Page 1









Dr. Romm

Tasty recipes from local chefs



Three experts tell us how

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The “Dining Playbook” host’s new mission on eating well

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PUBLISHER Sandra Casagrand

New Year, New You



Leigh Harrington

OLIN POWELL ONCE SAID, “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” For me, Powell’s principle resonates, and my parents made sure I understood that when I was a child. “You don’t play like Mozart unless you practice the piano. You can’t live in France unless you speak the language, and you can’t speak the language if you don’t do your homework.” Now, I’m making sure my daughter gets it, too. With echoes of my father’s words, I tell her, “Trips to Disney World don’t grow on trees. You want it? You’ve got to work for it.” Of course, she’s seven. At that age, I was dreaming of Disney World, too. As adults, our dreams get bigger, more complex. Many of the women in this issue have big dreams and are sweating to achieve them. Take Deanna Belleny, a black, registered dietitian nutritionist who noticed that her field is in need of more people of color, so she created a nonprofit to support her community and her goal. Then, there is Kassia Davis, the heir to the New Balance retail empire who stepped out of her comfort zone to create from scratch an athleisure brand for women — and she’s done it on her own. Dr. Aviva Romm, who went to college at 15, became a midwife, had babies at 19 and then went back to medical school — at Yale no less — at age 39, offers integrative methodologies concerning women’s health that are widely sought after. And finally, there’s our cover girl, Jenny Johnson, whose own dreams have changed in just the past year, since she’s become a mother. After developing a flourishing career as a television host and producer for programming centered around the food industry, Johnson’s daughter’s severe food allergies have caused her to rethink the role of food and its impact on our health. You’ll learn where she stands on the matter today, and what she’s determined to accomplish down the road. For all of us, a new year is a fitting time to take a breath and reassess our dreams. As we enter 2020, ask yourself, are you following yours, whatever it might be?

Many of the women in this issue have big dreams and are sweating to achieve them.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Marissa Angelone DIRECTOR OF SALES Shannyn De Arman DIGITAL MANAGER Rachel Reardon STAFF WRITERS Celina Colby, Karen Morales CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Hallie Ephron, Jack Fehr, Anapurl Feldman, Cheryl Fenton, Lori Fiedler, Joyce Kulhawik, Lois Levine, Lisa Matte, Edie Ravenelle, Leah Shepherd, Cassie Shortsleeve, Stephanie Anderson Witmer CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Ian Justice CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR Natasha Puim AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER HOWARD WHITE & ASSOCIATES NEWSSTAND DISTRIBUTOR COMAG Marketing GROUP FOR ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES SUBSCRIPTIONS EXHALE LIFESTYLE 1100 Washington St., Dorchester, MA 02124 Volume 1 • Issue 4 Winter 2020 ©


EXHALE Lifestyle • WINTER 2020

2019 Exhale Media Co.

All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without prior written permission. Printed in U.S.A. Cummings Printing.

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300 pier 4 boulevard - Coming Fall 2019 300 pier 4 boulevard - Coming Fall 2019 -

24 commonwealth ave. concord, ma 24 commonwealth ave. concord, ma


A Year in Review

W u

YEAR ONE IN COVERS: We’ve featured four amazing women on our covers this year. Let’s look back at the fun we’ve had.


and the final one of our inaugural year. Our quarterly magazine launched back in March with national security expert Juliette Kayyem gracing our premiere issue. We’re ending 2019 with the lovely, Emmy Award-winning host of NESN’s “Dining Playbook” Jenny Johnson on the cover of our winter issue. I’m so pleased that we are able to share Jenny’s story with you. I briefly met her after she had just graduated from college and was first starting out. She was memorable — not just for her great looks, but because of her focus, quiet

determination and kind personality. I knew that she would find success, and she has a decade later, as a television producer and host, an entrepreneur and a dedicated wife and mom. Her journey hasn’t been without some challenges, like most of us, but it’s how she handles these challenges that inspires me most. With Exhale, my goal is to encourage every woman to live her best life, even when life throws a curve ball. Give Jenny’s story a read. I know you’ll be inspired.







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Inside WINTER 2020 VOL . 1 • ISSUE 4

ON THE COVER Jenny Johnson Photographed by Ian Justice Location: Boston Harbor Hotel Wardrobe: Intermix Boston Makeup: Christina Gallardo, Hair: Mia Carbone, G2O Spa and Salon ON THIS PAGE Photo: Ian Justice Wardrobe: Copious Row Boston




Wonder Woman JENNY JOHNSON DOES IT ALL — As she battles her daughter’s severe food allergies, the awardwinning TV host and producer reconsiders the importance of what we eat.

32 The Midlife Dating Game FINDING ROMANCE WHEN YOU’RE 40+ — Out of practice? Three dating experts talk about how to date now.



28 All in the Details

56 FITNESS The perks to paying for a boutique workout.


Why wushu? Find your focus and flow.

Page 54 Cures from the East

— Nara Paz works hard at home and on the catwalk.


Seven reasons for having gal pals.


36 Modern Medicine Woman

Best Life 64 WOMEN’S ISSUES Reject the pink tax and spend like a man.

66 PERSONAL FINANCE Don’t play dumb when managing your money. It’ll cost you.

INTEGRATIVE METHOD AVIVA ROMM — She’s enacting big change in women’s health practices.


Ten hobbies to try in the new year.


70 LIFE HACKS Easy, 15-minute meal recipes from local chefs.



Kassia Davis breaks out on her own. You can, too.

In the Know



The company attracting women of color to the nutrition industry.

Three local influencers engage with us.



Local ladies making an impact in their fields.

Break the daily grind with events from around the region.


How to get paid equally for the work you do.


MacArthur genius rocks the boat in RISD exhibit.

50 BEYOND 9-5

Tips for keeping procrastination at bay.



You hate your job. Is there still time to switch gears?

In every issue


Live Well


54 HEALTH There’s more to Eastern medicine than acupuncture.

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WINTER 2020 • EXHALE Lifestyle



CHERYL FENTON You can count on Cheryl Fenton to arrive wherever she goes in style, whether she’s attending a party or covering an event. The fashion and lifestyle writer has been a staple on the scene in Boston for more than two decades, and she’s interviewed such noted figures as Marilyn Riseman, Shiva Rose and Thom Solo. In this issue, she interviews Brazil-born, Boston-based designer Nara Paz, documenting her early fashion aspirations in her home country, her success and the break she needed to take to become a mom. While fashion is Fenton’s main jam, she also knows her way around skin care and beauty, home decor, fitness, food, travel and weddings. Her bylines have been in publications including InStyle, Glamour, the Boston Globe, Boston magazine and Cooking Light.

HALLIE EPHRON If you hadn’t guessed from her surname, Hallie Ephron comes from a family of accomplished screenwriters and authors, and she grew up in Hollywood. Today, the Boston-area resident dubs her own work — 11 dramatic and suspenseful crime novels — as “deliciously creepy” and published her latest book “Careful What You Wish For” in August 2019. In this issue, Ephron shows us why she’s a New York Times bestselling author as she tackles medicine and midwifery in a piece about the fascinating Dr. Aviva Romm, a Yale-trained MD and women’s health expert who bridges nontraditional practices and modern medicine in her unique methodologies.


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LOIS LEVINE From the travel industry to the health


space to the business world, Lois Levine can handle most topics like a pro. For the past 15 years of her career, the writer and editor has focused


on lifestyle and travel content, and her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Seventeen and other magazines.


In this issue, Levine gets personal with three dating experts, facilitating a candid conversation about what


it’s like to have to play the field when you’re a single woman over the age of 40. She would know — she is one!





A native of Melton Mowbry, England, Ian Justice has wrought his sense of


style and work ethic into a 20-plus-

year photography career. He captures fashion and lifestyle images for both print and digital advertising as well


as editorial projects, as he did one

morning this fall at Boston Harbor Hotel for the cover of Exhale’s Winter 2020 issue featuring Jenny Johnson.



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WINTER 2020 • EXHALE Lifestyle


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NANCY LEESER, FASHION STYLIST, CABI CLOTHING @STYLISHGARB u RecipeIQ “Once I started seeing the calories on menus of restaurants that I frequented, I became more aware of what I was eating. Now, when I am at home, I use the RecipeIQ app, which provides calories and nutritional values of the meals I cook — you just need to take a picture of the recipe.” Free on iOS and Android.


20 MINUTE FITNESS. You’re busy, we get it. And, so does Shape magazine, which produces this podcast that doles out news and advice on nutrition, health and weight loss in – you guessed it – under 20 minutes.

What health apps do you use to stay on track? FITNESS AND GOOD NUTRITION KEEP YOU ON TOP OF YOUR GAME.


MyFitnessPal, Instagram “As a plus-size business

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woman and entrepreneur in the fashion industry, I live a fast paced lifestyle and need to always stay on my toes. Applications like Nike Run Club, MyFitnessPal, and Instagram really inspire me to stay on track and focused. I love what I do, so making sure I stay fit and healthy along the way is a must!” Free on iOS and Android.

BIANCA PALUMBO FOUNDER & BLOGGER OF BIANCABLOGS.COM @BIANCABLOGS u Flo, MyFitnessPal, My Water, Out of Milk “For menstruation, I use the Flo app and have learned so much from it! It provides you with custom insights for your cycle. MyFitnessPal is my go-to for logging meals and seeing a breakdown of my food choices along with the My Water app, which reminds me to stay hydrated and provides a visual on my water intake. Another is Out of Milk, which serves as a grocery list that I keep on hand and check off as I shop.” Free on iOS and Android; My Water only on iOS.

WINTER 2020 • EXHALE Lifestyle





Bourgeois Modern 3



Teddy sherpa topcoat, J.Crew. $248


CALL IT PROPER WITH A PUNCH. Elegant at the core, FW 2019/20 runways from Gucci to Givenchy took the otherwise boring refined silhouettes of bourgeois style and modernized them. Black gave way to oxblood and emerald. (Think: the flowing, deep green velvet mini dress at Zara, whose contrasting jewels at the lapel add a bit of elegance.) Heels were stacked. (Go for Sam Edelman’s Hilty ankle bootie in tawny brown faux patent leather.) Culottes flowed with movement. (Proenza Schouler’s wide-legged, flat-front culotte pant creates a feminine silhouette.) To fast-forward bourgeois style into your own 21st-century closet, put dreamy details on repeat, like the self-tie bow and exaggerated sleeves of Happy X Nature’s Wanderlust blouse. While it carries a vintage vibe, it’s actually made of recycled bottles for a nod to our Earth’s future. Translation: If Catherine Deneuve wore it in her sexy 1967 French WE THINK... drama “Belle de Jour,” you should, too. / Cheryl Fenton WHERE TO FIND IT 1 Sam Edelman, Hilty Ankle Bootie, $160-$180; 2 Zara, Velvet Mini Dress, $50; 3 Happy X Nature, Wanderlust Blouse, $78 12

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LEATHER DRESSES Collar and bib detail A-line dress, Isoude. $3,995


FAB! Rookie boot in natural snake, Steve Madden. $104


u Misook faux-fur vest Heritage-fit, embellished faux-fur vest by Misook has a soft front accented with bands of gunmetal stud trim, while the back is crafted in moveswith-you knit. Pair with jeans or over a sheath dress. $318. Monelle. 0 Main St., Nantucket, Mass.

u M. Miller Kylie leg warmer U.S.-made and available in Russian sable, black or brown fox, and coyote, the Kylie leg warmer by local designer M. Miller adds elegance to the après-ski set. Great over heels or booties, they stay in place with colorcoordinated ties. $385-$550. M. Miller Studio, 519 Albany St., Boston

t Eugenia Kim

Paulina Snood New York-based designer Eugenia Kim’s Paulina Snood (aka a hood) wraps you in soft ribbed cashmere, while faux fur frames your face. Wear it scrunched around your neck or up around your head for fighting winter winds. $395.

u UGG Bluetoothenabled earmuffs Stay luxuriously cozy and plugged in (sort of) with UGG’s genuine shearling Bluetooth-enabled earmuffs. They’re fluffy, fancy and tech-savvy. $100. UGG, 75 Newbury St., Boston

t Wears & Wares faux-fur purse Local boutique Wears & Wares features this perfect grab-and-go faux-fur purse, which boasts a tuck-away interior pocket and a removable chain. The neutral gray exterior basically goes with everything. $38. Wears & Wares, 632 E. Broadway, South Boston


EXHALE Lifestyle • WINTER 2020


Snow Bunny Style Channel your inner snow bunny on or off the slopes and show these dropping temps you’ve upped your style game. / Cheryl Fenton e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

LISA SHEEHAN Your GREEN living real estate advisor — one of only 10 in Boston! Adding value to your health and financial well being.

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Working together to make our homes sustainable.



u Problem: Windburn Solution: Avène XeraCalm A.D Balm

Cold-weather Skin Salves When even your tried-and-true, most moisturizing lotion struggles to keep up with the skin woes that the dead of winter brings with it, it’s time to call in reinforcements. Top dermatologists choose these products to fight windburn, scaly feet and more. / Cassie Shortsleeve

p Problem: Dry Feet/

Cracked Heels Solution: PEAK10 SKIN Save My Sole Foot Rescue Cream

This ultra-moisturizing balm, formulated with evening primrose and occlusive and humectant ingredients, locks in moisture, protecting your skin from dryness, inflammation and windy winter days, says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., founder of Entière Dermatology in New York City. $34-$48

This rich, 25 percent shea butter cream with menthol and eucalyptus quickly absorbs into your skin, which means fast relief from ski boots, cracked heels and more. $28

p Problem: Flaky Shin Skin

Solution: AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion

p Problem: Dry Hands

Solution: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration “Shea butter, oatmeal and ceramides soothe and protect hands,” says Ranella Hirsch, M.D., a Cambridge-based dermatologist. $32


EXHALE Lifestyle • WINTER 2020

Wear supportive socks as a protective barrier then count on alpha hydroxy acid in this lotion to smooth flaky skin leaving it soft, says Mona Gohara, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. $12-$18 e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

p Problem: Painful, Cracked Fingertips

Solution: Skinfix Hand Repair Cream “Colloidal oatmeal helps to decrease the inflammation and almond oil is a perfect healing moisturizer,” says Gohara. $8-$18



The Anger Paradox Someone cuts you off in traffic or your children act out. Suddenly, you transform into a glowering, cursing, monster. Anger is a natural emotion, a biological response to fear, danger and injustice, and, believe us, it runs deep. But once anger starts negatively impacting your daily life, it’s time to look inward and address it. Five experts share advice on anger and how to deal with it. / Karen Morales

“Mindfulness becomes a tool for strengthening awareness. Even experienced meditators have high emotions, but it’s how we recover from those emotions that matters. Deep-seated anger takes longer to work through. Start with becoming aware of it: notice it and don’t judge it. Anger is not a horrible thing. It’s a GPS for us to navigate the opposing sides of love. If someone or something is making you angry, as crazy as it sounds, send love to them.”


“A lot of times anger is defensive. You’re feeling insecure, vulnerable. You have to be really honest with yourself, because these are probably root emotions you’re not comfortable acknowledging.” u BONNIE WIMS, ONLINE COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGIST

“Busy women don’t usually acknowledge anger until it gets in the way. All of a sudden, we blow up. Mindfulness sees anger as a natural phenomenon. Like any emotion, anger arises and passes away on its own. It gives us data and lets us know that something is wrong. Mindfulness is an attitude and consciousness shift that comes with the simple practice of remembering to be kind and aware in the present moment.” u YENKUEI CHUANG, PH.D, PSYCHOTHERAPIST AND MEDITATION AND YOGA INSTRUCTOR

“In ayurveda, our constitutions are made up of a combination of nature’s elements. Anger is considered an imbalance of fire in our system. We can use lifestyle and food as medicine to treat this imbalance. We can cool down by not overworking or over-exercising. Spend time in nature, especially around bodies of water. Alcohol will intensify heat and anger (think of alcohol thrown on a fire). Reduce the amount of spicy foods we eat and add cooling options like cucumbers, coconuts, berries and leafy greens to our diet.” u ANN MARIE DURLACHER, AYURVEDA WELLNESS COUNSELOR AND REIKI PRACTITIONER

“Being mindful of anger means giving it space, rather than shutting it down by something that is tied to our self worth. The moment we tell ourselves ‘I shouldn’t be feeling X, Y or Z,’ we shut out whatever important information the anger might be trying to tell us. When it does arise, it is important to ask, ‘Why is this coming up for me now?’”


WINTER 2020 • EXHALE Lifestyle



Ice boating on Great Pond in Maine

Fat biking at Bretton Woods

Try skijoring with your best friend

Try a curling lesson in the North End




Ever used a sailboat before? If so, you’ll take to ice boating quite nicely. To do it, the bottom of a boat is fitted with skis and designed to run over ice. You can sail for pleasure or join a yachting league for competitive racing. Finally, a reason to wear nautical apparel year round. • New England Ice Yacht Association, meet-ups across New England, • Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club, Lake Chickawaukie, Rockport, Maine,

This is no leisurely cycle. Heavy duty fat bikes feature tires that span 5 inches across, enabling them to move in any terrain — including snowy trails. You get the benefit of a strong cardio workout amidst stunning winter scenery. At most locations, you can rent bikes or bring your own. • Kingdom Trails, 478 Route 114, East Burke, Vermont, • Bretton Woods, 99 Ski Area Road, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire,

u CURLING If there were to be a wintry version of shuffleboard, curling would be it. The game involves sliding stones on a sheet of ice toward a target area, which requires some finesse — more than you’d anticipate. League competitions can get pretty rambunctious! • Cape Cod Curling Club, 37 Highfield Drive, Falmouth, Mass, • North End Curling Club, Steriti Rink, 561 Commercial St., Boston,


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u SKIJORING Yes, it’s a funny word that doesn’t really offer a clue as to what this activity is all about. Here’s a hint: you can bring your dog along, as long as he weighs more than 30 pounds. Skijoring is a Nordic style of skiing and a workout for you both, as your dog is harnessed to your waist, you’re strapped into skis, and he pulls you along as you explore mountainous New England terrain. e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

• New England Dogsledding, 797 Golf Links Road, Colebrook, New Hampshire, • Rangeley Lakes Trails Center, 524 Saddleback Mountain Road, Rangeley, Maine,

u POLAR BEAR PLUNGE Welcome in the New Year with this popular, annual tradition at beaches across the region. There’s nothing more invigorating than running into the frigid ocean with a few dozen of your closest and equally adventurous friends, right? South Boston’s L Street Brownies are the oldest “polar bear” club in the country and have been diving into the Boston Harbor for more than 100 years. • L Street Brownies’ New Year’s Day Swim, BCYF Curley Community Center, 1663 Columbia Road, Boston • Newport Polar Bear Plunge, Easton’s Beach, 175 Memorial Drive, Newport, Rhode Island







I am 41 years old and single. I have some colleagues who are a little too concerned about my love life. They regularly ask me who I’m dating and wonder why I’m not married yet. I feel like I have to answer their questions and defend myself. Thoughts on navigating these conversations? —FLYING SOLO FOR NOW

A: Wow. You are right to be bothered by

these intrusive questioners, and they don’t just question, they opine. Nosy folk are unbearable and persistent, and they hang out on a slippery slope. It’s important for you to know that their questions will never stop. If you were, in fact, married, they’d ask when you were going to have

kids, or otherwise question you about a variety of topics. As of today, you are an expert scriptflipper. Doing so puts the focus back on them. A simple, ‘Sounds like you are very interested in my personal life. What’s that about for you?’ might shut the whole thing down. And, remember: Just because someone asks you a question, you are not required to answer it.


I make a great salary and should be able to pay all my bills. But, I am having trouble managing my spending, and I have some growing debt. It’s nothing tragic, but dealing with it seems overwhelming and

daunting. Do you have any advice on what can I do? —MISSMANAGED

A: You deserve to be financially healthy, and you are wise to worry. Neglecting your finances won’t make you or your money situation any healthier. Let me ask: Are you having some emotional problems that you are trying to solve by spending? It is certainly quite common to soothe all kinds of discomforts by spending money. If that feels true for you, I suggest discovering additional ways of managing your stress, i.e. therapy, emotional support from loved ones, self-care. Money can really only solve money problems. Ask yourself the “Then what?” questions: If I avoid dealing with this issue, then what? If I’m spending too much money, then what? If I go into more debt, then what? If I ignore my finances, then I can surely anticipate some predictable outcomes. Asking “Then what?” helps to visualize consequences of our actions. Don’t stay in the dark! Money doesn’t play. It is what it says it is and doesn’t respond to avoidance or prayer. A dollar is exactly a dollar, and you can count on it being there, until it isn’t — because we’ve helped it go. If we don’t take care of our money, it can’t take care of us. / Lori Fiedler, MA, LMHC Lori Fiedler, MA, LMHC, is a licensed psychotherapist and consultant in Greater Boston. NEED ADVICE ON HOW TO MAKE YOUR WORK-LIFE-WELLBEING BALANCE BETTER? Ask us! Send in your question to

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WINTER 2020 • EXHALE Lifestyle




From her perch deep within the food and hospitality industry, Jenny Johnson has cause to rethink what and how we eat SARA GRAYSON PHOTOGRAPHY


Jenny Johnson and her husband Robert Cocuzzo with their daughter, Vienna

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enny Johnson glides over and gives me a hug worthy of an old friend before offering me a cup of tea like we’re in her own living room. Fact is, I’ve only met her once before, very briefly, and we’re not in the privacy of her home. We’re at Davio’s on a Monday afternoon in the Back Bay.


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But, over the past year, Johnson has begun to see her career and relationship with food in a whole new light.

FACTORING IN FOOD “It’s been 15 years since I’ve been immersed in food,” says Johnson, of the

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career she’s built as a spokesperson for Greater Boston’s hospitality industry. But, really, her relationship with food goes way back to when she was growing up in Massachusetts. “Some of my favorite moments were surrounded by family at a dinner table.


Johnson, 37, has just stepped out of a meeting with her business partner and television co-host Billy Costa and directly into an interview with me without missing a beat. She’s relaxed. In her element. If you live in the Boston area, you might know this gracious beauty as the three-time Emmy-winning producer and co-host of NESN’s weekly dining and entertainment show “Dining Playbook,” or as one of the voices on WBZ News Radio’s “Food for Thought” show and podcast, or the brains behind her sparkling wine brand, Champy.

COVER STORY There was never a shortage of noise or celebration or singing or conflict. Whatever those emotions were, [they] all sort of took place around food,” the 37-yearold recalls. “My Jewish faith is not necessarily based on religious background, it’s based on culture. It’s based on bringing people together around food. Coming together around a table is where so many of those valuable moments in life happen. Where you’re the realist, where you’re most comfortable.” Johnson strives for everyone she interacts with to feel at ease. “She has this unique ability to form relationships,” Costa says, describing Johnson. “Really solid, legitimate relationships with so many different people from so many different walks of life. She makes everybody feel really comfortable. When you’re around her, you always feel like the most important person in the room.” Johnson’s comfortable way and relationship-building skills are her own biggest asset. Back in 2005, her effervescent chemistry with Costa on the set of New England Cable News show “TV Diner,” where she was already executive producer, had the station and Costa promoting her to cohost. “I was a 20-something-year-old at the time, who had a voracious appetite,” she says, as we sip our pots of herbal tea. “I had no problem doing food challenges. I wasn’t timid. I was willing to try anything. It didn’t matter who was cooking it [or] what type of cuisine it was.” The show ran until 2013, when Johnson boldly started her own production company, reenvisioned the show with Costa as “Dining Playbook” and moved stations to New England Sports Network, where it lives today. The relationships she developed through her TV programs have led

directly to other professional ventures. Enter: Champy and “Food for Thought.” “I wanted to be part of [the food and hospitality] business in a way that was different than promoting it,” she says of her brut-style sparkling wine from the Sonoma coast of California. “I learned how to understand the business from a different perspective.” And, on “Food for Thought” she and Costa connect with chefs, restaurateurs, doctors, dietitians, and other people who work with food in some capacity, giving them a platform to talk about important, food-related issues.

WHEN LIFE GIVES HER LEMONS To some, it may seem like the uber successful Johnson lives a charmed life in her South End home with her husband of two years — author and magazine editor Robert Cucuzzo — and their beautiful daughter Vienna. Johnson works hard, attends and hosts parties, travels around the world, donates time to myriad nonprofits, all while making it look effortless. However, the last year of Johnson’s life has been anything but effortless. When Vienna was eight weeks old, she developed severe eczema. Her whole body was covered in an itchy, red rash. “In those first few months,” Johnson says, “I did what any mother I imagine would do. I eliminated all of the major potential allergens from my diet so that I could keep breastfeeding. I was also trying dozens of topical creams for Vienna to keep her eczema at bay.” Johnson says she was surprised to learn that traditional medicine’s protocol for eczema had not changed since she treated her own eczema as a kid. So, as well as trying more traditional methods like steroids and bleach baths, she also

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broadened her approach and explored a number of integrative options, like seeing a Chinese herbalist. Right before Mother’s Day, when Vienna was eight months old, life got even more challenging. Vienna ate some homemade pea soup for dinner and went into anaphylaxis 10 minutes later. “Vienna’s face swelled up entirely, her eyes became sealed shut,” says Johnson, tearing up. “We knew she was having a reaction. We gave her Benadryl imme-

“SOME OF MY FAVORITE MOMENTS WERE SURROUNDED BY FAMILY AT A DINNER TABLE. THERE WAS NEVER A SHORTAGE OF NOISE OR CELEBRATION OR SINGING OR CONFLICT.” diately. As I went downstairs to get in the car, she started vomiting. We rushed her to Boston Medical Center emergency room where they administered epinephrine, steroids, antibiotics and antihistamines. I don’t think there are ever adequate words to describe what that very short window of time was, but it was nothing like I’ve ever experienced, and nothing like I ever want anyone to experience.” Reflecting on what she’s learned since, Johnson explains the correlation between eczema and food allergies exhibited in her daughter, specifically how her inflamed state likely contributed to a number of food allergies. In addition to peas, she can not eat gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame.

WINTER 2020 • EXHALE Lifestyle


Jenny Johnson’s thoughts on... Finding balance: I think we all are

yearning and desiring the perfect balance, whatever that means to you. I think the desire makes it so that it is possible. You have to be open to the fact that there is the opportunity to find that homeostasis. Real strength comes from rest days. My husband is incredible at pushing me to do things that he knows allow me to shut off. We’re big hikers. We love to be outside. Vienna took her first trip to Tuckerman’s Ravine at three months old. We have family days. I don’t use my phone when I get home from work and before she goes to bed. There are definitive time periods where I make sure that I am looking into my daughter’s eyes and there are as few distractions as possible.

of the things Rob and I love to do most is exercise. It’s a strange thing to say is a guilty pleasure, but I don’t get to do it as much now. I did Kilimanjaro by myself. I’m at 41 of the 48 [4,000-foot peaks in New Hampshire]. It would be a goal to finish them in 2020. But, it’s a little harder these days. I remember when I could get up at 4:30 in the morning, drive two and a half hours, climb for six hours, and drive back. That just doesn’t exist anymore. Living to the fullest: Some people

to be a woman. I remember when we found out that Vienna was a girl. Some of our first conversations were how exciting it is to know that she is being born in a time where being a woman is incredibly powerful. I am so excited for her for that. I can’t wait to be able to have her feel like there is an even playing field and that there is nothing that she can’t try.

might think we’re crazy, because of her allergies, that we’re doing this — I mean, we’re going to Vienna (Austria) with Vienna. But we said, we can’t stop. We can’t stop living. We can’t stop doing what we set out to do as parents, to show this girl the world. To make sure she felt comfortable immersed in different cultures, and immersed in different cuisines — obviously not eating different cuisine types right now — but she can see the culture. We decided that no matter what happens to us financially or professionally or health wise, travel is something we are going to focus on.

Defining success: Success is such a

Asking for help: There were many times

Being a woman: There’s no greater time

strange word, and it means something so different to everyone. Success to me, at this point, at this very moment, as a mother with a daughter who has a severe immune disorder, means I hope to be able to use my storytelling and my communication abilities to help spread the word of some major concerns that are apparent for our children. If that means that a mom gets to spend a little less time researching what to do for her daughter, then that to me is success. It’s about taking the work, the skills that I’ve developed over the past 15 years, and assuaging some of the fears, some of the pain, some of the anxiety that has come from this rampant epidemic of childhood allergies. Guilty pleasures: Hiking is something that’s really, really freeing for me. One

early in my career when I felt like it was a sign of weakness to ask for help. However, I’ve learned that reaching out for advice, for favors, or even just for a sounding board is a critical source of growth. And, more often than not, those whom you are asking assistance from are grateful that you trusted them enough to ask. Finding and being a mentor:

Seek out leaders who boot-packed before you. Make sure these are people who you both agree and disagree with, knowing that some of the best wisdom comes from those who look at the world with an entirely different perspective. And then, whenever possible, pay it forward. Remember to give a helping hand to those who are climbing the ladder behind you.

… SHE MAKES LEMONADE Given Johnson’s career promoting the food industry and developing relationships with its players, one could argue that she is an ideal candidate to tackle food allergies and eczema in an educated, research-based and relatable way. She certainly doesn’t lack energy, empathy or devotion, especially when it comes to the people she loves most. Since her daughter’s struggles, she’s become a warrior for these causes and an advocate for some of the lesser known practitioners trying to cure them. “Over 50 percent of children in the U.S. have a diagnosed chronic disease, and a lot of what I was reading included nontraditional methodologies,” she explains. “I feel it is important to straddle both western practices and more emerging options in a way that leaves me feeling confident in the decisions we are making.” Johnson began working with several different specialists. She Skyped weekly with a pediatrician practicing anthroposophical medicine in California. Locally, she made a connection with Amy Thieringer, the founder of A.R.T. Allergy Release Technique, a cutting-edge therapy that is reversing childhood allergies. She visited with Chinese herbalists. She bathed Vienna in horsetail (it’s an herb), bitter melon (it’s a subtropical fruit) and the ocean. “I was reading how powerful these nontraditional methodologies were, and I wasn’t feeling like I was getting the whole picture from traditional medicine,” she says. “I was also understanding that the longer that we have to keep Vienna from all of these things, the harder it is going to be for her to live a normal life.” While the many approaches Johnson tried varied, the common denominator she found comes down to a pretty simple concept: balance.

Jenny Johnson at Boston Harbor Hotel, earlier this fall

COVER STORY started feeding Vienna nutrient-rich food like bone broth and fermented vegetables. She orders Vienna’s food weekly from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania. The animals there have never been fed grain or corn. They are rich in nutrients, like vitamin A, D and K. “We eat chicken livers three times a week now,” she says. “It’s not something that I imagined would be in my diet. If you think to yourself, would any of us be like ‘Yes! I get to eat chicken liver.’ My daughter gets so excited to eat chicken liver. She literally can’t contain herself.” And Vienna’s immune system has responded. “For the first time in months, her skin has cleared, and we were finally able to take the socks off her hands,” Johnson says. “And I was able to start breathing again.”



“Think of it like a triangle, you have to address all of the corners in order to have any of them get to a baseline of normal. I am addressing eczema at the same time that I am addressing food allergies, because I have to get her body to a balance,” she explains. “It’s sort of like what I think about anything in life — whether it be my own anxiety, relationships, or tasks I am trying to do in a given day. Life is more

openly accessible when we find a place of balance, and that is what we are trying to do for Vienna’s immune system.” Johnson discovered that one of the most powerful tools in achieving this balance and strengthening the immune system is food. At home, Johnson immediately made some changes. She developed her own homemade coconut milk formula and

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It’s been six months since Vienna’s anaphylaxis, and Johnson is ready to see that there is a silver lining to her personal nightmare. “I am in a unique position to share what I’ve learned and bolster awareness around all the revolutionary thinking happening around food today,” she says. “It feels like I’ve been training my whole career for this opportunity to really change how we think about our health and wellness.” Using her platforms like “Dining Playbook” and “Food for Thought,” Johnson’s goal is to not only talk about food as medicine, but to give voice to more integrative methodologies that have largely gone unheard amid the din of traditional medicine. “I’m not a medical practitioner, and I don’t have all the answers. I’m a mom with a platform where I hope to serve as a vehicle to give voice to those who do.”

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COVER STORY Jenny Johnson with her business partner and co-host Billy Costa


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where dialogue can take place, where conversation can ensue, and where people are met with compassion. To connect with someone who understands is so unbelievably comforting.”



At the moment, Johnson is in the process of developing a comprehensive resource for New England, where the information, ideas, methodologies and people that she’s found over the last year can be easily accessible in one location.

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“As a parent, you always talk about, ‘So long as my kids are healthy,’” says Costa, who has watched her integrate these new themes into their programming. “Parenting is hard enough, saying the right things, doing the right things when it comes to your children. But, then, you’re dealt a set of cards where things are not that way and you have to step into a whole other role on top of being a mom. She’s just tackled it wholeheartedly.” People have responded. In sharing her journey over social media, Johnson has connected with many other parents who have not only found solace in their shared experience, but also useful, actionable information. “Women would reach out to me. Women I knew, women I didn’t know,” she says. “Part of what I was able to do is connect them with the practitioners that I had found and with different studies and resources that I had read. My goal is to create a community

She’s also working on developing a line of allergen-free food products, although this project is very much in its infancy. “I’m working with some chefs right now to come up with what the future of that looks like.” Johnson sets down her tea cup. “You build a career in food. You give birth after you’ve wanted to have a kid for so long. She can’t eat the food. It’s the ultimate irony.” And, then, she summarizes her greatest desire. “How do we get to here, so that you can live somewhat of the life that I’ve been able to live?” A few days following our interview, the family of three took off for a week away in Austria. It was to be their daughter’s first trip overseas. “We had documented notice from our doctors that we needed to travel with Vienna’s homemade formula and meatballs,” says Johnson. “I had connected with the concierge at the hotel and developed a relationship with the chef prior, expressing the severity of the situation. He met me upon arrival, and we actually spent an hour together. Every morning he brought her avocado, banana and berries for breakfast and then her lunch of veggies and some kind of protein in a to-go box for lunch and dinner. It was a lot of steps, but it was so worth it!”


Nara Paz shows her designs at a fashion show



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All In The Details


here’s something about the color red. Just a glimpse of the shade and you feel its power and determination. It symbolizes all things passionate and fiery. So, it’s only natural that Nara Paz would have this color as her go-to showstopper pop. The Brazilian-born, Boston-based fashion designer is lighting the design scene on fire. She has been referred to as the Oscar de la Renta of Boston for her unusual textiles, luxurious fabrics and distinctively different details (animal-textured mohair and faux fur, we’re looking at you). “You will see me in black all the time,” she says of her own personal, everyday dress. “But if I want to put the fashion designer out there, you will probably see me in a very unexpected hairstyle and wearing something red.” “It’s a very strong color, very powerful and feminine. Red is very difficult to wear, so when you wear it right, you make a statement,” she continues, noting she always at least does her nails in red. “When I wear red I feel confident and in charge.”


FASHION WAS ALWAYS HER THING You might say red is where it all began for Nara Lúcia Paz-Gain, who grew up one of four sisters in a small town of Quaraí, in the most southern part of Brazil, bordering Uruguay. “We were very poor, so I used to make my clothing and my dolls’ clothing. I learned how to sew at very young age with my grandmother, who had an old, foot-driven Singer sewing machine.” Her first dress: a red and white polka dot pinafore, made when she was seven years old. “My stepmother and dad used to visit us when I was a child. In my memories, I have the image of the powerful woman who captured my dad’s heart. She was

FEATURE STORY tall, elegant, independent, with a Chanel hairstyle, long red nails and red lips,” she remembers. “That is how my fascination for the color red started. I wanted to do more dresses in red in the future.” Paz would do so, but in time. Instead, she first became a successful graphic designer while studying industrial design. “I was doing graphics and branding for a successful swimming wear clothing brand in Florianópolis [in Brazil], and suddenly, I found myself designing T-shirts, clothing embellishments, creating labels, closures,” she says. “It came naturally for me. As a designer, it’s very helpful to know all the parts and tools of the industry.”

STARTING OVER Paz’s transition to fashion was an easy path that took her overseas. In 2002, she met her soon-to-be husband Dennis Gain on a trip to New Zealand, his native country. “He was living in Boston, so he brought me here, and I fell in love with the city and the snow,” she laughs. “I used to be a beach girl, but life takes over and here I am years after.” A move to the U.S. came in 2006 when Paz returned to college to study fashion. She managed to complete the four-year Fashion Design & Production course at Lasell College in Boston in just two and a half years, graduating summa cum laude in 2009. Soon thereafter, along with Gain, Paz opened Nara Paz Design Internationale, her design house and atelier. “It was very difficult to start here from zero,” she remembers. “We had to get to know people — good ones, bad ones — and take exhausting trips to New York City and Paris in order to build relationships and trust to run our fashion business.” That legwork paid off, as Paz was quickly embraced by the crème de la

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crème of Boston. “My first piece I designed for my collection was this gorgeous gown that ended up being worn by Gail Huff — a broadcast journalist and wife of former U.S. Senator Scott Brown — at the State Dinner at the White House,” she says. The elaborate gold strapless corseted couture gown boasts a chiffon skirt and was adapted from Paz’s senior collection at Lasell. The dress became a topic of complimentary conversation between Huff and First Lady Michelle Obama. “I want the woman who wears my clothing to be noticed and admired,” continues Paz. “I want her to feel extremely well-dressed and comfortable, so she can shine without compromise.”

FINDING SUCCESS Today, the core collection in Paz’s Atelier boasts over 100 designs, from ready-towear to exclusive styles that clients can choose fabrics from the yard if they wish. Think seasonal modern interpretations

Paz with Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison

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Gail Huff, wearing the dress Paz designed for her for a State Dinner at the White House


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FEATURE STORY of classic silhouettes that are decidedly feminine and fearless (and, yes, sometimes red). Avant-garde, signature-tailored coats, double-breasted mini dresses, jacquard coats, and elegant blouses, alongside ultra-refined couture gowns and evening wear. Paz has several feathers in her stylish cap, including Boston’s Best Local Fashion Designer award from the Improper Bostonian and being named Fashion Group International New York finalist of 14th and 15th Rising Star Awards. “I was the only Boston Designer who made it that far,” she says of being among names like Wes Gordon and Ally Hilfiger. High-profile women and celebrities have worn her designs to the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys, including Brazilian-American actress Morena Baccarin, who plays Leslie Thompkins on “Gotham” and Jessica Brody on “Homeland,” and Grammy-winning R&B singer Mya. It was through hard work and determination that Paz gained such status in her atelier. But the end of a runway wasn’t the hard stop of her journey. “Life takes over and sometimes taking your time is fundamental to achieve your dreams. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there, as long as you choose to live. My number one rule is to never give up. I tell my daughter this every day.”

Nara Paz as a child and her family in Brazil


ESTABLISHING BALANCE Four-year old Sophia-Jean, who Paz calls her “miracle,” truly embodies the spirit of persistence. In 2014, Paz began to rethink life’s goals. “I didn’t want to go out of this life without having a baby. I wanted to have it all — a family and career — and why not? But it was becoming too late for me,” she recalls. The couple started grueling IVF cycles, to no avail. “I was in NYC doing my hormone

Life takes over and sometimes taking your time is fundamental to achieve your dreams. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there, as long as you choose to live. My number one rule is to never give up.

injections in the middle of Times Square.” After seven cycles and one miscarriage, she had one frozen embryo left. “I told myself I would do one more time. It was the ‘never give up’ kind of thinking,” says Paz. Gain suggested a work trip to Paris and England, so the couple could focus on their growing business if this last chance didn’t happen. “While in Paris, I was in a fashion trade show, and I got food poisoning,” she continues. At the hospital, Paz faced a language barrier about her potential pregnancy. “The doctor shouted ‘voila’ and started to jump in celebration. I didn’t understand anything they said, but they kept saying, ‘The baby! The baby!’” Finally she understood the good news. “We heard her heart beat for the first time. It was magical.” Sophia-Jean was born in April 2015,

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and Paz switched gears to being a full-time mom. “I decided to have a break to enjoy her, since she would be my only child.” She spent time with relatives in New Zealand and Brazil as she watched her grow. Back to work since her daughter turned two years old, Paz continues designing for Nara Paz Atelier. She has cultivated incredible support of haute couture suppliers from France, Italy and Spain, and shares her time between Boston, New York City, Florianópolis and Auckland, New Zealand. “I am in the best time of my life right now. I do feel like a warrior sometimes,” she says. “I think most women do these days, with the things we have to do to make us stronger.” And, to celebrate that strength, as Bill Blass once said, “When in doubt, wear red.”

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THE DATING GAME You ’ re in your 40s, and you ’ re ready for romance. Where should you start? BY LOIS LEVINE 32

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et’s face it: Dating at any age can be a bit daunting, but once you’ve hit your 40s, you’re dealing with a whole new set of challenges. At this point, your baggage might include a divorce, a couple of kids in tow, and a rewarding but stressful career. Where, then, do you find the time to fit in love? Or, perhaps you’ve delayed marriage, and now, well-established in your career, you don’t want to miss out on finding a companion (and maybe even a child). Whatever your situation, no doubt you have a pretty full life. Yet that someone special remains elusive. So, what do you do? We gathered a panel of three dating and relationship experts to help answer that question. Expert 1: Meredith Goldstein. Her advice column “Love Letters” is a daily dispatch of wisdom for the lovelorn and has been running online and in print in The Boston Globe since 2009. Goldstein also hosts a “Love Letters” podcast, and she has published several books including “Chemistry Lessons,” a novel about a young woman who uses science to manipulate her love life. Expert 2: Neely Steinberg. She is a dating coach, image consultant and founder of “The Love TREP,” a service and website, that, she says, “teaches women how to be the CEO and entrepreneur of their dating and love lives.” Expert 3: Sandy Weiner. The dating and women’s empowerment coach is a TedX speaker and the founder of two websites:, which offers coaching and other services for women looking to find love, and, which includes lectures and workshops to help women build their leadership and communication skills.

Put all three of these ladies together in conversation and you get a lot of advice about the best way to navigate the complicated field of dating, midlife in the 21st century. Here’s what they had to say. …

DATING IN YOUR 40S V. YOUR 20S. Goldstein kicks things off. “Our needs are crystallized by time we’re in our 40s,” she says. “When we get a little older, we might have a more specific list of wants: Perhaps we are sure about wanting (or not wanting) children; we are sure about where we want to live. It can feel more limiting, but it can also streamline choices. Steinberg agrees, adding, “When you are older, you do become more set in your ways, a little bit less flexible and

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compromising as to what you want in a partner. You know yourself better, so you are less likely to settle for a match that is simply not good for you. The trick is, how do you find balance?” “I think the balance lies in being specific about the values and character traits that you share,” interjects Weiner. “For example, your religious and ethnic beliefs might have become more flexible, or you might be OK with a long-distance relationship because you might be open to moving somewhere else. Values such as kindness, generosity of heart, someone who loves to learn, might have become very important to you. Someone who states, ‘Sorry, but this is the way I am,’ can become a real turnoff.”

DIGITAL DATING: MINEFIELD OR OPPORTUNITY? All three experts believe that dating websites and apps can be beneficial in


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looking for a love match, if used in the right way. “You have to look for the good in technology. It has a lot to offer people,” says Steinberg. “But it doesn’t have to be an ‘either or’ situation: You can both try to meet someone organically and use the technology. When you feel burned out from one, then lean more on the other.” Weiner agrees, “Maximize those [digital] opportunities. Make sure you have great photos and a good profile, and limit how often you go online so you don’t get burned out. But, also, when you are out and about, connect with people. Chat with someone at the drugstore. Try to be playful and conversational. Learn how to flirt again, and ask friends for setups!” Goldstein adds, “For a single mother who lives in the suburbs and has no options beyond a setup, [online dating sites] has opened a lot of doors.” As for which sites and apps are the best, Goldstein says, “I tend to not recommend a specific platform, except to say there are sites for people over a certain age.” Steinberg thinks signing up for a traditional site like, “which has the largest pool,” she notes, and one

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app, like Bumble, is a good idea. Weiner agrees that Match, Bumble and Tinder are good choices for older daters.

MONEY CAN’T BUY YOU LOVE — OR CAN IT? On the tricky subject of money, all three experts agree that some sort of investment is inevitable, if you are serious about dating. Goldstein remarks, “It’s a bit like gambling. You have to know what is reasonable for your situation, but one thing I have learned is that people should not think it is not a worthy investment. We invest in things that make our life better.” Weiner agrees that the financial investment, including a coach to support you, is a wise choice. “Women invest in clothing, getting their hair and nails done. I honestly see women spending too much time getting ready for a date. Don’t drain the bank account spending so much money ‘looking good.’ It’s better that you learn to be comfortable with your looks and who you are, and just show up on a date as themselves, something I see women learn as they get older.” Steinberg feels you need to get real with your priorities. “There is a stigma,


and maybe even a sense of disappointment, that you have to hire someone to help with your love life. I have also worked with a lot of older women who at first say they don’t have the money to invest, but in fact, they really do. If you are making finding someone a priority, you will find a way to make the money situation work. There comes a time when you have to put a stake in the ground and make the investment.” Dating sites like run about $25 a month; dating apps like Tinder and Bumble are free, but offer premium upgrades. Personal, one-on-one dating coaches can run the gamut from $75 to $300 or more per hour, and also offer specific, all-inclusive packages.

place,” she adds. “That way, you don’t run the risk of running into someone you know, which can be awkward on a first


Again, all three experts say this is about knowing yourself well. “Sex on a first date might have worked, although even that is not always true,” reflects Goldstein. “But, look at your pattern here, too, and if sex early on hasn’t worked well in the past, change that pattern up.” “If you were a woman who could compartmentalize sex and be OK with sleeping with someone on a first date, I would say more power to you,” says Steinberg. “But if you look over your dating history and honestly answer, it didn’t feel good to sleep with someone early on, then it just didn’t work for you. It would be great if we could be Samantha from ‘Sex and the City,’ but you have to do what feels good to you!” “It’s almost impossible to be Samantha from ‘Sex and the City,’” interjects Weiner. “We can’t take control of the hormones that get produced during sex; they are bonding hormones. We really need to take care of ourselves in this regard. Be dignified, own your value, know what you want and speak up clearly and often. People who respect you will continue to be in your life.”


FIRST DATE GROUND RULES You’re not in your 20s anymore, and you have no idea what proper etiquette — or expectations — entails. When first dating, at what point do you invite someone to your home? How long do you keep the dating spots public destinations? How long should the first date be? Goldstein thinks it’s something you can feel your way through. “I hate to be vague, but I love to tell people to go with their gut. Sometimes, after six dates, you still don’t want someone to know where you live. We are all trying to figure out when it’s appropriate to trust someone. With some people, you feel emotional intimacy rather quickly, with others it takes time. First dates should be in a public meeting place; I suggest coffee or drinks. Be honest with yourself. You might feel it’s easier to do that as opposed to committing to a full meal for that first date.” “Pick a place that is in a different neighborhood than your usual favorite

date, or, conversely, turning your date onto your favorite spot, if things don’t work out.” Steinberg urges, “Look at your dating history. What has felt good and right in the past, what has felt wrong?” “Someone once invited me to box seats at the opera for our first meeting,” Weiner remembers, “but, I told him, ‘No, let’s just meet for coffee.’ That first time is really more of a meet than a date. I’d suggest keeping it to an hour, or 90 minutes maximum.”


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Modern Medicine


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Herbalist, midwife and Yale-trained MD, Dr. Aviva Romm has founded her career by prioritizing women’s health BY HALLIE EPHRON


hysician, midwife, herbalist, author Aviva Romm has been advocating for women’s and children’s health for more than 30 years. Maybe you’ve seen her on television, relaxed and impossibly young-looking for a grandmother — she’s 53 — chatting with Dr. Oz and discussing the link between diet and a healthy thyroid. Perhaps you’ve read an interview with her explaining, as she did to STAT News, “I’m not one of these integrative doctors who thinks just because something is alternative, it’s safe and good. I try to keep my doctor thinking cap on as well.” She’s been an early adopter of ideas that have seemed countercultural, only to later become mainstream. “I was one of the early clarion bell ringers advocating for being more cautious and judicious about antibiotic overuse. For my own kids, I would have used antibiotics, if they’d needed it,” she says. “But I was thoughtful about keeping them healthy, and when they did have colds, not jumping to antibiotics.” She was also an early advocate for microbiome research, examining how the genetics of microorganisms in the human gut interact with diet to affect our health.

“The idea that gut health is central to our total health goes back thousands of years,” she says. Nevertheless, not so long ago “microbiome research was considered wacky. Now millions of dollars are being dedicated to it.” Trained at Yale School of Medicine, board-certified in family medicine with obstetrics, Romm is not one of those alternative health gurus who pass out formulas for the perfect, sure-fire diet or exercise routine or medical regimen. She’s also wary of what she sees as some doctors’ knee-jerk response to prescribe drugs or surgery and medical devices. Instead, she practices what she calls “functional and integrative medicine,” looking for “the best available treatments — conventional or alternative — that are most effective or least harmful for patients within a wide spectrum. Whether it’s prayers or nuclear medicine, what’s safe and most effective.” It’s an approach that strives to bridge traditional wisdom and modern medicine, taking the best from each. Most of all, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to wellness. “It looks at the whole person, not just the body. It recognizes that our diet, culture, zip codes and so on are all determinants of our health.”

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Romm gives an example. “Let’s say someone comes in with a blood-sugar level that suggests prediabetes. It’s not enough to say, here’s the safest, most effective diet or drug, though that may be an important part of it. Look at the person. Suppose it’s a 60-year-old woman working two jobs, including a night shift, and her cortisol levels are high. Just changing her diet won’t be enough. There needs to be a whole-person perspective.” With Romm’s combination of expertise as a traditionally trained physician, midwife and herbalist, her dream is both about changing medicine and changing the way women interact with it. “I want to boost women’s confidence about their bodies and their health so they’re not distracted by worries and misinformation that keep them from living their best lives.” To that end, she writes and speaks, offers advice and training, and sees patients, drawing on years of experience, navigating between counterculture and mainstream health practices.

The Road Less Traveled We caught up with Romm by phone from her home, now an empty nest with her four children grown. Talking to her feels like settling in for a chat with a smart, friendly neighbor. She has an easy laugh and a disarming candor, and she’s brimming with down-to-earth common sense. Though she lives on a quiet country road in the Berkshires, hers is not the quiet life. From home, she writes — she’s the author of seven books, her most recent “The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution” — and sees patients (most via telemedicine). With her husband, she runs an active social network and small media empire that includes podcasting, blogging, online courses and television

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appearances. She still practices midwifery, and she midwifed the home delivery of two of her grandchildren. They were born to her daughter-in-law, a Harvard-trained pediatrician. Romm has come a long way from the Queens housing project where she grew up in a cramped apartment with her brother and their single mom, whom she remembers as “pretty, competent, confident and courageous.” Though Romm always wanted to be a doctor, she wasn’t one of those kids who played with a toy doctor’s kit, ministering to her dolls and vaccinating reluctant family members. She was more of a science geek. “What I really loved to do was take things apart. I had a toy clock, and I remember getting a flathead screwdriver and hammer from my mom, and cracking it open along the seams to see how it worked.” She also loved to collect and catalogue rocks which, like that toy clock, she’d crack open to see what was inside.

Presaging her decade-long tenure as president of the American Herbalists Guild, as a child Romm also collected flowers. The pages of her grandfather’s Encyclopedia Britannica were stained with the specimens she gathered near his home on Long Island and pressed between their pages. She also started to write. “Other girls were collecting dolls, I was collecting pens and notebooks. I kept a journal and made illustrations.” She was also a budding entrepreneur. “My first business in third grade was selling macramé plant hangers and bead work.” Her lofty vision of her future self included “living in a brownstone on Washington Square Park, winning a Nobel Prize and being a neurosurgeon.” Curious, articulate, smart and ambitious, it’s no surprise that she excelled in school and was accepted at Bronx High School of Science, New York City’s premier high school for the gifted and talented. But the daily, hours-long commute to school was exhausting, and she felt unsafe returning to her home neighborhood at night.

One thing she knew for sure: She wanted to be a doctor. She wrote to Johns Hopkins Medical School. She remembers telling them, “I’m really smart, and I really want to be a doctor. Can I skip high school and start medical school now?” That letter must have made an impression because an amazing thing happened. Someone in the Johns Hopkins admissions office wrote her back a personal letter. She was too young for medical school, the letter said, but suggested that she consider applying to a new program in Western Massachusetts for gifted and talented kids who wanted to skip high school. Romm remembers getting that letter as a major turning point in her life. It “threw me a life preserver in rough water. If there are guardian spirits, that was one of mine.” She applied to Simon’s Rock at Bard College. She was accepted and awarded a scholarship. In her first year there she met Tracy Romm, the man who would become her husband. He would go on to become a high school teacher, principal

Life, Death and Diet

If Romm had her way, she’d change how the health care industry reacts to these three major issues. Nutrition and Diet: “How we eat is unquestionably and medically proven to influence our health. And, yet, we still have doctors saying that diet doesn’t make a difference.” Romm cautions against doctors who “dismiss patients when they ask about supplements and dietary changes. When you dismiss them, you leave a vacuum, and they’re going to find the answer that could be misinformation. As doctors, we have to make ourselves available as partners to provide the best information.” Birth: “I’d like us to see birth treated as a natural event, not a medical disaster waiting to happen. We overmedicate people who are birthing, which creates more complications and cost. This doesn’t mean that birth doesn’t have medical emergencies that we shouldn’t be prepared for, but we need to shift from a reactive to a physiological model, supporting the way birth is supposed to happen.”


Death: “Death is the same as birth, but at the other end. We’re so afraid of death and letting it happen that we make death more traumatic, and we prolong end of life greatly at great cost. We’ve taken what should be a natural, family centered, transitional event and made it frightening, devastating, painful and costly.”


Your Health, Your Call Romm offers advice for shifting the power dynamic with your physician. � Go in with a script: Prioritize, write down questions in advance. � Bring an advocate, a witness who will fight for you (preferably not a relative or a male). � Take notes or bring a tape recorder. If your symptoms are dismissed or minimized, get a second opinion and keep going until you get answers. � Be informed, but do your online research at reliable sources like Healthline or the Mayo Clinic. � Raise questions if the suggested treatment sounds extreme, too good to be true, or antithetical to what you want. � If a surgical procedure or medical device is recommended, ask: “How many times have you done this procedure? What is your outcome rate for complications immediately after and a year later? Are you paid by anyone associated with this device or treatment?”

and eventually Chief Operating Officer of Aviva Romm Enterprises. Back then, he introduced her to the first midwife she’d ever met. The summer after her first year at Simon’s Rock, Romm moved to Cambridge and studied with a midwife. She became a vegetarian and started learning about herbal medicine and dietary consciousness. In those days, she says with a laugh, “It was all fringe. My beliefs were so countercultural, my family thought I’d joined a cult.” She returned to Simon’s Rock in September, but had to drop out for lack of funds. Instead of returning home, the incredibly resilient teenager began ap-

prenticing to become a midwife, studying herbal medicine in earnest, and writing. She and her husband would go on to have four children, home-schooling them all. Looking back, she says, “A whole other pathway opened up to me. I took the road less traveled. I made a way.”

Caring for Women As a midwife, Romm saw firsthand how women’s health concerns were routinely brushed off. “My first exposure was to women in the black community who were having difficulty with getting proper medical care. One woman went to an emergency room late in pregnancy with severe abdominal pain. She was turned away and ended up with a uterine rupture. That can be life threatening. She lost the baby,” she says, her voice welling up with emotion. “That’s just how broken the system is for people who are socially and economically disenfranchised.” For more than 20 years she practiced as a midwife and herbalist, finally taking the course work she needed to apply to medical school. Throughout that time, she continued to see “so many incidents of women being mistreated, so many shocking stories.” Even after she enrolled at Yale School of Medicine at age 39, finally fulfilling her dream of attending medical school, “I saw systemic failure that sometimes led to severe adverse outcomes, including death. All as a result of people not listening to patients, not following up carefully enough on test results. All because hospitals pay incentives to turn over that bed by 10 in the morning. [It’s] a system that values profits over people.” The drive for profits, she says, is compounded by “rampant gender bias.” For example, studies show that women in chronic pain are routinely ignored and mistreated. “Women who come in nicely

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dressed get dismissed as not in pain. If a woman comes in looking sloppy, she’s judged as drug-seeking.” When it comes to advocating for themselves with doctors, she points out, women are particularly vulnerable “to power dynamics, even the most ardent millennials. You’re already anxious and vulnerable and put into some kind of clothing item that’s flapping open while the practitioner is fully dressed. You’re seated not at the same height. You’re calling them Doctor, and they’re calling you by your first name.” That unequal power dynamic is endemic in our culture because, she says, “As women, we’re tacitly taught not to be aggressive. Be nice. Don’t make waves. Trust the doctor.” Meanwhile the doctor is under pressure to see so many patients a day. “As a consequence, often diagnoses are missed.” The results can be catastrophic. For example, says Romm, “On average it takes five years and four doctors for women to get an autoimmune diagnosis, and nine years to get an endometriosis diagnosis.” These patients are often prescribed anti-anxiety medications instead of an effective treatment. “It’s really hard to be struggling with your health. Spending hours to find insurance providers. Finding alternatives that don’t cost an arm and leg.” What keeps her going, she says, “are the emails and correspondence I get from women, truly every single day, who are going through health concerns or challenges in their lives. Romm has chosen the road less traveled. Turns out she doesn’t need a brownstone on Washington Square Park, a Nobel Prize, or a degree in neurosurgery. She’s living her dream of helping women listen to their own bodies and effectively advocate for their own health.

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Here, Kassia Davis. At right, two women modeling Fierce + Regal designs.

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year ago, no one in the athletic apparel world could have predicted Kassia Davis, the natural heir to the New Balance throne, would be working independently of her family and dedicated to an entirely different brand in the same industry. “I went from being part of a giant in the industry, to suddenly, I’m one of the little guys just fighting for a major retailer to even meet with me,” Davis explains. She’s CEO and co-founder of Boston-based athleisure brand, Fierce + Regal, working on branding and as the main point of contact for retailers. She expresses her challenges in her new position. While anyone can see Davis’ fortitude and confidence, she does not boast just how deep this seed of success has been bred. Davis, with nearly a decade under her belt of experience in apparel management, strategic accounting management, and marketing for New Balance’s global flagships and e-commerce programs, was at the top of the game. A few years prior, one would find her working alongside J. Crew, Heidi Klum

AT WORK | YOUR BUSINESS and Nordstrom in partnership with New Balance, her family’s company, where Davis’ parents, Anne and Jim, serve as vice chairman and chairman, respectively. With a network of resources and support, her desire — and urgency — to take a step back from New Balance and venture out on her own came as a surprise to both Davis and her parents. After talking to them, Davis began the search for a company that similarly prioritized her values of female first and premium quality. Through research and an eye for good product, Davis found and joined Margi Gad, who had started Fierce + Regal six months prior to meeting Davis. What struck Davis about Fierce + Regal was its commitment to both the comfort and confidence of their consumers, all of whom were women. “I am really, really passionate about women supporting other women,” says Davis. In regard to Fierce + Regal’s consumers, Davis says, “We’re aiming to keep that sophisticated, polished look and make her feel confident and empowered throughout her day, in any environment.”



TIPS WHEN WALKING YOUR OWN PATH Davis offers some words of wisdom for women who are considering taking a leap of faith in their career or stepping away from financial security.

“I wanted to make my own impact,” says Davis. “And, yes, I could have done that at New Balance, but in a different way. I wasn’t going to get the experience of building a brand from the ground up. I wasn’t going to get the experience of learning from my own mistakes. At some point, you want to learn for yourself.” Davis explains that it was no easy road to pave, stepping away from complete security at New Balance to work in a position where suddenly, she had a million and one tasks in a day, some of which were new to her and required spontaneous problem-solving. “Not going to lie,” Davis says with a laugh. “It’s been a year of me losing sleep.


“IT’S BEEN A YEAR OF ME LOSING SLEEP. SO EXCITED ONE DAY, SO TERRIFIED THE NEXT. AT NEW BALANCE, I WAS IN SUCH A COMFORTABLE POSITION, BUT COMFORTABLE IS NOT FUN.” – KASSIA DAVIS So excited one day, so terrified the next. [At New Balance], I was in such a comfortable position, but comfortable is not fun. Who likes comfortable? How are you going to grow from comfortable? How are you going to grow from security?” Davis was inevitably nervous when it came to telling her parents her plan. “I didn’t want them to be insulted by my wanting to step away, but I made sure they saw my passion and understood in my heart of hearts that this really was the right decision for me.” / Anapurl

1. Love your mistakes “You really have to focus on the silver lining of those difficult times; they are turning points in your career. Once you make that one mistake, you’re never going to make it again.”

2. Find your support system “Lean on the support system that you have around you. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re struggling or that you don’t know what to do in certain situations.”

3. Be a support for others “You have to empower the people who are working around you to have the same passion as you do about your brand, to empower them to want to grow with you.”

4. Keep your persistence and passion “My dad always said, ‘Anything is possible.’ The hard days and letdowns are what you remember, what made you stronger, what made you persevere. They are what has made me so proud of getting to this point in my career. I truly believe, ‘If you believe it’s possible, it is possible.”

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Diversity Dietetics team


One female-led nonprofit is encouraging people of color to enter the field of healthy nutrition


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populations understand how they can eat healthy in a way that is culturally competent and approachable. And right now, the majority of registered dietitian nutritionists are white. As one of a small number of RDNs of color, Belleny, who is black, co-founded the nonprofit Diversify Dietetics in April 2018. Her company’s goal is to increase diversity in her field. She works to empower students and young professionals from all backgrounds to join the next generation of nutrition experts. Belleny is originally from Houston, Texas, and it is where she has spent the majority of her career thus far, completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

her dietetic internship and first few jobs. “I became interested in evaluating effective nutrition programs for communities, and I wanted to get broader in public health through systems change,” she says. Today, she’s based in Massachusetts and works for the Center for Primary Care at Harvard Medical School. Belleny says she was struck at how very few of the nutrition professionals she came across were people of color, especially during her internships and at conferences. Tamara Melton, MS, RDN, CPHIMS, and Belleny’s Diversify Dietetics co-founder, says that at a typical dietetic



he food we eat is integral to our longterm health and wellbeing. The food we eat is also a powerful indicator of our likelihood of acquiring illness and disease. For the average person, navigating the food pyramid can be an overwhelming task. Luckily, registered dietitian nutritionists are committed to helping the public with this. But as Deanna Belleny, MPH, RDN, and founder of Diversify Dietetics puts it, “Food is so much more than what we put into our body. It’s also an extension of our identity and culture.” In other words, we must cultivate a diversified workforce to help diversified



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negotiate their first salaries and understand the various pathways in the industry,” says Melton. The two co-founders are very active on social media, especially on Instagram where the Diversify Dietetics account has more than 5,000 followers. They regularly spotlight professionals of color, especially those who work in atypical settings such as the NFL or other big name brands. “As a long-term goal, hopefully we can see a shift in health disparities and chronic diseases,” says Belleny. Always with this big picture in mind, Belleny and Melton are optimistic about ushering in the next generation of diverse nutrition experts, as well as healthier and well-nourished patients. / Karen Morales


shown that professionals of color will and nutrition conference, “out of thoustay and serve in communities of color sands of people, you will maybe see six longer” as opposed to white medical or seven people of color.” professionals who In addition to train in those areas both conscious “WE WANT TO HELP STUDENTS but typically leave and subconGET INTO INTERNSHIPS, PASS once they finish their scious biases education. against nutrition THEIR EXAMS, NEGOTIATE “Data has shown students and THEIR FIRST SALARIES AND patients do better professionals of UNDERSTAND THE VARIOUS when they are adcolor, there are PATHWAYS IN THE INDUSTRY.” vised by someone of structural barrisimilar culture,” she ers in the career —TAMARA MELTON says. “Some reasons pathway that include something as might account simple as language barriers or knowing for the lack of diversity in the field. colloquialisms or cultural contexts.” According to Melton, it takes a So, how exactly is Diversify Dietetics minimum of five years to become a regsupporting and pushing forward a more istered dietician nutritionist as you need a bachelor’s degree with the relevant coursework, an internship that runs for six to 12 months and is typically unpaid, and then you have to pass a national standardized exam, of which there are associated fees. With student loans, long-term unpaid work, and exam materials and fees, students from low-income and marginalized groups are at a disadvantage when pursuing a nutrition profession. Belleny believes that more diverse nutrition professionals will contribute to wider systems change in improving public health for all communities. “The U.S. is getting more and more diverse and with more diverse practitioners in the field, we are able to better relate with patients and clients,” she says. “Especially since, as a society, what is considered healthy is a Eurocentric diet.” Kale and quinoa are undoubtedly very healthy food options, but these diverse field? ingredients may not fit into the culinary The 501(c)3 organization offers palate and customs of other cultures. “In resources such as career advice, scholarsome cases, nutritional advice does not ship referrals, job postings, workshops resonate with some audiences that it is on professional development, a dynamic delivered to,” says Belleny. “For exampodcast, a robust mentorship program ple, as when recommending all organic and country-wide meetups. ingredients to a lower income commu“We’re nowhere near where we want nity, because there are more affordable to be, but we want to help students ways to get fresh and quality food.” get into internships, pass their exams, In addition, says Melton, “research has

RDN Deanna Belleny is passionate about helping marginalized communities gain access to healthy food and nutritional services, in addition to supporting the next generation of diverse nutrition experts.

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ELISE CAIRA Owner, SweatFixx

In January 2017, Elisa Caira launched SweatFixx with no financial safety net. Since then, she’s grown her low-impact, high-burn fitness studio company from a five-person team to a staff of 40-plus in just two and a half years. Caira is the very definition of strength, physically and emotionally. Life has brought the Massachusetts native some challenges. When her college basketball career was cut short by torn ACLs in both knees, she channeled her sports knowledge, her masters degree in accounting and her CPA into a new way to work out. Just before opening her second SweatFixx location, Caira was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, which is incurable. She has persevered, continuing to develop low-impact workouts that burn, as well as a monthly one that donates to philanthropic causes. Caira hopes to motivate other women to build their strength, both inside and out. Today, SweatFixx has five locations around Greater Boston — the most recent, this year in Amesbury.


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Owner, Curds and Co. Jenn Mason, founder of Brookline cheese shop Curds and Co. is turning her industry on its head. She spent years working in marketing, helping other businesses bring their visions to life. But what she really wanted to do was to nurture her own: Making cheese accessible to an everyday audience. At her store, Mason uses easy-to-understand signage (“Creamy,” “Funky,”). She hosts pairing workshops and educational opportunities to bring cheese to the masses. “I get thanked a lot for opening this store,” she says. “It’s a place that brings people joy.” Mason has also developed an app to help shoppers pair flavors and keep track of preferences. Her subscription service, called CURDBOX, she expects to expand nationwide. She is also opening more brick-and-mortar locations — the latest at Boston Public Market.


LESLIE SALMON JONES Founder, Afro Flow Yoga

TOBI BAKER-DAIGLE AND CHRISTINE MCMACKIN Owners, New England Skin Center Professional dancer, certified holistic personal trainer, wellness coach and yoga instructor Leslie Salmon Jones launched Afro Flow Yoga a little more than a decade ago. It is an empowering blend of yoga and spirituality that pulls on the principles of dance and music of the African diaspora. She teaches mainly in Boston and New York City. Healing is at the base of her work. “Afro Flow Yoga is out of love, and it’s out of uniting,” she says. “We’re all connected at the root, even though we’re different and unique.” Jones has been featured in O Magazine, Self and The New York Times. In July, she was filmed as part of “Dark Girls 2,” a documentary that premieres on OWN Network in 2020.


Director, SOAR Boston

Mayor Marty Walsh’s July appointment of Talia Rivera to lead SOAR Boston (Street Outreach, Advocacy and Response), formerly known as the Boston Centers for Youth & Families Streetworker Program, means Boston has a new female director. Rivera has over 20 years of experience working with families. At SOAR, she works to reduce violent activity among young people and to create alternative pathways for gang-involved youth in the city. Rivera says, “I know how challenging it can be for our communities to gain solid footing and climb the ladder to success.” Walsh says, “I am grateful to have Talia as the program’s director. Her insights will bring SOAR Boston to great success, giving way to better outcomes for our young adults.”

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Skin care gurus Tobi Baker-Daigle and Christine McMackin opened New England Skin Center in Weymouth in late 2018 with a mission to make women feel like their best selves — in all the roles they play: mom, wife, friend, professional. The native New Englanders are both moms themselves, and they understand how much working women give to others on a daily basis. With decades of experience between them, the registered nurse and registered nurse practitioner, respectively, have tried all the services themselves and only offer what they can endorse first-hand. Every detail and service (from allowing mothers to bring their children with them to including water soluble vitamins in their IV drips) at New England Skin Center is designed to give that love back to the women they treat. The first priority is creating healthy skin, and then to provide whatever treatments make women feel as amazing as they are. “You have to take time for self care and self love,” says McMackin. “Give to yourself a little bit what you give to everyone else.” / Celina Colby

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MIND THE GAP? WE DO! There’s nothing fair or right about paying women less for equal work


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ow is it that we’re beginning the second decade of the third millennium and research continues to show that men still get paid more than women, despite laws against gender discrimination in pay? Yes, the gender pay gap persists. Among full-time, year-round workers, the median annual earnings for women is 81.6 percent of the median annual earnings for men this year, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). Emphatically, this shows the pay gap is not due to women working fewer hours, taking part-time jobs, or taking time off work to care for children or elderly parents. Female-dominated industries and job categories are lower paying than male-dominated ones. “That’s not a coincidence,” says Siri Chilazi, a research fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University. “In our society there is a systematic devaluation of women’s work.” “Girls and women are more likely to be steered into lower paying fields throughout their educations and careers,” says

A study from the AAUW shows there is a 7 percent wage gap between male and female college graduates one year after graduation. Kimberly Churches, chief executive officer for the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Even among men and women with the same job title, industry, education level, location and years of experience, research confirms the pay disparity. A study from the AAUW shows there is a 7 percent wage gap between male and female college graduates one year after graduation, after controlling for college major, occupation, age, geographical region and hours worked. “We often hear that women are

well-positioned to benefit in the future workforce due to their increased investments in their education and training,” says Ariane Hegewisch, IWPR’s program director on employment and earnings. “But these data remind us that gender and racial inequalities in the labor market are hard-wired into the system. Policymakers, communities and employers should address the issues underlying the wage gap to ensure that the future of work is reshaped to benefit all workers, including women of color.”


The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act in March 2019, and now has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. It would prohibit employers from using salary history to determine future pay and retaliating against workers who discuss their wages. It would expand data collection to identify pay disparities and increase penalties for employers that violate equal pay laws. In 1945, Massachusetts became the first state to pass an equal pay law. But after seven decades, women working full-time still earn only 84.3 percent of what men earn in the Commonwealth, according to the state Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division. Massachusetts updated its equal pay law last year to clarify that employers cannot: pay women less than men for comparable work; prohibit employees from disclosing or discussing their wages; ask the salary or wage history of job candidates; or retaliate against any employee who exercises his or her rights. Likewise, New York State passed two bills this year to require equal pay for substantially similar work and ban employers from asking job candidates about their salary history. Illinois, Washington State and New Jersey also passed laws this year to prohibit employers from asking about job candidates’ previous salaries. Churches says, “Momentum is building toward closing the gap, and that can and will accelerate change if we keep pushing it forward.” / Leah Shepherd

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ACTIVATE AND ADVOCATE What can you do to help close the pay gap? This.

> Don’t accept any job offer without negotiating well. Prepare for salary negotiations by researching salary ranges for the job. Negotiate for benefits that affect your finances, such as telework and parking access. > Seek promotions and let supervisors know when you have accomplished a goal or performed very well. > If you discover you earn significantly less than male colleagues for the same work, discuss it with your human resources representative or consult a lawyer. If the HR department doesn’t resolve the problem, contact the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission. > If you suspect there is widespread pay discrimination, ask your employer to conduct an equal pay audit. > Talk with colleagues and friends about gender discrimination. > Vote for candidates who support laws to close the gender pay gap. Contact your elected officials about equal pay legislation and paid family leave. > Consider an industry or field that’s traditionally maledominated.



You’re a procrastinator. That doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t even make you a flawed person. In fact, it makes you human. Plenty of self-help gurus and best-selling authors will tell you it’s simple: “Break your task into small pieces” or “just get started.” Unfortunately, that kind advice puts all the pressure on the procrastinator who, in most cases, is already feeling miserable about putting off the task at hand. “If we could ‘just get started,’ we wouldn’t have a procrastination problem,’ says Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D., director of the Centre for Initiatives in Education and associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. “That’s like telling a clinically depressed person to ‘just cheer up.’” Pychyl, who founded Carleton University’s Procrastination Research Group in 1995, initially set out to study people’s relationships with their personal goals. Early in his research, he noticed a correlation between the difficulty study participants had with “just getting started” and how that procrastination negatively impacted their overall wellbeing.


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“Procrastination is not a time management problem; it’s an emotion management problem,” says Pychyl. “You can break a task into a hundred steps, but when you get to step one, you still don’t want to do it.” Not to be confused with purposeful delay or inevitable delay, procrastination, Pychyl says, is the voluntary delay of an intended action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay. Think about that for a second. When we procrastinate, we are willfully making a decision to avoid a task even when we understand avoiding that task will have a negative impact on our wellbeing. Who among us would intentionally choose to feel bad? Turns out, we’re not. Instead, we are choosing to avoid the negative emotions we have about the task (fear, resentment, boredom, uncertainty … the list goes on) by avoiding the task altogether and turning our attention to feel-good mini-tasks we can control: cleaning the refrigerator, watering the plants, paying bills. Sound familiar? But wait. There’s more. Those of us

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with a tendency to procrastinate are likely wired that way. Research shows procrastinators have a larger amygdala volume than non-procrastinators. Stick with me. This is about to get good. The amygdala is the part of our brain that processes emotions. (Think fight-or-flight.) With a larger amygdala volume, procrastinators feel the negative emotions attached to a task more intensely. Human nature leans toward not wanting to feel negative emotions, so we do whatever we can to shut them down — including avoiding the task at hand. And around we go.

SO, HERE’S THE FIX. “We have to remove the attachment from a focus on emotion to a focus on action,” says Pychyl. “It’s a game changer.” Sounds easy, right? Okay, maybe not so easy. “Once we get started, the perception of the task changes,” says Pychyl. “Our perception of ourselves changes. We begin to realize, ‘Hey, this isn’t as bad as I thought. I’m actually pretty good at it.’”

/ Lisa Curran Matte

3 TOOLS FOR KEEPING YOUR STALL TACTICS AT BAY Stop beating yourself up Recognize and understand the thought process; then, intentionally take steps to shift your focus from emotion to activity.

Mindful meditation What do you do when you get a cramp during an extended yoga pose? You breathe through it, right? In this case, breathe through and release your anxiety and self-judgment. Research shows that just eight weeks of meditating to release the emotions associated with procrastination shrinks the amygdala connection.

Create cues Conscious or not, we all have cues in our lives. The whistle as the 5 p.m. train rolls by signals wine time. Setting the spin bike at the gym to your specifications signals the start of a workout. Create a cue to start a task. When I do X, then I will do X. I will make tea, then I will open my laptop.


DO-OVER, PLEASE! Change is scary, especially when you’re in your 40s and realize you hate your job

Many women change jobs in their 40s as their career and family circumstances evolve. In fact, maybe you feel burned out in your current job or want to pursue a passion in a different field. When switching careers, you may have to face some roadblocks along the way. A big one is feeling like you lack job experience in a new field you want to pursue. Other common hurdles include letting money worries stop you from considering new and different possibilities, a fear of failure, and analysis paralysis, which means doing nothing because you’re not 100 percent sure of what to do next. There’s also age discrimination in the workplace. Stereotypes about older workers make it harder to get certain jobs in your 40s, but the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. You might also worry that you’re too old for a certain type of job, but remember that your 40s can be a great time for a career change. “You’ll likely have a rich set of experiences (both in and outside of a work context) to draw on and a level of self-knowledge that people in earlier stages of their life won’t yet have,” says Natasha Stanley, head coach at Careershifters. Don’t let naysayers — well-meaning friends and family members who don’t want you to change and project their own fears onto you — get you down. Talk to at least three people who you know will be supportive of you making a career change.

Even better if it’s a mentor who has gone through something similar in your field. But most of all, “don’t do it alone,” Stanley says. “Put a support team around you. Career change takes time, and big journeys are much easier with a team of supporters. Surrounding yourself with other career changers, trusted family and friends, experts, and mentors, can help you get inspired, find solutions to obstacles, and stay accountable.”

4 STEPS TOWARD A SEAMLESS CAREER TRANSITION u Get your financials in order: The first step to overcoming obstacles is to get your financials in order before you change jobs. Fully understand what your current financial situation is and what it will — or will not — allow you to do. u Promote yourself where people are looking: Make sure you have an updated profile on LinkedIn because people will use that to vet you and follow up with you. Use LinkedIn and other social media to promote e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

your skills and recent accomplishments that are relevant to the job you want.

u Keep an open mind: Look for possibilities and opportunities that you never considered in the past. “Don’t try to drive with your hands on the rear-view mirror. Rather than being limited to what you think you can do, based on your current skill set and past experience, look at what you’re naturally drawn to, in and out of work,” advises Stanley. u Network in person: Embrace a positive mindset and expand your network in person. “Get off Google or job sites and get out into the real world. Ask for introductions. Meet new people. Take an evening class. Do things that are different from what you’ve been doing. This will help you discover new career possibilities,” says Stanley. “Instead of looking for jobs, look for people. Not only is there is a huge hidden job market (an estimated 80 percent of jobs are never advertised), but connecting with people allows you to present yourself in a way that you can never do on paper. And in your 40s, you’ve likely got a much richer network to draw on than at any other time in your life.” / Leah Shepherd WINTER 2020 • EXHALE Lifestyle


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Dr. Jo Moynihan’s mission is to help you live a painfree, healthy and rewarding life while preventing and healing injuries. Imagine what your life would be like without pain, with clear thinking, energy, improved performance and excitement every day! Do you simply need help to feel better, but don’t know how? The goal of every appointment is just that. Our physical and mental energy are the most valuable and renewable resources we have — with the help of Physical Therapy and Nutrition, you can live optimally. Contact us for a free 15 minute consultation.



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hen you’re used to checkups and prescriptions to heal your ills, an alternative method that speaks of life forces and herbs might warrant suspicion. Such is the side-eye that Traditional Chinese Medicine usually draws, with its talk of correcting pain and illness by unblocking energy pathways of chi (or qi) through body work, as well as relying on plants to balance from the inside out. People are turning to this alternative way of thinking (and healing). It’s hard to ignore more than 3,500 years of Chinese medical practice in its various forms. Consider this evolving acceptance TCM’s unblocking its own pathway, as insurance companies now cover some alternative practices. Even the World Health Organization recognized it alongside Western practices in 2018. “The use of acupuncture, botanical medicine, and nutritional therapy have become more prevalent primarily because [they] work and provide answers that are more sustainable for living a healthy lifestyle,” says Amy Jo Accardi, acupuncturist and


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nutrition specialist at Flourish Boston. “We have a lot of physicians who refer to us regularly because the science supports TCM,” adds Ali Vander Baan, MAOM, MS, who performs treatment at Yintuition Wellness at Vega Vitality in Boston. Outside of acupuncture, TCM’s most mainstream practice, here are five lesser-known ways Eastern practices get straight to the point of what ails you.

board. “Skin responds to wounding. Controlled wounding results in the form of rejuvenation.” Following the muscular structure of your face, Babayan wields a smooth jade disk (curved specifically to align with your shape) against your skin in sharp controlled movements that are more like vigorous massage than scraping. “It depuffs, lifts, drains the fluids, relaxes the muscles and is very anti-aging,” she says.


GUA SHA The dramatic nature of this ancient alternative therapy isn’t for everyone (although lately it’s been favored by celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow). Gua translates to “scrape” and sha means “sand” — a nod to the sand-like rash that results after a serious gua sha sesh on your back, butt, neck, arms and legs. But, when you opt for the gentler version on your face, you could end up with a better jaw line and a healthier glow. “It’s a basic principle,” explains Anna Babayan, esthetician at Skin Deep Med Spa in Boston. She trained in New York City under the method of Dr. Ping Zhang, the inventor of the first-ever pain management gua sha massage e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

With a literal translation of “push and grasp,” this massage isn’t about relaxation. It instead refers to therapeutic body work that addresses disharmony by opening up physical blockages. “Traditional tui na has a strong effect on musculoskeletal issues. Our form has a strong effect on these, as well as ones relating to organ and bodily functions,” says Bell Tam, licensed acupuncturist at Lea Tam Acupuncture and Tam Healing Center. With rolling and “finger springing,” kneading and grasping, the therapist works thumbs, fingers, palms, and elbows on muscles and connective tissue along the neck and spine. “There are usually specific areas along the spine that have a strong knot. We refer to these


as blockages, which can compress on blood vessels and nerves. Over time the blockages can cause circulatory issues leading to other issues of varying degrees,” he says. Tam applies tui na to assist the body. “When blockages start to resolve, blood flow increases to areas that may have suffered. Over time, this can start the healing process and restore the body back to its normal function.”

CUPPING While evidence of its use dates back to 1550 BC, most of us were introduced to cupping through swimmer Michael Phelps’ purple shoulder circles at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Performed mostly along the back, chest or legs, cupping boosts immunity, draws out pathogens, and increases blood flow, according to Baan. “It can help to balance the emotional component of the organ system,” she adds. During cupping, the therapist puts a flammable substance like alcohol or paper in a glass or plastic cup and sets it on fire. As the fire extinguishes, the cup is placed on the body to create a vacuum drawing the skin into the cup. After a few minutes, the cups are removed and you’re left with purple circles from the blood vessels expanding. “The color indicates a person’s constitution. Dark could mean lots of stagnation due to injury or emotion. Lighter could mean a possible blood deficiency. Most feel very good after a session, which is why it’s very satisfying,” says Baan. The circles last a week; the benefits longer.

CHINESE HERBS “You would be surprised what we can treat successfully with Chinese herbs,” says Accardi, who holds a Master’s degree in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. “Chinese botanical blends are highly customizable, so we create individual blends based on issues and goals.” Chinese herbs are an all-natural and trusted way to make big improvements to your health. Featuring one of the largest herbal pharmacies in Boston, Accardi stocks hundreds of herbal formulas and ingredients. Think honeysuckle for sore throats, magnolia flower buds for sinus issues, and peony root for menstrual issues. She blends with expertise, because no one herb does it all. “For example, if you have digestive issues and headaches, we

can create one formulation to address everything, so you don’t have to take multiple things. We always prescribe formulations that include two to 12 different herbs. This is what makes Chinese medicine both unique and powerful.”

YIN-YANG BALANCING An extensive part of The Mandarin Oriental, Boston’s spa program is developed in consultation with specialists in TCM, as they strive to introduce Boston to the Eastern notion of self care. Think Himalayan Singing Bowls and Synergistic Healing alongside acupressure and aromatherapy. The Oriental Qi signature therapy consists of a relaxing, hands-on body massage ritual that combines the powerful effects of Oriental meridian massage with the therapeutic benefits of custom-blended essential oils. Your yin and yang are questioned in every minute way, based on China’s five elements philosophy — wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Massage areas, technique, and oils are tailored to your answers in order to leave your body, mind and spirit in perfect harmony. /

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LIVE WELL | FITNESS Jamie Golden of Barre3 Boston



Boutique fitness studios are on the rise. But, are they for you?


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Carolyn Stuart & CC Martin of C2 BODY Pilates


Boutique fitness offers focused, specialized workouts in smaller studios — and their popularity is booming. From barre and bootcamp to strength training and spinning, exercise options seem endless. Sure, some people prefer to pump iron or pound the treadmill in big gyms, but others want something more than just a place to get fit. Boutique fitness isn’t new. (Remember Jazzercise?) But there’s no doubt studio fitness classes are huge right now, as evidenced by the popularity of ClassPass and boutique chains such as SoulCycle and Orangetheory. The American College of Sport Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal found group fitness was the No. 2 fitness trend for 2019. Also ranking in the top 10 were several popular boutique offerings, including HIIT and yoga. Just like clothing boutiques, studios are small and specialized, typically offering just one type of exercise in a group-class setting — and that’s part of their appeal.

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Jamie Golden, owner/instructor at Barre3 Boston, in the South End, says, “That’s all we do: We teach Barre3. And that is not a bad thing. That means we know what we’re doing, and we work hard at it to make sure we deliver it best to as many people as we can.” Specialization means classes are taught by well-educated, focused instructors, explains CC Martin, co-owner/master trainer of C2 BODY Pilates studio. “Going to a boutique studio, you know you’re going to get [instructors] that have a strong background in anatomy, in biomechanics,” she says. “We’re not weekend warriors, we’re not weekend trained. Our instructors have gone through an extensive training program.” But, just like their clothing counterparts, boutique fitness often comes with a heftier price tag. A couple of classes can cost more than a monthly gym membership. For starters, Martin says, studio-quality equipment, like Pilates reformers, isn’t cheap — and neither are experienced teachers. It can be a struggle for studios to pay highly qualified instructors fairly while keeping pricing competitive. While pricing can be one barrier to boutique fitness, another is the assumption the classes are just for women, Martin says. She’d like to see more men in her studio. “More often than not, men come in after a friend, physician or PT, or their fiancée or wife nudges them to go,” she says. “They’re resistant to coming, and then they come, and they realize, ‘This is nothing like what I thought it would be, and this is the hardest

thing I’ve ever done, and I can see how it’s going to support all of the things I love to do.’” Beyond just workout spots, boutique studios can be places to bond and connect. Creating a strong community is central to boutique fitness, studio owners say. They strive to create spaces where clients feel comfortable and Heather C. White supported — and want to of TRILLFIT come back. Heather C. White, owner of TRILLFIT in Mission Hill, struggled to find a studio that was a good fit for her, so she created her own — specifically, she says, a space for active millennials and people of color. “I was paying all this money for these memberships, and I wasn’t going back,” White recalls. “When I thought about it, I realized, oftentimes I was the only person of color in the room.” TRILLFIT’s dance-cardio pop-up classes, followed by the opening of its studio, were instantly popular, and White knew she’d tapped into an important unmet need in the city. Golden tries to foster community among clients outside of class by hosting wellness workshops, a book club and other events at Barre3. Her studio also provides childcare during workouts, which has helped moms — and also some

dads — forge connections. Getting a great workout and feeling a sense of camaraderie and belonging has been a recipe for success for many Boston boutique studios. “There’s been so many amazing friendships that have developed in the studio just from taking the same class and being in the neighborhood,” Martin says. “There are people who are coming seven days a week. They’re like, ‘I come here. I see my friends. I feel the energy. I feel supported. I feel seen. I feel taken care of.’” White echoes this sentiment. “We have a core offering we feel like we’re great at, and we do those classes for a reason,” she says. “But we’ve made everything else accessible for this community so they feel, ‘I can go to TRILLFIT. This is a space for me. This is my home. I’m supported there, mind, body and soul.’” / Stephanie Anderson Witmer

WHERE TO GET FIT Barre3 Boston Boston


BTone 9 locations

Barre & Soul 4 locations C2 BODY Pilates South Boston, Dedham

Chandelier Glastonbury, Conn. CorePower Yoga 11 locations


SoulCycle Dedham, Newton, Boston SLT Boston

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Sweat Fixx 5 locations

The Handle Bar Cambridge, Boston handlebarcycling. com TRILLFIT Boston

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Tai chi master Leda Elliott has extensive experience with both performative and competitive practices of wushu and is currently focused on teaching others the martial art.

Center YOUR SELF Boston martial arts master Leda Elliott uses wushu to find her focus and flow





s a woman well-aware of how important exercise is for your wellbeing, you dutifully keep track of your daily steps, you hustle to make time for the gym, and you opt to take the stairs whenever you can. However, you can’t help but feel like your current fitness routine is doing nothing for your mental health. If this sounds familiar, you might want to take a page from Chinese martial arts; and no, we’re not necessarily talking about battling it out with an opponent. Although, have at it, if that’s your style. We’re talking about wushu here, a contemporary martial art practice, of which tai chi is a form. According to Boston-based tai chi master Leda Elliott, “‘wu’ means war and ‘shu’ means art,” and it encompasses both combative and meditative styles. Elliott started her modern wushu training in 1986 while attending Boston University. In 1996, she began her traditional wudang tai chi training under the guidance of the renowned master Bow Sim Mark. Today, Elliott teaches wushu to students of all ages, from young children to seniors, throughout the Boston area and at Bow Sim Mark Tai Chi Arts Association in Chinatown. She believes that wushu can benefit everyone, especially women at the height of their lives. “I think the internal arts like tai chi — which is part of the wushu system — provides tools to the practitioner to cultivate energy, focus and discipline in the most harmonious and balanced way to the individual,” she says. Elliott was trained in ballet since the age of three, through the encouragement of her mother. But while growing up in Japan, she read a manga novel about a Chinese girl who would use her kung fu skills to “put bullies in their place.” Martial arts became “what I really wanted to do instead of dance,” she says. It wasn’t until she was on her own in college that Elliott was able to finally enter martial arts training in Boston

with Bow Sim Mark who is “considered a national treasure in China.” His son, Donnie Yen, is the “biggest thing in Hong Kong right now,” says Elliott. Her ballet background helped with the flexibility and coordination aspects of wushu, as it’s “not an easy thing and requires a lot of discipline and athleticism,” she says, especially with the external styles. External styles of wushu is “what you see Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan or Jet Li do. It includes flashy acrobatic moves,” explains Elliott. “With internal styles, such as tai chi, rather than primarily working the external muscles, you have to go deep within yourself to understand the energy flow.” This is something anyone can do up until old age, or after demanding styles of martial arts or sports becomes too hard on the body, creating injuries. Although gentle, don’t think you won’t be getting some serious movement in with wushu practice. Rick Wong, a senior physical therapist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and skilled master in traditional kung fu and contemporary wushu, says, “When you look at elements of artistic wushu or combative wushu, they are all physical.” He adds, “The thing that’s beautiful about tai chi and the internal martial arts is it gets you centered and relaxed within your inner self.” “As people age, there is certain orthopedic, muscular and skeletal degeneration that occurs, but the internal vitality needs to be propagated,” says Wong. Of her wushu practice, Elliott says, “It helps me stay connected to the authenticity and the flow of life. I’m like any other person, there are stresses in my life, but the discipline I have learned from tai chi helps me be able to not ‘lose it.’” Women 35 and older have a lot on their plates, balancing career and family, often with little time for themselves. “Tai Chi helps them come back to themselves and connect with their Dao (their path) in the most harmonious and non-stressful way,” says Elliott. “It cultivates energy, rather than expend it, and it is very gentle on the body.” / Karen Morales e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

WORK ON YOUR WUSHU Practicing wushu even once or twice a week can help women find inner calm, while still keeping the body moving. Wong says, “Whether you’re a middle-aged or older person, or somebody in their 20s, it’s never too late to start your tai chi and internal wushu practice.” Here’s where to get started:


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Whether your best buds are school pals, your very own Carrie Bradshaw crew, or current contemporaries — maintaining a #girlsquad should rank way high up on your priorities. “But I’m exhausted, soooo busy, too busy to get together!” you say? You may want to reconsider. …


REA S ON 1 YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH Not only do deep female friendships provide the obvious benefit of sharing life — messy, marvelous and everything in between — with those who really “get” you, these friendships might literally save your life. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, women with early stage breast cancer were four times more likely to die from cancer if they didn’t have very many friends. Those with a larger group of friends with early stage breast cancer had a much better survival rate. According to Douglas Nemecek, MD, Cigna chief medical officer for behavioral health, “Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity.”

REASON 3 WHEN IT COMES TO COMMUNICATION, MEN REALLY ARE FROM MARS Females, generally, communicate with logistics and emotions, empathy, listening as well as problem solving. Men lean towards the latter. Lots of times it’s just easier to vent to a close girlfriend who can commiserate, offer a “been there done that” perspective, or (gently) urge action to snap you out of a brain rut and back into your better-thinking and better-feeling self. “Non-sexual affection is important to women,” says Rosowsky. “In their ability to share common language and mirror similar episodes in personal histories, there’s shared intimacy and trust in disclosing vulnerabilities to another true friend who can sit with you while you slog through the fact that you know you aren’t terrific all the time.”

REA S ON 2 YOUR MENTAL HEALTH Strong friendships are a critical aspect of emotional wellbeing and have been shown to decrease anxiety and depression. But, those friendships need to happen in real time, not virtually. In fact, “the social media paradox” is a term coined by psychologists to describe how social media has allowed us to become more connected to other people than at any time in history. And yet, many Americans report feeling more lonely and isolated than ever. Erlene Rosowsky, PsyD, a professor at William James College and the Director of the Alliance for Aging, explains why real versus virtual connections with friends are so important. “Our female friendships really are our primary relationships, not just an add on. The literature is replete with the importance and benefits of intimate friendship relationships where there is shared mutual self-disclosure over time. As we go through our 30s, 40s and 50s, balancing marriage, children, work and other interests, it’s important to make friendships a priority.”

REASON 4 WOMEN HELP WOMEN SUCCEED Building bonds with women at the office and within your profession is also important for motivation, job satisfaction, mentorship (both being a mentor and having one) and protection against harassment. Given that 75 percent of women face retaliation of some sort when they come forward about harassment, having other women to stand with you through the experience can help you feel less alone.

REASON 5 TRUE FRIENDSHIPS GET BETTER WITH AGE Not all friendships survive the ravages of time and circumstance. But like a fine wine, those that do, they tend to age well. No

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matter how far bonds bend, they manage to bounce back before they break. “Recent research actually tells us that the average female friendship lasts 16 years, which is 6 years longer than the average romantic relationship,” says psychologist Breanna Jayne Sada.  “Once we turn 55, our friendships, on average, last 23 years.”

REASO N 6 NEW FRIENDS WIDEN OUR PERSPECTIVE Rosowsky agrees. “Longterm friends are our fellow travelers, but it’s also important to nurture new friendships with those in different age groups to get out of your own wheelhouse, to grow and challenge your perspective,” she says. “The healthiest thing is to stretch a little bit and take the energy and time to make a new friend who’s not like you.”

REASO N 7 YOUR KIDS WILL FLY THE COOP. AND YOUR SPOUSE MIGHT, TOO The first is a definite, and marriage is still a 50-50 gamble, with more couples than ever calling it quits after 30 or more years of marriage together. The girl squad you nurture now might just end up being your Golden Girls gang later. Even if you are blessed with a honey who lasts, Rosowsky emphasizes how special women’s friendships are. “I’ve been very moved about the depth of bereavement that follows the loss of a long-time friend and how it can drastically change the structure of a marriage as the woman turns to her husband to make up for what a friend had provided,” she says. The takeaway here is: Do whatever it takes to make sure your social-feed gal pals are for real and for keeps. / Edie Ravenelle

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PINK STINKS The pink tax has ladies paying more. Here’s what you can do about it.


f you haven’t yet found the motivation to take control of your finances, just think of the situations that can occur if you’re not paying close enough attention. We all know about the gender pay gap, i.e. women getting paid less for equal work as men, but the so-called “pink tax” is disproportionately hurting women’s wallets, too. Here’s the deal: The pink tax is an extra amount of money that consumers pay for goods and services marketed toward women, compared to the same items marketed toward men. For example, pink-colored razors can be more costly than blue, gray or black ones; women’s clothes can carry a bigger price tag than similar styles of men’s clothes; and even girl toys can be more


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expensive than toy products for boys. And, although there are no similar corresponding items for men for obvious reasons, women can spend thousands of dollars over a lifetime on menstrual products (which can also be subject to luxury taxes), as well as significant dollars on bras, beauty services and reproductive health.

BOTTOM LINE: IT’S MORE EXPENSIVE TO BE A WOMAN. Financial advisor Phoebe Story sees the repercussions on not only her own budget, but her clients’ budgets, too. “My clothes are more expensive than my huse x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

band’s and my hair upkeep costs more,” she says. “We do have to keep this in mind when budgeting. It’s a sad reality.” Tangible retail products and services aren’t the only factors costing women more money. “We live, on average, about five years longer than men,” says Sandra Gilpatrick, a wealth consultant focused on the unique financial needs of women in Boston. “That means we’re going to need healthcare and retirement funds for longer and [we need to] plan ahead for that expense.” Ironically, there is one financial silver lining for women: Because women statistically live longer than men, Story says life insurance policies can actually cost less.

BEST LIFE | WOMEN’S ISSUES Our Choices Cost Us As American women, not only do we have to fight for our right to choose whether we want to get an abortion or use medical birth control methods such as the pill or IUD, but your health coverage for these things can vary from company to company. Societal standards on women to always look feminine, young and fit is another burden on our wallets.

A 2017 poll study conducted by Groupon asked 2,000 Americans how much they spend on their appearance and found that women surveyed spent an average of $3,756 a year, or $313 a month on things like facials, haircuts, makeup and manicures. Male respondents reported spending 22 percent less than women on appearance, with an average of $2,928 a year,

or $244 a month on things like gym memberships, facial moisturizers, supplements and shaving products. And, if you delve into the amount some women spend on cosmetic surgeries, including breast augmentation, liposuction and rhinoplasty, yearly aesthetic expenses go up even more.

What Can We Do About It? Is there anything that can be done to level the playing

field for women in terms of everyday expenses, societal pressures and overall financial health? To start, Gilpatrick says, be a shrewd consumer. “Don’t get wrapped up in the marketing and labeling of female products like razors and other personal care products.” Instead, look at the ingredients: Are they the same for both the “male” product and the “female” one? If so, then get the

cheaper one. Story advises women to set aside a specific budget for personal care, which includes hair appointments, nail appointments, feminine products and beauty products. “These costs are more consistent than you think and most people forget to budget for them,” she says. At the end of the day, you are in control of where you put your hardearned dollars. Gilpatrick says,

“A budget should be a reflection of your life’s priorities. Make sure your expenses fit with what’s most important to you.” Whether it be a cosmetic procedure, weekly manicure appointments, or monthly investments to an ETF, take stock of your financial priorities on a regular basis and evaluate whether you’re spending money on something you truly want or need. / Karen Morales

5 WAYS TO AVOID THE PINK TAX FEMININE PRODUCT SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES Several subscription boxes on the market help women stick to a specific monthly budget for tampons and pads while delivering conveniently to their door. Many of these services, such as LOLA, Blume and CORA, offer FDA-approved, high-quality, toxin and chemical-free products you may not be able to find in stores. These also eliminate that pesky luxury tax some states levy on feminine products.

REUSABLE MENSTRUAL CUPS Some women have stopped their monthly spending on tampons and pads altogether and instead have made a single, reusable purchase: the menstrual cup. This device, inserted into the vagina during menstruation, collects fluid without leaking. They are made out of flexible medical-grade silicone and can be cleaned and used over and over again.

UNISEX CLOTHING T-shirts, hoodies and even some pant styles are virtually the same between men and women. So, why pay more for a slightly more feminine one? Many designers and brands are experimenting with gender neutral and unisex styles, especially for consumers who don’t identify with one gender or another.

NON-PINK CHILDREN’S TOYS Most brands are rethinking gendered toys for children, especially how they market them. For example, promotional photos don’t show only boys playing with building block sets or a plastic power tool sets, but girls, too. Still, in some cases, pink-colored items, especially children’s toys, cost more than other colors, according to a 2016 analysis by Boomerang Commerce.

INVEST LIKE A WOMAN Women’s finances look vastly different from men’s, so why invest women’s money the same way men do? Enter investment platform Ellevest, founded by Sallie Krawcheck, former CEO of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. She realized the male dominated investment industry didn’t offer financial products with women’s unique needs in mind, including gender differences in pay, career breaks and lifespan.

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

YOU’VE BEEN OUTED Parents teach their children not to be afraid of the dark; yet, the dark remains a potentially scary place when it comes to adult personal finances. If you’re in the dark financially, you’re not alone.


Older women may abdicate financial duties willingly, having lived when women needed a husband’s co-signature to get a credit card. Gen-Xers and millennials have made financial and career progress, but often delegate handling the finances due to time constraints. Neither is enough reason to stay in the dark.

According to the Wells Fargo Financial Health Study, 44 percent of Americans said the most challenging topic to discuss was personal finances. That’s more than those who claimed death, religion or politics were the most difficult. Half of women found it challenging to talk with others about personal finances, while 38 percent of men felt the same. If this sounds like you, addressing money’s deep-rooted emotional aspects can help lead you to the financial light, according to Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, owner of Vermont-based KBK Wealth Connection and author and host of the “Breaking Money Silence” book and podcast. She says that attitudes about money are often formed in childhood and influence auto-thoughts and beliefs in relationships. “You break money silence by bringing these thoughts from unconsciousness to consciousness, and then becoming financially literate so you can talk about money.” To illustrate her point, Kingsbury shares the story of working with a divorced woman whose business was modestly profitable. Each time she earned more than $100,000, she would unconsciously spend down her savings account to zero. Kingsbury learned that the woman continued to let her ex handle her finances, because she believed she didn’t have the knowledge. “But after coaching,” Kingsbury recalls, “she realized she was smart enough to take care of her finances and gave herself permission to take a raise.”




Getting to that point can be a problem, even when the reasons for remaining in the dark differ by generation.

Then, keep the knowledge coming. Caroline Hill, a wealth manager at Sage Rutty and Company in Rochester, New York, says

“It’s one thing to say, ‘You write the checks, and I’ll get the baby to daycare,’” says Kathleen “KT” Thomas, president of NewDay Solutions in New Hampshire. Thomas is the author of “The Hardworking Woman’s Guide to Money” and host of the “KTsMoneyMatters Podcast.” “But,” she cautions, “delegation shouldn’t be abdication.” Thomas believes couples should get together for a general accounting session “at least annually, and, ideally, quarterly, to look at income, expenses, cash flow and net worth. Often, one person won’t realize how expensive things have become.” Kingsbury says you need a basic understanding of your finances, even when delegating them. “You don’t need to become nutritionists to be healthy individuals, just as you don’t need to be an expert about money and investing to know the answers to questions needed for financial health.” So where do you start? “Set a predetermined time to talk about money with your partner,” says Chloe McKenzie, Founder and CEO of BlackFem, Inc. and On A Wealth Kick, LLC. “Bring a timer to limit the conversation, if talking about money makes you feel uncomfortable.” McKenzie’s organizations provide wealth education services and education to underserved communities of color and advise institutions on how to narrow the wealth gap for women and girls of color. “Ask, ‘How are bills paid now? How often do we save? What financial goals do we want to talk about monthly? Quarterly? Annually? Can I manage the spreadsheet?’”


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What do you do if death, disability or divorce forces you out of the dark?  For starters, don’t waste time blaming yourself. Move from the past toward the future.  Gather all the financial information you have, enlisting the help of family, if necessary.  If you have a financial advisor, accountant or financial attorney you trust, work with that professional to sort through your finances.  Finally, take steps to build your individual credit identity and vow to stay in the financial light forever.

that an easy way to get more involved is to download bank and investment apps to your smartphone so you can periodically track your balances and performance. “These apps – or statements if you don’t use a smartphone – show where you are spending your money and how your investments are doing,” she says. “These exercises take about 10 minutes and can be done while you sit in a doctor’s waiting room or under a hair dryer at the salon.” Other suggestions from the four wealth experts: Enlist a support group of women who take financial control if you feel uneasy doing it at first. Learn more about finances however you feel most comfortable doing it, whether it’s via a trusted online resource, a knowledgeable friend or family member and, ultimately, a financial advisor. Make sure you both meet with your financial advisors.

IT’S TIME TO TAKE CHARGE Whether you or your partner handle the family finances, it’s crucial to understand what’s going on at all times. “You have to care enough to have the money conversation,” says Thomas. “It takes a lot longer to fix a financial problem than to discuss it before it becomes a problem.” “Learn as much about money as you can,” adds Kingsbury. “Then, give yourself permission to practice and not be perfect about this thing called money.” / Jack Fehr WINTER 2020 • EXHALE Lifestyle



Time to create your own fun with one — or more — of these 10 hobbies in 2020 Developing a hobby is fun. That’s the point, right? But, in our ever-busy lives, having a formal distraction has become an essential tool of self-preservation. It’s how we loosen up, seek out rest and relaxation. So, put aside your e-mail and your mental to-do lists. We’ve created a list of 10 fun, productive hobbies to try in the new year. / Celina Colby


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Urban gardening (think succulents, air plants, etc.) is all the rage right now. Pop by one of your local plant shops to learn more about caring for houseplants — and then buy some. There may even be a class you can take: The Vintage Garden in Boston and McCue Garden Center in Woburn often host all types of plant-based events.


Nothing brings perspective to a busy life like helping others. Running a charity race, spending a few hours with an afternoon school group or donating to a food bank can be easy ways to give back to your community and nourish your soul.


Mix up your Duolingo routine by learning a new language from a native. Sites like italki ( allow you to video chat with native teachers in other countries. Plus, you can fit in classes whenever is best for your schedule.

2020 is the year to get out of your comfort zone. Taking an improv, acting or stand-up class is not only fun, it can improve your confidence, public speaking skills and comfort in social situations. Improv Boston in Cambridge and CSz Boston in Roslindale both offer classes, or you could search online for a meetup near you.

ROCK CLIMBING If you need a little relaxation guidance, try a meditative yoga class at your local gym. Or, use an app like Headspace to practice guided meditation at home. Even a few minutes of clear-minded stillness makes a huge difference.

Don’t let the winter weather keep you from trying a new sport. Rock climbing has exploded across the Northeast. Hone your skills now and by spring you can test out what you’ve learned at a local mountain. There are many, but one local climbing gym with three locations is MetroRock in Everett, Newburyport and Littleton.




Good for the environment and your wallet, upcycling is easier than ever with a never-ending supply of Pinterest and YouTube tutorials. Go big by refinishing that hand-me-down dresser that’s been sitting in the basement for years, or take things slow with easy clothing alterations.


Whether you want to streamline your Instagram, take portraits of your pets or capture natural beauty after a snowfall, photography offers you endless creative possibilities. Experiment with apps and editing on your own, or sign up for a local class. Boston Photography Workshops offers one-day workshops, classes and day trips. New England School of Photography hosts extended sessions from studio lighting to developing in a darkroom.

Circuit theory is the new jewelry making. Take your tinkering to the next level at an electronics-making workshop. If you’re already a pro, a lot of organizations host open DIY electronic nights where you can build while meeting other enthusiasts. In Somerville, Artisans Asylum offers a Hands-on Basic Electronics session class, and Lowell Makes is a great resource.


Men have been doing it for years, but more and more women are finding this hobby interesting. The home-brewing process requires very few materials. You can find a ton of step-by-step guides for free online. Have fun, and experiment with new flavors if you’ve got the hang of it. Or, sign up for a local class or join a home-brew club like the Cape Cod Lager & Ale Makers.

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Local chefs give us their favorite, 15-minute meals

Your challenge, night after night: Make a healthy dinner, fast. It takes true talent to turn a handful of ingredients into a ready-in-mere-minutes, delicious meal. So we asked a few Boston chefs with serious culinary cred for their speedy-meal tips and a favorite recipe.


A rising star since she entered the Boston restaurant scene in 2011, Wright made Zagat Boston’s “30 under 30” 2015 list. Maybe you caught her competing in early 2019 as a Season 16 Top Chef finalist (she placed fifth). As a busy executive chef of Boston Urban Hospitality, she creates locally sourced, seasonally changing menus for Boston-based restaurant Deuxave, which Forbes Travel Guide (2019) rated four stars as a “modern French wonder.” She also handles dbar, a popular Dorchester neighborhood restaurant and night club, and two locations of Boston Chops. When she and her husband welcomed their first child earlier this year, preparing family meals pronto became her new priority. “When you work in a restaurant, you eat at least 50 percent of your meals there,” explains Wright, “so being at home on maternity leave was the first time in about a decade I had to answer the question ‘what are we going to eat,’ three meals a day, week after week.” To make that happen at home: “A lot


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Sesame Salmon Toast of what I put together for a meal that’s delicious is about working with leftovers; cooking extra rice and quinoa so that it’s always ready in the fridge; having pickled veggies and marinated salads that are delicious and fast; making an extra portion of salmon for something else the next night (like the Sesame Salmon Toast, below).”

Recipe: Sesame Salmon Toast 1 slice sourdough bread 4 ounces cooked sesame ginger or teriyaki salmon (or plain cooked salmon drizzled in sesame oil) 24 thin slices English cucumber 1 tbsp. sriracha mayonnaise  1/4 lime  e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

Toast 1 slice of your favorite sourdough bread. Spread with sriracha mayonnaise. Layer cucumber slices (pack as many as possible onto the toast for the fresh crunch). Sprinkle with salt and dress with a squeeze of lime juice. Flake salmon to cover the toast and finish with another squeeze of fresh lime juice.


When you grow up in Boston’s North End with a mom who’s always ready to whip up dinner for five or 25 — depending on who drops by for a visit around dinner time — fixing up a fabulous, fast meal is in your DNA. At least that’s how Carla Pallotta, who we spoke with, and her sister Christine — co-owners and head chefs at Boston’s Nebo Cucina & Enoteca — see it. “At home, I always have great quality dried pasta, fresh garlic, a chunk of Pecorino, capers and kalamata olives, dried lentils, canned cannelloni beans, chickpeas, San Marzano tomatoes, rice and dried porcini mushrooms for risotto,” says Pallotta. “It’s really easy to make a meal with those ingredients; even a mushroom risotto can be ready in only 18 minutes.” One caveat: “dinner” in her family often means a meal at midday. “We like to eat like Europeans, having our big meal earlier in the day,” says Pallotta. “That’s the reason Nebo offers a full dinner menu from 2 p.m. (a lunch menu is also served earlier).” “People don’t visit anymore,” laments Pallotta. “A lot of that has to do with everyone thinking a meal has to be so fancy, but you don’t need to get dressed up to visit friends. Come over in your pajamas — we’ll whip up a nice dish of pasta and enjoy it together!”

Recipe: Amatriciana 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 4 ounces 1/4-inch-sliced pancetta, cut into small cubes 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes 3/4 cup minced onion 1/2 cup halved baby tomatoes 1 28-oz. can whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes, blended for 30 seconds 16 ounces rigatoni pasta 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Ricotta cheese, optional

and cook, stirring occasionally, until 2 minutes before al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water. Add drained pasta to sauce in skillet and toss vigorously with tongs to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and cook until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. (Add a little pasta water if sauce is too dry.) Stir in cheese and transfer pasta to warmed bowls. Top with ricotta cheese, if desired.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté until crisp and golden, about 4 minutes. Add pepper flakes and stir for 10 seconds. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add the pasta


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Chicken Piccata


Chef Josh Elliott expanded his long and impressive resume by heading to Boston in 2018 to work with James Beard Award-winning chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette. Elliott is now Executive Chef at Toro in the South End, inventing and cooking traditional and modern Barcelona-inspired tapas. “For a fast meal, I like pasta, roasted vegetables, marinated vegetable salad, good charcuterie and cheese boards. Just simple and easy,” says Elliott. “Keep your pantry stocked with good quality evoo, kosher salt and a good fleur de sel, high-fat unsalted butter, fresh shallots and garlic, fresh herbs, and lemons for juice and zest.”


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Recipe: Chicken Piccata

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp. Kosher salt Freshly cracked pepper Cherry tomatoes 4 ounces white wine 1 tbsp. capers in brine 1 lemon 4 sprigs of parsley, roughly chopped 1 tbsp. butter Preheat oven to 385 degrees Fahrenheit. Pound the chicken thighs with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin until they are even in thickness. Dust them in flour seasoned with the salt and pepper, shaking off any e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

excess. Cook them in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, two minutes on each side until golden brown. Then, finish in the oven for 6-8 minutes. While that’s cooking, slice all the cherry tomatoes in half. Slice the lemon into wheels. Place a pan on the stove on medium-high heat. Add the wine, capers and a splash of the brine. Add your lemon wheels and tomatoes. Season with black pepper and add parsley. With everything in the pan and the sauce bubbling, add the butter. Bring sauce to warm simmer. Remove from heat and spoon over chicken. Finish with cracked pepper and serve with warm capellini. / Edie Ravenelle


Barrett Wilbert Weed as Janis Sarkisian and the company of “Mean Girls”








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SOCIAL STATUS These two Boston influencers and women get real with life


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@momfriendblog @MomFriendBlog @momfriendblog @momfriendblog


“Mama Mary” Ware still wears her college nickname well, though she’s grown up a bit. Now in her 30s, followers know her as The Mom Friend. Ware has transported her sunny California disposition to Massachusetts’ oft-gray clime, offering moms and moms-to-be helpful tips, inspiration and ideas for life and travel with young children. The best part, Ware’s experiences aren’t scripted and perfect — they’re perfectly relatable. “My goal is to connect with my community in a friendly and genuine manner that is just like having coffee with a mom friend who is an open book about life,” she says. “I want to create helpful content so other moms can find the resources and ideas they need to feel prepared and confident in motherhood. I am not the mom who has it together. I try to be as real as I can be with others so they don’t feel alone in the struggle. We can share what works, and commiserate when everything seems to go wrong.” When Ware got pregnant with her first child she started researching baby gear and tips for life with a newborn. Much of what she learned came from other women’s blogs. For Ware, the experience was inspirational and motivating. She started The Mom Friend, began working with brands she loved, offered “mom hacks” and became a resource for moms trying to make their lives a little easier. “I wanted to create a community to help moms feel connected. As a new mom, I struggled to find mom friends the first year,” she recalls. “I lived across the country from my family, and I didn’t have any close friends with kids nearby. Once I started connecting to other moms and made a few real mom friends, I realized how essential that relationship is to our journey as mothers.” Ware says she would love to build The Mom Friend into a national brand. “Mom life can be full of comparison that often leaves mothers feeling alone and unable to keep up with the competition. It doesn’t — and shouldn’t — have to be that way,” she emphasizes. “If a mom is out there without a village, I want her to know she is welcome in mine. If another excels at some aspect of motherhood, I want her to help others find the answers they need. We need to lift each other up and encourage one another — from one woman to another.”


nyone who is active on social media knows what an influencer is — has seen one (or more), has followed one (or more), and perhaps, aspires to be one. An influencer has an identity and a voice that calls to your personal interests, a passion that you can relate to, whether it be style (petite and preppy), food (paleo-eating), fitness (booty-centric workouts), travel (solo adventure), or being a mom (of six). An influencer is like having your own personal cheerleader. Every time you scroll through Instagram, watch a video on YouTube, visit a blog, there’s something there for you to learn, to boost your spirits, to inspire you. These two Boston influencers are more than just an online presence. They have inspired us — we hope they do you, too.







 “I think there is immense value in being able to train yourself to spot the good or lovely things in life,” says Jackie Hempel, founder of Finding Lovely. “My hope and driving ambition is to bring as much lovely into my sphere of influence as I can. Be it home decor or an encouraging story for readers, the world needs more attention to the good and lovely things in life.”  “WE NEED TO LIFT EACH OTHER UP AND ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER — FROM ONE WOMAN TO ANOTHER,” SAYS MARY WARE, AKA THE MOM FRIEND.

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California native Jackie Hempel blows our mind with her astonishingly positive take on life, especially when you consider she has not had it easy, first with fertility challenges and then when her son was diagnosed in-utero with bilateral fibular hemimelia and later leg amputation surgery at 7 months old. It was these two experiences that initially got Hempel online in 2014. “Blogging came about as a way to document (and keep those who cared in the loop) about infertility and then our son’s journey,” she says. “It was cathartic really, a healing spot and a way to process the hard things we were walking through.” “It was when our second son was born and we were trying to survive colic that I began to understand the importance of home and why your environment matters,” she says. As she realized her new perspective, she made some changes to her output. What came next is Finding Lovely as followers know it today. Hempel’s blog covers home decor, lifestyle, nutrition (Hempel moved to Boston in 2008, so she could complete a clinical internship and masters degree in nutrition from Boston University), travel, motherhood and good vibes. Everything from wreath-making instructions, to seasonal home finds, to easy doughnut recipes, to tales of renovating the 1879 fixer-upper she and her husband bought in Wellesley in 2015. “Finding Lovely, the blog and instagram account as we currently know it, is a way to pivot my focus and name the blessings in my everyday ordinary, in the hard things we all find ourselves walking through,” she explains. “I still blog about our little dude’s amazing story with bilateral prosthetics and my momma heart moments, but the blog has grown to encompass my love for interior design and lifestyle.” Ultimately, Hempel considers herself an “encourager” rather than “influencer.” “Home is something that resonates in all of us, for good or bad, no matter your economic status, your country of origin or where you currently call home,” she says. “Women often seem to be more drawn in some ways to the makings of a home. At the end of the day, home should be a place of safety, a place of hope and a place of lovely that allows you to breath, refresh and love on your dear ones. A place where you can find some lovely.” / Leigh Harrington

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Darlene Love at the Cabot December 6

“CRASHFEST” at the House of Blues February 22

We’ve got your list of ways to spend a few hours having fun The days are short. The holidays are long. And, you need time to cool down after an avalanche of obligations. Have some fun — we’ve found you a winter wonderland of ways — with family, friends or just by your delightful self, this dark and lovely season.

1) SETTLE INTO A DARK THEATER See Tina Fey’s Tony-nominated musical “Mean Girls” at the Boston Opera House, January 28-29, or watch Sally Field and Bill Pullman in Arthur Miller’s classic “All My Sons” broadcast live from London’s Old Vic on January 17 up at Rockport’s Shalin Liu Performance Center. But the biggest catch of the season?


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“Make Believe” at the Museum of Fine Arts Through January 20

“Moby-Dick: A Musical Reckoning,” a world premiere based on Herman Melville’s whale of a tale still holding America in its wake 200 years after the birth of its author and set in New Bedford, Massachusetts. You can thank Rachel Chavkin and the creative team at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge; it runs December 3 through January 12. e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

2) CELEBRATE WITH YOUR FAVORITE DIVAS “Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol” (without Dolly, alas) lights up the Emerson Colonial Theatre December 3-29. Darlene Love — back-up singer extraordinaire-turned-solo artist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer — will “Rock The Holidays” up at The Cabot in Beverly on December 6. Mariah Carey



“Mean Girls” at the Boston Opera Theater January 28-29

sweeps into the Boch Center Wang Theatre with her “All I Want For Christmas Is You” tour on December 13. A day later on December 14, Martina McBride brings “The Joy of Christmas” to the Lowell Auditorium.

3) REVEL IN THE TENORS, TOO “The Ten Tenors” arrive from Australia at The Cabot on December 4, singing classical crossover tunes from Down Under, while from Ireland, the lilting melodies of Brian O’Donovan’s “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn” can be heard all over New England, from Rockport to Providence, December 11-22. Not to be outdone, three tenors from Italy called Il Volo take the stage at the Wang Theatre on February 3, crooning their own savory blend of pop and opera music, which they call “popera.” We’re not making this up.

4) LISTEN TO A TALE WELL-TOLD Sit back and hear real-life tales of sudden love, kooky coincidences, hilarious escapades, and an assortment of mini-epics spanning the human condition and recounted by regular folks onstage. It’s like taking a mini-vacation into other people’s lives. We can’t resist “The Moth” story slams, which draw folks from all over New England. There’s a “Traditions”-themed slam at CitySpace on December 11 and at Oberon in Harvard Square December 17-18. Check out Massmouth, a Boston-based nonprofit that hosts events where people tell stories on stages across the region. The “Who Knew” slam takes place at Trident Booksellers Café on January 14 and a “Labor of Love” happens in time for Valentine’s Day on February 11.


5) INDULGE YOUR SWEET TOOTH Cozy up with a cup of tea at Boston Public Library. Who knew they had, not one, but two, different tea rooms and services? Depending on the day, there might be tea leaves reading, a fashion show, live music from conservatory students or cocktails in the Map Room. Set out for “Pie Town, USA” a.k.a. Rockland, Maine, in search of our favorite dessert. This year’s 16th annual Pies on Parade gala runs over three days, January 24-26, at 20 venues, featuring 45 varieties of pie — sweet and savory, apple to shepherd’s. Proceeds go to the Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry.

Don’t miss the ongoing Harvard Square Chocolate Tour, and this year’s Taste of Chocolate Festival, January 24-26. What better time to indulge in chocolate than winter — when it only melts in your mouth.

6) KICK UP YOUR HEELS Tony Williams’ “Urban Nutcracker,” a modern take on the Tchaikovsky classic packed with tap, hip-hop and flamenco, jazzes up your holidays at the Shubert Theatre, December 19-28. Then, there’s “Dancing with the Stars” at the Wang, January 16-17. But, if you want to get out there on the dance floor yourself, head for “CRASHFEST: A Global Music Celebration” with three stages, 10 bands, and a feast of food trucks selling global street food. All this at the House of Blues on February 22. e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m

7) FIND SOME QUIET TIME Stroll through the Peabody Essex Museum’s 40,000-square-foot expansion with light-filledatrium, 13 new galleries and a 5,000-squarefoot garden. It just opened this fall. Get lost in the world of “Make Believe” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, through January 20. The exhibit focuses on enchanted realms and fantastical scenes for the camera, created by two female artists who draw on folk and fairy tales to address real life issues in Muslim women’s lives, from the fears of adolescence to female identity and agency. Finally, warm up indoors at The Botanical Center in Providence’s Roger Williams Park, where greenhouses host 150 species of plants across 12,000 square feet at the largest public display gardens in New England. Can summer be far away …? / Joyce Kulhawik WINTER 2020 • EXHALE Lifestyle



MacArthur artist Nicole Eisenman questions dominant narratives in a serial exhibition at RISD Museum


f anyone knows how to fully utilize the 24 hours in each day, it is Rhode Island School of Design alum Nicole Eisenman. This MacArthur genius, mother and trailblazing queer artist somehow juggles all these roles on a daily basis. And this year, a taste of her talent is coming to New England for the “Raid the Icebox Now” exhibition series at the RISD Museum. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Raid the Icebox I with Andy Warhol,” the museum is showcasing a rotating series of contemporary artists who have similarly rocked the boat. The exhibitions are meant to question dominant social


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and art historical narratives, and Eisenman does that with impeccable skill. Since debuting on the New York art scene in the 1990s, Eisenman has been fighting against norms. With the AIDS crisis and battles for cultural control reaching a crescendo, Eisenman’s sharp, queer-celebratory work was nothing short of radical. Eisenman’s exhibition, “Tonight we are going out and we are all getting hammered,” which opened Nov. 1, uses works from the museum’s collection to make a nightclub populated with pieces of art history. For example, a line of sculptures making a queue outside the club door, and a series of portraits hung under a disco ball with a dance soundtrack. e x h a l e l i f e st y l e .c o m



“For her, it’s an opportunity to see what happens when you approach a museum collection with a sense of play, a sense of liberating objects from the way we might typically see them or understand them,” says curator Dominic Molon. Eisenman is mostly working in a curatorial capacity, using the RISD collection she studied to execute her vision. The only original piece from Eisenman will be the sign welcoming you to the nightclub. The RISD exhibition isn’t Eisenman’s only recent return to New England. In June 2019 she installed three bronze sculptures in the Fenway neighborhood’s new 401 Park at Landmark Center. The male bathers challenge typical art historical narratives of languid female bodies in reclining poses. Molon says he admires Eisenman not only for her fierce sense of self and sharp social critiques, but for her genuine playfulness and sense of humor. In these times, we can never have too much of that. “She’s taking portraits of people who were wealthy and powerful and placing this American history in a very different context,” says Molon. “It’s been a lot of fun reimagining these works.” Slap on your glitter bell-bottoms and visit the show at the RISD Museum through July 19, 2020. / Celina Colby


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Drop what you’re doing … it’s time to

Exhale A TEAM OF EXPERTS (i.e. OUR STAFF) RECOMMENDS FAVORITE WAYS TO TAKE A BREAK FROM THE DAILY GRIND. TRY ONE! Breathe deep, destress and detoxify in a salt cave.

Write up your bucket list and then do at least one thing on it.

u G2O Spa offers halotherapy sessions.

u Shinola’s linen, hardcover journal can be your monogrammed record.

Put aside your diet and indulge — but make the calorie punch worth it. u Tonkatsu pork parmesan at Orfano does the trick.

Gather friends and play a board game.

u Arnold Arboretum or Blue Hills Reservation are idyllic spots.

Find a piggy bank and sock away $20 per week. u It’s good for guilt-free fun on a rainy day in the future.

Looking for more ideas? We’ve got lots of great content


EXHALE Lifestyle • WINTER 2020

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u Hasbro’s new Ms. Monopoly turns the table on the gender pay gap.

Strap on snowshoes or hiking boots and try forest bathing.

We're the heart and soul of Cambridge real estate.

Gail, Ed and the team just love this great community of ours. If you’re thinking of buying or selling, give them a call. They’ll take good care of you. 617-245-4044 •

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