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FOOD: SMOKE Bourbon & BBQ FASHION: 7 Looks for Valentine's Day


Working Woman of the Month Stephanie Woodham, Yalla PR

Britney MOTON & ST FRANCIS HOSPITAL One Woman's Miracle

Evening of Wishes

Rob & Meg POYDASHEFF Simply Love

Jennifer Robinson

Sarah cover story


Dropping Weight, Gaining Her Life Back




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06 20

24 28 06

One Woman's Miracle


Valentine's Day Gift Guide


7 Different Looks for Valentine's Day

By Bethaney Wallace


Her Health


Simply Love


COVER STORY Dropping Weight, Gaining Her Life Back

Heart Quiz

By Caroline Hearn

By Chelcey Adami 4 • her magazine

By The Samantha Show | Samantha Curtis


Smoke Bourbon & BBQ


February Events

By Sara Douglass

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One Woman's Miracle By BETHANEY WALLACE


n the morning of November 7, Britney Moton woke up with a “crook” in her neck. Not thinking much of it, the 24-year-old headed to work, like she would any other day. That “crook” – or so she'd thought – never quite went away. Instead it moved down her right side causing a growing amount of pain. Though she went to the emergency room to have it checked out, she was sent home with pain medication and the diagnosis of a pulled muscle. What she didn't know at the time, what her mom Sandra didn't know, was that it wasn't the first time that pain – or its cause – had moved. Days of pain later, and after medications weren't working, Britney went back to the ER. It was Sandra's offhand comment about her own experience with a blood clot in her leg earlier that year that led doctors to find the source of Britney’s condition: large blood 6 • her magazine

clots in her lungs. After a CT Scan, Britney was diagnosed as having two massive pulmonary embolisms. Britney's prognosis, however, was far more severe than Sandra’s had been in that Sandra’s clots had remained in her leg and were dissolved there. With a rising pulse of 131, Brittany was rushed to St. Francis Hospital on January 9. "Never in my dreams would I thought they would come back and say, 'You have a blood clot in your lung," she said. "It was very scary. Seeing how they moved so quickly let me know it was something serious." That's when it got fuzzy, Britney said. She remembers getting hot, a lowering pulse, and then waking up in ICU with a breathing tube in her throat, surrounded by her family. During that time, Britney went into a cardiac arrest 3 times. Each instance where her heart stopped beating, the medical staff resuscitated her to bring her

back to life. "That was three times that God brought her back, but that was also three times that God gave man knowledge to do the right procedure," Sandra said. Next, Britney was rushed to emergency surgery where Dr. Jacob Davtyan, a cardiothoracic surgeon, was able to remove the blood clots from her lungs. And ultimately, save her life. "Britney was incredibly sick. She was in shock, without any chance of survival unless operated on,”Davtyan said. "We were able to get to her just in time." In a series of events that seems almost movie-like, Britney said, Dr. Davtyan had recently relocated to work at St. Francis as the Medical Director of the Cardiothoracic surgery program in affiliation with Emory’s Cardiothoracic Surgery program. "It's the only hospital in the region that can perform open heart surgery.” "I was absolutely elated to be able to save Britney’s life,” said Davtyan. “It was

incredibly fortuitous that I started working at St. Francis only two months prior. Britney would have most likely died if we did not have the capability to perform pulmonary embolectomy at St. Francis." As for Britney, she may have a genetic predisposition for blood clots, Dr. Davtyan said her condition is extremely rare in young people. “Women can be at risk for pulmonary embolism because of pregnancy, use of contraceptive drugs, or estrogen replacement therapy,” he said. Other risk factors include recent surgery, prolonged bed rest, cancer, trauma, smoking, obesity, or genetic clotting abnormalities. Luckily, her case was diagnosed early, and she had access to a trained specialist. "I'm thankful for Dr. Davtyan every day. I feel like he was sent down for a reason," Britney said. After waking from the middle-of-thenight surgery, she was able to reunite with her family, even being relayed the entire event. After slowly letting her memories fall back into place, she says she began spending her recovery time bonding with loved ones – not only her mom, dad, and brother, but relatives who'd flown in to see her get well. Also at her bedside, included the family's pastor, and countless health care providers, who she now considers to be good friends. To prevent another pulmonary embolism, a retrievable inferior vena cava filter was placed in her after surgery.

This device traps any clots traveling from the lower part of the body to the upper part of the body. In the future the filter may be removed. Blood thinners are also on her health plan for at least 6 months, before a full medical workup that will help determine a longterm plan. Meanwhile, her future is bright; Dr. Davtyan said she should go on to live a normal life. "It was very emotional but for a very good reason. To know that, 'Wow I survived all of that and it was lifechanging," Britney said. "I'm very thankful to be here today – I have a new way of looking at things. The saying, life is too short, that's true. I was able to get another chance at it. My faith has grown stronger and showed me that you can get through anything, literally." Heart Health for Women St. Francis Cardiothoracic Surgery program recently became affiliated with Emory Clinic’s division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. This is a part of the strategic plan of St. Francis to bring high quality care to the citizens of Columbus and the surrounding community. The hospital approached Emory Clinic based upon its reputation as a world leader in the treatment of heart and lung disease. Dr. Jacob Davtyan, assistant professor of Emory University School of Medicine and an Emory Clinic physician joined the St. Francis Cardiovascular and Thoracic Institute as its medical director. He has more than 25 years of experience as a

cardiovascular surgeon. The St. Francis – Emory Clinic affiliation expands the current heart program at St. Francis and will allow wider access to lifesaving cardiothoracic care for the community. New advance procedures and technologies will be brought to the hospital, including complex heart valve operations. In addition, minimally invasive and video assisted operations will be performed on patients with lung cancer and surgical diseases of the chest. "Emory is a world leader in cardiothoracic services. It's our goal to bring knowledge and technology to the Columbus community and surrounding areas," he said. And this benefits people like Britney, who might have not survived a transfer to a larger hospital. “The onset of a pulmonary embolism can be very sudden. The patient may experience shortness of breath, chest pain, fast heartbeat, fast breathing, irregular heartbeat, weakness and lightheadedness. The sooner the patient goes to the emergency room the better their chance of survival. This disease can be devastating. An informed public is it’s own best advocate.

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Are You Heart Smart? 3

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If you are e common xperiencing any o f the signs of a heart att (chest pa ac k ins, short ne discomfo rt in area s s of breath, so body, etc .), what is f the upper the faste to begin st w life A .Call 9 -1 saving treatment? ay -1 or you r e response m number im ergency B.Get so meone to mediately. drive you emergen to the cy room. Now. C.Drive yo urself to the emerg room. No enc y w. D.Turn yo ur “Bat F ind northern sk y and p er” to the u t ou t a c Batman! all for

1. B. An uncomfortable squeezing pain in the middle of your chest. Most heart attacks start slowly, usually with a slight discomfort, squeezing pain, or fullness in the center of your chest. The pressure can last for minutes and usually comes and goes. If any of these symptoms comes, call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number. Filling out insurance forms should be the least of your worries! 2. B. Bad advice. People ignore heart attack warning signs at their own risk. There are cemeteries full of people who felt one but did nothing. The moment you feel a heart attack warning sign, call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can provide initial treatment much faster than if you drive to an emergency room yourself. Every minute counts during a heart attack – time is muscle. 3. B. False. It’s called a "heart" attack, but the symptoms can affect other parts of the body, namely the arms, back, neck, jaw, and stomach. If you feel an unexplained discomfort in the center of the chest that feels like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, or pain or discomfort in any of these areas of your upper body, you may be having a heart attack. Call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number immediately. 4. E. C and D. Any shortness of breath can signal an oncoming heart attack. No offense to the Grand Canyon or the love of your life, but if you’re suddenly struggling to breathe, you’re better safe than sorry. Call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number right away. 5. C. Food cravings. Cold sweats, nausea, and lightheadedness are all heart attack warning signs, especially for women, who are also prone to experience shortness of breath, as well as back or jaw pain. However, if you experience any of the others, call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number right away. 6. A. This is almost always the fastest way to get treatment. The emergency medical technicians are equipped and trained to begin treatment on arrival. If you drive yourself and have complications along the way, you’ll be in big trouble. And, if you have someone else drive you, you will not benefit from early assessment by EMS providers and will delay the start of treatment. Call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number. Batman needs to stay available in case Gotham City calls. her magazine • 9



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ith the ever increasing prevalence of divorce in our culture, it seems that many are entering into marriage with the knowledge of the escape route that exists if the going gets tough. More access to divorce and people who have gone through it seems to have equated to a comfort in choosing divorce as a viable solution to marital woes, large and small. Sadly, now more than ever, lengthy marriages seem like an anomaly. Even more interesting, perhaps is when you find a couple, deeply in love after many years, who are surrounded day in and day out by divorcing people as a matter of career. When you consider the parallels in Rob Poydasheff and Meg Rushin’s lives, it is almost comical to imagine how they managed to grow up in small town, Columbus, Georgia, without ever meeting. Although Rob is five years Meg’s senior, they both attended Brookstone High School and Trinity Episcopal Church, never crossing eachother's paths. They knew many of the same people, but they would not meet until years later when Rob was stationed in Germany and Meg was studying abroad in Italy. A mutual friend who was studying with Meg arranged a visit with Rob in Germany. Thousands of miles away from their shared hometown of Columbus, in a foreign country, Rob and Meg met and fell in love. Two

months after their initial meeting Rob proposed to Meg with a necklace, and setting the tone for rest of their lives, Meg said, “You need to get down on your knee!” The request, of course, Rob was happy to oblige to. On March 11, 1989, less than six months after meeting in Germany, Rob and Meg became Mr. and Mrs. Poydasheff at their childhood church of Trinity Episcopal. When asked how they were sure they found “the one,” Rob said, “I knew the qualities that I would want in a wife and a mother, and in her, I saw those things. It was as simple as knowing I would rather be with her than anyone else.” The early years of the Poydasheff’s marriage were spent overseas and away from family and friends. It was during this time that they learned how to come together as a team, because they were all each other had. Although those two years were full of challenges, they both recount that time as some of the greatest times they have shared. “There has never been a hierarchy with us. If I’m in the kitchen, he is in the kitchen with me. If he’s doing yard work, I’m out there doing yard work, too,” Meg said. “It’s never been a big deal,” Rob said, “we like each other, we like spending time together.” After 28 years of marriage, three kids and all of the ups and downs that swirls around life, Rob said that the secret to the success of their marriage is really quite simple. “When you love someone, or even like them for that matter, you want to make them happy. You give up sovereignty and pride.” The Poydasheffs created “Present Friday” as a way to celebrate each other with tokens of appreciation. Every Friday,

A stylish event begins long before the guests arrive it begins with masterful planning

they present each other with a gift. Sometimes a nice piece of jewelry is given, but other times something as simple and inexpensive as a flower. The purpose is to remind one another that they are being thought about and loved throughout the week. Being surrounded by divorce and unhappily married people day in and day out, has not wavered the Poydasheffs’ commitment to one another. Rob says in his practice, he sees broken couples who have become hateful and cannot agree on anything. “I have to remind them that at one time you loved each other. Surely you can find a compromise.” “I absolutely believe in divorce, “Meg said when asked her opinion on it. “I better believe in divorce, it’s how he makes a living and supports us, but I never have had to consider it.” Rob echoed his wife’s sentiments, “If there is a problem, you just have to make your point and get over it. You need to compromise and move on. ” Rob and Meg both acknowledge that instead of the exposure to divorce leading to an escape route, to them it is a cautionary warning. “We see what divorce is, and I want to do what I need to do to avoid it,” Rob said. Perhaps when you see a couple as happily married as the Poydasheffs, who always seem to be having fun and enjoying each other’s company, you cannot help but try to uncover the secret of their success. It is the kind of love and respect that if bottled up and sold would be worth millions. The most beautiful part of the love they share is that there is no secret to their success beyond, “If you love someone, you want to make them happy.” Maybe it’s all just that simple.

The beauty of technology. Our advanced Alma Laser vShape technologies utilize focused radio-frequency and ultrasound to produce dramatic and effective results. And best of all, our procedures are non-invasive and pain free.

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The Perfect Plan Wedding Design & Decor • 706-332-8153 • 706-604-2449 1320 Wynnton Road, Suite B • Columbus, GA 31906 her magazine • 11


Valentine's Day Marshmallow Pops By LEANN SIMS

I love to make these sweet treats around Valentine's Day! They look so cute tied to little valentines for the kid’s classmates. I've even used these as favors at birthday parties since they are so easy to make and inexpensive too! Every time I serve them they are always a big hit! You will need: • One Bag of large marshmallows • Popsicle sticks • Baking chocolate • Food coloring (optional) • Sprinkles • M&M's • Small clear treat bags • Ribbon


First, insert the Popsicle sticks into the center of all your marshmallows.

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Next, melt your chocolate. I put mine into a microwave safe bowl and microwaved it a few seconds at a time stirring in between. Follow the specific melting instructions for the kind of chocolate you have. I used both white and milk chocolate. You can add food coloring to the white chocolate after it's melted if you'd like, making it easy to coordinate these with any color scheme you want. Dip your marshmallows in the the melted chocolate about half way and twirl it around to let the extra chocolate drip off.


While the chocolate is still wet add your M&M's and sprinkles and set them in cups to dry making sure they don't touch each other.


After they dry you can wrap them in clear plastic treat bags and secure them with ribbon making them perfect favors for parties or classroom valentines!

“Gentle Dentistry for the entire family” Dr. Cathy Cook has been practicing Dentistry for over 16 years. Previously a U.S. Army Dental Officer, She loves providing comprehensive care to all of her patients. Her reputation has earned her the title, “The Kinder, Gentler Dentist”.


Hours: Mon-Thurs 9am-5 pm Fri 9am-1pm her magazine • 13


, T H G I E W G N I P P O R D




our years ago, Sarah Beasley couldn’t sleep, her feet hurt, she struggled to keep up with her young children, and she cried when she saw herself in the mirror. Now, everything has changed. A journey of sweat and tears has ended in all smiles for the Fort Benning woman after she took control of her own health, dropping 120 pounds over two years and keeping it off for the following two years. A growing problem Growing up, Beasley was never really overweight but also never really healthy, she said. She grew up with a single father, and they often ate out. “As I got older, I started to realize that I was bigger than the other girls,” she said. “I never got made fun of or anything like that, but it was just something I always knew.¨ She met her husband Michael while in high school in 2003, and they married soon after graduating. Michael then joined the U.S. Army. The pair would eat the same food, but Michael never gained 14 • her magazine

any weight as it began to creep up for Sarah. The diet would often include drinking soda all day and eating few vegetables. ¨I was just young and he worked and I didn't so I was just kind of laying around a lot and eating too much and eating really bad food,” Sarah said. Sarah then became pregnant with their first child and gained about 80 pounds during the pregnancy. The weight stayed on, and she continued to gain with the next two pregnancies until she weighed 260 pounds. Her blood pressure went up, and her ankles would painfully swell. Her doctors would make her feel bad about her weight but not offer any guidance on what to do to address it. She was living in Fort Riley, Kansas at the time. It was a cold and snowy place where she had few friends to turn to as Michael was deployed overseas. ¨I´m really a people person, but at that time in my life I was so down and out about myself I didn't want to get out and meet new people,¨ she said. With three young children at home, she still had to deal with all the bills, take out the trash, and care for the kids. Sarah and Michael were able to speak about once a week, but the

line was often bad, making it difficult to communicate. Sarah began to struggle with depression and realized that she needed help. “It was really hard, but it was something I had to do for myself because I didn't feel like I could keep going at the pace that I was,” she said. Ready for change Looking back, Sarah clearly recalls when she had enough. Her husband had just left on another deployment, this time to Kuwait for a year. “I kind of felt alone. (Michael) just loves acting like a kid and playing with the kids and everything, so when he was gone, I had to do that more,” she said. She tried to play with their children at the park but soon struggled to keep up with their energy under all the added weight. “I remember sitting down, and I remember just wanting to run around with them and play with them and not be out of breath,” Sarah said. At the time, their oldest was 6-years-old. One morning, Sarah was getting ready when she saw herself in the mirror and began crying. Her daughter asked what was wrong, but Sarah didn’t want her to know she was crying because of how she looked.

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Instead, she wanted to be healthy for both her children and herself. “That´s what started everything … That was when I really got into working out and changing what I was eating a little bit,” she said. “I started to lose weight because I was so stressed out and working out made me feel better.” From the gym to the living room Beasley started off like many who want to lose weight: she started going to the gym. It was hard though, with three young children at home and her husband away. Instead of enjoying a relaxing workout, it was often more stressful as she dashed between daycare and the gym. Sarah had been going to the gym three days a week for months but hadn't yet changed her diet. Soon sore from all the workouts and stressed from having a baby up all night, she broke down one day and began crying with a friend. ¨I said ‘I can´t go to the gym today. I´ve been going two months and I'm not seeing any weight loss’ … I felt like I was doing so much to try, and that was really discouraging,¨ she said. That day, her friend suggested going to her home to do a home workout instead. Sarah had never tried home workouts before. 16 • her magazine

¨Then that's all we ever did, because it was so much easier,” she said. Sarah later bought her own home workout, starting off with Insanity. She could do the workouts, which didn’t require any equipment, in her bedroom and living room. The workouts soon became her “me time” each morning before her kids woke up. The videos also came with a nutrition guide to help get started on gradually changing her eating habits. At first, she just ate a lot of salads but would often prepare them for herself separately from what was cooked for the kids. Yet once her husband came home from deployment, she realized she wanted to start making nutritious meals for her entire family to enjoy together so Sarah began to learn more about proper nutrition and portion control. Seeing results In the first year, Sarah used her own body weight in the workouts and dropped about 60 pounds. Then she started to add weights and lost the rest of the weight over the next year. Despite the significant amount of weight lost, Michael and Sarah say it was never something that changed much between them. She lost about 50 pounds while her husband was deployed, but with her husband aware of what she was doing, as well seeing pictures she sent him, he didn't notice the drastic change, she explained. ¨He said I was still beautiful,” Sarah said. “I felt like he never really saw me differently. Even as I was changing, I never saw myself differently. It was really when I compared pictures back then that I really saw the difference in the process.¨ While Michael is a man of few words, he showed Sarah a lot of support every step of

the way. He said he´s proud of her accomplishments, describing Sara as outgoing and a good mom. “She´s definitely worked hard at it,” he said. “She´s a wonderful lady.” Now working as a Beachbody coach, Sarah frequently shares photos and videos of Michael and her working out together on Instagram and Facebook, laughing as they hop over each other in one video and smiling wide in others. Her contagious positive energy and enthusiasm for health now has amassed her a wide social media following as well as helped build her own business. “It's just motivation and helping people get their results so it has been really good,” she said excitedly. “I really love helping other people. I love helping other people do the same things and feel better.” Beyond the scale As she lost the weight, she first noticed the painful pressure lessening in her feet, and her skin became clearer. More and more, Sarah began to look healthier with people telling her that she looks younger now than she did when she was actually younger. Those who lose weight into healthy body mass index levels can significantly reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers. As Sarah’s weight dropped, her mood also lifted, and she quit taking medication for depression. She began sleeping more soundly and now keeps a regular schedule ready to go to bed at 9 p.m. and wake up at 6 a.m. for her workouts. ¨It´s totally different now than all the years when I was so overweight,” she said. Her amazing journey also landed her on the cover of People magazine in January last year as well as on Good Morning America to share her story. And she needs her added healthy energy too to keep up with their energetic and playful 9-year-old daughter, 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. If Michael deploys again, Sarah now also feels like she´s physically and mentally ready to take on the challenge. ¨With the things I know now and the ways that I relieve stress and fuel my body and mind right, I can get through it a lot

better without so much depression about what's going on in life,¨ she said. At one point last year, she did gain a few pounds, and it sent her into a minor spiral of sadness. “I remember just lying on the couch for two days,” she said. “At the end of the week, I realized how bad I felt that week. I was just like ‘This isn't me’ and isn't what I was used to.¨ Instead, she now pays more attention to how her clothes fit instead of the number on the scale. She also advises others to avoid obsessing about the big picture in weight loss and instead take it one day, one workout and one meal at a time. ¨No matter if you mess up or whatever, get to bed, wake up, and restart every day,” she said.

To follow Beasley’s health journey, check her out on Instagram @sarah_ beasley_fitness, on Facebook at the “Sarah Beasley Faith Love Fitness” page or email her at

Contact Jessica Kinsey at 706-326-3118

meet dr. christie

6801 river rd, building 4, suite 401

co columbus, georgia 31904 | 706.221.2305

her magazine • 17

valentine's day

gift guide 1


... for her ...

A beautiful pair of stud earrings are a must-have accessory for every girl. And this gorgeous heart stud set in rose gold over sterling silver is a gift any girl would love! You can find them at ($95.00)



You can't go wrong with a beautiful bouquet of roses! This bouquet includes 25 fresh cut, hand tied roses wrapped in tissue, 2 packages of flower food under the lid, a Landeau box and a greeting written on high quality, custom stationery. These can be found at www. ($149.00)


This hardcover fill-in-the-blank book is the perfect gift for the person you love. With unique checklists, short answers and phrases to jog your memory and imagination it prompts you so say what's in your heart. This can be found at ($10.00)



This spa gift set is a wonderful gift for not just your significant other but a mom, best friend, or sister too! It arrives in a beautifully wrapped gift box with a ribbon and your personalized message! This set includes 1 soap of your choice, 1 lip balm of your choice, 1 four oz bath salt in pink grapefruit or lavender, 1 muscle rescue balm tin and one skin rescue balm tin. These can be found at The Little Flower Soap Co on ($29.00)

4 18 • her magazine

... for him ... 5.


This hipster beard oil toiletry bag is perfect for your beard loving guy! It has 4 pockets total perfect for organizing a comb, balm and beard oil. It has tons of room in the middle for larger containers of wax and creams. Choose between three different fabrics. Accessories not included. This can be found at Paper from Heaven shop on ($37.00)



This vintage genuine leather satchel is perfect as a work bag, school bag, briefcase or laptop bag. It's made from beautiful distressed leather and will only get better over time! It features one main compartment, one small phone pocket and one zipped pocket inside. It has a concealed front pocket and back zipped compartment. Found at SkyWoo on Etsy. com ($138.99)



... for kids ...

For the adventure loving traveler in your life this personalized leather luggage tag is the perfect gift! It's made of high quality genuine leather making it durable enough to withstand demanding travel environments. The two-sided printing information card has plenty of room for an address and meaningful message for the love of your life! Found at Rachiba Leather on (starts at $19.99)



This mini crayon roll is perfect for the on-the-go little artist in your life. It has 2 spots that each hold up to 5 regular crayons, fat toddler crayons, or triangle crayons. The entire thing folds up and is held secure with an elastic band. It measures 4.5" long by 4.5" high. So perfect to grab on your way out the door keeping little hands busy at restaurants or while shopping. Check out their full selection of patterns and styles at Paper from Heaven shop on ($8.00)


For the guy that has everything how about something he can use everyday! This personalized leather wallet has 7 card slots, 2 bill pockets, 2 money pockets and and a mini SD card or Sim card slot. The rustic pattern reflects the most natural form of leather with optimum thickness. And the personalization makes it truly a one of a kind gift. It can be found at Barca Leather shop on ($50.00)


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How cute is this personalized wooden airplane?! They are quality crafted and sanded satin smooth with the child's safety in mind. All materials are 100% natural and biodegradable . Check out the full selection of wooden toys at Friendly Toys shop on ($27.00)



These absolutely adorable hand knit dolls are made with natural, high-quality cotton making them safe, soft and super cuddly! Every doll is lovingly handcrafted by women artisans in Peru, Providing them with a sustainable, fair trade income. And better yet, for every one doll you buy, you provide 10 meals for children around the world. Each doll comes with a favorite quote and a goal to provide 1 million meals a year. They come in two sizes: little at 13" tall ($48.00) and regular at 20" tall ($68.00). For the full selection of dolls and sizes check them out at


. These handcrafted custom wooden name puzzles are a perfect gift for toddlers! What a great way to teach your little one their name and learn about colors and letters! When they get older you can glue the letters in place and it would make a great room decoration! The water based finish is fully tested and nontoxic. Check these out at South Bend Wood Works on ($29.95+)

her magazine • 19

Make a Wish Columbus Board Members

Make a Wish Columbus: Bringing Kids' Dreams to Reality


ince 1995, the state of Georgia has been helping sick kids experience their biggest wishes. From going to a theme park, to getting a personalized playhouse, to traveling to watch a prestigious sporting event; dreams of all kinds have been realized, thanks to the help of this growing charity, Make a Wish. In that time, approximately 6,000 wishes have been granted across the state, said Jennifer Robinson, a volunteer with the organization. The Columbus chapter, which helps manage local children, only helps to expand this cause, she said. Along with a board of eight additional business men and women who also volunteer, they work to raise the money that make these wishes possible, and to work out planning stages and logistics. In Columbus alone, there is an average of 25-30 kids waiting to have their wish granted. That is kids who are between the age of 2.5 and 18 at the time of referral, and who have been diagnosed with a "lifethreatening medical condition." Kids can apply to the program, and once the paperwork has been done, they simply wait for everything to fall into place, including a budget. Robinson said the average fulfilled wish comes in at $10,800, as about 70% include travel. While local or 20 • her magazine

seemingly smaller requests might come in at a lower price tag, travel fees can become pricey, she said. In the past few years alone, wishes awarded to Columbus-area kids have included: deep-sea fishing over the great barrier reef, a pink playhouse, visiting the beach, and multiple trips to Disney. "Everyone wants to meet Mickey Mouse," she said. When travel is involved, a child's parents and siblings all get to travel along with them. And while local wishes draw in more volunteer involvement (simply due to proxy) those that are held elsewhere still host a send off event to celebrate the child and their upcoming wish. A few more unique requests have been: traveling to the Monster Truck World Series in Las Vegas, and a little girl named Hadley who wanted to kiss a penguin. She and her family visited an aquarium in Florida, where she was able to snuggle with – and even kiss – a real live penguin. "She was able to spend some muchneeded quality time out of the hospital," Robinson said. Adding that, much of what Make a Wish does is helping to cheer up kids, and their entire families, especially in a time of need. In fact, kids have been found to

accept medical treatments better after receiving a wish. "They're more hopeful. It's pretty amazing that it kind of snowballs to the siblings and the parents," she said. "The child's attitude is rejuvenated." While parents and medical care professionals are focusing on helping get the child healthy, it's Make a Wish who gets to swoop in and make something magical take place. "As wish granters, we live in the moment. It's not our job to notice they're sick, but to look past the wheelchair or the beautiful bald head and ask the most important question, 'What's [their] biggest wish?'" However, receiving a wish doesn't mean anything other than an amazing experience, Robinson said. It's a common misconception that Make a Wish serves only last requests, and while, unfortunately that can be the case, it's not the organization's goal by any account. "It's our hope that these children will recover and live a prosperous life." She added, because cancer – or any sickness – does not discriminate, Make a Wish sets out to serve those of all walks of life. Rather than need or request, Robinson said the organization is there to

“One of my favorite things we do as board members is painting day. We have wish kids come in and paint pictures illustrating their wishes. It is such a neat experience to watch them paint out their memories.” The pictures are framed and sold at the silent auction and are among the most favorite of items. – Crystal Baxley

help all sick children. "It's a pretty great job to have." 7th Annual Evening of Wishes On February 25th, Columbus's Make a Wish Chapter will host its seventh annual silent auction gala at the National Infantry Museum. Here, donors and volunteers alike can bid on donated items – 95% of which were gifted by local businesses – enjoy a plated dinner and cocktail hour, and learn more about what and how Make a Wish is providing to sick kids. Robinson said it's their goal to raise more than last year's event, which brought in $35,000. A number that led to fulfilling at least three wishes in the Columbus area – and of course, a higher goal, and more funds equal more wishes. The silent auction will host items such as trips, furniture, autographed photos, jewelry, and more – all of which were donated to help bring in dollars for the organization. Minimum bids will be

suggested, while patrons can continue to one-up their competition until the auction's close at 10 pm. "You're sure to find something to bid on," she said. The event is also proud to serve its first-ever presenting sponsor, Blue Door boutique. "We are forever grateful for that sponsorship because it jumpstarts the whole event." A number of other local businesses are donating to the cause as well, fulfilling bronze, silver, and gold sponsorship opportunities. While Robinson said additional slots are still available, and freewill donations are accepted year-round. "There's something about going to an event, then turning around and seeing that wish coming true right down the road," she said. "To be able to help really affects an individual in a positive way."

Tickets can be purchased by emailing or by calling Jennifer at 706-662-7919. Tickets are $75 each, or you can reserve a table for 10 at $750. The evening includes a cocktail hour, starting at 5 pm, a plated dinner, as well as a special Make a Wish presentation, and a silent auction lasting from 6 until 10 pm. Donations are also accepted throughout the evening. The 7th annual Evening of Wishes will take place at the National Infantry Museum, located at 1775 Legacy Way in Columbus. If you cannot attend, donations can be given through the contact info above. Make a Wish accepts cash, credit cards, and checks.

Mission statement:

Make a wish grants the wishes of children with life threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope strength and joy.

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7 different looks for

Valentine's Day Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and I know most of us are torn on Valentine’s Day being a “holiday”. To celebrate or not to celebrate? I personally don’t care for Valentine’s Day or like to receive gifts for it. Because I believe we should show our loved ones love all year. Don’t you think?! But that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to a nice dinner, movie, or some other sort of date night. I find those types of things and experiences to be more memorable and rewarding. But what do you wear for a night out on the town? People think Valentine’s Day and think red and pink. And we all have this stigma that red and pink shouldn’t be worn together. Which I think can totally be pulled off if done in the right way.

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But there are so many other color options if red and pink aren’t for you There are even color options on the red and pink spectrum that are totally appropriate for this holiday. Some of the big ones include: Plum. Burgundy. Red. Gold. Silver. Black.

Not only are these colors perfect for a night out with your BAE but they’re also perfect for winter. So you won’t be wasting money on an outfit you’re only going to wear once. All of these pieces are practical and rewearable for other events during the season. her magazine • 25

Worried that black isn’t a V-Day color? Throw on some red or pink lipstick and you’re totally festive. Too chilly? Add black tights with any of these outfits. Too warm? Swap out a short sleeve dress or top. Need a jacket? A leather jacket will complete any of these looks and keep them chic and romantic at the same time. But odds are it will still be chilly in Georgia in February! But don’t worry, summer is right around the corner … Maybe going out isn’t your idea of a good time and that’s totally fine! Opt for leggings or sweatpants and kick it with some Netflix. In fact, I think that’s where you’ll find me this year … Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Gnocci & Brisket

Pimento Cheese Wontons

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he best location in town has reopened for business and you’ll want to grab a table. The latest Mark Jones restaurant just moved into 11th and Broadway bringing a cool, hip vibe and a saucy take on BBQ that Columbus has not yet seen. “This isn’t your Daddy’s BBQ,” said Mark Jones. “If you know my other restaurants, you know I like to put a spin on traditional southern fare, and Smoke is the same. I want to show traditional Columbus BBQ love, but give our community out of the ordinary BBQ flavors.” A foodie’s paradise As I write this, I’m salivating a little. Really all I’m thinking about are the crunchy wontons oozing with homemade pimento cheese, and that sweet jalapeño bacon dipping sauce that is out of this world. Then there’s the Pig Mac - flavorful chopped pork with mac & cheese and thick cut bacon on a bun. Yes, all that comes together on a bun. So you still get a side. Folks, this is a win-win. I suggest the Chipotle Cream Corn if you can handle a little heat or Fried Okra & Banana Peppers. (The later is seasonal and the okra is cut long ways - my new preference!) I sat down at the bar late afternoon with Stephanie Woodham, one of the three partners at Smoke, and we watched the Uptown scene go by through two opened garage doors on the side of the restaurant. “When those doors open up, people just flood the restaurant,” Stephanie tells me.

While the three-month-old restaurant radiates an inviting atmosphere and super cool vibe, it caters to everyone’s tastes. They have your mainstays like ribs and brisket for the traditionalist, but if you get a wild hare, go for the Gnocci & Brisket - savory potato dumplings in a brown butter sauce served with beef brisket or the Springer Mountain Grilled Chicken, which is antibiotic and hormone free. I asked how Mark comes up with his pairings, and Stephanie tells me he has a very detailed palate, and one to stay on top of flavors and trends. “This is one of, if not the hottest spot in Uptown,” said Denise Stickney, a Smoke owner. “I’ve watched restaurants come and go in this spot, but we are here to stay. Just as The Black Cow, we promise our guests superb service and food that leaves you coming back again and again.” A true mixologist Columbus truly has some great BBQ places, but none where you can enjoy top shelf bourbon and craft cocktails. “I came in one day and the whole place smelled like citrus and bacon, and there was a jerky press in the office,” says Woodham. “I was so tickled, Ryan McRea, our mixologist was drying lemons, limes and oranges crafting up new cocktails!” I’m thinking I will have to take off early and make it back for one of their cocktails. Although they tell me the Old Fashion is a really big seller. I’m also thinking I should not have shared my leftovers. Five stars in my book. I’ll be back and I’m bringing friends.

Pig Mac

Honey Whiskey

1047 Broadway, Columbus, GA 31901 Hours: 11-9 Monday thru Thursday, 11-10 Friday and Saturday Pineapple Margarita

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WORKING WOMAN OF THE MONTH What did you want to be when you grew up? I always knew I wanted to break the mold, and be a leading woman in the workforce. I wanted to have a fulfilling career that allowed me to accomplish a work/ life balance, while empowering other women along the way. Tell us how you ended up in this line of work. After earning my Public Relations degree from Auburn University, I ended up following my husband to Tallahassee, FL for his line of work. As luck would have it, the largest hospitality public relations agency in the nation is based in Tallahassee. I gained an enormous amount of experience working under some very talented women who were high energy and excited to teach me everything they knew. The birth of my son called me back home to Columbus, Georgia, where I was amazed at the transition of Uptown. I knew I was not cut out to be a stay at home mom, but I did want flexibility in order to spend time raising my children. I made the decision to start out as a freelancer while my son was in mother’s morning out. I quickly identified a need for what we at Yalla PR like to refer to as “modern public relations” a.k.a social media. This is how I truly ended up in this line of work. As a PR professional, I am naturally drawn to communicating to a mass audience, and it’s with the click of a button that my team and I are able to do that on a daily basis for over 20 clients. What business ventures do you currently have your hand in? Aside from Yalla Public Relations, I am partners along with Mark Jones and Denise Stickney at The Black Cow and Smoke Bourbon and BBQ in Uptown Columbus.


infinite amount of energy and fervor for what I do. From being a wife and mommy to making sure our Yalla PR team is giving each of our unique clients the individual attention they deserve to helping my partners at both restaurants successfully provide a unique dining experience. I truly love what I do on a daily basis, and I think it shows in my work. What's special about Yalla PR? When it comes to marketing, we do it all, from Traditional and Digital Marketing to Event Management and Modern Public Relations - we do it all and we do it in house. No third party at Yalla! Both my partner Katie Bishop and myself have Public Relations degrees. We believe this is what makes Yalla PR special. Social media and digital marketing continue to lead the way in brands telling their stories. We pride ourselves on using our PR backgrounds in the digital world to do just that for our clients. We have taken note of some marketing industry shifts, and have planned our company accordingly. Using social and digital marketing allows us to be more data driven than ever before. We get to prove to our clients that our efforts work, and this is where our company saying comes from: The Proof is in the Pudding! What is your favorite part of the job? Helping clients achieve goals. Building a solid foundation with each client, identifying their goals and providing results. How does Yalla PR give back to the community? Yalla PR assists and manages multiple fundraising events in the Columbus area. We’ve managed the largest fundraiser for Uptown Columbus, Inc. each September for the last nine years, The Uptown Beer & Wine Festival. Yalla PR also started its first company owned event last year, Columbus Ga Restaurant Week that not only helps locally owned restaurants in sales and marketing, but a portion of the proceeds are donated to Georgia Organics.


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Describe a day in your role. Plate spinning all day long. I have a lot going on. I was blessed with an

Tell us something we don't know about you. I am the middle sister of three girls, and I suffer from middle child syndrome.

What is your favorite quote? I have a few that I live by: “Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History”, “Be Fearless In The Pursuit Of What Sets Your Soul On Fire”, “In Raising My Children, I Have Lost My Mind, But Found My Soul” “Everybody is A Genius. But If You Judge A Fish By His Ability To Climb A Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing It Was Stupid”

Anything else you'd like to share? I am extremely fortunate for the mentors that have brought me along the way, the people who see things in me that I sometimes don’t see in myself. There are so many that I have had the pleasure of associating myself with since college. Columbus leaders like Richard Bishop and Mark Jones have played key roles in molding me into the business woman that I am today. There is no way that my career would be possible without my parents, they are my biggest fans - my mom and dad pick my children up from school everyday. My mom makes sure their homework is done, they are fed and taken care of. My husband pulls the load when my career demands 15 hour days and puts up with me! Someone once told me it takes an army and I am fortunate to have a strong one.

More about STEPHANIE WOODHAM AGE: 37 YEARS WITH YALLA PUBLIC RELATIONS: I’ve been growing Yalla Public Relations for over 8 years. HOMETOWN: Fortson, Georgia FAMILY: (Husband/children/pets) Husband - Bubba, Son - Jasper (9) Daughter, Crawford (7), Two Dogs, Camo and Snoopy - Cat, Kitty Perry - Pony, Rocket - Tyrantula, Harry HOBBIES: Running, Body Pump, Yoga, Riding ATV’s, Rafting, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Hiking, Being Outdoors and cheering on my children at whatever it is that they are into at the moment.




Join us for the annual Bride To Be Celebration on February 19 from 5-7pm at the National Infantry Museum! Dozens of local wedding specialists will transform the museum into a wedding wonderland filled with fantastic food, decor, music and more! There will also be plenty of giveaways and prizes for brides to enjoy while exploring the endless options for their big day. Admission is free. For more information visit



The Ledger-Enquirer Home and Garden Show presented is back in Columbus! It’s the annual event for ideas and inspiration from local and regional professionals featuring products and services for the home, garden and recreation. Enjoy tutorials,

demonstrations and DIY tips & trends. Plus activities for the kids and door prizes all day. Tickets are $2 and available at the door. Show hours are: Saturday, February 25th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, February 26th from 10 a.m. to 4 p..m. For more information, or to become a vendor, visit Ledger Enquirer Events on Facebook.




On February 25th, Columbus's Make a Wish Chapter will host its seventh annual silent auction gala at the National Infantry Museum. The evening includes a cocktail hour, starting at 5 pm, a plated dinner, as well as a special Make a Wish presentation, and a silent auction lasting from 6 until 10 pm. Tickets can be purchased by emailing eveningofwishes@yahoo. com or by calling Jennifer at 706-6627919. Tickets are $75 each, or you can reserve a table for 10 at $750.



Come to the Bridal Show for the area’s best vendors, cake and food tasting, door prizes, Scavenger Hunt and carriage rides. Plus one lucky bride will win a $1,000 Grand Prize! Brides must be registered to win. Go to to register. For more information email


Join us for an interactive cooking competition pairing celebrity chefs with local celebrity sous chefs teams. It's like Iron Chef meets Dancing with the Stars! A panel of judges will select the winning team, but audience members will taste all of the cocktails and dishes and vote for the fan favorite. Don't miss this

entertaining evening of fun, food and fabulous auction items benefiting the American Heart Association. Atttire: Casual Chic (i.e. Coat, Tie optional!) To purchase tickets, please visit: http://



Seen by over 2 million people worldwide, relive The Beatles’ meteoric rise from their humble beginnings through the heights of Beatlemania. Enjoy their later studio masterpieces, with live performances of early tracks including “Twist and Shout”, “She Loves You” and “Drive My Car”, as well as global mega-hits “Yesterday”, “Hey Jude”, “Come Together” and, of course, “Let It Be”. Travel back to the magical Sixties when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends! A Valentine's dinner will be available prior to this performance. For more information visit

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ucked away above B.B. King's Blues Club at Wind Creek Montgomery is the region’s best kept secret: Itta Bena restaurant. Serving gourmet cuisine with a side of Beale Street ambience, Itta Bena is changing the way Montgomery thinks about fine southern dining. Throw in an evening in our luxurious new hotel and some exciting action on the casino floor, and you have a perfect Valentine's Day experience. The secret is out! FIND YOUR WINNING MOMENT. Call (866) WIND-360 for reservations.

Receive a complimentary bottle of champagne when you book a hotel room on Valentine ’s Day for $129. Mention code: VALDRINKHR • Offer valid February 14, 2017. Must be 21.

FIND YOUR WINNING MOMENT. 1801 Eddie L. Tullis Rd., Montgomery, AL

© 2016 Wind Creek Hospitality.

February 2017  
February 2017