Puppy Mills Move Online pg.32
The 9 Habits of Poor Sleepers pg.94
A TIMES UNION PUBLICATION
Eat It, pg.59
San Francisco! Adult Living & Bridal special sections pgs. 65 & 73 JUNE 2014
Meet Our Busiest Yelpers
pg.24 by Brianna Snyder
bite-sized lessons Match the ﬂavors, drop the calories With easy and simple ingredient swaps, you can re-create the ﬂavors of your favorite higher-calorie dishes, like cheesy pizza or creamy pasta, in lowercalorie salads. Try this Fresh Express® salad swap recipe for a turkey reuben salad instead of a reuben sandwich without sacriﬁcing taste.
Craving more? Join your Hannaford dietitians for FREE nutrition classes and in-store demos. Go to hannaford.com/dietitians for upcoming FREE events and a monthly schedule.
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Turkey Reuben Salad
Jean is available: Mondays, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Select Fridays, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Select Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
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Marianne Romano, MPA, RD, CDN Colonie Hannaford 96 Wolf Rd. Marianne is available: Tuesdays, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Dressing: 1/2 cup low-fat Thousand Island dressing To make croutons: 1. Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes. 2. Bake 15 minutes on a baking sheet at 300°F. Set aside. To make salad: 1. Toss greens, pickles and sauerkraut with dressing. 2. Portion onto 4 plates. 3. Top with turkey and cheese. Then, top each salad with rye croutons.
Patty Wukitsch, MS, RD, CDN Delmar Hannaford 180 Delaware Ave. Patty is available: Mondays & Fridays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Select Saturdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Simple Swap: Add more nutrition to your plate by choosing dark leafy greens, like Fresh Express® Spinach & Arugula. Reuben Sandwich: 657 Calories Turkey Reuben Salad: 300 Calories Recipe courtesy of Fresh Express
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518Life is published monthly. If you are interested in receiving home delivery of 518Life magazine, please call (518) 454-5768 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For advertising information, please call (518) 454-5358. 518Life is published by Capital Newspapers and Times Union 645 Albany Shaker Rd., Albany, NY 12212 518.454.5694 The entire contents of this magazine are copyright 2014 by Capital Newspapers. No portion may be reproduced in any means without written permission of the publisher. Capital Newspapers is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hearst Corporation.
Photo by Peter Bowden
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Rt. 50, Glenville 399-1703 Rt. 9, Clifton Park 371-0126
Rt. 7, Latham 785-7701 Rt. 20, Westmere 456-7954
Rt. 9, Saratoga 580-1205 Feura Bush Rd., Glenmont 439-8169 Rt. 4, East Greenbush 283-2159 Quaker Rd., Queensbury 792-3638
CONTENTS 518 LIFE MAGAZINE | JUNE 2014
What’s Online Editor’s Note
Up Front 14 16 20 98
In Other Words Trending Where & When FYI with Bruce Roter
Home 36 42
Living Large Outside
Hosta La Vista
Going to the Dark Side
pg. 32 Don’t buy your dog online.
Who’s Yelping Now?
How Much is that Doggy on the Internet?
It’s been 10 years since Yelp was launched! Meet the Capital Region’s most prolific reviewers.
ADULT LIVING SPECIAL SECTION 65 Time to Downsize Is your house too big for you? It might be time for a change.
69 Appy Days Some phone and tablet 69
BRIDAL SPECIAL SECTION 73 We’re Getting Married! New ways to announce your engagement
78 What’s In, What’s Not Fall/winter wedding trends 85 Digital Wedding Planning Apps to help you get organized for the big day
8 518 LIFE
Trends in outdoor living spaces A gorgeous garden of hundreds of hostas Shade perennials, flowering shrubs and annuals
Flora and Fauna You can do more with flowers than just plunk them in a vase
Puppy breeders go online and underground to avoid regulation
apps for the modern adult
Light and Space The Minuccis go for a Tuscan/Miami vibe
To Market, To Market
No Additional Sulfites
It’s All About the Money, Honey
The 9 Habits of Poor Sleepers
We’ve got more farmers markets per capita than San Francisco! Exploring organic wines Perfect your foot strike You’re a spender, he’s a saver — can you make this relationship work? Break these and get a better night’s sleep! On the Cover
Cover design and photograph by Colleen Ingerto
1 2013 140
VOLUME HONDADEALER INTHECAPITAL REGION *
BASED ON 2013 SALES
HONDA PRESIDENT’S AWARD WINNER
AUTOMOTIVE SALES AND SERVICE PROFESSIONALS
FOR SALES AND SERVICE EXCELLENCE
Mohawk Honda is the Capital Region’s #1 Volume
TO PROVIDE THE EXPERIENCE YOU DESERVE
When you walk in our door, we do everything we can to get
It’s not just a guy thing
you in the vehicle that’s just right for you and financing that
Here at Mohawk Honda, cars
fits your budget. And we keep working for you after the sale,
aren’t just “a guy thing.” In fact,
with a 23-bay service department, full collision services and
over a third of our staff members
Honda Dealer because we treat every one of our customers as if they’re the most important person in our world.
more than 140 sales and service professionals. It all adds up to a dealership worthy of
are professional women.
Honda’s prestigious President’s Award for Sales and Service Excellence for 2013.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
But you don’t have to take our word for it... stop in and find out for yourself just what we mean when we say, “We go out of our way to please you!” We look forward
to seeing you.
Nick Bonarrigo General Manager, Mohawk Honda
175 Freemans Bridge Road (at Route 50) in Glenville 518-370-4911 • mohawkhonda.com
ONLINE On the Edge blog.timesunion. com/ontheedge What we’re talking about in the 518.
YouTube youtube.com/ TimesUnionMagazines Watch our video supplements to this issue’s stories!
@518LifeMag The best tweets this side of the Hudson. (Either side, really.)
Like what you see? Flip to pg. 36, then see more pictures of this gorgeous home online.
Fall in love with hostas — as the Daltons did (pg. 47).
facebook.com/ 518Life Pictures and events and videos and more!
Win Holly Becker’s latest book!
Still unsure about your foot strike (pg. 89)? For more tips and tricks, check out our exclusive video online.
See some great flower-decorating ideas on pg. 56, and head to Facebook for details about our contest.
See a slideshow of photos from local weddings! And flip to pg. 73 for stories on bridal trends, apps and more.
10 518 LIFE
Photos: Dream House, Glenn Davenport; Hostas Everywhere, Emily Jahn; Trainer Tip, Carin Lane; Real Weddings, Michael Gallitelli.
Children whose sleep was affected by breathing problems like snoring, mouth breathing or apnea were 40%-100% more likely than normal breathers to develop behavioral problems resembling A.D.H.D. The Journal Pediatrics, Volume 129, Number 4 April 2012
Call or visit us online to request an appointment.
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s someone who has enjoyed a fair amount of time in the San Francisco region marveling at the plethora of fresh food everywhere, I was amazed — shocked, actually — to learn how well the Capital Region fares in the farmers market category. Per capita, we leave San Francisco (and Portland, Oregon) in the compost when comparing the number of farmers markets. This increasing focus on fresh, local eating is a good trend. Generally speaking, the fresher the food, the higher the nutrients — and the healthier it is for us. But the allure of farmers markets goes beyond the food. These homespun affairs that
seem to crop up — much the same way mint freely reseeds — are also about community. Depending on the market, booths can include homemade quilts, jewelry and baskets as well as fresh tomatoes, parsley and garlic. Purveyors encourage people to taste their goods. People chat to strangers as they touch the lettuce and kale, sharing a laugh or perhaps a recipe. We let down our guards in ways we often don’t on the busy street. And that, I think, is one reason we in the Capital Region have SF beat: We appreciate community.
JANET REYNOLDS email@example.com
Three things you’ll learn in this issue: 1. A breeder who sells fewer than 25 dogs or cats on his property does not have to get a license. 2. The 11-county Greater Capital Region has one farmers market per 17,000 people. 3. Forty million American adults suffer from insomnia.
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In Other Words
BY AKUM NORDER
AKUM NORDER Akum Norder is an Albany writer.
o,” said the tour guide, “where’s everybody from?” We were standing outside a historic home in Georgia, waiting to be taken in. One couple was visiting from Boston. Another family, North Carolina. My husband answered for us: “We’re from Albany, New York.” “Oh. Albany,” the guide replied. “I’m from the real New York. Manhattan.” Well. My snarky response generator has a slow CPU so I just stared at her a moment, then turned away. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve heard a comment like that about Albany, and there’s no denying it raises my hackles. Where do New Yorkers get off thinking that their city is the only one that matters, that their lives are inherently more meaningful than lives lived in other places? Come to think of it, why are they the ones we call New Yorkers? Upstaters are New Yorkers, too. Back from vacation and home again up here in fake New York (ahem), I’ve been thinking about what the tour guide said. It occurred to me that it’s not too different from a criticism that city dwellers have lobbed, more than once, at the suburbs: Oh, that’s not a real place. Strip malls and cul-de-sacs where every house looks the same? They could be anywhere. As with most things, there’s more to it than that. Though thoughtless sprawl does exist here, one of the coolest distinctions about the Capital Region is that we are a quilt of unique communities. Rotterdam is different from Delmar is different from Schaghticoke. In Round Lake you’ll wander lanes of lanternhung Victorian cottages; in Waterford, it’s step-gabled houses and a canal-side stroll.
14 518 LIFE
You can spend five years making weekend visits to the towns and villages of the Capital Region and never get bored. Age is our ally here: Most of our places grew up separately, with their own histories and identities, before eventually growing together. It’s a quality that also gives Capital Region communities a head start on one of the most promising trends in suburban development: an emphasis on walkability.
borhoods trusted their neighbors more and had greater community involvement. Why does this matter? Not just for some nebulous sense of civic pride: The study’s authors pointed out that having higher levels of social capital, as sociologists call it, has been linked to better health and increased economic opportunities. Public spaces near our homes — a small commercial district, a playground, a library
We’re from Albany, New York.” “Oh. Albany,” the guide replied. “I’m from the real New York. Manhattan.
The way our neighborhoods are built mat- — offer opportunities to connect with the ters. Do we have to jump in the car every time people around us. Walkability helps turn a we need a loaf of bread? Do we have sidewalks jumble of houses into a community. to bring us to a neighborhood playground? Because many of our towns developed long More and more homeowners are asking before cars came along, old village centers these questions. A 2013 poll by the National already exist. Residents and planners should Association of Realtors found that 60 percent see these as assets, and work to strengthen of respondents favor a neighborhood where them. New development should be encourhomes are within easy walking distance of aged to follow suit. Residents should push for shops and other businesses. mixed-use neighborhoods, or ask if upcomStudies also indicate that neighborhoods ing projects include a pedestrian plan. And, with high “walkscores” — a measurement where necessary, zoning laws should be adof how many shops and services are within justed to make walkability possible. walking distance — have seen an increase in This isn’t an urban-versus-suburban issue; real estate values over the past few years. Albany, Schenectady, and Troy have their own Certainly it’s good for the environment share of neighborhoods that suffer from a when we don’t have to rely on our cars as lack of nearby services and heavily trafficked our lifeline to the outside world. It’s also streets. Creating a locus of community is a good for our neighborhoods. And, at heart, livability issue, one that’s important wherit’s good for us — and I don’t mean just the ever we choose to live — because, ultimately, added exercise. the physical places we call home are just the A University of New Hampshire study in shells. It’s the human connections that fill 2010 found that residents of walkable neigh- them with life. Real life.
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Rick Schrade 1770 Central Ave, Albany 518-389-4060 Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. GEICO Gecko image ÂŠ 1999-2014. ÂŠ 2014 GEICO.
COMPILED BY BRIANNA SNYDER AND JANET REYNOLDS
Hoard Your Limes
BEHIND THE SCENES @518Life We keep track of a lot of Very Important Stuff here at 518 Trending. How else can we provide you with the best factoids each month so you can appear cool and erudite in the cafeteria or at dinner parties? So without further ado, here’s something everyone needs to know: the number of times our design director, Tony Pallone, spills his drink. While most might not notice this kind of thing — after all we all spill sometimes, right? — our trusty designer Emily Jahn quickly began to notice that Tony spills more than the average person … and she started to keep track. Here’s what she’s found so far, minus a few for missed vacation time and, of course, weekends.
Coffee Water Pen cup
7/20 7/21 8/23 8/26
9/12 5/1 10/1
10/18 10/31 3/27 3/20
2/6 2/1 12/19
Because we KNOW you want to know more, we’ll keep tracking Tony’s spills on Twitter. @518LifeMag #tpspill
16 518 LIFE
Want to see something both funny and a little scary? Check out the 1984 Crossgates Mall promo on YouTube. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the time: the dramatic voiceover detailing all of the wonderful things you’ll find at the mall — Filene’s! Ben and Jerry’s! Merry Go Round (“unique fashion for guys and gals”) and “an exclusive Crossgates exit ramp”! And the comments are entertaining, too. User shesnailie dispenses this wisdom: “1980s today are what the 1950s were to the 1980s. 1950s now are what the 1920s were to the 1980s.” Amen, shesnailie. tinyurl.com/crossgates1984
What the Frack?
n Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State However, the Albany Business of the State address in January, Journal reported last month that he promised to rule on fracking some New York farmers are in fain New York state by the Novem- vor of fracking, saying they would ber elections. (A moratorium was benefit financially from the pracput on fracktice. Farming in 2008.) ers in PennThe controsylvania, versial practice the ABJ repumps water ported, have and chemicals been making into the ground, profits from forcing rock leasing their beds to release land out for natural gases. fracking. But a number For more of problems An anti-hydrofracking rally at the pro-fracking and risks have New York State Capitol building information, proved fairly check out serious — flammable water, car- the Joint Landowners Coalition of cinogenic chemicals in the air and New York, Inc., jlcny.org. For more earthquakes, to name a few — and, anti-fracking information, check according to the Times Union, out New Yorkers Against Fracking, about half of New Yorkers oppose nyagainstfracking.org. the practice.
Photos: Margarita, Emilie Baltz/GettyImages; Crossgates, YouTube; Coffee spill, subjug/GettyImages, illustration by Emily Jahn; Fracking, Paul Buckowski /Times Union archives.
Bad weather, disease and drug cartels have gotten in the way of lime exports from Mexico, where the U.S. gets most of its limes. That means you’ve been paying a little more for the lime in your gin and tonics and your margaritas. We say it’s worth it, but hold tight to your limes and supplement with lemon. #drinktips
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TRENDING #518 Get Out of This Place
t’s summertime. That means it’s vacation time. But where will you go? Want to go somewhere but not sure about the best flights? There’s a really great website for that — and it’s not Travelocity. Hopper (hopper.com) lets you plug in where you’re leaving from and where you’re going and it’ll give you, based on data analysis, the best days and times for booking flights at the cheapest prices. Here’s what we found, based on departure flights from Albany International Airport.
$459$1369$1272 Want to go to San Francisco? The cheapest roundtrip flights, according to Hopper, are about $459. The best day to buy that ticket is a Tuesday and the best day to leave is a Wednesday, returning Tuesday.
How about Rome? Cheapest roundtrip flights are $1,369. Best day to buy is Tuesday and the best day to leave is also Tuesday.
Helsinki! Those, at their cheapest, are around $1,272. Buy, again, on Tuesday and leave on a Wednesday.
$1812$1713$1285 Sydney, Australia: $1,812. Buy these ones on a Thursday, and leave on a Wednesday.
Go to Cape Town for $1,713 and buy on a Saturday(!), and leave on a Friday.
Get to Buenos Aires for $1,285, but buy on a Tuesday and leave on Thursday.
THINGS restaurant servers love to hear from their customers: 5 “We recommend that all of our friends ask to be seated in your section.”
4 “I’m going to tell your manager how you always go above and beyond for your customers.”
3 “Although there were problems with the food/drinks/ ambiance/ temperature/ music, we know it wasn’t your fault, and you did an amazing job regardless.”
ith even the slackers among us taking at least 5,000 steps daily and many of us — OK, ladies, you know who you are — stuffing our feet into uncomfortable shoes, our tootsies work quite hard for their money. If only we could walk barefoot more often … Pluggz offers a solution to that issue. According to the company, when we walk barefoot, we absorb some
18 518 LIFE
of the earth’s energy through electrons. This energy, in turn, makes us feel better. Shoes, in contrast, act as a barrier to this energy source. To counterbalance that, each pair of Pluggz shoes has a black plug in the sole that enables the wearer to still get the free flow of electrons from the earth. The result, the company says, can be more balance, more energy, a sense of wellbeing, fewer aches and pains, etc. We
got a pair and we can say this at the very least: They’re damn comfortable They come in a variety of styles, from flip flops for men and women to ballet flats for women. The brand is sold in retail stores, with new ones being added all the time. Currently you can get them locally at Winter Sun Summer Moon in Rhinebeck or online at pluggz.com.
1 “It turns out we don’t need separate checks after all.” — Steve Barnes
Photos: Cities, Wikipedia.com; Shoes, courtesy Pluggz.
2 “Don’t worry, we’ll pick up the mess our toddler made.”
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WHERE & WHEN #518 Eat
COMPILED BY BRIANNA SNYDER
Need a carb fix? Check out Bread and Honey, a new bakery on Madison Avenue in Albany. In addition to wonderful baked goods such as stuffed baguettes (with mozzarella, roasted red peppers and spinach!) muffins and bagels, the bakery features soups and a tofu-based cream cheese (among other creams cheese). Yum yum yum yum. BREAD AND HONEY, 809 Madison Avenue, Albany
If you’ve never seen Steve Martin on the banjo, run to YouTube now — right now! — and find him. He’s really, really, really good. While it might be easy to be annoyed — he’s also a successful playwright and author as well as a clever comedian and accomplished actor — hearing him be amazing at yet another thing only makes him more appealing to us. He’s coming to the Palace this month with the Steep Canyon Rangers and Edie Brickell. STEVE MARTIN & THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS, June 20, 8 p.m., palacealbany.com
One thing we really adore about the Capital Region is the number of gorgeous, bountiful gardens. And happily in the summertime we’ve found lots of opportunities to freely explore these magical places for inspiration. This month you can start with the Schenectady Soroptimist Garden Tour (June 14) and then, on June 26, head over to the Hidden City House and Garden Tour in Albany. Between the two, you’ll see all kinds of plants, ground covers, flowers, water features, arbors and birds. SCHENECTADY SOROPTIMIST GARDEN TOUR, June 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., soroptimistofschenectady.org; June 26, 5-8 p.m. centersquarealbany.com.
20 518 LIFE
Photos: Bread and Honey, Robert Beaudoin; Steve Martin, Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times; Hydrangeas, Colleen Ingerto.
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WHERE & WHEN #518 Eat
and run this
Mmm, strawberries and fitness! Schenectady’s annual Strawberry Fest and Art Show — which includes strawberry-oriented everything and a 5K, live music, pony rides, wine tasting and vendors — happens this year on June 14. Mark your calendars now. STRAWBERRY FEST AND ART SHOW, June 14, Upper Union Street, Schenectady, upperunionbid.org
Do all of this Lark Fest is a perennial Cap Reg favorite and we have to say we can’t even believe it’s back already. Lark Fest has been going for 18 years, featuring tons of artists, activism and action. Eat good food, hear good music, see great art, take up a great cause. It’s an Albany must-do. And then, the next weekend, head over to Troy for the Troy River Fest for more music, more vendors, more food, more fun. (We love festival season.) LARK FEST, June 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., larkstreet.org; TROY RIVER FEST, June 14, downtowntroy.org
out to this
This is your moment, jazz lovers: Grab a blanket and chairs and head to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for this year’s Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival. The two-day event features Earth, Wind and Fire(!), Trombone Shorty, Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and more, so much more.
Weekend-long tickets for Albany Comic Con are $10!
FREIHOFER’S SARATOGA JAZZ FESTIVAL, June 28-29, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, saratogajazzfestival.org.
your geek on here
Did you know Albany has its own Comic Con? Yes! This year’s is on June 15 and features lots of great speakers: Paul Abrams (“The Avengers”), Richard Bonk (“Supergirl”), Richard Clark
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(“Incredible Hulk”), Todd Dezago (“Spider-Man”), Mark Mckenna (“X-Men”) and more, so many more. ALBANY COMIC CON, June 15, The Holiday Inn, Albany, albanycomicbookshow.com
Photos: Times Union archives. Strawberries, Cindy Schultz; Comic Con, Paul Buckowski; Jazz Festival, Cindy Schultz.
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Useful, Funny, Cool Meet our busiest Yelpers BY BRIANNA SNYDER | PHOTOS BY COLLEEN INGERTO
elp is 10 years old. Begun in San Francisco in October 2004, Yelp has evolved into a powerful, international user-review monolith. It drives business to — and away from — restaurants, doctors’ offices, plumbers, gas stations. Love it or hate it, Yelp is the go-to place for recommendations on everything in any city. Maybe you’ve even contributed something to Yelp yourself. To commemorate Yelp’s 10th birthday, we reached out to some of the Capital Region’s top Yelpers. These are review-writers who’ve been contributing for years. They’ve written hundreds of reviews on everything from cemeteries to ethnic groceries to the best (and worst) places to get pho. Talking with these writers about their process was revealing: the Venn diagram of the amateur food writer and the professional reviewer has a bigger and bigger intersection; the best Yelpers write
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poetically about the food they love. They go back to a place several times to make sure they’ve given the business a fair shake. They try to be mindful of their influence on a business’s success. “I have a rule,” says Colleen, from Latham, who’s been reviewing on Yelp for about four years. “I have to try restaurants at least twice before I give them a review to make sure it’s consistent.” Colleen, who asked that for privacy we only use her first name, has written 430 reviews (as of press time) on realtors, restaurants and bars, gyms and fitness centers, veterinarians and pet hospitals, and a few funny ones too: “The Only City Garbage Can On The Eastside” of Troy, for instance, and “Ixodes scapularis — Deer Tick” (“If I could give deer ticks and Lyme Disease zero stars I
would. Columbia, Greene, Dutchess, and Ulster Counties are the worst counties in New York State for Lyme Disease”). Another prolific Yelper, Otis Maxwell, has written over 400 reviews. He began Yelping in 2006, when he was living in San Francisco. He says he didn’t start reviewing in earnest, however, until he moved to Saratoga Springs about five years ago. “When I came here there were fewer reviews and they weren’t written nearly as well as they were in San Francisco,” he says. “They would just say ‘great pizza’ or ‘hard to find parking’ or people were trying to get even with the business by leaving a really nasty review that you could really tell was personally biased.” So Maxwell began contributing and, in the process, met other Yelpers. “I’ve met several good friends just through Yelp,” he says.
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Daniel “Papita” Z.
Colleen “CUJO” M.
Louise “Lil’ Weezy” P.
Full Name: Daniel Zhao
Full Name: Louise Farbstein
Full Name: Colleen M. (prefers not to disclose her full name)
Favorite Review Quote: “This place is a gem! I found a very good selection of Barley tea here, and bought several boxes home. They are so good! I’ll take a picture of the store front after the 10" snow melts :)”
Job: Executive Assistant, Northeastern Retail Lumber Association, Rensselaer
Time Spent Yelping (per week): 7 hours
The Internet enables us all to be critics. We chime in on Facebook and Twitter, on messageboards and comments sections of regional daily newspapers (ahem). These forums empower us to voice our displeasure over a bad experience with a pharmacy, dry cleaner or breakfast place. The past 10 years have seen a cultural shift in the way we discover what’s around us. Zagat and Consumer Reports are out. LivingSocial and Yelp are most people’s guides for everything — it’s virtual word-of-mouth. According to Yelp, more than 53 million reviews have been written on local businesses all over the world. And the site gets 120 million unique visitors a 26 518 LIFE
Favorite Review Quote: “Certain circumstances arose on the evening of May 4th that resulted in me stabbing myself in the face with a screw driver.” Time Spent Yelping (per week): Probably 10-15 hours between reading reviews, researching, writing reviews and participating in the talk forum
month, according to 2013 data. But the relationship between Yelpers and business owners can be fraught. Once a review goes up, little can be done to get it down unless it violates Yelp’s content guidelines, which are sometimes ambiguous. You can’t write a review about your own business, and if you get busted slandering a rival business you’ll probably get your review removed. You can’t violate anyone’s privacy (by posting personal information) and you have to play mostly nice: no bigotry or hate speech or threats or intimidation. (See sidebar on what makes a reviewer an Elite Yelper.)
Favorite Review Quote: “Other reasons to stop in: the afternoon delight menu (the song was written here, cue Anchorman singalong), best bartenders in the city (Bob and Ben), and awesome monthly specials — can I just move in during lobster month??” Time Spent Yelping (per week): About 20 minutes per month. But aside from writing, I use Yelp almost every day to figure out where to eat/shop/get my hair cut/etc.
Still, business owners such as Vic Christopher, an owner of Lucas Confectionary and Wine Bar in Troy, are agitated by Yelp nitpickery. “Our reviews are excellent. The number of customers who come through here because they read good reviews on Yelp is exceptional,” Christopher says. “It’s helped our business, absolutely.” But Lucas has garnered a few lower-star reviews. One customer complained that there was only one bathroom. Christopher reached out to the reviewer and explained the restaurant actually has three bathrooms, not one. “How was I supposed to know that?” the customer responded, and
Who Are the
Yelp Elite? Some Yelpers have little “Elite” symbols next to their names. That means that Yelper has engaged with the community in a significant way — liking people’s reviews, writing prolifically themselves, friending and interacting with other Yelpers, and other signs of devoted Yelp use. “There’s no set criteria [for an Elite Yelper],” says Kayleigh Winslow, PR coordinator at Yelp. “It’s really something where you know it when you see it.”
SO WHO PICKS THE ELITES?
Otis “Mr. Whoever You Think You Are” M. (otism.yelp.com) Full Name: Otis Maxwell Age: that’s for him to know and us not to find out Job: professional writer (not about food) Favorite Review Quote: “I will get my pizza from one of the several places in the vicinity that do not include bile as a condiment.” Time Spent Yelping (per week): Probably 3 hours … too much!
Alison “Call me Ali Instead” V.
Full Name: Josh K. (prefers to stay anonymous)
Full Name: Alison VanDerVolgen Age: 30
Age: (not provided) Job: teacher (college) Favorite Review Quote: “Kimchi Blues” Time Spent Yelping (per week): It usually takes me about an hour to write a Yelp review. I average about one review or update every 1-2 weeks. Josh K. prefers to remain a mystery, so no photo was taken.
declined to revise his review. That kind of misinformation can be frustrating for businesses, whose very livelihoods count on customer satisfaction. That’s why Maxwell says he is very careful about criticizing local venues. “I take very seriously that a bad review hurts the business,” he says. “These are real people who depend on the business for their livelihood. Don’t do it unless it’s true what you’re saying.” Christopher believes if a community values the small businesses that make their towns interesting, then the community has an obligation to support them, regardless of a negative experience. He says he wishes his unhappy customers would address
Job: Strategy Executive Partner Favorite Review Quote: “I chose The Haystack. It advertises itself as a grilled steak with cheese. And that’s what it was. A steak (not sliced or anything) topped with cheese on a bun. It was pretty good, though the steak was a little tough which made it hard to eat in sandwich form.” Time Spent Yelping (per week): Average time is tough. I probably spend about an hour a week if you count looking at reviews and writing them.
him directly, in person, so that he can deal with the problem, rather than reading about it later in a public forum. It’s a fair point, but one that probably can’t stick. Customers have always been fussy. And everyone has a right to express dissatisfaction about a business they paid for service. The democratic process can be brutal, though a good number of the negative reviews tend to be sockpuppet reviews — nefarious characters (read: rival business owners) pretending to be customers. It’s difficult to weed out the real from the fake. (Colleen even says a fake-review red flag is too much negativity.)
Community managers. And you’ll find community managers in 120 cities throughout 26 different countries, according to Kristen Whisenand, PR manager at Yelp. Yelpers nominate each other (or themselves) and the community manager decides who qualifies. Then the Elites get to go to Yelporganized events and parties with giveaways and drinks and food and all kinds of little perks. That’s great for big cities, but smaller Yelp communities — such as the Capital Region — have to appeal to a national “Elite council,” says Winslow, which decides who, in the global community, qualifies as Elite. (And they make that decision once a year.) Josh K., from Albany, has been Yelping since September 2010. He became Elite in 2013. “I would like to think [I was elected Elite] because they (someone at Yelp HQ in San Fran) recognized me as someone who writes passionately about local Capital Region restaurants and can positively represent the smaller Albany market, where we lack a paid community manager,” Josh says in an email. Without a community manager and formal, official events to attend, Yelpers here turn to each other and organize their own events.
61 MILLION The approximate number of average monthly unique visitors who used Yelp via their mobile device.
270,000 The number of directions generated to businesses every day through Yelp’s mobile apps.
215,000 The number of phone calls made to businesses every day through Yelp’s mobile apps.
60% The percentage of searches on Yelp that came from mobile devices across the globe.
rant. I’ve never even been approached by anyone to write a false review, so I guess it’s hard to tell sometimes!” Alison VanDerVolgen, who’s written 759 reviews since joining in 2007, once considered quitting Yelp but thought better of it. “There has been a lot of media about Yelp and similar sites and I’ve questioned continuing to write reviews a couple of times,” she wrote in an email. “However, after traveling and driving across the country and relying so heavily on Yelp, I feel like it is worth my time to keep contributing. If I have a terrible experience (1-2 stars) at a place, I usually try to remedy the situation while I’m there and give them a chance to correct it. Also, I’ve found the people I’ve come in contact with on Yelp to generally be a great group of people. Those people who are taking their time to write reviews are generally passionate about trying new places or having new experiences and want to share those things with others who may not discover these places without that review.”
U.S. Yelp Users By the Numbers “Negative reviews usually come from competitors,” she says. “The red herring for me is [when someone writes] ‘If I could give this place zero stars I would,’ or the people that preface reviews with “I was in NYC for years so I know what good ____ is.’ These are things that set off alarm bells for me. I can kind of spot the fakes from a mile away.” Louise Farbstein, a Yelper with more than 500 reviews under her belt, says she really dislikes strongly negative write-ups. “Other than fake reviews that are obviously from the owner’s friends, the reviews I don’t like are scathing 1-star rants,” she writes in an e-mail. “Rather than give constructive criticism, they ream out the owner for something silly like charging a corkage fee.” She says it’s not always obvious to her which reviews are fake, though. “[S]ometimes three or four five-star reviews in a row that are over-the-top positive and full of superlatives make me wonder if the owner asked friends to review his or her business,” she says. “If the review doesn’t have anything specific to say about what makes the business great, it might be fake. I’ve gotten one or two messages from users in the past accusing me of posting a fake review because I wrote so much praise for a restau-
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57.6% 16.8% COLLEGE
INCOME 32.6% $
Source: comScore. Age and income data via Media Metrix report as of March 2014. Education data via Plan Metrix report as of February 2014.
Conspiracy We asked Kayleigh Winslow, PR coordinator at Yelp, to address the conspiracy theories that circulate the Web and the world about advertising with Yelp, and how that may hurt (or help) a business’s page. The theory goes that if you advertise with Yelp, the company will squash your bad reviews and bump your good ones to the top. Winslow says this isn’t the case. “You can look at any advertiser’s page and see they have negative reviews as well as positive, as much as anyone else,” she says. “If that advertiser had an option to erase all those reviews, why wouldn’t they?”
PRETENDING TO BE SOMEONE YOU’RE NOT Yelp has an automatic algorithm — called “recommendation software” — to detect spammy or fake reviews. That program flags certain suspicious users and reviews. What makes a user or review suspicious? Hyperbolic or superlative language, for one (“the absolute worst restaurant on Earth”), particularly when a comment like that comes from what Yelpers refer to as “orange heads” — reviewers with very few reviews and no profile picture (which leaves them with an orange silhouette). That’s a sign of foul Yelp play. “What you see happening is a business owner decides they don’t want to advertise. They figure why would they when they can just go write their own reviews? So then they go and write those reviews, which Yelp suppresses” because self-reviewing is against the rules (and often pretty transparent). So the business owner concludes that Yelp is punishing him or her for not advertising. The crime isn’t not advertising, Winslow says; it’s pretending to be someone you’re not. The recommendation software also serves to boost the reviews (good or bad) of frequent or Elite Yelpers. Those reviews are presumed most legitimate and useful, Winslow says. “It’s the same as if you walk down the street and you hear some person on the corner yelling, ‘Hey! Go try this restaurant!’ versus your friend, who’s a foodie and loves great food, tells you to go try a restaurant,” she says. “You’ll trust your friend. Not that person on the sidewalk.”
Illustrations by Colleen Ingerto.
Yelp Mobile Metrics
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UPPY P ON THE INTERNET? Puppy breeders go online and underground to avoid regulation
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ally had to put my box spring and mattress on the ground so she wouldn’t hide underneath it.” Lucy, a little brown-and-black Yorkie with a human-like gaze, is a poster dog for the worst of the problem. Puppy mills — and the breeding and sale of dogs — has become a hot issue in many states, prompting many of them to build upon the standards laid out in the federal Animal Welfare Act. Proponents of increased regulation say the current federal standards are not keeping up with what the general public would consider the fair treatment of animals. Meanwhile, in-home and rural breeding operations fail to get licensed, and animals are increasingly sold via the Internet and classified ads, without the pet owner ever seeing the conditions the puppy lived in during those early weeks of life. “What’s coming up to No. 1 over pet stores
is Internet sales because these people can take this pretty little picture with this great little background and say, ‘Look at our puppy … we’ll ship it to you, or we’ll meet you in this parking lot to make it more convenient for you.’ So the customers never see what’s going on,” says Neal, who also owns Healthy Pet Center in Delmar and East Greenbush, pet stores that offer animal adoptions. Although states such as Ohio, Missouri and Pennsylvania have traditionally drawn most of the attention for their puppy mills, more of the large-scale breeding operations are moving into New York, particularly the central and western part of the state. In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will allow municipalities to impose greater regulations on pet dealers, as a way to address the issue of puppy mills. In late April, Albany County Legislator Bryan Clenahan in-
Photo: DamianPalus/GettyImages; illustration by Emily Jahn.
auren Osterhout says her Yorkshire Terrier, Lucy, has come a long way in the year she’s lived with the family in Clifton Park. But Osterhout can still remember Lisa Neal, from the nonprofit rescue Companion Animal Placement Program, showing her pictures of the matted dog, remnants of Lucy’s life as a breeding dam in an Ohio puppy mill. “I met with Lisa and she started telling me the story about puppy mills and how they’re bred, and they’re just livestock. … I knew Lucy was about 3 or 4 years old, so it broke my heart to hear that’s how long she spent her life in a puppy mill. She’d had between four to seven litters in that short period of time,” Osterhout says. “When we did get her, it literally took one year for her to finally start trusting people. ... She wanted to hide a lot. She wanted to hide under our bed, and I liter-
BY JENNIFER GISH
troduced legislation that would create county standards, licensing and inspections for pet breeders and sellers. The proposed law was created in cooperation with the New York State Animal Protection Federation, Mohawk Hudson Humane Society and Albany County Sheriff. Violators of the proposed law, which addresses the level of care given to animals, would face civil penalties that carry a $100 to $500 fine per violation. “The motivation behind the state law was the federal authorities and the state authorities were having a hard time policing puppy mills and pet stores. Based on that sense, I was thinking about what kinds of things we could do in Albany County,” Clenahan says. “Obviously, the condition of the animals who are stuck in these breeding mills, the animals that are being sold in the pet stores … they’re often very unhealthy either genetically or with disease or illness. It creates a heartbreaking situation for people who buy these animals. They get a new pet and they love a new pet, and they find out these animals have an illness.”
In May 2013, the New York State Attorney General’s Office created an Animal Protection Initiative to help ensure compliance with the state Pet Lemon Law. A statement by the attorney general’s office says the initiative also is aimed at “charging those who abuse or ne-
t the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, executive director Brad Shear has seen the problem from every facet. He’s heard from people who’ve paid cash for dogs that later end up getting sick. These pet owners only ever knew the first name of the breeder,
Six inches [of cage space] around the dog, wire cages stacked on top of one another, [kept] outside their entire lifespan, is well within the regulations set forth in the Animal Welfare Act. We know it’s wrong.
— Dr. Joy Lucas, Veterinarian
glect animals and cracking down on the abuses of so-called ‘puppy mills’ in order to protect the welfare of the animals being sold and the consumers.” The office says that unscrupulous sales and animal cruelty will be met with potential civil and criminal penalties.
Lucy and her sister Cora. Photos courtesy Companion Animal Placement Program
the phone number was to a later discarded cell phone and they met him in a parking lot, never seeing the puppy’s parents or its home. They call desperate for options, Shear says. He’s also been on animal welfare calls to inhome breeding operations that are far more common than the public realizes, he says. When the economy slumped, people turned to breeding dogs as a way to make “easy” money. The price for puppies could be set high, but by providing minimal care the costs were low. Those are the operators who never seek out a USDA license, and therefore never see an inspector. According to the New York State Department of Agriculture, if a breeder sells fewer than 25 dogs or cats raised on their premises, they are not required to get a license. “There are a frighteningly large number of people out there who have 20 crates in their garage,” Shear says. In Schoharie County, the owner of a licensed operation kept 20 dogs in his garage — representing at least six or seven breeds, in cages stacked two high that were barely big enough for the dog to turn around in, Shear says. Buyers were always ushered to a tidy room in the home to meet their new pet, never seeing what was going on in the garage. In a case in Poestenkill, between 15 and 20 dogs were living with an unlicensed breeder, and the conditions of the home, with dog feces and urine on the floor, led Child Protective Services to get involved because the breeder also had children living there, Shear says. The only reason the authorities ever learned of the issue was because a neighbor reported her for having too much junk in her yard. The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society ended up removing the animals from the home and putting them up for adoption. Right now, many breeders simply fail to register their operations even if they’re required 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM 33
to by law. The national Animal Welfare Act, which has existed since 1966, outlines minimum standards of care for certain animals, including dogs and cats that are bred for commercial resale. Here, the New York State Department of Agriculture is tasked with enforcing regulations, including annual inspections. But many animal advocates say the standards of providing food, shelter and water still allow for inhumane breeding conditions to exist. And serious abuses have to occur before an operator would ever be shut down. Instead, Shear says, those who fail inspection are given an endless set of chances to correct course. “The Animal Welfare Act — which sounds like an amazing thing — it’s basic at its best. It set minimal survival standards, and this is how they legislate whether or not these puppy mills are abiding by the law,” says Dr. Joy Lucas, veterinarian at Upstate Animal Medical Center in Saratoga Springs. “Six inches [of cage space] around the dog, wire cages stacked on top of one another, [kept] outside their entire lifespan, is well within the regulations set forth in the Animal Welfare Act. We know it’s wrong.” She says breeders use phrases such as “the dog has papers … it’s been vet checked … it’s a licensed breeder,” but those things can be deceptive.
“They’re licensed under that Animal Welfare Act — that is minimal survival standards — fecal matter [falling on] top of the cage from the cage on top of it, bottoms of feet raw from standing on a wire cage corroded from feces,” she says. “The breeding dog will never see the inside of a home. They’re killed when they can no longer breed.” Common issues among pets that come from mills include cleft palates, elongated soft palates, hip dysplasia or a need for nasal surgery. There are sometimes issues with socialization, she says, as the dogs don’t get much human contact. Some puppies are taken from their mothers at an early age, such as six weeks, and lose that critical interaction with their mom and their siblings. Neal, whose organization has been rescuing dogs for 19 years and began Ohio mill rescues more recently, says the dogs CAPP sees — the breeding dogs at the mills — tend to have severe dental issues because overbreeding and poor diet saps calcium away from their bodies. Often, it leads to tooth extractions. She’s seen mammary tumors in mother dogs and dogs that have lived on wire cages for so long they struggle to walk on a regular floor and develop abscesses between their toes. (It took Lucy a year to stop having abscesses on her own paws, Os-
terhout says.) Some of the mill rescues have had to lose eyes because injuries were never cared for or have wounds treated because of having been in fights with other dogs. And while the state’s Lemon Law allows people to get a certificate from a veterinarian declaring the dog unfit for sale and then seek recourse from the person who sold them the pet, people are reluctant to go that route. “The people have already bonded to that animal,” Lucas says. “People love dogs, and they’re not in a million years going to return that dog. It’s going to be [at the pet store] longer or get sent back to the puppy mill. That’s when people get trapped into that situation of ‘Well, they need a home, too.’ They’re rescuing a dog from a pet store.”
ed Bell, owner of Pet Zone in Crossgates Mall along with four other stores (he only sells puppies at four of the five), says the tendency to blame pet stores as part of the problem has made him an unfair target for criticism. His puppies are purchased from breeders throughout the United States via the Hunte Corporation, a Missouri-based broker that acts as a middleman between pet retailers and breeders. Hunte has been under scrutiny for several years, facing accusations that they buy from mills. The Humane Society of the United States recently
Photos: Cindy Schultz/Times Union archives.
Rescued pug puppies arrived in Albany from a puppy-mill in Missouri. The dogs got to stretch and get cleaned up before going to their foster homes in the Capital Region, Vermont and New Hampshire.
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announced a federal appeals court rejected efforts by Hunte and the Missouri Pet Breeders Association to block USDA information on regulated operators, including certain revenues and the number of dogs bought and sold per year, from being released to the public. But Bell says he has faith in the broker and has studied the process. He is quick to produce records for every dog in his store, and says he shows them to every potential customer. The information on each dog in the store can be kept on any would-be customer’s smartphone by scanning a QR code. The records include the name and location of the breeder, the names of the parent dogs for five generations and the veterinary records for each dog. The smartphone application includes pictures of the breeding facility. He says all of the breeders his stores get puppies from are USDA licensed and inspected. He’s visited the Hunte facility where dogs are checked over by veterinarians before they’re shipped, and he’s toured its shipping trucks. When he travels, he has made stops to check in on several of the breeders he’s used. Customers get a one-year warranty on congenital defects as part of the sale, which covers veterinary costs up to the price of the dog. Customers can also pay for an extension of the warranty for two years, he says. He says if veterinary costs are going to exceed the price of the puppy, he’s even offered to take the dog in and have it cared for by his own vet and then return it to the owner when it’s well again. If an animal shows a history of problems, with bad hips or some other hereditary issue, that is logged. If too many problems are traced back to a set of parents, he says the breeder is told to do better or lose a customer. While the puppies are at his store, Bell says he has a veterinarian come in every seven days to check the dogs. Pet stores, including Bell’s
stores, are also inspected by the Department of Agriculture, and a check of Pet Zone’s records for Crossgates showed no failures. Bell says animal welfare regulations have continued to evolve, and recently, the USDA began requiring a socialization schedule for the dogs sold by retailers. He said he already had one in place, where puppies are regularly taken out of their kennels for exercise and play with store employees. Bell says he’s done everything he can to make sure he sells healthy puppies, and he hates being considered part of the problem. He says he’d like to work with Clenahan and Mohawk Hudson Humane Society on regulations that are drafted because he believes he’s selling puppies the responsible way, and he also wants to see bad practices come to an end. “I’m not saying there’s not bad operators; there are,” he says. “I want those bad people out of the business.” And like Neal, Lucas and Shear, he says people need to be educated consumers when it comes to adding a dog to their families. Advocates know enforcing regulation of breeders will be difficult when so many operate under the radar. But they won’t have a business without customers. Advocates suggest no one ever buy a puppy without seeing or knowing something about its parents, where it was raised and who they should come back to if something goes wrong. “It’s the education of the consumer because you know supply and demand,” Neal says. “We can put all these rules and regulations in the law but then it comes to enforcing them, and if the consumer still wants to buy that puppy — we see this happening a lot in Missouri and Ohio — [breeders] just move to another state that doesn’t have these stringent laws. Would we like all the puppy millers to be closed? Absolutely, but it really lies in the education of the consumer.”
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The front entrance evokes the vibe the Minuccis were going for: Old World meets New World.
Light and Space
The Minuccis go for a Tuscan/Miami vibe
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“In decorating for a summer dinner al fresco or an outdoor party, I love fresh flowers,” says interior designer Paula McCormick. “The color palette of the florals complement their gorgeous yard and pieces I chose. I always stock up on oversize colorful as well as solid plain napkins by the dozen, which I layer with a patterned napkin of a smaller scale — the larger one acts as an outdoor placement or just adds something to each place setting.” Just throw the napkins in the washer with the pool towels, “so it’s easy, yet it looks like you took hours planning the setting.”
June is ﬁlled with excitement
BY BRIANNA SNYDER | PHOTOS BY GLENN DAVENPORT
Father’s Day Graduations Barbecues
Sidewalk Sale June 28
hen Lorrie and Sal Minucci bought this beautiful Loudonville home, it was only five years old. “It was very contemporary,” Lorrie Minucci says. “It was almost like Frank Lloyd Wright designed it.” The Minuccis wanted something a little more traditional. They hired Brett Balzer of Balzer + Tuck Architecture in Saratoga Springs to do some work on the home’s layout. “We told him what we wanted, which was like a Florida home with a Tuscan appeal,” Minucci says. “So we would buy the Florida home magazines and we told him what we wanted.” They added a master bedroom, a guest house, a pool and patio and another bedroom (the family has three kids living at home).
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“The Minuccis love to entertain and frequently have out-of-town family on the weekends, so I chose pieces that were outdoor friendly as well as colorful, like their personalities,” says McCormick of PMI Interiors.
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We’ll always have this house, no matter what happens.
Paula McCormick of PMI Interiors in Loudonville designed the patio, which is expansive and leisurely, with a full bar and small kitchen area, a hot tub and cushy poolside chairs. The hot tub is surrounded by hand-cut pieces of limestone. The whole project took two years, Minucci says. The family had to move out for a while, in fact, while the work was being done. Minucci’s favorite room, she says, is the palatial great room, because of the light, which is warm and plentiful. “We’ll always have this house,” Minucci says. “No matter what happens.” See more photos of the Minuccis’ home at 518lifemagazine.com The Minuccis have a fully stocked wine cellar that could make many an oenophile swoon. 40 518 LIFE
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ne of the biggest changes in the home-improvement field since the economy began its slow recovery a few years ago has been the increased attention to outdoor spaces, particularly house-adjacent areas like patios and decks. Approximately 60 percent of American homeowners said they would undertake home improvements in 2013, and two-thirds of the projects were related to outdoor living spaces, according to Ad-ology, a national consumer-research firm based in Ohio. “We really see a trend toward integrating [patios] with the indoors,” says Geff Redick, a landscape architect and owner of Redbud Development in Wilton. “It’s not just about walking out onto the patio. People want to use them almost as an extension of their living room.”
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Trends in outdoor living spaces
Patio designed and built by Redbud Development
BY STEVE BARNES
Local experts involved with landscaping, hardscaping (paved areas, walls, tiled paths, decks) and outdoor cooking say their customers sharply reduced spending on home improvements after the world economic meltdown in 2008. When people began to inquire again about long-term investments in their homes, however, they were noticeably more interested in adding comfortable, useful outdoor spaces for family living. “They want to spend more time at home and are looking for ways to improve that experience,” says Brian Snyder, general manager of Earl B. Feiden Appliance in Latham, which has equipped outdoor cooking areas on budgets from $1,500 to 30 times that or more. “Some of them tell us they’re doing [a patio project] instead of going on a big vacation one year,” Snyder says, “or they want to be
able to entertain friends at home more instead of going out to dinner all the time.” Feiden sells everything from small $150 gas grills on wheels to permanent outdoor kitchen islands with built-in grills, burners, pizza ovens, refrigerators, sinks and more that can cost $25,000 or beyond. “We’ve been talking to people all winter about what they want to do this year on their outdoor spaces,” says Tom Thibeault of Adirondack Appliance in Saratoga Springs. Enumerating projects that incorporate patios with paving stones or stamped concrete, awnings or permanent roofs, granite countertop, grills, burners, refrigeration, sinks and dedicated pot-filling faucets, he says, “We’re seeing people spending equally as much outside as they did on their indoor [kitchen].” Two new product lines that Thibeault is
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Outdoor Living Dos and Don’ts DO: • Use native plants. Exotics require more upkeep and may not survive; there’s usually a reason they don’t grow in our area. • Account for some way to shade your outdoor area. Even die-hard baskers need respite from the sun occasionally. • Consult a professional if you’re unsure about important landscape-design issues, including the oft-neglected biggie, draining.
DON’T: Pictured above are The Pacific Living Pizza Oven (top, $1,100) and the Caliber ThermaShell charcoal grill and smoker ($1,600). To the right, patio designed and built by Redbud Development.
excited about are the Caliber ThermaShell charcoal grill and smoker, which combines the advantages of a ceramic grill like the Big Green Egg with the durability and flexibility of stainless steel; and the Pacific Living Pizza Oven, which can superheat pizza stones to 700 degrees or more and handle three pizzas at once (about $1,600 and $1,100, respectively). Redick, whose company supervises 10 to 15 patio-related projects annually, with budgets from $15,000 to north of $100,000, says that 90 percent of the time the outdoor space is accessible from the home kitchen and becomes an extra cooking, dining and lounge space. “It’s like adding an addition to your house without the full expense,” he says. Almost all of the projects Redbud has worked on include at least one cooking compo-
nent, and many also have a fireplace, firepit or other social focal point. As technology has improved the quality of weatherproof fabrics and other materials, outdoor furniture is becoming more diverse in styles and almost as comfortable as its indoor counterpart. “It’s not just wrought iron or plastic anymore,” Redick says. Among the most critical considerations for a patio is shade, usually in the form of an awning or permanent or retractable roof. “People tend to entertain different groups,” he says. “The kids may want to run around in the yard, but your parents might not want to be in the sun the whole time.” Other factors to consider are the type, style and arrangement of seating; whether dining will be done at a single large table, several smaller tables or more casually, on lounge
chairs and couches with plates on laps; and whether to make the area three-season or even year-round with the addition of retractable or permanent walls with screens and windows. One element Redick doesn’t encourage is a small pond, fountain or manmade stream. “If a client really wants one, we’ll help them create it,” he says. “Water features look great, but they’re a lot of work. We always try to educate our clients about how much effort, maintenance and other considerations go into them.” So skip the waterfall and add a grill and some attractive plants around a casual seating area atop decoratively stamped concrete. “There are a lot of relatively simple things you can do to make your home an even more enjoyable space,” Redick says. “It’s a good investment and a great way to get outdoors.”
• Take on too much at once. Unless money is of little concern and months of an inprogress backyard won’t bother you, do one major improvement a year. • Splurge on something you won’t use. If there aren’t already diehard cooks in the family, a $25,000 patio kitchen will sit largely unused after the novelty wears off. • Lie to yourself about how your family lives. Do you like to host gatherings that justify a fancy outdoor fireplace or sitting area with a TV, or do they just look good in magazines and TV shows?
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Hosta La Vista BY BRIANNA SNYDER | PHOTOS BY EMILY JAHN
eg and Jim Dalton have owned their Middle Grove home for almost 15 years. They started their garden — which specializes in gorgeous, bountiful hostas — in the spring of 2000. Over the past decade and more,
the Daltons have built a garden of dreams, with windy paths, arbors, sitting places, dribbling water features and thousands of plants. (They’ll also be featured in the Saratoga Secret Garden Tour next month on July 13, so if you’re heading there, definitely make a stop in Middle Grove.)
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The Daltons are passionate about hostas and even hybridize their own. They have nearly 2,000 different hostas throughout their garden and have registered 12. Three of their hostas — the Scheherazade, Funny Bones and Morning’s Glory — are currently in the process of being cultured and potentially distributed internationally next year. The hostas the Daltons make have a consistent aesthetic: they like rippled, narrow leaves with white backs.
These white fluffy flowers are Astilbe Snowdrift. Nearby is a hosta called a Tardiflora.
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52 518 LIFE
You’ll find gargoyles and dragons throughout the garden, particularly in one area, the dragon-themed garden, which comprises hostas called the dragon lady and dragon tails.
Tips for growing hostas — and saving them from the evil deer “Deer are an earlyseason problem” for hostas and the garden in general, says Peter Bowden of Hewitt’s Gardening Center. “All of our garden stuff is a lot more attractive to them because the meadows haven’t bloomed yet.”
To make space and light, Jim and Meg have taken out about 150 trees. They’re partial to partial-shade plants. “We’ll try anything that’ll flower in part shade,” Meg says. That includes a lot of ground covers, but also viburnum, dogwood, peonies and boxwood.
Bowden recommends Repels-All and Liquid Fence — two topical deer repellants, usually diluted with water. “They’re just smelly things you spray right on the plants,” he says. The key, again, is to get out there early. Once everything starts blooming in the woods and meadows around you, you’ll have less of a problem. (Not that they’ll go away entirely.) As for the hostas themselves, “They like generally a shadier area,” Bowden says. “The more variegated or white stuff on the leaves, the more sun they can take. The larger or greener the leaves, the more shade it’ll want.” Though Bowden is quick to add that generally hostas are mostly a shade plant, so “avoid putting them in the sun. They can tolerate it, but just a little bit.”
To see more of our photos of the Daltons’ amazing endless hosta garden check out 518LifeMagazine.com.
And the flowers? Some people don’t like flowers on their hostas and clip them off. Bowden says he used to do that too, until he discovered something: “I’ve found that hummingbirds just love [the flowers] so I don’t cut them off anymore.
BY KERRY ANN MENDEZ
Going to the Dark
Shade perennials, flowering shrubs and annuals
Now on to the plants. Let’s start with perennials (all of the perennials mentioned are hardy to at least Zone 4). Hosta can monopolize shade gardens. Granted, they are magnificent, workhorse perennials but let’s give some attention to lesser-known stalwarts. Barrenwort (Epimedium) is a natural pick for dry shade. Pink, white, yellow, orange and bi-color flowers dance atop dark, wiry stems in spring. The elongated green leaves take on a gorgeous burgundy cast in cooler weather. Astilbes are almost as common as Hosta in shade. This isn’t surprising given their colorful plumes, finely cut leaves and distaste to deer. Blooms can be white, burgundy, purple, lavender or various shades of red and pink. Astilbes typically prefer moisture-retentive soil but those in the chinensis group can tolerate drier locations or where woody plants provide a lot of root competition. Amber Moon and Color Flash Lime also break tradition with screaming yellow-lime leaves that glow in shade. Color Flash starts out with green foliage that turns brilliant red, orange and golden in fall. Breathtaking! Other shady, no-fuss perennials include those in the Coral Bell (Heuchera) and Foamy Bells (Heucherella) families. Both have mounds of captivating leaves. Like Hosta, the flowers are usually a second thought. Think of Coral Bells and Foamy Bells as perennial coleus. A few of my favorite Coral Bells are Electra, Berry Smoothie, Citronelle, Marmalade and Hercules. Heucherella standouts are Sweet Tea, Brass Lantern, Solar Eclipse and Thunderbird. 54 518 LIFE
Photo: Courtesy Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.
n the gardening world, shade has received a bum rap. Just because you’re unfamiliar with hundreds of exciting plants that enjoy “the dark side” doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Allow me to shine the light on some dazzling perennials, flowering shrubs and annuals that will brighten your outlook. Before I start, let me clarify that this article focuses on plants that perform in part shade to shade. I’m not talking about cave-like, deep shade, such as under a deck, in a narrow alley between tall buildings, or beneath low-hanging, evergreen branches. These spots are better simply mulched, disguised by lattice structures supporting colorful flowering vines, or ignored. Just because open space exists, doesn’t mean we have to garden it!
Changing the quality of your life! While I could continue to rave about shade-loving perennials, let me conclude with Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum) and Hakone Grass (Hakonechloa). Both have lovely leaf forms that contrast richly with neighboring plants. The sweeping fronds of Japanese Painted Ferns are usually burgundy, silver and a deep green. Hakone grass sports narrow, arching blades that can be gold, green, green and white, or green and gold. Naomi, Fubuki, Beni Kaze and Nicholas turn beautiful shades of pink, burgundy or red in the fall. All of the Hakone grasses are well-behaved, clump forming specimens.
et’s turn our attention to a few flowering shrubs for shade. Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle is an old favorite for shady spots. Drought tolerant, this plant has crisp, white flowers atop 3- to 4-foot stems in the summer. Incrediball is a new, improved Annabelle, with larger flowers and stiffer stems, although I’m not sure it’s as shadetolerant as Annabelle. Japanese Andromeda (Pieris) has lovely white or pink flowers in spring that look a tad like Lily-of-theValley flowers. New foliage is reddish-pink impressive eyecandy. Most cultivars have solid, shiny green leaves but Variegata and Flaming Silver mix it up with white and green variegation. Azaleas can be iffy for upstate New York. Thankfully the Northern Lights series doesn’t know that. Hardy to Zone 4 (some cultivars can even handle Zone 3), Northern Lights azaleas sport tough flower buds that sneer at Old Man Winter’s antics (they can tolerate minus 30 degrees). Of course, it helps to plant these out of the path of direct winds. I’ve grown Northern Hi-Lights for years in my
Ballston Spa gardens and it never failed to impress. Fragrant white and yellow flowers covered the 4’ shrub and then in fall the show continued as the leaves turned a bewitching burgundy-red. All azaleas enjoy some sun, part or dappled shade is fine. Finally, annuals are the flower anchors for shade beds. As a low-maintenance gardener, I insist that any of my annuals require little or no deadheading. It doesn’t matter if they’re in my garden, window boxes, hanging baskets or patio containers. For years, Impatiens (walleriana) was the flower of choice for shade, but downy mildew has devastated this poor species. Great no-fuss alternatives include Browallia, Wishbone Flower (Torenia), Wax Begonias, Begonia benariensis (Proven Winners Surefire Red and Surefire Pink are dazzling in shade or sun), Begonia boliviensis, and Proven Winners Lucia and Laguna Lobelias, brilliant blue Lobelias that don’t melt away in summer heat like other varieties. To boost blooming even more, treat flowers with Plant-Tone, a slow-release organic fertilizer from Espoma. Perennials, flowering shrubs and edibles will also enjoy this healthy snack. Hopefully you are now inspired and delighted to garden on the dark side. If you’re looking for even more help to see your way out of the dark, check out my book Top Ten Lists for Beautiful Shade Gardens, 52 Garden-Transforming Lists for Smart Plant Picks, Design Tips & Garden Shortcuts in Zones 3-7.
Kerry Ann Mendez is a passionate gardener, designer and author of three gardening books. For more info visit pyours.com.
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Flora and Fauna
You can do more with flowers than just plunk them in a vase
BY JANET REYNOLDS | PHOTOS BY LESLIE SHEWRING
Tip for building a medium-sized arrangement (like this one): Start with a focal flower (here, it’s the two-toned dahlia) and build your arrangement around that. Add some greenery for filler and contrast, as well as some secondary flowers of a different color.
56 518 LIFE
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Life is a journey. Wear comfortable shoes. Decorate with Flowers, by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, Chronicle Books, 144 pages, $22.95
hile having flowers in your home is an option all year, summer is when adding fresh flowers to your home décor can be as easy as walking into your backyard or taking a short trip to your favorite farmers market. This is, of course, assuming you know what to do with the flowers once you’ve got them. Sure, you can plunk them into a vase and hope for the best. But with just a bit more thinking — and following some of the very helpful tips from Decorate with Flowers — you can create an arrangement that moves up to the wow level. Decorate with Flowers is by wildly successful Decor8 blogger Holly Becker and photographer Leslie Shewring, who has worked with Becker on the blog and her successful Blogging Your Way e-courses for a few years. While they are both wildly creative and talented — just flip through any of Becker’s previous books or stop by either of their blogs for a nano-second for proof — they are also not professionally trained flower designers. The
point is that you, too, can do this. The book offers information about basic tools you’ll need to make your job easier, suggests strategies for picking the right containers, and offers clear pointers on how to create a variety of arrangements. (Hint: Not every arrangement needs to be in just one vase or even in a vase at all.) The authors also show readers how to pick the right flowers so that they work best in specific color palettes and home design styles. What will work in a beach-themed home, for instance, will not in a modern, contemporary home. As an added bonus the ladies include some simple DIY projects, such as how to create special vases from ordinary glassware such as wine bottles or mason jars. Decorate with Flowers is eye candy for the soul. So grab those scissors and get arranging!
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Not all flowers have to be in a vase. Try creating a wall arrangement using colored tape and a variety of flowers. The next day, Becker and Shewring suggest, clip the flower heads and float them in a bowl to enjoy them longer.
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To Market, We’ve got more farmers markets per capita than San Francisco!
BY STEVE BARNES
Photo by John Carl D’Annibale/Times Union archives.
uring the summer, an estimated 15,000 Capital Region residents shop at farmers markets, from the few dozen who visit a little lunchtime market in downtown Albany on Thursdays to the 6,000 or so who throng the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market on Saturdays. On a regional scale, state records show that the four core Capital Region counties — Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady — are home to at least 30 farmers markets. The 11-county greater Capital Region boasts 67 markets and a population of 1.16 million, or one market per 17,000 people. The ratio gives our region a third more farmers markets per capita than the metro area of Charleston, S.C., twice as many as San Francisco and three times more than Portland, Ore. — places that invariably are included on lists of America’s top 10, 20 or 50 cities for food culture and dining, which Albany never is. The embrace of farmers markets is one example of how our area of upstate New York has an evolving but still conflicted relationship with national trends toward greater awareness of fresh, local and seasonal fare, sustainability and mindful food consumption as a whole. We love our national chain restaurants, which feed thousands of diners nightly on Wolf Road in Colonie and the area around routes 9 and 146 in Clifton Park, among other chain hotspots. But we support an abundance of farmers markets disproportionate to just about any top foodie city in the country. Further, spotting a shift in demographics and demand, quality supermarket chains that had long avoided the Capital Region, including The Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, have arrived or will soon. The boutique shop Primal: Your Local Butcher, formerly The Meat House, now has three area locations, and a trio of independent fishmongers opened
Clifton Park’s Farmers Market on Route 146. Photo by John Carl D’Annibale/Times Union archives 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM 59
WHERE TO GO A selection of area farmers markets:
Spa City Farmers Market | Photo by John Carl D’Annibale/Times Union archives
local stores in 2012. Distilleries, winemakers and craft breweries and hard cideries have opened or expanded. Some artisanal food producers in the area have experienced significant success; R&G Cheesemakers in Cohoes, for example, which sold perhaps 50 pounds of its goat cheese a week when it opened five years ago, is now going through 800 pounds a week, selling for an average of $18 per pound. At the Troy market, which has 80 vendors, or 50 percent more than five years ago, the number of shoppers has doubled in the same period. Vendors report surging interest in unusual items, according to market manager
Monica Kurzejeski. The market allows 60 percent of its vendors to sell agricultural products including fruits, vegetables and meats, and 40 percent to sell non-agricultural, from candles and soap to artisanal pickles and handmade marshmallows. “The diversity growth of the non-ags has been amazing,” says Kurzejeski. “Who’d have thought crackers would be a hit? But they’re huge.”
he proximity of rich agricultural land to our local city centers, where the biggest markets are held, allow some farmers, pro-
Colonie Farmers Market • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays The Crossings, 580 Albany-Shaker Road, Colonie (No winter location) colonie.org/coloniefarmersmarket.htm Delmar Farmers Market • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays Bethlehem Central Middle School, 332 Kenwood Ave., Delmar (No winter location) delmarmarket.org Saratoga Farmers Market • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays • 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays High Rock Park Pavilions, High Rock Avenue, downtown Saratoga Springs (Winter location: Lincoln Baths, South Broadway) saratogafarmersmarket.org Schenectady Greenmarket • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays Jay Street by City Hall, downtown Schenectady (Winter location: Proctors, 432 State St.) schenectadygreenmarket.org Spa City Farmers Market • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays Lawn, Lincoln Baths, South Broadway, Saratoga Springs • 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays Lawn, National Museum of Dance, South Broadway, Saratoga Springs (Winter location: Lincoln Baths) spacityfarmersmarket.com
Colonie Farmers Market at The Crossings | Photo by Cindy Schultz/Times Union archives 60 518 LIFE
Troy Waterfront Farmers Market • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays River Street between Third Street and Monument Square, downtown Troy (Winter location: Troy Atrium) • Twilight Market: 5 to 8 p.m. on the last Friday of each month, during Troy Night Out, in Riverfront Park troymarket.org
Schenectady Greenmarket Photo by Paul Buckowski/Times Union archives
ducers, artisans and craftspeople to sell their food and products at multiple markets each week. Denison Farm in Schaghticoke, for instance, brings its fruit, vegetables and eggs to markets in Troy and Saratoga Springs on Saturday and to another Saratoga market on Sunday. (The long-running Saratoga Farmers Market, open on Saturday in the winter and Wednesday and Saturday in the warmer months, in 2013 was complemented by the new Spa City Farmers Market on Sundays. Both are indoors at the Lincoln Baths during the winter; the Spa City Farmers Market moves to the bathhouse lawn in the summer while the older market moves to the High Rock Park Pavilions.) After more than 20 years of raising meat — starting with beef and expanding into pork, lamb, goat, rabbit and poultry — Mariaville Farm in rural Schenectady County began growing mushrooms, and last year, based on strong interest from customers in unusual fungi, introduced the extraordinary-looking lion’s mane mushroom. The farm sells at stands at both Saratoga markets, the Troy market and the Sche-
nectady Greenmarket. Customers at first were puzzled by but soon embraced the lion’s mane, which grows in globular shapes with droopy spikes instead of gills, according to Bobby Chandler of Mariaville Farm. Wild examples that grow on hardwood trees, including beeches, can become as big as basketballs or larger. Chandler says some people insist lion’s mane mushrooms taste like lobster, and most agree that the texture is very similar to lobster or monkfish. And it’s almost guaranteed not be found at a supermarket. Therein lies the appeal of farmers markets. What they lack in supermarket convenience — you can’t buy lightbulbs, furniture polish and kitty litter in addition to food — is offset by the knowledge that the fare is fresh, local, seasonal and homegrown or homemade. Further, the people responsible for growing or raising it, the person who watched a lamb’s birth, who collected the honey from the hive, who kneaded the dough and baked the bread only hours before its purchase, is right there across the table, eager to share knowledge of their life’s work.
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No Additional Sulfites Lots of wines use organic grapes. Does that go far enough for you?
or me, it’s already too late. During my farmer period I spent the summers driving around the orchard in a disposable jumpsuit on a chemicalstained John Deere tractor pulling a tank full of whatever pesticide or herbicide was called for. If it had been wet, the peaches would get a good coating of whatever would keep out the rot, and then there was Imidan sprayed liberally for whatever pests would get into the grapes or the cherries. So I’m doomed, basically. But it isn’t too late for you. Actually, where wine is concerned I don’t think you have much to worry about, but in general our lifestyles are moving toward the organic and the sustainable in our food supply, and why not? The advantages to supporting organic wines are threefold: (a) certain countries such as Argentina and parts of Spain and Chile are simply conducive — based on weather and climate — to more sustainable agriculture, and these nations need your support; (b) by buying organic wines you put pressure on other producers to compete by moving toward more sustainable pest-control methods, which is good for birds, and we need to really care for our birds and; (c) you will feel virtuous, and self-esteem is the most precious thing we have. Are they as good as the regular stuff? Well, on balance, I would say I have yet to taste a truly great organic wine, but increasingly I am finding extremely good organic wines at reasonable prices. I’d also say that if there is general quality to organic wines that I can notice, it is that they are juicy — a silly word maybe — but they seem to have a freshness, simplicity. I don’t know what accounts for this. They also tend to be high in alcohol, which makes sense, so keep that in mind. A very important distinction to appreciate
Orleans Hill, California Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, (USDA organic wine; $12) These guys are great. They also make a wonderful Cote Zero blend of Rhone grapes. This is one you are most likely to find in your local store. The grapes are sourced from all over the state. They may be biodynamically tended — meaning manure and other plant-based compounds were used to suppress pests. It’s a funny old wine, but I like it. Plum fruit, raspberry, black cherry, green olive, but also a cedar-smoke, wool blanket, pumpkin
62 518 LIFE
is that at least three categories are used on the labels: • made with organic ingredients means at least 70 percent organic grapes were used, with sulfites and other stuff allowed in the process. • made with organic grapes means 95 percent organic grapes were used, and that yeast can be added but not additional sulfites. This distinction can carry an organic certification. • 100 percent organic wine Only this one can have the USDA organic seal. In this case, no pesticides, or non-organic ingredients, and no additional sulfites have been added. This is an important distinction because some of us have sulfite allergies — I’ve been known to have a touch. When I get it, wine gives me a headache and a stuffy nose. It seems to come and go. Anyway, you can’t say “sulfite free” anymore because sulfites are naturally occurring. But in standard winemaking they are added to the wine to stop fermentation, and to preserve the wines’ stability in the bottling phase. To get the USDA Organic label, a wine has to have less than 10-parts-permillion detectable sulfites.
I find the last of the three to be the most interesting and most challenging — I think you can taste it. A wine made this way requires tremendous attention to keeping oxygen limited, and creates wines that do tend to be somewhat muddy and folksy in the glass. They should be drunk young. Don’t buy one and stick it in the cupboard for a rainy day or for your asthmatic aunt. Trust me. It will come apart. So here are few wines, organic, certified organic, or organically minded, and my experiences. Alistair Highet is a former editor, restaurant manager, and vine dresser, and has written about wine for over 20 years.
pie quality. Think of a cabin in the woods, an old sweater, and a cheerful wine served in a coffee mug and you get the idea.
single varietal wine. This, right out of my notes: “strange, gamey, austere, venison, plums, sage, restraint, pine resin.” I mean all that in a good way.
Gilles Louvet, Mon Pre Carre, Marselan, (organic grapes; $13)
Chacewater, Sierra Foothills, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 (organic grapes; $22)
Now here is a true oddity to be savored! Marselan is a grape that was created in 1961 as a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. It didn’t catch on much but was grown in the Rhone as a blending grape. Among its qualities is resistance to mites and to rot. And so this is a rare
The pick of the bunch. This is about as enjoyable as a California cab gets for me. None of that cloying, vanilla oakiness, but instead pure black cherry and raspberry fruit, tart and balanced, hints of anisette, cut hay, minerals. A fabulously balanced bright wine with class.
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Time to Downsize
Is your house too big for you? It might be time for a change.
Age in Place or Make a Move?
BY BRIANNA SNYDER
Illustration: Robert Daly/GettyImages.
our kids are grown. You’re fairly fed up with lawncare and around-the-house maintenance. You’ve got more rooms in your house than you know what to do with. Maybe it’s time to downsize. “When you have more rooms than you’re using, when you have more work either inside the house or outside than you want to do or can do, and generally when you may want to have a simple life,” it’s time to think about moving, says Alex Monticello, owner and principal broker of Monticello, Licensed Real Estate Broker in Albany. “I hear about people downsizing when they start planning for their future. They start thinking about a one-story home.” It’s hard to think about leaving your home of 20 or 30 years. Sandra Alinger, who moved with her newly-retired husband to a townhouse in Delmar from a bigger house in Denver, Colo., says she couldn’t be happier with their decision to buy this smaller place. The maintenance is taken care of by the complex owners, plus they get to be close to their grandchildren as well as to the library and other downtown attractions. “The goal was to downsize and get out of doing so much maintenance,” Alinger says. “When we moved to Delmar, we wanted to retire somewhere in a walking community. I don’t think we expected to live in an area quite this small, but that’s what happened. We were looking for walkability and low maintenance and good construction.” Julia Rosen, associate broker at Prudential Manor Homes, says downsizing is “all about community.”
“Community is really an important factor,” she says. “Can you get what you want near where you are now? [People who are downsizing] are looking for buslines and walkability and that creates a lot of issues because how do you find a place that has all that and not have to worry about exterior maintenance, such as lawn and snow care?” That’s why Rosen likes townhouses and condos, particularly in 55-plus communities where people of the same age can be near one another and keep their community strong. This is also key for those who spend half the year down south. With a house, you need to worry about keeping the house kept up while you’re away. In a condo or townhome community, that’s less of a hassle. “The big bonus about downsizing,” Rosen adds, “is when you’ve been in your house for 20 to 40 years and you get to clean it out. Your kids come and get their stuff — or at least you ask them to. And you distribute family heirlooms and things to pass through the generations. You make donations to Habitat for Humanity and those kinds of places.” The purge can be cleansing in many ways. Rosen recommends moving from a multistory house to a one-story. You might need to do that anyway, if you have problems with arthritis and joint pain. If you don’t, it’s not a bad idea to anticipate some of those problems in the future and move to a one-story home now. “Do it while you’re young,” Rosen says. “You don’t want to move when you’re old.”
Ed Malone of ElderCare Resources of the Capital Region, recommends considering all these factors in the new place you’re moving to. • Exterior — is there maintenance? If so, is it a lot or too much? • Overall Floor Plan — is it accessible for wheelchairs? Will it be difficult to get around? • Hallways — Too narrow or long? • Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning — You’ll need and want both, of course. • Appliances — Are they working? Up to date? • Bathroom — Wheelcharaccessible, if necessary? • Electrical, Lighting, Safety & Security • Storage • Ramps • Stairways — Will they be a hindrance to the accessibility of the home? • Is your new place on a bus line? • Are there social activities in the area? • Is it a safe neighborhood? • Should you hire a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist who understands senior moves? 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM 65
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Camphill Ghent elders in community
Camphill Ghent opened its doors in January 2012 on a beautiful 112-acre tract on the border of Chatham and Ghent. Tucked respectfully into the landscape are bright and airy independent living townhouses and apartments, as well as a fully-licensed adult care facility. All buildings are sited to take advantage of the magnificent views of the rolling countryside. And we are centrally located, close to the area’s many cultural attractions, shops and restaurants. A rich and varied experience Camphill Ghent is unlike any other adult residence. Our primary goal is to
Our bright and airy residences are tucked respectfully into the landscape.
preserve and build on our residents’ independence and joy of living. Camphill Ghent is a vibrant community, where people from different walks of life come together to share their interests, cares, kindness, happiness, and – as one resident put it – “the many acts of love that happen every day”.
Our Culinary Institute trained chef prepares delicious meals using locally sourced food. reserved for low-income elders eligible for Medicaid. The Adult Home is staffed 24/7 by home health aides and other support personnel. The cornerstones of Independent living our Assisted Living offering are quality Independent living accommodations care, an exceptional staff to resident at Camphill Ghent include 10 two- and ratio and a rich array of social programs, three-bedroom townhouses, and 23 all grounded in the spirit of a genuine co-housing apartments – studios, onecommunity of like-minded adults. and two-bedroom units, all on one level, Living in community with common areas for social activities. Everyone has gifts that come alive Assisted living when shared with others. Day-to-day For those needing care and support, life at Camphill Ghent offers many including help with the activities of daily such opportunities: community living, personalized support services and gatherings, performances, seasonal healthcare, our licensed Adult Home festivals, plays, concerts, lectures, art offers 29 private rooms, of which 18 are exhibits and many other activities.
Mealtime at Camphill Ghent is a delicious experience, thanks to our Culinary Institute trained chef. He creates freshly prepared meals featuring locally sourced food, served family style in our beautiful dining rooms. Throughout Camphill Ghent are thoughtfully designed public areas, including a café and community room, where residents may entertain family and friends. Please come for a visit! To experience Camphill Ghent’s unique, community-based approach to independent and assisted living, we invite you to pay us a visit. To schedule a tour, or for more information, please call 518-392-2760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Some phone and tablet apps for the modern adult BY BRIANNA SNYDER
hese days, you can pretty much find an app for anything — Game for Cats, for instance, is exactly what it sounds like. But not everyone wants to get to level 130 on Candy Crush or figure out how to run with bulls. Some people — yes, you likely fall on the older side of 21— actually want apps that can help make life a little easier. So we went looking for the best apps to help improve common, practical everyday things. Read on to discover the highest-rated apps for everything from eating and living well to staying organized and staying connected with family. They’re all easy to use and relatively cheap, if not free.
Heartwise 99 cents, iOS
Blood Pressure Tracker
Opening illustration: crossroadscreative/GettyImages.
Let’s face it. No matter what your age, keeping tabs on your blood pressure and resting heart rate is a smart health move. It’s not a bad idea to monitor your weight, either. If you’re gaining and losing significantly, it could be a sign something’s wrong. So that’s why we like these two apps for blood-pressure and weight tracking. Both apps let you enter your stats as you check them and calculates things like arterial pressure and body mass index. Then you can export a report in a spreadsheet or just as a document for your doctor or anyone else who might want that information.
Red Panic Button $2.99, iOS; free, Android
Worried about your aging mother who insists on living alone in the house you grew up in with 15 treacherous stairs? Or maybe you’re living on your own and fear falling down and not being discovered until your neighbor wonders why your grass is so high. Peace of mind is just an app away with the Red Panic Button app. In trouble? Hit the panic button, which you set with a phone number (a neighbor, friend, sibling, doctor), and it sends a text message with your GPS coordinates so someone can find you. You can also send panic email in this same way or set it up so your distress call gets to Facebook or Twitter.
ONLINE RESOURCE DIRECTORY
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Developing and Managing affordable housing for the Senior Citizens in our Community since 1995... Please feel free to make an appointment to visit one of our conveniently located Senior Communities. www.ahfinc.net
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Adult Living Epicurious
free, iOS and Android
$1.99, iOS; free, Android
This is a low-key app for people wanting to track their wellness and health but without the need for the obsessive details some apps provide. Create a plan that’s right for you — 30 minutes of exercise a day, eight glasses of water a day — and invite friends to make goals with you. This isn’t just about staying trim. It’s about staying emotionally and spiritually healthy. The app promises “deeper friendships, more happiness and physical vitality.” Serenity now.
The Web is so cluttered with recipe sites, blogs and apps, that it’s hard to know where to start. If you want just one food app to help inspire your cooking life, though, you can’t go wrong with Epicurious. With this app, you can try new recipes, catalog your favorites, reach out to other users and friends, make shopping lists, find cookware and anything else you need to make a great meal. You also don’t even need to touch the screen — the newest version of the app includes voice commands. Super handy without having to use your hands.
99 cents, iOS
free, iOS and Android
free, iOS and Android
One of the definite upsides of aging is the discounts. With the AARP app, you can see what discounts you qualify for nearby and who to get them, stay informed on news relevant to your life and stay in touch with friends. You can also stream music, share content on Facebook and Twitter, check your horoscope and have fun!
Having a tough time keeping track of whether and when you took your vitamins? Bloodpressure medicine? Birth control? Both these apps can help you schedule your medication throughout the days and weeks, thanks to little alarms set as reminders (like your alarm clock, there’s a snooze option too, in case stopping what you’re doing to take a pill that moment doesn’t work). Pillboxie doesn’t need a network connection so it’s pretty low-maintenance.
Magnifying Glass with Light
While we all fear death, we also — no matter what our age — fear the other big D: dementia and its sidekick Alzheimer’s. Every time we can’t find our keys we wonder if this is just the beginning of the very slippery slope downward. But since we’ve started using Lumosity, we’ve relaxed a bit. A gaming and memory-training app developed by neuroscientists, Lumosity was invented to help us keep our heads straight. Challenge and strengthen your brain — and have fun while you’re doing it. (Plus, it’s free, so why not?)
Your Magnifier free, Android
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. For those moments when the restaurant’s a little too dark and the menu type a little too small or when you’re squinting at something in the kitchen, not sure exactly if that’s a D or an O, these two apps help you easily decipher muddy, tiny words.
Playing games with your grandkids can help make you the cool grandparent.
For Grandparents and Grandkids Doodle Kids
free, iOS and Android
Using your finger, draw shapes and figures with gorgeous colors. The finished product is really, really neat and boosts creativity in young kids. The app was made, in fact, by an 8-year-old named Lim Ding Wen. Whoa.
This adorable app lets grandparents and grandkids send and receive e-gifts and messages. There’s a wide cast of animated characters, too. Super adorable.
Think of UsTyme as like a kind of Skype but for kids and grownups. The video-calling app lets you and another user play games together, read books and do other activities. This is for all of you with kids in your life who live too far away.
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New ways to announce your engagement
BY KRISTI BARLETTE
e (or she) put a ring on it and now you want to tell everyone — including your ex-boyfriend’s sister’s BFF. Yeah, you’re that kind of excited. Sure, you could post a picture of your left hand to Instagram (no caption necessary) or … you could get creative. A crafty approach to sharing your good news is what more and more brides-to-be (and even some grooms) are doing, say experts. In fact, there’s almost a bit of pressure to be splashy, but not flashy,
when announcing you’re getting hitched. “Because of social media everything is elevated,” says Katie O’Malley, owner of Katie O’ Weddings & Events in Troy. “Engagements, gender reveals, people expecting.” While your first instinct may be to post it to Facebook, don’t, says O’Malley. With so many other options, the standard picture of the left hand, or changing your relationship status from “in a relationship with …” to “engaged to …” has become cliché. 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM 73
Instead, try these approaches. Make the announcement immediately following the engagement — in person. This takes some planning on the groom’s part, says O’Malley, but basically he can invite all their friends and family to a surprise party and tell guests it’s for his girlfriend (so they don’t ruin her surprise — the engagement). Then, when the two of you show up at the party, it’s the guests who are surprised — when they learn you’re engaged. Have someone take photos of the two of you with the bride-to-be holding a sign that says “The future Mrs. (insert your fiance’s last name).” Those photos can be the imagery for an engagement notice you send out, via snail mail, to friends and family. Be sure, though, not to send the notice to people you don’t plan to invite to the wedding. Sometimes grooms arrange to have the engagement (secretly) photographed. These images would be great for the video mention above, or the engagement “postcard.”
Create a video message or DVD and mail it or send everyone a link via email, says Christine Wheat, owner of Christine A. Wheat Special Events Firm in Saratoga Springs. The video can be pictures of activities the two of you have done over the years including concerts, vacations, volunteer work. End the video with a message from the two of you announcing you’ll soon have another event in your story as a couple — a wedding. Invite your family and/or friends to dinner. Pass around a champagne bottle with a custom label that includes your wedding date (if you’ve picked it) or even a photo of the two of you post-engagement. Keep it subtle, and see who notices. You could also get custom cookies or cupcakes, if you can keep the news under wraps till dessert. Tell your close friends and/or your parents by giving them a relevant gift such as a custom-made clutch they could use on the wedding day or a bridal magazine or book on being a bridesmaid or mother of the
bride. Keep the ring in your pocket until after they open the gift. A bride can give her father cufflinks and a card asking him to walk her down the aisle and a groom could give his mom a custom-made CD with the title “potential mother/son dance songs.” Take out an engagement notice in the paper. Sure, we’re a bit biased, but that piece of paper can be laminated and saved, something you aren’t likely to do with a Facebook status update. If your friends or family live farther away, ask them to Skype or do Facetime. Share your news together as a couple.
Sources: Katie O’Malley, owner of Katie O’ Weddings & Events in Troy; Christine Wheat, owner of Christine A. Wheat Special Events Firm in Saratoga Springs; and 518Life Magazine research
o one really wants to do call off their wedding. Canceling the affair — especially if you’ve made a big deal of the engagement — is embarrassing, emotionfilled and can be costly. Plus, unplanning the event can be as cumbersome and time-consuming as choosing between crab cakes and tuna tartar and hydrangeas and peonies — all while you’re trying to keep your parents and your in-laws happy, not to mention deal with your own upand-down emotions. We talked with an etiquette expert and a wedding planner (who canceled her own wedding) for tips on properly canceling your wedding. You have to consider two stages, says Juanita Ecker, owner of Professional Image Management in Troy and author of etiquettetipsandquips.com. If invitations haven’t been sent out, you can tell close friends and family — either over the phone or in person — that the two of you have realized marriage isn’t for you and you’ve decided to break up.
74 518 LIFE
If invitations have been mailed, send a printed note to everyone who was invited (not just those who RSVPed) and let them know you’ve decided not to go ahead with the wedding. If you’ve corresponded with people through the mail, continue with that communication form, says Ecker. The note can even come from the parents of the bride or groom, saying something such as “Mr. and Mrs. Smith are announcing the wedding of Jessica Smith and Joshua Wilson is not going to take place. We are so sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.” Generally it’s best to keep details to a minimum. It isn’t everyone else’s business why you and your fiancé(e) split up. People love drama, says Ecker, and you don’t want to feed into that. Be sure close friends, the wedding party and family are told before you post anything to Facebook. You don’t want people finding out such significant news via social media, says Camisha Smith, a wedding planner
and owner of Mishe Events in Troy. Smith’s own wedding was called off back in 2012. If you do choose to post about your split on Facebook, be brief and do not attack your former partner. It’s understandable you’re hurt and angry, but it’s not beneficial or mature to talk about the breakup publicly, expecting “friends” to take sides, says Ecker. Say something such as “I wanted to let everyone know Joshua and I have decided not to go ahead with the marriage.” The whole key in terms of etiquette is remaining neutral, Ecker says. With your close friends, you can share what happened on the phone, but on social media don’t give all the details. It’s OK to be sad. Canceling a wedding is traumatic on so many different levels, says Smith. “For me, because I own a wedding planning business and am around love all the time, it made it even more painful. But no matter what, I knew that I was a great woman who experienced something
not so great,” says the wedding planner. Smith recommends talking to family and friends. Counseling can also help. Moving away may feel like a natural solution, she says, but it’s usually not practical. Instead, invest your time and energy into work, friends, volunteering or other hobbies. Some people wonder about the engagement ring, says Ecker. If it’s a family heirloom, you should give it back. Return any gifts you received, along with a note thanking the giver and expressing your appreciation. If you used the gift, or spent a gift card they sent, purchase another gift card in the value of the gift they sent and include that with your note. Read through your various vendor contracts to refamiliarize yourself with their cancellation policy, says Smith. Then contact each one. In some cases, if the vendor is able to rebook the date, you can get a portion of your deposit refunded.
Photo: Michaela Begsteiger/GettyImages.
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What’s In, What’s Not
Fall and winter wedding trends
BY CARI SCRIBNER
78 518 LIFE
sic ivory with a deep amethyst jewel tone for her bridesmaids’ dresses and deep purple on the sconces illuminating the room. She also gave a nod to the past with two touches of her bridal wear. Having a go-to garment to ward off the chill, especially when taking photos outdoors, is another local trend. Louise McManus is
It was freezing that day,
so I borrowed my mother’s fur coat with threequarter length sleeves … I wore my hair pulled back with an antique
crystal rose clip in it.
Photos by All Occasions Photography.
rom outdoorsy motifs to serving comfort foods, this year’s fall and winter wedding trends embody the beauty of nature and a true sense of family. According to TheKnot.com, an online resource for everything to do with wedding planning, autumn and winter weddings will feature woodland elements, winter greens with white lights for indoor décor, textured fabrics for linens, and childhood favorites such as hot cocoa served at the reception. Locally, some of these trends are being reflected among couples married in the fall and winter seasons, as well as those planning their weddings. But with the spotlight on personalization, it’s very possible to be both trendy while still forging your own way for an unforgettably unique event. Shannon Whitney is a professional bridal consultant and owner of Wedding Planning Plus in Delmar. Whitney says couples are infusing forest elements into their reception decorations, including ferns, swags of evergreen trees, and earth tones as well as jewel colors. “The past two years of rustic themes have definitely morphed into the current trend of a woodland theme,” Whitney says. “This trend is also showing itself in the fashion at a wedding, such as floral crowns for brides and crowned veils. This pulls a vintage element for the early 20th century and ties in a very natural element.” Cheryl Sellnow and Andy Benincasa of Albany have a September 2014 wedding planned at Prime in downtown Albany, and aimed for a classy reception with their own personal touches. “We’re going Renaissance with flowers using dark reds,” Sellnow says. “Our linens will be crushed velvet in a cranberry color, and we’ll have floating white candles in water on all the tables.” Because she loves contrast, the color apple red will also be incorporated, with the groomsmen wearing black tuxes with red ties. “I love a little pop of color,” Sellnow says. “It’s all about who we are.” Kristie and Daniel Crowley were married on November 30, 2013, and had their reception at Key Hall at Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady. Kristie Crowley opted for clas-
Kristie & Daniel Crowley Married 11/30/13
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manager of Lily Saratoga, a bridal boutique in Saratoga Springs. “For winter we’re seeing less strapless and more little cap sleeves with little fur shrugs for warmth,” McManus says. “Having sleeves leaves room for more unique necklines, such as an illusion neckline or a boat neck.” McManus says lace is still popular, as well as blush, champagne, oyster and platinum colors for bridal gowns. Gowns also feature dramatic backs such as a low back created by sheer lace for an illusion, or buttons down the back of the dress. For the bridal party, the trend for making every woman look identical has gone by the wayside. “Brides want to break the rules today; it’s much more individualized,” McManus says. “There’s a lot of sparkle to fall and winter weddings. It gets dark out early in winter so everyone wants to twinkle.” If you’re thinking you must adhere to popular trends, think again. Amanda Rogers and Shawn Sheehan of Cohoes were married September 7, 2013, opting for a decidedly different palette: hot pink and zebra striped. Zebra patterns showed up on the bridesmaids’ shoes, on the place cards and on Shawn’s suspenders, while the men wore hot pink vests, and the chair covers at the reception at Birch Hill wedding venue were white with pink bows. “I wanted it to be different,” Rogers says. “The little touches of zebra were just beautiful.”
Alicia & Edwyn Newton Married 9/28/13
Photos by Fred Ricard.
ocal and national trends call for homestyle portions and family favorites on the reception menu. “A big trend in dinner service is going more towards family-style service where tables can enjoy a meal together as if they were at a dining room table,” Whitney says. “Another trend is late-night food stations, often offering comfort foods like sliders and fries, or geared toward a sweet tooth with warm cookies and milk, milkshakes or make-your-own sundaes.” Alicia and Edwyn Newton were married September 28, 2013, at the Appel Inn in Altamont. They served favorite autumnal foodstuffs — apple cider and cider donuts — before the ceremony, and as a nod to Edwin’s British heritage, mini fish and chips in paper cones. They had an English-style wedding cake, a traditional fruitcake soaked in brandy
or rum. To reflect Alicia’s background in geology, they also served edible chocolate rocks in a vintage vase. But the family foods didn’t stop there. “We had a dessert buffet at the end of the night with cookies and brownies that my mom baked just like the ones she made throughout my childhood,” Alicia Newton says. “Others had a British touch, like Earl Gray tea shortbreads.” Mallory Wright and Jeff Morad of Troy will be married September 6, 2014, at Revolution Hall in Troy. Their reception menu includes roast chicken and vegetable lasagna to keep it simple and tasty. “We’re serving macaroni and cheese appetizers,” Mallory Wright says. “We didn’t want to be overly fancy. We’re in love with comfort foods.” 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM 81
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Apps to help you get organized for the big day
BY KRISTI BARLETTE
he mini crab cakes and chicken satay aren’t the only “apps” that will be part of your wedding. Apps, as in applications for your smartphone or tablet, can be as instrumental to your nuptials as the escort table and the vows. In fact, there’s an app for that (the vows) and many other wedding-related elements. Below are some favorites from area wedding and event planners as well as former brides and current brides-to-be.
Appy Couple This app allows brides and grooms to create a custom app with all their wedding details including RSVP information, event details, attire, travel and more. ost: Free C OS: Android and iOS Appy Couple
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Eversnap & WedPics Collect all your guests’ photos and videos in one place. Not only do these apps allow users to create a great memory “book” of sorts for the bride and groom, but guests can see what images others captured. Contributors are invited via SMS or email so the albums are private, and controlled. Cost: Free OS: Android and iOS
Pinterest Pinterest was made for brides-to-be allowing you to “pin” (AKA save) photos of hairstyles, flower bouquets, escort tables, vows and more that you love all to one place. You can also check out other wedding-related boards for inspiration. Don’t want others to see what you have in mind for your ceremony and reception? Pinterest offers a “private” board option. You can then make your board viewable by you, only, or select friends and family.
Sources: Stacy Jubert, owner of Events with Style in Niskayuna; Christine Wheat, owner of Christine A. Wheat Special Events Firm in Saratoga Springs 518Life Magazine research
Wedding Vows While it may feel as if a wedding is about the drama, er, party, it’s really a celebration of love. One of the best ways to express those feelings is through your vows. Writing your own adds a personal touch you just can’t get from reciting standard language. The Wedding Vows app offers more than 150 vow variations you can use for inspiration or mix and match to personalize for your own I dos. Cost: $2.99 OS: Android and iOS
The Knot Wedding Dress Look Book Rather than traversing the Capital Region (or even the Northeast) looking for that dress that will wow you, your fiancé(e) and your guests, you can “preshop” from anywhere. The app now includes bridesmaid, mother-of-thebride and flower-girl dresses, each with price estimates and availability. Cost: Free OS: Android and iOS
Wedding Budget Every bride — even celebrities — is on a budget. The Wedding Budget app lets users keep track of their estimated budget, as well as their actual incurred costs to date. The app breaks down standard wedding-related charges (the dress, reception, honeymoon, etc.) and lets you enter how much you plan to spend, as well as what you actually spent. You can also include notes about deposit or payment schedules. Cost: $2.99 OS: Android
Cost: Free OS: Android and iOS
Wedding Countdown Widget
Are you the person who created a Christmas chain as a child or posts updates like “just 297 days till Christmas” on Facebook? If so, this countdown app is for you. The widget clocks the days, hours, minutes and seconds to your big day. You can set engagement photos as your background and share the countdown on other social media.
No bride or groom actually needs to lose weight, but many feel as if they must. This app allows you to keep track of food and calories consumed, exercise logged and pounds lost. Cost: Free OS: Android and iOS
Cost: $.99 OS: Android and iOS
Seating Planner+ The seating arrangements can be one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning. Aunt Edna and Uncle Marty have to be on separate sides of the room, but their children want to sit together. You want to put your colleagues at one table, but you’re not sure they’ll all fit. This app can help. You can create one or several seating plans using round or rectangle tables and put tables together to create different arrangements. Tables can be named, and dietary requirements or notes can be saved to the guests contact. You can track guest RSVPs and export the list to a text document or PDF. Cost: $1.99 OS: iOS
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STORY AND PHOTOS BY CARIN LANE
PAW AT THE GROUND with your whole foot like a dog would dig at the ground with its paws. This prevents overstriding and helps your foot actively find the ground underneath you so you are not too far forward or on your heels.
RUN QUIETLY. A softer foot fall absorbs impact and prevents the foot from crashing into the ground.
BE PATIENT. Changing your form takes time and should be done gradually until it feels right. Trying to do too much too soon can result in soreness and heighten your chance for injury.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Strive for 5-10 minutes on soft surfaces, such as grass and turf, at a time and build your form from there. Then progress to harder surfaces like paved roads, trails and tracks. John Kenworthy is the head men’s and women’s cross country coach at Siena College. Siena College is a learning community advancing the ideals of a liberal arts education, rooted in its identity as a Franciscan and Catholic institution. The college is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and supports 18 sports that compete at the NCAA Division I level.
WANT TO LEARN MORE? Watch our video showing proper lower and upper body running form online at YouTube.com/ TimesUnionMagazines.
FOOT STRIKE DONT’S: DON’T Strike the ground on your tippy toes. You will be positioned too far forward and can injure your knees.
DON’T Land back in your heels with toes up. You are striving for a midfoot strike with your heels landing on the ground when full weight is on one leg.
It’s All About the Money,
Honey You’re a spender, he’s a saver — can you make this relationship work?
hat would you do if you hit the Powerball? If you’ve ever bought a lottery ticket, you know you’ve fantasized about it. Is your first impulse to pay off the mortgage and start a college fund for the kids? If that’s the case, you’re likely a security seeker. If it’s to quit your job, buy a Harley, and take off on a cross-country road trip, then you’re probably a risk taker. In their book, The 5 Money Personalities, authors Scott and Bethany Palmer say people’s financial personality types fall into the following categories: saver, spender, risk taker, security seeker and flyer. (The latter doesn’t care about money at all.) As with all personality tests, there’s no
90 518 LIFE
right or wrong answer here. But if you’re a saver and your partner is a spender, there’s a good chance that one of you might just hit the road.
The Money Taboo It’s not for nothing that financial disputes are one of the leading causes of divorce. But while we may fight over money, experts say, the real problem is that we don’t know how to talk about it. “By and large, people are very secretive about money, that’s part of why people don’t want to look into it or think about ‘Do our values agree or conflict?’” says Dr. Richard Trachtman, a money and relationship therapist with a practice in Elizaville and Manhattan. “To ask those things wouldn’t be considered romantic.” So great is the taboo against talking about money, in fact, that a recent survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 68 percent of respondents
had a negative attitude about discussing finances with their fiancé. What’s more, five percent of those who responded said that they would actually be inclined to call off the wedding if their fiancé wanted to talk about money before marriage. As the author of Money and the Pursuit of Happiness and Money and Psychotherapy: A Guide For Mental Health Professionals, Trachtman aims to get the conversation started. “Money is a major, major force in our lives that does have a great deal to do with how well we get along together and how happy we are,” he says. “But because of this money taboo, it’s been hard for us to communicate and an effort for all couples to explore their attitudes and beliefs … and to come to some agreement and to do this when we’re not in conflict.”
Where the Buck Stops Although fights about finances appear to be about money, therapists say, in truth they
Illustrations: GettyImages. Speech bubble background: Electric_Crayon; Woman, chipstudio; Man, 4x6.
BY JAYNE KEEDLE
Money Talks Money topics every couple should tackle: 1. Talk about what money means to you. Most people’s feelings about financial issues stem from childhood experiences but everyone is different. Someone whose family struggled to make ends meet may be very concerned about saving money, or may splurge to make up for early years of deprivation. Opposites attract but if you can be open to the other’s viewpoint, you might be able to learn from each other. 2. Discuss long-term goals. Determine where you want to be in five, 10, 20 years. Are you going to have children? Do you plan to put the kids through college? Hope to retire at 55? Dream of opening your own business? Long-term planning will inform the decisions you make now about investing, saving, and spending — and make it easier to compromise based on your shared goals.
3. Be honest about debt and credit history. Let your partner know how much you owe, because as a married couple, you are both on the hook for debt incurred during the marriage. Similarly, if one of you has bad credit, that’s going to affect your joint ability to get a mortgage or obtain financing for large purchases. 4. Discuss your career plans. How much money you make fluctuates but you probably have a fairly good idea of what kind of income your chosen profession is likely to yield over time and how much money you think you may need in retirement. Bear this in mind as you plan for your financial future. 5. Work through inequities. In any relationship, one person is going to earn more money than the other. Discuss how you feel about that and consider how you feel if that were to change, (if one person was to lose their job, for instance, or stay home with the kids). Determine how much each person should be expected to contribute to household expenses based on their disparate earnings.
stem from feelings that precious little to do with the almighty dollar. “Couples get trapped into thinking it’s all about the money but the underlying issues are the same ones that trip you up in other areas — trust, power and intimacy. And, just like those other areas, money problems are solved with the same thing — good communication,” says CPA Jane Honeck, who recently launched “The Money Dynamic,” an online workshop developed with psychotherapist Spencer Melnick designed to help people To ask those understand their relationship to money and things [about to each other. money] wouldn’t Even people who are on solid ground finanbe considered cially get into arguments over money, because the romantic. value we assign to money goes far beyond what it can buy. For instance, a man who earns less than his wife (as is the case with about 30 percent of couples today) may struggle if deep down he believes the man should bring home the bacon. A stay-at-home mom may feel (or be made to feel) as if she’s not making enough
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Winslow Homer, Watching the Breakers: A High Sea, 1896, Oil on canvas, Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, Gift of Bartlett Arkell, 1935
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of a contribution, even if paying for daycare would cost more than she would earn. People’s sense of self-worth shouldn’t be measured in dollars and cents but for many of us, that’s part of the equation. The irony is that, should these arguments over who is making the greatest financial contribution and what each person is entitled to actually end in divorce, the discussion is moot in the eyes of the law. In New York State, marital assets are considered joint property and are typically split down the middle, regardless of who earned the most. And that’s worth remembering when those fights over money begin to escalate. As Guilderland financial adviser Robert L. Coyle, founder of Common Sense Money, points out you’re both in the same boat as a couple. If you want to move in the same direction through turbulent waters, you have to learn to pull together or you’re sunk. If you’re looking for a safe harbor, though, it’s not the different values you may each assign to money that will show you the way, Trachtman says, but the core values that you share. “If they can agree on values,” Trachtman says, “then they can say are we thinking about money in a way that supports our values?”
Diffusing the Situation
cial decisions if you don’t know how much money you have coming in and going out.
If you’re a saver and he’s a spender, how can you head off the kind of arguments that arise if you’re clipping coupons and he comes home with a new big screen TV? Financial advisers and psychologists offer the following suggestions:
4. Even if you have joint bank accounts and shared credit cards, have at least one credit card in your own name for which you assume responsibility. This will enable you both to maintain a separate credit history and give you both the freedom to spend on things you personally want or need.
1. Have regular, honest and open conversations about finances. Do it at a time and place where you are both calm — not when you’re paying bills or have just returned from a shopping spree. It doesn’t have to be a summit meeting. It can be something as simple as noting that since you turned down the thermostat, the heating bill is $30 bucks lower or musing about what you’d do if you won the lottery. The key is to get the conversation started on a positive note. 2. Don’t play the blame game. One of you may be a shopaholic but this is an issue that both of you need to deal with. Talk about how you feel from a first person perspective, “I feel anxious when the bills are overdue,” rather than “Why can’t you pay the bills on time!?” Listen without judgment to the other person’s point of view and look for ways to compromise. 3. Set a budget. Get a handle on expenses, your income is, and how much you spend individually and jointly. You can’t make finan-
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5. Yours, mine, and ours. Maintaining separate bank accounts may be the best way to avoid arguments over spending and reduce stress. It can be a good idea to also have a joint account to which you both contribute a set amount each month to cover your mutual living expenses, along with a savings or college account. 6. Assign tasks. If one person is better at paying bills in a timely manner, have that person take over the job. If another is better at saving or investing, have that person take charge of building a nest egg or putting money aside for a family vacation. 7. If you can’t resolve conflicts together or if you are in a financial crisis, enlist a third party to help. Talk to a financial advisor or a therapist, or some combination of both, to help you work through differences and get back on your financial feet.
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Habits of Poor Sleepers Break these and get a better night’s sleep!
BY TRACI NEAL
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urged lawmakers, doctors and parents to consider it as important to health as eating right and exercising. “Sleep deficiency is a growing and underappreciated determinant of health status,” wrote members of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society in a 2012 paper published in the journal SLEEP. The societal consequences of sleep deficiency are enormous, the paper concluded. “Sleep deprivation is a form of torture,” agrees Dr. Siobhan Kuhar, medical director of the Albany Regional Sleep Disorders Center and a surgeon at Albany ENT and Allergy Services. “It impacts every aspect of your waking life — your mood, your energy level, your productivity, your safety …” While sleep problems can have underlying medical causes that should be treated by professionals, insomnia in many cases is simply a matter of lifestyle. Capital Region sleep experts say the following are the most common habits that sabotage sleep and keep poor sleepers from getting their recommended seven to eight hours of ZZZs every night.
Up to 20% of all car accidents
27% more likely to gain weight with >6 hours of sleep
73% more likely to gain weight with >5 hours of sleep
61% crave more
sleep than more sex
28% missed work or made errors at work
Source: National Sleep Foundation, The Better Sleep Council, and Sleep in America
Photo: Lizzie Roberts/GettyImages.
or many of the 40 million American adults who have insomnia, bedtime can be the most miserable part of their day — and that’s saying a lot about a sleep disorder that sucks the life out of its sufferers every waking hour, and leaves them physically and emotionally drained. “They start to really dread going to bed,” says Dr. Howard S. Weiss, associate medical director at the St. Peter’s Sleep Center in Albany, “knowing it’s going to take hours to fall asleep or they’re going to wake up and not be able to fall back to sleep.” Sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to major health issues such as heart disease, obesity, hypertension (especially in women), diabetes, depression, problems learning or retaining new information, and workplace and road accidents, according to the National Sleep Foundation. “It can be very dramatic for people because they tend to wait months, or years even, to get their sleep issues resolved,” says Weiss. Calling sleep “a public health imperative,” medical experts and researchers recently
Lack of sleep causes:
They keep an erratic sleep schedule — We all have an internal timepiece that ticks off the amount of time our bodies need to be awake before they are ready for sleep. “One of the really key things [to poor sleep] is not keeping to a regular schedule,” says Kuhar. “During the week they keep to one schedule and on the weekends another, expecting the body will immediately adapt on Monday after a weekend of staying up very late and sleeping in very late.” Sleeping in can disrupt our body clocks, Kuhar says, and “It can take days to really catch up.”
They don’t get enough sunlight — “We live in a 24/7 society,” says Kuhar. “People are working atypical [night] shifts and we know the sleep that’s gotten during the day tends to be not nearly as restorative as sleep during the night.” Daylight, she says, particularly morning light, is vital for regulating our sleep clocks. “We have special receptors on the backs of our eyes that regulate the secretion of melatonin” — our bodies’ natural sleep facilitator, she says. Those receptors are triggered partly by our exposure to light during the day and darkness at night.
They use electronics in bed — Artificial light from our computers, televisions, tablets and cell phones interferes with our “sleepiness cues,” says Denise Whitehouse, lead therapist at the Ellis Medicine Sleep Disorders Center in Schenectady. Once asleep, our brains continue to survey our environment, and, without being aware of it, we hear the TV or the ping of
an incoming text message. People, more and more frequently, are responding to those noises, says Weiss, using their devices in the middle of the night to check their social media profiles, emails and text messages.
They take their worries to bed — It’s a vicious cycle, says Kuhar. “People who are sleep-deprived are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety while people with anxiety and depression are at increased risk of sleep-deprivation,” she says. Whitehouse advises poor sleepers to keep a notebook handy so that “if you’re stressed out or worried you can write those things down and release them,” she says.
Sleep deficiency is a growing and underappreciated determinant of health status.
They don’t “wind down” before bed — Whitehouse recommends bedtime rituals — a warm bath, a good book, soft music, and tells her patients to wait until they’re drowsy before lying down in bed. “If they don’t fall asleep within 20 or 30 minutes, I tell them to get out of bed and participate in a quiet activity like reading or listening to music again until they start feeling drowsy.”
They have a nightcap or two — While alcohol close to bedtime might make people fall asleep more quickly, it tends to ultimately cause a disruptive, disordered sleep in the second half of the night as the alcohol metabolizes, says Weiss. Also, says Weiss, drinking ultimately leads to middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom.
They underestimate the kick of caffeine — Having coffee or tea, soda or chocolates, energy drinks and even some dietary supplements that contain caffeine during the day can disrupt sleep later on, says Kuhar. “Caffeine lasts in our system about nine hours,” she says, “and we often forget it can have an impact on our sleep even if we had it at 1 o’clock in the afternoon.”
They keep furry bedfellows — “Pets jumping on and off the bed or moving around on the bed can be a real sleep disrupter,” says Kuhar. They smoke a cigarette before bed — “Nicotine is a stimulant,” says Weiss. “Certainly some people are more susceptible to disruptions in sleep than others, and oftentimes they can get away with doing one or two of these things and be fine, but when it comes to doing three or four of these things” — eating a big meal, having a glass or two of wine, checking Facebook and topping it all off with a smoke before bed — “they suffer.”
New help for insomniacs The National Sleep Foundation launched a new
website in 2013 aimed at providing resources and information to people suffering from insomnia. The website, sleepfoundation.org/insomnia, is a comprehensive resource containing information on insomnia causes, symptoms, diagnosis, sleep expert advice and treatment options.
What is insomnia? Everyone experiences trouble sleeping at one time or another. Doctors consider insomnia chronic if it occurs at least three nights per week for three months or longer. You may have insomnia if you have one or more of the following symptoms:
• Difficulty falling asleep • Difficulty staying asleep (waking up during the night and having trouble returning to sleep) • Waking up too early in the morning • Unrefreshing sleep (also called “non-restorative sleep”) • Fatigue or low energy • Cognitive impairment, such as difficulty concentrating • Mood disturbance, such as irritability • Behavior problems, such as feeling impulsive or aggressive • Difficulty at work or school • Difficulty in personal relationships, including family, friends and caregivers Source: National Sleep Foundation, sleepfoundation.org
A DV E R T I S E M E N T
Have you heard about this new technology that is FDA cleared, and non-surgical treatment for back and neck pain?
Non-surgical spinal decompression may be the last back or neck pain treatment you will ever need. And you may be able to forget the pills, getting endless shots, struggling through exercise programs...and...risky surgery...because with this amazing new technology...if you are a candidate... they may be a thing of the past. You’re about to discover a powerful state-of-the-art technology available for: Back pain, Sciatica, Neck pain, Arm pain, Herniated and/or Bulging discs (single or multiple), Degenerative Disc Disease, a relapse or failure following surgery or Facet syndromes. Best of all -- you can check it out yourself for FREE! CALL 518-300-1212
magine how your life would change if you discovered the solution to your back or neck pain. In this article you’ll discover powerful new back or neck pain technology that has the potential to be that solution for you. This incredible technology is Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression and the DRX 9000. Here’s the amazing story how it was discovered and why it has a chance to help YOUR back pain...
How Science Helps Back and Neck Pain The lower back and neck is a series of bones separated by shock absorbers called “discs”. When these discs go bad because of age or injury you can have pain. For some the pain is just annoying, but for others it can be life changing...and not in a good way. It has long been thought that if these discs could be helped in a natural and non-invasive way, lots of people with back and leg or neck and arm pain could lower the amount of pain medication they take, be given fewer epidural injections for the pain and have less surgery.
Recent medical breakthroughs have led to the development of advanced technologies to help back and leg pain and neck and arm suffers!
Through the work of a specialized team of physicians and medical engineers, a medical manufacturing company, now offers this space age technology in its incredible DRX 9000 Spinal Decompression equipment.
The DRX 9000 is FDA cleared to use with the pain and symptoms associated with herniated and/or bulging discs. . . even after failed surgery. What Conditions Has The DRX 9000 Successfully Treated And Will It Help YOU? The main conditions the DRX 9000 has success with are: • • • • • •
Back pain Sciatica Neck pain Arm pain Spinal Stenosis Herniated and/or bulging discs (single or multiple) • Degenerative disc disease • A relapse or failure following surgery • Facet syndromes A very important note: The DRX 9000 has been successful even when NOTHING else has worked. Even after failed surgery. What Are Treatments On The DRX 9000 Like?
After being ﬁtted with an automatic shoulder support system, you simply lie face up on the DRX 9000’s comfortable bed and the advanced computer system does the rest. Patients describe the treatment as a gentle, soothing, intermittent pulling of your back. Many patients actually fall asleep during treatment. The really good news IS... this is not something you have to continue to do for the rest of your life. So it is not a big commitment. Since offering the DRX 9000 in my Colonie office, I have seen nothing short of miracles for back and neck pain sufferers who had tried everything else. . . with little or no result. Many had lost all hope. Had herniated disk operation 8 years ago another disc became herniated. Doctor wanted to operate have arthritis from 1st one (did not want to go under knife again) very grateful to DRX9000 (thank you Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC) Very happy camper. Raymond F Niskayuna, NY Age 55 This treatment was a miracle for my cervical disk herniations. Only other alternative was surgery, which I no longer have to face. William I Schenectady, NY Age 63
I was told by a doctor I wouldn’t be able to work. I cannot afford to not work so I tried Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC, and not only did the pain go away but I never missed a day at work. Rick S Clifton Park, NY Age 42 I would love to shake the hand of the person who invented this machine. It was a life saver for me and a lot better than going under the knife. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone with chronic back pain. Dawn H Colonie, NY Age 49 Before the DRX 9000 treatment. I had no quality of life. Couldn’t do anything for myself. Thank God for Dr. and the DRX machine. I can live again. Yvette K Schenectady, NY Age 47 I suffered for three years, before I received treatment on the DRX 9000. Today, I can sleep and get out of bed like a normal human being. Before, I couldn’t even drive my car because the pain in my hips, legs and feet were so bad from the sciatica nerve being pinched by my Herniated Disc L4 and L5, which also prevented me from sitting in a chair or even using my computer lap top at any time. Today things have changed due to advance technology therapy on the DRX 9000. They always try
A DV E R T I S E M E N T
to regulate the treatments that work. What is up with this taught process???? The world is changing and so have I. Frank A Troy, NY Age 52 Before receiving the DRX treatments, my quality of life was very poor. I could hardly do anything other than going to work and going to bed. After the DRX treatments my quality of life has improved 90% which has resulted in me being able to go for long walks without a cane and go shopping. Anne P Burnt Hills, NY Age 70 I am so appreciative of this method of therapy because when I came to the office I had to use a cane and had muscle pain in walking. After 2nd treatment sciatica nerve pain was gone in my left leg. Judith W Albany, NY Age 64 Prior to this treatment my only options appeared to be invasive pain management, or surgery. After receiving 24 sessions on the DRX, I am markedly improved, relatively pain free and am able to function as I had in previous years. Highly recommend to anyone with disc issues. Alan P Scotia, NY Age 53 I would choose this therapy again! Painless treatment that gets your life back to
normal. Stick with it-it works! Linda G Broadalben, NY Age 53 I am so happy I came to Dr. Guerra. I was in a lot of pain and after being on the DRX I tell you I do not have pain. I feel wonderful and the staff are very nice. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is wonderful. If you are in pain try the DRX it really helps. Edith C Schenectady, NY Age 71 I think more people should know about this procedure before considering any surgery. Medications help the pain but they don’t cure the cause. I am back to my old self again. Lorraine B Scotia, NY Age 78 I highly recommend this machine. I had my doubts but it really and truly works. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is a wonderful doctor and his staff is great too. Linda D Clifton Park, NY Age 46 I was extremely skeptical at the beginning of treatments - Progress was slow in coming - But... then it worked! What a relief!!! Joan K Delmar, NY Age 71 I had no where else to go with this problem. The DRX 9000 was just what I needed. Many thanks! Burton S Mechanicville, NY Age 50
I would deﬁnitely refer people to your office. Dr. Guerra and his staff have made this experience a pleasure. Ed H Hoosick Falls, NY Age 70
iﬁcation consultation. It’s absolutely free with no strings attached. There is nothing to pay for and you will NOT be pressured to become a patient.
Pain free, numbness in the left foot is gone. DRX 9000 is GREAT and does work. Sal L Niskayuna, NY Age 50
Here is what you will receive:
I’m able to go on long walks and get all night sleep (I’ve had 3 surgeries since 2006) Without the DRX I would be in for a 4th back surgery. I’m getting back to doing activities with my 10 year old son. Lisa V Catskill, NY Age 45 I wish to thank you very much for all the help I received with the spinal decompression therapy. Your entire office was very helpful and compassionate. No longer do I sit at night with my heating pads, moving them from sore spot to sore spot. My knees are no longer on ﬁre and I’m able to go up and down the stairs much easier than before. Mable D Ballston Lake, NY Age 68
SPECIAL OFFER Call Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC’s office at 518-300-1212 and mention to my assistants that you want a FREE back or neck pain/DRX9000 qual-
• A consultation with me, Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC to discuss your problem and answer the questions you may have about back pain or neck and the DRX9000 • A DRX9000 demonstration so you see for yourself how it works! Due to current demand for this technology, I suggest calling today to make your appointment. The consultation is free. We are staffed 24-hoursa-day, 7-days-a-week. Call 518-300-1212 right now!
It’s absolutely FREE with no strings attached. There is ONE Big Problem: My busy office schedule will limit how many people I’m able to personally meet with...so you will need to act fast. Call 518-300-1212 right now...to be sure you are among the ﬁrst callers and we will set up your free consultation today. We have the phones answered 7 days a week 24 hours a day so call now... 518-300-1212. (Free consultation is good for 45 days) 2016 Central Ave., Colonie www.albanyDRX.com Like us on Facebook: Healthsource of Albany North
If Roter has his way, you’ll buy mugs like this at Albany’s new museum.
Musician, composer, professor and activist
BY BRIANNA SNYDER | PHOTO BY COLLEEN INGERTO
ruce Roter is a musician, a composer, a professor and an activist. He’s the one who lobbied — hard — to get Trader Joe’s to come to the Capital Region. He’s also the guy who is trying to get a new museum downtown — The Albany Museum of Political Corruption. “I think Albany deserves a tourist attraction and I feel we deserve to derive profits from corruption,” Roter says. “I think New York State corruption could be the goose that laid the golden egg for Albany.” The museum would include a “lobby of lobbyists,” a “Tammany lecture hall,” a “Cozy Crony Cafe,” a Hall of Shame and a gift shop where you can buy mugs and figurines with inscriptions that say, “I bought this legislator in Albany, N.Y.” (See albanymuseumofpolitical corruption.org for more details.) So who’s your favorite corrupt politician? I would have to say it goes back to Tammany in New York City. It was such a historical era and so powerful for corruption, and it was just so overt. It lacked a lot of the finesse that we have these days. What is your political ideology? I consider myself very much a centrist. My political ideology is whatever makes sense to me. I don’t like to be dogmatic and I’m very frustrated with all the position-taking that goes on in politics. That’s why we have gridlock. People will have a greater allegiance to their party’s doctrines than they do to the people or to common sense. What’s the most beautiful thing about humanity? It’s never-ending optimism. It’s eternal striving to make things better day after day. Believing that things can get better, even after the worst times. What’s your favorite bad-for-you food? You’re killing me here. OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a chocoholic. You could bribe me with chocolate. We should sell that in the museum. What is your idea of perfect happiness? 26 students smiling at me in class and actually paying attention. (Laughs.) My idea of perfect happiness would be — how can I put this? It would be a world in which we all got along together. We all respected one another and found a way to live with one another without war. What are some qualities of a perfect musical composition? It has to appeal equally to the brain as it does to the heart. It has to have a level of sophistication that keeps you thinking and constantly keeps you guessing what’s coming around the corner, but also has to satisfy you and take you into a whole new experience. Does such a composition exist? They’re probably different for everybody. I could name
98 518 LIFE
a few of my own: I can tell you I love Rachmaninoff — the second piano concerto is gorgeous. I love Stravinsky and Mozart. My favorite composer of all time is Beethoven because he to me represents humanity striving for something better. He was deaf from his mid-20s on and thought he would kill himself at some point but he continued to make great work that appealed to the mind and the heart. Is there a musician you think least deserves the fame he/she has received? I would probably say Justin Bieber. I kind of thought you were going to say Miley Cyrus. Her also. Put anybody on a wrecking ball and you’ll make a million dollars. If we went through your Google search history, what would we find? You would find a lot of news articles. I do tend to be a newsaholic. Shopping. Shopping on Amazon just like everybody else these days, I think. What is your greatest fear? My greatest fear is death. Isn’t that everybody’s greatest fear? There’s a famous Woody Allen quote — there are artists who try to gain immortality through their greatest works and some who want to gain immortality by living forever. I think I can subscribe to that. I think the fear of ultimate demise also encourages us to do whatever we can and to appreciate the potential that every day gives us and to make the most of it. What is your greatest extravagance? I live a fairly modest life. But a couple of years ago when I turned 50 my extravagance was taking a trip to Morocco. I went all by myself. I got to ride a camel in the desert. How come you went to Morocco by yourself? It just gave me greater spiritual freedom to do what I wanted to do and I think I needed that alone time as well. And it turned out to be a great adventure. I met wonderful people there. I even got involved with a local music conservatory in Marrakesh and they gave me this bouquet of roses after the performance. What or who is the greatest love of your life? You mean besides myself, of course. (Laughs.) I think my children. I would have to say my children. Just watching them grow and develop every day. I have a 14-year-old daughter and 10-year-old twins, all girls. And they’re all little miracles. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? I would want to be a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees. You said your greatest fear is death. So if you could choose, how would you like to die? Of old age. Yes, of course, of old age. Whatever age that would be. Hopefully a long time from now.
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