Central NY Woman Online July/Aug 2022

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You Can Enjoy:



Marcela Tobar


Presidential Suite

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100 E Onondaga Street Syracus

Grand Ballroom

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Kelly Breuer Marisa Zeppieri Kelly Breuer


Brody Wheeler


Brody Wheeler Laura Marino Jolana Hollister Julie Oldfield

Jessica Montgomery BlanK Kanvas Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell

Dr. Pam Denton Marisa Zeppieri Tammy Vreeland Stacey Cook Milki Way Devan Robinson Ellen Feldman Christine Piacentino Michaela Raes Jess Germano - Fokin Vincent DiGiorgio Andrea Scalici Dara Rennert Kelly Breuer Cindy Decarolis Kaitlyn Vitozzi Lydia Dean Reese Anissa Buckley Natalie Greathouse Omenesa Denise “Karma” Clifford Dr Tunya Griffin

Camille Conti Kara Karaoguz Colleen Favaro Dawn Kellogg Joshua Michael King Marion Rodriquez Jene Sena



Kelly Breuer Sheila Young


Network Rochester


Network Rochester

Rochester Woman ONLINE is the premier professional woman’s online publication in the greater Rochester area. Our feature articles address major topics that interest local women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local area women. The electronic magazines are distributed freely through your favorite app store and will be in your inbox electronically by the first week of every month. The publication is available free of charge. Please feel free to contact publisher Kelly Breuer at 585.727.9120 or you can email us at networkrocqueen@gmail.com. Download our current media kit at www. rochesterwomanonline.com. The magazine is published 12 times a year by Rochester Woman ONLINE. Copyright © 2017 Rochester Woman ONLINE. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publisher. Rochester Woman ONLINE is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of Rochester Woman ONLINE and will not be returned.





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ug edition { TABLE OF CONTENTS }















WOMEN WHO INSPIRE Sandy Arena, Alexis Fox & Anna Arena WHAT ABOUT THE MEN? Joshua Michael King








FOR A GOOD CAUSE The Northeast Kindey Foundation

























SHE HUSTLES TALKS The GemBra Infinite Designs USA Milki Way Tere Marie Stephanie Straub



















{ FROM THE PUBLISHER } “I raise up my voice—not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. … We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” - Malala Yousafzai

Central NY Woman Online has a true beauty inside and out on our latest cover, and we are excited to take you along for the ride as we welcome Syracuse makeup artist, Marcela Tobar! Read all about her incredible journey starting on page [14]. And where do I even begin about our Women Who Inpsire feature on a mother/daughter trio that have all lived, loved and worked together for years and in many facets as a family, professionally, and also in their humanitarian projects. This includes the non-profit organization they started, Worth More Nation which serves youth impacted by foster care and trauma to know their worth through pageantry, fashion and giving initiatives. The dynamic of these ladies is not only inspiring, but incredibly empowering, and you can read all about them starting on pg [28].



Our July/August coverwoman, Marcela Tobar was photographed by Jessica Montgomery in studio in Central NY.

Plus you can enjoy so many more amazing stories in this edition including She Hustles Talks women entrepreneurs cover woman Jena Sena, creator of The GemBra starting on page [ ], along with articles of women who are empowering and inspiring others in the community and beyond, new columnists, powerful community leaders , and even our “What About The Men” where this edition Joshua Michael King tells his story about life being HIV positive, and so, so much more! We hope you will also jpoin us for some of our incredible upcoming events including the 2022 Mrs NY America, American and Miss NY For America pageants on Sunday, July 17th at the Marriott Downtown Syracuse and the 2022 Catwalk for Kidneys Rochester on Sunday, August 21st at Artisan Works in Rochester, NY to benefit the Northeast Kidney Foundation. Know someone who would be perfect for a cover, a feature or a highlight? Do you have a business that is you want tot promote to an audience of over 100k? CONTACT ME TODAY at networkrocqueen@gmail.com.






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Marcela Tobar is a Syracuse, NY professional makeup artist and some may even say a social media influencer. Now, she can add Central NY Woman Online cover woman to her list! Specializing in bridal, prom, editorial and photoshoot makeup, with a true specialty in halloween makeup creations, her goal with every client, no matter the occasion, is that they feel relaxed and beautiful inside and out when they step out of her makeup chair.

confidence and positivity. How did your career as one of Central NY’s most popular and talented professional makeup artists start? I my passion for makeup started during my early years in High School. All My friends and even my grandma sought me out for makeup application and eyebrow shaping.

Recently CNYWO got the chance to talk with Marcela about and learn a little more about her journey, where she is headed and what inspires her. We hope you enjoy the interview as much as we did! She is truly a beauty inside and out. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. Who is Marcela Tobar? I am a native latina that grew up in New York city in the Bronx. I moved to CNY 16 years ago and started my career in makeup artistry! My passion for makeup flourished. I am also a certified esthetician and I love provide insight for not only makeup but skincare needs as well. I do cosmetic skin treatments, facials, waxing, chemical peels, body treatments, and laser treatments. To me, makeup is about cultivating

My career started by selling online beauty products . I would take before and after pictures of my clients and post them on social media. From there, I received constant requests from people to do makeup for them . What makes you hustle? What makes me hustle is being able to collaborate with talented artists and creative people to bring beauty

and imagination to life through makeup. I love to use makeup as a means of expression. I strive to create and capture many different makeup looks while bringing my creative vision to fruition. What is your favorite part about being an artist? What I love most about being an artist is not necessarily changing a person, but finding something beautiful about them and enhancing that feature. Everyone has something beautiful about them and I love having an impact on someone feeling more confident and being the best version themselves What has been your most memorable job? The most memorable moment of my job was the time I did a giveaway for a photoshoot and makeup application. The women who won the giveaway was going through chemo therapy for cancer. I found that little gestures such as a giveaway can be very meaningful and have a huge impact on someone’s life . Who are some of the strong women in the industry that have inspired you? Frida Khalo has been a huge inspiration for me because of her artistry and strength as a women . As far as makeup, Danessa Myricks CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022






“Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and everyone has something about them that radiates beauty.”




COVER STORY } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “It is imperative as a makeup artist to be comfortable in doing makeup application on every ethnicity and every walk of life.”

is a huge inspiration for me . She has taken her product and beauty line to the next level . What do you feel is the key to women empowering women, especially in the beauty and body image areas? Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and everyone has something about them that radiates beauty. In today’s society with numerous filters and photoshop, we get caught up in

achieving the impossible . Instead, we need to embrace what is is unique and beautiful about ourselves and be confident in our own skin. What do you think are 3 things that make you a successful makeup artist? Three things that make me successful as a makeup artist is the fact that I am very passionate about makeup Therefore, I am very driven and ambitious and motivated in making my career a success.

What have you found to be the most successful method of promotion for you and why? What I have found to be the most successful method of promoting my business is building relationships and word of mouth . Tell us about some of your goals and dreams for the future. I believe that for me it would have to be working on a major motion picture film. CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


COVER STORY } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “What I love most about being an artist is not necessarily changing a person, but finding something beautiful about them and enhancing that feature.”

If you could do one thing you have never done what would it be and why? To be renowned in the world of special effects makeup. What made you decide to go into the beauty and esthetics industry? I decided to go into the beauty/ esthetics industry because skincare and makeup go hand and hand

I started my own business 12 years ago and have continued to grow my business ever since. It didn’t happen overnight, it took a lot of work and dedication to get my business to where it is today .

It can be used as a foundation, a highlighter, and it helps to diminish the appearance of dark circles. It hides blemishes, hyperpigmentation, and age spots. You can do so much with it .

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you. That I like helping people grow and develop their makeup artistry skills

What is your specialty, or what you are known for? I think my specialty is Halloween Makeup along with Beauty Makeup. I am obsessed with sugar skulls and what they represent. Sugar skulls represent the spirit of a departed loved one.

What is one piece of advice you have been given that you have never forgotten? To treat individuals the way you want to be treated yourself. How did you take your business viral? As I mentioned before, I started by posting before and after images on to social media and my account grew from there as more and more people started to follow me and my work. As a makeup artist, are you comfortable with all ethnicities? It is imperative as a makeup artist to be comfortable in doing makeup application on every ethnicity and every walk of life. So yes, I am comfortable with all ethnicities. When did you become a lady boss? Did you just know you were meant to be a female entrepreneur, or was it something that happened over time? 20


What’s been your favorite job you’ve done as a makeup artist? One of my favorite jobs I did was being a part of Bridge Street and doing a Halloween demo with the cast . Tell me about three makeup trends you’re

Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years? I see myself oversees continuing my career in the beauty industry. What cosmetic products do you use every day? I use skincare daily . My number one products are SPF and Retinol What’s your favorite cosmetic product and why? Sell it to me. My favorite product is Concealer. Concealer is a multitasking product.

a fan of. Blush placement. The refine contouring technique. Concealer trends on high lighting and lifting. Where will we see Marcela Tobar next? My hope is that you will see my work on the red carport for celebrity makeup application.





“ I love to use makeup as a means of expression. I strive to create and capture many different makeup looks while bringing my creative vision to fruition.”



{ COVER STORY } } { SHIFT+CONTROL “What makes me hustle is being able to collaborate with talented artists and creative people to bring beauty and imagination to life through makeup.”








For the latest edition of Central NY Woman Online we bring you a mother/daughter trio who is no stranger to the family. From writing, to modeling, to photography and even dance comps and events, they have all been a part of our amazing team in a variety of ways for over a decade! Now, we can add inspiring women to the list.

and sisters, but also in how we support each other in our pursuits as artists, writers, dancers, performers, photographers, models, titleholders and as humanitarians with thousands of hours of combined community service hours often completed together. We have RARELY, if perhaps NEVER, have NOT done a show or pageant or event

Tell us about Sandy, Alexis and Annaliese We are a mother/daughter trio! Sandy is the mom, and Alexis and Annaliese are the daughters! Alexis is the oldest at age 30, and Annaliese is the youngest at age 18. Well, actually, Sandy is the oldest at age 56! We have all lived, loved and worked together for years and in many facets as family, in home schooling endeavors, professionally, and also in our humanitarian projects. We share photos of some of the professional and service projects we have worked together on over the years in the worlds of ballet and film productions, pageantry, modeling and Sandy’s ministry and nonprofit work. Most of the photos included here are pictures Sandy has taken of her daughters to help them create portfolios of their work in pursuit of their dreams, but also to tell the story of their mutual support and appreciation for each other which spans many years and thousands of moments that is truly difficult to summarize. As Annaliese so aptly noted, “You really had to be there to understand!” But to truly share the unique story that makes up this special relationship, it in understanding how we live and love each other as family and as mother/daughter

cannot even penetrate, which is beautiful and rare. They are often cast together as sisters or playing the younger/older version of the same person, including in a music video that has over 400,000 views on YouTube created by a person who is somewhat famous. In the video, Anna walks around a tree and then comes out as a grown up version of the person she was portraying which was played by Alexis. The girls joke that they are 11 yeara-part twins, who have different dads! It’s not really joke though because it is true. Anna said you are like the “Kardashians”, and that Sandy you are a Momager like Kris Jenner. Tell us about that dynamic. Annaliese: I did originally say this as a witty joke because I love cracking jokes and have a great sense of humor! But my mom is definitely a “Momager” in the best way and does so much to make sure we reach our goals, whatever they may be.

together, needing each other to do it right. Our mutual involvement includes work in front of the camera and behind, backstage and onstage, in the recording studio, and at red carpet events. The girls are best friends and sisters, and since day one have had a sister club that Sandy

Sandy: I believe that an important part of my role as a mom is to help all of my children achieve their dreams whether through founding a dance studio to create a safe place to learn and professionally grow as dancers for both my girls many years ago, or by using my skills as a former publicist and photographer to help them create professional connections and opportunities. And haha Annaliese. You ARE so funny and quick-witted! How did you start Worth More Nation and what is the mission behind this amazing organization? Sandy: I founded Worth More Nation

“I am inspired by my m always have my back resilience and strength both of the

mother and sister because they k and inspire me with their h. I feel very grateful to have em in my corner.”




{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “But my mom is definitely a “Momager” in the best way and does so much to make sure we reach our goals, whatever they may be.”

Sandy: I founded Worth More Nation in 2016 with the vision to empower girls and young women. The name came to me while praying and running on a treadmill at the Pittsford Y! Ironically, or should I say only in a world where God orchestrates the miraculous and divine, our Worth More Nation special occasion closet – called the Fancy Frock Closet – is located in that old YMCA which is now the location of Edgewood Church! I went to work registering the name and creating a template for a social media and online presence, and then let the name sit as I had no idea specifically what Worth More Nation would be, or how it would serve. All I knew was that I wanted to empower young ladies and girls to gain confidence and inner strength and to know their worth. It wasn’t until the following year in 2017 through my personal involvement fostering children in our home, as well as working in the pageantry and fashion industries as a photographer and also “Momager” to my youngest daughter Annaliese, that Worth More Nation would become better defined as an organization that would help girls know their worth through fashion, pageantry and giving initiatives. I had seen with my own daughter that participating in pageants, fashion shows and fashion shoots and wearing beautiful garments – if done compassionately and correctly --had a way of boosting her confidence and bringing her joy while she made new friends, and developed poise, presentation, public speaking and advocacy skills for a lifetime. I saw the power that these moments had to transform girls where they would hold their heads higher, smile more brightly or walk with more confidence. I saw the power of a dress to transform and to set the stage for what could be. I saw a shy demeanor turn to triumphant when girls would gather the confidence to walk on a stage or speak in

a microphone. I saw them light up in the appreciation of applause, and in the glory of being seen and noticed. Through Worth More Nation’s initiatives and programs then, I wanted to provide girls in need of a boost, or coming out of traumatic places that same opportunity regardless of their support systems or abilities to pay. I wanted to give girls that same healing balm. I was sexually abused as a child by my grandfather and suffered through moving to a new home or town at least every other year. I had lived in 25 homes by the time I graduated from high school including four homes as a foster baby the first year of my life. My father was an alcoholic and my mother was addicted to prescription drugs for as long as I can remember, and my parents divorced when I was a young teen. I knew from experience that early trauma had a way of whispering the lie that you don’t matter and that you are less than those around you, I became passionate about helping girls and young women rise out of traumatic times to live out their God given destinies with the knowledge that they are ENOUGH and that they are Worth More. For each of you, who is someone that has inspired you and why. Sandy: I am truly inspired first and foremost by the Bible. It is my guidepost for living and seeking God to be all He created me to be, and to serve Him by loving and helping others. I am also inspired by each of my family members, of course, including these two lovelies who are being interviewed with me. I am inspired by my husband Sam for modeling patience, discipline and diligence. He is truly one of the best humans I know. All of my children inspire me every day to be a better person and mom, and to be strong in the midst of adversity, resilient in the wake of the valleys we walk through, and hopeful for the future we are promised

by the Lord. I try to teach and model the kind of character I want to have and that is of the Holy Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. I believe these character traits are only possible to have by staying connected to Jesus and following Him. I am also inspired by my sister Jan, my cousin Kate – two incredibly kind, devoted, fun, strong and talented wives, moms and professionals. Also, I am inspired by my besties I have met in my journey of life in different stages including my college roommates, and my Sherry and my MaryAnn. While I have many friends and associates along the way and people who have greatly impacted my life in so many wonderful ways, my closest relationships are the ones I cherish and nurture and do not take for granted! I try my best to sow into these relationships as much as I am able. Finally, I am inspired by Lysa Terkheurst and her story of faith and overcoming, her motherhood and sense of family, her career as an author, and her personal style of wardrobe, her social media pages and her home decor. She is very inspirational to me. Alexis: I am inspired by my mother and sister because they always have my back and inspire me with their resilience and strength. I feel very grateful to have both of them in my corner. Annaliese: Of course my mom and sister inspire me every day and have since I was little. They are both amazing women. Outside of my family, Taylor Swift inspires me because of her resilience. What empowers your drive to push ahead? Sandy: What empowers me to push ahead is my faith in Jesus and the promises God has for us in the Bible. He has given me a vision for my purpose and life as a mom and a helper of mankind which is my namesake. In the midst of hard times, CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “When times get tough, the way that I get through is by being around people who help me center myself again and by being creative and moving my body so I can get out of a cycle of overthinking.”

I know if I don’t quit and keep moving forward, the Lord will bring me to the place He has destined me to be as He has a plan and vision for our lives to bring us good and not harm, and He also will take what was meant for evil against us and turn it into good according to His will and purposes. That is my empowerment, my faith and my prayers. Alexis: What empowers me to push ahead are my relationships and people, and trying to make the world a little better. Annaliese: What empowers me is thinking of my future. Things can seem hard in the moment, but thinking of what is in store for me makes it seem all worth it. What has been one moment that has defined your life and left a lasting impact? Sandy: I have several moments that I can think of over the course of my life. The moment that most impacted my life is when I decided to follow Jesus. It is the decision from which all of my other decisions flow and how I try to live my daily life following and serving Him. It’s funny because when people can give me a piece of advice or nugget of wisdom they learned or discovered, I can often trace that truth back to a scripture in the Bible! Another moment that had a defining impact was becoming a mother. I was raised by a generation of women who I believe were still finding their voice in female empowerment, and sometimes looked at motherhood as a prison sentence. At least that is how I viewed the messages my own mother imparted to me. I heard “Go to college, you don’t need a man” or “You don’t want to be a stay at 34


home mom. Being a mom is awful. Go out and work.” But really, what I think was missing was the idea that you could do both. Once my daughter Alexis was born, I was like, “Why did she say that? This is the greatest thing in the world!” My life and purpose became crystal clear, and that was to be her mom and raise and love her as the highest purpose and calling, as well as my other children who were born thereafter. I worked very hard at becoming a stay-at-home mom who also worked at home by creating opportunities and businesses as a freelance writer and publicist, and later as a dance studio owner, photographer and nonprofit

founder. I worked diligently combining all of my roles, which is something I still do today. When it comes to the shows I currently produce, for example, I would never want to do them without Alexis and Annaliese and my son-in-law John, and also Sam and Caleb helping with tasks, because we make a really good team and know how to do it after so many years of experience creating and producing shows and events. And finally, marrying Sam is when I experienced what I believe is an example of God’s love for us here on Earth. He has loved and nurtured me in ways

that were void and missing in my life, and through that I have had the security and wind underneath me to encourage me to pursue my passions and raise our family in beautiful ways. Alexis: One moment that defined my life and left a lasting impact is really hard to choose because there are lots of moments. I think that most moments could fit that however because everything happens for a reason, and it makes you into the person you are. Annaliese: A moment that defined me is when I decided to go from being homeschooled to being in public school. My life changed a lot and it was really hard, but it taught me a lot of life lessons and made me who I am today. When times get tough (which we know they have for all of us), how do you push ahead? Sandy: I push ahead by having faith in God and believing in the good plan He has for our lives, and by praying and trusting Him. I also keep focused on not quitting and knowing through experience that I can do hard things and that eventually the pain goes away and a new day is dawning. God’s mercies are new every day. These are fantastic lessons I have also learned training for and running marathons! I could write a book about the life lessons you learn through marathon training and the value of not quitting when the going is tough! I always say you never quit at the 25th mile (which was the most grueling mile and moment ever). If you quit at the 25th mile and not finish, then you miss out on the glory experienced when finishing the race! Alexis: When times get tough, the way that I get through is by being around people who













{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “I find purpose in my faith, and my family and friends. I also find purpose in my work to serve others especially youth who have experienced abuse and trauma in their childhood, and help them to not quit and to rise up and break into the destiny that is planned for their lives.”

help me center myself again and by being creative and moving my body so I can get out of a cycle of overthinking. Annaliese: I get through tough times by being with my therapy dog Ellie, listening to music, doing something to help others, and leaning on family and friends. What are some of the things that give you purpose? Sandy: I find purpose in my faith, and my family and friends. I also find purpose in my work to serve others especially youth who have experienced abuse and trauma in their childhood, and help them to not quit and to rise up and break into the destiny that is planned for their lives. Alexis: Some things that give me purpose are my family, my friends and my pets. I try to love others well through everything that I do. Annaliese: I find purpose in my family and friends, and helping people in whatever way I can. Tell us about something you are passionate about and why. Sandy: I am passionate about seeing my children and other young people I have the honor to help and mentor achieve their dreams and overcome adversity. I am passionate about building a life with my husband and family, and the idea of leaving a legacy for them that will help them have a better life than I had. Alexis: I am passionate about traveling because I love just being exposed to different places and different people and broadening my world view. I am passionate about a lot of things – dance and the company; school and studying psychology and social work. I am passionate about experiencing all of life. Annaliese: I am passionate about volunteering

because helping others is a good way to not focus on your own problems, and I am a very compassionate person. It is one of my strengths! How do you spend most of your time? Sandy: I spend a lot of time caring for my family, as well as planning special events and gatherings for my family and for Worth More Nation. I spend time caring for my home and our pets because I enjoy that so much - even the cleaning parts because cleaning is one thing I can do where I can temporarily control the outcome which is very satisfying to me! I spend time caring for myself because I know if I don’t care for myself by eating right and exercising and getting enough rest and downtime, that every other area of my life will crumble. I spend time with God by praying, reading the Bible and listening to podcasts and worship music. Joyce Meyer and Jesus Calling are my favorite podcasts on Spotify. The music and podcasts are great companions when cleaning, gardening, running and driving, along with chatting with my girlfriends, which is also a must! Finally, I am purposefully spending time every day writing my book. That part is a struggle because some of the chapters are draining. I am aspiring towards one page per day which is how books are written. Alexis: I spend most of my time working, spending time with my husband and our animals, and my friends and family, studying and creating and learning. Annaliese: I spend time working towards my education, volunteering with Worth More Nation, exercising, spending time with family and friends, and discovering the most authentic version of myself. What have been your biggest weaknesses and how have you worked to overcome them?

Sandy: My biggest weakness is questioning my abilities, and stressing about the wellbeing of my children and family. I work to overcome that through my faith and prayer, and rewriting the lies I picked up along the way from early trauma. When a lie creeps in, I take it captive and believe instead the truth of what God has said about me and the purposes He has for my life. Another weakness is also something that I consider to be a strong point of mine, and that is my deep desire to help others. It is a weakness when that desire overtakes caring for myself and for my family. My early childhood sexual abuse and trauma skewed my sense of boundaries, and I have worked really hard the past few years learning to say “No” and focusing on healthy boundaries, and manageable ways to help others. Annaliese: A weakness of mine has been being a people pleaser. It’s hard for me to say no, but I’ve been working on putting my time where I want to, so I don’t feel burnt out. What are you most proud of? Sandy: I am most proud of my family and the legacy/home my husband and I are building together. Both Sam and I have overcome many obstacles in our lives, as many people have. Sam was raised in poverty and by his adopted parents who loved him and gave him all they were able to give. He has never met his biological family, but still stays steady through what others would perhaps view as abandonment. He truly believes in the best of others no matter what has happened to him personally, and has worked so hard to rise above and be the man he is today. But what makes him even more special is the compassion he has for the fatherless and orphaned, and for those living in marginalized communities. He is such an incredible role model to me, and many other people, and I am so proud to be his wife and do life together with him. CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “I spend time working towards my education, volunteering with Worth More Nation, exercising, spending time with family and friends, and discovering the most authentic version of myself.”

Alexis: I am most proud of the way I treat people. Annaliese: I am most proud of overcoming a lot of adversity the last four years of my life, and coming out feeling like I can take on anything. Sandy, what is some advice you have received that you have passed on to your daughters? Sandy: I hope I have passed on to my daughters and also my son to be kind to others and respect and treat everyone fairly and with dignity. I believe they each can achieve anything they set their mind to and dream about, and that through hard work and staying the course, the impossible can be achieved. The greatest legacy I hope to have passed on to my children is my faith and beliefs as a Christian and to know they are loved by Jesus and that they are enough just as they are. What is your favorite family vacation? Sandy: I grew up at the beach, so any vacation that involves being on the beach and relaxing is a favorite time for me. The ocean is healing to my soul and I love being able to share that with my family. Alexis: My favorite family vacation with me and John going to Europe this past month, and for my family it would be when I went to California with my mom and sister when Annaliese participated in National America Miss Nationals. Annaliese: Going to Long Beach Island every summer where my mom grew up. What would you change about yourself if you could and why? Sandy: There are times when I daydream of what it would have felt like to have had a grandfather who didn’t sexually abuse me, or a father who was there for me or who cherished me the way a father should have, or if I didn’t have so many unstable 40


and traumatic circumstances growing up. Who would I have been and what choices would I have made differently? I know a lot of my heart ache would have been avoided. However, because I truly love my life now and who I have become and the work I do, I accept those early experiences in how they shaped me to be the compassionate and giving person, wife and mother I am today. And even though those early years sucked, I got the jackpot with my husband Sam, so it has made up for all of that and so much more! Alexis: I wouldn’t want to change who I am because I feel like everything we go through helps us become who we are supposed to be. Annaliese: I would not change anything about myself. I think everything happens for a reason and every part of yourself, whether good or bad, is just a stepping stone to fulfilling your destiny. Anna, tell us about your anti-bullying initiative and how it started. Annaliese: It started with my pageantry journey and title with the pageant system High School America who has an antibullying platform called BRAVE. During my time representing their organization, I had the opportunity to spread that message at different classrooms and community events. I even held my own Miss BRAVE Self Love Showcase as an empowerment event for girls because I believe spreading kindness starts with spreading it to yourself. I also had an online blog called Scars to Hearts where I wrote about my own story with being bullied and how I overcame. I also had the opportunity to share my story in other publications like Rochester Woman Online. I’ve currently taken a step back from the pageantry world, but the anti-bullying message is something I still strive to live by every day.

What do you dream of personally and professionally? Sandy: I dream of continuing to grow as a person and believer loving and serving my family, and the people I care about the most. I hope to finish writing and publishing my book by the end of this year and being able to speak and share my testimony of overcoming to audiences as God opens doors and allows. I hope to continue to grow Worth More Nation, and add more state pageants to be able to reach more girls who need to know and understand the message of personal worth and confidence. I hope to be able to open our home again to more children in foster care. There is so much need in this world and so much brokenness. If we can continue to be a beacon of light to children in need of a home and stability, our hearts are open again and prepared, and we are ready to serve in this way. I really would love to take a Caribbean vacation with my husband and children – somewhere warm and resort-like and just enjoy! Alexis: Professionally I am working on getting a master’s degree in social work and counseling, and I would love to incorporate that with some sort of movement or dance therapy practice. For our dance company Incandescent Dance, I would love to help that grow into a nonprofit and be able tour with my shows and inspire audiences. In my personal life, I aspire to find fulfillment and happiness! Annaliese: Both in professional and personal ways, graduating college and finding happiness in whatever I do. What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful and growing Worth More Nation? Sandy: It has been through our volunteers, supporters like Rochester Woman Online and many others, as well as the national pageant community that Worth More Nation has grown to be what it is today. It never







{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “ I am most proud of overcoming a lot of adversity the last four years of my life, and coming out feeling like I can take on anything.”

ceases to amaze me when we receive gowns and dresses in the mail from titleholders around the country who are donating their beautiful, often brand new garments (some still with tags) to our Fancy Frock Closet so that the girls and young women we serve have the opportunity to experience positive pageantry and being queen for the day. The generosity and support of the community has been the catalyst to help us grow. It has been a lot of hard work and something I work on every single day, but it has been so rewarding to reach new children and youth.

Through the years my vision strengthened and developed and I have found an incredible need in the dance community to create a kinder, more diverse, and emotionally healthy environment. In this work, I have discovered another passion- and that is the study of social sciences. It is important for me to know why people act, think, and feel the way they do and I have naturally been drawn to learning about this and applying it to my work. I have decided to become a student again

Anna, what are your plans for after graduation? Annaliese: I’m attending College of Charleston in the fall to study elementary education!

One of the toughest decisions I ever had to make was when I closed my business after a decade of operating. At 19, I opened a dance studio, and within this business, I spent the shaping years of my twenties. As I know now through my psychology studies, my prefrontal lobes were still moldable and fresh. I had never _not_ been an adult who owned a dance studio. I had started teaching baby ballet at the tender age of 13, hardly older than a baby myself. I had never _not_ been “Miss Alexis”. Although the business was finally in a comfortable financial place, I couldn’t help but notice the dread and anxiety I had every time I walked through the front door. Something that was so ingrained in my identity, something that once brought me so much pride and joy was no longer working for me. I had worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get to this point but in that process, I had compromised my own well-being. I felt like I was drowning, caught in an undercurrent with no control over my direction.

Alexis, what has it been like over the years owning and creating your own dance studio and how did it empower you being a female entrepreneur? Alexis: At the age of 19, I decided to become an entrepreneur and open my own dance studio. This put a hold on my studies. I had previously been enrolled in courses as a homeschool student to obtain dual credit while completing my high school requirements. You see, performance art was always my calling and I felt this from a young age. However, I experienced early on the demanding and sometimes abusive rhetoric of this industry. It was my desire to create a safer place for dancers of all ages and backgrounds who shared my passion. I desired to create art that mattered, that helped people and aimed to recognize the humanity and beauty in both my students and audience members. Even though this path was unusual to most, I have always gone after my dreams no matter how hard or seemingly impossible and that is exactly what I did for almost a decade.

to become a dance therapist. I would love to continue on my journey to help people through the arts.

after a decade of being a teacher. A decision inspired by the pursuit of my life calling, and also in honor of my grandmother, Sally, who always wanted to see me graduate as she was not allowed to go to college. As a woman, her father discouraged her from obtaining a degree and I am her only female heir. She died several years ago. In returning to the world of higher education, I am hoping to build on my knowledge as a performer, teacher, and advocate by obtaining a degree in psychology, and of course, to make my grandmother proud. My ultimate goal would be to merge these two passions of dance and the human mind

This is where courage comes in. It is never easy to make a decision that drastically changes your life, especially when others don’t understand or will be disappointed. After months of riding an emotional rollercoaster and weighing my pros and cons, I drafted an email that would close a huge chapter of my life. With bated breath and eyes squeezed shut I hit send. I wish I could say that there was no fallout. However, if you are going to cannonball into your life, you have to expect that you will make waves. But after those waves cleared, something amazing happened. A weight was lifted and I began to float. I broke through the surface of the CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “This is where courage comes in. It is never easy to make a decision that drastically changes your life, especially when others don’t understand or will be disappointed. ”

the water and took a big gasp of metaphorical air. The possibilities of life stretched vast across the horizon and the hardest part was over. I learned that even though jumping into something new is terrifying, drowning in the current, whether we are talking water or time, is most definitely worse. What mistakes have you made along the way and what did you learn from them? Sandy: Most of the mistakes I have made have been in being too demanding on myself. Also, another mistake is struggling with people pleasing, and going along with the idea that someone knows better than I do perhaps, even when it comes to my own business and life. There is an art to receiving wise counsel and learning from others, but also remaining true to yourself 44


and the vision God has given you for your life and you work. It is so interesting to read my daughter’s responses and to see that they too struggle in this area which further emphasizes that often what our children receive from us is learned through our own actions, and how we view the world. They both answered the question independent of each other! Alexis: The mistakes I made along the way is caring too much about what other people think and learning how to find my own voice and stay true to my vision. Annaliese: Caring too much about what other people think. The most important thing is living for yourself and being yourself. You are undoubtedly busy, how do you

take care of yourself and maintain a good mental health? Sandy: I always say downtime is uptime, and for me that means spending time at home resting, putzing around as I like to call it which is decorating and cleaning the house, running and working out, playing with our dogs, reading and going thrifting and to estate sales with friends. And naps…I really love naps. Alexis: I take care of myself and good mental health by learning how to rest and take breaks and leaning on friendships I can trust. Also, dancing for myself instead of for performance, yoga and running. Annaliese: As an introvert, if I’m feeling







{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “Caring too much about what other people think. The most important thing is living for yourself and being yourself.”

overwhelmed it’s really important for me to take some time alone to rest and recover so I can come out the other side feeling refreshed and recharged. How should women of all ages support other women in their organizations? Alexis: I think the most important thing for women to do is to try to cut the competition between each other and try to celebrate each other’s victories and boost each other instead of trying to tear each other down. Annaliese: Just offering support in whatever way is valuable to them. I think when trying to support, it’s important to ask what THEY need because sometimes it’s a volunteer or maybe it’s as simple as making a small financial contribution. What are your plans for the immediate future? Sandy: Helping Annaliese transition to college; heading to Branson, Missouri with Desi who is a Worth More Nation Ambassador to help her compete in a national, competitive pageant; and spending time on a family vacation at a home we rented on one of the Finger Lakes. Alexis: My plans for the future include school, my dance company, and focusing on my marriage. Annaliese: Going to College of Charleston in August! How do you balance career, personal life and passions? Is there such a thing as balance? Sandy: For me finding balance begins with planning and scheduling and making lists. I love lists, and planning out my days, weeks and months. I have a huge yearlong calendar right over my desk and it is wonderful to see the future before me in all facets – personally, professionally and with my family members. It is important then to try your best to stick to your plan

and hold your boundaries, but also leave room for spontaneous joy and surprises. This is why my yearlong calendar is dry erase. Alexis: I think you can have balance if you have the courage to follow the right path and cultivate the right group of people around you. The people and the things you are doing should allow you to be yourself and do all of those things. Maybe it’s sometimes messy, but if you have the right people or path, it will be okay. Annaliese: Just keeping the mindset that all are important and one shouldn’t get more attention than the other. I think the most valuable thing in my life is maintaining good relationships with family and friends because having people in your corner makes everything else so much better What do you think are the best ways to stay grounded, and take care of yourself mentally and physically with such crazy schedules? Sandy: Prayer and more prayer. I try to pray before the day begins for God to order my steps and remove the unforeseen obstacles and problems and to pave a way of peace for my day. Sometimes you don’t even know what to pray, so I ask for the pre and post protection for myself and my loved ones. Annaliese: Like I said above, taking the time for myself to recharge. It’s hard not to think of taking a nap or just watching Netflix as something that is lazy, but it definitely isn’t and everyone deserves to do something that gives them needed rest. How did you balance being a mother and professional? Sandy: I have never been good at that when working in a more traditional “outside the home” manner. Caring for my kids at home has always been a priority for me, so it was the impetus to create my own home business opportunities from the beginning

when I first became a mom 30 years ago! When I gave birth to Alexis in 1992, I was planning to return to work in an office. As soon as I gave birth to her, however, I knew in my heart that I needed to be at home and everything else would then fall in place. My first “entrepreneurial” job happened when I left my fulltime position as a lifestyle editor at a weekly newspaper group, and began freelance writing. We bought a jalopy of a computer with a giant monitor and hard drive, and I began the art of writing and interviewing people around nap schedules or in the wee hours of the morning. I still write best on deadline and in pressure situations, but as I am aspiring to author a book this year, I am trying very hard to pick away at the task one page, one day at a time! As an aside, one of my favorite pictures of Alexis and me when she was just a few months old was taken by a sports photographer on a film camera when I was going into the news room to drop off my writing assignment. Back then, computers were fairly new on the scene. We received writing submissions by mail and also by fax! Our typesetters would then rekey everything into the system and then the articles and headlines and captions would be sent down to the art room where they would literally print out the page layouts that we would submit on graphs, and would cut and paste the pages together using wax to seal everything to the pages! I remember running up the stairs to the news room holding Alexis and the photographer snapping a photo of us. If you look closely you can see a throw up stain on my shoulder from my sweet little girl. What have you had to sacrifice personally and professionally when managing your daughters’ careers? Sandy: Helping my daughters achieve their dreams and helping them be all they can be has never been a sacrifice for me. I view all of it entirely as a privilege to CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “I take care of myself and good mental health by learning how to rest and take breaks and leaning on friendships I can trust. Also, dancing for myself instead of for performance, yoga and running.”

support them and do whatever I can to help them pursue their dreams whether in opening or closing a dance studio, or driving straight through the night from Rochester to New York to get Annaliese to a modeling assignment. For as much as I have helped shape the girls on their paths, the greatest art is in letting go one finger at a time and allowing them the freedom to forge ahead in the ways they desire. I am beyond blessed to be able to work alongside them over the years and watch them both blossom into the incredible, capable, brave, strong, resilient, creative, kind and loving women they are today. Tell us one thing we don’t know about you. Sandy: I am a songwriter who wrote much of the original music for my film Arise Sweet Sarah and its accompanying sound track that we produced along with a record label called Verb Records. Often, when I pray or sit at the piano, music, melodies and lyrics pour out of me in a very divine way. It is highly spiritual and a beautiful gift. It is definitely an out of body experience. Some of the most beautiful songs I have written are on the Arise Sweet Sarah Sound Track that is available on Spotify including two of my favorites You Are Free and Destinies Lost, the latter of4 which was sung on the recording by Alexis. Alexis: I don’t know. I feel like my whole life is on Facebook thanks to “Kris Jenner” over here. So I think everyone knows everything about me. Kidding aside, people wouldn’t know that I am very sensitive! Annaliese: I’m an open book, but a hobby of mine that not all people know about me is that I love to write. It’s my way of expressing myself when I feel overwhelmed. I have even considered studying to become a writer or English major and who knows, maybe I still will. I’m only 18, so I’m still figuring it out! 50


Biographies of Sandy, Alexis and Annaliese Sandy Arena has over 34 years of experience as a multi-media communicator and entrepreneur working as a former newspaper journalist, editor, publicist, film maker and ballet school owner. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communications. She has traveled nationally and internationally with her faith-based ballet productions that she wrote and directed and that Alexis and Annaliese were both involved for many years. Eventually she stepped away from directing the ballet studio so that Alexis could step into that role for a time with Sandy close by as a mentor. Soon thereafter, Sandy closed the ballet studio and Alexis then opened her own studio creating her own niche and vision taking the foundation of her experiences at Sandy’s studio to a higher, more professional level. Sandy is a self-taught photographer which is something she picked up as a dance studio owner to be able to create her own publicity images for her studio and then for Alexis’s dance studio and company. She began photographing Annaliese, as well, when Annaliese embarked on a pageant and modeling journey when she was just eight years old. Sandy had the privilege to serve Annaliese during decade long pageant/ modeling journey as her Momager, cross state chauffeur, hair dresser, wardrobe consultant, travel companion, and photographer. In 2017, Sandy founded the nonprofit organization Worth More Nation that empowers youth impacted by childhood loss, trauma or foster care through pageantry, fashion and giving initiatives. She has created a special occasion closet for the children and young people they serve and has dressed hundreds of young people in gowns and dresses for their events and other special occasions, with the goal of changing lives one dress at a time. She produces two fashion shows per year showcasing items from the closet and raising funds to support their

work. Their biggest event is their Miss Worth More Nation Pageant which is held in both New York and Oklahoma, and is an event that helps participants develop poise and presentation skills to last a lifetime, while all being crowned Miss Worth More Nation. She just created a sister pageant system called Ruby America Pageants offering appointed titles to applicants who can use their titles to support the charity work of Worth More Nation and its events, while also working on other service projects. She is songwriter and the author of the book Yahweh Ballet: Learning to Dance by Faith. She has been a featured guest speaker on broadcast media, and at community, college and ministry gatherings speaking about her film Arise Sweet Sarah and accompanying soundtrack with the same name, and live traveling production called The Life Ballet. These works of art and personal expression share a message of healing in the aftermath of lost motherhood from abortion – an experience Sandy had as a teen which proved to her to not be empowering or helpful in the midst of unplanned pregnancy, but rather was deeply hurtful and scarring. Both Annaliese and Alexis were deeply involved in these projects as performers, choreographers and recording vocalists. Sandy is a recreational marathon enthusiast who ran a full marathon to mark her 40th birthday and has since ran two half marathons – one with Alexis and one with her son Caleb who is a D1 football player at the University at Buffalo. She will run one more half marathon with Annaliese when she is ready to go! Her family has fostered many children and teens over the course of 13 years until they recently took a break to care for Sandy’s 92 year old mother who passed away in September 2021. Sandy and her husband Sam hope to open their home to fostering again when Annaliese heads to college this coming fall.

{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “Helping my daughters achieve their dreams and helping them be all they can be has never been a sacrifice for me. I view all of it entirely as a privilege to support them and do whatever I can to help them pursue their dreams.”

In all her endeavors, Sandy is passionate about sharing the joys of motherhood & family, as well as proclaiming Jesus as her Lord and Savior. A former homeschool educator for many years, she is currently working on her second book called I Am Not That Girl Anymore about the transformation of her life as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and many years of instability while growing up and how she owes that transformation to her love of the Lord and the work He has done in her life. She was named as one of the 175 Empowered Women in Rochester in honor of the city’s 175th Anniversary by the Rochester Genesee Valley Club. Alexis Fox has studied performing arts for 27 years under the direction of many talented teachers. She is the Artistic Director of Rochester based dance company, Incandescent Dance. (Formerly known as 52


Mossa Dance.) Her company has performed locally and throughout the United States and she has conceptualized and directed 17 original full-length ballets as well as countless other standalone pieces. Her work has been featured in The Rochester Fringe Festival, The Susan B. Anthony Women’s Rights Bicentennial celebrations, The Mrs. New York Pageant, as well as numerous concert, community, and charitable events. She has been a guest performer with Genesee Dance Theatre and PUSH Physical Theatre. Prior to starting her company, Alexis was the Founding Owner and Artistic Director of Mossa School of Dance, which she opened at the age of 19. She has been a dance educator and choreographer for 14 years. Alexis strongly believes in the power of storytelling movement. She has made it her personal mission to revitalize the world of ballet by making it more accessible and

relatable to audiences, and leading with a culture of kindness and collaboration amongst dancers. Annaliese Arena is from Rochester, New York and is 18 years old. She recently graduated from Mendon High School and will be attending College of Charleston in the fall. She studied classical ballet under her sister and has been involved in the pageantry and modeling industry since age 8. She has held titles with National American Miss and High School America and has had the opportunity to model for NYFW, ACFW, Philly Fashion Week, Fashion Week of Rochester, and many other runway shows across the northeast. She has completed 2500 hours of volunteer service with most of her recent work with Worth More Nation as a mentor, choreographer, workshop leader and event emcee.






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Behind the Scenes... The Mrs. New York America, Mrs. New York American, and Miss New York for America Pageant celebrates women, families, and community service. We empower women and give them the platform to become leaders. The 2022 pageant will be held on Sunday, July 17th starting at 2pm at the Marriott Downtown Syracuse on the 10th floor ballroom. We will have a pre-show vendor pop-up with over 25 amazing vendors to shop and enjoy starting at 11am. We hope to see everyone there. Tickets go on sale June 1! Please welcome our amazing Miss & Mrs New York American 2022 contestants. Please visit www.mrsnyamerica.com To vote for your favorite contestant from June 15th through July 15th for our annual Fabulous Face and People’s Choice 58



Diane Hardgrove Director

Diane Hardgrove has served as the Executive Director for the past twelve years for the Mrs. New York America, Mrs. New York American, and Miss New York for America Strong Pageants. During her reign as Mrs. Arizona 2006, Mrs. America 2006, and Mrs. World 2007, Diane served at over 600 appearances around the world! She studied dance for twenty years in the areas of tap, jazz, ballet, and Polynesian. Diane has worked closely with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for the past eighteen years. She was nominated as the Honorary Chair in 2006 and 2007 for the Southern Arizona Race for the

Cure. She now serves as a Team Leader and Committee Member for the North Dallas Making Strides Against Breast Cancer to raise funds for education, research, screening, and treatment. Diane’s highlights include the television commercials for the Race for the Cure, guest on KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles, ringing the bell at NASDAQ on Times Square in New York, traveling to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to speak at the Go Red Heart Disease Gala, presented awards at Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night for Parkinson’s Disease Research in Scottsdale, Arizona, and served as the keynote speaker on leadership at the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photographer: @carlosvelezstudios Make-up Artist: @alileeglam

{ SPECIAL FEATURE } “Mia’s community service platform, “Beautifully and Wonderfully Made,” focuses on helping women accept themselves as the amazingly strong and limitless women that God created them to be.”


Miss Ontario County

Please help us welcome back and congratulate Miss Ontario County for America Strong, Mia Elena Aldaco!

Oswego with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Justice/Pre-law. In 2016, Mia graduated from the University of Providence with a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice. In 2019, Mia received her Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Mia was born and raised in Texas. When she was twelve years old, she moved to upstate New York with her family. Mia is adventurous and driven, having moved several times across the country to pursue her education and career. Mia finds strength through her faith and hopes to glorify God in everything she does. Mia’s community service platform, “Beautifully a n d Wo n d e r f u l l y Made,” focuses on helping women accept themselves as the amazingly strong and limitless women that God created them to be. As a woman who has personally experienced an eating disorder, she hopes to promote self-love through her platform and continues to recover through the help of close friends and her faith. In 2009, Mia graduated from SUNY

daily, weight-lifting, and spending quality time in New York’s Finger Lakes with her dear friends. With the help of her close friends, Mia had the opportunity to promote networking and friendship for women through her monthly events for “Ladies who Brunch.” Mia has been blessed to meet so many amazing women through pageantry. Congratulations Mia! We are so happy for you and excited for your 2022 journey ahead. Photography and Gown Provided by: Laura Marino Make-up by: Alexandra Ryan Axenfeld

and was admitted to the New York State Bar in June 2020. Mia works as an Associate Attorney at the Whitcomb Law Firm in Geneva. In her free time, Mia enjoys running

{ SPECIAL FEATURE } “My motto in this life is everything happens for a reason and there are absolutely no coincidences.”


Miss Monroe County

Please help us give a warm welcome and congratulations to our new 2022 Miss New York for America Strong Contestant, Sam Schultz, Miss Monroe County for America!

and take. I was given a scholarship to attend the school of pharmacy at St. John Fisher. but unfortunately I was unable to fulfill that opportunity at the time. But, I can now smile and be grateful I was given such a beautiful opportunity. I also learned that life

Please see her amazing bio below. My name is Samantha Schultz and I was born and raised in Rochester, NY. I currently reside in Webster, NY with my two extraordinary boys, who give me the drive to “keep on keeping on” as my late GG would say. I was diagnosed with bilateral ovarian cancer stage 3C at the age of 28. Prior to that I was a nurse for five years. When I found out my diagnosis, my world was completely turned upside down. I realized you have to make room for detours in your life plans. I know that so many people need to hear my story and that is why I chose to do the Miss New York For America pageant this year and talk about my experience with having cancer, living through it, and more importantly, surviving. Through this life altering experience, I learned the real meaning behind give

happens for a reason and there are absolutely no coincidences. During the summer of 2016, I spent so many nights talking to god from the bathroom floor. Trying to stop the constant flooding of pain that entered my soul. I knew I must find a way to rise above the pain. For me, I found some of that peace by advocating, talking, and even sitting as a volunteer within hospice patients. I’m living proof of that you can overcome even the greatest odds if you put your mind to it, and don’t give up.Only 2% of population with my particular diagnoses survive to where I am today.I now am working on implementing patient services at Rochester Regional Health, and helping any way that I can If this even resonates and helps just one person, well it was all worth it.

is happening, it can happen to us or we can choose to live it. I choose to live mine to the fullest.Tomorrow is never promised, so savor each day. My motto in this life is everything

I stand tall as a past nurse who became a patient, who is now the steady hand to grab. I am proud to be your Miss Monroe County for America 2022. Photographer: Laura Marino Make-up: Alexandra Ryan Axenfeld

FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “Passionate about empowering people to transform into becoming the best versions of themselves.”


Please give us a warm welcome and wongratulations to our new 2022 Miss New York for America Strong Contestant, Danielle Jones, Miss Rochester!

and completely transform my life . Having a love for skin care, health, fitness, traveling and beauty. To now having the career of my dreams. Im excited to take on this next chapter in competing for the title of Miss

Please read Danielle’s incredible bio below. We l c o m e t o t h e Sisterhood, Danielle! “I am a New York State certified licensed medical aesthetician, residing in Rochester NY my entire life. Passionate about empowering people to transform into becoming the best versions of themselves. With hopes of using my platform “The power of transformation” to share my story of overcoming addiction through positive choices and a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s through volunteering at schools to help kids develope life skills and healthy habits, being a part of an annual clothing exchange where all the proceeds get donated to places in need. Having the chance to be able to speak into as many people and be a vessel of hope in sharing my story and the tools I used to overcome 62


New York for American Strong and encouraging other girls to believe in themselves and do the same. They always say “You’re one decision away from a completely different life.”

Makeup- Jessica Lahr @ jessicaellebeauty Photographer- Greg Hollar @ greghollarprojects Glow- Heather Renee”

FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “Machaela is currently training to be a Licensed Veterinary Technician and works as a Veterinary Assistant at VCA Fairmount Animal Hospital. She enjoys helping and caring for animals in need.”


Please help us welcome back and congratulate our Miss Onondaga County for America Strong, Machaela Kozlowski!

participating in outdoor activitiessnow boarding, ice skating, rollerblading, ATV riding, boating, jet skiing, and more! Machaela lives in Syracuse and loves pursuing new goals. She’s excited for

Miss Onondaga County for America Strong, Machaela Kozlowski! We are thrilled for you! Photographer: Laura Marino Make-up: Alexandra Ryan Axenfeld

Machaela is currently training to be a Licensed Veterinary Technician and works as a Veterinary Assistant at VCA Fairmount Animal Hospital. She enjoys helping and caring for animals in need. Machaela serves as the cotreasurer board member of AAGS, Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse. She presented a $1,000 check to AAGS for winning the People’s Choice Award during last year’s pageant. Machaela is also proud that her platform P.A.W.S., Providing Animals With Safety, helps raise money for foster and rescue animals in need. So far this year, she was able to raise $400 from her sponsors and sell the stickers she made. Proceeds were given to an 8-week puppy in foster care and she was able to help pay for the needed surgery on his leg. The puppy is now adopted and in a loving home! Machaela loves to paint and draw. She also enjoys working-out and

her pageant goal, I cannot wait to meet her sister queens soon! Congratulations



FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “Her mission is to provide a path to earn scholarships, internships, and dream jobs for youth ages 13-17, by helping them navigate college, the workforce, and life with her social impact initiative Endless Opportunities.”


Please help us welcome back and congratulate Taisha Elizabeth St. Jean, with a new local title, Miss Erie County!

graduation. Taisha’s currently holds the title Miss Erie County and will be competing for the title of Miss New York For America Strong 2022. Her mission is

Please read Taisha’s amazing bio below. “Taisha Elizabeth St. Jean was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. She graduated from Leonardo da Vinci High School in 2013, Medaille College in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication, and with her Master’s Degree in Marketing Communication from St. Bonaventure University in 2018. She has won various awards such as Changemakers 30 under 30; Grassroots Rising Star; Community Service Aw a rd ; Me d a i l l e College Dean’s List; Tr a v e r s C o l l i n s Scholarship, Heidi Raphael Scholarship, W h o ’s W h o i n American Colleges and University Recipient; Merit Award from Medaille College, recipient of Business First Community All-Stars and was the Commencement Speaker at her 64


Opportunities. She also participates in various community service projects and leadership programs. Taisha is currently working for the City of Buffalo Common Council as the Deputy Chief of Staff and as Professor at Medaille College. She is also an elected Erie County Committee Person and Vice-Chair for Zone 10. Taisha wants to make a positive difference in the lives of those around her. She hopes to encourage young women to pursue their dreams and to not let fear stop them from achieving their heart’s greatest desires.” Congratulations Miss Erie County! We can’t wait to see you shine on the famous stage, July 17th!Mrs. NY America, Mrs. NY American, and Miss NY for America Strong Pageants

to provide a path to earn scholarships, internships, and dream jobs for youth ages 13-17, by helping them navigate college, the workforce, and life with her social impact initiative Endless

{ SPECIAL FEATURE } “Rachel’s mission is to help those with disabilities realize they can accomplish anything.”


Please help us give a warm welcome and congratulations to our new 2022 Miss New York for America Strong Contestant, Rachel Barcellona, MISS QUEENS!

United Nations on World Autism Day, and was elected to the board of directors for Safe Minds Inc. which worked on passing Kevin and Avonte’s Law to protect Autistic children, along with supporting other important legislation

Rachel is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in English and minor in communications. She is a model, writer, singer, and actress with a film premiering this year around the country! She moved to Valley Stream New York several years ago and is currently working with New HD Media as an on air personality and developing stations in markets across the United States. New HD Media New York and Los Angeles are the first of many broadcast areas created with a goal of employment for individuals with disabilities and will provide universal digital coverage via the app, website and social media.

Rachel is proud to be Miss Queens for America Strong and looks forward to continuing to speak out in support of those with varying abilities. Additionally, others will see the Miss New York for America Strong system as one who supports young women of all abilities, an organization that values all levels of diversity, and an organization that seeks to lift the self-esteem of young women and help them realize their dreams. As Miss New York for America Strong she will continue to spark widespread change.

Rachel is the founder and president of her non profit “Ability Beyond Disabilities”, a 12 year dream that became a reality in 2021. Rachel is a spokesperson and board member at the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities and has traveled internationally with the Global Autism Project. She supports a variety of New York charities including Long Island Cares and the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Rachel has spoke at the

families affected by Autism get the services they need, such as insurance, jobs, housing, etc. She’s been interviewed by the likes of CNN and People Magazine about her journey with autism and has worked with NBA and NFL players to help make sports arenas more inclusive. Most recently Rachel has been awarded the gold medal from the Duke of Edinburgh International Award and was one of 5 individuals picked to represent the United States at the International conference which includes 133 countries.

in Washington D.C. She’s has been awarded $50,000 by the National Hockey League for volunteer service to distribute to her charities of choice, and used her influence to help

Welcome to the Sisterhood, Miss Queens! We can’t wait to see you on the famous stage, July 17th! photo/hair/makeup: Austin Ryde

FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “Her journey of self growth was fueled by her love of working with children as well as her passion for fitness and nutrition.”


Please help us give a warm welcome and congratulations to our new 2022 Miss New York for America Strong Contestant Christina Contento, Miss Orange County!

through compassionate guidance in food choices and movement with 1 on 1 and interactive group activities. Challenging herself while making a difference is why she chose to compete for the prestigious title of Miss for NY Strong.

and included in something they wouldn’t typically have the opportunity to - which will help guide them to a positive path. She plans on making a connection with the National Football League to raise funds and awareness for the Fuel to Play 60 program. She is very active in the community volunteering for various organizations such as Orange County Fair Speedway Kids Club, Ladies of Motorsports Magazine, Town of Chester, Cultivating Healing and Justice Initiative Support Services, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Mt. Alverno Center, and Warwick Valley Youth Cheerleading. Additionally, she creates content for her Fitness and Nutrition 101 series that contains videos and blogs to inspire others to work towards a healthy mind and body. Christina has partnered with ladies looking to improve their health by creating nutritional plans and workouts that suit their lifestyles.

Please see Christina’s impressive bio below. We l c o m e t o t h e sisterhood, Miss Orange County. We’re thrilled for your journey ahead. Christina Contento is a certified New York State educator and administrator for over 20 years. She is extremely proud of her career as a High School Assistant for at-risk students. She resides in Orange County with her family as well as their dog Teddy and cat Iggy. Christina loves to start her weekend with a 5 mile walk around the lake, enjoys attending dirt modified races, and is passionate about creating healthy meals. Her journey of self growth was fueled by her love of working with children as well as her passion for fitness and nutrition. Her platform Fuel Up your Energy Level (F.U.E.L) utilizes her passion for nutrition and fitness into helping children and women reach their full potential 66


Christina works with area gyms / schools / communities to directly provide opportunities for underprivileged children/women to feel they are involved


Christina has competed in fitness shows and placed 3rd this past December in the diva bikini division. She is the current ambassador for the Ladies of Motorsport

Christina is proud to be your Miss Orange County.

FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “Dr. Jackie is the first person-of-color to graduate with a Cognitive Psychology doctorate from the State University of New York at Albany. Jackie also holds a B.S. and an M.S. in psychology as well as an M.B.A.”


Mrs. Dutchess County

Please read Mrs. Dutchess County’s amazing bio below. We’re so happy for you Jackie and can’t wait to see you shine on stage!

lives and their hearts to be true to themselves. With this platform, Jackie hopes to be the game changer in people’s lives to help them thrive and flourish. Her Find Your Carrot book became a best-seller last year and is also translated into Arabic.

“Dr. Jackie Berry is a Cognitive Scientist who studies learning, expertise and humancomputer interaction. Dr. Ja c k i e i s t h e first person-of-color to graduate with a Cognitive Psychology doctorate from the State University of New York at Albany. Jackie also holds a B.S. and an M.S. in psychology as well as an M.B.A. As a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt, Jackie studied interface switching in Arabic-English bilinguals at the American University in Cairo. While in Egypt, Dr. Berry taught a class about the science of expertise and helped her students achieve outstanding accomplishments such as triathlons, 4-minute planks, learning to play an instrument, and speaking a new language. Her amazement in their progress led her to write FIND YOUR CARROT, a book to help people organize their 68


Jackie very much wants to help people find their true calling. She loves getting “elbows-deep” in helping people set and attain goals.

Visit Jackie’s website jacquelynhberry.com for more information on how to obtain a copy of her book. Jackie has since returned to Egypt to teach psychology and to study learning in complex tasks. Dr. Jackie is a founding member of Artificial Intelligence for Africa and has given a number of lectures about the impact of language systems on using technology including before the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Cornell University, West Point, and before the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Jackie has since returned to Egypt to teach psychology and is now studying, learning and Artificial Intelligence using the video game Tetris. Dr. Jack RogueVixen Berry also serves on the Vestry of Christ Church Red Hook Episcopal Church in Red Hook, New York where she resides with husband Christopher, a senior computer Engineer at IBM, and their son Grey.” Photography/ Hair/ Make-up: Fadil Berisha Photography

FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “Victoria prides herself on being a lifelong learner, she always takes on new challenges to grow.”


Mrs. Cayuga County

Please help us welcome back and Congratulate our 2022 Mrs. New York Contestant, Mrs. Cayuga C o u n t y, Vi c t o r i a Wejko!!

families who have elementary age children. She holds two master’s degrees in Public Administration (MPA) and Pastoral Studies (Theology).

Victoria is a lifelong New Yorker, Buffalo Bills fan, and wife to her husband, John. They call Weedsport home with their family of rescue cats. They also love spending time with the two-legged members of their family, including John’s 3 grown children.

She is also active in the Junior League of Syracuse where she cochairs the Education and Engagement committee. Fun Fact: While she is a lover of all things pink and girly, she is a former CrossFitter, and loves a good mud obstacle race.

John is an entrepreneur, who currently owns two businesses. Together they are on a mission to become the Fixer Upper couple of the Finger Lakes. John recently completed the “River House” in Auburn, which Vicky oversees as a short-term rental property on the Owasco Outlet. Victoria prides herself on being a lifelong learner, she always takes on new challenges to grow. She spent the majority of her adulthood dedicated to helping families and teens live healthy, happy, and whole lives. She works full time at a nonprofit organization, directly assisting

resiliency, sharing how a child’s past does not have to define their future. She speak regionally on this topic and recently starting a web series sharing resources to help survivors. As a former AmeriCorps Member, she believes in being involved in your community as much as possible. She has been an active volunteer with numerous organizations such as On Point For College, The Food Bank of CNY, CAP of Cayuga County, and through her parish Church of the Transfiguration.

Vicky has a passion for helping survivors of childhood trauma. This is rooted in her personal experiences of growing up around addiction, domestic violence, and hunger. It has fueled her work on childhood CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “Passionate about her students and maternal mental health, Kate is focused on sharing her story and impacting change.”

KATE BOYDSTON Mrs. Electric City

Please help us Welcome Back and Congratulate our 2022 Mrs. New York Contestant, Mrs. Electric City, Kate Boydston!!

Kate and her husband started #momsmaketime to give moms a platform to make time for themselves and their health. She is part of MoMMAsVoices, in training to be a patient family partner with MMHLA,



Learn more about MMH and #momsmaketime by visiting Instagram: @Kate.boydston_ny Facebook: Kate Boydston Congratulations Kate! We are so happy for you and can’t wait to see you shine on stage Sunday, July 17th! . . Photography by: BenizoPhoto Sessions @benizophoto Make-up by: @ queenspicyb Bianca Corrales

Kate is an Advocate, Special Education Teacher, Mother of 2, and Wife to her Supportive Hubby, Chris. They have found their forever spot in the Capital District where they are excited to raise their children. As a family, they love finding new food spots and are happy to give you a few recommendations if you visit the area! Passionate about her students and maternal mental health, Kate is focused on sharing her story and impacting change. As one of the 3 in 4 women who go undiagnosed with maternal mental health symptoms after pregnancy, her passion for providing resources and awareness began. It wasn’t until a NY America Pageant Sister provided resources that Kate put a name to what she was going through. She is forever grateful for the sisterhood pageantry has provided.

for her, she has succeeded.

and will be going to Capital Hill as a member of Mom Congress to lobby for MMH improvements. Kate believes if she can help one more mom the way her pageant sister did

FEATURE }} {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “Kathy believes in sustainable living through reduction of single use plastics and educates others through her community service platform, “Let’s Talk Trash.” ”


Please help us give a Warm Welcome to our new 2022 Mrs. New York Contestant, Kathy McKeever, Mrs. Buffalo!

Talk Trash.” Congratulations Mrs. Buffalo! We’re looking forward to seeing you shine on the Mrs. New York Stage on July 17th!

Kathy graduated from SUNY Brockport with a Bachelor’s of Science in Meteorology in 2012 and met her husband during class! Now married for five years, Kathy and her husband Glenn enjoy weather watching, gardening, working-out, and all things Star Wars. Kathy likes to embrace her creative side, and create costumes, cosplays, and outdoor holiday decorations. Kathy is scheduled to participate in her 10th annual Polar Plunge to benefit the athletes of the Special Olympics and serves as a Better Parks Buffalo committee member. Kathy has also helped raise over $60,000 for the Food Bank of Western New York. Kathy believes in sustainable living through reduction of single use plastics and educates others through her community service platform, “Let’s

Photography by: Julia Spike Make-up by: @jessicaellebeauty Share



FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “Katie loves to participate in musical theatre productions and choirs as often as she can, but in recent years, Katie has traded in singing to audiences for singing lullabies to her children.”


Please help us give a Warm Welcome and Congratulate our new 2022 Mrs. New York America Contestant, Katie Angerbauer Egan, Mrs. Western New York!! Katie graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor degree in Music Education; and a second bachelor degree in Vocal Performance. She has won several Vocal and Operatic Aria competitions, and has been in lead roles in musical theatre productions.

feeling the mist spray over her face at Niagara falls, or taking a walk along Buffalo’s Canalside while enjoying La Nova pizza; Western New York seems to have it all, including a wonderful sense of community.

Katie loves to participate in musical theatre productions and choirs as often as she can, but in recent years, Katie has traded in singing to audiences for singing lullabies to her children. She is grateful for the opportunity to be a mother, and recently welcomed her third child in October 2021. In December, she celebrated 11 years of marriage to her best friend and husband, Jeremy.

Katie’s career also included being a middle music teacher, and was voted “teacher of the year” and was the recipient of the city of West Jordan’s “Hero in Education” award. In 2017, Katie’s husband, Jeremy, received a residency for Cranial Facial Surgery and their family began a new adventure in New York. With it’s breathtaking scenery, inspiring history and diverse culture, Katie has dived in and and has absolutely loved joining the melting pot that makes up Western New York. From tasting the freshly baked rolls in Amish communities, to 72


supports the National Multiple Sclerosis Society; and has a committed passion to volunteer and help raise awareness for research opportunities to find a cure for the debilitating disease that affects over one million Americans.

Katie looks forward to empowering and supporting those affected by Multiple Sclerosis, while celebrating the beauty and unique opportunities that Western New York has to offer.

Katie serves her community by donating to her local homeless shelter, and serves as a youth leader and teacher for young women and children in her church. She

March 13-19 is National Multiple Sclerosis awareness week; and if you would like more information please follow Katie as Mrs. Western New York @mrswny2022 on instagram ; or visit https:// www.nationalmssociety.org. Congratulations Mrs. Western New York! We are thrilled for your exciting year ahead!

FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “After years of graduate degrees, corporate jobs, entrepreneurial pursuits, and mom duties, Bethany started a new venture in 2020 taking others around the globe on unique, soulcentered adventures.”

BETHANY STEVENS Mrs. Greater Rochester

Please help us Welcome our new 2022 Mrs. New York Contestant, Mrs. Greater Rochester, Bethany Stevens!!

Rochester’s premier dog walking and pet sitting business - accumulating 3 dogs, a cat, 5 chickens, and a turtle in the process! Whether volunteering for causes that

see what this new chapter brings. We are thrilled for you Mrs. Greater Rochester! Looking forward to seeing you on stage June 12th!

Bethany is a Rochester native through and through. While wanderlust has taken her across continents, she is always happy to return home and recharge her heart with friends and family nearby. As proud supporters of the community, Bethany, her husband ( Justin) and their young children (Brynne & Caden) are actively involved in a number of service and philanthropic activities, striving each day to leave the world a bit better. After years of graduate degrees, corporate jobs, entrepreneurial pursuits, and mom duties, Bethany started a new venture in 2020 taking others around the globe on unique, soul-centered adventures. A self-proclaimed fanatic of unique and random experiences, Bethany has participated in New Zealand’s Fear Factor, starred in an episode of House Hunters, and created

light up her soul, taking classes that ignite curiosity, or dancing alongside her kids, Bethany believes that each day is an opportunity to write a new page in our story and can’t wait to CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “An energetic and passionate storyteller, Amanda worked for Mr. Rather in various roles for nearly 11 years traveling the world both domestically and internationally.”


Please help us Welcome Back and Congratulate our Mrs. Syracuse, Amanda Richie Terzian!

her. Both of her parents were diagnosed with heart conditions within about a year of each other and Amanda’s “once a television producer, always a television producer” inquisitive nature prevailed. What began as gathering

Amanda is originally from Dallas, Texas. After completing the Dan and Jean Rather Internship in New York City and graduating from Sam Houston State University, Amanda moved to NY and made NYC her home in 2007.

Amanda serves on the Executive Leadership Team for Go Red for Women (GRFW) in Syracuse and has been nominated to be a 2022 Woman of Impact. She also volunteers with the Junior League of Syracuse where she serves on the Education and Engagement committee and is her neighborhood ambassador.

An energetic and passionate storyteller, Amanda worked for Mr. Rather in various roles for nearly 11 years traveling the world both domestically and internationally. Towards the end of her tenure, Amanda jetsetted across the country producing “Big Interviews” with news and entertainment icons like Dolly Parton, Simon Cowell, and Bryan Adams. Amanda and her husband Jim moved to Syracuse in 2019. Currently she is taking a sabbatical while building the foundation for her next adventure, operating as the household CEO, and raising her incredible three year old son, James. Amanda’s platform, HeART, found 74


As an avid runner, she’s completed 31 half marathons in 12 states, and 6 marathons to date. In January 2017, Amanda completed the Dopey Challenge at Disney World where she ran a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon in four consecutive days. She enjoys delectable culinary experiences, traveling, playing golf, constructing legos, having dance parties with her husband and son, and supporting various artists. One of her favorites, TinyDoorsATL.

Her life reflects both her high school’s and college’s mottos, “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve” and “The measure of a Life is its Service.”

information became a full on quest to engage, educate and encourage everyone to take a proactive approach to his or her own health. Her mission aligns with the American Heart Association’s, to be a relentless force for longer, healthier lives.

Amanda is married to her wonderful husband Jim, mom to their energetic son James and adorable dog Maddie. Congratulations Mrs. Syracuse! We are thrilled for your exciting 2022 journey ahead!

FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “I’ll say this about my pageant process so far: when dreams get taken from you by people with big egos and unbelievable insecurities, it’s important to remind yourself that your dreams are still valid.”

CHLOE ROSEN Mrs. Central Park

Please give a HUGE pageant welcome to Mrs. NY America, Mrs. NY American, and Miss NY for America Strong Pageants contestant Chloe Lewis Rosen! Start spreading the news…I’m competing for the Mrs. New York Pageant this July! (Gosh, been sitting on this for a while! ) Follow my pageant journey @ mrscentralpark for more on my personal platform, #GirlsOnTheRun, and insights on this crazy journey I have taken my friends and family on. I’ll say this about my pageant process so far: when dreams get taken from you by people with big egos and unbelievable insecurities, it’s important to remind yourself that your dreams are still valid. And you are worthy of chasing them, even if it’s 12 years later. #mrsnewyork #mrsamerica #mrscentralpark #writer #actor HMU: @marcus_geeter Headshot: Danny Duverny



{{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL FEATURE } “Something she lacked growing up was a solid foundation and she found her passion for giving homes while in Trinidad volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.”


truly has an eye for beauty.

We are pleased to announce our very first 2022 Contestant!

Simone recently launch a project very near to her heart with an International Relief Organization to help small artisans grow their business and

Mrs. Hamptons

Please help us Welcome Back and Congratulate our Mrs. Hamptons, Simone Doroski! Simone is a world traveler. She was born in Australia and has lived in over ten countries!



Congratulations Mrs. Hamptons! We are so happy for you and we’re looking forward to following your Mrs. New York Contestant journey ahead! Photographer: Laureleye Imagery Hair Stylist: Myles Sabryna

Simone appreciates the joy of giving someone a home! Something she lacked growing up was a solid foundation and she found her passion for giving homes while in Trinidad volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. During this trip to Trinidad, her team built a horse ranch, community center, and three houses for families in need. The feeling of gratitude she received from a teary-eyed mom, left a distinctive impact on her life. As a real estate agent, Simone’s goal is to help others achieve their goals and find their dream home! Simone has a BA in Mass Communications and Minor in Fashion. She also worked as a Decorator, Event Coordinator, and Florist for over 10 years so she

Simone is a proud mother of two. She has a 14 year old, 9 year old, an Alaskan malamute, and a sweet and supportive husband.

to give back to the country in the process, called “One of 1 Design Fashion.” Simone was just asked to model in New York Fashion Week on February 11th!




I never thought that it would be me. I could never imagine saying: I have spent half of my life dealing with a virus that is completely preventable...BUT HERE #iAM KILLING IT... .. When I was only 21, I learned that HIV would become my lifelong companion and unlikely friend. It took years to embrace not only the virus, but also the circumstances that resulted in something that would change my course and trajectory. During my lowest of times, I avoided it, denied it, and even blamed myself. Through the years, I’ve battled with mental health that led to addiction. Eventually, reality set in and my focus scored attention toward engaging, educating, and empowering the community...especially young men, who are just as sexually vulnerable as young women. I have been decorated with awards and honors for my service and leadership in this community and across the country. To d a y , I c e l e b r a t e #MyLifeOnPurpose...the highs and lows. It’s not always easy and sometimes even I feel alone with a virus that I didn’t ask for. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It helped shape me into the man everyone sees and hears, but few can actually feel. I will continue this work and being an example of courage, character, and consequence. I will continue to address this and other social and public health issues. We weren’t successful with Ending the Epidemic 80


by 2020, and still have so much work to do...with still few resources to do it. Stories like mine aren’t as uncommon as most would think. Stories like mine are necessary to tell, even when some people don’t want to hear it. I share my story so that it doesn’t become the theme in

someone else’s biography. We don’t get the pleasure of writing our own stories, but we can decide how it is delivered and memorialized. According to research: 1 in 7 people that have HIV don’t know their status. I do. Do you? For testing, prevention, and much more: connect with my friends at ACR Health.

So, you were 21 when you learned that you had HIV...Can you tell us about how you contracted it, and what it was like finding out about the diagnosis? How did the diagnosis change your perception on life? That I also knew what was happening to me, which I take full responsibility for. Finding out the results was the easiest part of the journey. How did others react to you knowing that you had HIV? Being diagnosed with HIV has enhanced an already keen perception and understanding of the world around me. It has been both a blessing and a curse. As strange as it may sound, I can see those that may feel like their virus is invisible. I can hear them louder than the world around us, with an emphasis on all the things that aren’t exactly being said. HIV also taught me about how society receives people like me. For every person that loved, supported, and lifted me up; there was always at least one not so pleasant experiences that knocked me down, canceling each other out. I have an tribe behind me that has developed and changed over the course of my journey, each playing a pivotal role in who I am today. How did others react to you knowing that you had HIV? Having this diagnosis hasn’t really changed who I am, other than giving me an important purpose and platform. It






“I never thought that it would be me. I could never imagine saying: I have spent half of my life dealing with a virus that is completely preventable...BUT HERE #iAM KILLING IT...”






{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } { WHAT ABOUT THE MEN? “The most obvious takeaway from this life-long companion of mine would be pretty obvious: life goes on...with or without you.”

doesn’t define who I am, but it certainly defines part of why I am doing whatever I can to ensure that stories like mine are not only heard, but also listened to. The stigma surrounding this virus still exists, and is the exact reason why others continue to become infected. There are a number of social and public health campaigns that I’ve worked on that address this issue, but I believe the 84


most valuable changes have occurred through treatment, prevention, as well as other scientific and social outcomes. Collectively, we have made huge inroads; however, ignorance and intolerance remain. What has been the most positive takeaway from this lifelong companion, as you call it.

The most obvious takeaway from this life-long companion of mine would be pretty obvious: life goes on...with or without you. It forced me to attempt staying focused on the aspects of life that I was able to control or change.




Helping women express their personalities through their fash Gray’s studio in the small t VISIT 22 SHADES OF GRAY ON FACEBOOK AT WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/22SHADESOFGRAY I

hion. All of our garments are designed, cut, & sewn in Peggy town of Buskirk, New York. WEBSITE: MY-SITE-10034622SHADESOFGRAY.SQUARE.SITE/ I PHONE: Phone: (518) 686-4195



Melissa Stephens President & CEO Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and your role with the Northeast Kidney Foundation. I stepped into the role of President & CEO after the former President & CEO of 20+ years passed away unexpectedly. In many ways I feel like my background, skill, and circumstances has aligned me so perfectly for this role. For the last 15 years, I’ve had a successful career in development and fundraising, working for various non-profits. 14 years ago this July, I donated my kidney altruistically to a man who was battling with poly-cystic kidney disease, so the mission and work of the Northeast Kidney Foundation is very close to my heart. What is the Northeast Kidney Foundation? What is it’s mission? Where are the headquarters located? The Northeast Kidney Foundation is a direct lifeline for those battling kidney disease. We provide programs, services, emergency grants, physical and emotional support, as well as work as a network within the kidney community. Our mission to improve the lives of those living with kidney disease is one that we are proud of and we work hard every day to make sure we are providing the best possible services for prevention measures, early detection, intervention, and support. While we service the entire Northeast Region of the country, our main office is located in Albany, NY.

How did you become involved with this organization? My first introduction to the foundation was probably about 7 years ago when I was introduced to Carol LaFleur, the former President & CEO. My boss at the time, who was a kidney recipient, introduced us since I was an altruistic kidney donor. Carol asked me to be a model in the Albany Catwalk for Kidneys charity fundraiser. Years later, Carol reached out to me as she was looking for part-time development support and asked if I could help out.

Why do you do what you do? What is your why? Service and supporting community has always been a huge part of my life; giving back was the way I was raised. So it would only make sense for me to make a career of it. I truly feel called to this organization and this mission specifically – there is so much that we can do to support those living with kidney disease and after learning that it effect 1 in 3 Americans; that much of kidney disease can be slowed or avoided by prevention measures with diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle; that so many people are living with kidney disease and don’t even know it. I feel obligated to spread awareness and

shed light on kidney disease. How long has the NEKF been around and how did it get started? NeKF was formed in 1972 by Ed and Rhoda Sperber. Ed’s young daughter, Barbara, needed a kidney transplant after learning that her’s was failing. During that time, the family learned that there was truly no support for people going through this process and wanted to create an organization that provided support and services. The family knew that needed to change and so the Northeast Kidney Foundation was created. What has your organization accomplished that you feel most proud of? Since stepping into this role in July 2021, I am very proud that we have continued to stay true to our mission of providing direct and immediate support to those living with kidney disease. Between the pandemic shutting us down, losing our longtime, iconic leader, experiencing a reduction in philanthropic giving, and many other internal struggles, we have never wavered in our support of this community. We continue to not only offer existing programs and services, but we are also expanding our reach and getting creative in how we provide care. I am incredibly proud of that. What are the goals for the organization this year? What would happen if your organization was not able to accomplish its goals? This has truly been a rebuilding and revisioning year for the foundation. While losing a long-time leader has been CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{ SHIFT+CONTROL { FOR A GOOD CAUSE} } “In many ways I feel like my background, skill, and circumstances has aligned me so perfectly for this role.”

incredibly difficult, we’ve really taken this time to evaluate what we have been doing and reexamine what we can be doing better. I’m excited about launching some new, upcoming services including an Online Grant Portal and a Live Help feature on our newly reimagined website. This will help us respond to the needs of those we serve much quicker that we ever have been able to in the past. If our organization was not able to accomplish its goals, thousands of our constituents would not have access, support, grants, resources, or a network to depend on. Our work is critical. Give me your best example of the way you’ve seen your organization’s work make a difference? Whitney, my colleague, always tells this story, but it’s so impactful! We receive emergency grant requests on a daily basis. These requests can range from asking to help purchase groceries to paying utility bills; whatever the kidney patients needs to help them focus on their health. After fulfilling one of these requests, we received a handwritten thank you note on a napkin stating how grateful he was to receive the aid. It was incredibly touching to hear and see just how powerful this work can be. Who is someone that inspires you and why? There are SO many people who inspire me and drive me to be a better person every single day. I am inspired by my own family, namely my mom, who immigrated to this country over 40 years ago. She taught herself to speak English, to read, to cook American foods, to cross stitch and sew anything, including clothes! And she never quits 92


– she is always challenging herself to do more and learn. I am inspired by the bravery of our kidney community – not only the patients, who battle this exhausting disease day in and day out – but also their caregivers and loved ones who also act as advocates for them. Our incredibly loyal volunteers inspire me. The show up to everything with a positive attitude and a feeling of gratitude, ready to make a difference in whatever we are doing. Their drive to make our community a better place is admirable. I am a firm believer in you are who you surround yourself with. Attitudes and habits are contagious. My personal friends, professional colleagues, mentors, and network is very representative of individuals who strive to put their best foot forward every day. They inspire me daily, working towards the goals they want to accomplish. What has been one moment that has impacted your life for the better or worse since working with the NEKF? Losing our long-time President & CEO, Carol LaFleur, has really impacted my life, but also the trajectory of NeKF. It’s difficult to explain because losing Carol was a huge setback to the organization yet is also allowed us to have a fresh start. Carol impacted so many lives throughout her career and filling her shoes has been a challenge to say the least, haha! But at the same time, it really gave me and our Board of Directors the opportunity to throw everything out the window and start fresh with a new perspective in terms of what the kidney

community was asking for in support. We’ve taken this enormous tragedy and worked really hard to refocus and envision how to transform our work. It’s been a long road and there is still so much more to do, but I am very excited about the progress we’ve made so far. What are areas of opportunity for your organization? What could you do better? One of the biggest areas for opportunity is for us to expand our footprint to reach every single corner of the Northeast that we cover. I really believe we can be doing so much better of a job in this area and it’s a key focus of mine. Kidney disease effects 1 in 3 Americans, so there certainly isn’t a shortage of those impacted. Reaching out and educating people on what we do, who we are, what kidney disease in, prevention measures, etc. is something I would like to be better at. What results does your organization achieve? Impacting more lives and educating people are kidney disease prevention is a focus. Right now, we serve about 8,000 people a year. I’d like to see that number increase to 10,000 and then grow by 5-10% each year. Where is your leadership team strong, and where does it need development? Passion, tenacity, and resolve to get things done are strengths of ours. We work hard each day to ensure we are meeting the immediate and urgent needs our those we serve. There are only two of us who work full-time for the Northeast Kidney Foundation, so it’s a lot to cover with a very small team. We have to be creative, focused, and experts







{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } { FOR A GOOD CAUSE “We provide programs, services, emergency grants, physical and emotional support, as well as work as a network within the kidney community.”

Expanding our team so we can have a bigger reach and bringing on others who have different skill sets will be key to our growth and success. What do you, personally, spend most of your time on? My time and focus varies day to day but my biggest efforts are on fund development, advocacy, and education on kidney disease and what we do. What are your goals for the next three to five years? What priorities will help you achieve them? Goal 1: Build a solid foundation of capital that will allow us to achieve

our organizational goals. Goal 2: Expand our reach to cover the entire Northeast Region as we are intended to do.

consistent volunteers who get it all done. Of course, I’d like to expand in so many ways and bringing on more staff will be crucial in that growth plan.

Goal 3: Offer more comprehensive programs and services that are focused on kidney disease prevention measures. Tell us something people may not know about the NEKF. I think people hear that we are a Foundation and assume we are this large entity but in reality, there are 2 full-time staff (myself and Whitney), 8 Board of Directors, and about 10 CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{ SHIFT+CONTROL { FOR A GOOD CAUSE} } “I am an organized person and a task master so it has been a great fit from the beginning. This new role has allowed me to step back and really see the big picture.”

Whitney Malone Director of Operations #1 Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and your role with the Northeast Kidney Foundation. I joined the NEKF family in October of 2019. My initial role with the organization was as an Event Coordinator/Office Manager. Then in June after we lost Carol, our beloved CEO, I stepped into the role of Director of Operations. I am an organized person and a task master so it has been a great fit from the beginning. This new role has allowed me to step back and really see the big picture. I, along with Melissa , our CEO, have really focused on running the organization at maximum efficiency in order to be productive and meet the needs of our kidney community. I have always wanted to have a job that made a difference in people’s lives. Before working for the Northeast Kidney Foundation, I worked at a bank for six years. In many ways, helping people with their financial lives helped me tremendously in being able to meet the expectations of my current position with NEKF. How did you become involved with this organization? I became involved in the organization through a mutual friend of one of the employees at NEKF at the time. I met with Carol and we hit it off almost immediately. I began working for the organization the following week. Why do you do what you do? What is your why? My why is twofold. I lost my father five

years ago to pancreatic cancer. I know and can sympathize wholeheartedly with the desperate desire to help your loved one when they are sick. When someone is newly diagnosed with kidney disease, the diagnosis can be incredibly overwhelming for the individual and their family. It truly is a family disease. I know, firsthand, the worry and pain that comes with it and want to offer support wherever I can. My other why are my two daughters. I want to set an example for them. I want them to see that helping others is an extremely rewarding job. What has your organization accomplished that you feel most proud of? Being able to meet people’s immediate needs and having that connection with them has been so rewarding. I am also so proud of the team we have in place. Our Board of Directors, along with Melissa and I share a passion to make a difference. The excitement and energy over the work we are doing is infectious and drives us all to work hard every day to make a difference. Give me your best example of the way you’ve seen your organization’s work make a difference? One of our grant offerings is a transportation subsidy program. We have many people that are struggling one way or another to even get to their doctor and/or dialysis appointments. Dialysis in particular is a life support treatment. These appointments cannot be missed. A little over a month ago, I received a handwritten note from a patient who had received our grant. He was so thankful and appreciative

just to be able to pay for transportation to get to his dialysis appointment. He thanked us profusely. It’s moments like these, when you realize the lifethreatening struggles that people are having and how important it is to be able to offer them some help. Who is someone that inspires you and why? My mother has been a huge inspiration to me. She worked for a nonprofit for years. During her tenure, the organization experienced tremendous growth and was able to support and reach so many people in need. I think about her often when I am making decisions for the Foundation. She led by example, all the while always putting my brother and I first. Any parent knows there is no balance between work and personal life but there is a way to do it all. What has been one moment that has impacted your life for the better or worse since working with the NEKF? I had just started with the Foundation when we had our Catwalk for Kidneys event, our largest community event of the year. The whole day was truly inspiring. The individuals who walked in the show consisted of doctors, nurses, people in the community and patients and their families. Everyone had come together for a common goal: to raise awareness and give support to those with kidney disease. The last models to walk the runway were a couple and their four year old daughter. The dad had donated his kidney to his daughter and the procedure was a success. He had saved her life. The moment was so incredibly moving. There was not


{ FOR A GOOD CAUSE } “Being able to meet people’s immediate needs and having that connection with them has been so rewarding.”

a dry eye in the house. After the show was over, a member of the wait staff at the venue came up to the Executive Director and I. He was so moved by the event that he wanted to know where he could donate his kidney. It’s moments like these that you hold onto. It makes you want to hit the ground running and work twice as hard to help those in need. What do you, personally, spend most of your time on?

My main focus is on making sure the daily operations of the foundation run smoothly. I work very closely with Melissa to meet our daily and long term objectives. More specifically, I handle our grant requests. We have many that come in weekly especially since the onset of the pandemic. Tell us something people may not know about the NEKF. I think people may not know that we offer assistance to those with immediate

needs on a local level. Melissa and I are available 24/7 for anyone who needs support. Northeast Kidney Foundation 22 Colvin Avenue, Albany, NY 12206 800-999-9697 ext.101 | 518-533-7880 whitney@healthykidneys.org www.healthykidneys.org



You may have heard the statistics before – one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Hearing this figure likely provokes the thought - “when was the last time I checked my breasts?” For some, this may be followed by a sense of fear, which can be so overwhelming that they may choose not to perform a breast check at all. It is normal to have concerns about a disease that we hear about so often, especially if a loved one has been through it – but your breasts are not a ticking time bomb, and most lumps are not cancer. Many women have benign lumps in their breasts due to breast density or fibrocystic changes. We should not avoid our monthly self-checkups out of fear – finding a lump does not necessarily mean that you have breast cancer, but if you do find one you’ll want to let your doctor know. Among women who have breast cancer, 40% detected a lump on their own; it is important to keep track of your own body so that you can identify any changes. This is crucial regardless of age, family history, genetic background, presence of other risk factors, or whomever else you think is monitoring them for you. Checking your breasts is a way to show yourself and your body that you love and care about your health. So, if it’s been more than a month, it’s time to get familiar with those ta-tas. A breast cancer survivor’s tips for monthly self-breast checks: - Choose a day each month that you can remember and make your breast self-awareness routine a regular part 100


of your wellness practices. Healthcare experts recommend doing this 3-5 days after your menstrual period ends, however if you do not menstruate, have irregular periods, or just have trouble remembering, a good time to do it is on the first of each month. Feeling it on the first is an easy way to remember that it’s time for your breast-check!

o Inspect your breasts with your hands pressed on your hips, then with your arms raised/resting behind your head o Lift your breasts and inspect the ridges along the bottom Next, use your hands to check your breasts o Use the pads of your three middle fingers for the exam o Use different levels of pressure to feel all layers of breast tissue – light pressure to feel tissue closest to the skin, medium pressure to feel a little deeper, and firm pressure to feel the tissue closest to the chest and ribs o Follow a set pattern – lines, wedges, and circles are common o Do not lift your fingers while feeling the breast o Feel all the way up to your collarbone, your armpits, and your sides

Start with a visual examination of your breasts o Stand in front of a mirror and look at both breasts – check for anything unusual, such as redness, dimpling, puckering, swelling, nipple retraction, or change in size or shape

- Keep in mind that many women find lumps or changes in their breasts that are completely normal changes, which occur at various points in the menstrual cycle. Finding a change or lump in your breast is not a reason to panic - Contact your doctor if you notice a hard lump near your underarm, changes in the way your breasts look or feel, redness/ swelling/pain, abnormal discharge, itching, sores, or rashes






{ BREAST CANCER CONFIDENCE TRACY TALKS } } } } { WOMAN WHO INSPIRES { {SHIFT+CONTROL “Keep in mind that many women find lumps or changes in their breasts that are completely normal changes, which occur at various points in the menstrual cycle. Finding a change or lump in your breast is not a reason to panic.”










Step onto Your Red Carpet: How Visioning Can Fast Forward Your Success We all want the fast forward to success! Now is the time for women to rise to the top and run with success!! Most influential women I meet want to move through the sludge of life and business and flow with purpose. They desire to leave negativity and hardship in the past and embody true authentic power. Are you ready to leave your struggles in the past?

transformative energy of creative visioning - it is super powerful. And I know that visioning is the missing ingredient to believing in success and manifesting desires. There is truth to the statement, “If you can SEE it, you can BELIEVE it!” I say, “See, Believe, Receive!” When you can not see your success there is a gap and it fills with negative thoughts that leak into your positive

One of the female superpowers that has been diminished and eradicated by masculinized programming is intuition and even more so, visioning power.

In our latest book, Core Intelligence we share about the power of the imagination pathway for visioning success:

Visioning will fast forward you through stuck so you can keep up with the speed of life!

The answer, VISION! But it’s more than holding a vision of the future, I am talking about present time visioning that builds confidence in the moment and inspires immediate action. As a coach, I have experienced the

Essentially women have the programmed tendency to limit, judge, criticize, and vote ourselves off the show before we have achieved what we want. And our desires become buried deep in No, instead of YES!! We need to break this programming and immediately empower truth! Our visionary power has been shut down and stopped by over analysis and overthinking. In Sacred O Evolution we engage our clients in IMAGINATION. Inner Upgrade Journeying is an active participation, you are engaging in movement and breathing while experiencing a guided journey.

The age of technology has given us the communication tools to manifest quickly. However, many females get stuck in struggle and chaos unable to fully see her potential and power. This slows down receiving success and influencing change.

I am a visionary leader. People ask me, “how do you move so fast and take action?”

leak in between your desires and hold you captive. Visioning neurologically overrides these negative thoughts and becomes the power of receptivity!

power and corrupt the speed of success: “I can’t” “I am not good enough” “I am not beautiful enough” ‘I don’t have the confidence” “It’s not for me” “I am not qualified” Can you relate? These statements are like nasty monsters in your mind that

“As Evolve Coaches we use imagination to help you create a new storyline inside your body and mind, forging new pathways so you can shift your belief systems from negative to positive. We named the Inner Upgrade Journey moves with the intention to help you visualize and imagine the benefits of the move and experience the full emotional range of the moves. Imagination comes in many different forms. Some people can CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{ SACRED O } } { SHIFT+CONTROL “We all want the fast forward to success! Now is the time for women to rise to the top and run with success!”

easily envision the future, while others experience it differently. When asked to envision what they want, many clients will adamantly state, “I can’t see it!” But when guided to imagine a scenario, they can actively involve themselves in creating the image of what they desire. In Evolve Women, we stimulate the imagination process by taking clients through guided visualizations, Inner Upgrade Journeys, that entrain the mind to open to the spontaneous receptivity of images.Imagination boosts your creativity and releases the rigidity of habitual thinking. When you develop your imagination, you are more open to problem solving and trying something new.” - Core Intelligence: Driving the New Era of Leadership

#1 step to FAST FORWARD YOUR SUCCESS! Is it worth it to you? Visioning is not only fun, it is effective and powerful! Join us at The Influential Woman RED CARPET EVENT and experience one of our most transformational visionary journeys for female empowerment that

“You’re just imagining that!” These thoughts destroy confidence and block the fact that neurologically you can imagine something you desire into REALITY and actually fast forward your success. Let’s destroy those limitations holding you stuck and embrace the visionary power that could be your 110


The Red Carpet Event will empower you to: ● Rewrite Your Story of Success ● Reprogram Your Confidence ● Shift Your Belief Systems ● Release Old Negative Programs ● Own Your Purpose ● Claim Your Space in the World ● Build Your Success

Do not allow the old voices and programs to stop you from visioning your success! Women have been controlled and shut down by these self righteous and dogmatic statements: “Oh it’s just your imagination”

your confidence and believe you have a QUEENDOM. It is a celebration of your power. And repatterns your belief systems to engage at a deeper level with your success.

we created into a live networking event, coaching experience, and transformational opportunity. Whether you are just stepping into your power or have been there for a long time, we welcome you to our first ever Influential Woman Red Carpet Event! The Red Carpet is an empowerment journey that asks you to receive your EMPRESS POWER and embrace

Step onto your Red Carpet! Join Kelly Breuer, founder of The Influential Woman, and Dr. Pam Denton, founder of Sacred O Evolution, at our launch of the Red Carpet Event! on August 28th, at the Flower City Studios on 200 Anderson Ave. in Rochester, N, or live streamed through Eventbrite. More Details to come! Stay tuned!!






co·zy (adj.) giving a feeling of warmth, comfort, and relaxation. Ultimate goal. Whenever I design a space, aesthetics is always a driving force for the selections I choose. However, when making the decision for what looks great, it always comes down to comfort and function. I don’t design spaces to be looked at, I design spaces to be lived in. So, while a space may look fabulous and well styled, it also will function well for the daily use of the family I am working with. The outdoors is no exception! As we enter full speed into summer, lots of entertaining, pool parties, BBQs and social gatherings are on the calendar. Greathouse of Decor is sharing your must haves for outdoor entertaining that will give you the ultimate cozy vibes. Outdoor area rugs are a great way to elevate your outdoor spaces and work well on porches, patios, decks and gazebos. Unless your area is completely free from outdoor elements, it’s important to make sure you select an outdoor area rug. They make so many options now that look and feel plush under foot like indoor rugs but help repel water and dry quickly when they do get saturated. Plus, they are often safe from sun fading! As opposed to several years ago, there is now a wide market available for outdoor rugs ranging from boho, farmhouse, mid-century modern, 112


natural materials or anywhere in between. Target and Wayfair are excellent places to look for outdoor rug options. Make sure you get a size large enough for the space you’re using it in. Choose something that doesn’t clash with your home, speaks to your style, and has visual interest

of some kind (pattern, color, texture). This is the first step in layering an outdoor cozy space. Cushions and/or throw pillows on outdoor seating is another way to bring coziness to your outdoor space. This works for both social and dining spaces alike. While there is a tad more maintenance with outdoor cushions,

it’s worth it for what they add to your outdoor aesthetics. Again, make sure you are selecting fabrics that are meant for the elements, they will help keep fabric from fading, prevent fabric bleeds and dry quicker. I like to keep my cushions stored away when we aren’t using them to help protect their life. You can pull a color or texture from your area rug to tie the cushions and pillows in. Cushions for sofas and sectionals are an area where you don’t want to skimp, some can be very cheap and have little support- meaning you sink to a hard surface upon sitting. Spend the money to get quality cushions that will work for years to come and then protect them! Outdoor throw pillows and blankets (for chilly evenings) are the places you can spend less, have fun accessorizing and not feel bad if you want to sell them on marketplace next year and start new! Spend on the timeless items and fill in with the fun, less expensive items that you don’t mind replacing every so often. Once you have your rug, furniture/cushions and pillows set- you have your foundation! Next up comes the fun part, more accessorizing! Adding seasonal plants and bright colored flowers in pots is a great start. Make sure to try and coordinate colors to any other pattern or colors used in fabrics. Using opposing colors on the color wheel allow for fun pops of color, too! An umbrella is also a must for any outdoor gathering space as it





{ THE {GREATHOUSE OF DECOR } SHIFT+CONTROL } “Creating a warm glow through lighting, adding pops of color or greens with various textured plants or flowers, and adding a rug and textiles are sure ways to set the foundation to elevate your outdoor space.”

provides shade and a place to cool off. There are many options now which provide so much versatility depending on the size and space in which the umbrella is being used. String lights are crucial to an outdoor space as well, providing a beautiful glow and ambiance. Be sure to get ones that are shatter proof though- no one wants to be stepping on broken glass! When hanging these, have fun and get creative with where you put them (command hooks come in handy.) Stringing them from extended deck posts (make sure you have clearance above the umbrella!), tree limbs, along a house line or porch roof are great options for hanging. Mix up some seasonal mock or cocktails, tapas, fun glassware and pitcher, plates and napkins and you are ready! Add your favorite people and you’ve created a recipe for a great time! Creating a space that feels cozy is based on building layers. Creating a warm glow through lighting, adding pops of color or greens with various textured plants or flowers, and adding a rug and textiles are sure ways to set the foundation to elevate your outdoor space. Don’t forget the texture! That’s crucial to making a space feel cozy- remember, pillows, rugs, outdoor curtains, and table linens are all great ways to incorporate texture. Creating an ambiance that feels welcoming and warm can also be achieved using candles or lanterns. By incorporating these tips, you are sure to make your outdoor spaces feel as cozy as the indoors! Most importantly, not only should the space look good, but it should also feel good- enjoy! 114



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Based on Short Stories From White Noise Volume One The Ferry Joyce has had a long stressful week in the city. Her little apartment provides her the necessary tools to be efficient for work, but her home on the island provides her the much-needed peace and quiet her poor body craves. The commute from the city to the ferry, though, is always stressful. Being so late, and fearful she will miss the last ferry, Joyce takes the backroads at breakneck speed. Not normally a hard task until unexpected fog rolls in. Making her misjudge a crucial turn that causes her car to roll into a ravine. Shaken but determined, Joyce was surprised that the car only rolled once and she was able to drive the car out of the ravine. No harm, no foul and thankfully no one around to see! Besides the poor condition her car is now in and the excruciating pain in her neck, she pushes through, hoping to catch the ferry. A little more careful, she edges closer to the dock. It seems later than it should be. In fact, no cars are waiting in line. Joyce looks at the clock on the radio and is shocked to see how late it is! Where had all the time gone? There is no way the ferry would still be here! But to her surprise, as Joyce rolls closer to the dock, she vaguely sees a man motioning her to come forward. Even in bright sunlight she hated driving the car onto the ferry, fearful she will hit something, but tonight was way worse! She could barely see in front of her because of the heavy fog, but she is relieved she is actually getting on the ferry! Joyce had never known the ferry to run this

late, but perhaps they had been delayed due to the fog? No matter, she parks her car and gets out. Joyce rubs subconsciously at her neck. Although it didn’t hurt, she felt a need to rub it.

wet, trying to get on to wi-fi but to no avail. A man clears his throat, interrupting Joyce’s thoughts. Joyce looks around to see where the man is, but the fog keeps him hidden in the shadows.

Surprised, Joyce realizes she is holding her iPad, then she remembers her phone was dead anyway so she must have grabbed it instead.

Unafraid, Joyce speaks up, “Crazy how bad the fog is, uh?”

An older woman approaches her, “Ma’am what are you doing here?” Startled by the woman’s appearance, Joyce answers truthfully, “I’m heading home. I know the car looks like a wreck, but it runs and drives.” The woman tries to hear her, but the insistent noise of waves in her ears drowns the woman’s words out, “What did you say?” Joyce realizes the woman looks a little unhinged and answers, “I’m just thankful the ferry is still here!” The woman looks around, frightened, “No, this ferry is...” she stumbles for the right words “under repair. You missed the last ferry!” Pissed, Joyce raises her voice, “Damn it! Some guy waved me on, so I simply followed him!” Suddenly Joyce feels the familiar lurch of the boat moving. She looks at the woman, “We are moving!” The old woman closes her eyes but sees nothing but the sea beckoning her. Opening them, she replies tiredly, “I guess you get your ride after all. Just stay in your car. Who knows what will happen in this fog?” Joyce watches the old woman shuffle off. She always feels sorry for the homeless. The demons they deal with must be rough. Joyce finds her way to a bench, that is soaking

Annoyed, the man answers, “What are you doing on the ferry?” Defensively, Joyce answers, “A man waved me on here!” The man sighs, “Ah yes, that would be Johnny. Poor kid still doesn’t know no better.” Joyce adds, “An older woman asked the same thing. I was going to go find out, but figured what was the point? The ferry only goes to the island, and that’s where I want to go!” The man sneers a little, “That old woman has her own worries!” Annoyed that people can be so cruel to the homeless, Joyce comes to her defense, “And what worries would that be?” The man points toward the windows, “Have you seen how thick the fog is out there? Being the Captain, she has more concerns than you right now!” Before Joyce can reply, he adds, “We should have never left the port in this fog! One person is not worth the risk!” Joyce feels guilty but has to ask, “Forgive me, but that old woman is the Captain?” The man nods. “Yup, I remember the day she came to us. All young like you and so proud to be a woman Captain. Me and the guys were not too sure about her. Boats and women tend to have a bad history.” Joyce sighs. She can’t believe in this day and CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{ CNY SHORTS } } { SHIFT+CONTROL “Besides the poor condition her car is now in and the excruciating pain in her neck, she pushes through, hoping to catch the ferry.”

age there are still such thoughts! Ready to defend the woman again, Joyce replies, “Apparently she was quite capable, to be an older woman and still doing it!”

fear, most have not.”

The man shrugs his shoulders and asks, “What do you do for a living?”

Joyce looks down at her lap, “My iPad? Yes, in fact, I usually do a lot of my writing while commuting.”

Joyce hates it when someone asks that question. It is never an easy answer, “I am a writer.” Curious, the man asks, “What do you write?” Joyce sighs, “Horror stories.” The man laughs out loud and answers, “Really? Didn’t see you as the type. Though I admit, I give you credit for being here alone talking to a stranger.” Joyce looks around at the desolate ferry with the heavy fog. She supposed most women would be terrified of the situation she was in. Being on the wrong boat, scary looking fog, cell phone dead, no Wi-Fi; however, she can’t help but laugh along with the man, “I know right? I should be sobbing hysterically, but I have never been that kind of woman.” Surprised at her candor, he wonders, “Why is that?” Joyce thinks about it before she answers, “As a kid, I used to love anything that scared me. I would take it as a challenge. The more it scared me, the more I would go back and try to conquer it.” The man can’t help but smile, “Impressive.” Joyce shakes her head, “Not really. Unfortunately, the thing I enjoyed most, being scared, seems no longer an option for me. Nothing I read or see gives me that thrill I first had when I was a kid.” The man answers, “You have conquered 122


The man wonders, “Do you write your stories on that thing on your lap?”

The man hesitates, “I have a story.” Joyce quickly gets her iPad ready to write. She loves when strangers tell her their stories, “Mind if I write it down as you tell me?” The man agrees, “I’d be honored. There was a ferry due to be retired. Earlier in the week, they had stripped it. Leaving nothing but the shell. The crew was to dock it at the dock not but a stone’s throw away. Leaving none of them to worry of any risks due to lack of equipment.” The man sighs, “What they did not know was their Captain had made an arrangement with a passenger. The inexperienced Captain thought a quick jaunt to the island and back would not be a big deal. As for the fog, a perfect cover up for the Captain’s shady dealings.” The man explains, “These ferries are not sea worthy for the open sea, let alone without equipment to help. The crew quickly realized they had passed the dock they were supposed to go to and confronted the Captain.” Joyce easily types as the man tells his story. Occasionally, she looks around to focus on where the voice is coming from so she can see him. Unfortunately, the fog was only going to allow her to see his outline. Frustrated, Joyce looks back down at the iPad and continues typing. The man proceeds, “To their surprise, they are met with the passenger pointing a gun at them. They

learned the passenger was on the run and no matter what, the passenger was getting off the boat so as not to be discovered.” Disgusted, he explains, “The only thing they had on the boat was the passenger’s car and trailer, which happened to have a Jet Ski loaded on it.” Joyce smiles, “Ah, let me guess. The passenger insisted on taking the Jet Ski because he did not want to be on the boat when they were rescued?” The man nods, “What a nightmare it was for the crew to lower the damn thing into the sea, let alone try to tell the passenger he had no way of knowing where to go. Nevertheless, he was not about to listen. The Captain, trying to secure payment, assured the passenger that together, they would find the island.” Joyce adds, “Somehow they did get to the island, right?” The man nods sadly, “Yes, but once on the island the Captain refused to say anything to anyone for fear of being found out about helping the fugitive. The Captain, in disguise, left the island with the money and never looked back.” Joyce is shocked, “This was the Captain’s crew. Surely there would be some sort of loyalty?” The man agrees but answers, “The crew had never respected the Captain. Getting off the boat, money was not only the Captain’s reason to leave. The Captain knew the crew would have taken punishment into their own hands. They were a rough bunch, so either way it was a risk.” Joyce is confused, “Once the boat was found, the crew would tell everything. Then the Captain would be held accountable. That







CNY SHORTS } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “Joyce quickly gets her iPad ready to write. She loves when strangers tell her their stories, “Mind if I write it down as you tell me?””

was an awfully big gamble!”

not for the reader to decide?”

she is thankful. She finally made it home.

The man sighs, “One the Captain thought they won.”

Joyce chuckles, “Spoken like a true author! Thank you for the story.”

The man finishes his story, “The ferry was pronounced lost at sea and thought to have claimed all lives. Part of the trailer was found with the license plate still on it, placing the refugee as a possible passenger on the boat. He was pronounced dead, which was exactly what he wanted!”

Joyce hears nothing in return and realizes the man has left. Feeling tired, she decides to go back to her car. The darkness is overwhelming, but somehow she makes it back inside her car.

********** To this day, no one knows how Joyce’s car ended up on the island. The greater mystery was the time of her death. According to the coroner, her death had happened in the accident the night before.

Joyce wonders, “What happened to the Captain? Did the money bring everything it was meant to?”

Trying to focus on some sort of light, in the distance she sees a weird glow. A little relieved, it looks like it might be the workers. But how were they glowing? Fear washes over her like nothing before as they come closer! They reminded her of jelly fish she had seen pictures of illuminating the sea. One by one, these jelly creatures that looked to have once been men sloshed slowly by her car. Thankfully, they pass by her not paying any attention to her - yet. Joyce hears distant screams coming from what sounds like the old woman.

The man smiles, “What most don’t know is that a Captain is honor bound to their boat. Since the dawn of time, that commitment has always been in place. A Captain goes down with the ship, not only out of honor but an escape to the consequences for putting the boat and the crew in a bad position to begin with.”

Knowing she should try to get out and help her, Joyce is more concerned that when she reached for the car door, her own hand passes through it! Now, even more terrified, Joyce looks down and realizes she is not inside her own body. In fact, her own body is slumped over the steering wheel with her neck twisted at a strange angle.

Joyce is intrigued as she writes, “Consequences? What sort of consequences?” The man sighs, “The sea is not forgiving. Relentless, it will follow you in your dreams. It shows no mercy or compassion. It will eventually erode your determination to never return and then it will inflict its final punishment!”

Hearing the tortured screams of the old woman, Joyce realizes she is not up to conquering this fear or, for that matter, staying around long enough to conquer it! Joyce is determined not to stay on this ferry for eternity! Ahead she sees Johnny waving her forward, poor Johnny, still doing his job unaware.

Joyce closes her iPad and gets up, “The story you told me... fact or fiction?”

Determined, Joyce manipulates her old body to do one last bidding and drives the car off the ferry onto the dock. Exhausted she lets the first rays of sunrise wash over her as

Joyce is saddened by the story. “What do you think happened on the ferry?” The man speculates, “It is believed that a rogue wave came upon them. With no power, they had no chance, and the ferry went under.”

As the man turns, he mumbles, “Is that

However, the last story Joyce had w ritten on her iPad had been written several hours later. As for the old lady, she was the Captain in the story. The torment the sea had inflicted on her all those years had finally taken its toll and forced her to face her final punishment …for all Captains go down with their ship, even if it is years later.






Lesson #1: You are allowed to change your mind. I can’t promise it will always be comfortable, but I can promise you that you are allowed. There is no rule saying you can’t. Your decisions do not have to be set in stone. If you change your mind and decide to go a different direction, that’s perfectly okay. It does not mean you have failed or given up. When I was 16 I wanted to become a teacher. When I was 18, I wanted to become a criminologist. When I was 20, I wanted to become a writer. When I was 22 I just wanted a job to pay back my student loans. I had dreams that I would chase for a while, but then those dreams would change and I would feel guilty about it every time. I agonized over changing paths. But over the years, I continually changed my mind and found new dreams or goals as I learned new information and especially as I learned about myself. I pushed through that guilt and feeling of failure, because in the end I had to be true to what I knew about myself. It took me a long time to realize that it’s perfectly okay not to know and it’s perfectly okay to change my mind. Society conditioned me to think there was something wrong with me if I changed my mind. I was taught that I needed to have a plan, be successful, and work my butt off.

And although that may be true, you can always change that plan, or your definition of success. I was taught to stick to something or it meant I was

from…the thought that I had to have everything figured out or it meant I failed? Well, did you ever get asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. I did. Growing up everyone kept asking me “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. This question conditioned me that I had to have an answer and I needed to have a plan. But as a teenager, how do you know what you want to be when you grow up? Why did I have to know? Why was it a problem if I didn’t have a plan? I found that whenever I couldn’t answer the question, I would get even more questions. “What do you like to do?” “What about a lawyer?” “What about a doctor?” And then I would also get their opinions thrown in there too. “You need a job that makes a lot of money.” “You need to know, so you can pick your college major.” “You should know what you like to do.” “You need a good job to be successful.”

a failure. If I gave up then it meant I wasn’t successful. But changing your mind and switching the game plan does not equal failure. Now, where did I get these thoughts

Of course I wanted to be known as a good child. I wanted to be successful, I wanted to please the people around me, and I wanted to be perfect. And to do that everyone was saying I needed to know what I wanted to do. So, what happens next? I pick something. Fear that I will let everyone down if I change my mind. So, I stick with it. I go to school for it. I take classes that I hate. And I grapple with the anxiety that I am stuck with this decision in order to be successful.





“Your decisions do not have to be set in stone. If you change your mind and decide to go a different direction, that’s perfectly okay. It does not mean you have failed or given up.”



{ LESSONS FROM ATRACY RECOVERING } { {SHIFT+CONTROL } } TALKS } PERFECTIONIST { WOMAN WHO INSPIRES “I had dreams that I would chase for a while, but then those dreams would change and I would feel guilty about it every time.”

Then two years into my college degree it hits me. I am the only one that has to live with my decisions. I do not want to be an elementary school teacher. I can be successful even if I change my path. So, that’s what I did. And guess what? I did it again, multiple times over the last 12 years as well until I found something aligned with who I am and what I wanted to do with my life. It was so worth it!

need to that it’s okay to change your mind. If you have any other tips to share or your own story revolving around how you learned this same lesson,

Here are my top five tips to help you truly believe that you are allowed to change your mind without guilt, shame, or fear. 1. You are the only person who has to live with yourself forever. 2. Listen to your inner voice, but make sure to check in to see if that voice is actually yours and not formed by the words of others. 3. Journal it out. Things inside our head get a little jumbled, so try writing it down or recording yourself talking it out loud. 4. Look at the patterns that have happened to you when you stuck with something you didn’t want. 5. Remind yourself as much as you 132


please share it with us! Warmly, Devan About the Author Devan Robinson is the author of “What’s Your Worth? And I Don’t

Mean Money.”, motivational speaker, and life coach for female entrepreneurs. She helps women gain confidence and understand their strengths so they can reach their goals without guilt, shame, or fear. When she isn’t working on changing the world, you can usually find her hanging out with her dogs, spending time with her husband, or watching Netflix. If you are interested in learning more about her, check out her website www. developingwithdevan. com.







Have you ever heard “follow your gut”, “listen to your gut” or one I have heard so many times - “trust your gut.” While I have been known to repeat these phrases to others, I started to think about what they actually mean. Generally, these sayings are referring to your intuition - when the neurons in your gut chat with the ones in your brain. Yes, I said neurons. According to the the American Psychological Association, the gut is home to a network of 100 million neurons which communicate with the brain. Researchers have identified this gut-brain connection and it’s no joke. The connection functions both ways - a problem in your gut can send signals to the brain just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. It may surprise you to know that the gut actually manufactures about 95% of our body’s serotonin having direct impact on your mood. That, however, is just one of the many important functions. Our gut is a pretty valuable piece of real estate in our body. Not only does the quality of its health directly impact the regulation of mental processes, it also plays an essential role in your immune system with 70% of our immune cells being concentrated in the gut. Also impacted, is the health of your skin (the largest organ in your body) along with how well your nutrients are absorbed. With trillions of bacteria, or microbiome, the gut regulates your metabolism and digestion as well as regulating estrogen levels. The gut is a 134


vital part of a healthy body and mind so keeping it balanced and in tip-top shape is paramount to the quality of our overall health. Phew - that’s a lot of info! It’s not surprising that gut health is such a hot topic right now as the National Institute of Health estimates that 70 million Americans suffer with some sort of digestive disorder. Some of the top offenders include; indigestion,

with it menopause and all its baggage. Being that our gut regulates estrogen levels, the gut microbiome is impacted by drops in those estrogen levels. Let’s not leave out our sidekick stress which wants in on the game as well. When we are stressed, our body is in fight or flight mode and then diverts blood flow from the gut making digestion more difficult and causing, you guessed it… gut issues. If this seems overwhelming, take a deep breath - you have more control than you think! Improving gut microbiome is not only key for good overall health, but it can also have a positive impact on menopause symptoms. Here are a some ideas of things you can do to make a difference… 1) Avoid processed food … ultra-processed food can change the gut microbiota and lead to inflammation.

constipation, GERD, IBS, or leaky gut. These can cause significant discomfort as well as lead to more serious health issues. As we age, there is often a decrease in digestion quality which may be due to lower production of stomach acid. Muscle mass can also decrease as we get older and since muscle contractions move food through the digestive system this can cause a slow down in the process. Meanwhile, for us women, midlife brings

2) Add fermented foods to your diet… It can increase the diversity of gut microbes - try sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, or miso to name a few. 3) Nourish your gut with probiotics… Choose high quality probiotic supplements that have several strains of beneficial bacteria. Make sure to include spore-forming strains. 4) Limit sugar intake … Sugar can reduce beneficial bacteria, keeping in mind that many





{{BLACK WOMEN ROC} } CHAT MIDLIFE {LET’S SHIFT+CONTROL “The gut is a vital part of a healthy body and mind so keeping it balanced and in tip-top shape is paramount to the quality of our overall health.”

5) Add some strategies to reduce stress… Self care, meditation, yoga, breath work, saying “no” more often, and exercise can all be helpful. 6) Slow down your eating and chew more… Digestion starts in the mouth as saliva contains digestive enzymes. 7) Consider a high-quality (organic, whole food) supplement… Our food supply is not as nutrient rich as it used to be making supplements often necessary. However, many supplements are full of synthetic chemicals and fillers so look for whole food, organic. 8) Eat some soil… Well, sort of here’s what I mean. Formed through breakdown of nutrient- rich plant matter, 136


fulvic acid contains organic substances beneficial to the gut. While we used to get these beneficial microbes in root veggies, most conventional soils lack organic plant matter leaving our food depleted of fulvic acid and the trace minerals we need to thrive as studies confirm 90% of us are deficient in one or more minerals vital for health. In this modern, fast-paced world, it can be confusing as we try to process the mountain of information about nutrition, exercise and our health. It seems one day something is good for you and the next it’s not with many opinions and very savvy marketing. Have you ever wanted to make a change but felt so overwhelmed that you do nothing? If so, you are not alone.

As we try to maximize the quality of our midlife years and beyond, there is much you can do for yourself and taking care of your gut is high on that list. If you would like to get more details on this topic or to discuss your personal situation, please reach out to me via email for a complimentary consult. Meanwhile, remember that some of your biggest issues only require small changes but those small changes can have major impact on the big issues. One step at time, you got this, I am cheering for you! follow me on instagram: @healthyjujugirl join my fb page: https://www.facebook. com/groups/healthyjujugirl email: Dlongtin111@gmail.com



If there’s one thing I’ve learned from three years of coaching women to achieve their goals, it’s this…

they really want.

Women are strong as hell, when they let themselves be.

Their kids need them. Their spouses don’t support them. They don’t have enough time or money or experience.

When a woman has a goal and fully commits to achieving it, get out of her way, because she will not stop until she’s achieved it.

They don’t have any evidence they can make their goals happen. Actually, they have evidence they can’t. Evidence from past failures.

When a woman wants something that appears to be just out of her reach, she will find a way to get it, because she is smart, resourceful, and determined.

That’s when women reach out to me for help. And I love showing them how to get what they want. How to get started. How to take the first step. It’s a passion of mine. Think about this. We tend to overcomplicate things, right? It’s a human thing to want to overcomplicate things. And when we do that, things tend to feel really big and hard in our minds. But when we can simplify how we’re thinking, things start to feel easier and possible for us. Our motivation starts to build.

This is what I see when women are actively going after their goals while working with me as their coach. And it’s seriously inspirational. But women don’t always come to me with this super motivated state of mind.

they can do it anyways. They just don’t know how to get started. They don’t know what to do first. Their goal seems so far away and impossible.

You name it, I’ve heard it, every excuse in the book.

Most of them come to me with a goal in mind that they really want to make happen but also feel a little defeated and unsure they can actually get what they want.

Even though the women that come to me feel mentally exhausted from thinking about all of the things holding them back from achieving their goals, these women also know they still really want to make it happen.

They’ve got every excuse in the book as to why they can’t have this thing

There’s a voice inside of them, or a feeling, or a general desire to see if

Think about a goal you have in your life. It could be an old goal or a new one. Doesn’t matter. Think about that goal for a minute. Dust it off in your mind. Get all the cobwebs off of it. And ask yourself if it’s still important to you. If your answer is yes, it’s still important to you, ask yourself how to simplify the process and make it happen? What would that look like?








{ {COACHING WITH ANDREA TRACY TALKS } } } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL WOMAN WHO INSPIRES “When a woman has a goal and fully commits to achieving it, get out of her way, because she will not stop until she’s achieved it.”

Let’s get more specific.

make that happen in a simple way?

Is your goal to lose 20 pounds? Or fit into your old clothes again? Or make peace with your body once and for all? (Peace with your body is totally possible, by the way.) How can you simplify the weight loss process for yourself and make it happen?

You have full control over your life. You have the strength and power to make your goals happen. It all starts with intentionality.

If you want any help along the way, I can help you. Take the first step. Book a free consultation with me at: www.andreascalici.com Andrea Scalici Certified Life Coach

Is your goal to go on dates with your spouse, have more fun together, and reconnect? Do you want to stop living like roommates and feel that magnetic pull towards one another again? You can make this happen. How can you simplify that for yourself and make it happen?



I’m willing to do a little work to make it happen for myself. Are you? Just let yourself get started. Keep it simple. Have fun with it. And you will be amazed at what you can create in your life when you do this.

Is your goal to stop yelling at your kids? To have a better relationship with them? To be more present in their lives? To feel calmer and in control around them? How can you simplify that for yourself and make it happen?

Is your goal to completely unplug from your business or work or phone for one week this summer? Unplug for one week without physically checking in AND without thinking about checking in. Feeling totally calm and present in your life. How can you

I deserve to have the things I want too. The things that are important to me.

As far as I know, we only get one life. How do you want to live yours? You deserve to have the things you want to have. The things that are important to you.




h c a o C Life



ed i f i t r e C



I help Business Owners reduce stress and achieve the work-life balance they intended when they first started their businesses. Take the first step. Book a free consultation at: www.andreascalici.com






Like any good story, mine begins in Upstate NY in a small town next to another small town. I grew up in Lansing NY and went to Cornell (about 15 miles south) at possibly the best college town on the planet, Ithaca NY. So yes, I am familiar with long cold winters, lake effect snow and jumping into chilly lake water during June finals.

hormone science. My latest venture is b-untethered, a company dedicated to helping women rule their midlife through a science-based, proprietary food, fitness, and mindfulness app. Since menopause means changes to your body and mind, we created RESET: Live, a (first) big step on your physical and mental journey

When I consider my path in this life, it just felt right to return to my roots in the Finger Lakes region of NY. In between I have had some amazing business adventures that included Fortune 500 marketing roles that took me all over the world and then an exit from two different B2B companies. This led me to several personal challenges I set for myself that involved a hyper-focus on minimalist living while pushing to the edges of my physical fitness via adventure travel. The whole story is kind of crazy and someday, I will write a book about it. Oh wait, I did! It’s coming in September. It’s called “Midlife: turning Crisis into Quest.” As I love to create things through the lens of optimal wellness, I now return to Rochester where I trained for my first marathon to launch transform 6, our 6 week menopause diet and fitness program steeped in

Frame of Mind: multiply results by learning how to get out of your comfort zone You will leave this three hour course with new strategies and tools to help you shape your best life. This includes use of our rule meno app (available now in Android & Apple app store) that will deliver a 40/30/30 program tailored to your biometrics. We will give you practical lifestyle changes you can make to reduce menopause symptoms and you can spend a few hours with some new friends who are also going through their own menopause journey. You don’t have to go this alone. To join us, click here to register and invest in ruling menopause. Event: The Boathouse Club in Canandaigua NY, Saturday June 25th from 9-noon

in understanding and (re)creating your new hormonal self. We will share how we have decoded the science around hormonal changes… which we call “Menopause Math.” Food: 40/30/30 is the “what and when” to help you get your body back Fitness: +/- your workouts to get the results you seek

Keep your eyes on the Rochester Woman Online Facebook page where we will be showing you more! I can’t wait to spend Saturday on Lake Canandaigua on June 25th. (I feel confident it will not snow.) Thanks for welcoming me back home.



B-UNTETHERED } } { { SHIFT+CONTROL “The whole story is kind of crazy and someday, I will write a book about it. Oh wait, I did! It’s coming in September. It’s called “Midlife: turning Crisis into Quest.”





Caregiving of any child with a chronic illness takes a toll. Caregivers put their own needs aside and focus on the wellbeing of the person receiving care. Most people think that this is a noble way to live. Someone sent me this quote by Helen Barry “Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you don’t care about others. It means you’re smart enough to know you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first.” My son is 29 and relies on me or an aide to dress, shower, and toilet. He lost his mobility when he was 21 and can no longer stand without his standing wheelchair. Caregivers often lose friendships and feel that if they leave their child in the care of others, the child will suffer; they are afraid to go out, let alone spend an overnight with a significant other or a group of friends. In reality, caregiving can be isolating. During the Rochester Woman Online’s Influential Woman’s summit in Syracuse, I met someone whose son had Down Syndrome; she told me about David’s Refuge. The mission of David’s Refuge is to provide connection and respite to caregivers of chronically ill children. As she explained the organization, I thought if I needed this type of support, there must be other people out there that could benefit from the services of this organization. David’s Refuge was started in 2012 by Warren and Brenda Pfohl; to honor their son David and their caregiving journey. The organization’s mission is to provide Respite, Resources, and Support to parents/ guardians of children with special needs or those with life-threatening medical

conditions. Their vision is to empower caregivers to lead their families with strength and grace. David Pfohl was diagnosed at age 8 with Batten’s Disease, an incurable genetic condition. For 13 years, the Pfohl’s provided high-level medical care to David in addition to being Mom and Dad to him and his two brothers. Their firsthand experience showed them the daily struggles that parents in this role face. They started David’s Refuge to provide a break for these parents and provide a place to rest, refresh, and restore. In addition,

they would provide a layer of caring and community by reminding these parents that they were not alone on their journey. David’s Refuge serves over 1000 families in Upstate NY and beyond. Their main goal is that every parent feels and is reminded through their services that they are not alone, that caregivers do, in fact, matter, and that God and this community love them. I reached out to Kate Houck, the Executive Director, to find out more and raise more awareness across the state for their mission.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. My name is Kate Houck, and I am the Executive Director of David’s Refuge. I joined David’s Refuge in January 2015 after a 10-year career working in various leadership roles with the Central and Western NY chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Throughout my career in the non-profit world, I have enjoyed the responsibility of leading creative and hard-working teams; and watching the magic transpire when our mission connects to local leaders who care. In addition to my work, I am the proud wife to Paul and mother to Nathan and Leah. I grew up in Holley, NY, and met Paul at SUNY Cortland after majoring in Communications. We live in Fayetteville, NY. What made you join the team as the Executive Director of David’s Refuge? I was inspired to join this team in 2015 because I had first-hand seen the results of untreated caregiver burnout in my ten years at the MDA. In my role there, I would see the vast struggles, including social isolation, financial hardship, marital challenges, mental illness, and physical burnout that these parents would face. I also knew there were minimal resources available. When I heard about David’s Refuge, I was excited to be able to offer this service to the MDA families, and when I heard that they were hiring, I jumped at the chance to be part of a mission that was so different and so CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


SHE HUSTLESMOTHER TALKS }}} } HUSTLES TALKS { {ONE TOUGH {SHE SHIFT+CONTROL “My innate drive is working alongside the team and how they continue to show up with open hearts, minds sharp, and compassion full blast each day in service to our families.”

different and so needed in our community. What motivates you? My innate drive is working alongside the team and how they continue to show up with open hearts, minds sharp, and compassion full blast each day in service to our families. David’s Refuge is doing this through our work in the caregiver community. We have the honor and privilege of empowering and connecting with local leaders who inspire us daily. We work to inspire, encourage and remind each person we meet of their greatness. Leave each day, week, month, and year knowing we contributed. What made the founders and staff believe David’s Refuge would thrive? The Founders saw the need for this in our community. They knew that caregivers were struggling and decided to do something about it. There is no one else doing what we do. What is the organization’s most outstanding achievement to date? Since I began with the organization, we have experienced yearly staff growth in addition to growing our services. Our culture of open communication, trust, and vulnerability allows us to execute high levels of service and excellence with a small staff. I would have to say that the thing I am most proud of each year is our ability to be nimble and adjust to whatever the world throws at us- all while holding tight to our mission, vision, and values. What are David’s Refuge’s plans for the future? 152


We will be working to refine a new concept launched just last year called the Caregiver Summit and Wellness Retreat. This concept allows us to bring our mission “on the road” and support communities who might not have a service like this available to caregivers. Our “Roadshow” is in addition to our well-known Respite Weekend, Wellness, and Community programs. The other side to speaking to a bright future is to create a sustainable and solid funding foundation. We will work to expand our Legacy Fund and Endowment over the next five years to ensure we have the funding we need to realize all of our goals. What has been your best form of promotion for the non-profit, and what platform is your favorite? For David’s Refuge, we thrive on organic growth through word of mouth. We currently have a 100% satisfaction rating, meaning that 100% of the surveyed families would recommend us to another special needs parent! We also have great success on Social Media. Many parents connect with us through 2 Facebook platforms- a private page just for caregivers and another for our company. Our staff connects to many of our supporters through Linkedin. Both Facebook and Linkedin provide a fun way to share our progress and demonstrate the impact of each investment. Once we serve a family and feel loved and supported, we are honored that they tell their friends. What advice do you have for caregivers who might not be able to get away for a weekend of respite?

I would encourage them to apply to be part of our community! In addition to overnight respite, David’s Refuge offers many other ways of connection. We have our Facebook page, virtual wellness offerings, community events, and a dinner reimbursement program. By applying to be part of our community, you can select which services work for you. We know each journey is different, and we are here for you! What are some mini respite tips that everyone could use? Know the Signs of Caregiver Burnout. Here are the most common: · Lack of energy · Overwhelming fatigue · Sleep problems (too much or too little) · A feeling of hopelessness · Changes in eating habits (weight gain or loss) · Withdrawn from or losing interest in activities you once enjoyed · Neglecting your own physical and emotional needs · Becoming unusually irritable, impatient, or argumentative with the person you care for · Anxiety about the future · Difficulty coping with everyday things · Headaches, stomach aches, and other physical problems Once you identify that you are experiencing burnout, take the time to: · Ask for help – asking for help does not make you an imperfect caregiver. Caregiving is best if not done alone. · Permit yourself to take breaks. Get out of the house, visit with friends, go for a walk, and do something just for you. · Take care of yourself. Don’t skip your




SHE HUSTLESMOTHER TALKS } } } {SHE SHIFT+CONTROL HUSTLES TALKS { {ONE TOUGH “Our culture of open communication, trust, and vulnerability allows us to execute high levels of service and excellence with a small staff.”

doctor’s appointments because you are too busy. Exercise, eat well and get enough sleep. · Add in small moments in the day just for you – get up 15 minutes earlier than everyone else and enjoy

a quiet cup of coffee, practice deep breathing/meditation, yoga, or pray; even if it is just 5 minutes, do whatever works for you. If caregiver burnout is left untreated, it will impact your health, relationships,

and mental state. When you get to that point, the people suffering are you and the person receiving your care. Self-care isn’t selfish, and it isn’t a luxury- it’s a necessity.








I had heard an interesting tid-bit of information from a woman one time, when I was fitting her husband for a new custom suit. What she said was so impactful that I could not get it out of my mind. She said, “ A well dressed man in a suit, to a woman, is the equivalent to a woman wearing lingerie, for a man”. That absolutely blew my mind. So, if I was unaware of this theory, then how would the typical guy know that dressing well could be that impactful? Let’s say your guy is not the suit wearing type, but you would love the opportunity to make him look his best on those special occasions. Well if you want him to look his best, you may need to set him in the right direction. Guys are very visual and they know what they like, when they see it. I think most men forget that while women need to have an emotional connection, it certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t want a visceral connection to their man.

I guarantee you that that will be a revelation to them. If they don’t get the message, then buy him a gift certificate to a men’s clothing store or have a suit custom made for him. Since most gift certificates are not exchangeable, he will have no choice but to get a suit or a sport coat and slacks. Make him feel special and make sure that you go to a higher quality men’s store and not a national menswear chain. Not only will they make him look great, but they will give him a great experience so he can’t wait to get his new threads. Tell him how handsome he is going to look in his new garments. It certainly won’t hurt to stroke his ego a little bit. Guys are not used to getting those kinds of compliments and it will send a signal that you find him even more attractive.

Guys think that once you are together, that they can stop trying. Also, if they were able to interest you when wearing t-shirts and jeans, then they don’t need to try any further to keep you happy.

Guys are like little boys. If they start hearing compliments from you and you let him know how much you appreciate him doing this for you, he will look forward to the next time he needs to wear his new outfits. Not to mention, if he is at a party and a couple of people compliment him on how good he looks, it will set off alarm bells in his head.

So the first point of business is to let them know exactly that. Tell them that a man in a well tailored suit makes women feel the same way as when a woman wears lingerie for their man.

Consider him your new boy toy. Do a reverse Pretty Woman and take him shopping and have him try on outfits, rate each outfit a one through five and have fun with him. Then reward him

So the first thing you need to do is, take action.

with a couple of new pieces of lingerie you can model for him. After all, good behavior should be rewarded. So, why do so many guys avoid dressing up, do they really not care? Most guys don’t like making the effort because they have a “good enough” mentality. Have you ever heard him say, “Does this look good enough”? Guys fear what they don’t know, and will avoid wearing anything that is not in their safe zone, when it comes to the way they dress. They can tell you how many horsepower a 1969 Chevelle had from the factory, but they can not tell you what suit size they wear. You are not born knowing that red wine does not pair well with fish or how to properly tie a necktie with a perfect dimple. It is something that is taught to you, someone has to take time to help you to learn. Only then, will you come to appreciate why some things work and why others do not. Be the woman that takes interest in how the man in your life presents himself. He is a reflection of you and your family. Believe me, you will be amazed that once you show him why it’s important to you, he will start to love the way it makes him look and the way it makes you feel.









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Navigating Student Loans and Student Loan Refinancing Congratulations! Your child is graduating from high school and has been accepted to the university of their choice! You cry happy tears, knowing that the next exciting chapter of their life is about to unfold. Then, reality sets in and, possibly, anxiety as you think about the cost of a degree. You might have been setting aside money in a college fund for years, but there will still be expenses that need to be covered. Chances are you or your child are going to need a loan, but where to start? Student loans can be a form of “good debt” – an investment that generates not only return in the form of human capital, but also in financial return with stronger earning power. You can borrow from any lender that you want: federal or private. But It’s really important to understand how student loans work and how to get the most out of them before you borrow. How do Student Loans Differ from Other Types of Loans? Student loans are designed specifically for funding education. But they are different from other types of loans. Often, student loans have lower interest rates than other loans for which you might qualify. Federal student loans, offered through 160


the US Government, are borrowerfriendly, affordable, and it’s easy to qualify for them. Interest rates are relatively low and are fixed for new borrowers (so no surprises regarding interest rates); interest costs might be subsidized for some students; student loans are generally low-risk for lenders (lenders view a degree as an indication of ability to repay your loan). Federal student loans generally don’t require any credit history, so a student loan is most likely the first loan for which young people can get approval. That said, student loans can help you establish credit, so it is important to remember to repay the loan on time so you can more easily qualify for other loans in the future (mortgages, car loans, etc.) After borrowing everything you can with government loans, you can turn to private lenders if you still need more funds. Many financial institutions offer student loans. With a private lender, you will need to qualify for the loan (have good credit and sufficient income to repay the loan). Many students don’t have this, so a parent or someone with good credit will apply for or co-sign the loan with the student, which makes both parties 100% responsible for repaying the loan. While federal loans have fixed interest rates, private loans can have variable rates. TYPES OF STUDENT LOANS

Here are the most common types of loans available through the US Government: Stafford Loans are easy to qualify for. Interest costs may be subsidized, and they are available for both undergrad and grad students. PLUS (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students) Loans resemble a private loan in that they require a credit review and payment begins soon after disbursement, but they are federal loans. These loans go to parents, which allows them to cover expenses for their children. Consolidation Loans combine multiple student loans into a single loan. Although this offers a simpler repayment option (one payment instead of many), if you decide to mix federal loans with private loans, you could lose valuable benefits from federal student loans. Income Share Agreement (ISA) provides students with funding while they are in school. When they leave school, they pay a fixed percentage of their income to the lender for a fixed number of years. The benefit of this type of loan, means that you repay what you can afford, versus an amount set for you. Where to start? 1.Begin with your school’s financial aid office and ask what types of aid are available. Be sure to ask about grants and scholarships.

{ {SHE SHE HUSTLESSPEAKING TALKS }} } } HUSTLES TALKS { FINANCIALLY SHIFT+CONTROL “Some loan programs work to help make repayment more manageable. Private lenders have flexible terms as well. ”

At the end of the day, if you have a steady income and can keep up with the monthly payments, refinancing can make good sense. If you like the incomebased repayment options available on a federal loan, want the opportunity for public service loan forgiveness, or you are benefiting from COVID-related forbearance protections, refinancing might not be the best answer for you. If you think that refinancing your federal student loan is the best choice for you, Mark Kantrowitz, author of How to Appeal for More College Financial Aid advises waiting until November’s midterm elections to refinance. “If student loan forgiveness passes, it will be prior to the midterms, so refinancing now will negate forgiveness eligibility.”

having problems making payments, lenders might be wary of signing you up for a new one. If your credit is poor, talk to your lender about adjusting your payment plan and continue working on improving your credit. Your income Your income level shows lenders that you earn enough money to repay your loans and keep up your payments. Lenders will look at your income, the income of your co-signer (if applicable) and your

Should I refinance private student loans? This is simpler because your loans are already private. Shop around - if you find a lender with better rates and terms, refinancing could make sense and save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. If you have a private loan, Kantrowitz advocates for refinancing to a fixed-rate loan before interest rates rise. Before you refinance, you should take into consideration the following: Credit Score To qualify for a lower interest rate then your current loan, you need a good credit score. A FICO score of at least 670 is considered “good.” If you’re currently

DTI (total monthly debt payments divided by your total gross monthly income). A DTI ratio represents the debt you have compared to the amount of money you earn. A high DTI may be a red flag to lenders. Competitive rates and terms Compare lenders to make sure that you are getting the best rates and terms. Consider monthly loan repayments, total repayment terms, and interest rates. Choose a plan that works for you and offers the highest monthly payment you can afford. Longer repayment

terms mean lower monthly payments, but more interest over the life of the loan. Avoid repayment terms of more than 10 years. Prequalification Many lenders may offer the option to prequalify, allowing you to see what potential interest rates and monthly payments will look like. Based on the change from your current loan terms, you can decide if refinancing makes sense for you. However, prequalification does not guarantee loan approval or specific rates. Consider a co-signer Refinancing lenders may give you the option of adding a co-signer – or conversely, to release one. If you don’t have longstanding credit history, you may need someone with good credit to co-sign your loan. Co-signers are taking on the responsibility of your loan too, and they will be required to make payments if you are unable to do so. Keep in mind that your repayment history will impact their credit score. Conversely, to release a current co-signer, you can refinance a student loan in your name alone. Make sure you meet the credit and payment criteria. The Summit Federal Credit Union offers its members a new, broad scope of private student lending solutions, focused on innovative solutions, personalized service, and financial education. Click here for more information.




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STILL IN SCHOOL? Check out our undergrad and graduate loan options! MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY REQUIRED. Limited time offer. Subject to change without notice. 1.) To qualify, the loan application must be started between 5/12/2022 and 6/30/2022. Upon approval and disbursement of your refinance loan, the primary borrower will receive a cash deposit of $250. The cash deposit will be awarded in the form of a deposit to your credit union checking or savings account within 90 business days from the funding date of the loan. The primary borrower must be a credit union member in good standing at the time of deposit. Limit one cash award per borrower. The credit union reserves the right to modify the terms of this offer at any point in the future for new applications. Recipient is responsible for any applicable federal, state, or local taxes associated with receiving the cash deposit; consult your tax advisor to determine applicable tax consequences. *Subject to credit qualification and additional criteria, including graduating from an approved school.






Have you ever thought about how you want to age? Have you ever envisioned your life after retirement? I think most people know what they want for themselves & their families but tend to leave it to chance instead of executing a plan to create that reality. I have that vision and plan not just for myself, but for you as well. You see, after my cancer diagnosis at the age of 31, my life changed. I left a flourishing career as a hairstylist in Saratoga Springs for the world of healthcare as an Occupational Therapist. I knew in my heart I wanted to experience all the inner workings of my new career path working with individuals from birth through death & I set out to find those experiences. Over the years I witnessed some miracles as well as some very unfortunate stories and situations. The common thread throughout them was the unpreparedness for these storms and the lack of support in navigating through the rough and unfamiliar waters of healthcare in America. I also saw some groups less served by “the system” then others. As years went by, I was often asked, why isn’t this “out there” somewhere? Why don’t they tell you this stuff? I searched and found there wasn’t a resource out there. Of course, there is AARP, but that is broad and cumbersome website and if you found the information I am providing, it would not be from firsthand experiences and it would take significant time searching for. To understand more of what I am talking about, we should start at the beginning.

What is Occupational Therapy? It is the only healthcare profession (spending category to insurance & facilities) that has been found to reduce hospital readmissions by decreasing a person’s risk of further or future injury. How? Because we treat the person. Occupational therapists consider the person, the activities they perform that are important to them, and the environment these activities are performed in. Our scope of practice covers everything from personal hygiene to sexuality and spirituality. It

is the profession of wholeness and if we can’t repair what no longer works in the body, how can we adapt to maintain independence in what matters most to each of us? As you can see, this holistic view of treating people and maintaining or gaining independence is a crucial part of living. The longer I worked in the clinical aspects of the adult and aging population, the more emotional shifts from hope to desperation I witnessed by misinformation and inexperience in this realm.

I sought out educational opportunities to better serve those that appeared underserved. I earned certifications as a certified geriatric care professional, certified lymphedema therapist, and certified dementia practitioner. I also advocate for minorities whose needs may be unmet based on lack of understanding, language barriers, financial disadvantages, cultural difference, and so on. I am impassioned to educate people to better understand their health conditions in order to reduce the risk of complications and significant disability. I have created Senior Well-Being Solutions with the mission to guide people through creating their own personalized proactive plan for wellness while avoiding the healthcare pitfalls throughout the aging (and caregiving) process. “Don’t Let Your Golden Years Tarnish!” because I heard that the most frequently throughout my career-scoffing at Golden Years while laid up in a rehabilitation facility or nursing home. Certainly, these facilities are necessary, but understanding how to navigate and advocate is a skill one best knows from being inside the inner walls. It is inevitable that someone will be injured or get sick and need assistance but being prepared for the “health storm” creates a sense of peace, preparedness, and often a faster discharge home. Ten thousand people are turning 65 every day in America & 90% of them will require some form of assistance or support with no plan for who will help or who will pay for it. People assume CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{{ BLACK WOMEN ROC} } WELL-BEING {SENIOR SHIFT+CONTROL “Have you ever thought about how you want to age? Have you ever envisioned your life after retirement? ”

Medicare covers everything. My father is on a fixed income and asks me for guidance throughout the years. He has questioned what people who don’t have a family like his in their life. My sister, my daughter, and I all work in healthcare and able to provide support, but that is not common. My goal & my passion are to provide people with the same guidance and support I offer my own father. I welcome the opportunity to partner here and provide value and insight in the months ahead. From technology to help you age in place and home improvements that will age with you without looking institutionalized to free self-care tips that you can do to keep your mind, body, and spirit 168


healthy, there are many valuable things I want to share! I will mentor you through signing up for Medicare and understanding the differences in legal documentation you should have as you age. I look forward to this journey with you to be proactive instead of reactionary in an area we don’t like to think about, but all must deal with. In the end, we plan for everything from college and career to large purchases and vacations, and even retirement finances, but we tend to leave this area to chance. It’s my honor to walk beside each and every one of you to change that and plan for wellness. Cathleen Favaro is a recognized and highly respected Occupational

Therapist, Educator/Advocate, and Geriatric Care Specialist with a reputation for helping individuals and organizations create quick and sustainable results. An expert on aging & wellness, she is known for simplifying complex problems and creating actionable and effective solutions. She is a wife, mother & grandmother who enjoys music, being outdoors, & entertaining. She is always giving and helping friends, her community, and her church. She founded Senior Well-Being Solutions to protect and advocate for her peers and the aging population that she frequently saw during troubling times. For more about Cathy visit www.seniorwellbeingsoutions.com.
















TURNING IT INTO A FLAME Whether you are dating someone for the first time or wanting to (re) create the spark in the intimacy in your relationship, there are key things to be aware of in the what to do and what not to do when it comes to igniting your SHE Boss spark + turning it into a flame: Dating Context: Switch it up from a busy bar scene or restaurant. Maybe try a more quiet coffee shop or local restaurant/business that allows for the ability to have conversations without distractions. If the weather allows for it, and you prefer something more active, get outside and engage in something playful. I always emphasize the importance of what I call the Power of Play + Pleasure. Activating pleasure responses in the brain can be a complete game changer for your mind + body. I love saying, “Those that play together stay together!” Get Out Of Interrogation + Investigation Role: Trust me…. this is one I have to emphasize A LOT not only for dating, but also in relationships. It’s important to stay in the potential partner/partner role. It’s much sexier!!! Feeling like you are being interrogated or investigated in 172


any context can be extremely uncomfortable and anxiety provoking. It can also potentially put anyone on the defensive end, putting up barriers and blockages to truly being yourself or being able to be vulnerable with someone else. Instead be in the mindset of learning about each other through exploring desires + pleasures in a playful way. Maybe get creative

and make a game out of some of the questions you might have, such as going through the letters of the alphabet and indicating one thing about yourself, a like/ dislike, preference, characteristic/ attribute, turn on/turn off, memory, appreciation and so on. Tap Into Your Playfulness: Take yourself out of the serious role, possibly

on a mission, and put yourself in the playful role as if you were a child. Think about the joy, laughter, fun, excitement, and freeing feeling that can come with play. Being exploratory + experiential using our creative minds can allow for such an intimate + pleasurable experience. Go play on a playground, have a snowball fight or go sledding, splash each other in a pool or body of water (safely), run around with your fur babies or someone else’s (dog, cat, etc.), or play a non-competitive sport together. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure it’s exercising your mind + body by engaging in the Power of Play + Pleasure. Take Action: As mentioned in my prior article “Dating 101: Discovering + Enhancing Your Dating Profile + Style” it’s important to not play mind games. If you are interested in continuing to get to know this person and maybe even go on another date, then take action by following up. If this person is on your mind, there is no need to wait around….the dating fairy is not going to just appear and make things happen for you. You need to make it happen by taking action, same for in a relationship. Be open + honest through having your




{ SHEBOSS } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “Remember…..no one is a mind reader, so if you want someone to know what you are thinking + feeling, you need to tell them!”


voice. I know this can be scary, but if you already set the foundation by using the techniques indicated above, then there should be a level of comfort, connection and maybe even confidence there already. Don’t question or second guess it, go for what you want. Remember….. no one is a mind reader, so if you want someone to know what you are thinking + feeling, you need to tell them!

a relationship, also take action by making it known. Ghosting is never a good thing. It doesn’t feel good when you do it or when it’s done to you, so put your big pants on and let that person know you are just not feeling it in a kind + gentle way. It’s ok to be open + honest; dating is trial + error….so are relationships, so we can’t pressure, force or settle for something that is just not there. You deserve more!!!

And if you are not interested in dating this person any longer or being in

Thank you so much for taking the time to do YOU + reflect on igniting


your SHE Boss spark + turning it into a flame. Stay tuned in, in touch + turned on for more about being the boss of your own true self by continuing to Boss Up, Rise Above + Represent. Check out my SHE Boss Collection + Coaching Platform: https://power-of-a-she-boss.teachable. com/p/home Love to all my SHE Bosses ♡ Xo, Dr. J





Jene Luciani Sena YOUR BRA EXPERT






Tell us about Jene Luciani Sena and how you became a nationally known bra expert. Well, it’s somewhat of a long story! I started in TV news and as a journalist, I’ve always been inquisitive. I moved on to writing for magazines and was assigned an article on bras. At that time, OPRAH did her big “bra intervention” show and everyone was talking about it! There wasn’t really any social media at that time and women had lackluster resources when it came to bras. As a journalist, i wanted to tackle the topic and as a woman, I had an attachment to it as I developed a breast deformity during puberty and it impacted my life. So, I started the process of writing the first and only book about how to find the right bra! That was published by BenBella books in 2009. With my TV prowess, I was able to book myself on various TV shows as a bra and style expert. Smaller markets led to bigger markets and then regular stints on The Today Show, Dr. Oz, Wendy Williams and many more! Through the years, I also did events fitting hundreds of women, and bra makeovers on TV. I was the spokesperson for SOMA for two years on QVC training extensively in their stores, and subsequently launched my own bra line, The GemBra by Jene Luciani. All this hands on experience over more than 15-years has made me the go-to expert on the topic!

I’m grateful to have a job that helps so many women look and feel more confident.

young girls to do the same and that there is no limit to what you can accomplish.

What was one moment in your life that changed everything for you? Getting the light bulb moment for The Bra Book (now a bestseller in its 2nd printing) and just pushing forward with it, no matter how many

What was your mission behind the start of your bra company? It was during the pandemic and #1, I wanted to be my own boss and #2, I wanted to uplift women in more ways than just “the right fitting bra.” The addition of the healing crystal embedded into the bra (in my patent pending design) adds that extra element of enlightenment, whether you believe in it or not. It’s the one thing you can do for yourself at the start of your day that’s a means of self-care, with no work on your part at all!

no’s I got or doors slammed in my face. I just knew I had to do this! What makes you hustle? I think you’re either born with a hustle mentality or your not. And that’s OK if you’re not, but I certainly am! I’ve always had this drive to do more and achieve more and keep exploring new avenues of my career. I want to inspire other women and

What made you decide to become an author as well as an entrepreneur? My career has always been in journalism and I’ve always been a good writer….after working in TV news and writing for magazines, a book was a natural progression (and a lifelong dream). I now have 3 professionally published books. What are your top three priorities for being a success? 1- stay in your lane, don’t pay attention to what other’s are doing (like a swimmer!) 2- set a good example for your kids. No matter how hard it gets, don’t let them see you get discouraged. I have 4 little sets of eyes watching me. CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022



“I knew a lot of women kept crystals in their bras and it meant something to them. I thought, what if I could make it easier for them to do so and make a bra with true meaning? And thus the idea was born! ”







3- Always follow your passion and inspire. We work for the paycheck but the paycheck shouldn’t be the only reason for what you do. 4 little sets of eyes watching me.

Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you. I’m a trained singer and my dream as a kid was to go to Juliard and be on Broadway. I ended up in BROADcasting instead LOL.

“What is your ‘why? ‘” Why do you do what you do? Honestly, I’ve always felt like I’ve wanted to help others and that’s truly what I get to do here. That is my why, and what keeps me motivated to keep going.

Is there anything that you feel sets you apart from other womens essential items...other then there being a signature gemstone sewn in each bra? Yes, the fact that I have nearly two decades of bra experience, consulting for other brands and exploring all

What do you do when you are not working in/ on your business? Spending time with my family, sipping on wine, reading books and taking short adventure getaways and beach vacations. Other than that, I’m pretty much always working LOL. How did you come up with the GemBra idea? It literally just came to me. I can’t even explain it?? I knew a lot of women kept crystals in their bras and it meant something to them. I thought, what if I could make it easier for them to do so and make a bra with true meaning? And thus the idea was born! What do you find is the best form of promotion for your business? Social media definitely helps, and word of mouth. Having a good reputation is everything. 184


that’s out there. I make bras that are literally every detail that women have complained to me over the years that their bras don’t have, or that they can’t find in ONE bra. What are your plans for your business over the next year? What about three years? I am looking for an investor to

continue my GemBra line and take it to the next level, as I am selffunded thus far. I sold almost all of my inventory at QVC and have a small amount left on my website. I’m also exploring other intimate apparel related clothing lines and ideas (things that will make a woman’s life easier!) and I’d like to grow a multimillion dollar profitable company, all built around the idea of solutions for women. Ones that aren’t created by men!!!!! How would you describe your company’s success so far? I would say I’m very blessed and lucky. My many years of marketing experience has definitely come in handy and the fact that I’ve spent all this time building this personal brand so that I’m a trusted voice for women. Thank you for trusting me with your ta-ta’s! Name one person who has inspired you through this journey. Sara Blakely of Spanx. Perfect example of a person who had a genius idea and had to forge her own path to make it happen. She’s a trailblazer. I also listen to Esther Hicks almost daily and highly recommend her books. If you don’t believe in the law of attraction, you should. How good are you at making the tough decisions, and what has been one of the toughest you have had to make? I’m a Libra and therefore terrible at making decisions. I’m always worried







SHIFT+CONTROL { HEIDI’S LAW } }} {{SHE HUSTLES TALKS “There wasn’t really any social media at that time and women had lackluster resources when it came to bras.”

about how my decision will affect everyone else! The toughest decision was to take the risk and self-fund my business, instead of something more directly impactful and immediate for my family. It was a big and scary risk! But I had this offer from QVC looming and I felt it had to happen. Do you feel you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business, especially one that spans nationally? Yes!!!

Do you have any advice for women looking to start their own business? Buckle up! There will be so many ups and downs you may get motion sick LOL. Hang in there!!!! Stay the course, and don’t give up - whatever you do!! What do you have coming next? I’m busy with TV appearances, pretty regularly on Access Hollywood Daily and other shows! You’ll see me here and there :)

Jené Luciani Sena Author, The Bra Book (1st & 2nd ed.), & Get It! A Beauty, Style & Wellness Guide to Getting Your “It” Together (BenBella Books) Founder/Creator, The GemBra by Jene Luciani Www.JeneLuciani.com AS SEEN ON: Access Daily, Wendy, E!, EXTRA, QVC, NBC’s Today, Dr. Oz, Fox & Friends, and many others! Follow me! CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


SHIFT+CONTROL {{SHE HUSTLES TALKS }} “All this hands on experience over more than 15-years has made me the go-to expert on the topic”








Y.BOUTIQUE.COM I (315) 807-1282


MILKI WAY Who is the real Milkia Waller? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. I am a woman of beauty, intelligence, value, and faith. I love empowering others and helping others live the life of their dreams. In addition, I am a fun-loving woman who believes in the ABCs of life: Always be classy. Always be cute. It’s about Achievement, Confidence, and Being Bold. Aside from that, I am the #1 Best-selling author of 7 books, entrepreneur, business coach, and queen. I am the founder of Kingdom Women Win ministry and Crystal Clear Children non-profit for the youth. Also, I am the CEO of Milki Way Cosmetics & Skincare. What I am most proud of is being a child of God and a mother.

do it for the next generation. How did you create Milki Way Cosmetics & Skincare Brand? Milki Way Cosmetics & Skincare is coloring the world beautiful one woman at a time. We have always been about beauty from the inside

How did your career in the cosmetics industry begin? I struggled with acne since a teenager. I remember my mom purchasing everything to clear my skin from Edgar Morrison to Neutrogena and nothing worked. When I began competing in the Mrs. Georgia-America pageant, the need for a more glamorous look arose, and because I already knew ingredients that would work for oily acne-prone skin I developed my makeup and skincare line to meet the needs of people like me.

out. Radiating beauty from within and enhancing women’s beauty through the products we produce.

What makes you hustle? I don’t hustle? I attract. But, if I were to hustle, I would do it for my family. I would

What is the mission behind the brand, and how do you choose your products and ingredients? Our mission is to color the world

beautiful by creating empowering products and providing excellent service every day while having fun doing it. What is Kingdomwomenwin.com? It is my website where you can find out more about who I am and what I do. On the website are Milki Way Cosmetics products, lifechanging books, podcast episodes, information on our upcoming conferences, and my speaking engagements. I have four enriching conferences a year: ElevateHer, EmpowerHer, EquipHer, and Crystal Clear Children Lead. This year Pastor Cora Jakes, daughter of Bishop TD Jakes, will be the guest keynote speaker. I love her and think she’s amazing! Like her, I enjoy speaking life to everyone I encounter. There are several blog posts on the website as well. Who are some of the strong women that have inspired you? My mom, grandmother, and Michelle Obama. What do you feel is the key to women empowering women? I feel the key is knowing your worth and being unapologetically powerfully you. When I am authentically me, I can empower another woman to be authentically her. What do you think are the 3 things that make you a successful lady boss? Trusting God and myself, being resilient and courageous to go for my dreams despite what others may CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022



“Our mission is to color the world beautiful by creating empowering products and providing excellent service every day while having fun doing it.”



e g d e n




{ HEIDI’S LAW } }} { SHE SHIFT+CONTROL HUSTLES TALKS “I don’t hustle I attract. But, if I were to hustle, I would do it for my family. I would do it for the next generation.”

What is one place you have visited that has changed your life and why? I recently visited Dubai. Dubai was an experience of a lifetime. I spoke at the First Ladies Forum. It was truly a life-changing experience because I was able to meet other boss ladies who were thriving in business and beauty. Dubai is also very beautiful.

Christ that strengthens me.” What is Crystal Clear Children? Crystal Clear Children is a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to high school graduates and develops the youth in areas of

What have you found to be the most successful method of promotion for your business? Social media has been a great tool, but word of mouth is even better. I have found that when you provide an excellent service people talk and they become your brand evangelist. Tell us about some of your goals and dreams. I dream of advancing the Kingdom of God. The bible says that we should go out into all the world and preach the gospel. I desire to do just that. I want to live on the beach and fly in my private jet. I just really want to continue to speak all over the world empowering women by connecting them to the truth about who they are. You speak on self-love, confidence, and empowerment. What has proven successful in speaking to other women to motivate them to do the same? Share one quote that defines you. “I believe I can do all things through

education through biblical principles exposing them to the greatness and potential within. How did you come up with your slogan “Color the world beautiful?” I love all things beautiful. I have always been a person who sees the beauty in people, places, and things. I would often find myself saying the phrase “that’s so beautiful” to

everything that touched my heart in some way. Now I have incorporated it as a common hashtag I often use on social media. So with that being said, I help to bring beauty into the world and we color the world beautifully. What is your message to the world? You should know the truth and the truth shall set you free. In my opinion, the Bible is true and it is the only liberating source we have. My message is this: the truth about you is that you are not the circumstances or situations that have happened to you. You have greatness inside of you. You are beautiful. You are a genius. You are intelligent. Only believe it. If you could do one thing you have never done what would it be and why? I was an educator for over 15 years. So the one thing I would do would be to create a school that would foster the values and principles of God. I believe that when schools put God back at the forefront; then students will return a better investment to society, knowing who they are and creating stable families. What makes you truly happy? I enjoy swimming. Whenever I swim I feel one with myself and God. During my college years, I taught swim lessons to anyone I could find CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


SHIFT+CONTROL {{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} “ I love empowering others and helping others live the life of their dreams. “

in my neighborhood because I wanted others to experience that oneness. Swimming is amazing and it’s a skill I am glad I learned. Anytime I am enjoying the water, rather it’s at the beach or swimming, that’s my happy place. 198


What is one piece of advice you have been given that you have never forgotten? My grandmother once told me, she said, Kia, you can do anything in this world if you mix a little love in it. I was twelve years old when she said

that to me and that’s been a driving force in my life. Where will we see Milki Way next? In Paris, France, or on a retreat empowering women.











“Tell us a little bit about yourself” My name is Desiree. I am a licensed professional cosmetologist of 19 years, 2x certified PMU artist/instructor, owner/creator of the Infinite Design brand, and owner/creator of IDUSA Hair Extensions brand. I am based out of Upstate (Syracuse) New York. “What made you decide to open your own business, Infinite Design?’ Since becoming licensed 19yrs ago, entrepreneurship has always been the goal. It has been a journey. I’ve worked for myself on and off, and I’ve alsohad the pleasure and experience of working for many different salons during my career, allowing me to see the ins and outs of the salon business. When comparing both experiences of working for myself vs. working for someone else, I’ll always choose to be in business for myself. There’s a freedom to owning your own businessthat you just don’t have working for someone else. You make your own hours, you choose the people you want to work with, you create the environment you want to work in, you decide how much money you’re going to make, you choose when to take a holiday and for how long, etc. The work involved may not be for everyone, but for me owning and operating my own business, the pros outweigh the cons. “What would you say is your specialty service?” I specialize in all hair types, textures, and techniques. Hence the name, Infinite Design USA. Because this industry is

forever changing and evolving, I make sure I keep current with the latest styles, techniques, trends,and products, as to uphold my brand name’s high standards. “What, in your opinion, is the most important quality in your business and the services you provide your clients?”

I stay on top of the latest trends by continuing my education. I do this by attending classes (in person and online), workshops, seminars, hair shows, networking events, and even YouTube. YouTube is a great tool to use when looking for the latest trends, there’s so much information on there. “What makes you hustle?” My children are my reason. I am their everything, and everything I do is for their future. My children give my life purpose. I am nothing without them. 7. “What made you choose this profession?”- I chose the profession I am in because I truly felt it was my natural calling. I’m a natural born artist, and I had to fulfil my need to create. All things beauty, it’s not just what I do, It’s who I am. I made a choice to capitalize off what I was naturally good at and enjoyed doing. I hope for everyone to be able to do the same.

In my opinion, the most important quality in my business and the services I provide my clients would be excellent customer service. This is done by being punctual, communicating effectively, providing consistent quality of work, providing a clean and comfortable environment for the clients, and just all-around ensuring customer satisfaction. “How do you stay on top of the latest trends?”

“Who is a strong female entrepreneur that has influenced you and why?” I can’t name just one because there are a few. They would be the ones I see every day on social media working hard in creating content. The ones whose stories I’ve been following for years and seeing their growth/progress as women and entrepreneurs. These are women whom I’ve watched go from having a home-based business with a kitchen or closet full of products, to having storefronts andwarehouse/es full of products. Women who bare their lives for us to see, including motherhood, CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


SHIFT+CONTROL {{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} “Since becoming licensed 19yrs ago, entrepreneurship has always been the goal. It has been a journey.“

work, relationships, travel, tears, and joy, to inspire other women that they too, can do it all. “What empowers your drive to push ahead during the tough times?” I believe what empowers my drive during the tough times, is staying positive, having faith, and knowing that even though it could be better, it could always be worse. I try to give gratitude and be grateful for my blessings and comforts, as well as be optimistic, and just knowing the tough times too shall pass. “What has been one moment that has defined your life and left a lasting impact?” Well, I’ve had several life defining moments that have left a lasting impact. The first is when I gave birth to my first child, my mind,body, and soul was forever changed. Then having somewhat of a spiritual awakening, which has pretty much guided me throughout my adult life. Then then losing my first-born child to a bad bike accident, he was just 21yrs old. His son was born months later, and I am now a grandmother to a tiny person who is the spitting image of my son. What a gift. It’s weird, but somehow inhis passing, my faith in God and the universe was at its strongest. I didn’t have any answers or explanations for anything, but I just knew everything was in divine order.Knowing that brought me to a different level of peace. “What are some of the services you provide, and who is your ideal clientele?” Some of the services I provide are, brow services-wax/tint, microblading/ 206


shading, lip blushing/neutralization, hair washing, cutting, styling, coloring, extensions, curl treatments, and I teach PMU courses. My ideal client is the student or professional looking to have beauty enhancements of these kind. My classes are for anyone looking to learn a new skill, enhance their current salon/ barber business, or just want to start a new career in the beauty industry. “How have you become a specialist in all different hair types and textures?” I’ve become a specialist in all hair types and textures from 19 years of experience, working in diverse environments, working with different ethnicities, extensive training, and continued education. “What have been your biggest weaknesses owing your own business and how you have you worked to overcome them?” I’d say my biggest weaknesses in owning my own business is procrastination and being afraid to take risks. I’ve worked to overcome these weaknesses through positive affirmations, believing in myself, and allowing myself room for mistakes. “Slow and steady wins the race”, if you’re racing. However, this isn’t a race, it’s a marathon. “What would you change about your business, and why?” The only thing I’d change about my business, is I’d like to expand larger and become a full day spa, by adding a list of other spa services to my menu. Services such as facials, UV/spray tanning, full body waxing,manicures/pedicures, and massages. Most of all, I’d like to have several locations, being large enough

to accommodate these services and customer base. “What is the biggest factor that has helped me be successful and grow your business?” My biggest factor in helping me be successful and grow my business is, staying consistent. Consistency is a key factor. Making a conscious effort every day to get up, show up, and never give up. “Do you have any helpful advice for other up and coming women starting their own businesses?” Yes, for all up and coming women starting their own business, I’d like to say starting the business was the first and most important step, and I’m proud of you. You, the creator,are in full control. What you put into your business you will get in return. Invest wisely. Stay humble and kind, pray, and enjoy the journey. It won’t be easy, but through dedication and consistency, it’ll be worth it. “How do you balance career, personal life, and passions? Is there such a thing as balance?” I balance my career, personal life, and passions by starting my morning at 5am every day. It seems as if there isn’t enough time in one day, so the earlier I start it, the more time I have. I have a routine and I for the most part, stick to it. I keep my social life to a minimum, mainly because I socialize at work all day. I plan my days, weeks, and months in advance. I have designated days for family life. I meditate and try to eat healthy. Some areas may lack whilst others are abundant, but I think I do a pretty good job with balancing all




{{{ SHE HUSTLES SHE HUSTLES TALKS TALKS} }} SHIFT+CONTROL “In my opinion, the most important quality in my business and the services I provide my clients would be excellent customer service.”

areas of my life. Otherwise, life would be a circus. “Tell us one thing we don’t know about you” I have two favorite sports. Both are on extreme opposites of the spectrum. One is Olympic ice skating, and the other is boxing (now UFC fighting). “What is your favorite product or service you provide and why?” My favorite service to perform is cosmetic tattooing, aka microblading/shading. It’s 208


so satisfying to see my clients’ reactions after a new pair of brows. Not to mention, my work is consistent and perfect every time. I am always amazed by my own self and feel very blessed to possess the talent and skill. My favorite product is my hair extension line. The transformation people go through from thin to thick, or short to long hair, is just so amazingly satisfying. Both PMU and extensions bring in great revenue. “Where do you see your business in the next year? 5 years?”

I see growth, another location, possibly international, the opening of an advanced training academy. Who knows? Just remember the name, Infinite Design USA.





STEPHANIE STRAUB Tell us about yourself, and how you started your own business: I’m originally from the Buffalo, New York area but came to Syracuse for graduate school and have made my home here ever since. My degree is in social work and while I have worked in different areas within the field my heart has always been in clinical work. After having my children I knew I wanted to have a job I could work around my family’s needs and the best way to do that was to become my own boss!

Who is a typical client for CNY Therapy Solutions? My specialty area is reproductive and maternal mental health. I work mostly with women around the issues of getting pregnant, being pregnant and the postpartum period. Although that’s my specialty I also work with clients both male and female that have other clinical needs. In addition to running the practice I also run another business helping therapists get their own private practices off the ground. It’s a

What makes you hustle?: Honestly there is such a need for mental health services in Central New York, the work itself demands a little hustle to keep up with it. I try my best to accommodate as many clients as possible while still balancing the needs of my family and my own self-care. What, in your opinion, is the most important quality in your business and the services you provide? For me, what has supported the growth of my business is to fully define and clarify my niche, continue to get quality training in that area, and learn how to communicate effectively to my ideal client. I want my clients to know from the first click on my website that I truly understand their pain points and that there is no doubt I am the therapist who will best fit their desires.

new venture for me, one I hope to see grow. Therapists are not taught about the business side of things in school, so it’s a great opportunity to help boost confidence in new private practitioners as they learn the ropes. What is the mission behind your business? Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders such as Postpartum Depression

and Anxiety affects 1 in 5 women (and 1 in 10 partners). It is the NUMBER ONE complication of pregnancy. There is so much shame and stigma around that experience for women that many are afraid to ask for help. My goal is to reduce that stigma and support these mothers in becoming the best version of themselves, for their sake and their family’s As a female entrepreneur, who has inspired you? My children! I am a single mom to two intelligent, strong, kind and beautiful girls. I think it’s so important for them to see me as a role model and help them realize they can do anything they set their minds to. I love bringing them to my office and helping them get a greater understanding for what I do…and not just the “glamorous” side of running the business, they see me taking out the trash or cleaning the toilet too. It’s all part of the journey to success! What are your top three priorities for being a successful entrepreneur? 1. Having a clear vision for what you hope to accomplish. It’s really easy to get distracted as a business owner and begin thinking you need to branch off into a million other areas. When your efforts become dispersed across too many things it’s harder to reach your goals. CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{{{ SHE HUSTLES SHE HUSTLES TALKS TALKS} }} SHIFT+CONTROL “Honestly there is such a need for mental health services in Central New York, the work itself demands a little hustle to keep up with it.”

Any time you are presented with an opportunity it’s important to consider whether it brings you closer to that vision you created before taking it on. 2. Recognizing I am on my own journey. It’s super easy to compare myself to others and start to doubt myself both clinically as a therapist and as a business owner. But that’s someone else’s path, not mine. Imposter syndrome is REAL and it can really mess with your head, but it gets worse when you’re too focused on other’s pace and not my own. 3. Balance! Running a business is HARD WORK and it would be really easy to let it take over my life. But the whole reason I went into owning my own practice was to have more access to my family. I can’t lose sight of that. Certainly there have been seasons when I’ve worked more out of necessity, whether my own or my client’s but ultimately I try to maintain solid boundaries between work and home. Would you do business with yourself if you were a customer and why? I hope so! My mantra around my work is in everything I do, do it with authenticity. What you see is truly what you get with me. I think that makes me relatable to my clients and colleagues, and helps them feel more at ease working together. “What is your ‘why? ‘” Why do you do what you do? At the risk of oversimplifying it, I just really enjoy helping people. It feels good. And especially with the nature of the work I do, the ripple effect of helping 212


one person, whether it’s a new mom or a new therapist affects so many others. It’s a nice feeling. What do you do when you are not working in your business? I’m typically spending time with my children, but when I’m on my own I enjoy being active, spending time outdoors, or attending live theater or music events. I’ve also been in a couple local community theater productions before the pandemic and hoping to return to that soon! What has been your biggest challenge over the pandemic in treating your clients? While it’s not uncommon to have shared or similar experiences with your clients every now and then, this was the first time I was experiencing the EXACT same thing in REAL TIME. Especially when it all started and we knew very little, my clients were so so anxious…. and so was I!! It was so important to continue to maintain professional boundaries so my emotions didn’t affect the therapy process. I was able to access some amazing professional supports that helped me through- and having my own therapist helped too! Mental health is a huge issue right now, especially after all that has happened in the world over the past few years. What is one important piece of information you would give to people struggling right now? YOU ARE NOT ALONE! One “silver lining” through all of this has been the normalization of mental health issues. People who have been afraid or ashamed

of their mental or emotional struggles now had an “excuse” that seemed worthy of seeking support. And as crazy as it sounds I think social media has a lot to do with that. When were are all on lockdown the internet was the only way to stay connected with others. Things like Tik Tok created community among millions of people who never would have had access to each other otherwise. And the beautiful thing about it, is that people could truly see that they weren’t alone in their struggle and it empowered them to get the help they needed. It’s been amazing to witness both as a content creator and consumer. What do you find is the best form of promotion for your business? Simply put: do good work. Certainly I do some marketing, but I have found the best way to promote is to be good at what I do. Not just when it comes to sitting across from clients but also doing quality case consultation with medical providers or other professionals supporting them. Finding ways to connect with other therapists is also a good method for getting your name out there. So much comes down to word of mouth, if you do good work you can be sure the words being shared about you are the right ones! Where will we see you next? I’m not sure! As any entrepreneur knows all plans are subject to change, but my goals continue to be growing my practice, helping other therapists start theirs and working toward expanding my reach to educate and decrease stigma around maternal mental health. For now people can find me at cnytherapysolutions.com,











TERE MARIE Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. Who is Tere Marie? I’m Syracuse native. I’ve lived in glorious places... Vermont, Hawaii, The Adirondacks and California... I’ve always returned. Syracuse is a nexus of really amazing people... I was formally trained in biology, and my career path has taken many different turns... I’ve worked for the government and worked for myself...I’ve worked in other people’s restaurants,and owned my own... I finally came home to myself as an organic farmer, holistic reproductive health coach and spiritual care provider, the things that have always been my passion. I farm with my husband at Wyllie Fox Farm, 30 beautiful acres just outside of Baldwinsville,New York. Community education is a huge part of what we do on the farm, teaching folks how to become more self-sufficient and connected to their natural world by growing their own food.This, of course, pairs nicely with my coaching work, which extends into plant medicine, spiritual development, and anchoring in the wisdom of the body. What is “Cultivating The Intentional Feminine “ and what is the basis behind it? There’s deep wisdom to be shared when women sit in circle together. Since our early human history, women have shared knowledge of the body, how to heal and optimize our body, mind and spirit, through these deep connections with one another, sharing in community. We access our true nature through anchoring into the wisdom of the body, passed on from the lineage that came before us, and passing this on to the young women that are coming up in this world. Our intuitive selves, our ability to heal ourselves, the ability to manage our own reproductive health, our personal development and so much more is gestated by sitting in circle and creating sisterhood, together.

During the pandemic, we lost many of these spaces, as to be expected....So in 2021, I was feeling the call to bring women together again. Sitting in circle with women has been one of the most healing, and growth centered experiences I’ve experienced, and was feeling drawn to bring this healing to folx who might not have otherwise experienced this. A friend, Amanda Burton, who I had met in circle, and continued to sit in circle for many years with, was also feeling the same call. We put our heads together, and in

What makes you hustle? I was born a Hustler. The daughter of a serial entrepreneur, it’s just in my blood to create, and do whatever it takes to bring that creation to life. To be honest, I am trying to hustle less and slow down more these days, being in a masculine world for so many years almost numbed me to my intuitive nature, so I’m really welcoming slowing down and not being driven by a linear, masculine world. I’m living deeply in my purpose with creating in a more feminine way, full of authenticity to my soul’s purpose. However, old habits die hard, and I still find myself hustling more than I’d like to admit (haha!) What does it mean to be a Holistic Reproductive Health Coach? The work that I do truly encompasses the wisdom of the body, and feminine embodiment. Using our cycle as a source of information, as the barometer of our overall health, is one of the best kept secrets, that really shouldn’t be a secret. This is the wisdom I speak of, when I talk about the lineage of women sharing with women.

about a month’s time we created a full day workshops, presenters, yoga instructors, meditation facilitators, creators, makers, intuitive readers and holistic minded practitioners for a festival held on my farm. We featured a farm to table lunch, sourcing most of the products from the farm itself. I have to say, serving about 100 people that meal might have been the highlight of the festival for me! So, there the festival was born, this year we are expanding into a larger event, that includes a retreat style, VIP workshop day, an intimate experience of intensive sessions, where we will take a deep dive into the feminine mysteries.

Our cycles are the ‘canary in the coal mine’, or, the first indicator that there is dysregulation in other systems of the body. If we are emotionally dysregulated...If we are stressed out, overworked, burnt out, if our nutrition or digestion isn’t on point, if we are not honoring our boundaries, if we are not sleeping well, or a a host of other conditions...You best believe it will be reflected in your cycle. Living with 4 distinct phases to our cycles gives us the advantage and ability to structure our lives according to the proclivity of our biology. There is a time to give, and a time to receive. A time for CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{{{ SHE HUSTLES SHIFT+CONTROL SHE HUSTLES TALKS TALKS} }} “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

greater output, and a time for rest. A time to reflect, and a time to create. Essentially, I teach people to become experts on their bodies....I teach them how to read and interpret the cues that their body gives every day about hormonal status, and how to create a record of health according to those biomarkers. We then overlay lifestyle onto those biometrics.From there, we can organize and optimize their lives according to what their biology is asking of them. This is honoring the wisdom of the body, and finding alignment of body, spirit and mind. From that place we can use that information to dial in many other aspects of our life, our relationships, our parenting, our health, nutrition, careers, so on and so forth. What is your mission behind being a female entrepreneur and coach, especially in the holistic field? To put it simply, it is my mission to teach each person with a wombspace, how to live in alignment with the cyclical wisdom of the body, and to find deep meaning and purpose in life through that anchor. What do you feel is the key to being successful in your field? Authenticity and alignment! What have you found to be the most successful method of promotion for your business? Word of mouth, social media, and connecting with folks in circle. Providing resources and disseminating information about holistic reproductive health is critical, in particular during the challenging times that women are experiencing currently. We need access to BOTH researchbased information and intrinsic, ancestral knowledge. This is why women coming together, to share their knowledge, is SO important. 218


Tell us about some of your goals and dreams both personally and with your business. WHERE TO START?! Education is a huge part of the mission, so hosting more opportunities for folx to come together to learn is the overarching goal. More on site classes,virtual classes, deep dives, circles and workshops. Nervous system regulation, movement, plant medicine, womb wisdom, nutrition and cooking, growing plants...I have endless goals, dreams and ambitions! Share one quote that you feel defines you. “You are the sky, everything else is just the weather” -Pema Chodron How did you come up with the idea of helping women with their menstrual cycle through science,spirit, intuition and ancestral wisdom? One of the most basic (and underappreciated) parts of being a woman is our cycle. We are taught that it is a ‘curse’, a burden, something to dread or get rid of. In reality, it is our superpower. It is our monthly report card, and an indicator of the overall health of our body. We need the research based science to understand our hormones, wisdom of our lineage through ancestral knowledge, trust in the body by honoring our intuition and living with purpose by being in our authentic selves and spirit! What is one piece of advise you have been given that you have never forgotten and what is one piece of advice that you would pass along to others? Always take the pause before reacting.... One of my favorite quotes on this is.... “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” — Viktor E. Frankl

Where can we find you, and where will we see you next? First and foremost, I hope you will join us for “ Cultivating the Intentional Feminine” on September 23 and September 24. This is a experience unlike any other in our area. This is a day full of sisterhood,featuring the areas finest holistic health practitioners, intuitives, meditation teachers, yoga instructors, creators, makers, artists, and more. There are classes, workshops, speakers,circles, breakout sessions, and an extra special VIP day for those who would like to take a deeper dive, in a retreat style experience. You can find me there, organizing, speaking, hosting, and most likely schlepping up the farm to table family meal. @theintentionalfeminine www. theintentionalfeminine.com @cyclealchemist www.teremariemartini. com Tell us what you like most about what you do. I love seeing women step into their authenticity, true feminine embodiment through anchoring into the wisdom of the body. Knowing that we have this source, this inner compass, this lighthouse within us always gives us a place to come home to. I absolutely love to see humans coming home to themselves ----Tere Marie Martini-Edelstein Holistic Reproductive Health Coach-Cycle Alchemy Organic Farmer- Wyllie Fox Farm She/Her








My name is Stacey (@the_cosmetic_ pa) and I’m a Physician Assistant who specializes in cosmetic injectables. You can find me stabbing people with my best friend Jena Murphy NP-C on a regular basis at Syracuse Plastic Surgery (SPS).

not constantly creasing the skin. The process is easy, relatively pain free, and can be done on your lunch break. (Woo hoo) There is minimal downtime. Tox is a powder that has

I am going to take a shot in the dark and say most people don’t want toxins in their bodies. No one is going around saying “poisonous substances that are harmful to me?… sign me up for those!” However there is one toxin, I and many others crave at least a few times a year.

If you are looking for a plastic, frozen, or emotionless look than I can’t help you. If you’re looking for a smooth skating rink forehead with natural movement then look no further and call me Elsa. At SPS we try to keep your natural movement while preventing as many deep static lines as we can. Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible but we can help you determine which areas would be preventative for you. It’s always easier to prevent rather to treat down the line.

I’m talking about the illustrious neurotoxin. A staple in the esthetic industry now. We use it in a plethora of ways. Can be placed superficially in the skin for a delightful glow, to diminish appearance of pores and injected into muscles to preserve our natural beauty. Wrinkle free is the way to be. Fun fact - neurotoxins can also be used to lessen scars after trauma, migraines, eye twitches, to balance out a face after nerve damage, bladder or stomach spasms, teeth grinding and to alleviate excessive sweating. There are several types of neurotoxin (Tox) on the market and they all work in similar ways. (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, & Jeuveau are all carried at our office) They do not fill the wrinkles but they stop muscle contraction so that you’re

the wait. Repeated treatments are necessary to maintain your beautiful outcome but if you decide not to continue (which you probably will never look back or regret this decision) there’s no harmful long term consequences. Basically you just put a pause on the aging process.

So come on in and I or Jena will stab you with some toxin. You’ll say thank you & be craving more.

to be reconstituted with saline so you may get some cool dinosaur bumps for 10 to 15 minutes unfortunately they resolve so you won’t be able to count on this for long. It takes up to 2 weeks for your results but well worth CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022













This piece is aimed to educate and empower. This month we highlight The Women’s Community Justice Association in New York City and the Beyond Rosies Campaign. The campaign is women-led and consists heavily of directly impacted and formerly incarcerated people. The #BEYONDRosies campaign has been fighting to decarcerate and to close the women’s facility, The Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island jail, before the city’s 2027 timeline to close all facilities on Rikers and, to transform Lincoln Correctional Facility in Harlem, NYC into a Women’s Center for Justice for those who remain in custody.

sentence. Her family has the Campaign’s full support and we grieve with them. We need our leaders to step up and do what’s right for the women and genderexpansive individuals at Rikers. Sadly, it is too late for Ms. Yehudah. But they must act before tragedy strikes again. Also in May 2022, New York Times columnist Ginia Bellafante featured the #BEYONDRosies campaign. Rev.

Read our new report The Women’s Center for Justice: A Nation-Leading Approach on Women & GenderExpansive People in Jail. “Trauma is the driver of a lot of things. Subconsciously, you have this built-up anger. In this new place at Lincoln Correctional Facility, we want to operate from a healing perspective. Even if someone had to go upstate for some time, she would know she is on the pathway to healing and wellness.” said Rev. Sharon White-Harrigan, Executive Director WCJA In May 2022 Mary Yehudah became the fifth person, and the first woman, to die at Rikers Island this year. In 2021 sixteen men died at Rikers Island jail. As a society we should be appalled. A jail sentence should not equal a death

Sharon White-Harrigan said “This isn’t just about creating a new building. It’s about creating a new culture that allows people to get to where they need to be. There is justice without punishment. You can hold people accountable without leaving them worse than when they came in.” The print version titled “Imagining an Alternative for Justice and Healing,” by Ginia Bellafante is https://assets. nationbuilder.com/wcja/pages/85/ attachments/original/1653054084/ IMG_0370.jpg?1653054084

I learned through my experience having an Op Ed Published in the NY Daily News that editors choose the title – mainly to satisfy a quota for online traffic – and many times usurp the message. Last week Senator Julia Salazar, Senator Cordell Cleare, Assembly Member David Weprin and Assembly Member Michaelle Solages wrote a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams urging them to secure Lincoln for those currently at the womens facility on Rikers, rather than relocating them to a new Kew Gardens facility that opens in 2027. “The borough-based jail plan to relocate the women to a Kew Gardens facility where they would share the same spaces and staff as men would create the same or worse conditions than at Rikers,” they wrote. An estimated 77 percent of women at Rosie’s are domestic violence survivors, and the Kew Gardens plan risks exposure to their abusers and re-traumatization. https://assets.nationbuilder.com/ wcja/pages/89/attachments/ original/1653511060/Salazar_ RMSC_Letter_-_Governor_Hochul. pdf?1653511060 Please sign on to support our campaign! https://www.womenscja. org/beyondrosies_campaign?utm_ campaign=women_s_center_ of_report_2022&utm_ medium=email&utm_source=wcja Marion Rodriguez, www.muvsu.net E: whatmuvsu@gmail.com CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022




{{ WHAT MUVS YOU? }} SHIFT+CONTROL “The campaign is women-led and consists heavily of directly impacted and formerly incarcerated people.”












Welcome to The Love Frequency column! I am so looking forward to sharing knowledge with you and connecting on a deeper level. Without further ado, I have an inquiry for you: Have you ever noticed how are you feel when you’re around certain people? For instance, when you spend time with those who complain all the time, or are fueled by gossip? They may believe “it’s always something.” Or “if it’s not one thing, it’s another,” they state with slight eye roll and an exasperated sigh.

partial to the wu. But this concept isn’t even wu. It’s quantum physics. My beliefs are based on the fact that everything has a vibration, right down to the cellular level. Atoms and molecules buzzing all the time contribute to the reality you are living in. Helping you understand this (if you don’t already) will open your heart and mind to the awareness that you are constantly co-creating your life based on your thoughts, beliefs, patterned responses and actions or inactions. A little bit about me before I go any

And conversely have you noticed how you feel being around people who are lit up, enthusiastic about life, joyful and optimistic? They reassure you that the hard times are “not happening TO you, they are working out FOR you” and that “this too shall pass.” Did you just have a few faces come to mind? Who do you prefer to be around? Maybe you see yourself falling into one of these categories. The truth is everything is energy. Every single emotion has a corresponding energetic frequency. Lower vibrational states include shame, guilt, worry, blame, revenge, inferiority, fear, just to name a few. Higher frequency (emotional) states include joy, peace, willingness, enthusiasm, optimism, love and gratitude. While I love the practical, I am even more

the gap from where they are to where they want to be, while creating a mindset and lifestyle they love. I’ve helped clients move through deep sorrow and intense grief following the loss of a child, learn to love and trust themselves more, achieve promotions at work, move cross country, leave unhealthy, one-sided relationships, attract the loves of their lives, birth and grow soul-led businesses in the online space, power couples navigate conflict and learn to repair in a healthy productive way, thus improving intimacy. I help my clients navigate this human experience and learn to live in true soul alignment. I’ve come to realize there are two major forces at play in this world. One is FEAR.

further with The Love Frequency. I have BS in Psychology from 20 years ago, I’m a birth professional: doula, HypnoBirthing, former RN home birth assistant (RNmost trusted profession in the states!), Kripalu yoga instructor, nervous system nerd, energy healer: reiki (since 2009), EFT, NLP practitioner-reprogramming subconscious beliefs, mom-14 + 17 yr old boys, and a published author I’m also an Intuitive Embodiment Coach who’s helped thousands of beautiful souls over the last couple years bridge

People caught up in fear like to point the finger. They like to blame others. Those in fear play small; they underutilize their potential. They have difficulty speaking their truth, worried they won’t be accepted. They may spread themselves too thin or be unaware of healthy boundaries, have difficulty saying “no.” They only show up part of the time, mostly when it’s easy. And the other is LOVE. When rooted in love, there is a deep inner knowing that everything is working out for you. There is a sense of trust. These people are not a victim of their circumstances, they are bravely here to CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022








{ THE LOVE FREQUENCY { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “The truth is everything is energy. Every single emotion has a corresponding energetic frequency.”

take radical responsibility for their own stuff and do what it takes, no matter what, to step into their biggest, best version of themselves. Their highest potential. Their fullest expression…in life, in LOVE, in their business. Those who vibrate in the frequency of LOVE are successful in all endeavors. They follow through on actions and honor their word to a T, regardless of challenges that might arise. They emanate LOVE simply by choosing the thought, the action, the belief of optimism, joy, worthiness. It’s a deep inner knowing that they deserve MORE. And that’s okay. 236


Learning to play in the quantum field, know this: “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” ~Nikola Telsa When you’re in the frequency of LOVE, you show up and demonstrate you can lead yourself even when it’s hard. You experience a greater sense of intimacy, more peace, more fulfillment, better sleep, more productivity and focus. It’s a win-win! A starting point is to identify how you typically feel on a daily basis. Also pay attention to who you choose to surround

yourself with. It’s true: “birds of a feather flock together.” Become aware of how you want to feel each day and flex your discernment muscle. Email hello@karakaraoguz.com with any questions you’d like to read more about.






A Fresh Start for a Lovable Four-Legged Friend Not every path to a forever home is a straight line. For many who come through our doors at Animal Care Sanctuary, those paths can be incredibly challenging. Meet one-year-old pup Oracle, who first came to ACS in February from Best Friends Dog Rescue in Georgia. Oracle was in need of medical attention that she couldn’t receive down south, and ACS was happy to step forward and take her in. Oracle’s back legs are paralyzed, and after a visit to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, it was discovered that she was born with a spinal defect that prevents her from having full use of her hind legs. However, that condition doesn’t stop Oracle from getting around, thanks to her custom-fit wheelchair. She’s the life of the party wherever she can find company, and is one of the sweetest girls to ever come through the doors of Animal Care

Sanctuary. All that was missing for young Oracle was a home to call her own. For an animal as loving as Oracle, it didn’t take long for someone to fall in love the minute they walked through our doors. A family who previously adopted

What makes Oracle’s adoption story extra special is the amount of community support that made it all possible. It goes beyond one family loving and accepting Oracle and her disability. All Animals Matter, Inc. sponsored her adoption fee, and ACS will provide their lifelong counseling whenever needed. The staff at ACS also takes the time to educate any family and answer all questions about any long-term medical care that may be required with pets adopted from our shelter. We’re grateful for the time we shared with the lovely Oracle. But most of all, we’re thankful Oracle now has a family to call her own.

a dog named BeBe back in August of 2020 got the chance to meet Oracle in May. BeBe and her sibling Polona were both eager to play with Oracle the first time they met her, which is everything Oracle loves and more. Oracle and her two older siblings have since formed an unbreakable bond and have made their home a place for fun and affection. CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022







Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been living with Lupus for years, having a chronic illness like Lupus can take a toll on your mental health. According to a 2017 study, 1 in 4 Lupus patients have signs of depression and 40% of Lupus patients have anxiety. However Lupus affects your mental health, know that you aren’t alone. This page includes hotlines, therapists, support groups and other mental health resources for Lupus patients and their loved ones. If you are having a medical emergency or mental health crisis, please go to your local emergency room or call 911. HOTLINES LupusLine®: Speak with a trained volunteer who has Lupus. Chronic Illness Hotline: A support text line for anyone with a chronic illness. Text “care” to 202-596-6520. HelpGuide provides a list of mental health hotlines in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, the Philippines, and South Africa. Therapists, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists Psychology Today has a mental healthcare provider directory where you can search for a therapist, teletherapy, psychiatrist, treatment center, or support group by your city or zip code. You can browse by issues, including chronic illness and chronic pain, insurance, gender, types of therapy, age, price, ethnicity served, sexually, language, and faith. BetterHelp or Talkspace: Get matched with a licensed therapist to speak to via video chat, phone, or online chat. For additional online therapy options, check out Best Online Therapy Services from VeryWell Mind.

Lupus Support Groups and Communities Lupus Foundation of America National Network: National and state-based online support groups for people with Lupus. Lupus Foundation of Northern California: Regionally hosted virtual Lupus support groups. Kaleidoscope Fighting Lupus: Although typically hosted in Portland, OR, Kaleidoscope is currently hosting their monthly Lupus support group on Zoom every second Saturday of each month. Lupus Warriors: A Facebook-based support group for those diagnosed with Lupus or those that know someone that battles this disease. Inspire: LupusConnect: An online Lupus support and discussion community. MyLupusTeam: A free Lupus social network Healing Well: A support forum for Lupus patients. Smart Patients Lupus Community: An online community for Lupus patients and their families. EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES Lupus and depression: Know the signs and how to get help from the Lupus Foundation of America Lupus, Emotional Stress, and Depression: What You Need to Know from Everyday Health Lupus and Mental Health Concerns from WebMD Lupus and Your Emotions from Hospital for Special Surgery LUPUSCHICK BLOG POSTS Managing Life With Lupus by Focusing

on What I Can Control by Emily Carroll Keep Thinking You’re Not Good Enough? You’re Wrong. by Cassandra Ewert Music Therapy and Chronic Pain by Erika Kaiser Affirmations for Depression: 5 You Can Use Today by Cassandra Ewert How to Provide Hope to Someone with a Chronic Illness by Emily J. Maurits Finding Your Voice (and Tribe) Through Support Groups & Circles by Donna Oram, MSW, ACSW Grieving our Pre-Chronic Illness Lives by Donna Oram, MSW, ACSW How to Help Ourselves in the Midst of a Health Crisis by Donna Oram, MSW, ACSW Finding a New Sense of Self Through Community by Ruth Wilson Chronic Illness and the Journey to Acceptance by Donna Oram, MSW, ACSW How To Practice Mindfulness For Chronic Pain by Nicole Ashley Chuba Other Resources Living Life To The Full: Reclaim Your Life: A free online course that teaches people with a long-term health condition Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to get their lives back. Mind Remake Project: Offers free printable mental health worksheets, handouts, workbooks, and manuals. Chronically Fabulous: Finding Wholeness and Hope Living with Chronic Illness by Marisa Zeppieri














THE UNWRITTEN AND UNSPOKEN RULES OF FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS A friend’s intentions are not always honest. Recently, I conducted useful research on the Do’s and Don’ts of a healthy friendship. This is not about how we act when relationships are going as expected or not, but how we respond when there is a concerning situation that may arise during our long-time friendship. The way we respond, however, when friends show signs of insecurity, clues of exploiting the friendship, blaming the victim, hostile avoidant personality and problematic personality traits, and covert and bad mouthing you behind your back while smiling in your face. Astonishing, were the research results. Research Questions: The overarching questions guiding the research, revealed some interesting results. ● DO’s and DON’T’s of a good friendship. ● Whether the rules are implicit or explicit? ● What does it mean to have shared values in a friendship? Is it necessary after 20-30 years of a friendship to develop a shared value system - if a shared value system was never developed? ● Is it safe to say, verbal codes substitute or contradict verbal communication?

Nonverbal codes include but are not limited to: facial expression, eye contact, time management, silence, space touch, senses, tone and intonation?Types of Non-Verbal behaviors ● The importance of knowing your friends dislikes and likes ● Where are the boundaries (verbal and non-verbal) ● Love Language between girlfriends with husbands, people they date, and exes? ● Proper decorum: how do you conduct yourself in the presence or not in the presence of your girlfriends: boyfriend, exes, or husband? Heather Day, After reading In a piece for Thought Catalog, Heather Day, a writer and lecturer at Southwestern Michigan College, recalls a similar experience. During high school, she and her friends publicly shunned another friend who had slept with her exboyfriend. The girl begged for forgiveness, but all attempts at reconciliation were ignored. The humiliation and heartbreak was so painful, she ended up moving away to live with her father. Years later, as a remorseful adult, Heather realizes that her friend was wrong,, but that a very human desire to feel wantedno matter how old a woman may be, but etiquette 101 with friends, hands off of my man, my money, my exes, my husband and or the

like. Reverend Raquel Alston shared, You and I have an established friendship. In our friendship, I get to learn your core values, your standards, because it comes out when we communicate or through your body language. I should not have to sit down with you every six months or year to ask how you feel about friendship or marriage. Moreover or how do you feel about people treating you wrong? Because it is not only how you treat me, but how you treat other people. Through observation, I get to learn more about who you are, which is beyond speech. And I think this is for everybody. Let’s consider this is even in marriages - you are no survelincing your marriage in that manner (6 month check-ins with a list, 1 year, 3 and 5 years). Maybe in the honeymoon stage, but at some point you are not doing that at all. It comes out that in a friendship there’s a covenant agreement that we are going to be friends, through the good and bad times. Moreover, for me, friendship is important! If we can’t trust one another, then why would we need to be friends. Friendship is all about making each other better people. It’s a journey that we take and we have to commit to that journey no matter what comes our way.And the most important thing is that we must keep communication with one another going even when things get rough. Blind Guides - Leadership held to a higher standard: CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{ BLACK WOMEN VOICES { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “Friendship is all about making each other better people. It’s a journey that we take and we have to commit to that journey no matter what comes our way.”

At its core, The Woman Code is a code of “ethics” that demands ultimate loyalty to one’s sister, blood or not, religions or not, grafted in or not, above all else, including parents, significant others, law enforcement, maybe even God — there is nobody above the “Woman’s Code.”. The term typically conjures up images of sorority sisters, pledging allegiance to one another. Reverend Raquel noted, “Do not follow blind guides - Leadership - friend or not should be held to a higher standard. Appealing to the “different standard rule or assumption argument is a way of wiggling your way out of a problem you created as a friend. Moreover there are plenty of things bad friends can do that will not commit nor adhere to the “Woman’s Code” verbally or not, but keep in mind some of these things socalled friends do is closely connect to deception, and manipulation. How do you measure it? I heard you stated, Dr. Tunya that you asked your pastor friend specific questions and she deflected. I would think it’s safe to say, deflection is a form of manipulation and deception. In hopes to take advantage of a friend, and with a specific aim to exploit the friendship. Let’s talk research results! Research Results: I turned to 10 clergy women and 10 clergy men and 5 non-clergy men and women. The results were astounding, over 99 percent agreed that verbal or not friends should abide by certain established norms in most relationships especially if the goal is to sustain and 248


preserve the friendship. 0.05 percent of the other respondents, mostly clergymen did not want to answer the question. I must admit, I wasn’t shocked at all that certain male members of clergy e did not answer, because the church, in particular, the black church struggles with the don’t do as I do, but do as I say. This duality of practice is never consistent with what Scripture teach about holding bad leaders accountable even if they are your friends. The greater percentage agreed that she was way out of line. However 0.05% of her friends appealed to the (1) shared values argument and the (2) assumptions argument. In response, the question Black Women’s Voices #BeBrave project respondents asked, “Is there a decline of Pastoral and Personal Integrity? And is there any honor among friends?” Holley Moore notes, “There are several factors which can contribute to a decline, or erosion of integrity. Surely those engaged in “people business,” recognize that respect for integrity must be earned and is therefore given to us by others. When we make mistakes and then try to cover them with distortions of the truth, or by blatant lying, integrity suffers a mighty blow as the truth is eventually revealed. People under the spiritual leadership of a pastor need and should be able to trust the pastor. Rarely, if ever, should members be given cause to wonder about a pastor’s character. Webster’s Dictionary defines personal integrity as “the quality or state of being

of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty and sincerity.” In ethics workshops and seminars for many years, I have what I refer to as an operational definition of integrity: “consistently adhering to a discernible set of moral values in making daily choices.” What this means, literally, is that you and I are what others see; say what we may, we are still judged by our daily actions. When we deviate from generally accepted notions of what constitutes “right” and “good” and, as Christians, when we act apart from Scripture, our integrity erodes. Sadly, in some instances, a pastor may not recognize when his credibility is in a downward spiral until it’s too late to overcome the negative view congregants may hold for him. This would seem especially true when a pastor has become so accustomed to distorting or otherwise manipulating truth that the line dividing truth from untruth has become obscured.” The Cardinal Rule As rule breakers know, the punishments for not abiding verbal or non verbal rules of decorum among friends, the consequent are swift and severe. My friend Anita learned this harsh lesson while playing a game with a group of her girlfriends. On her dare or dare not cards pointed “dare” to a man who happened to be the object of one of her girlfriends’ affection. Their innocent “dare kiss” ultimately signaled the kiss of death for her friendship with that girl, who accused Anita of betraying her. Not satisfied by her sloppy apology, and grace beads that offer no grace at all, but





{ BLACK WOMEN VOICES { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “Through observation, I get to learn more about who you are, which is beyond speech. And I think this is for everybody.”

rather gall for a vinegar mix. Bad friends, and their damage, lies in their subtlety to deceive others - like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or a deep kiss from Judas with over 74 million people believing the sitting president is not the real president. Moreover the way they can engender that classic response, ‘It’s not me, it’s them.’ They and others that have tasted their vinger with gall can have you questioning your ‘over-reactiveness’, your oversensitivity’, your ‘tendency to misinterpret’. If you’re the one who’s continually hurt, or the one who is constantly adjusting your own behaviour to avoid being hurt, then chances are that it’s not you and it’s very much them. Being able to spot a friend-enemy and their harmful behaviour is the first step to minimize their impact. The Recovery Process: Orientation, Disorientation, New Orientation Shauna and Walter Brueggerman thoughts are helpful here when thinking about when a long-term friendship ends up in the dumps. “ When you are in the throes of a crisis (friendship crisis), it can be life changing and mind altering, and all together transforming. When something shatters as you know it, it can challenge everything you think you know about yourself and your friend.” I have pulled together a helpful summary from a few different sources that capture Brueggeman’s thoughts on the matter. I have found this framework quite helpful and very true to life.

Brueggemann has developed a way of categorizing the Psalms and bringing them into our own personal lives, in this case, the framework can be helpful when deciding to keep your long term friend or throw the relationship in the trash. Moreover if your are a Christian woman the process of deciding whether the friendship is worth keeping or not adds another dynamic to the challenge of making a sound and wise decision. Here’s why? Most Christians enter the thinking process using a forgiveness model. What’s problematic using the forgiveness model is, (1) concluding what the decisions should be rather than allowing the facts about the relationship speak for itself (2) the foreignness model at times may not allow the friend that a was harmed space to critically think about the pain and harm caused by a bad friend, because the default mode as a Christian is set to “forgiveness” is the goal. However my recommendation is that Christians seek wise counsel before making a decision. If wise counsel is not pursued then it can lead to further exploitation and abuse at the hands of the bad friend. Walter Brugerrman, in his book entitled Praying the Psalms can be helpful when making final decisions. Walter Bruggerman, suggests that the psalms reflect two very basic movements in everyone’s life. The first is the move into the “pit”. It happens when our world collapses around us and we feel that there is no way out of the deep hole into which we have sunk. The second is the move out of the pit into awelcome place. We suddenly

understand what has happened and who has brought us up out of the pit. Brueggemann further suggests that human beings regularly find themselves in one of three places: a place of orientation, in which everything makes sense in our lives; a place of disorientation, in which we feel we have sunk into the pit; and a place of new orientation, in which we realize that God has lifted us out of the pit and we are in a new place full of gratitude and awareness about our lives and our God. Using these three “places,” Brueggemann suggests that life has a rhythm as we move from one place to the next. He believes that psalms match those places and the surprisingly painful and joyful moves we make. In short, there are psalms of orientation, disorientation, and new orientation. Recognizing that different psalms match these three places in our lives can help us identify psalms that fit our personal lives. The same stages can be considered when a friendship or any other types of friendships First stage, Orientation – in which we consider the world and our place in it Torah – in which we consider the importance of God’s revealed will Wisdom – in which we consider the importance of living well Narrative – in which we consider our past and its influence on our present Psalms of Trust – in which we express our trust in God’s care and goodness The next state, is the stage of Disorientation - It is the state where one Laments in which we/I express anger, frustration, confusion about the experience of God’s absence (both communal and individual laments)

{ BLACK WOMEN VOICES } “Surrounding yourself with honest and loyal people is imperative to maintain a happy and healthy friendship.”

Penitential – in which we/I express regret and sorrow over wrongs we have done (both communal and individual penitential psalms) The Third Stage Reorientation Thanksgiving – in which we thank God for what God has done for us/ me (both communal and individual thanksgiving psalms) Hymns of Praise – in which we praise God for who God is Zion Psalms – in which we praise God for our home Royal Psalms – in which we consider the role of political leadership

Covenant Renewal – in which we renew our relationship with God Lastly, keep in mind that you should always “Though the tenets of A Woman’s Code may vary from group to group, there is one rule that is universal: Mates are off-limits. Whether you were born a thousand years ago or yesterday, this law ranks supreme among all others — unfortunately, it is also the law that is broken the most often.” BeBrave Journal Invitation: Surrounding yourself with honest and loyal people is imperative to maintain a happy and healthy friendship. Every woman who has had a close girl friend

or group of close girl friends knows there are some things loyal friends just do not do. Bad advice is like bad medicine - It will never work or cure your aching soul What emotions do you perceive as negative/positive with your girlfriends What is your love language for yourself and do you know your friends love language What are you doing to hold yourself and your friends accountable How do you cope and respond when you feel things that you find challenging? How to navigate the sisterhood of women, to build collaboration rather than competition







Who would think being grounded would be a good thing? I suppose it all depends on how you interpret the words. When you read the title, what were your first thoughts? Perhaps it made you think of your younger years. When you were grounded from doing something, for doing something you shouldn’t have. In that case, how would that be a good thing? If anything, it may have been good for the person doing the grounding, but certainly not good for you! And yet, now that you are older, you realize it isn’t so great for the one doing the grounding either. I hated grounding my kids. Because of their actions, not only did they not get to do what they wanted but it limited me as well in making sure I followed through on disciplining them. Let alone them making you feel like the bad guy when you’re trying to teach them there are consequences for their actions. That hopefully they will learn from a couple of groundings to prevent much more severe consequences life can and will throw at you later. So no, this article is not about being grounded in that sense. Then again, when you first read the title, you may have interpreted it as “being grounded” to what is listed in the Collins English Dictionary: “If you say that someone is grounded, you mean that they are sensible and reasonable, and that they understand the importance of ordinary things in life.”

Gee, one can only hope that those horrible groundings we received or gave out led to such a well-rounded person, right? Sort of ironic twist, to tie those two meanings together, don’t you think? But what if I told you, it is actually something entirely different? That it literally means being grounded. As to you have your feet on the ground. Bare feet.

warm, it refreshes us from the hot sun. But what else do we find ourselves doing at the beach? Curling our toes in the sand, or even walking on the beach barefoot? And this, my friend, is the grounding I wanted to write about! If you stand on the ground barefoot, you are grounding yourself. It too can be good for you, like the sun’s rays.

It’s a thing, believe it or not, and it’s quite interesting. This time of year, we all start feeling better. Why? Mainly because we are out in the sun and having fun.

Not something we really think about and unfortunately have gotten away from. Remember growing up running out the door with no shoes on?

When you are out on that beach, soaking up the sun, it feels good! For one, it is it a stress reliever, because obviously you are enjoying yourself.

The feel of the grass under your toes? I do. Back then, I didn’t think twice about not wearing shoes! I didn’t worry about the bugs, the rocks, or whatever else I may step on. I just ran and enjoyed the freedom.

And, I’m sure by now, most of you know what I am going to say next. It also gives you vitamin D. I knew it did, but it wasn’t until I started writing this article that my research revealed to me how? How do you get vitamin D from the sun? It’s quite interesting. When the sun’s rays hits cholesterol in your skin cells, it provides energy for vitamin D synthesis to happen. But what does that have to do with being grounded? I wanted to get your mind thinking about how good you feel on the beach. Most of us think the extra burst of vitamin D as being the culprit. But what else feels good at the beach? Of course, the water itself. Whether it be fresh water or salt water. Cold or

You don’t see much of that today, other than on the beach. Maybe, we are missing out on something that is so simple yet beneficial? When was the last time you went outside barefoot and it wasn’t at the beach? Seriously, no sandals, just bare feet on the ground? In the grass or dirt, not on a deck or patio. Your answer might surprise you. Now what if I told you, scientists say that walking barefoot helps you absorb negative ions from the earth? Allowing you to have a vast supply of electrons from the surface of the earth. Sounds impressive, but what does it mean? What are the benefits of walking

TIDBITS }} {{ TAMMY’S SHIFT+CONTROL “Even at night, take the time to walk outside barefoot. Look up and see the beautiful stars we tend to forget and feel the earth below.”

barefoot on grass, dirt, or sand? Actually, there are quite a few!

takes a half an hour of exposure so it is recommended thirty minutes daily.

with them! Soak up those ions just like you do vitamin D!

It can help in preventing insomnia. Reduction in inflammation. Helps you improve your mental well-being. Regulates your heart’s health. And to be honest, I don’t know how or why, but it says it’s good for your eyes too?

When will you start noticing a change? Some report benefits in the first 24 hours, others a noticeable change after a few weeks. Of course, grounding does not cure disease, but it does restore your natural electrical balance which can help reduce stress and inflammation.

Or, after a stressful day, either from work or life itself, kick off those shoes and go get your mail. Take the dog for a walk around the yard. Whatever, just let those little toes be free and feel the ground underneath!

They did say the color green is a soothing color that helps calm your mind and reduces tension. Research showed by walking barefoot in the grass can reduce stress up to 62%. If that’s the case, I might be ditching all my shoes!!! Seriously, who of us couldn’t use 62% less stress? So how long should we walk barefoot to get some results? They are saying it 256


Bottom line is while we are at the beach, we are walking around barefoot. Who knew that was actually grounding you and contributing to your well-being? Why not apply that more in our lives? Allow the kids to run free on the grass. It’s good for them! Why not rip those socks and shoes off and run right along

Even at night, take the time to walk outside barefoot. Look up and see the beautiful stars we tend to forget and feel the earth below. Being grounded isn’t always a bad thing, or the sensible thing, but simply feeling the earth below us and allowing it to restore our energy in a stressful world.






Leasing versus buying is always a topic of conversation when first speaking with a business owner. There are pros and cons to both, both with large economic impacts. For many businesses, especially if they are just launching or securing their first space, leasing is truly the best avenue. When factoring in initial cash to start up, cost of renovation, future growth and expansion needs, and flexibility to relocate should the location not be ideal. Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these factors below. For a standard office or retail space in Monroe County, prices to lease can range from $12-$28 per square foot, per year, with annual rents from $36,000-$84,000. To purchase a 3000 sq ft building, prices can range $156,000 to $355,000. A security deposit for a lease is equal to the first months rent, so $3,000 up to $7,000. For a purchase, typically a buyer pays 20% down plus closing costs, so cash requirements range from $31,200 up to $71,000 plus additional closing costs. The cash requirement for leasing is significantly lower than purchasing, thereby allowing many new or small businesses the opportunity to open due to the financial requirement being much more attainable. Leasing provides an opportunity to many who, without this option, wouldn’t be able to open! Now, lets talk about the space itself. 258


When touring spaces, there is never a turnkey situation. The space will need renovation for the new user to better suite their operations, esthetic and overall vision. The big question is, who pays for this remodel? It’s simple if a business is buying the building, they are paying themselves! So, on top of down payment, closing costs now, add in renovations. When leasing, there are always 3 options of who pays: the landlord, the tenant, or It’s a combination of the landlord and tenant. The latter option is the one

that I see most commonly. While each situation is unique and negotiations vary, one aspect remain constant-each party wants to contribute as little as possible to renovations! This is a reason why having an expert negotiator on your side is vital! Understanding what a landlord responsibility is typically, government requirements to obtain permits, renovation involving licensed professionals, etc. In a situation where the landlord delivers the space to the tenant fully remodeled, the responsibility and out of pocket costs

fall on the landlord. At times, the costs of the renovation will be added back to the monthly rent for the tenant to reimburse the landlord for the costs. In this scenario, the tenant is still benefiting by using the landlord’s money upfront and the payback term is over the 5 or 7 years of the lease. This tactic also helps new or small businesses open a location! A business has now been open for a few years and business is booming! They have hired additional employees and have now outgrown their space. For a tenant that leases, they will be able to relocate within their landlord’s portfolio. Whether the expansion option is the adjacent space, a different floor in the building or a nearby building, landlords with large portfolios provide a lot of growth options. By this point, the business has built a good relationship with the landlord and the landlord will be flexible while helping the business expand. If a business buys a building, they may have the option to add an addition. If not, they will need to sell the building and buy new, all at an expense of paying off the mortgage early, and all costs associated with the sale. All in all, landlords help small businesses get started! In my opinion, the biggest reason to lease versus buying for a small business is that landlords are invested in your success. If you don’t succeed, then they don’t succeed. Landlords




{ THE QUEEN{OF COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE } SHIFT+CONTROL } “All in all, landlords help small businesses get started! In my opinion, the biggest reason to lease versus buying for a small business is that landlords are invested in your success.”

will help introduce you and market you, many have a marketing team to help promote the new business to their other tenants and on their social media. When you buy, all marketing and relationships are solely on you. As a buyer, there is no one else that is invested financially into your success. 260


Whereas, with a start up the landlord has invested their own funds into getting the space ready for you and in therefore invested in your success! I must admit, as a broker I am passionate about helping small businesses find the right space! I always say we are so fortunate in this area to have wonderful

landlords, both small and large, to place tenants. Whatever it is you are looking for, it’s out there and I can help you negotiate the most favorable terms!






As a Stylist and Closet Coach, I enjoy empowering women to get their closets organized to take away the stress from selecting an outfit. If you follow the guidelines from last month’s article “What’s in your Closet”, you will see that having “feng shui” (organization energy) in your closet, can reduce stress because now you can see what you have, and it’s organized in a manner whereby you can easily select items and create an outfit.

through identifying your body type and style, this is one prong to my mission and sets me apart from other stylists. You may ask, what does this have to do with my closet? The garments in your closet that you select from tell a story, they say, who you are, what you think of yourself and the image you project to the world, it says “I care, or I don’t care”, I’m fun, I’m organized, or I take myself too seriously. Although I

Your style can also be identified by the contents of your closet. If it is not, I can help you narrow it down and select items that fits your body type, style, and lifestyle. Obviously, the goal is to look good and feel good. You can be comfortable with wearing sweats and jeans on a regular basis, but why when there are so many fashion choices that are fun and is an extension of your personality. One client asked me, how can I look more professional? My response is by buying and wearing more structured/ tailored garments, not restrictive, but how they’re constructed. Big and boxy doesn’t flatter, another client asked, how can I hide my midsection? My reply is, you don’t have to, you can wear a wide belt to cinch the waist and select garments that flatter it. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t flatter, that can be too large or too small. You don’t want to wear an oversized garment with no tailoring as an attempt to appear smaller (it doesn’t work), neither do you want to wear an item that makes you look like a skin encased sausage (smile). Create or reinvent yourself (your brand)

wear suits often for business as well as personal, my whimsical or statement jewelry and fun shoes says although I’m structured and business minded, I’m also fun and chic. Sometimes we must think outside the box when it comes to our closets. If you typically wear earth tones and neutrals, try a pop of color. If you already like color (like I do), try a monochromatic look. Buy and keep your classics, as I

mentioned previously, they are going to repeat. For example, you can never, ever go wrong with a pinstriped suit, I also have purchased separately satin pinstriped slacks and another pinstriped blazer; therefore, I can mix and match at a moment’s notice. A client once asked me, where should I start with respect to a closet makeover. I recommend the classic white buttondowned shirt, you can where it with jeans, a suit, over a body con dress, the white shirt is so versatile. Also, you can never have too many black slacks or black skirts. You don’t have to look like an usher, you can add colorful jewelry, a belt, and of course stylish shoes. Shoes don’t only make the man; they make the outfit. Grow and/or organize your closet. Last month, we talked about closet organization. It is an ongoing process; you only need to invest a few minutes a week or an hour or so a month for maintenance to get the most from your wardrobe. Once or twice year, or when the seasons change, venture out and add a couple of trends, do not overindulge or you may regret it. Simply add a few ‘funky’ pieces to compliment your current wardrobe. Remember our closets should beclassic, not overly trendy. Make what you have work, I can assist with this, make an appointment for a free consultation at www.lydialifestylecoach or on IG @lydialifestylecoach.













An article to request a FREE DIVINE CHANNEL READING from New York’s Divine Channel, Camille Conti. She will bring forth messages from the Divine, your Higher Self, and Spiritual Counsel. This is accomplished through automatic writing, inspired intuitively through faith, prayers, and blessings of divine intervention on behalf of the person or family writing in for a reading, AKA a spiritual session. ***Note: In this column, Camille will either be speaking from her therapist, divine channeling or life coaching self. And many times it will be all three combined simultaneously. If there is no reference to which self is speaking, that is because it is from all three aspects, her most common writing and speaking style. Dear Camille, Today I am contemplating the value of my life and whether I should stay or go. I am bravely and courageously writing to you because I feel that you may be able to help me. I suffer from situational depression and anxiety. The reason that I know it is situational is because I never became depressed until I was 42 years old. Now at the age of 49 years old, I am exhausted from trying to figure out my life and how I can make it better. My finances got drained entirely over a period of time of taking care of my daughter with multiple medical conditions. We have tried everything to help her with her food allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities. She has a challenging time making friends and keeping friends at school. Now at the

age of 10, they are talking about her having to go into special education. I am considering homeschooling her since it has become so popular during the pandemic. However, I am incredibly triggered by her when she decides to have a meltdown. I understand that she has a lot of medical needs, but I think she is triggering my childhood wounding that I have not healed. I feel like she has come to me to help recover me, and in turn, I help her heal herself. But I feel like we are failing miserably, and although I do not want to leave this world because I want to stay here for my daughter, I don’t know how to turn things around and get stronger in my confidence. We are constantly going to doctor’s appointments for school appointments, and I have not been able to work many hours in my business. Thankfully I am self-employed. If I had a job, I believe I would be fired by now. I am looking to help release the depression and anxiety so that I can be the mother my daughter deserves and move on with a happy life!

Your spiritual counsel (All of the divine, your higher self, guardian angels, guides, and ancestors in heaven) are saying that: -You are correct. You have situational depression and anxiety. As a result, you can do a lot to release it. -Most importantly, you need to start with improving your diet and the nutrition you bring into your body. The highest vibrational foods on the planet are fruits. An apple a day really does keep the doctor away! In addition, eat at least 1 to 2 bananas a day, a pear, some cherries, and blueberries or cantaloupe. It is effortless to put everything in a smoothie maker. Add some ice and almond milk. Use spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. These are gods medicines for the mind.

Praying for Answers, Julie A. New York, NY

-Your daughter will benefit from the fruits as well that we just talked about above. Make her a smoothie and add some plant-based only chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla protein powder for a more exciting flavor and additional nutrition. Chicken nuggets and french fries can only take us so far in life. We need raw plant foods to heal our body, mind, and spirit.

Dear Julie, I am so glad that you are praying and reaching out and asking for help! As long as you continue praying and looking for the next correct answer, you will get there! I am going to pull in a divine channel for you now and give you the information that is coming in from your spiritual counsel.

-Pray over your daughter every night as she sleeps in bed, placing your right hand on her tailbone and your left hand on the top of her head. Call in Christ’s healing for your beautiful daughter and thank him for the beautiful miracles of health, happiness, peace, safety, and protection for your daughter and yourself and your family! CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{ DEAR CAMILLE }} { SHIFT+CONTROL “Today I am contemplating the value of my life and whether I should stay or go. I am bravely and courageously writing to you because I feel that you may be able to help me.”


-Pray over yourself by placing your hands on your heart and thanking Christ and the universe for healing your body, mind, and spirit in divine timing and order. State your intentions out loud in present tense while looking into the mirror and your eyes, communicating with your soul. For example, I am now happy and grateful that I am fully abundant and paying all of my bills easily with tons of money left over at the end of the month for extra fun things and savings! Now draw a picture in your mind and make a mind movie seeing yourself living this life of abundance and health with your daughter happily.

your goals out loud in the present tense as if they have already happened, and then playing the mind will be seeing yourself living that life in the present tense every single morning for the next 90 days. And then commit to another 90 days after that. Light a candle to hold your intentions for you during the sacred, holy manifestation time.

past, then you can go into depression. When we think about the future, we can go into anxiety. But when we are living right in the moment, we can stay in the space of contentment. So focus on one second at a time!

-Get into a regular movement class with your daughter. You can go to the YMCA, where she can swim in the pool with the assistance of the teachers, and you can go and take a yoga or dance class.

Julie, check back with me in the next one or two weeks and let me know how you are doing.

See her healthy and happy and brighteyed. Invest 5-10 minutes daily, stating

-Live in the moment. Live one second at a time. When you think about the


I believe in you, and I know that you’ve got this! With these tools, you can turn your life around one day at a time.

Please feel free to email me at camille@ camilleconti.com. In Miracles, Love & Light, Camille Conti








is 2:16am. I just finished tidying my room. You should have seen it before now. My panties were on the floor. My work uniform was rumbled on the floor. My books, purse, papers, were all scattered on the floor. It seemed like I lived on the floor. My dresser was cluttered with an unopened bags of white bread, slices that I hadn’t touched. There were lunch boxes on there too(these ones were clean, thank God). My sachets of tea and chocolate cream, were all on this same dresser. My tooth paste, my devotional book, my tracts, my wig, cups, vitamins, ranch dressing and of course Mom’s picture graced the mirror. She was the only thing that made sense in this nonsense. My shoes were neatly arranged, and that’s because this weather has had me wearing only 2 shoes(Work shoes and Tennis shoes). Meanwhile, the bed was covered with pencils, crayons, books, journals, more panties, braziers, pictures, old mail, new mail, clothes, my pink journal, an old remote control to a tv I own in Nigeria. Chargers and Headphones, mom’s funeral notes, a stroller, my cds, and many other things that I had been looking for, they were all on this bed. Okay! Maybe that’s not a problem. Afterall, I justifiably work an ants schedule.



When I come home, I crash. So it’s not a problem. Do you know what the problem is, or was?

junk to the side, and continued to sleep, this time for about 15 minutes. Hunger pangs woke me up.

I got home yesterday evening from work, and I laid myself on this disheveled unkempt mess. At first I laid on top of all that jargon, talked

Did I tell you I had a gallon of apple cider on the dresser? Well, I took the apple cider into the kitchen and sleepily got some ice to drink with it, and ate 2 Jamaican crackers. As I laid back in the bed and talked on the phone for a few minutes, my friend insisted that I sleep. I kept telling him that I was no longer sleepy. I honestly didn’t understand why the sleep had suddenly cleared from my eyes, but he got off the phone to sleep, be ause that’s what normal people do at such hours of the night. This was the problem. I was not fazed by this tornado in my room. It seemed normal to me. But not for long.

on the phone for a while, laughed and even allowed a friend into the room. I was not embarassed at this embarrassment. It was okay to me. After she stepped out. I continued my conversation on the phone, until I fell asleep. In the middle of my nightmare(because I couldn’t be comfortable being cushioned by crap), I used my tired legs to shift all the

As soon as I got off the phone, I put on my piano tones on pandora, to help ease the melatonin. I turned off the light, I still couldn’t sleep. Then from no where, I heard myself utter these words, “GET UP AND CLEAN THIS ROOM NOW.” I spoke to myself as if I was my mother. I then got up and said it again, but this time, I sounded like a Captain on a ship. “CLEAN UP THIS ROOM RIGHT NOW.”




{ LADY “O” } } { SHIFT+CONTROL ““Love Your Negatives. Love your disease”. This did it for me.”

I went to sweeping, cleaning, hanging, putting away, ripping, tearing, stocking, assembling, pasting, bed making, pillow puffing, and thrash throwing. As I was doing this, I realized that the demon in my room was a reflection of my mind. I had decorated my room with my perceptions. It was the status of my present life, the tag and label of me. A scattered jigsaw puzzle. Not only is it a puzzle that I have to figure out, it is also scattered. Good Lord! Nonetheless, my unease and uncomfortability was a symbolism that I am in a place of transformation. I am no longer comfortable with disorder. It no longer comes natural to me. I cannot ignore it. I cannot pretend like it’s not there. I cannot sleep on it. I cannot drink with it. I cannot lay by it. I cannot lie about it. I can’t even push it aside. I have to get rid of it. Rid of what? Rid of the clutter in my life, the clutter in my mind. It is an operation that has been in progress, for months now, and this is the end result. Change! Alignment! Reformation! Sometimes because we don’t see the steps we are taking to be large leaps, we think we are not making any progress at all, but we really are, as we are becoming what we tread through. We definitely are. I have been working on myself for quite a while now, and I have tried to be devoted and true. Once in a while, the old me tends to pop up and will reflect in my words or mannerisms, or even in my lack of self care. However 276


it is only a sign that I am growing. A crescendo is taking place. This is not the end of the song. It is only an interlude. As I was cleaning, I was listening to Louise Hays on YouTube. She mentioned, “Love Your Negatives. Love your disease”. This did it for me. I reconciled that if I kept seeing my negatives as smelly bad things, I would remain in a condemnative state, which will repel and deter me from fixing them in the first place. It would be very hard for me to change them, and it will give me a defeatist outlook on my life. On the other hand, if I accept my negatives, and admit that I created those negatives as defense mechanisms to cope at some point in my life, then I can applaud myself for doing the best I could at that place in time, but stem the courage to also admit that they may not longer serve me now, because I am no longer that person. Having an untidy room was one of them. It was an extension of my inner tiredness. My weakness to keep pushing. My dying zeal. My settling and unsettling. But the process did not allow me to stay stagnant. This is what it showed me this morning. The river is flowing, and everything in it is bound to flow with it. That’s where I am now. There is a flooding taking place in my life, and the disorganization, the reshuffling, is for a stability that is to come. A permanence. My uncomfortability this early morning has now made me very comfortable. It’s 2:45am.

Goodnight. IN A NUTSHELL ************ 1. Don’t ignore your signs of tiredness. They speak, and they speak loud. 2. Develop a routine to clean and tidy your room every day, including the room your heart lives in. Your body. 3. Always make your bed. 4. Get rid of the clutter in your life. (Toxic relationships, bad habits, negative patterns). 5. Don’t look down on your negatives. They saved your life at some point. 6. Work on who you would want to become, and simply become. 7. Don’t get comfortable with mess. It smells. Take out the thrash. 8. Tell yourself the truth and believe it. 9. Always put things where they belong. Put them in their rightful place. 10. There is a reason for everything you do. There is a reason for what is, for what was, and for what will be. Pay attention. #Omenesa Oruma-Akomolafe



I took a new job recently, and once again began a transformation in my life. Another added title to put inside the hat I have worn with many labels. If you had asked me at 17, when I graduated high school, what I want to do when I grow up… I would have answered with be happy. I honestly didn’t have the direction as most, and for me just to find happiness in what I would do seemed enough.

My mom always said that opportunities don’t ever come knocking on the door, yet if they do, you better answer it and entertain it. There’s a reason that they do. So strangely enough,immediately after I lost my mom I was approached with a job opportunity at Pier Fifty Three in Wolcott, NY. I also was recently contemplating my food truck and eatery just weeks before. I voiced it briefly to my mom in one of our last

How does one even answer that question as a teenager anyway? Looking back and through the years when adults ask a 17 year old who they will be in 30 years, I tend to feel squeamish myself. Knowing how immature and the lack of life experience I myself had at that age. I would have never guessed that you never quite become one label or another, unless you choose to just stay that way. I never have. So now here at the brink of my last child becoming an adult and her being asked that same question, I once again have been given the opportunity to recreate another facet of myself.

So I did. I took the opportunity to change it all up again, take a risk and prove that nothings ever set in stone no matter how old you are. No matter what your past is, or how many attempts at life you have tried.

Clearly I am not yet grown. This past year brought a few changes that led me to look upon life yet again, in another perspective. Losing parents can do that to a persons soul. Makes you question everything sometimes about who you were who you are and who your supposed to be. Not able to call, text or stop by to seek that advice leaves a void that no one can fill. So again, you learn a new skill, you adapt, and you rock on with your bad self. 278


to go back onto the food truck, tried to open up the eatery, but my mindset had shifted. The day I reopened was the day my sister called to tell me “dads going on hospice” I had customers standing in front of me, and orders to make. I hung up the phone, and did what I was told by both, you continue to live. I closed the eatery that night, and never reopened. I worked one last time on the food truck for a lunch service I had previously committed to, which happened to be the day I said good bye to the man I never called dad, yet that is who he was to me. He looked peaceful and pain free finally. And I went off to serve lunch knowing he would have said that work doesn’t stop for anybody. And lucky for me, we did talk about this new job, my food truck and he made me know that my mom was right. Take the opportunity he had said.

conversations. And of course she replied “you’ll figure it out, you always do. If something isn’t right, you’ll change it.” I’m still grieving her loss and sad I didn’t get to talk to her about the opportunity. But I know she would have said it was a sign a sign for change. It’s the gypsy in us, is how she explained it. Never still, always evolving and changing.

So at 17 when asked what do you want to be when you grow up, now I would have to say “everything I’m given the opportunity to do, and then some.” And to never stop and settle with one title. Because here are some of mine, after once being told by someone “you’ll be lucky if you ever get out of Lyons” boy were they wrong, as I didn’t even make it back here until Just last year.

So just like that came change. I tried

Labels of hats I have worn:315er, college




{ KARMA SPEAKS } “So now here at the brink of my last child becoming an adult and her being asked that same question, I once again have been given the opportunity to recreate another facet of myself. Clearly I am not yet grown.”

dropout, gypsy, dishwasher, delinquent, cashier, adult student, mom, college graduate with honors, single mom, divorcee, wife, ex wife, addict, sports athlete, head of Media relations for non for profit/sports league, head of PR, street team coordinator, Daycare owner, writer, sponsor, coach, sports team announcer, radio guest speaker, tattoo model, tattoo shop employee, victim, survivor, spokesperson, mentor, dog groomer, bartender, waitress, hostess, 280


farmer, nurses assistant, food truck owner, entrepreneur, teacher, and now amongst those labels I also forgot, I am general manager. Don’t ever settle for one thing that makes you a grown up. Or better yet, don’t become stuck. Grow, learn and evolve into your next best thing. Or do the thing that takes you to the next piece of you you’re meant to

be. And like my momma said, if it isn’t right, I’m sure you’ll change it. So, come on over to the East side of Sodus Bay for the best sunsets, wood fired pizza, and a drink. I’ll be there waiting. Wearing the new hat with the new label. Love, Karma~









It is that time of year again! Standup paddleboard (SUP) yoga season in Canandaigua! We at Finger Lakes Yogascapes get a lot of questions from people hesitant to try it, so I wanted to give you the inside scoop on what to expect. I hope you visit us on the peaceful, crystal clear waters of Canandaigua Lake this summer but if you are traveling and want to try SUP Yoga somewhere else, this will still help! I’ve lost my fear of the water and it’s allowed me to paddle and take SUP Yoga classes across the United States and Europe. The younger version of myself would have said “ARE YOU NUTS!?” What is SUP Yoga? You paddle your SUP– which is essentially a very large, stable surfboard, out to the water (either on your stomach with your arms, or standing with a paddle), and anchor the board so it doesn’t float away. From there you practice seated, standing, and reclined yoga postures. Enjoy a blissful savasana (final relaxation) on the water as you connect with nature and experience the gentle rock of the water. Will I Fall In? I hope so! There’s no harm in falling into the water. The north end of Canandaigua Lake is shallow enough that if you fall in, you can get back on your board. The water is also incredibly clean. The boards are stable so there is no guarantee you will take a dip but I encourage you to push yourself out of your comfort zone. You can stay dry in an indoor yoga class the other nine months of the year.

What do I wear? Dress to your comfort level, but don’t wear cotton. Cotton gets heavy with even a little bit of dampness and can impede your range of motion. Why make your class more difficult than it needs to be? Depending on the weather, the temperature fluctuates from class to class. I recommend athletic clothing like gym shorts and a yoga top, but a comfortable bathing suit also works on those sunny days. Don’t overdo it on the sunscreen on your hands and feet, you don’t want to turn your board into a slip and slide. Sunglasses and hats are welcome but maybe consider an inexpensive pair of sunglasses instead of your $300 Balenciagas. I’ve gotten pretty good at retrieving sunglasses over the past few years but glass and sand don’t mix. Do I need to know how to paddle? Nope! If there is any paddling in your class, instruction will be provided. If you really want nothing to do with paddling and are all about the yoga, sign up for Saturday morning’s 75-minute class. Paddling Form: Again, paddling is not a requirement where we launch, but I see some inefficient paddling form on the lake, so if you rent a board on your own locally or elsewhere, consider these tips. Stand in the center of the board with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Bend your knees, more than you think. In the world of athletics, you might hear this called ready position. Hinge at the hip, so you have a long spine. A lot of people complain their backs hurt after paddling but it is likely because they are rounding their spines and locking out their knees. Make sure

your paddle is long enough so you aren’t hunched forward. Here’s how to measure. If you are standing up and the blade of the paddle is in line with your feet, stretch your arm straight overhead toward the sky. The handle should meet the palm hand with your arm all the way extended. Any shorter is too short. Paddle with the blade close to the rail (the long edge) of the board. If you are paddling with the blade three feet away from you, you are working harder than you need to. Do I need to know yoga? Nope! The board is a great equalizer in yoga. If you already have a yoga practice, this will challenge the balance element of your practice, and make you drop all those perfectionist tendencies. Instruction is provided so if you are new to yoga, your first class on the land will seem like a piece of cake! Every time you take a class on the water it gets easier but come to class with zero expectations except to have fun and enjoy the great outdoors. If balance is a challenge – make your stances wider. For example, in a regular fitness or yoga class lunges are usually cued hips distance apart – take your feet wider left and right here to make your life easier! As you get more comfortable, you can narrow the distance. Do I need to wear a life vest? No, not for yoga in New York State. However, they’re available if you would be more comfortable with one on. You will need a life preserver for paddling. What else? Breathe and take breaks. Anywhere you go this summer, these are valuable tools but especially as CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


{ LIFE IN BALANCE } “It is that time of year again! Standup paddleboard (SUP) yoga season in Canandaigua!”

you approach the board. If you feel particularly stressed, consider elongating your exhales. Can’t focus? Sit in the middle of the board and drop your feet or hands into the water to center

yourself. Focus on the sensation of the water on your skin. Feel free to jump back into class or just stay and relax. Did I miss anything? Don’t hesitate to

reach out and ask! You can register for classes at FingerLakesYogascapes.com or call Kaitlyn at (585) 200-7209 with questions or to schedule a private class.







“Do you always look for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it.” “We ought to plan something,”… The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald When I was about 12, finished reading all my Nancy Drew books, I went to the bookcases in our living room to look for something to read. I picked up The Great Gatsby and started reading. It became one of my favorite books - I read it over-and-over again throughout junior high and high school. I always loved the quote above about the longest day of the year. I became a little obsessed with looking for the longest day of the year and trying to plan something. The longest day of the year, the summer solstice, is the day that the sun reaches the highest and northernmost point in the sky. The summer solstice has the longest period of sunlight and the shortest night. In the Northern Hemisphere it marks the beginning of summer. Solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium, sol (sun) and stitium (still) because on this day the sun appears to stop moving. Ancient cultures and traditions celebrated the summer solstice as a time of renewal, abundance, love, and growth. Two symbols that have been used historically to celebrate the summer solstice are fire and spirals. In ancient dances, people would join hands and follow the sun’s

movement weaving through the streets into a spiral and back out again.

plan for the summer solstice. Here are a few of my favorites:

Another symbol of the summer solstice is the strawberry. The June full moon is known as the Full Strawberry Moon because Native Americans associated the June full moon with the ripening of strawberries. Today we can get strawberries year-round, but to me, there is nothing more beautiful, sweet, and delicious than fresh, local strawberries in season.

• Get up and watch the sunrise, setting an intention for personal growth and offering prayers of peace and abundance and a kindness meditation to the world.

This year the summer solstice falls on Tuesday, June 21st a 5:14 a.m. EDT, the sun will rise at 5:31 a.m. and set at 8:53 p.m. I am always an early riser, but I especially love this very short window of summertime when the sun is also up early. I find the mornings peaceful. For me, it is the best time of day to meditate, reflect, pray, and exercise. There are so many things that you can

• Spend the day outdoors; nature is calming. Enjoy getting out into the woods for a hike, being around water, playing golf, riding horses, or just sitting and soaking up the sun. We are so fortunate in New York State to have numerous parks, trails, lakes, rivers, and other outdoor venues where you can enjoy your favorite activities. There are many of them around Upstate New York. Just be sure to practice “safe sun’! • Go to a local farmers market for fresh strawberries or go to a farm where you can pick your own. Many people love strawberry shortcake. Personally, I prefer fresh strawberries sliced and served over ice cream – it’s simple, clean, refreshing, and delish. Two great local places that make their own ice cream are Moonlight Creamery in Fairport and Pittsford Farms Dairy in Pittsford. And of course, there is Abbott’s if you prefer frozen custard. • Celebrate the strength of the summer solstice in joining together. This year the pandemic seems to be winding down and group events are feeling safer. Organize a get together with a group of family and friends for a hike CENTRAL NY WOMAN ONLINE :: JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2022


BLISSFUL BALANCE { {SHIFT+CONTROL } } “The longest day of the year, the summer solstice, is the day that the sun reaches the highest and northernmost point in the sky.”

or a walk, a meal, or an evening bonfire while watching the sunset. • Connect with the energy of the earth. As you watch the sun set slowly on summer solstice night sit or stand with your bare feet connected to the earth. This is the ancient practice of grounding, its health benefits may include: better sleep, 288


reduced inflammation, and reduced pain. So, don’t be like Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, always missing the longest day of the year. Mark your calendar and plan something for this year’s solstice on June 21st. Wishing you a summer filled with peace, bliss, and balance…

At Blissful Balance LLC, our mission is to help you to live life healthier. You can follow us on Facebook @ blissfullbalanceroc and Instagram blissfull_balance.





For applications or to nominate someone, you can email disabilityempowered@gmail.com.