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nov 2010

The Giving Issue: Thanksgiving Tips | Food Charities | Sexual Health | Gratitude | Reader Rewards Page 101

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november 2010 | vol. IX No. 3

Co-Founder and Publisher Melinda Maine Garvey

Co-Founder Samantha Stevens

Executive Editor Mary Anne Connolly

Special Features Editor Julie Tereshchuk

Contributors Wendi Aarons, Claudia Alarcon, Nancy Miller Barton, S. Kay Bell, Destiny Bennett, Ave Bonar, Robert Calvert, Deborah Carter, Andrea Claire, Christine Cox, Susie Davis, Eric Doggett, Susan Farago, Saundra Goldman, Marcy Goodfleisch, Laura Koffler, Beth Schrader, Kira Taniguchi, Julie Tereshchuk, Darline Turner-Lee

Art Director Ketan Patel

aDvertising Designer adrienne rosales

Account Executives Emily Codding, Katie Lesnick 512.328.2421

marketing + Events manager katy mcintosh

office manager kevin ashbeck

Design Interns Cindy curtis, Dan Poore

photography Intern shara kashani

Editorial Interns Destiny Bennett, jessica billeaud, Breona Horne, Casie Latimer, Kira Taniguchi

marketing Intern lauren pfeiffer

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Favorite spot out of copies? 512.328.2421 • 1213 W. 49th St., Austin, TX 78756 austinwoman magazine is a free monthly publication of AW Publishing Inc. and is available at over 800 locations across Austin and in Lakeway, Cedar Park, Round Rock and Pflugerville. All rights reserved. For submission requirements, go to our website under “editorial” or contact No part of the magazine may be reprinted or duplicated without permission. For copies of articles, call 512.328.2421.

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o n t h e c ov e r

Since arriving on the Austin scene 10 years ago, Carla Stanmyre McDonald has carved a swathe through the city. Society page devotées will know her from endless arts and nonprofit galas, many of which she’s chaired – setting fundraising records as effortlessly as she turns heads in a crowded room. Few realize that this former New York PR executive and elegant mother-oftwo also runs her own highly successful business. As generous as she is gracious, McDonald now reveals the reasons behind her multilayered life, and shares tips on balancing family,


carla mcdonald a giving spirit

business and community involvement.

Sto ry

Julie Tereshchuk P h oto g ra p h y

e r i c d o g g e tt st u d i o s makeup

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contents 11.10


12 Contributor

62 Media

16 Gift Guide 18 Seasonal Sips 22 Inspiration

66 Fitness

Susie Davis

Thanks Living

Awaken + Find Your Path Holiday Health Goal: Eat it? Then Burn it!

70 Health

It’s My Pleasure!!

24 Just Passing Through 74 Weekend

18 96

Olympia Dukakis and SafePlace

28 Family

The Volunteer State

Linger in Spicewood

78 News

An Enchanted Christmas Affair

32 Pets

80 Aperture

36 Worth

84 Green

40 Sustenance

88 Holiday Food

58 Glow

92 Music

Helping Paws

You’re Never Too Young to Start Giving The Season of Giving Luxurious Lotions

Coming of Age Utility Watch: Check your Bill!

Thanksgiving Recipes Women in Music Professional Society

96 Uncorked

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Just Desserts

101 Reader Rewards 102 AW Happenings 104 Calendar 106 Horoscope

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512.339.4040 | n s c A u s t i n . c o m 12201 renfert Way, #105, North austin Daniel Slaughter, MD | Christopher Thompson, MD | Zachary Wassmuth, MD

contributor Susie Davis compiled + edited by Mary Anne Connolly Susie Davis is an author, blogger, speaker and radio personality. She has a passion for helping people find joy in their everyday life. Susie is helplessly addicted to horseback riding and McDonald’s coffee. She also loves cooking and enjoying time with family. When she’s not at the barn or in the kitchen, you’re likely to find her in front of her laptop blogging about finding joy in the ordinary things like scented candles, her extraordinarily patient husband, or even her yellow lab named Mary Spoon. Susie and her husband Will Davis Jr., have three nearly grown children that keep them laughing … and humble. Together, Will and Susie founded Austin Christian Fellowship, where they spend their weekends with some of the most fabulous people in town. In your new column for AW you talk about “Gratitude.” How important is it in your life? For me, gratitude is all about an understanding of grace. The fact that my life spills over with treasures I didn’t achieve and don’t necessarily deserve – including my husband, my children and my faith – keeps me in an attitude of constant awe to the one that provides them. Gratitude sustains my joy. What gave you this “a-ha” moment... why is it important to “give thanks”? Giving thanks has always been a piece of my life. But it wasn’t until I experienced a tragedy that I understood full force the power of gratitude. And it was then that I learned the value of giving thanks in all things – every day.

ON SALE NOW! NOV. 23-28 • LONG CENTER Tickets available at, 512.474.LONG (5664) and the Long Center Box Office. For groups of 15 or more, call 877.275.3804 Due to the nature of live entertainment dates, times, prices, shows, actors, venues and sales are subject to change without notice. All tickets subject to convenience charges.

12  austinwoman n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0 Half Page Vert. (4.109” x 9.406”) Austin CIRQUE DREAMS ILLUMINATION Ad for Austin Woman - Run Date: November

Any Thanksgiving Holiday traditions at your house you want to share? Tips? Funny stories? memories? Yes, one tip guaranteed to make your Thanksgiving absolutely perfect: Do not buy store-bought pastry shells for your pies. Take the time to make a homemade crust. I promise this one tip will secure food and familial bliss. Forever. Amen. (I am an avowed piecrust snob in case you didn’t notice.) What do you and your family do to “give back”? We founded and are part of a church that gives time and resources locally, nationally and internationally. Most of our serving efforts as a family spring out of our commitment there. What are a few things you love about Austin? Here are my top five today … in no particular order: • Going over the Pennybacker Bridge at any time of the day but especially in the morning when the lake is smooth. • Discovering a new, local restaurant with a friend. • Driving 2222 at dusk on a Sunday afternoon – windows down + music up. • Walking the streets of the neighborhood where I grew up and seeing people I’ve known since I was a kid. • Live oaks, bluebonnets and bats.

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nov 2010

exclusive web features giving round-up

In a giving mood, but not sure where to start?

See our listings for a broad selection of great causes and events in Austin and Central Texas.

The 48th Annual Production of

The Nutcracker

Austin’s holiday tradition


7:30pm | Dec 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 21 2pm | Dec 5, 12, 18, 19, 22, 23

Exclusive Interview with Kavita Ramdas


CEO of the Global Fund for Women Recently in Austin for Planned Parenthood by christine cox

Choreography Stephen Mills Music Peter Illyitch Tchaikovsky

additional web content

Musical Accompaniment by The Austin Symphony Austin’s holiday tradition returns as Texas’ longest running production of The Nutcracker takes the stage for its 48th year. Follow us into the dream world of Clara, as she visits a magical land of dancing snowflakes, a Sugar Plum fairy and a celebration that takes her around the world in a single night.

video interview Carla McDonald talks to us about giving, date night, balancing her busy life and much more!

Logon today!

Tickets starting at $15! Discounts available for groups of 10 or more.

Visit or call 512.476.2163 Production Sponsors

Season Underwriter

Season Sponsor

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let us take the guesswork out of this season’s shopping

Holiday Gift Guide

holiday gifts

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bARK ‘N PURR PET CENTER 512.452.3883 • Barknpurr.Com 4604 Burnet Rd. • 78756 M-Sa. 8am–7pm Su. 11am–6pm

PET GIFTS! Toys, Treats, Raw Bones, Catnip, Sweaters, Jackets, Bowls, Beds, nutritious pet food and quality pet supplies.

betty lash 512.327.2507 F.512.416.8183 • 830 W 3rd Street, #1136 • 78701

Beauty in Perfect Vision with Stunning Lash Extensions, Brow Artistry, and MakeUp.

dolce salon 512.474.1174 • dolcesalonaustin.Com 2300 Lake Austin Blvd · 78703

The perfect place to pamper yourself! We specialize in artistic cuts and dimensional color for today’s looks and styles. We offer Gift Certificates.

Gatherings 512.930.2600 1009 South Austin Ave., Georgetown, TX 78626 TU-SA: 10:30AM - 5:30PM, SU: 12PM - 4PM

Adorable shop with vintage gifts for the shabby chic soul. Now carrying Flax clothing. Holiday Open House on Thursday, November 11!

Keep Texas Beautiful Ornament Collection 1.800.CLEAN.TX • 8850 Business Park Dr., # 200 • 78759 | m-f 8AM - 5:30PM

Celebrate the holidays with a special edition ornament from Keep Texas Beautiful.

KEITH KRISTOFER SALON AND SPA 512.233.1910 • 2785 Bee Cave road 1 block West of Mopac across from Panera Bread

Keith Kristofer gift cards come packaged in an attractive black gift box, have no expiration date and can be redeemed for any service or product. Purchase in person, by phone or online.

TABU Your Holidays! South: 1323 S. Congress Ave. • 512-443-7779 North: Research & Burnet Next to Chili’s • 512-452-8228

For the hottest Christmas in town! Sultry lingerie, plus size lingerie, unique adult novelties, stocking stuffers and more! Private sales and offers -

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Seasonal Sips cocktails for your next Holiday party!

The Perfect Manhattan 2 oz Bourbon* .5 oz sweet vermouth 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters maraschino cherry for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Treat yourself to the good stuff - you’re worth it! We prefer Rowan’s Creek 12-Year Small Batch Bourbon for this cocktail. It is beautifully balanced, like a Kentucky vintage, but more complex and with greater depth; softer & more seductive.

publisher’s pick: CHRISTMAS COSMO .5 oz. Cointreau .5 oz. cranberry juice 1 tsp. fresh lime juice 1 oz. vodka

Courtesy of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods, Now with 7 Austin Area Locations!

Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass rimmed with sugar. Optional Garnish: Lime Slice.

Skinny Rita 1.5 oz. Silver Tequila, 100% agave (i.e. Don Julio, El Jimador)

Juice of half a lime .5 oz orange liqueur

(i.e. Grand Marnier, Paulas Texas Orange)

.5 oz agave syrup

Build drink in a glass filled with ice. Pour drink into shaker. Shake and empty back into a frosted, salt rimmed glass. During the Holidays we splurge on “food calories.” So, try making a homemade Skinny Rita and save some “cocktail calories!” Courtesy of Twin Liquors, Over 50 Austin Area Locations!

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AW pick:

white christmas 4 oz. eggnog .5 oz. White chocolate Liqueur 1 oz. Southern Comfort

Mix ingredients in a glass over ice. Optional Garnish: edible gold, or chocolate flakes.

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giving section

22 Inspiration

Thanks Living

24 Just Passing

Through Offering Women a SafePlace


28 Family

The Volunteer State

32 Pets

Helping Paws

36 Worth

You’re Never Too Young to Start Giving

40 Sustenance

The Season of Giving


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Thanks Living Recovering Joy through Gratitude

B Y S u s i e D av i s


t’s November – the month of Thanksgiving – so I’ve been thinking about how I should probably be more thankful. Frankly, I know I need to be more grateful and appreciative because sometimes my attitude stinks. I tend to forget that my life is full of many blessings ... like my husband, my kids and my house. These are all things that fill me with joy every day. And yet, I fail to appreciate them and I take them all for granted on a continual basis. Let’s just take my house, for example. I live in a house built in the early ‘60s. It’s situated in an older neighborhood where many people are doing some serious renovations. As a matter of fact, when I take my walk in the early evening, I have noted that there is an ongoing trend to raze houses and build something fresh and big and beautiful. The deal is this new trend has the capacity to alter my once-satisfied standard of living. Because quite often, I leave for my walk with a fabulous outlook on my cozy home only to return feeling there are a zillion things I need to do to freshen my aging abode. Suddenly, the exterior paint color looks passé. My front door looks worn and tired. The entry lighting is so dim it gives me a dull headache the minute I walk in the door.

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Hmmm. What just happened here? I suffer from a common American malady. Ingratitude. Discontentment. It’s an infectious little virus in my soul. It sits dormant until all the conditions are just right … and then the symptoms pop up like chicken pox. Suddenly, I’m just itching to do something about this substandard house I’m living in. Paint. Repair. Renovate. Anything to fix the problem! But, of course, the problem isn’t in my house; it’s in my heart. My lack of contentment has more to do with materialism than money or makeovers. And my inability to take a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood without feeling the need to catch up with the Joneses is quite an indictment. So I’ve issued myself a little challenge. I call it The Joy Challenge and it goes

something like this: Every day – give thanks. And in every thing – give thanks. As I’m taking an evening walk in my neighborhood – I give thanks for the legs that carry me. If I notice the neighbor’s new renovation – I give thanks for eyes to notice the details. When I open my worn front door – I give thanks for a place to call home. And as I enter my house and hear Monday Night Football roaring in the background … I give thanks for the man I call my husband and the children we call our own. It’s really a matter of perspective and habit. Perhaps, this month, most of all, we need a reminder to stop whining about things and start giving thanks … every day, in every thing. The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. – William Blake

Susie Davis

is an author, speaker, and radio personality.

Daily Blog | Twitter @susiedavis Facebook The Good News Girl – Susie Davis Hear her speak at the Texas Women in Business Luncheon on Friday Nov. 19, 2010. Join Susie’s Joy Challenge every day in November as she explores 30 Days of Gratitude on her blog at

Coming Up

at Texas Performing Arts SHREK THE MUSICAL

The Parker Quartet

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The Real Dr. Strangelove

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november 10, 2010

hogg memoriAL AudiTorium

Ornette Coleman Quartet november 18, 2010 | bAss ConCerT hALL

Reduced Shakespeare Company:

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The Klezmatics

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just passing through

B Y N a n c y M i l l e r B a r to n

Offering Women I a SafePlace Actress And Activist Olympia Dukakis In Austin to Help Win the Fight to End Sexual and Domestic Violence

Photography by Deborah Feingold

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talian judge and playwright Ugo Betti wrote, “Everyone has inside themselves a piece of good news.” Betti, who wrote his first collection of poems in 1922 and later went on to write 27 plays, liked to explore the nature of evil. Betti is just one creative talent from whom Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis finds inspiration. Betti’s piece continues, “Everyone is a very great important character. Every person must be persuaded, even if they are in rages, that they are immensely, immensely important.” A thoughtful point, and one Dukakis may share as she comes to Austin to help work toward safety and healing in women who’ve survived violence. Dukakis loves poetry — she loves to read it, write it and perhaps most importantly, share it. It’s that kind of prose, from Ugo Betti, Albert Camus and others, that Dukakis sprinkles through her presentations. As she steps up to the microphone in Austin, to help SafePlace celebrate a new decade, the 79-year-old actress has big goals. The agency is a harbor of welcome for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. For 35 years, volunteers and staff have helped thousands of Central Texans heal, or as the name of the 2010 Celebration would indicate, find “New Beginnings.” Dukakis hopes her appearance – which will be part dramatic performance – will inspire listeners to, “feel good about themselves as they continue to be involved in their struggle against abuse.” We talk, (or rather correspond), with Dukakis, as she’s on the set shooting a film called The Art of Love. The production is filming in New York’s Hudson

Valley. We’re told it’s prime pumpkin-picking, apple-growing, fall foliage-gawking territory. Dukakis responds to our queries in hurried handwriting on an email print-out. The one-sentence answers are revealing, both of her passion, but also the demands on her time. Her publicist Bonnie Kramen helps fill in the blanks. Dukakis is seriously busy. She took a break from the movie set in October only to jet to Chicago for a campaign rally. Dukakis is also scheduled to appear on Broadway in December. And, of course, this actor activist will be in Austin to follow a passion, “my concern for women and children.” In The Art of Love, Dukakis plays a character named Rosmarie Carver. According to promotional material, The Art of Love is about an “outcast” high school student who develops “magical powers … that lead her to discover the truth about the mysterious women in her family and the prophecy they have awaited for generations,” – or as publicist Kramen says, Dukakis tells her it will be a hit with “teens.” The New York Times has written that Dukakis will, “lend a touch of class” to whatever role she’s in. For those of us who are a tad more oldschool, think Dukakis and you might remember Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias or conjure up Rose Castorini in Moonstruck. Dukakis won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the Moonstruck role where she played the mother of co-star Cher. Few can forget Cher’s famous line

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One -in-seven teens in Austin have been physically hurt or threatened by someone they are dating. SafePlace extends a helping hand, whether through counseling and education or their own state - of the - art emergency shelter.

“Snap out of it!” from the film. Dukakis is versatile. Her credits also include small screen appearances in the miniseries Tales of the City, as well as Frasier and The Simpsons. Dukakis reportedly now has films in both pre- and postproduction and Kramen says this mom of three grown children is “booked through 2011.” So we flipped The Times take on classiness to ask Dukakis what the roles have taught her. What has she learned from her characters? She writes of Moonstruck “the idea of being thoughtful and contained rather than reactive.” She also points to More Tales of the City, where she played Anna Madrigal, for “how to survive yourself.” When asked whether she thinks celebrity can “create change or raise awareness” Dukakis writes, “raise awareness, which in the long run helps create a climate for change.” And thus the stage is set for her Austin visit. The SafePlace Celebration dubbed “New Beginnings” will run over two days, featuring Steel Magnolia movie screenings introduced by the actress. SafePlace works with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence in Austin and Travis County. It’s estimated that 1-in-3 women will experience physical or sexual assault by her husband or boyfriend in her lifetime. In 2007, nearly 7,500 cases of domestic violence were reported in the Austin area, and over 1,000 rapes were reported. In 2009, SafePlace advocates accompanied 253 sexual assault survivors to area hospitals, but took over three times that number of hotline calls. One-in-seven teens in Austin have been physically hurt or threatened by someone they are dating. SafePlace extends a helping hand, whether through counseling and education or their own state-of-the-art emergency shelter. Their ultimate goal? “A community free of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence.” Speaking of community, we did ask Ms. Dukakis what she’s looking forward to doing while

in Austin. She says she’s been here once before and, “loved just walking around … great energy on the street,” – an energy that will serve this community well in the battle against violence. “Great ideas … come into the world as gently as doves,” writes philosopher Albert Camus, another great mind offering Dukakis inspiration. In that piece, Camus continues, “ … each and every man and woman, on the foundation of his own sufferings and joys, builds for all.” A comfort for those Dukakis will speak to at the 2010 SafePlace Celebration. Equally as powerful, from SafePlace’s own material, “Reaching one individual who is empowered to communicate our services to someone in need is not only necessary for our future, it is crucial in saving lives.” 2010 SafePlace Celebration: New Beginnings Featuring Academy Award Winning Actress Olympia Dukakis

Friday November 18

two film screenings of Steel Magnolias Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar tickets $15, proceeds benefit SafePlace (visit the Alamo website and click on Celebrity Series for tickets)

Saturday November 19 Celebration Luncheon Hyatt Regency – Sold Out!

“A Day at Truvy’s” (but the meal and pampering packages could last a lot longer) – FOR the Steel Magnolia themed raffle, Go to www. For more information or to make a donation, go to: www.safeplace. org/celebration

I really love what I do. I love the earth, and I love teaching. Geology rocks! Amy Cunningham, assistant professor, geology Austin Community College Austin Woman 1/2 horizontal CMYK Run Date: 7/1/10 ™

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The Volunteer State b y W e n d i A a r o n s


lthough I’ve always prided myself on being fairly good at volunteering, it wasn’t until my oldest son Sam started kindergarten that I realized how small potatoes my efforts actually are in comparison to those of a certain type of person. I’m not talking about the Mother Teresa or Jimmy Carter sort of person, either, because I know I’m a complete slacker next to them. No, the people I’m talking about are usually only found at certain elementary schools. And they’re known as “The Uber Volunteers.” The first time I encountered this rare breed of do-gooder was at Sam’s kindergarten classroom information night. Most of the parents who showed up for the event were completely thrilled to be there (unlike myself who was upset I couldn’t stay home and watch 30 Rock with a glass of wine and a bag of pita chips) and they were all chomping at the bit to get involved. As soon as the teacher’s

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spiel about the upcoming school year was over, the excited parents immediately barraged her with questions about what they could do. “Can we help with reading?” they shouted. “Writing? Math? Art? Oh, for the love of God, woman, can we at least take your sweaters to the dry cleaners and clip your toenails on the weekends? Tell us! Tell us!” As this strange frenzy continued, I took the opportunity to wander over to the volunteer sign-up sheets the teacher had put on her desk 20 minutes earlier. I looked through page after page of the various jobs and duties she’d listed and my jaw dropped when I quickly realized that every single position was already taken. Everything from Computer Mom to Literacy Mom to Birthday Mom was spoken for. You’d think they were salaried positions that came with the use of a private jet and a personal butler. I casually sorted through the pile of papers and was just about to write down my

self-created volunteer position of either “Chips and Salsa Mom” or “Hey, Kids, Who Wants to Iron My Laundry? Mom” when I noticed the most important page in the bunch. The page that listed the very esteemed position of “Room Mom.” Now from what I’d heard on the kindergarten grapevine, Room Mom was the most crucial, most Queen Bee position of them all. It required tons of time, effort, organization and a willingness to do whatever the teacher asked. Meaning, it was something I’d consider akin to capital punishment. But as evidenced by the manhandled sign-up sheet, there were at least eight women who still thought they were up for the task. Eight. Out of a class of 15 kids. If I had any math skills, I’d say that’s around 80%. As I stared at the names on the list, wondering just who these Uber Volunteers were, my reverie was suddenly interrupted by a sharp voice from

Gorgeous Millie is a playgroup designed to

nurture the spirit, minds and imaginations of children aged 0 to 3 years, while providing a comfortable and social environment for their parents and caregivers. Families come three mornings a week from 9-12 for music, art, free play and snacks. The best teachers in the city will engage your child in songs and fun activities while our lattes and comfy couches will make you feel at home. Get three classes in one morning and meet other moms.

behind me. “Hey, you put your name down for Room Mom, too?” “Excuse me?” I said, turning around to find myself almost nose-to-nose with a very pregnant brunette who was unhappily gesturing to the sheet of paper in my hand. “Me? Room Mom? No, no way! That’s a sucker bet, my friend. Sucker. Bet. Er, what I meant to say was I don’t really have time to be Room Mom this year because of all my other … hospital and abandoned dog things I do … at the soup kitchen … by the refugee camp … with Bono.” “Then you mind?” she grunted as she lunged toward the paper, almost sideswiping me with her giant belly as she ripped it out of my hand. “No, go right ahead. I’m not going to stop you.” As I jumped out of the way, she quickly put the paper on the desk and scrawled her

name at the very top of the list, thereby making it look like she was the first person to sign up and not the ninth. Slamming the pen down, she then looked at me with a hard stare. “You’re not going to tell anyone about this, are you?” “What? Me? Of course not!” I stammered as I looked at her long, sharp fingernails and rippling biceps. True, I was shocked that there was something akin to voter fraud going on in Ms. McAllister’s Panda Room, but I wasn’t going to be the stupid patsy who blew the whistle. No, the last thing I needed was to start the school year with the nickname “Narc.” “I guess you must really want that job, huh?” I asked. “We’ll see,” is all she said as she waddled away. Probably to go rig an election in Panama or something. But what that encounter, and the many

that have followed it throughout the years, taught me, was that The Uber Volunteertype of mom takes her school duties very seriously. They don’t miss a single activity or opportunity to help the teacher and they’re always available when the need arises, to the great relief and gratitude of the rest of us. Sometimes this is because they’re Type-A personalities, sometimes it’s because volunteering is the only way they can feel connected to their child who’s now away from them in school all day. However, I have to say that sometimes the reason these women do things like elbow their way into the Room Mom job or get into a screaming match with the cotton candy guy at the school carnival is simply because they’re complete, raging lunatics. But of course that’s an opinion I’d never want to volunteer.

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Helping Paws

b y L a u r a K o f f l e r

Sheri Soltes and Texas Hearing + Service Dogs

Texas Hearing and Service Dogs (THSD) is a one-of-a-kind, nonprofit organization based

in Dripping Springs. Its staff trains hearing and service dogs to assist people with physical disabilities. And those same people then adopt the dogs. It’s a beautiful pawtnership (yes,

pawtnership!) with mutual benefits. Recently I had the privilege of interviewing President and Founder Sheri Soltes.

aw: You started THSD without any previous

punishment. I made the connection that Sea

him to the shelter. Rather, we keep him and

dog-training experience. Did you ever think

World in San Antonio had, using positive rein-

find him a good home. We always have dogs

that it was going to last this long, be this suc-

forcement as their training method with their

for adoption.

cessful and turn into your life’s work?

animals. So I went to them for help on train-

Sheri Soltes: I’ve always been an ani-

ing and they’ve been very influential in the

aw: You are funded by donations and train-

way we train our animals.

ing these dogs is very expensive. How can the general public help your organization?

mal lover – especially for animals that need help, no matter what species. That’s why I

aw: You select all different types of breeds

was so interested in thinking I could combine

and sizes. Where do your dogs come from?

SS: The training of every dog costs about $18,000 and we provide them free-of-charge

helping animals with helping people, and do it full time! The reason I entered into it with-

SS: We work with animal shelters in many

to the people that need them, so we can really

out any training, is that as a former trial law-

cities in Texas, including Austin, San Anto-

benefit from donations. The foundations are

yer, I had expert witnesses and thought, I can

nio, Waco, Dallas and Houston. When we

not giving the way they used to because of

do the dog training and every time I need an

work with the animal shelters, we can look

the economy, so now it falls to the individual

expert, I’ll call someone. And that’s exactly

at several hundred dogs in one visit. We like

donor to help make a difference.

how I did it. So anytime I would come upon a

to make a point to the public that you can

topic I needed help with, I would just find an

find wonderful animals in shelters. We don’t

aw: You provide dogs for people with hear-

expert. That made me more open about try-

adopt puppies, we adopt young animals from

ing disabilities, limited mobility and injured

ing things in a new way, because I was not

18 months-to-three years that otherwise

soldiers. Depending on the case, what

used to the traditional training method, which

would have been euthanized. If the dog does

traits do you look for in a dog when

involved a lot of physical domination and

not complete his training, we do not return

you chose him or her?

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SS: We are looking for two different kinds of

want to make sure the dog can do its job. We

very comforting for the child and makes them

dogs. For the hearing dog, we want a dog

use a process called “matching” where we

calmer about everything. The dog, with the

that is very interested in sound and is a self-

introduce them to the dog and they spend

court’s permission, can also go to court. We

motivator. If they hear a sound, their job is to

time together and see how that goes. Many

are working with some child advocacy cen-

get up and alert you. And they do not have to

times it works out on the first visit, and in

ters in Texas and developing that program.

wait for you to give them a cue to tell them to

other cases it takes two tries to get a good fit.

do something. Their cue comes from the en-

At the end, everybody thinks they have the

aw: Sheri, you are also the organizer of "The

vironment, so they have to be self-starters.

prettiest and smartest dog.

Mighty Texas Dog Walk," a wonderful Austin tradition that set a former Guinness World

The service dog is calmer because it’s going to be lounging around until you drop your

aw: And do you also train the people that re-

Record for the “Largest Dog Walk in the

pen or have to get into the elevator, so it has

ceive a new dog?

World.” The next event will be in April of 2011. How will you ensure we win the Guinness

to be a dog that is okay with lounging around

Record back from the Brits?

in between working for you. And for both

SS: The way the training goes is that we

kinds, we look for dogs that are very inter-

have a weeklong, team training class at our

ested in people.

center and then we move the dog in and we

SS: It is our biggest special event. We have

do 13 weeks of in-home training. We are visit-

won two Guinness World Records for World’s

aw: When someone applies for a dog, what

ing them once a week for about 3 months and

Largest Dog Walk. England has the record

criteria do you use for your selection?

are working with them in their home and in

now, but they are big cheaters! On April 2nd,

their community, so we do field trips to the

2011 we are going to have an all-day event in

SS: They need to be 18 or older and live in

restaurant and the shopping mall, etc. After

Waterloo Park. In addition to doing the walk,

Texas. They also have to have a significant

all that, we give them a certification exam.

we are going to have food vendors and musi-

hearing loss or limited mobility, and they

They are always welcome to come back for

cal acts like Abra Moore and the Sam Riggs

need to be capable of following the training

more training.

Band who are excellent. It’s going to be a lot of fun and in this, our 13th year, we are going

instructions. We don’t charge for the dogs. But once our dogs are adopted, it’s the own-

aw: You are working on a new program

to expand it and get our Guinness Record

er’s responsibility to take care of them.

called "Child Advocacy Dogs." Can you tell me


more about that?

aw: How do you make sure that the recipient and the dog are a good match?

SS: This is a dog that is trained to be a partner for a forensic interviewer – someone who

SS: We are careful with that. We interview

interviews children about allegations of

and see preferences and we know about their

abuse or violence. It could be very traumatic

lifestyles. We want them to be happy and we

for a child to talk about these things and if the

try to give people what they want. But we

forensic interviewer has a nice, calm dog, it’s

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You’re Never Too Young to Start Giving b y S . K ay B ell

Children are much more compassionate than we tend to think. Parents, channel those good intentions and teach your kids important money lessons at the same time. Psycholo gists and financial exp er ts s ay our at titudes ab out earning , investing , s aving and sp ending money are fo rme d early, primarily by obser ving how our families d eal with finances . You can ad d another mo ney co mp o nent to a child 's fiscal mindset by teaching your youngster ab out philanthro py. In to day 's world, it 's not hard to find an o p p or tunit y to talk to your child ab out giving . Any parent who has watche d news ac counts of dis asters , such as Hurricane Katrina , Haiti's ear th quake, the B P oil spill o r flo o ding in C entral Texas , know that these catastro phes also weigh on the minds of their kids . Youngsters s e em to intuitively know that a way to co p e with su ch bad situatio ns is to help thos e suf fering . That desire to help is the p er fe ct way to intro duce charitable giving to your child . But you d on' t have to wait for a trag e dy to star t .

Discuss Options

Let Your Kids Choose

Begin by talking with your child generally about the need

Ultimately, for anyone, regardless of age, to be committed

for charitable groups. Then move on to discussions about

to giving, the donor must feel a connection. So let your child

specific nonprofit groups and check them out, online and in

make the final decision.

person, when practical.

Be open-minded. What your child thinks is important

Perhaps your son or daughter would like to donate some

might not be exactly what you would have chosen. As long as

of his or her allowance to the religious service your family

you've had a good discussion beforehand, you won't have to

regularly attends. Does your child love animals? Consider a

worry (too much!) about which charitable group he or she

local shelter. If a relative or friend suffers from an illness for


which there is a charitable foundation, the youngster might want to give to it.

Choice is a blessing and a source of some frustration for the young woman who leads Girls Giving Grants.

All of these situations allow you to not only help your

Oriana Wright, now a senior at Westlake High School,

child learn important money lessons, but also could help deal

helped found the offshoot of Impact Austin (impact-austin.

with some associated emotional issues. Your child might be

org), through which the city's young women in grades

more willing to talk about his or her worries when you dis-

seven through 12 can give back to the community.

cuss the philanthropic efforts that can provide some help.

Each Girls Giving Grants member contributes $100-a

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R o b e R t C l e m e n t, m D l a u R e n C R aw f o R D, m D william GoRman, mD S C o t t H ay D o n , m D R i C k Pa R k e R , m D fReD wilDeR, mD

3003 Bee Caves Road Suite 203 A u s t i n , Te x a s 7 8 7 4 6 w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   37

Youngsters seem to intuitively know that a way to cope with such bad situations is to help those suffering. -year and then they decide upon one recipient for their pooled funds.

Get Physically Involved

"I absolutely love that you get to know so much about our com-

Although money is important to even the very young, hands-on

munity, what's going on around us and meeting the needs," said

charity often works best. Volunteering makes the charity real and

Wright, who in addition to being a founding member of Girls Giving

helps children empathize with those who are in need of the nonprof-

Grants is the group's president. The one downside, though, added

it's services.

Wright, is that there can be only one grant awarded each year.

Trying to find volunteer opportunities for her young daughter was what prompted Marissa C. Vogel to start Little Helping Hands.

Integrate Giving Into Overall Money Lessons While giving is indeed special, help your child learn that budget-

The nonprofit focuses on volunteer opportunities families with young children. The official age range for participating is 4 to 13, but "we've had children as young as 2 and as old as 17," said Vogel.

ing for philanthropy should be a routine, money-management task.

Since its beginning in 2009, more than 200 Austin families now

Let your child's newfound generosity serve as a springboard to dis-

regularly volunteer with the organization and the nonprofit partners

cuss basic budgeting.

with 25 other groups.

Suggest that your child physically divide his or her allowance

The group's website ( offers an events cal-

into saving, spending and donating pots. Separate piggybanks for

endar. "All activities are available to families with kids. Find some-

each could be a way for your child to keep track of the amounts.

thing you like and sign up directly online," said Vogel, who in addi-

Also consider Mom and Dad matching philanthropic funds. This

tion to founding the group is its executive director. When you show

could be an initial parental grant to get the giving going, or a special

up, she added, Little Helping Hands volunteers will be there to help.

match in the case of a special gift your child might want to make. Not

Regardless of whether your child's philanthropic style is hands-

only will it boost the donation, but it will reinforce the whole family's

on or donating money, the combination of generosity and money-

commitment to philanthropy.

management skills are life lessons that will help your youngster grow into a well-rounded and fiscally responsible adult.

Get the latest tax tips and financial advice at S. Kay Bell's blog, Don't Mess With Taxes (

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The Season of Giving

b y C l a u d i a Alarcón

As most of us are gearing up for a happy holiday season, many are still wondering where their holiday meal and gifts will come from. This year has been especially tough on a lot of people, so it’s also a good one to put on the Santa hat and embrace the spirit of the season. Thankfully, Austin is a car-

Family Eldercare

provides es-

can drop them off at Family Eldercare's of-

ing city and there are many

sential services to elders and adults with

fice by December 7th for delivery. At that



disabilities. During their annual Holiday

point, volunteers are needed between De-

help make the holidays pos-

Giving Drive, they seek community partici-

cember 7th and 12 th to deliver the gifts.

sible for needy families and

pation and donations to provide gifts to

They can sign up individually or as a group.

the elderly, or encourage

over 200 low-income seniors and adults

Sponsors range from individuals and fami-

young people to eat well

with disabilities who otherwise would not

lies, to faith-based groups, civic organiza-

and care for their environ-

receive any gifts at all. Here’s how it works:

tions and businesses. This is something

ment and their community.

clients’ "wish lists" are distributed in mid-

really nice that people could do at the of-

You can give a new mean-

November, then sponsors sign up to fulfill

fice, and it would be a valuable and mean-

ing to the season of giving

someone's "wish list" with gifts for a total

ingful activity in the classroom. To learn

by helping some of these

cost of about $30. They have the option of

more about volunteering or sponsor-

organizations to make a dif-

donating the money, or to actually shop,

ship call 512/483.3582 or e-mail vol-

ference in the lives of the

wrap and even deliver the gifts. Those who

less fortunate.

do not wish to deliver the gifts personally

40  austinwoman n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0


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Filename: Blue Haven - awm 1010 Publication: Austin Woman Magazine Ad Name: Escape Runs: Oct; Nov; as scheduled by local office Color: 4-color Ad Size: 1/3 page horizontal Dimensions: 8.406” x 3.078” Ad Rep: Katie Lesnick • 512-328-2421 • Contacts: Marketing Manager: Kirsten Wallace • 619-233-3522 x10107 • ❍Transmit ❍Immediately ❍By original date ❍By_____________________________ Transmitted: __________________________ ❍Email: Rep +

SA: Austin- FR

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   41

YouthLaunch is an Austin-based

underprivileged residents access to healthy

nonprofit that provides training and oppor-

foods. Through this process the youngsters

tunities for young people to improve their

connect to the land, understand agriculture,

lives through long-term community service.

acquire skills in leadership and entrepre-

One of their programs is Urban Roots, which

neurship and learn the benefits of growing

teaches young, paid interns the principles of

and eating organic food and the importance

sustainable agriculture. The kids cultivate a

of giving back to their community. Go by

diversified organic farm in East Austin and

their stand at the Saturday market and

sell a portion of their harvest at the Austin

watch the pride in their eyes as you buy the

Farmers’ Market Downtown on Saturdays

vegetables they grew and picked that morn-

and at other east side farm stands. The rest

ing. If you’d like to help this very worthy en-

is donated to local hunger relief programs,

deavor, they have a “wish list” they would


like to share: (SEE sidebar at RIGHT)





Through its various programs, the

Farm to Work and Farm to School. The Hap-

Sustainable Food Center

py Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre™ is a nation-

works to provide access to locally-grown

ally- recognized program that offers innova-

food for all Central Texans, as well as im-

tive, cost-effective solutions to address food

prove their long-term health while preserv-

and nutrition problems that affect limited

ing our environment. Among their programs,

resource families in Central Texas. They of-

Grow Local provides adults and children

fer bilingual interactive cooking classes and

with resources and education in organic

nutrition education so mothers can learn

food gardening in community and school

how to select fresh, seasonal ingredients to

gardens throughout the city; Farm Direct

prepare nutritious, economical, and deli-

oversees the Austin Farmers’ Market Down-

cious meals for their families. Like every

town, Sunset Valley and Triangle locations,

nonprofit, SFC always needs volunteers and

and fosters relationships with area farmers

cash donations. This year, they have shared

who provide urban residents with freshly

a “want list” for certain items that will help

harvested produce. Under this umbrella are

fulfill their multiple missions. (SEE BELOW)

three other initiatives: Farm to Cafeteria,

Sustainable Food Center’S WISH LIST: One or two sets of a trio of recycling/compost/landfill set of black, blue and green (at least) uniform 32-gallon trash cans that can be used for the SFC Farmers’ Market Drop Spot kiosks. 6 work aprons, 6 pairs of waterproof gloves, 6 uniform storage containers to hold sponge, spray bottle, apron and gloves. A 10X10 portable building for farmers to store tents, tables and weights on site at the Sunset Valley site.   A truckload of crushed granite for extending the customer pathway of the SFC Farmers’ Market at Sunset Valley.  A Coleman (or similar) propane water heating unit that will heat water in the winter (for hand washing and cooking demos) For more information on donations and volunteer opportunities, go to

42  austinwoman n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0

YouthLaunch’s wish list: Compost (75 yards) Wide mouth pint jars for canning Canning supplies: jar lifters, canning funnels Bayou Classic Dual High Pressure Gas Burner Cooker with Extension Legs* Cooking supplies: 12 knife sets; 12 cutting boards; 12 measuring cups; 12 mixing bowls; 12 mixing spoons; 5 baking pans 10 Rubbermaid tubs with lids (18 gallons) 1-2 wooden garden carts* 3-4 Scuffle hoes* Wheel hoe 1 Broom 1 Chainsaw 1 Stihl Weed Eater Dramm 5 Liter Watering cans* Backpack Sprayer 35 Ponchos 35 Reusable, durable water bottles Seeds*

*These are requests for specific items. To find out about them and how to donate, contact Max Elliott, Program Coordinator, at 342-0424 or email: max@

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   43

44  austinwoman n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0

on the cover

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   45

McDonald is also the antithesis of the stereotypes evoked by her “dazzling beauty and glamorous couture,” ... “Everything about her is genuine. - Friend, Susannah Hamner

Carla, seen here at the “helm” of her PR firm Dynabrand. Founded in 2001, Dynabrand is now one of the largest (by revenue) independent PR firms in Austin. 46  austinwoman n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0

CarlaMcdo How does a dynamic fundraiser – sought out by pretty much

every nonprofit and arts group in town – with a young family to raise and her own company to run, balance a life that she leads with such grace, poise and generosity?

he young student held the attention of the small audience gathered in the stylish West Austin home with ease. Quietly, she told her story of overcoming a disadvantaged background to earn a place at Stanford Law School. Millions were raised that evening for KIPP schools – to the satisfaction of the elegant and attentive hostess. Despite today’s 10,000-square-foot home, she has never forgotten her own years growing up in a humble apartment in small town New York, and regards education as “ the great empowerer and equalizer.” The empowerment of others has become a touchstone in the life she now lives. Effortlessly epitomizing Austin’s style

empower people. “Another is by making

and generous spirit, Carla Stanmyre Mc-

an introduction. Another is to sit with

Donald has hosted countless such eve-

them for an hour and talk.” And that’s

nings in the 10 years since she and her

what McDonald has become known for –

equally community-minded husband Jack

giving her time. Whether it is for a big

McDonald moved to Austin from New

picture cause like education or to meet a

York via Dallas. In fact, Austin arts, social

stranger for coffee. It’s about giving her

services and nonprofit groups are $15 mil-

time to equalize the odds.

lion – and counting – better off for the

From the moment they met in 1996,

fundraising efforts of Carla McDonald. Her

Jack McDonald has seen his wife reach

view of giving (don’t use the word “philan-

out to others less fortunate. “The night

thropy” around her – it’s not a word that

we met – what was she doing? She was

sits well with this down-to-earth beauty)

out consoling a friend, who had lost her

is nuanced, like so much about her.

job that day,” he says. “It was a massive

“We do what we can to empower peo-

Nor’easter rainstorm and there was Car-

ple. That takes several forms. One is by

la trudging out on this awful night to

helping by writing a check …” And here

console a friend. That sums her up in so

she pauses. It’s clear, long before she says

many ways … I’ve never seen her refuse

it – sotto voce – that she’s feeling awk-

a request for help … in some cases, from

ward. After weighing her words, this

people she doesn’t even know.”

woman who relishes words, playing word

Two years ago, journalist Susannah

games with friends and family with glee,

Hamner was one of those people. Newly-

is ready to frame the subtlety of her

arrived in Austin, Hamner was

thoughts. So, it’s not simply about the

“jobless, going through a terrible

check. That is just one avenue to

divorce, and didn't know a single

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   47

Fast Facts Who: Owns: Born: Sibling: Style:

Husband: Children:

Carla Stanmyre McDonald Dynabrand PR ( Frankfurt, Germany Older brother, Richard, professional musician Jackie O. Plus, loves vintage from Cameron Silver at Decades in L.A. ( Jack McDonald, Chairman, Perficient, Inc.

Carla on Jack:

Ava (9), Devin (6)

“Whatever we do, we do together. We’re a team on everything … It sounds weird and corny, but we’re really good friends. We really enjoy each other’s company … We’re soulmates.”

person in the city.” Fortunately, McDonald

also expects a lot of herself. So, without any

have it tough, nonetheless, a lot of us have it

was one of the first people she met. “Three

broadcast experience, she showed up for her

easier than many others. And that we can

hours into our ‘introductory meeting,’ we

audition and aced it. Today the show contin-

all benefit by helping those less fortunate

could've been convincing candidates for a

ues to air every Wednesday on News 8. “It’s

fend for themselves. “It’s not the difficult

Dateline episode about ‘Long-Lost Sisters

another kind of learning for me – getting out

times in our lives that define us, it’s the les-

Who Finally Reconnect,’” recalls Hamner.

of my comfort zone and doing something

sons we’ve learned from those times,” she

“Carla, this positive force of energy, scooped

that is nerve-wracking. But really fun too.

says. Those lessons have made her “more

me under her wing.” Hamner can’t help

You know you’re alive when you’re doing

empathetic, more real and more caring,” she

gushing (her word) about McDonald, she

something new.”

adds. Indeed.

confesses. “Carla is selfless, fiercely loyal

Despite looking as if she was born and

The teenage McDonald also learned to

and loving, and a helluva lot of fun.” McDon-

raised on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the

work hard. That hard work ethic was her

ald is also the antithesis of the stereotypes

slender McDonald grew up “all over the

ticket to college (SUNY Albany, working her

evoked by her “dazzling beauty and glamor-

world,” thanks to her oil industry father.

way through, including tending bar), and

ous couture,” insists Hamner. “Everything

Frederick Stanmyre’s early career took the

graduating with a double major in business

about her is genuine. “

young family literally around the globe.

and English. Landing the dream job with a

Everything about Carla McDonald is also

Born in Germany, McDonald lived the ex-

PR agency in Manhattan – on the grand an-

about taking nothing for granted. (More of

pat life for 12 years, as they set up a multi-

nual salary of $12,000 – in 1986, McDonald

how she learned that lesson later.) She’s

tude of homes. That life came to a sudden

made her entry into a fast-paced, competi-

about learning and growing. “Moving the

halt with her parents’ divorce. The family

tive world, which she was soon to rock. And

needle” is a favorite phrase – applied to her

was split. McDonald and her brother re-

ultimately rule.

personal growth, to her business, to her im-

turned from London to the States with their

McDonald’s career in New York took her from

pact at nonprofits and a myriad of other orga-

mother Karen. It was a defining time for Mc-

one top PR firm to another. Accolades included

nizations she works with. So, in 2008, when a

Donald, who admits to having taken the

being named one of the “40 Under 40 Stars in PR”

call came from the Greater Austin Arts Alli-

glamorous, international lifestyle for grant-

by PR Week magazine (the industry’s leading

ance to audition as host of their newly con-

ed. Living in the small apartment, as a

trade publication) at age 32. Before moving to

ceived Arts Minute show, McDonald paused,

latchkey kid, now that her mother went out

Texas, she led the 250-strong North American

wondered why her, and quickly realized it

to work, McDonald says, “We didn’t have a

marketing practice for the prestigious GCI Group.

was a way for her to help build awareness for

whole lot … I learned pretty fast you’ve gotta

She’s always loved her work, so marriage, a

Austin’s thriving arts scene while making

fend for yourself in life.” Yet, McDonald has

cross-country move and two children

the arts more accessible. It’s important for

taken that attitude one crucial step further.

did not slow her. In true McDonald fash-

her to “demystify” the arts, she explains. She

She’s learned that, even though many of us

ion, she simply assessed, strategized

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It’s not the difficult times in our lives that define us, it’s the lessons we’ve learned from those times.

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   49

and shifted gears. The result? Her own firm – Dynabrand, a na-


tional PR firm that builds awareness and sales for consumer prod-

How to Love It, Get It + Keep It

uct companies. Founded in 2001, Dynabrand is now one of the

5 Tips for Balancing Family, Work + Community By Carla McDonald

largest (by revenue) independent PR firms in Austin. Success continues to come her way (much of which she attributes to “a great team and great clients, plus a totally supportive husband.”) Whirl-

1. Focus your time on your highest order of value.

pool’s CEO called one of Dynabrand’s PR programs “the most suc-

Identify the areas where your talents, skills and experience will

cessful PR campaign in our company’s history” and included it in

have the greatest impact as a wife, mother, citizen and/or pro-

the company’s annual report. She successfully landed one of Aus-

fessional and discipline yourself to focus on those tasks.

tin’s homegrown CEOs, Clayton Christopher (then at the helm of Sweet Leaf Tea) on the cover of Inc. magazine in 2009. Christopher

2. Build a network of talented people. You can have

gives a shout-out to more than just McDonald’s PR props. “I’ve been

it all but you can’t do it all. Surround yourself with great people

working over the past couple of years to be as balanced as she is,”

who understand that success is a team sport and share your

says Christopher, who serves on the board of Big Brothers, Big Sis-

work ethic. Clarity is critical so take the time to articulate exactly

ters. “Carla’s got a family, she’s got a business, her husband has his

what you need from those around you and then empower

business, and yet she gives her time in the community. That earns

them to get the job done. Most importantly, appreciate and re-

high marks in my book.”

ward great work.

While applauding McDonald’s business success, a glance around her beautifully appointed, 10,000-square-foot-home

3. Create time-saving processes. Create systems for

begs the question: why continue to work? It’s a frank answer:

managing everything from your email inbox, calendar and ac-

because she loves it, and because she’s good at it. There’s

tion items to your children. One of my favorite timesaving sys-

also something inside her that drives her need to create. “I’m

tems is to assign days to your kids on an alternating basis to

action-oriented, I love accomplishing things. I like to see

manage the small stuff, i.e., A Day (Ava), D Day (Devin). For ex-

progress,” she explains, hearkening back to her love of seeing

ample, if our girls can’t agree on what movie to watch, and it’s a

the needle move and measuring the impact she’s having.

D Day, Devin gets to make the decision. This eliminates the

“Is there anything else, Carla?” That simple question

need to spend precious time breaking up silly arguments and

brought a thoughtful response. A response which women of

teaches acceptance. Also, I’m a huge believer in the mantra “a

all creeds, colors and standing – whether they have daugh-

place for everything and everything in its place.” Time spent

ters of their own or not – can identify with. “I believe really

looking for your phone, keys and other little things can really

strongly in female empowerment,” responded McDonald.

add up, so identify specific places to keep those items.

“One of the reasons I work is because I want my daughters to see that no one should rest on the laurels of anybody else.”

4. Leverage technology to increase productivity.

Through her own actions, as a successful businesswoman

Invest in a great mobile device so you can use downtime

who loves what she does, McDonald hopes to show the next

(standing in the grocery store checkout line or waiting in the

generation that we all bear a responsibility to search out

carpool line) to respond to emails, schedule meetings, arrange

what we love in life, and then to commit to working as hard

play dates and catch up on the news. (I love news aggregators

as we can in order to create our own success. She has come

like Fluent News.) I also email and text about anything that

to epitomize those guiding principles. There’s another prin-

doesn’t require an in-person or phone conversation. Phone tag

ciple that this woman who hates talking about herself would

can be a huge waste of time.

want us all to remember – and to put into practice with the life-long zeal that she has. And that is, “always help the peo-

5. Go easy on yourself. Strive for excellence in all you do

ple who don’t have the road paved for them.”

but, as Voltaire said, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the

And if you want to see how that “always” part works, look no further than Carla Stanmyre McDonald.

good.” Realize that, every now and then, you’re going to have to miss a soccer game, skip a business meeting or turn down a request to lead a community effort. Forgive yourself for saying “no” and realize that, ultimately, the best wife, mom, professional or citizen is a guilt-free, happy one.

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I’m action-oriented, I love accomplishing things. I like to see progress.

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   51

Carla is selfless, fiercely loyal and loving, and a helluva lot of fun. - Friend, Susannah Hamner

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A Face Made For Movies: Carla McDonald’s Life in Pictures

Wearing her Brownie uniform, in Okinawa, Japan, with Susie, the family’s much loved yet elderly dog. After Susie’s death, the family took a vacation in Nantucket to raise their spirits. McDonald’s fond memories of that trip survived into adulthood. Today she and Jack are building a second home there.

Rehearsal dinner, New York’s Upper East Side, November 19th, 1999. “This is one of my favorite pictures – I didn’t know it was being taken,” says Carla McDonald.

Carla + Jack at the 2008 American Friends of the Louvre Foundation Gala in Paris, France. “She looked like a princess that night,” said Jack. “So many women came up to me and said, ‘Your wife is the most beautiful woman here tonight.’” Carla commented, “Boy, did I work hard to get into that dress – no pizza for a month!” The dress, by Oscar de la Renta, needed its own suitcase to get to Paris.

From left: Jack, Ava (now nine), Devin (now six) and Carla McDonald outside their West Austin home in 2009. Photo by Eric Doggett, Austin, Texas

The 2006 Austin Film Society Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards, co-chaired by McDonald and Alexa Wesner. From left, Wesner, Matthew McConaughey, Lyle Lovett, McDonald (wearing a Paco Rabanne dress), and Lovett’s girlfriend, April Kimble.

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   53

words from friends

A communicator par excellence, McDonald can talk with feeling, passion and knowledge on a multitude of topics – with the exception of one: herself. Hence, in their words, the essence of Carla McDonald by those who know her best: Susan Antone, Antone’s Grand Dame of the Austin Music Scene Carla is the fundraiser extraordinaire! She's taught me so many priceless things when it comes to raising funds, and is so generous with her time and talent. She has been a huge part of the money we've raised for American YouthWorks from our Help Clifford Help Kids Fundraisers over the years. She is one of a kind.

Clayton Christopher, Founder Sweet Leaf Tea/CEO Deep Eddy Vodka Appreciative Client

I’ve worked with Carla on both regional and national PR campaigns and she is incredibly well-connected. She has consistently gotten us great coverage – including

The Wall Street Journal article and the cover of Inc. magazine – and does it in an unbelievably creative way. She is also a great PR coach, helping keep us on message.

Jack McDonald, Chairman, Perficient, Inc. Adoring Husband/Best Friend

She is a remarkable combination of brains, beauty, grace, compassion and strength. I feel like the luckiest man alive to have met her and married her. She constantly amazes me.

Juliette Morris, Senior VP Marketing, MTV Networks Best Girlfriend Since Age 16

She is the epitome of intelligence, grace, style, warmth and compassion and has an unbelievable sense of giving. Despite all the twists and turns in life, her principles and values haven’t changed at all over time … I have long admired her unquenchable desire to learn and grow as a person … challenging herself to do new things. The bottom line is that she’s an incredible woman who spoils all the people in her life with who she is.

Will Wynn, former Mayor of Austin Mover & Shaker

Austin not only attracts people, but also entices them to get involved. There's no finer example of that than Carla McDonald. Her fundraising impact is already legendary. Carla doesn't 'chair' events, she truly 'champions' them. And, I have to admit, the parties are always fun! But more importantly, countless millions of dollars – although I

Current Initiatives:

hope someone has been keeping count – has touched countless lives this past

American YouthWorks |


Arthouse |

And it is not just about the money. Carla is a genius at public relations and raising

Fusebox Festival |

awareness. Her televised Arts Minute is driving local audiences to venues all over


town, and her behind-the-scenes advice to organizations like American YouthWorks has a lasting effect on our community. Austin is really lucky to have – and is a much better place because of – Carla McDonald.

Nobelity Project | PeopleFund | People’s Community Clinic | The Arts Minute | The Long Center |

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CARLA’S THOUGHTS ON ARTS MINUTE , HER NEWS 8 AUSTIN SEGMENT: It’s another kind of learning for me – getting out of my comfort zone and doing something that is nervewracking. But really fun too. You know you’re alive when you’re doing something new. w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   55

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w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   57


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“Awaken + Find Your Path”

Idea Lounge Host Khotan Harmon BY S a u n d r a Goldman


n May 2010, Khotan Shahbazi-Harmon traveled to Los Angeles to accept the prestigious Gracie Award for her landmark interview with Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights lawyer, Dr. Shirin Ebadi. The Gracies honor outstanding programming by or about women, on the national level and in communities. On the day Ms. Harmon stepped forward to claim her award, she was in good company. Barbara Walters, Larry King and Glenn Close were being recognized as well.

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Harmon began her unlikely career in radio in 2006 as one of three guests on Soul Talk, a weekly radio show about spirituality and faith on KOOP, 91.7 FM. During a public service announcement, the show’s host pulled off her headphones and leaned over to her. “You have a great radio presence,” she said. “You should consider working in broadcast.” “My background is in capacity building and entrepreneurship development,” Harmon said in a recent interview. “It wasn’t even on my radar.”

She went home and guided by the Bahá’í prayers of her upbringing, asked for guidance. “What is seeking to emerge?” she asked. “Where am I being led?” When she felt confident that she should proceed, she applied to KOOP’s apprentice program. During an orientation session, the person sitting next to her told her she didn’t have a chance of getting on the air for at least a year. “That’s fine,” Harmon thought to herself. “I’m following a different path. If it’s meant to be, the doors will open.” Within a

month, she was one of four hosts of Writing on the Air, a show spotlighting the art and business of writing. A spot on Soul Talk followed. In 2008, Harmon created her own show, Idea Lounge. The title allows her a broad spectrum of topics and a cross-range of guests – journalists, politicians, writers, scientists, entrepreneurs, representatives of government. “The mission for the show is to discuss new world solutions,” she said. “We’re all one world, so how do we help our global community? What solutions out there are working?” Since she began her career on the air, she has interviewed spiritual guru Marianne Williamson; Lhakota visionary hoop dancer and storyteller Kevin Locke; Rabbi Larry Kushner; Marci Shimoff, the coeditor of The Chicken Soup series; Mayor Bill White of Houston; Evan Smith, editor of The Texas Tribune and former editor of Texas Monthly; and the author Anne Lamott. It’s true that Harmon has a strong radio presence – her deep, honeyed voice conveys warmth and welcome – but underneath lies a keen intelligence and a genuine curiosity that makes her beloved by her guests. You won’t hear any sound bites on “Idea Lounge.” An author who may have given the same answers to the same questions, asked by every other

w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   63



The workshop is designed to help women take the next step, no matter where they are in the process of untying the knot. • The divorce process • Child custody & support • Dealing with a hostile spouse • Helping your family cope • Dividing property • Tax consequences

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Athena Financial Group, Inc. is a Registered Investment adviser in the State of Texas located in Austin.

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It ’s true that Harmon has a strong radio presence – her deep, honeyed voice conveys warmth and welcome – but underneath lies a keen intelligence and a genuine curiosity that makes her beloved by her guests .

interviewer about a new book, will find herself digging deeper into her work’s meaning. Novelist Sarah Bird was so taken aback by the quality and depth of Harmon’s inquiry, she stopped during the course of her interview, turned to her and complimented her. “I was bowled over, first of all, by how well she had done her homework,” Bird said of Harmon. “She had all my books and they were papered with a blizzard of Post-it notes. It’s a miracle if an interviewer knows the name of your book, but to have someone prepared as if she were going to be doing a dissertation defense? That is unparalleled in my experience.” Harmon is well-prepared, but she is anything but defensive. “I don’t come with an agenda,” she said. “I don’t want to ask leading questions.” This was particularly true of her award-winning interview with Dr. Ebadi, an event that brought her face-to-face with her own traumatic past. Harmon was born in Iran and fled in 1979, shortly before the Ayatollah returned to Iran. She was 13 years old. Not long after she left, her father was executed, her family home was razed to the ground and she never returned. Despite her deep connection to the subject at hand, she held back even more than usual. She did not mention the persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran. She did not offer her own point of view. She remained clear, objective and gracious. “I honestly wanted her to speak in her own voice,” she said. “If you notice, I asked very brief questions and let her speak.” And so, the well-educated, serious voice of a Muslim woman – a woman of faith, who is also a judge, who defends the rights of women and people of all faiths in Iran

– shattered assumptions about women and Islam. Thus, the award. After winning the Gracie, Harmon felt pressure to “do something” with it. “Everybody was saying I had to start blogging or take video training to be on camera,” she said. “But I want to continue doing the same kind of work. I don’t need to become something else. When I’m 70 years old, if there’s an interesting story out there, I want to be able to tell it – in a compelling and insightful way that is very respectful. I want to be respectful of whomever I interview. I may not agree with them. That is not my job. I don’t want to editorialize in any way. I know that’s popular, but I think it’s inappropriate.” Harmon is trying to raise the level of civic discourse. In an era of super-sized, hyperventilating celebrity pundits railing against this or that politician or celebrity, she sees room for deeper discussions about things that matter. “These stories have got to get out there,” she said. “For every interview, there is somebody listening that will get something from it. Honestly, when people listen to the show, I would like them to awaken to who they are and find their path of service in life. That is the goal of the show: Awaken to who you are and find your path of service. Otherwise, everything else is just noise.” MORE INFO

“Idea Lounge” airs every Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. on KOOP, 91.7 FM. To hear a selection of Harmon’s past interviews, including her discussion with Dr. Ebadi, visit her website,


Holiday Health Goal: Eat It? Then Burn It! b y S u s a n Fa r a g o


Creative Ways to Burn Excess Calories Which Don’t Require a Gym Membership

he holidays are a great time to celebrate the season, be with loved ones and indulge in those special once-a-year treats. The last thing we want to hear about is “caloric moderation.” But it’s worth listening-up. According to a study on holiday weight gain from the New England Journal of Medicine1, the average person gains approximately one pound from mid-November to mid-January.

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That’s an extra 3,500 calories the body has stored as fat. That’s like taking a one pound bag of dried beans and distributing it all over the body in the form of fat pellets. While this may not seem significant, the weight gain becomes an issue for many people because it is cumulative year-after-year. The pecan pie of last year may be the small dimple in the thigh this year!

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According to the Mayo Clinic 2 , the ideal weight loss strategy includes reducing caloric intake by 500 calories a day which means it takes seven days to lose a pound of weight. These excess calories can be found by eliminating daily indulgences or by using lower-calorie food substitutes. This weight loss approach significantly raises the chances of keeping the weight off. It also means the weight loss is coming from stored fat rather than water weight and encourages more mindful eating rather than random consumption. Calories stack up quickly with common holiday foods such as turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and pecan pie. In the course of a 30-minute meal, it is very easy to consume upwards of 2,000+ calories and when circulating blood glucose levels exceed 80 calories, sugar is automatically stored as fat.

Proactive tips to moderate caloric intake include: Eat Before You Eat

A 200-400 calorie high fiber snack gives that full feeling and helps with the “eyes are bigger than the stomach” syndrome when mealtime comes.

Wear Fitted Clothes

Fitted clothing means less room to “let it all hang out” and heightens body image self-awareness.


Take half the normal portion size or use a smaller plate.


Stick with wine or beer (hard liquor has about twice the calories) or sip on a full glass of water in between each drink.

Share Dessert

Pick one dessert to split or only take half a slice.

Keep Moving

Stay standing and walk around but keep away from the buffet.

Another strategy to ensure those extra pounds won’t stick around after holidays can be summed up in five words – “Eat it? Then burn it!” Combine moderation and portion control with a little extra physical activity and those excess calories will be gone in no time. A 40-minute walk covers the calories in a glass of red wine. Three hours in the kitchen preparing the family meal has 511 caloric burn but only covers a piece of pecan pie. Physical activity doesn’t mean investing in a gym membership. There are many opportunities to burn calories in everyday activities. (SEE CHART BELOW)

Weight gain and loss is a function of calories consumed versus calories expended, however there are many factors to consider including metabolism, age, activity level, medication and heredity. So how long does it take to burn off 3,500 calories? Run a 4-hour marathon, work in the yard or leisurely ride a bike for 13 hours, or walk up

I f yo u cons u me

T hat ’ s

T o b u rn it off *

F or

E q u als

Red Wine (5oz)

122 cal.

Walk (moderate pace)

40 min.

136 cal.

Sweet Potato Casserole (1 cup)

262 cal.

Bicycle (leisure pace, <10mph)

1 hr.

273 cal.

Pecan Pie (1 small piece)

500 cal.

Food Preparation (walking/ standing in the kitchen)

3 hrs.

511 cal.

Green Bean Casserole w/ French’s Crispy Onions (1 cup)

215 cal.

Running (10 minute mile pace)

20 min.

227 cal.

Ham (3oz – size of a deck of cards)

214 cal.

Painting an Interior Room

1 hr.

205 cal.

Turkey Light/Dark Meat (3oz – size of a deck of cards)

135 cal.

Playing with Children (low impact)

30 min.

136 cal.

Baked Potato (1 medium, no butter/salt/dressing)

161 cal.

Reading, Sitting

2 hrs.

177 cal.

Stuffing, Vegetarian (1 cup)

285 cal.

Yard Work and/or Gardening

1 hr.

273 cal.

Cranberry Sauce, Fresh (1 cup)

95 cal.

Sexual Activity (VIGOROUS)

1 hr.

102 cal.

Dinner Rolls, HomeMade, White Bread (2” roll)

111 cal.

Walking Up Stairs

20 min.

114 cal.

*General caloric expenditure based on 150-lb person.

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stairs for 30 hours. Calories go in a lot faster than they come off! The good news is that shorter and more frequent bouts of physical activity do more to increase overall metabolism and burn calories than one or two longer sessions. Go for that 20-minute walk but make sure to do it several times. Caloric moderation and a little creative physical activity can make a big difference on controlling weight gain this holiday season. Enjoy those special meals even more, knowing that they won’t be around next year!

Get heart surgery

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You can reach Susan Farago, Austin based multi-sport fitness coach, ultra endurance athlete and writer at: 1 Yanovski JA, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, Nguyen TT, O'Neil PM, Sebring NG. A prospective study of holiday weight gain. N Engl J Med. 2000;342(12):861-7. 2 Counting Calories: Get back to weightloss basics. Downloaded October 1, 2010.

Resources: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference foodcomp/search/ WebMD Fit-o-Meter healthtool-fitnesscalorie-counter

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w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   69 9/9/10 4:29 PM

sexual health part I

It’s My Pleasure!! W

hen the erectile dysfunction drugs were approved by the FDA, women began asking, “Hey, what about us? We’d like something to enhance our sexual experience as well.” But researchers scoffed. Women’s sexuality is complex – at least that is what researchers and analysts lead us to believe. A woman’s sexual response varies from one encounter to the other, often completely different from her sexual response at any

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b y D a r l i n e T u r n e r - L e e

More and more researchers (and women) are finding that the key to a woman’s sexual pleasure comes not from external forces, but from her own deep sense of personal satisfaction.

other time. A woman may be wild like a mythical vixen, aggressive and highly sexual, subduing her partner and forcing him to satisfy her sexual needs. Next, she’s softer, preferring to be held and kissed and not really interested in the act of intercourse at all. A woman’s sexual response can fluctuate from one extreme to the other or be anywhere along the vast continuum between these two poles – and still be “normal.” It’s this variation in women’s sexual

response that has caused much of the confusion for researchers of women’s sexuality and much of the discord internally within women and between women and their partners. Understandably, many men find it frustrating to take their woman to the heights of ecstasy during one sexual encounter and the very next time, when they try the exact same overtures, be totally rebuffed. Women themselves are often mystified at their varying

A woman’s sexual response can fluctuate from one extreme to the other or be anywhere along the vast continuum between these two poles – and still be “normal.

responses and because they can’t explain achieved with or without genital contact. them, believe that there is something The key to intensely satisfying sex for amiss or even pathologic. But that is the women comes from women knowing beauty of a woman’s sexual response. It what they like, knowing what makes them changes and as some say, “with the feel good, the ability to communicate wind.” these feelings to their partners and for Pharmaceutical researchers and devel- their partners to be able to accept the inopers lament, “A woman’s cyclical and formation and to act on it – sometimes at hormonally-driven cycles make them dif- a moment’s notice. In other words, women ficult to manipulate. One minute they’re who experience great sex know, “It’s my up, the next minute, down. It’s much hard- pleasure” and take full responsibility for er to create a drug that can enhance a their own sexual satisfaction. woman’s sexual drive when there are so “For women to experience great sex, many contributing and confounding fac- they have to know what gives them pleators.” By contrast, when pharmaceutical sure,” says Shelley Imholte, LMSW, Ed.D researchers set out to create a drug to treat Candidate in Human Sexuality and prinResearch and Burnet erectile dysfunction in men, the end point ciple of Sol Associates, PLLC. “Tradition452-8228 was crystal clear: create a drug that allows ally, women are taught “reflective sexuali(Next to Chili’s) a man to obtain and maintain an erection ty,” to look for approval externally from sufficient enough to engage in intercourse their mates and society that they are sexy to the point of orgasm (ejaculation). These and for their mates to tell them that they are very clear-cut goals and a clear goal is are good sexually. Women have to learn an attainable goal. what gives them pleasure and then share So what is successful, good or great sex that inner sensuality with their mates, if private sales and offers follow us at for womenForand how can women have they want to experience good sex.” regular, consistently great sex? While it’s “Few women are taught to learn what true that women like intercourse, for gives them pleasure,” says Imholte. “Fewer many women, a vaginal orgasm is not the still know how to please themselves! For a epitome of a great sexual encounter. As woman to experience her fullest sexual previously stated, many women prefer to response, she has to be fully present, in the be held, kissed and cuddled, and when moment and fully aware of what she is this is done with the care and attention feeling.” they desire, many women will have an or“For women, sex starts in our heads,” gasm – completely absent of penile-vagi- says Deborah Kern, Ph.D, health scientist. nal penetration. So how do these women “Women must practice mindfulness to exexperience great sex with (or without) in- perience great sex and they have to be very tercourse? Do they prefer oral sex? Per- present in their bodies to experience great haps some do, but more likely these sex.” Kern goes on to explain that women experience a profound sense of women have highly developed Cosatisfaction such that orgasms can be pora Callosa, the fibrous band that

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Perhaps much of what is currently diagnosed as sexual desire disorders can be best understood as a healthy response to dismal and disappointing sex.

connects the two sides of the brain. Mindfulness has been touted as an essential requisite for good sex. In The Components of Optimal Sexuality: A Portrait of “Great Sex,” Peggy J. Kleinplatz et. al. identified eight essential components of “great sex” in their study. Topping the list (according to their participants) is “being present, focused and embodied.” Other essentials to great sex are being in sync with one’s partner, extraordinary communication and heightened empathy, and authenticity/genuineness/uninhibited transparency. Interestingly, minor requisites for good sex included intense physical sensation and/or orgasm and lust/desire/ chemistry/attraction. So what do these findings mean for women’s sexuality? According to Kleinplatz, many clinicians and therapists have missed the mark when it comes to women’s sexuality. While medicine and psychology have focused on the physical function, it may be more prudent to help (female) patients learn to be more comfortable with their own

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bodies and feelings, while also teaching them how to effectively communicate their desires to their partners. Kleinplatz also postulates, “Perhaps much of what is currently diagnosed as sexual desire disorders can be best understood as a healthy response to dismal and disappointing sex.” And why should women even care whether or not they have great sex? “Sex has some very definite physiologic and psychological benefits,” notes Kern. “Regular sex improves pelvic health, strengthening the vaginal muscles and increasing vaginal lubrication. When the vaginal muscles are strong, the entire pelvis is stronger and there is less organ prolapse.” (Again, emphasis is on the muscular changes that occur as a result of orgasm and as we have established, orgasm in women is not dependent on genital stimulation or vaginal penetration!) Kerns adds there is a phenomenon called vaginal reflexology that leads to enhanced overall health. “Vaginal reflexology is much

like reflexology we experience with foot massage. The muscular release in the vagina leads to improved overall well being.” Finally, it is well established that great sex releases healing chemicals such as beta endorphins (pain reducers), oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone” that enhances bonding and our ability to form interpersonal relationships) and nitric oxide, a free radical that our body produces which has amazing healing and restorative properties. So what are you waiting for? Are you going to continue to be governed by our shallow societal definitions of sex and what is sexy or are you ready to stand up and say, “It’s my pleasure!” and own your sexuality? In subsequent installments, we’ll explore how our sexuality changes throughout our lives, what to do when there really is a pathological condition and hear from Austin women how sex has changed for them following life-altering events such as mastectomy or hysterectomy, divorce or the death of a spouse or partner.

The Eight Major Components of Optimal Sex

(as discovered by Kleinplatz + her associates in their study)

Be present/focused/embodied A sense of connection/alignment/ being in sync with your partner Deep sexual and erotic intimacy Extraordinary communication + heightened empathy Interpersonal risk taking, exploration and fun

Resources Shelley L. Imholte, LMSW, Ed.D Candidate -Human Sexuality – Widener University

Deborah Kern, Ph.D, Health Scientist

Peggy J. Kleinplatz et. al.

The Components of Optimal Sexuality: A Portrait of “Great Sex” The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, vol 18 (1-13) 2009

Authenticity, being genuine, transparent

Books + Websites

Vulnerability and surrender to your partner

by Christiane Northrup, MD

Transcendence, bliss, peace, transformation and healing

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

The Minor Components of Optimal Sex Intense physical sensation + orgasm Lust, desire, chemistry, attraction

Sacred Pleasure by Riane Eisler

Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts by Regena Thomashauer

A world-renowned anthropologist who has done extensive research on sexual attraction.

Restless Nights?

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Call for an initial consultation.

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Linger in Spicewood

A Jewel on the Outskirts of Austin b y B e t h S c h r a d e r


ne of the wonderful things about the Austin area is the abundance of beautiful destinations within an hour’s drive from the city. On your way to Pace Bend Park or other spots on Lake Travis, have you ever slowed down and looked around the tiny town of Spicewood? There are plenty of fun activities and tasty food choices to make a wonderful day trip from Austin or a weekend getaway that doesn’t require much travel time. Spicewood is surrounded by spring-fed creeks, some lined with towering cypress trees. Each of them is a little gem worthy of some serious lollygagging. Even the names inspire daydreams: Fall Creek, Little Cypress Creek, Sycamore Creek, Double Horn Creek and Alligator Creek. But the queen of the swimming holes is Krause Springs. This collection of 32 springs sits between the town of Spicewood and Lake Travis. The main springs feed a 70-foot-long swimming pool and then cascade down a limestone cliff covered with ferns and mosses on its way to a large natural pool on Little Cypress Creek. Movies have been filmed here. Marriages have

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been proposed here. Don’t miss this little slice of paradise! For the adventurous, fly through the trees on zip lines at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours. The owners enjoyed a zip-line tour in Costa Rica so much that they were inspired to do the same in our beautiful Hill Country. This thrilling ride takes you through an old-growth cypress forest, gliding from platform to platform – a literal bird’s eye view. Another facet of Spicewood is the abundance of artists and artisans who call it home, and many of them open their studio to visitors. Take a stroll through the bucolic landscape at the Shade Tree Potter and enjoy Susie Fowler’s gallery of clay creations. Visit the Gallery at Spicewood for Mark Schultz’s original landscape pastels. Pick out some cacti to go with your art at Spicewood Spines.

And, of course, you’ll need fuel for all this fun. Ilsa’s Kitchen is a new Bavarian restaurant serving delicious homemade German specialties. After their weekend brunch, you’ll be ready for a full day of fun. If you’re in the mood for Mexican food, La Cabana serves up excellent fresh TexMex and authentic Mexican dishes. Try the Tilapia al Mojo de Ajo (grilled with garlic butter). You won’t regret it. If you prefer al fresco dining, pack a picnic lunch or get barbecue from Opie’s BBQ or RO’s Outpost and head to Spicewood Vineyards. This is a truly laid-back, childand dog-friendly winery where you are encouraged to picnic. You can’t beat the opportunity to taste seven of their wines for $2. Spicewood Vineyards has recently added a beautiful event center, perfect for the live music events they regularly host or a private gathering.

Finish up your day with some live music at Willie Nelson’s favorite place: Poodie’s Hilltop Bar and Grill. This quintessential Texas saloon will put you in a mellow state of mind or a hell-raising mood, depending on the day's patrons. After your partying, don’t drive back to Austin – just hop over to your weekend digs. If you like the Bed and Breakfast experience, Chanticleer Log Cabin and its sister Villas are lovely. If you’ve got a big group, rent a lakefront home with all the amenities from Lake Travis Vacation Rentals or HomeAway. How can you resist spending a day or a weekend in Spicewood? For the cost of a half-tank of gas, you’ll feel a world away from home, office, stress and obligations.

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The Junior League of Austin Presents:

d e t n a h c n E




ach year, The Junior League of Austin gives up to 30,000 guests the opportunity to combine the thrill of Christmas shopping with the chance to donate to a worthy cause. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the organization’s “A Christmas Affair,” where more than 200 merchants from around the country will set up booths in an open-air market style to raise funds that will directly contribute to nonprofits in Austin. Two new events have been added to the lineup this year: “PJ’s and Pancakes,” where guests will be served breakfast in Mrs. Claus’ kitchen while decorating plates for Santa’s Cookies; and for younger Austin women, “A Perfectly Pink Party” – a tween and teen fashion show. Dillard’s Barton Creek sponsors the show for girls ages seven to 16. “We are an organization of women fostering a spirit of volunteerism and training in the community and this event is a wonderful opportunity to reach young women,” said Cathy Norcutt, one of the chairs for the four-day event. “In addition to the fashion show, an author will speak on the important topic of self-esteem.” The Christmas Affair, which takes place November 17 - 21, will begin Wednesday with the “Upon A Winter’s Eve” black tie gala. Reservations are required for this event and will include preview shopping, catered dinner and an open bar. The market will open to the public Thursday at noon.

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Annual highlights of this four-day event include “Mischief and Magic: Girls’ Night Out,” which will feature a silent auction, appetizer buffet by Pink Avocado and music by Radiostar, as well as brunch and private shopping at “The Magic Begins.” The overall event is a holiday marketplace that provides fun for all ages and combines a one-of-a-kind shopping experience and specialized parties with the satisfaction of donating to a local cause. “When you come shop at A Christmas Affair, you are directly impacting the Greater Austin community through your ticket purchase,” said Norcutt. “This is ‘one stop shopping’ with unique merchants from around the country and you won’t find these items anywhere else!” Founded in 1934, The Junior League of Austin is an organization of over 2,000 women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Ticket proceeds with directly benefit Austin nonprofits. Market hours are Thursday 12 - 9 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the Palmer Events Center. Market tickets are $12-a-day per guest; children 5 years and younger get in free, but please note that no strollers or pull carts are allowed. Tickets for individual events

can be purchased at an additional cost. Onsite parking will be available in the garage for $7; however offsite parking and shuttle services will be available at Barton Creek Square Mall for $3 roundtrip per rider. For additional information, please visit

enchanted events Wed., Nov. 17th 7:30 p.m. – Black Tie Gala Tickets $150

Thurs., Nov. 18th 9 a.m. - noon – Brunch catered by Don Strange. Tickets $60 noon – Market shopping opens to the public 6 - 10 p.m. – Girls Night Out Tickets $50

Fri., Nov. 19th 9 - 10.30 a.m. – Breakfast with Santa Tickets $20 4:30 - 6 p.m. – Tween and Teen “Perfectly Pink Party” fashion show. Tickets $25 6 - 7:30 p.m. – Reindeer Games: Bingo for the whole family. Tickets $25

Sat., Nov. 20th 9 - 10:30 a.m. – PJ’s and Pancakes Tickets $25 4 - 6 p.m. – Coats for Kids. Stop by and donate a coat to the annual coat drive. The event will also include a science show and visit from Frosty. Tickets $25. (Children 1 and up must purchase a ticket.)

Sun., Nov. 21st 9 - 10:30 a.m. – Gingerbread House Workshop. Tickets $20/adult, $30/child

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Bonar turns the


camera on herself, with the help of friend

Coming of Age

S a n d r a G r e g o r.

In her latest photo exhibit, Ave Bonar turns her lens on the women in her life – women who’ve helped shape who she is today.

b y N a n c y M i ll e r B a r to n 1. Writer Frances Nail penned her first book in her 70s. She’s written three since.

ph oto s b y Av e B o n a r 1.



2. Katy Nail’s illustrations have graced the pages of her mom Frances’ books. One reviewer called her paintings “moments of mystery.” 3. Dana Debeauvoir, Travis County Clerk and Bonar became friends 30 years ago when Bonar first photographed her.




4. Sandra Gregor worked with Bonar for about 5-years, encouraging Coming of Age. 5. Austinite Sarah Bird is author of oft-chatted-about books like Yokota Officer’s Club and The Mommy Club (and AW ’s May 2005 cover woman) 6. Sharon Watkins, owner of Chez Zee Restaurant and chum who helped nurture Bonar’s inspiration




7. Dr. Karen Swenson and Dr. Diana Weihs, Bonar’s doctor and medical partner. Bonar says Swenson’s eyes are closed because she came to the shoot after a night of delivering babies. 8. Carolyn Phillips was one of the first advertising sales reps at The Austin Chronicle. 9. Nadine Eckhardt – Bonar describes her friend as being both involved in politics and the arts. They met back when Eckhardt opened Nadine’s Restaurant on the city’s east side, back in the 80’s.

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w w w . a u s t i n w o m a n m a g a z i n e . c o m   81


ve Bonar seems to be a woman of few words and yet she speaks volumes. The shoot for her latest photo project may have sounded something like a cocktail party. And it might have smelled like a homecooked meal with fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes. As for what it looked like – well, the results of photographer Ave Bonar’s project titled Coming of Age is spread all over these pages. Bonar indeed “speaks” volumes as you look into the eyes of the women on these pages: Austin women for whom, like the adage “six degrees of separation,” are all connected to Bonar in some way. Looking at the photos, you can’t help but wonder about the lives of the women who hail from the arts, politics and journalism: What made her laugh? What joy brought those crow’s feet? What sorrow does she carry with her? Ave Bonar writes that Coming of Age, her women’s portrait project, was something

she “almost ached” to do. Longtime friend and photo subject Sharon Watkins calls Bonar a “true artist” and says the work was about five years in the making. There are 90-something photos so far. Watkins is owner of Chez Zee Restaurant and is hosting an exhibit of Bonar’s project beginning this month. She calls it, “a huge body of work … if you look at the depth of people represented, it’s … a representation of women of Austin,” and Bonar’s own life journey. First a little background, for those who don’t always scan for photo credits. You’ve no doubt seen much of Bonar’s work. She’s had photos in The Austin American Statesman and Texas Monthly. Her work hangs on the walls of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of St. David’s Hospital and The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and appears in books like those of authors Frances Nail and Nadine Eckhardt (also both subjects of the current

exhibit). In 1989, Bonar was photographer for Ann Richards’ gubernatorial campaign. Following Richards across Texas gave her a chance to see “politics inside and out.” Bonar calls it one of her most interesting jobs. Bonar calls Richards, “dynamic and inspirational,” explaining simply that following Richards’ campaign began as a personal project, “Someone needed to photograph this … it was history.’ Coming of Age is also a very personal project. Contemporaries in photography describe Bonar as a “legend.” Fellow photographer Kirk Tuck explains, “She’s been doing great documentary-style art photography in her own keen style for decades.” In fact, she began studying photography in the 1960’s after coming to Austin to go to The University of Texas. Her inspiration to shoot was sparked by her then husband, painter and photographer, Jimmy Jalapeeno. Bonar



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eventually did earn a degree in photography from The University. Now, having snapped pics for decades, Tuck says Bonar is “fresh and relevant … a role model for artists.” So, the stage is nearly set. Bonar has the inspiration, the skill, all she needs is the setting. Enter what she calls the “portrait party.” Bonar decided, after much brainstorming with friends like Watkins, that the best way to capture the shots was with food, conversation and laughs. Over the years, she’s done documentary and “street” photography, but for portraiture you need a space. Not one to miss an opportunity – when a friend said she needed a house sitter for her historic Austin home – Bonar had her setting. In the end, she hosted a number of dinners, inviting over women she’s worked with, met while working or met just while going through life (her doctor for one) and invited them for a meal, maybe a little wine, and a chance to have their

picture taken. Watkins says the evening she was photographed was “fun … not in a portrait studio in the middle of the day … but having a lovely dinner and drinking wine … your pals were there encouraging you, laughing.” And, of course, talking about all the things women talk about. The result, Bonar says, are photos of women that reveal, “the essence of who the person is for me.” As Bonar talks, remembering the fun she had creating this project, we sit at Chez Zee where Coming of Age will hang beginning in November. Bonar points out a few of her other pieces hang as part of the restaurant’s permanent collection. They are unexpected shots of vegetables, close-ups revealing unique color and texture. Bonar says she likes photography because, “it has an artistic side that allows me to express myself.” When asked if hanging work like the new exhibit makes her feel vulnerable, she

politely answers, “Vulnerable? No. If I like it, it’s gotta be okay.” She adds, “I’m a pretty good photo editor.” “Imperfect Beauty” was an alternative title Ave Bonar considered for the exhibit. The photos, she says, allow the spirit of the woman to shine through, she says so often we as women “don’t appreciate our imperfections.” In the end, Coming of Age captures a group of women, of lives lived. Bonar’s photos indeed speak volumes. Ave Bonar’s Coming of Age Reception

Celebrating Women, Photography and Chez Zee’s 21st Birthday Chez Zee Restaurant 5406 Balcones Drive SUN. November 14th • 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. Exhibit on display all month. For more information call the restaurant at: 512-454-2666


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Utility Watch: Check Your Bill!

b y M a r c y G o o d fl e i s c h

The Best Part of Paying Your Utility Bill Might be the Amount


f you simply open your monthly utility bills, grumble (or faint) at the amount, send a payment and trash the rest; you’re missing out on a chance to save money and cut your usage. Many people diligently watch the miles-per-gallon on their car when they fill the tank, but fail to notice how their monthly habits and changing lifestyle may have impacted their electric, natural gas and water consumption. If you live in Austin, your monthly city utility bill, as well as your gas bill, has valuable information that can help you track whether it paid off to install those ugly (but green-friendly) fluorescent bulbs, or whether the state-of-the-art, front-loading washing machine really does use less water. (Hint – the answer to both of these questions is almost assuredly “yes.”) Many utility customers in Austin have their bills averaged out over a year’s time, which is a huge help in planning a budget. Utility companies calculate your average consumption over a 12-month period, and your bill for the next year will be the same each month, based on your consumption for the previous year. This is convenient, but it makes it all too easy to open your bill, pay

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the standard amount for the current year, and toss out the good stuff – the part that can help you save money. It’s true that, if you have your bills averaged (or levelized), you won’t see a payback for various energy-saving steps for at least a year, but wouldn’t it feel good to have an extra $40 or $50 dollars in your budget a year from now? The rules are simple; here’s how to play the game: On the back of your City of Austin utility bill are three helpful graphs that show your monthly usage over the past year for electricity, water and wastewater. The first two graphs, especially, can greatly add to your ability to manage your utility expenses. The third graph is a bit trickier, but still worth a look. Texas Gas Service has a similar graph on its monthly bills. The first graph on what we commonly call our “electric bill” tracks your electricity usage for the past 12 months. You can also get your history for up to 24 months by going online and creating a user account with the City of Austin utilities office. Before looking at the graph, though, take a look at the right hand side of the bill and check what you pay for your usage.

Many people aren’t aware that we pay a tiered amount for our electricity consumption; the information on the back of your monthly bill will tell you how much your household verged into the premium rates charged for higher usage. The first 500 kilowatt hours (KWH) are $.0355 per KWH; after that, the rate goes up to $.0782 per KWH, and then you are charged an additional $.03653 for every single hour of usage. Before you pass out at the number of hours you used beyond the super-cheap 500-hour threshold, bear in mind that the only consumers falling within that category are probably living in a one-room place with no air conditioning. Although we would all love to pay that lower (by more than half) amount, it’s unrealistic in a community such as Austin, where three-digit temperatures are the norm every summer. Still, though, the handy graph to the left of the scary information (how many dollars your racked up the past month) can help you cut expenses. The graph will show you the amount of electricity you consumed this time last year, and for each month since then. This may sound like old news; after all – we don’t live

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amount for our electricity consumption...

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in the past. But it’s actually a great tool for to the details. Many homes have older water today, tomorrow, next month and the fu- meters, and they are not always accurate. A ture. We hear a constant barrage of infor- case in point: My neighbors’ bill showed mation about how to cut utility costs, but in they had used about 57,000 gallons of water the past we had few ways of truly monitor- one month this past summer. They were ing whether there was a payoff. The graph gone two weeks out of that month, and they can tell you what you want to know. do not own a swimming pool. Because they If you’ve experimented with raising your paid attention to the bill and challenged it, AC thermostat the two or three degrees they were given an administrative reducclaimed to save money, you can tell by the tion on the amount they were charged. One graph whether the months when you factor was their home’s 18-year-old meter. sweated a bit more actually made a differ- And, as we all know, mistakes can be made, ence in your consumption. even by something as all-powerful as the loDid you install energy-saving light bulbs cal electric company. at any point? Most people swap out several The third graph on the ‘electric’ bill – bulbs at once (generally in the areas most your wastewater usage – is dependent on often used). Depending on the number of your monthly water usage. However, bebulbs you changed out and the usage, you cause many people water their lawns during LUXIVA® COLOR MAX may be able to see a drop in the historical the summer, and the water goes into the SHADOW LUXIVA® COLOR MAX usage for the months afterward. ground rather than down the drain, wastePacked with more pigment for Naturally, the changing temperatures water is calculated on the average amount SHADOW maximum impact. and other varying conditions make a differ- of water you use during the early part of the Packed with more pigment for ence, too. But it’s still possible to monitoring calendar year, when you’re probably not wamaximum impact. usage, control your consumption and grad- tering your lawn. This graph is less helpful ually learn which green choices you’ve made than the first two, but handy to have anyhave also saved money. way. If you purchased an Energy Star appliYour gas bill will show your 12-month ance at some point in the past 24 months, consumption pattern, too. Even if your bill 512.380.9305 compare the utility usage before and after is levelized, you can compare your monthly 4477 South Lamar, Suite 570 and see if there’s a difference. Energy Star usage from month-to-month, and monitor Westgate Shopping Center washers and dryers (especially front-load- what the impact was during high-usage Austin, TX 78745 Hours:10am - 6pm M-F SUN 12pm - 5pm ers) use considerably more water to get times such as the extremely cold winter we Celeste Blankenship, Owner clothes clean and greatly reduce the cost of had this past year. If you buy a new Energy drying clothes by ‘feeling’ the dampness Star gas furnace or hot water heater, you can and shutting off when they’re dry, rather eventually tell if it made a difference in your than running for the entire 50 minutes or so usage. 512.452.5190 you may have programmed the dryer for in Both local utility companies have made 3010 W. Anderson Lane E. Austin, TX 78757 the past. You will likely see a change in your it easy for you to start tracking your usage MERLENORMAN .COM Hours: 10am - 6pm M-Sat overall usage if you watch the graphs each over an extended period of time. Try it; © 2010 Merle Norman Cosmetics, Inc. Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios have been independently owned and operated since 1931. Toni Rees, Owner month. you’ll like it! The second graph on the ‘electric bill’ will show your historical water usage. There For more information, visit: are several reasons to watch this one closely, MERLENORMAN .COM especially if you pay an averaged amount WWW.MERLENORMAN.COM © 2010 Merle Norman Cosmetics, Inc. Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios have been independently owned and operated since 1931. each month and often do not pay attention

I Z I N G A N D C U S TO M I Z I N G I N S T R U C T I O N S ear zone of 1/2 the height of the logo must be maintained as shown below.

ext or graphic elements can appear in this clear zone. Logo and tagline may be stretched or manipulated in any way.

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holiday food

Thanksgiving Recipes From our family to yours - aw brings you a few simple Recipes to make planning your feast a little easier!

homemade gravy provided by ketan patel, AW art director

Throw those 49-cent packets of powdered gravy mix away, roll-up your sleeves and make some delicious gravy, courtesy of the turkey pan drippings. ingredients: Pan Drippings from Turkey (Seperated, Fat + Liquid) Turkey/Chicken Broth 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour Salt + Pepper to Taste method: Pour all pan drippings into large measuring cup or bowl; let set, and then skim off fat (it will float to top). In a large saucepan, mix 3-4 tablespoons of fat with the flour. Blend well. Cook and stir this mixture over low heat till rolling simmer. Remove from heat and stir in enough liquid (from pan drippings) and broth all at once to make 2 cups. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk very well. Simmer about 2 to 3 minutes or until it thickens slightly. Garnish with pinch of chopped parsley.

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cranberry orange stuffing provided by emily codding, AW senior account executive

There’s no rule that says you HAVE TO use traditional cubed bread pieces. This innovative recipe is a SUREFIRE way to wow your guests and add even more flavor to your turkey. ingredients: 1 Tbs Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 2 Tbs Butter 2 Ribs Celery with Greens, Chopped 1 Medium Onion, Chopped 1 Dried Bay Leaf Salt + Pepper 4 Cranberry Orange Muffins, Homemade or Store-bought 2 Tbs Fresh Thyme Leaves, Stems Removed, Chopped 1 Cup Chicken Stock method: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery, onion, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble the muffins into the pan. Add thyme and chicken stock. Cook stuffing for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer stuffing to casserole dish and cook in 400 degree oven until the top is browned slightly, about 15-20 minutes. Makes 4 servings. Can easily be doubled.

easy pumpkin pie ingredients: 2 Cups Canned Pumpkin 3 Eggs 1 1/4 Cups Half And Half 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar 1/2 Tsp Salt 3/4 Tsp Cinnamon 1 Tsp Ground Ginger 1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg Pie Crust (Store-bought) Whipped Cream (for topping)

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You don’t have to be a fancy-pants pastry chef to make a homemade dessert. This one really is “easy as pie.”

method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place pre-made pie dough into pie pan and press down along bottom and sides. Pinch and crimp the edges with fingers or fork. Place into freezer for 1 hour to firm-up. After firming up, place aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill shell up to edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 lbs) and bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is beginning to color.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs well. Beat in half and half, vanilla extract, brown sugar, salt, and spices until thoroughly blended. Once blended, add in the pumpkin mixture, mix well. Pour pumpkin mixture into pie shell and place in center oven rack . Bake for 30-40 minutes until the filling is firm. Cool completely on wire racks and serve with whipped cream.

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Rose Reyes (L) of Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tambourine, and Nancy Coplin (R)

Women in Music Female Music Professional Society Makers Unite! b y Ch r i s t i n e C o x


he music capital of the world boasts lots of professional female musicians: guitar players, vocalists, banjo pluckers, pianists, and violinists. So it’s fitting that they should all gather together every month, usually at Threadgill’s south, with music promoters, booking agents, music lawyers, graphic artists, music photographers and audio engineers to swap stories, keep one another up-to-speed on the goings-on in the industry, and share photos of their kids and grandkids. And it all happened because the indomitable Nancy Coplin, music coordinator for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, had a birthday party three years ago.

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“I have always been lucky in the world of networking,” says Coplin, “but I felt that women, especially in the music business, weren’t very good at networking or marketing themselves. I thought that a monthly networking lunch would work, especially since lots of the women in the music business work at night.” When she shared her idea with her friend and community “mover and shaker” Rose Reyes of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, something clicked. “We decided then and there to form a group and call it WIMPS, which has turned out to be an excellent resource for women in all aspects of the music business.” In fact, plenty of music stalwarts attend the

weekly luncheons, including Suzanna Choffel, Sara Hickman and Marcia Ball, (both former AW cover women) along with Susan Antone and Lee Duffy of the Austin Songwriters Group, to name only a small few. “Not even Nashville has a group like this for women. Not L.A., nowhere that we know of,” says Reyes. “We’re proud to offer this to the women in Austin, and are very open to new members and ideas.” The youngest member is the only 17-year-old – so there are no “rules” for membership – just a love of music and Austin will do. Catorina Sigerfoos is a local music lover who is actively involved in the music community through her

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volunteer work with SIMS, (a nonprofit that raises funding for mental health services for musicians, SIMS was named after Sims Ellison, a gifted Austin musician whose battle with depression tragically ended in suicide when he was only 32 years old in 1995), where she sits on the Board of Directors and ME TV, (Austin’s own cable music television channel). Sigerfoos attends the monthly meetings with WIMPS as a way to keep her finger on the pulse of the female music community. “While I love helping artists through SIMS and ME, WIMPS lets me see the day-to-day amazing creativity and productivity by the female artists in Austin, some of whom have been helped by SIMS. It’s sort of like seeing the living results of our work, which is very affirming.” Sigerfoos’ mom and maternal grandmothers were musicians, so “it’s like family to me, being around female musicians and music industry types.” At the monthly meetups, the women sit down over lunch in the large back room at Threadgill’s, where as many as 50 or more show up each time. Everyone stands up and introduces themselves, talking about what’s going on in their world – who’s looking for talent, who’s working on a record deal, what festivals they’ve recently played in, who’s had a new baby or a death in the family. (If anyone gets too longwinded – and it happens – Coplin shakes her tambourine to signal it’s time to move on.) After lunch, the women linger, exchange business cards and phone numbers, invite one another backstage to concerts, find a graphic artist to work with them on their website or a songwriter or vocal coach to help them get better at what they love best – making music in Austin so the town can continue to be known as the Music Capitol of the World. “The music business tends to be dominated by men,” says Coplin. “This helps shift that norm. Women in music are a powerful force – and we’re just getting better at it through working together, sharing and doing what women do best – sharing and helping one another.”

For more information visit RADIOCITYCHRISTMAS.COM. More information on WIMPS can be found at Due to the nature of live entertainment dates, times, prices, shows, actors, venues and sales are subject to change without notice. All tickets subject to convenience charges. ©2010 Madison Square Garden, L.P. All rights reserved. Radio City, Radio City Music Hall, Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Rockettes are trademarks of Radio City Trademarks, LLC.

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1/2 page vert. (4.109” x 9.406”) Austin RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS Ad for Austin Woman Magazine - Run Date: November!/wimpsaustin, your inquiries and attendance are most welcome, no matter your place in the local music community!

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Just Desserts Nothings exceeds like excess­­– sugar b y R o b e r t C a lv e r t

A b o t t l e o f t h e l e g e n d a r y o r i g i n a l V i n d e C o n s t a n c e .

There is an energy to great narrative

Sweet Things

ar and other flavorful compounds.

art, a force that carries us along from

Most of the wines we drink are “ferment-

We decided to try a few wines produced

scene to scene, much as gravity pulls water

ed dry.” Sugars in the grapes are consumed

from super ripe, super sweet, super flavorful

from a tiny spring in the breast of an ob-

by yeasts during fermentation.

late-harvest grapes. Would the wines be super?

scure mountain and draws it down to the

Sometimes the yeasts don’t consume all

distant ocean. A great meal has a similar

the sugar. Wines that taste sweet have resid-

energy, a gustatory dynamic that carries

ual sugar in them that the yeasts left behind.

the diner from amuse gueule through the

The winemaker may have stopped fermenta-

Located in southeast Spain, the hot, dry

various courses and on to the valedictory

tion early, or the yeasts may have tuckered

Yecla region produces mostly red wines, gen-

wine, capstone of the culinary extrava-

out for reasons of their own.

erally from the Monastrell grape (known


Dessert wines usually are made from


elsewhere as Mourvèdre or Mataro).

grapes that contain high levels of sugar to

We loved the dense, ruby-colored 2005

– the closing paragraph of Bassani’s Gar-

start, typically grapes that have been left on

Bellum El Remate Late Harvest Monas-

den of the Finzi-Continis, the kisses that

the vine past the nominal harvest point.

trell ($34) from Yecla’s Bodegas Señorío de

Stunning finales make memorable art


Barahonda ( The bou-

bestod” that ends Tristan und Isolde, for

spätlese wines are examples of slightly sweet

quet abounded with essences of fruit – rasp-


“late harvest” wines.

berries, blackberries, apples – augmented by

conclude Cinema Paradiso, the “Lie-





What of those final wines – sugary

Winemakers who want to produce still

minerals and herbs. The fruity, smoky flavor

dénouements of the dining experience?

sweeter wines can delay harvest until the

smacked of blackberries, figs and plums,

Can a stunning dessert wine transform a

grapes become super ripe. After a while, water

with a core of dark chocolate – balanced by

fine meal into a masterpiece? Can they

in the grapes may begin to evaporate, turning

acid highlights that presaged the lilting, lin-

turn your dinner party into the capstone

them into virtual raisins and increasing the

gering finish.

of everyone’s holiday season this year?

concentration of sugar. Grapes can be attacked

We thought the Bellum would pair well

by a fungus called botrytis cinerea that draws

with Gourmandise walnut cheese or minced

out water, increasing the concentration of sug-

meat pie.

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South Africa


Constantia was one of the first wine properties in South Africa. Klein Constantia (, part of the original

Tokaji once was famed as “the wine of kings and the king of wines.” The kings mostly are gone. The regal liquid endures.

estate, began producing a sweet wine called Vin de Constance in

Produced near the town of Tokaj in northeastern Hungary, Tokaji is

the first half of the 19 th century. The lush liquid became a favorite

made from Furmint grapes, often with additional quantities of Hárslevelü

of such notables as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Napoleon.

and other unpronounceable indigenous varieties. The winemaking pro-

Unfortunately, toward the end of the 19 th century the vines at

cess is complicated. Grapes are harvested well into the fall, after some of

Klein Constantia were devastated by phylloxera. Production

the grapes have been attacked by botrytis. The botrytized grapes – called

ceased. A century later, new owners decided to revive the estate

aszú – are picked by hand and turned into a sweet paste that then is

and its Vin de Constance. They secured Muscat de Frontignan

added to juice from unbotrytized grapes. After a day or two, the sweet-

vines thought to have been propagated from the original Constan-

ened juice is put into wooden casks where it ferments and matures.

tia stock, and they resurrected historical methods of producing the legendary elixir.

Traditionally the aszú paste was collected in a bucket called a

puttonyos. (The plural is puttonyok.) Although winemakers no longer

A wonderful saffron color, the 2004 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance ($50) emitted the characteristic perfume of the Muscat

use the old buckets, Tokaji still is rated for sweetness by the quantity of paste added to the barrels, stated as a puttonyos number.

grape, sparked with tangy acidity and a whiff of citrus. Vinted from

Tokaji was in decline through much of the 20th century. After the fall of

raisined grapes, its flavor was complex – sweet, honeyed, and

communism in 1989, one of the first enterprises established to restore the

musky, with glints of lemon, orange and peach. It was flat luxurious

industry was the Royal Tokaji Wine Company (

– smooth and silky in the mouth. Austen, Dickens, and Napoleon would have relished it.

The 2003 Royal Tokaji 5 Putonyos ($35) was just glorious. Its rich amber color and entrancing bouquet of honeysuckle, orange

We enjoyed the Vin de Constance with apple turnovers, a good combination.

blossoms and honey hinted of heavenly flavors to follow but hardly prepared us for the wine’s impact. Sweet and floral, full of amazing


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apricot and orange blossom flavors, it was absolutely stunning. It positively “blossomed in the mouth.” Pair your Tokaji with a peach tart to achieve maximum delight.

Dénouement Years ago an opera company in Montreal presented Wagner’s Tristan

und Isolde. A friend who attended one of the performances described the audience’s response. As the final notes died away, the assembled Wagnerians sat mute for a few long seconds, many with tears streaming from their eyes. Then, all at

wine finder Austin Wine Merchant 512 W. 6th Street 512.449.0512 •

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once, they leaped to their feet and began screaming deliriously. Many rushed into the aisles and surged toward the stage in a frenzy of delight. My friend and his wife reacted differently. Stunned by the beauty of the performance, they rose, walked silently to their car, and drove home – a trip of more than an hour – without saying a word. How will guests react to your next dinner party? Will they weep for joy? Will they leap to their feet like those delirious Wagnerians? Will they be left speechless? Try serving one of these luscious wines for a key holiday dinner. See what happens.

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The Greater Austin Creative Alliance presents the 36th Annual B. Iden Payne Theater Industry Awards 7 p.m. Nominees Reception at 5 p.m. The Rollins Theatre in the Long Center for the Performing Arts Call 512.474.8497 or for tickets


Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival Auditorium Shores Admission is free -

Sixth Street’s Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery presents Terminal Confessions by International Artist Ray Donley Nov. 2–30 Opening reception Nov. 12 from 6–9 p.m. Gallery hours 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday Russell Collection Fine Art 1137 West Sixth Street


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Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church Preschool presents Holiday Collectibles: A Shopping Celebration Nov. 5 and 6 – $5 admission Fri. 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sat. 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. 7127 Bee Caves Road Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance One-Day Self-Renewal Retreat with Renee Trudeau 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa

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Mexic-Arte Museum presents 2010: Imagery, Processions and Icons Speaker Series: Lecture by Dr. Felix Almaraz 2 – 4 p.m. Dr. Felix Almaraz will discuss the work of artist José Cisneros, whose illustrations were created for Dr. Almaraz’ monograph Governor Antonio Martinez and Mexican Independence in Texas.


Susan G. Komen Austin Race for the Cure 6 a.m. race day registration 7:30 a.m. race begins Domain in North Austin Register at

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The Power of Listening Workshop Led by Barb Steinberg, LMSW 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. $35 per person, $30 for two or more 2208 Forest Bend Dr. for_adults.html

Celebrity Autobiography The Long Center for Performing Arts - Rollins Theater, November 10–14  Wed. – Thu. 7:30 p.m., Fri. 7 & 10 p.m. Sat. 4 & 8 p.m., Sun. 3 & 7 p.m.             Tickets start at $35 Celebrating Villa Salon & Spa Grand Opening 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. The Village at Westlake (next to Barnes & Noble) 701 S. Capital of TX Hwy RSVP 512.328.2020

Art Alliance Austin presents Art Night Austin E.A.S.T. The official preview party for the East Austin Studio Tour 7 – 10:30 p.m. After party to follow $55 non-members, $45 Art Alliance


American Society of Women Accountants Austin Chapter 6:30 – 9 p.m. $50, $35 in advance The Renaissance Austin Hotel Glass Oaks room


2010 SafePlace Celebration: New Beginnings Guest speaker Olympia Dukakis Two screenings of Steel Magnolias Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar aspx?id=7440

Pedal for Puppies The first Bi-Annual Charity Bike Ride Benefiting Austin Pets Alive! Ride starts at 8:30 a.m. Austin Subaru 200 W Huntland Drive

Foundation for Wellness Professionals presents Free workshop on “Balancing Hormones Naturally” 9 a.m. at People’s Pharmacy 3801 S. Lamar Blvd.

Facelogic Spa Anniversary Party 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Special Shopping, mini facials, makeovers and more. 512.918.3223 • 4005 N Hwy 183 | 78717



What Women Need to Know About Divorce Second Saturday of each month 8:30 a.m. – noon or call 512.732.1244

More Than a Game Pairings Party and Captain’s Cup Golf Tournament Nov. 7 – Dinner and Pairings Party Nov. 8 – Captain’s Cup Tournament


Austin Jewish Book Fair Nov. 11 – 21 512.735.8076

Travis County Master Gardeners Association presents Growing Culinary Herbs in Texas Sat. Nov. 13, 10 a.m. – Noon American Botanical Council 6200 Manor Rd.

22nd Annual Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off Old Settlers Park in Round Rock 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. 13 and up $8, 6–12 $4, Under 5 free Seniors & College Students $5

Writing Your Life as a Woman Community Writing Workshop 3 week series Nov. 3, 10 and 17 Noon – 2 p.m. Harmony Balance studio 3321 Hancock Dr. at Balcones Dr. Class fee is $60 for the three week series, or $20 per class for drop-ins. To register: Wally Workman Gallery presents Plus a Century by Ellen Heck Nov. 4 – 27 Opening reception Nov. 4 from 6 – 8 p.m. 1202 West 6th Street


Texas Wranglers present 13th Annual City Wide Hold-Up To Benefit Easter Seals

Tiara Tuesday 6–8 p.m. Fleming’s At The Domain tuesday.html

Broadway Across America and Texas Performing Arts present Shrek the Musical Nov. 2 – 7 at Bass Concert Hall Tues. – Fri. at 8 p.m. Sat. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $23

American Heart Association presents Most Powerful Voices Gospel Concert 6 p.m. PromiseLand Church 1504 East 51st Street Advance tickets $15 through Oct. 27 General admission $20

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Mexic-Arte Museum presents 2010: Imagery, Processions and Icons Speaker Series: Lecture by Luis Adrián Vargas Santiago 2 – 4 p.m. Luis Adrián Vargas Santiago of The University of Texas at Austin, will discuss how the Mexican Revolution has resonated historically for people within the United States.


Children’s Music Phenom and Nick Jr. Favorite Laurie Berkner at the Paramount Theatre 1 p.m. Benefits soles4souls Tickets $38, $35, $25 The Party for Hope Benefiting The Nobelity Project’s Mahiga Hope High School 6 – 8 p.m. @ El Sol y la Luna on 6th $60 | RSVP to Followed by The Architect’s Dinner 8:30 p.m. @ Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Architect Dick Clark helps honor Mahiga architects. $200 per person includes both; RSVP to

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2010 SafePlace Celebration Luncheon 10:30 a.m. VIP Coffee with Olympia Dukakis 11 a.m. Registration Opens 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Luncheon Hyatt Regency Town Lake 512.356.1573 Mexic-Arte Museum presents Mexico 1810, 1910, 2010 Lecture by Philip Russell 2 – 3 p.m. at Museum Store Author Phillip Russell will talk about his new book, History of Mexico, focusing on the years 1810, 1910, and 2010, commenting on Mexican independence, revolution and current events Austin Civic Orchestra and Austin Symphonic Band at the Long Center 3 p.m. at Dell Hall $18, Students and seniors $15, 12 and under $10

Tuna Christmas Paramount Theatre Nov. 23–24: 8 p.m. Nov. 26–27: 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Nov. 28: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.          Tickets $27–$55     public/show_events_list.asp 512.474.1221 Cirque Dreams Illumination Nov. 23–28 Tues. 8 p.m., Wed. 2 p.m., Fri. – Sun. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29 The Dell Hall at The Long Center 701 W. Riverside Drive at S. First

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10/22 Friday 11:00a.m.–6:00p.m. TWIB – Partner au stin wom an M agaz ine 8t h A nn i v e r s a r y T he Wes ti n at the D om ai n 11/09 Tuesday 5:30p.m.–8:00p.m. TW IB H a p p y H o u r – S u s h i Z u s h i T he Dom ai n near D i l l ar d’s

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horoscope november 2010 b y D e b o r a h C a r t e r


• Mar.21-apr.20 This little astrological break in momentum doesn’t mean you were on the wrong track, career-wise. November is a denouement, a pause for emphasis. It’s just the time to redo a few things, notably relationships and not just personal love affair stuff. You’ve entered a 3-year, work-on-relationships phase, and that means healing old friendship wounds too, with no fear – your efforts are welcome. Expect some passionate encounters and a chance to fix something, go back over old ground, lay ghosts to rest, close old doors or open the door for a second chance. You’ll know for sure after the 18th.


• Apr.21-May.21 This month you’ll experience a powerful, passionate and intense need to manage and master your partnerships. You’re taking control back, taking charge of shared resources and amping up the fireworks when the lights go out. Your friendships and groups – far from the irritating force they have been – truly support and love what you are doing now: They want to grow, expand and change with you. Partnering is your major monthly focus, and not just at home. Take on a workout partner, or someone who wants to do the same restricted diet you’re working on. Good health is easier with a buddy.


• May.22-June.20 Reality must be faced sooner or later, as much as you wish it weren’t so. Our bodies are not indestructible and we do eventually have to grow-up, to some extent. We face our responsibilities. We learn how to balance our desire to have fun with what we have to do, or what our bodies need, and that’s November’s gift. Routine, daily life, diet, exercise and working conditions all benefit from your passionate flair for diplomacy, beauty and art. The downside: It’s hard to get motivated when things aren’t so pretty, like cleaning the toilet, getting up early to go to work, resisting sweets.

Traditionally, we humans seem to be keen on finishing things up in the fall. This is a passionate month, so if romance hasn’t been a part of your experience, November should change things (if you are at all interested). This is also a great month for big plans and trips, so grab a partner and take a sexy vacation. Despite worldwide problems, this year continues to bring an abundance of inventions, innovations and ingenious solutions. Be a creative thinker: Alchemy can happen for all of us.


• June.21-July.22 Though working on a house can feel like a neverending project, take a break this November. Your sexy, romantic, fun-loving side (the part that gets forgotten when you work too hard) sees a month full of fun. It’s the month of love affairs, parties and children, laughter, theater and art. Be careful where you throw your enigmatic and smoldering gaze, because it could ignite and cause a fire of epic proportions. It’s a good time to begin new projects where you work creatively behind the scenes. Be careful in your health regime: Too much of even a good thing can backfire.


• July.23-Aug.23 Passion wears different faces. Sometimes we can be happily, passionately in love. Other times, an argument can be passionately fought. This is a heads-up to watch for that last kind of passion – a passionate exchange in your home, with your family or with someone from your past. Passionate love affairs for you in November are unavoidable, and your need to do as you please could get you tangled-up in intrigue. So, if that intense drive causes problems at home, expect a passionate response. If that result isn’t what you want, sidestep it by creating your own passion right in your own home.


• Aug.24-Sept.22 Sisters, nephews, cousins, brothers – drama, drama, drama! You have too much work to do, too many places to be and no time to deal with family drama, yet here it is, at your doorstep. It’s your home, and you want the freedom to do what you want. You resent anyone inhibiting your actions, yet you feel forced to deal with these passionate relations. Will they be visiting, staying a little longer than was agreed? Is there a wedding in the works, bringing family together? Partnerships can be expensive this month, but plans made now will result in more abundance after the New Year.



• Dec.22-Jan.20 Astrology books seldom call you “passionate,” yet this month, the energy you exhibit with your friends, colleagues, groups and organizations can only be described as “passionate.” You’re a believer, and your presence is the spark igniting your peers. You’re playing your cards close to your chest, staying up late, wrestling with insomnia. You can’t seem to settle down enough to sleep. Work is a whole new game as well, but the true reward for all this transformation will be felt at the end of February. For now, hang out, join, volunteer, blog, commit to the people and groups you feel strongly about.

• Sept.23-Oct.22 Wouldn’t it be a relief if you could feel apathetic about your work, your money, your job? Wouldn’t it be fun if you only had time for play and no need to obsess about work? No such luck. November brings your work passion, the kind of passion that nourishes creative change. Expanding and changing the day-to-day working of your business generates excitement, drawing followers like hummingbirds to red flowers. November is travel time, too. Road trips, cars, trucks, all play an important part in your month. Remember to drive defensively, not offensively.

Scorpio • Oct.23-Nov.21


• Jan.21-Feb.19 November is an astrological “perfect storm” for your career. The force of your persona supports and creates a passionate energy for your work. This energy supports your health and everyday work, which supports the radical changes and expansion you’ve been making in the arena of money and jobs, which in turn supports your global career direction ... you get the picture. So much of what you will need over the next few years is inner work, but that doesn’t make your current career trajectory less demanding or exciting. This month you get a splash of fame.

Happy Birthday, Scorpio! Every Scorpio stereotype comes out: Black leather, femme fatales, smokey eyeliner, secret affairs, dark and lovely decadence, do or die/all or nothing. No one has more charisma than you right now, but interesting things happen when the lights go out and behind closed doors. This dark power even extends to your work, where your aggressive energy can’t be reigned in or compromised. Who can say, “No” to you in November? Only the foolish or strong of heart, and they do so at their peril, because this month everyone needs reminding, “Lead, follow or get out of the way”. It’s more true than ever.



• Feb.20-Mar.20 The gypsy spirit: A taste for the exotic and the spirit to match takes hold in November, and anything routine simply doesn’t satisfy you. This can manifest in different ways – who and what you’re attracted to, what you buy, what kind of entertainment you like – all about travel, higher education or exotic locales. You’re passionate about expanding your horizons physically and mentally, towards foreign people and places particularly. People you wouldn’t have looked at twice are suddenly attractive to you. If a romance does begin this month, it’s likely to be a person from different background or education than you.

• Nov. 22-Dec. 21 It is said, you Sagittarius’s are missing the “Hold That Thought” button, so everything you think comes out your mouth in words, with sometimes shocking effects. That’s what makes November such a fun month: Secrets. You feel uncharacteristically bold and aggressive, and willing to encourage a secret visitor to your home. A sexy tryst? A bold, creative project worked behind closed doors, late at night? Late night studies? Mystery road trips? You will know if this passionate feeling is the real thing after the 18th, and next month you’ll come out into the light of day. Next month, back to work. .

Deborah can be contacted at: • Pink West, 28515 Ranch Road 12, Dripping Springs, TX • 512.447.2888 or

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