Hickory Living May 2022

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Complimentary May 2022

On the Cover Making the Journey to Health with

page 10

g n i v i L Outdoor








MAY 2022 MacAdam Smith

FEATURES 10 • COVER STORY Making The Journey To Health With Strategic Wellness


18 •

Publisher mac@oasisluxuryhomes.com (484) 769-7445

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Bulldog Strong Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC Fights For Clients

OUTDOOR LIVING 8 • Picnic Finds

Kathy Wheeler Design & Advertising Sales kathylivingmagazine@gmail.com (828) 238-3224

24 • Outdoor Living Connecting With Nature

IN THIS ISSUE 6 • Welcome To The May Issue 28 • What’s Cookin’ Berry Cheesecake Parfaits Sharon Simpson Advertising Director sharon@lncurrents.com (704) 677-9159

24 Hickory

LIVING 10225 Hickorywood Hill Ave., Unit A Huntersville, NC 28078 (484) 769-7445 HickoryLiving@gmail.com

www.HickoryLivingMagazine.com 4


Hickory Living reserves the right to deny any advertisement or listing. Submissions are welcome, but unsolicited materials are not guaranteed to be returned. Hickory Living assumes no responsibility or liability for the information, services, products, claims, statements, accuracy, or intended or unintended results of any advertiser, editorial contributors, company, professional corporation, business or service provider herein this publication. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited.


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Peter Eisenhauer • Kathy Wheeler Kathy Dicken

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY by Shane Greene Photography



Welcome to the


May Issue

f you are looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, this issue is full of advertisers who can help you select something she would love! A gift card from one of the many medical spas is perfect—it allows her to choose the products and services she wants. Settlemyre Nursery has a wonderful selection of annuals and potted plants, and the folks at Wild Birds Unlimited can help you purchase everything your mom needs to enjoy bird watching all year long. Visit these great businesses to see all they have to offer! Our theme this month is Outdoor Living. What better way to enjoy the beautiful weather than some of the outdoor events listed below.

©iStockphoto.com | AlexRaths

Our cover story this month features Strategic Wellness Functional & Anti-Aging Medicine. Their story begins on page 10. Helton, Cody & Associates is our business spotlight. Read their story on page 18. We would like to take this Memorial Day to remember our service men and women who paid the ultimate price serving our country. We are grateful for their service and their sacrifice. Thank you for reading the May issue of Hickory Living.



May 6, 13, 20, 27

May 27

Fridays @ 7:00PM 2022 Sails Original Music Series

Valdese Family Friday Night Concerts Held at Temple Field behind The Old Rock School • Bring a lounge chair • Music starts at 7PM.

May 6: Danielle Howle (Folk music gone rogue) May 13: The Get Right Band (Infectious Indie-rock) May 20: Jive Talk (High energy, pop-rock) May 27: The Wildmans (Neo-traditional string band) Stay connected on Sails Original Music Series’ Facebook page

NEWTON May 14 Foothills Folk Art Festival Downtown Newton 10AM to 4PM Showcasing local and regional folk artists, demos, live music, art activities for kids, food, beer gardens, and more! www.foothillsfolkartfestival.com 6


May 27: Tim Clark Band townofvaldese.com

MORGANTON May 6, 13, 20, 27 TGIF Summer Concerts Amphitheater Stage at the Courthouse Square - Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Food and beverage vendors open at 6PM. Music starts at 7PM to 10PM. May 6: Earth to Mars (A tribute to Bruno Mars) Morganton Motor Club Cruise in May 13: Tuatha Dea (Progressive American with Appalachian/Celtic vibe)

Enjoy! May 20: SOULWATT (Rock n’ Roll and pop) May 27: Marcel Portilla Band (Fusion of new Latin, tropical, rock, blues, and reggae)

BLOWING ROCK May 6, 13, 20, 27 Music On The Lawn The Inn at Ragged Gardens 203 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock Bring a lawn chair, no coolers, no pets. 5:30PM–8:30PM May 6: King Bees (Blues and American Roots) May 13: Joseph Hasty and Centerpiece Jazz May 20: Shelby Rae Moore Band (Blues, rock, country, bluegrass and pop) May 27: Harris Brothers (Traditional roots, blues, rock, jazz, country and bluegrass) www.ragged-gardens.com

Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC

With the merger of law offices, Lyndon R. Helton and Blair E. Cody, III now offer a broader range of law expertise. AREAS OF PRACTICE: • Divorce • Personal Injury • Workers Compensation • Criminal Defense • Traffic Violations • Social Security Disability • DWIs • Wills & Estates • Child Custody and Support

Thank you

for voting us Best Law Firm of the Foothills! Pictured: Blair E. Cody, III (left) Lyndon R. Helton (right)

828-328-9966 827 Highland Ave. NE Hickory, NC (located near Lenoir-Rhyne University)

www.HeltonCody.com HICKORY LIVING • MAY 2022


Picnic Finds Whether you are planning a visit to a state park, at one of the many greenways in our state, or a trip to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, picnics are a way to enjoy nature, family, friends, and food. Here are some of my favorite picnic finds. All can be purchased on Amazon.com.


[3] [2]

Don’t spill the wine! [4] [5]

[1] Wicker Picnic Basket Set for 4 with large insulated cooler, waterproof blanket, plates, and cutlery $68.98 [2] Extra Large Picnic Blanket– one side waterproof 60”X 60” $24.99 [3] Picnic Backpack Bag for 4 with cooler compartment, detachable wine holder, fleece blanket, plates and cutlery $59.99 [4] Ollieroo Portable Wine Picnic Table–foldable bamboo snack table with wine bottle and glass holder for 4 $46.99 [5] Tovolo Bamboo Collapsible Table with ground stake, holds 2 wine glasses $21.10 www.Amazon.com





on the cover

Making the Journey to Health with

By Peter Eisenhauer | Photos by Shane Greene Photography

It took a while for Diana Williams, founder and owner of the Strategic Wellness Center, to come to the integrative, holistic care model known as functional medicine. For the four years prior to April, 2018, when the center opened, “I was actually working in traditional medicine as a family nurse practitioner.” Originally from South Carolina, Diana had a Bachelor’s degree in pre-med before she moved to Hickory to study Nursing at Lenoir-Rhyne University. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 2009, she worked as an ICU nurse at Catawba Valley Medical Center. Because of a strong interest in women’s health, she then entered a Master’s program in Nursing at Western Carolina University. “I am board certified as a 10


family nurse practitioner,” Diana said, “and then I also have a certification in functional medicine through The Institute of Functional Medicine and additional training in men’s and women’s hormone rebalancing.” She had discovered functional medicine when she was suffering from chronic health issues in 2017. “I was dealing with some anxiety, weight gain, digestive issues, skin issues, energy concerns, and insomnia,” Diana said. “I went the traditional route first and couldn’t really get answers as to ‘why’ behind my symptoms. I was basically just given the option of medicating symptoms, and that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to know the root cause behind my symptoms. I knew that if I could identify why my body was not well, I could treat the cause and my symptoms would improve.” “And that’s how I found functional medicine. I sought help from a functional practitioner. We identified leaky gut, autoimmunity, nutritional deficiencies, and hormone imbalance. I changed my diet, did some supplementation, and started with exercise and stress reduction behaviors. I healed my gut and balanced my hormones.” Diana’s symptoms dramatically improved within about two weeks of functional practices. With those results, she decided to become a functional medicine practitioner herself. “So, I saw a need, I got my certification, and I have never looked back.” Her own experience taught her the value of the coaching aspect of care. “A lot of what we do is basic biochemistry,” Diana said. “We’re helping to heal the body and coaching people into find out how to navigate their way through this wellness journey. Because it’s hard. It’s hard changing your lifestyle, starting a new diet program, starting exercising, and people don’t know where to go. They get lost, and a lot of times before they come to me, they’ve tried a lot of things on their own. They’ve tried eliminating gluten and tried supplements, and they just haven’t found the answer.” The “strategic” in Strategic Wellness comes from the use of extensive diagnostic testing and a very personalized approach. “We do a lot of testing to really get to the root cause,” Diana said. “It is testing that you can’t get through a traditional allopathic provider. Once the targets are identified, there is a plan, and a coach to


On the cover–Diana Williams, MSN, FNP-C, IFMCP, Owner & Founder of Strategic Wellness Center & Strategic Med-Spa. Opposite Page–Strategic Wellness Center Team: Left to right Back row–Emily Landrum, client coordinator; Danielle White, operations manager; Diana Williams, FNP-C and owner; Brianna Elder, registered dietician. Front row–Lindsey Johnston, licensed esthetician, Sarah Davis, RN. Above • Diana Williams, FNP-C, shares information with our patients on the 5 Branches of Wellness and educates on the importance of healing through supplementation. • Sarah Davis, RN, assists patients at Strategic Wellness Center with nutritional IV therapy.



walk you through your journey, keep you accountable, keep you motivated. And the process is also self-reinforcing. When you feel better, that’s motivation to keep going, too.” Much of the testing at Strategic Wellness is for hormones and food sensitivities. “We test for things like Hashimoto’s, thyroid issues, rheumatoid arthritis, and skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema,” Diana said. “Those kinds of things have a root cause. We do a lot of testing for gut function. Irritable bowel and inflammatory bowel have root causes. It can be a gut dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in the microbiome. So we do leaky gut testing, adrenal gland test, hormone testing. We even do micronutrient and genetic testing,“ Diana said. She noted that there is a lot of interest in genetics now. “People want a strategic program based on what their genetics are. They don’t respond well to treatments that might work well for other people. We can devise a treatment plan based on this study of epigenetics.” Diana believes the testing is an important investment patients make in their own health. The process at Strategic Wellness starts with a consultation. “We do sit all of our patients down for an hourlong consultation when they first come in,” Diana said. She notes that is in sharp contrast with the mainstream healthcare model. “Often with an insurance-based model, you’re given a 15 minute appointment. The doctors don’t have time to really sit down and talk about gut health, nutrition, and stress reduction with their clients. Here, patients sit down and tell me their history and how they got to the state of health they are in. I ask when were they last well, when was the last time they felt good, and that gives us some insight as to what changed. Was it stress, was it an infection, or a medication? Whatever the case might be, we can investigate further and find that root cause. Also at that first ap-


Left, top to bottom: • Brianna Elder, registered dietician, demonstrates the InBody Scan which provides a detailed body composition analysis of muscle, fat, and water. • Lindsey Johnston, LE, provides an array for skincare services at Strategic Med-Spa including the Platinum HydraFacial shown in photo. 12


pointment, I determine if they are really a good fit, if they are willing to give up the things that are making them sick, if the timing is right for them, and are they in that state of being ready to receive healing. We give them the tools necessary for their body to heal.” But she stresses that you have to be the greatest advocate for your own health. The next step is testing, followed by discussion of the results and a treatment plan. “We do a lot of testing and then do a nutritional evaluation and have the patient talk with our dietitian.” Once a treatment plan is in place, there is frequent follow-up. “We typically see our patients back every three weeks or so,” Diana said. “That’s for accountability, but also to be able to make adjustments. When the body starts to heal it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. There are going to be some hiccups and roadblocks along the way, and we can adjust to overcome those.” “Education is an important part of the process,” Diana said. “Knowledge is power. If the patient understands how they got to be in a state of illness to begin with, then they can be more likely to avoid making those mistakes, if you will, going forward.” In addition to the wellness services, Strategic Wellness also offers a med-spa that provides cosmetic and esthetic treatments. “Our slogan is “Feel Good. Look Good. Do Good,” Diana said. “Once people start to feel better on the outside, they want to look better, too.” What’s next for Strategic Wellness? As part of its community service mission, this month the practice will be sharing proceeds with local charities and mission groups and also expanding into larger quarters in the summer. Still in the same building, the new suite will enhance the experience with an even warmer, welcoming atmosphere. “It will be a real healing space,” Diana said. “That’s what we want to create for our patients— an environment that is relaxing when they walk in. We’re here for whole body healing.”

315 1st Ave. NW, Suite 104 • Hickory Call or text 828.838.1225 www.StrategicWellnessCenter.com


Above, top to bottom: • Diana providing cosmetic injections for Strategic Med-Spa patients. • Sarah performs Potenza Radiofrequency Microneedling.

Follow Us On Instagram #strategicwellnessnc #strategicmedspa











business spotlight


Left: Attorneys Blair Cody and Lyndon Helton Below: Pawlegal Bristol, Blair’s bulldog, is the firm’s mascot. Photos by Liza White Photography “Starting a new business venture just before the beginning of the Covid pandemic might not have been the most auspicious timing,” Blair said, “but we managed to hang in there and continue without cutting any jobs.” There are ongoing challenges, however. “The pandemic has really affected our court system’s ability to get hearings and get things scheduled,” Blair said. “The system has always been burdened, but Covid created an environment that we haven’t been able to emerge from.” Balancing those difficulties, Blair cited positives in the criminal justice system in Catawba County, including a district attorney who is well respected and willing to seek justice versus trying to fulfill a personal or political agenda. Within the practice, Lyndon concentrates in workers’ compensation, personal injury, and Social Security disability cases. Blair does criminal defense, DWI cases, and family law, including division of property, divorce and custody disputes. Rounding out the roster is attorney Heather Higgins, who has five years of experience in criminal defense, handles veterans court, drug court, and domestic violence protective orders.

Bulldog Strong

Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC

Fights for Clients By Peter Eisenhauer

For a law firm established just over two years ago, Helton, Cody & Associates boasts a wealth of experience and capabilities. Principals Lyndon Helton and Blair Cody have over fifty years of experience between them, and both ran successful practices before joining forces in January 2020. Blair explains, “For me, there was already a mutual respect. Lyndon Helton was very much a mentor to me. I saw the way he ran his practice and his business, and I admired his reputation. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I didn’t hesitate. 18


Of Lyndon, Blair says, “Lyndon provides as high a quality of legal representation as you’ll find in the state. He will explore every avenue to get the best result for clients. If you hire him, you know it’s going to be done right.” Regarding his own values as a lawyer, Blair said, “I try a lot of cases, and I am aggressive when it suits my client’s needs.” Blair recently bolstered his advocacy skills with three weeks of intensive training at the renowned Trial Lawyers College. He notes that his bulldog, Bristol, is the firm’s mascot, an emblem of strength and tenacity.

Photos, left: Attorney Heather Higgins Photo by Liza White Photography

“Heather is a younger attorney who is very committed to her clients, proving over and over that she gets good results for them. Heather is a fighter and has obtained results for her clients that any lawyer would envy,” Blair said. The attorneys are also backed up by a strong team of well-qualified paralegals and support staff. With the skills and resources at their disposal, they get results. “We get a very large number of referrals from former clients and from other

lawyers. It feels good to know that people who have seen our work recommend us to the people they care about.” Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC

828-328-9966 827 Highland Ave. NE Hickory, NC www.HeltonCody.com

Staff, from left to right Seated: Celeste Ugalde, legal assistant and Spanish translator; Candy Chochon, legal assistant and Spanish translator; Dilmun Holsclaw, paralegal Standing: Ashley Smith, legal assistant; Nicole VanRyen, legal assistant; Melisa Rollins, paralegal; and Crystal Krapish, paralegal. Photo by Shane Greene Photography







You have a CHOICE for Rehab Ask for Conover Nursing & Rehab! Our goal is to get you back to those you love and the life you love living. You are in good hands at Conover Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. After an illness, surgery or injury, our team is dedicated to your recovery and safe transition back home!

• Rehab Wing with Central Gym and Indoor Track • Results Oriented Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapists on Staff • Family Owned & Operated

Conover Nursing & Rehabilitation Center 828.695.8282


920 4th Street SW • Conover, NC 28613





g n i v i L Outdoor

Connecting With Nature ©iStockphoto.com | PC Photography


ver the past few years due to the pandemic, outdoor living became more important than ever, and the trend is still going strong. Our outdoor spaces have the potential to become our own resort and give us the daily opportunity to connect to nature, relieve stress, and entertain our family and friends. There are many things to consider before starting an outdoor renovation. How you will use the space and budget are two big considerations. Pools, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, decks, patios, screened-in porches, lanais, landscaping, lighting, and hardscapes are all improvements that can enhance your space. Depending on your budget and goals, it would benefit you to hire a designer. Kevin Sipe with Scenic View Landscapes can design the outdoor oasis of your dreams. Even if you decide to do the renovations in stages, his design can keep you on track and prevent you from making unnecessary purchas-



es. Hardscapes, lighting, and landscaping can go a long way to give you the resort effect and may be all you need.

relaxation? The size of your family and the amount of entertaining will play a role in the size of decks, furniture, pools, and other items you might purchase.

There are ways to accomplish your goals on a small budget. For example, fire features can be as elaborate as a massive stone fireplace or as simple as a stand-alone wood or propane fire pit. And, you can buy DIY kits from home improvement stores to build stone fire pits. Outdoor kitchens can rival your indoor kitchen or be as simple as a nice grill. Instead of a lanai for a covered eating area, umbrellas and shade sails are inexpensive ways to achieve coverage. Water features can be anything from a man-made babbling brook flowing into a pond to a stand-alone fountain on your deck. Many times you can get the effect of the elements on a smaller scale and budget until you can do a grander renovation.

In-ground pools require a substantial investment, and there are basically three types – vinyl liner, fiberglass, and gunite/ concrete. Vinyl is the least expensive and concrete is the most expensive. Concrete is very durable, takes longer to install, and offers the most flexibility for different shapes of pools but requires more chemical usage. Fiberglass offers a lot of different shapes and is more durable than a pool with a vinyl liner. Vinyl liners are easier to damage than fiberglass and expensive to replace when the time comes. Also, if you have a septic tank, you will need to consider where your drain fields are. Those may have to be moved before putting in a pool and would cause an extra expense.

Do you entertain a lot or will you primarily use your outdoor space for private

Other than your backyard, there are plenty of ways to connect to nature in



our area. Locally, we are surrounded by beautiful lakes, parks, and trails that are perfect for biking, hiking, sports, and watersports. If you are looking for a place to spend the day or just have a picnic, the City of Hickory’s website has 26 parks listed with more information about each one. Visit https://www.hickorync.gov/city-parks. Here are just a few: Rotary-Geitner Park, located on Lake Hickory, offers a boat launch ramp and fishing pier. The Park has paved bike trails and nature trails. Other amenities include restrooms, a gazebo, and an activity building. Some amenities may be closed due to renovations and construction.

Glen Hilton Park is a great place to have picnics. There are five shelters with tables and grills and two playgrounds for the kids. Other features include restrooms, a gazebo, a 24-hole disc golf course, a canoe launch, horseshoe pits, a paved walking trail, a nature boardwalk, and a memorial garden. Henry Fork River Park has eight soccer fields—one is artificial turf (soon to be nine fields and two artificial turfs). It also features an 8,000-square-foot picnic shelter and a catering kitchen. In addition, visitors can enjoy a paved walking trail, picnic tables and grills, playgrounds, a concession stand, horseshoe pits, restrooms, and a canoe launch.


The weather is perfect to venture outdoors and start those renovation projects or just relax with a picnic in the park. Make your outdoor space a fun place to be and explore the parks available to you in Hickory.

Photos, above:

[1] Hickory Riverwalk at Geitner Park—Photo by Chad Austin. [2] Glen Hilton Park Picnic Shelter—Photo courtesy of City of Hickory [3] Henry Fork artificial turf field—Photo courtesy of City of Hickory Park information can be found at www.hickorync.gov/city-parks


Transforming Landscapes into Scenic Views! • Creative and innovative design • Impeccable reputation • Meticulous attention to detail • Integrity as business professionals • Quality that exceeds client expectations

Visit us online at www.ScenicViewLandscapes.net Owner and Landscape Contractor, Kevin Sipe

• Landscapes • • Hardscapes • Water Features • • Outdoor Lighting • Garden Maintenance •

For Your Landscape Transformation, Contact Kevin Sipe and the Scenic View Team








What’s Cooking?

cheese mixture make them the perfect dessert for Memorial Day! Simply blend cream cheese with yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. Then layer the cheese mixture with fresh berries and graham cracker crumbs in a fun glass or mason jar, and voilà! you have a festive and tasty dessert! I like to use a mixture of blueberries and strawberries, but any berry will work.

Berry Cheesecake Parfaits Servings: 4 - 8 oz glasses or 6 - 5 oz lidded Mason Jars• Prep time: 15 minutes Chill time: at least 1 hour INGREDIENTS 3 tablespoons butter - melted 1 cup graham cracker crumbs 8 oz cream cheese - softened 7.5 oz Greek yogurt (1.5 small containers) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 tablespoons sugar 1 pint blueberries - rinsed ½ pint strawberries - rinsed and diced Mint - for garnish DIRECTIONS Mix melted butter and graham cracker crumbs set aside.

I love a parfait! Do you reKathy Dicken lives in Huntersville and is the author of the food blog, The Tasty Bits. For more meal ideas that are simple and delicious, you can follow her blog at www.thetastybits.com or on Instagram @thetastybits. 28


In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to blend softened cream cheese, yogurt, vanilla and sugar together. For easy assembly, spoon mixture into a zip top bag or pastry bag. Snip off the corner of the bag to enable easy piping into stemmed glasses or small glass jars with lids.

member DQ Peanut Buster parfaits? As a kid, that was the ultimate treat! All those wonderful layers of chocolate, peanuts and ice cream—every spoonful revealed another layer of goodness below. I still love parfaits today, but these days, berries and cheesecake are my layers of choice!

In each glass, layer ingredients in this order: • Graham cracker crumbs • Blueberries • Diced strawberries • Cream cheese mixture Repeat. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with fresh mint!

Berry Cheesecake Parfaits are so easy to make ahead for celebrations and gettogethers, and the festive red and blue berries, layered with the white cream

NOTES • To save time, you can buy graham cracker crumbs in the baking aisle of the grocery. • If taking these parfaits to a cookout, you can make your parfaits in lidded mason jars.