often, that’s when I go into my office to write songs. I stay up until 1 a.m. most days. The last thing I do before bed is tell my husband how much I love him.”

Media sponsor AUSTIN WOMAN MAGAZINE ATXWOMAN.COM |  71


P

OINT OF VIEW

ON THE MONEY

DON’T BREAK THE BANK

Channel your holiday spirit on a shoestring with these easy ways to experience more and spend less this holiday season. BY JENNY HOFF 1. Decorate with items from Austin’s awesome thrift stores. We often think of gifts and food as the most expensive parts of the holiday season, but at $50 to $100 for a holiday wreath, decorating can eat up more of your budget than you might anticipate. Thrift stores are great for finding beautiful holiday decorations for your home. But unless you’re extremely patient and good at sifting through heaps of stuff to find those few hidden treasures, you should plan ahead. Head to a department store first for some decorating ideas and snap a few photos with your smartphone to use as inspiration when you hit the thrift stores. 2. Host a different kind of party. Getting together with friends and family is what the season is all about. Gathering warms the soul when it’s cold outside and keeps our spirits high, even when we’re getting less sunshine and vitamin D. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a fancy holiday dinner party, consider hosting an alternative get-together that’s much more budget-friendly. A potluck cuts food costs, a wreath-making party saves money and spurs creativity and a gift-wrapping party makes a tedious chore fun. The key is to make sure everyone contributes something so no one has to pay for everything. Just create a simple spreadsheet with everything that’s needed, share it with your friends and guests can fill in what they’ll bring. 3. Organize a toy swap. Toy swaps can be a huge money saver for parents. While older kids might have their hearts set on the newest gadget (Pro tip: Look for deals on these items on eBay before hitting Amazon.), younger kids often like a variety of toys, and since they usually lose interest in any one toy after a few plays, you can swap some almost-new toys with fellow parents—and your kids likely won’t know the difference. Host your own toy-swapping party with neighborhood parents or with parents from your kids’ school and get more mileage out of all those toys that haven’t been touched in months. If a gettogether feels like too much work, create another simple spreadsheet with all the toys you’re willing to swap (make sure they’re in good condition) and have other parents add swap items too. 4. Consider using a price-comparison app. If you know you’ll buy new stuff this season, check out available tools to make sure you get the best price. The ShopSavvy app shows you where to get the best price for items you want to buy. The free Shopular app helps you find in-store and online coupons. And Honey is an app you install on your computer that automatically looks for discounts anytime you shop online. When shopping in person, always ask whether stores offer a price match, and look for coupons from competitors that they’ll honor. If you’re shopping for gift cards, check for discounted cards on websites like cardpool.com and giftcardgranny.com. 5. Enjoy an array of free activities in Austin. From complimentary nights at the Austin Trail of Lights to numerous holiday strolls, Austin and the surrounding areas have endless options for free celebratory activities this season. Check out freefuninaustin.com for a calendar of fun family-friendly activities and events that don’t require you to spend a dime to feel festive. These are just a few ways you can create memories instead of debt this holiday season. Have fun, soak it all in and challenge yourself to spend a bit less this season to get your new year off to the right start. Happy holidays!

72 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  DECEMBER 2019

Jenny Hoff photo by Edward Verosky. App photo courtesy of ShopSavvy.

The holiday season is in full swing and, fortunately, Austin has had enough cool days to make it fairly easy to get into the holiday spirit. It’s also an easy time to start splurging. After all, holiday parties, dinners and gifts only come around once a year. Luckily, you don’t have to forgo a true holiday experience if you’re trying to stay on track financially. Here are some ideas for getting more out of this season while spending less.


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LIGHT UP THE HOLIDAYS! BY CHELSEA BANCROFT

One of my favorite parts of the season is driving throughout the city to explore all the beautiful holiday light displays. Austin and the surrounding areas have some amazing light displays every year. So, bundle up, pour that hot cocoa to go and jump in the car to check out these best places to see holiday light displays in Austin. Austin Trail of Lights

Harlien Family Christmas Lights

Opening Dec. 10, the Austin Trail of Lights is easily the most famous light display in Austin and is celebrating its 55th year! Depending on the day you visit, general admission is either $5 or entirely free. Address: 2100 Barton Springs Road  

This marks the 25th year the Harlien family has decorated their home with an abundance of holiday lights. During the past five seasons, they have raised more than $130,000 for Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas and hope to raise $30,000 this year. Address: 400 Liscio Cove, Georgetown, Texas     

A long-standing tradition, the impressive holiday light display on 37th Street is back again this year, starting Dec 14. Check them out just north of the University of Texas campus. Address: 37th and Guadalupe streets  

Located up in Georgetown, Texas, Shady Oak Christmas Display features nearly 25,000 lights. Be sure to tune in to 95.3 FM to further enjoy the show. Address: 107 Shady Oak Drive, Georgetown, Texas

37th Street Lights

Lake Austin Holiday Boat Parade

The third annual Lake Austin Holiday Boat Parade will take place Dec. 7 this year. Whether you have a boat or just want to watch from the shore, this parade is fun for all. Suggested viewing areas: Pennybacker Bridge, Hula Hut, Abel’s on the Lake, Mozart’s Coffee Roasters   

Shady Oak Christmas Display

Santa’s Ranch

This is easily one of my favorites! Featuring more than 1.5 million custom light displays, Santa’s Ranch is worth the drive south. Admission is $30 per vehicle. Address: 9561 N. I-35, New Braunfels, Texas

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters

Speaking of Mozart’s, this Austin-tatious coffee shop presents a great holiday light display every year. The 15-minute show runs through Jan. 5, with shows starting at 6 p.m. nightly and repeating at the top of the hour through 11 p.m. Address: 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.

Circle C Neighborhood Holiday Lights

This Southwest Austin neighborhood presents impressive displays every year, with cul-de-sac neighbors often joining in on the same light theme. Escarpment Boulevard and the streets near Circle C are said to glow with holiday magic! Address: Escarpment Boulevard and La Crosse Avenue

Anna Court Christmas Lights Anna Court has more than 250,000 Christmas lights and a playlist of songs that lasts for almost three hours! During festivities, neighbors will collect new, unwrapped toys for Blue Santa, as well as toy and cash donations for SafePlace. Address: Anna Court, Cedar Park, Texas

Photo by Shelly Borga.

Chinati Court Christmas Lights

Also located in Cedar Park, Texas, Chinati Court dazzles during the holidays, as all the homes located on the cul-de-sac are spectacularly decorated each year and are a joy to see. Address: Chinati Court, Cedar Park, Texas

Rhodes Family Christmas Lights

This home was once featured on ABC’s Great Christmas Light Fight, so you know it’s good! Address: 2410 Sharon Drive, Cedar Park, Texas  

There are often lots of children running around at holiday light displays, so always be extra cautious while driving and enjoying the lights. Roger Beasley Mazda wishes you a happy and safe holiday season!

Chelsea Bancroft is the strategic-partnerships and social-media manager at Roger Beasley Mazda and a blogger at onechelofanadventure.com.


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OINT OF VIEW

ASK LUCY

HAPPY HOWL-IDAYS!

With a little forethought, holiday family gatherings with the pooches can be merry and bright. BY LUCY J. PHILLIPS Dear Lucy,

With the holidays approaching, I can’t wait to find all the gifts and treats waiting in my stocking on Christmas Day. I’ve already barked a letter to Santa Paws promising not to eat all his cookies if he’ll keep me on the nice list. That said, I am a little nervous about traveling with my human for the holiday to visit her parents out of state. She has assured me I am going to love their dachshund, Delila, but I get anxious when traveling—especially when I’m forced to make new friends. Do you have any advice so we can keep the holiday cheer flowing? Love, Henry the holiday Havapoo

This is truly the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it? My neighborhood is aglow with beautiful lights, and though I am terrified of a few of the fancier holiday displays (I can’t trust those moving inflatable snowmen!), I love seeing and spreading the holiday spirit. You were wise, of course, to correspond with Santa Paws. I hear he checks his list twice and I’m certain he’ll see your nice moments far outweigh the naughty. Perhaps your planned holiday travel and meeting Delila the dachshund is another opportunity to show off your best behavior. Still, I know how intimidating it can be to get packed up in a crate and hauled off to a new home with new smells and other doggos, especially when you are visiting for a whole week. I think our humans often assume—especially for short visits—dog dynamics will naturally work themselves out, but it’s important to recognize the tremendous stress we can experience in these situations. Luckily, I happened to recently overhear my human chatting with an expert on this topic. (She thought I was napping and didn’t notice my ear twitching away as they talked.) She called up Crystal Dunn, host of the podcast Far Fetched, which is all about debunking dog myths and misconceptions. Here are a few tips I took away from their conversation. First of all, this time of year can bring additional stress, even if you don’t travel, according to Dunn. The holidays mean more parties and gatherings at home, which add a lot of extra energy in the house for us dogs. Dunn recommends our humans keep tabs on our physical and mental health by giving us the extra quiet time and exercise we need. “Those things tend to suffer this time of year,” she says, “since it gets darker and colder.” The good news is more exercise benefits our humans too since they also tend to feel extra stress this time of year. It turns out consistent exercise benefits us all, especially in a season when it’s so tempting to cozy up inside. As for meeting new friends, Dunn advises having a quick chat with family members to make a game plan that will set both dogs up for success. Knowing whether either dog tends to guard resources like food or attention will ensure no one ends up fighting about those things. “Nobody likes a surprise roommate,” Dunn says with a laugh, “and that’s essentially what we’re asking our dogs to do for a week.” To ease into your new environment (or adjust to a new roommate), Dunn suggests these five quick tips:

1. Take a pack walk: “Strolling through the neighborhood, give each dog distance so they can sniff each other in a neutral environment,” she says. “Walking also tires everyone out, which minimizes that wound-up, toxic energy at the first meeting.” 2. Do a drive-by sniff: “With both dogs on leash, let them walk past each other. Distracting one dog with food, let the second dog take a quick drive-by sniff. Reward them for walking away with you, then repeat until the dog loses interest and let the other dog try,” Dunn suggests. “This helps remove curiosity entering the home.” 3. Start with a blank slate: “Before entering, make sure all toys and bones are picked up. Introduce these slowly to make sure everyone is cool with sharing,” she says. 4. Stay out of the kitchen: “Most altercations between familiar dogs happen in the kitchen, usually when someone is preparing food, whether for dogs or humans,” Dunn notes. “The best safeguard is to keep dogs out of the kitchen, even feeding them in separate rooms behind closed doors.” 5. M  onitor backyard time: “Once you have a plan for sharing inside space, you’re much more likely to have good vibes in the backyard,” she says. “Still, introduce gradually to demystify the other dog.” Ultimately, Dunn says the best effort our humans can make to keep the holiday spirit involves setting boundaries so we know they are managing our environment. I hope her tips help you have the coziest holiday with all the creatures you’re surrounded by this season! Love and season’s barkings,

Lucy

If you have a dog-related question for Lucy, reach out and follow her on Instagram @asklucydog. 74 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  DECEMBER 2019

Lucy photo courtesy of Hannah J. Phillips.

Dear Henry,


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I AM AUSTIN WOMAN

CHILD’S PLAY

As the second generation of imagination advocates behind Terra Toys, Sylvia Allsup-Edwards is ensuring Austin kids have access to play—and learning—for generations to come. One of my personal heroes, Fred Rogers, said, “Play is the work of childhood.” And when I think back on own my childhood, I laugh because, to Mister Rogers’ standards, I worked really hard.

76 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  DECEMBER 2019

My life was (and still is) filled with toys and play.

Photo courtesy of Sylvia Allsup-Edwards.

My life since birth was spent in a toy store— literally. A midwife was hired and I was born in our home, the back of Terra Toys. Growing up, every night, I would kiss the teddy bears good night. And every day, I was that little kid who would hit up customers for 5 cents for a gumball. My life was (and still is) filled with toys and play. My parents—founders, philosophers, poets and toymakers—truly gave me the best childhood anyone could ask for. But one thing I realize as I look back on my early years is how many of my successes later in life can be attributed to a childhood filled with time to play. Childhood is, in every way, preparation for adulthood. “People often think of play as a relief from serious learning,” Mister Rogers said, “but play enhances every person’s ability to engage socially, spatially, logically with the physical world in a safe and constructive way.” Terra Toys is a business centered around play. Our work involves finding and carrying the best toys that make play not only pure and successful, but that also create an instrumental tool for the tenets of all aspects of life. Because of the consistent commitment to this goal, Terra Toys has flourished for four decades.

As Terra Toys achieves its 40th year in business, I embark on becoming the second generation behind a family-owned operation. My parents are passing the torch, and I can’t express the gratitude I have for being given a chance at continuing the family business. There will be many struggles in taking over, but all of them are small when compared with the bigger mission to enhance the lives of children. Terra Toys will forever be a source for the classic, beautiful toys that encourage quality play and creativity, but my next steps as owner will also be to spread the philosophy of the importance of play. My main goals are to continue to offer this beautiful venue and magical experience to as many generations as I can, as well as transmit the ideas behind constructive play.  To be an Austin woman not only means to contribute to Austin in a way larger than myself, but also to recognize the framework that allows me to live my dream. Terra Toys would be nothing without my team of fellow Austin women, starting, of course, with my mother, Romalda, the founder. She is a fearless and driven role model and selflessly dedicated her entire life to the founding and building of this amazing company. Fellow managers like Dominique, Anna and Christian are powerful women who share the vision and have a dedication that is tangible when you walk into the toy store. Terra Toys is a part of Austin’s DNA, and it is because of customer support and recognition that Terra Toys has been able to stay alive for so many years. Terra Toys celebrates its 40th birthday this year, and we thank our fellow strong women and Austinites for their continued support. Happy birthday to Terra Toys!


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AUSTIN WOMAN MAGAZINE |  DECEMBER 2019

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