RWO HOLIDAY 2021 Edition

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In This Edition...

So Much More...





The Epitome of Success


Our History

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er edition { TABLE OF CONTENTS }















WOMAN ON THE RISE Annette Warren

































A HOLIDAY RECIPE Aeowyn & Tiegen


SHE HUSTLES TALKS Dr Tunya Griffin Kathleen Avino Kara K Esther Ekong Ashley Savage Stephanie Pullano








dec.edition { TABLE OF CONTENTS }

























“Women’s empowerment is an extraordinary tool for development. We have to listen to their needs and protect their rights!” – Estelle


n the last edition of 2021 (yes, I said last...can you believe it?), we are very proud to be able to end the year with two incredible women who are dominating the financial industry at Sage Rutty and Company, Sandra Wehner & Teresa Robinson. These ladies are a shining example of what it takes to be

successful in a male-dominated industry. While the number of female advisors remains low nationally, with some surveys placing the figure at 20%, over half of Sage Rutty’s advisors are women and Sandy attributes this anomaly to the influence of mentorship. Read all about them starting on page [18].




Our last edition of 2021 for Rochester Woman Online, we have two womenfrom Sage Rutty and Company who are the epitome of success on our cover, Sandra Wehner & Teresa Robinson. They were photographer by Brody Wheeler Visual Artist at the Sage Rutty headquarters in Rochester NY as well as Brass Bar & Lounge on East and Alexander.





Kelly Breuer


Kelly Breuer




Brody Wheeler Brody Wheeler L Shot Photography Dan Doyle Julie Oldfield

Laura Marino Amanda Kinton Staci Reafsnyder

Dr Pam Denton Robin DeWind Bonnie Floyd Alana Cahoon Lisa Wagner Judi Swanson Denise “Karma” Clifford Johnny Williams Tammy Vreeland Rumella Cameron Beth Parry Cindy DeCarolis Bre Morris Terri-Ann Graham Kristin Bauer Gross Randy Agness Ashlee Escobar Esther Ekong Tracey Monett Krystle Ellis Rebecca K Matthew Albert Christine Piacentino

Omenessa Akomolafe Kathy Gleason Tracy Simone Raquel Walker Amanda Toal Dr Johnson Shannon Holmes Cheri Reed-Watt Sharlyn Marquez Dr Tunya Griffin Kara K Kathleen Avino Stephanie Pullano Ashley Savage

Kelly Breuer


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 Download our current media kit at www. The magazine is published 12 times a year by Rochester Woman ONLINE. Copyright © 2021 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.



Sandra Wehner, CFP® is a Financial Advisor and corporate vice president at Rochester-based Sage Rutty & Company, Inc. With over 40 years in the industry, she has worked at the firm for nearly three decades. Sandy firmly believes that investing money is critically important, but she knows that enjoying life is equally as significant. Her direct and honest search for answers allows for a clear path to helping her clients understand exactly what they need to do and why for peace of mind in retirement. The epitome of success, Sandy is a shining example of what it takes to be successful in a male-dominated industry. While the number of female advisors remains low nationally, with some surveys placing the figure at 20%, over half of Sage Rutty’s advisors are women and Sandy attributes this anomaly to the influence of mentorship. Her protégée, Teresa Robinson, joined Sage Rutty in April 2013. Earning her master’s degree in art therapy and counseling, a career in finance was never on her radar. Serendipitously, Teresa found herself as a Financial Services Associate and was quickly taken under Sandy’s wing. Her quick climb up the corporate ladder is evidence of the success that incredible work ethic and strong mentors can reward. Today, she’s a Financial Advisor on Sandy’s team, a Certified Financial Planner®, is licensed in New York State in Life, Accident, and Health Insurance and she holds Series 7, 63 & 65 licenses with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). 18


Tell us a little about yourself and your background. Sandy: I have been married to my husband, Kevin, for 21 years. We do not have kids but had two pugs until recently, Mabel & Blanche. Now, we only have Blanche. We love to travel and are avid scuba divers. On the career front, I started working at a local CPA firm in 1978. In 1980, I took on a part time job working nights at Lincoln First Bank’s check processing department to get into the banking field because I learned that the bank was good about promoting from within for more permanent full-time jobs. After 1 year of working both jobs, I posted for a job as a secretary in the Portfolio Department. After 11 years, many bank sponsored education courses, licensing exams and various promotions, I decided to leave the bank and join Sage, Rutty. That was December 1991 and I have been here ever since. Teresa: I grew up south of Rochester and I’m the oldest of three children. I went away to go to school in Pennsylvania, came back for graduate school then lived in Massachusetts for work for a while, but ultimately came home to be closer to my family. I’ve been with Sage Rutty for over 8 years. My husband and I live in Brighton with our two dogs. What made you decide to go into the financial services industry? Sandy: I like math, was good at it and thought the financial field was one

filled with opportunity and choices. Teresa: I came into this business in sort of an “unconventional” way in that when I went off to college, I knew what I wanted to do and thought I knew what that would look like, but life doesn’t always unfold in predictable ways. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to help people and that has never changed. I went to school to become a therapist. On paper, it might seem like what I do now as an advisor is completely different than what my education was in, but the roles are not as disparate as you might think. The skills I learned in my educational training are very much applicable now. What made you choose Sage Rutty, one of the oldest locally owned financial services firms in Rochester, NY? Sandy: At the time, a friend and former colleague from the bank called me and asked me to join him at Sage, Rutty. He said, “this is a great company with so much more to offer your clients and I think we’d make a great team.” He was right, we were partners for 22 years, until he retired in 2013. Teresa: I met Laura Parker, another advisor here at Sage Rutty, through networking and she helped open the door for me. I read about the firm at that time and thought it would be great to work for a place that is locally owned and has been part of the Rochester community for so long. Having been here just over 8½ years, I’ve gotten the chance to really see how deeply connected and invested this










{ COVER STORY } “While the number of female advisors remains low nationally, with some surveys placing the figure at 20%, over half of Sage Rutty’s advisors are women and Sandy attributes this anomaly to the influence of mentorship.”

s firm is with the community. People often talk about the importance of giving back, but Sage Rutty walks the walk on this. It is modeled through the leadership here, beginning with Wayne’s unbelievable generosity. He certainly inspires and encourages all of us to do the same and you see that reflected in the actions and causes of so many of my colleagues. I’m proud to be a part of this firm. What are some of the things you find help you to be a successful businesswoman, especially in a male dominated industry? Sandy: I worked hard to prove myself, I asked tons of questions and I went after what I wanted. So many people helped me along the way. People are willing to help dedicated workers and they seemed vested in seeing me succeed. A “male dominated” world is only a roadblock if you view it that way. I did not give that much thought. Teresa: I have been fortunate enough to have a strong female mentor. Sandy has been in financial services for 40+ years and certainly people like her have paved the way for other women to be successful in this business. When I first came to Sage Rutty, it was really my first true experience in a financial services firm. There are so many successful women here and female advisors. It wasn’t until later that realized the makeup of the firm and the number of female advisors here is not reflective of the industry as a whole. If you could interview one of your mentors, who would it be and what

would you ask them? Sandy I asked my mentors so many questions over the years and made a pest out of myself, so I do not see a reason to interview any of them. I stay connected with many of those individuals and thank them from time to time for the knowledge and/or assistance they bestowed upon me. Teresa: My path has crossed with several women who’ve helped me through school and work, but Sandy has been the most influential over my career. Over the course of 8 ½ years, I’ve asked her literally thousands of questions. She’s always taken the time to explain what things mean, her rationale behind decisions she makes, and what we can anticipate as a result. What’s great is that in working closely with her, I’ve seen her put everything in action, so it’s not just words. I’m sure I will still have questions for her as we move forward, but I cannot overstate the gratitude I have for all the doors she’s helped open. Have you found social media to help or hinder you in promoting your services, especially during the pandemic? Sandy I do not use social media to promote my business. Word of mouth does it for me. During the pandemic, we provided regular updates to my clients through email or US mail for those clients that did not use computers Teresa: As a practice, we don’t use social media to promote our services. During the pandemic, it was vital to communicate with clients as we

navigated that uncertainty, especially when we went to a remote working environment – unchartered territory for us. We communicated regularly through emails and phone calls to clients. How do you juggle the fast-paced schedule of being a woman in business with your family life? Sandy I do not view it as a juggle. As I mentioned earlier, I do not have children so it may be a bit easier for me as that is a missing component. My husband is fantastic partner. He is there for me and knows my workday is busy. He takes quite a bit of the home care off my plate. Often, if I work late, he will have dinner started, or it is ready when I get home. That is a tremendous help, and I do not take it for granted because I know that many women are not so fortunate. Teresa: One thing that no one can do is add more hours to a day. I think it comes down to begin clear on what is important and making a conscious effort to see those things through be it at work or at home. I’m lucky in that I find a lot if purpose and fulfillment in the work that I do, but I also have interests outside of work that are meaningful and rewarding. I also have a supportive husband who is always encouraging me to take that next step or spend the extra time. What challenges have you faced this year and how have you overcome them? Sandy: Our business is busy and with so many people working remotely, I feel ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


COVER STORY } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “Her quick climb up the corporate ladder is evidence of the success that incredible work ethic and strong mentors can reward.”

it has created a decline in service. When I need to call a company or provider in my role to service my clients, sometimes getting a return call or someone to even answer the phone is lacking. In a perfect world, I would love remote working to go away but I know I may be in the minority with that opinion. Teresa: This past year, I sat for the CFP® exam. I had finished the course work at the beginning of the year and then really began to focus on the exam itself. It was tough, but it demonstrated to me the power of habit and routine. Having a practice around studying was key to being able to be successful. What motivates you and keeps you moving forward? Sandy: I love what I do, plain and simple. This business is great and working with different clients and helping them is even better. My glass is half-full, always! Teresa: I try to always stay curious about things. I’ve never gotten to a place and thought, “here’s good.” I have always been self-motivated and constantly find myself in a place of wanting to know more. I feel like I could always be better and do better for myself, my family and my work. Did anyone ever prepare you, or encourage you to go into the financial field? Sandy: No. It just happened. Teresa: No one encouraged me to go into the financial field, but when I got 24


here, Sandy told me that this could be a job or a career for me. She said that it was a job, then that’s great, she would teach me everything I would need to know to be successful here. She also said that if I wanted it to be a career, then ask as many questions as possible and she’d help me along the way. I’ve asked a lot of questions over the course of the years and to her credit, she’s taken the time, even when she had none to spare, to answer every single one. It has made all the difference. Today, when I look back and think about where I started compared to where I am now, I sometimes can’t believe how much I’ve learned and accomplished. What makes the services you provide to your clients unique and stand out from others? Sandy: I am not just a salesperson or financial advisor. I am a Certified Financial Planner and more importantly, I would like to believe, a friend to most of my clients. We help clients navigate through all facets of their financial world and much of that is just being here to answer questions and point them in the right direction or simply to listen. Teresa: I started out at the firm as an assistant and so I know the client service end of things on a very detailed level. Having an operational background, knowing how things work behind the scenes and how to get things done, I think makes me better able to serve the client. One of the things that guides Sandy and something she’s taught me is to think as a consumer first. Thinking about a situation from the client’s perspective first,

drives the type of service we provide. It sets a high bar and we strive to meet it. What are some of the pros and cons of being a female business leader in 2021? Sandy: The pros are endless – having the knowledge to help others and the pride when people tell you that you have changed their lives or helped them to reach a goal, the freedom & flexibility. It is hard to think of any cons because it has been so long since I have had to deal with any. Teresa: I think there are so many opportunities for female leaders in 2021 and when we work in community and collaboration with others, the possibilities are endless. Do you have any helpful advice to someone interested in joining the financial services industry? Sandy: Find a mentor, ask a lot of questions, and work hard. Be willing to start at the bottom. You will find the climb to top of the ladder incredibly rewarding. Also, do it because you love it, both the finance field and working with people. They go hand in hand. Teresa: Do not be afraid to ask questions. The learning curve in this business is steep and this industry is ever-changing. Finding a mentor could be the key to success. The value of finding a person who can support, guide and challenge you can be immeasurable. What type of schooling prepared you to be where you are today?







COVER STORY } } { { SHIFT+CONTROL “During the pandemic, it was vital to communicate with clients as we navigated that uncertainty, especially when we went to a remote working environment – unchartered territory for us. We communicated regularly through emails and phone calls to clients.”

Sandy: I graduated from high school in 1978 and college did not interest me. I entered the work force and grabbed every opportunity to learn by taking classed offered by the bank, taking various exams, and sitting for the CFP® exam. That was then, I was lucky. Not sure if that could happen today without a college degree. Teresa: I got my licenses when I began at Sage Rutty and then decided to pursue the Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™ designation from the College of Financial Planning. More recently, with the support of Sandy and the firm, I made the decision to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. I learned a lot throughout the process, and I know that I am a better advisor as a result. If you needed to start it all over again tomorrow and you had just one thing to change, add or subtract, what would it be? Sandy: Not a thing. I am who I am and where I am because of opportunities I took advantage of and mistakes I made throughout the years. Changing any of it, may have altered the direction of my life and career and honestly, I love where I am today. Teresa:: I don’t think I would change anything. I could not have asked for anything more in pursuing this career and subtracting anything would have changed the trajectory. I’ve learned a lot from the successes I have had thus far, but have learned just as much, if not more, from the obstacles I’ve faced along the way.

What makes you an expert in understanding the needs of individuals to and managing their financial wellness? Sandy: I am a good listener and now, I have years of experience. Working with so many clients over the years and hearing so many of their personal stories has been a huge part of my success. SoTeresa: many times, I have been able to help guide a client because of a similar experience with another client. Teresa: I’ve seen and experienced a lot through the lives of clients over the years and can draw a lot from that. If someone asks a question that I’m not sure of, I have no problem saying I don’t know, but I’ll find out. I want to be confident in the information I provide. I’m able to tap the experience of my colleagues at the firm. We have a wealth of knowledge here at Sage Rutty. Did you always know you wanted to be in this field and help others? Sandy: No, but I was young when something clicked. I think when you are eighteen or so and you go off to college, you have no idea what you want to do. Young adults and their parents get frustrated that they cannot figure it out and when are they going to choose a career; but so many do not find their passion until they are in their late 20’s or early 30’s and even then, I consider them fortunate if they do. I have worked with lots of people over the years and many never enjoyed what they did for a living. It was a means to pay the bills and put food on the table.

Teresa: I always knew that I wanted to help people, but what I didn’t know is that I would end up in this field. I studied to become a therapist and thought I would help people in that way. But finding myself as an advisor in financial services, I believe I’m fulfilling that goal of helping others. As an advisor, you are asked to provide guidance and support. You are meeting with clients during all stages of life. You are there to help people to save and help to grow their money. Along the way, you get to share in their excitement as they enter retirement, when they help a grandchild with college tuition, when they gift to a child, when they reach a new milestone. You are also there in difficult times, helping them in periods illness, of grief and loss, of adapting to unexpected life changes. It’s very rewarding. Name one defining moment in your career that was your ah ha moment. Sandy: That is a good question. One day while at work in the trading room at Lincoln First Bank, it hit me. It was a large room filled with 12-13 people, an open floor plan, no walls, I was aware of the buzz. Many conversations going on at once, some serious and quiet, some laughter, much sharing and I got the sense that my co-workers were important to the person on the other end of the phone. They meant something to those random mysterious people, and I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to be them and so it began. Teresa: I don’t think I have one singular, career-defining “ah ha” moment. Instead, I think I’ve had a series of learning experiences – some easy and some ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{ SHIFT+CONTROL { COVER STORY } } “I like math, was good at it and thought the financial field was one filled with opportunity and choices.”

painful – that have led me to where I am today. There have been a lot of opportunities presented to me, especially here. Thankfully, I have had the support of Sandy, the firm and my family to pursue many of them. Nothing has come easy, and it has been challenging for sure, but worth it on levels I never could have imagined. Tell us about one moment in your life that has had a lasting impression on you and formed who you are today. Sandy: Nearly 20 years ago my mom died very suddenly. She was only 71, a major influence on me and it was devastating. That event shined a bright light on how fleeting life can be and changed how I looked at things. One important take away was finding a balance; not just for me but for my clients. My motto became “Live for Today, Invest for Tomorrow” and it works. I have found a balance of enjoying a blessed life while saving for retirement and I would like to believe I have played an integral role in helping my clients do the same. Teresa: I would not define myself by a single moment. The greatest impact on who I am today is not a what, but more a who. My parents modeled for us hard work and humility. What do you attribute your success to? Sandy: My upbringing. I am one of six kids, and my parents were hard working people. My Mom taught me so much about being true to myself, honesty, friendship and to stand up for what you believe in. My Dad was all about work ethic. His motto “work hard, play 28


hard” and if you played too hard, you still got your butt up and went to work the next day, on time! Teresa: I have put in a lot of time and hard work on an individual level, but I’ve also had the benefit of working for a firm that has supported my professional growth from the very beginning. There has been a lot of Tell our audience one thing about yourself that not many others know. Sandy: My husband told me not long after we started dating that “I was a teddy bear.” He said I had a reputation of being tough, but I am not. Teresa: I dedicate a lot of time to my work and professional development, but I have a lot of interests outside of work. I love gardening and flowers. I fly fish with my husband. I am always reading or listening to at least one book. I love cooking and baking. If you wrote a book and could only use 1 word for the title on your life story, what would it be? Sandy: Unstoppable! Teresa: Driven. When you began your career, did you ever imagine that you would have a leadership role in this profession/ organization? Sandy: No, I was a kid with great optimism but where I am 40+ later is beyond anything I could have imagined. I am truly Living the Dream.

Teresa: No. I remember being the newest member of firm, looking around and feeling overwhelmed with how much I had to learn. I poured my heart and soul into this job. I believe you get out what you put in and, over time, I gained tremendous knowledge and confidence in my work. What factors do you feel impact a woman’s ability to lead others? Sandy: Their fear to speak up. I am a big believer in having a voice. We all have an opinion and men tend to be more vocal with theirs. I am not sure if women feel intimidated or embarrassed that they may be asking a stupid question. I never cared about that. If I had a question, I asked it. I tell women I work with to have a voice. It really does matters. Teresa: I think women’s empathy make them great leaders. I have found that my most meaningful relationships and opportunities for growth have come from leaders who demonstrate empathy and perspective. The best learning experiences I have had were the ones where I was faced with a challenge, knowing that I had support behind me as needed, but given the space to try to figure it out. Then having the chance to debrief afterwards is key.




P & W

r e t s e h Roc a z z i P Style





ade Italian sub bread!


fish frys, calamari, shrimp, fish sub




Recently, I was at the Horror Sideshow Market event held in Pennsylvania. I was there because Geoffrey Von Gore, the editor of Poisonous Pinups Magazine, had released a special edition for that show. My first article with him, happen to be in it. The cover girl used for Poisonous Pinups, Darcy DeMoss, was also there! Which not only gave me a chance to get her signature on the magazine, but also actually interact with her!

Lives Part VI. And Darcy - she gave those two memories they will always have to cherish! She knew they were there for her and she didn’t disappoint. That little girl was so excited when she walked away, she couldn’t wait to tell everyone she had just met Darcy! In fact, every single fan that came away from Darcy’s table had a smile on! It

The Poisonous Pinup table was right next to hers. Tentatively, I sat behind the table, watching Darcy next to me interact with her fans.

There was this father and daughter dressed up as Jason anxiously waiting in line in front of me. Yes, you read that right, father and daughter dressed up like Jason just for Darcy since she was in the movie Friday the 13th – Jason 34


Going out on a limb, I figured, why not? And she accepted! Which even gave me more insight into who Darcy really is, one I wanted to share with you. I wanted to try to ask her some questions that may give us a little insight into how she manages to do it all. With grace and a killer smile. Here is our interview: Tammy: “Darcy, first of all, thank you so much for letting me interview you! I’m trying desperately not to act like a gibberish school girl, but you’ve somehow managed to make me feel at ease! Have you always been able to interact with people so easily?”

This woman was amazing! Not only beautiful, with a smile that lights up the whole room, Darcy has this inner beauty that one can feel instantly reaching out to you! Her energy pulled me in, like a moth to a flame. I wanted to know more! I decided to get in line to get my signature on the magazine. As I waited my turn, in a long line of fans, the thing I admired the most about Darcy was her warmness to each one of her fans! It didn’t matter who you were; you had her full attention!

an actress, and a business woman. Seeing her in action, with a business I know little about, I wondered if I should ask her for an interview?

was as if Darcy’s own beautiful smile was contagious! Here at this magazine, we try to put strong women who are entrepreneurs in every sort of businesses you can think of, to help inspire women of all ages. Women who are not only successful in their own lives but who touch others. Darcy is world renowned. She’s a model,

Darcy: “I was painfully shy as a child. I got into dance and acting classes. It brought me out of my shell. I am a triple Leo, so I have always been a bit of a leader. However, I came into my own when I discovered my voice and it empowered me.” Tammy: “Very interesting, so there is hope for us shy ones! The way you handle yourself, I would have never thought of you starting out shy. Honestly, for some reason, I always thought actors and actresses started out - outgoing. It’s nice to see classes can tap into one’s hidden talents so efficiently!”







{AN SHIFT+CONTROL { {BLACK WOMEN ROC} }} RWO INTERVIEW “Darcy is world renowned. She’s a model, an actress, and a business woman.

“I happened to be there when you were on the phone with your husband. Who I also got to say hi to (very exciting to be a part of a normal behind-the-scenes situation) and I was shown a beautiful painting of you on the wall behind your husband.” “What impressed me most about that moment was not only how beautiful the portrait was, but the way you wanted to show me. Two things. One, how proudly you told me your father had it done for you. And two, how you teased that it was behind your husband looking over him. “Obviously, you have a wonderful and loving, supportive family. Did they help you get into your career while growing up? Was it something they knew you wanted to pursue or did it become a passion later in life?” Darcy: “My childhood best friend is actress Helen Hunt. I grew up on her TV & film sets. I always wanted to be an actress but my mother was not into being a stage mother.” “I was going to UCLA when I landed an agent. I told my father he could pay for me to learn, or I could be paid and learn on the set - in front of the camera.” “My father was my biggest fan and fully supported my career.” Tammy: “I always love hearing when a family is supportive. And I could tell instantly the way you talked about your father, there is much love towards him.”

“This brings me to my next question. As for your husband, a very talented man in his own right, seems very supportive and encouraging. Do you think it helps to be with someone who knows and understands the business?” Darcy: “My husband, Jack Lippman, is fully supportive of my career. He used to own a talent agency.” Tammy: “I’m sure that helps immensely with already knowing what is expected of you by others. Before this interview, while at the con, we had a fun little spontaneous photo shoot.” “Something I’m certainly not familiar with and yet the poses came easy to you. It was almost as if the camera made you come alive!” “How do you get your mindset for a photo shoot? Do you work for the camera or do you try to forget the camera is there and work for yourself? Darcy: “I work within myself. But, I’m fully aware of the camera. I’m a big HAM!” Tammy: “It was all so foreign to me and yet you made it look so easy! I would think you may have the same mindset for your acting roles?” “Or do you find yourself in a different mindset? Where maybe you have to remind yourself the camera is not there? Whereas, you focus on your character and the surrounding ones instead?” Darcy: “It depends on the role. It always

helps when you’re working with an actor that you have a connection with or build a connection with.” Tammy: “When we were talking earlier, I loved how you said you enjoyed watching everything that was going on at the set. You didn’t just do your part and walk away. That you stay watching, soaking it all in. I admire that, it makes me feel you are a team player.” “I’m curious, does traveling or having a new part ever concern you?” Darcy: “Traveling is the best when I’m working on a film or TV project. Then I only need to be concerned with my character as I’m away from everyday life.” Tammy: “That makes sense. I’m sure it would let you focus on the task at hand more. But, even so, the stress of traveling, learning new parts. How do you center yourself? Tune it out and get to be you? Do you do any meditation or yoga perhaps, to help?” Darcy: “I do meditate and I do yoga. What also helps is I love being on the set! Near the camera and watch. There is so much to learn!” Tammy: “Interesting, your excitement for a new project doesn’t seem to stress you but leaves you a desire to learn more.” “Too often we find ourselves caught up in the minor details. Perhaps focusing on the excitement of a new project will help us with the stress. That is a fresh way of looking at it. I like that!”



{AN SHIFT+CONTROL { {BLACK WOMEN ROC} }} RWO INTERVIEW “I do meditate and I do yoga. What also helps is I love being on the set! Near the camera and watch. There is so much to learn!”

“I heard you say you were a dancer. What type of dancing?” Darcy: “I was a professional jazz dancer.”

“I know you are a very busy woman and I can’t thank you enough for doing this interview for me! I do have one last question.”

Tammy: “Again, you surprise me. Good thing I’m not a betting girl! I would have thought for sure it would have been ballet!”

“Looking back, what would you tell your younger self?”

“How about a hobby?”

Tammy: “Perfect! You have some exciting things coming up! Mind letting us in

Darcy:“I am a wildlife photographer which has brought me to Africa seven times. I have had my photographs in several galleries in Los Angeles. I also had an exhibit in London.”

Darcy:“Stay focused. Stay true to myself.”

“You travel a lot. Where is a place you would love to visit you haven’t been to?” Darcy:“Bali. I love the culture and can’t wait to get there and see it!” Tammy: “And I am sure you will get some amazing pictures!” 40


Tammy: “I understand, but such a tease! Where can our readers follow you, to be able to see upcoming events?” Darcy: “I’m on Instagram darcydemoss19 and my website is I would also like to do a shout out for my professional photographer Joe from Joe Caban Photography, he does such an amazing job! And can’t forget hashtags for my skater shoes in the one picture, which I love! #heednyc #ripcity1978 and #magnumsk be sure to check them out!” Tammy: “I agree the pictures are amazing! And I will definitely check out the shoes, love the colors! I can’t thank you enough, Darcy, for letting us have this opportunity! I know for me and that little girl, along with so many other fans, you gave us something we will always talk about!”

Tammy: “No kidding? Now that is some kind of hobby! Wow! That’s amazing! You know, it’s one thing to take pictures. But to have the eye to capture something and then have galleries do exhibits on what you captured? That’s talent!” “I love hearing about people we know from movies/tv shows, hidden talents! Often times, it is things we would never expect!”

Darcy: “I also have a few films brewing but unable to disclose at this time.”

on some of them?” Darcy: “Vengeance 2 Bloodlines is coming out on YouTube in April or May. It’s a fan funded film. I’m reprising my role as Nikki from Friday the 13th part 6, 36 years later.” Tammy: “The fans are going to love that! I can’t wait to see it myself!”

“May you continue to touch others with that bright light of yours and know that light will continue on in your fans - young and old alike - father and daughter! Thank you and continued success to you!” Author Tammy Vreeland

The DiMarco Group has be and family-operated f is well-prepared

Photo by Brody Wheeler

een proudly family-owned for over 100 years and for the next 100! Since 1908, the DiMarco family has been in the construction business and today, that foundation supports: • Admar Construction Equipment & Supplies • Baldwin Real Estate • DiMarco Constructors • J. DiMarco Builders • DiMarco Realty Services • VentureX








Dear Camille… New York’s Divine Channel, Motivational Speaker, and Entertainer, Camille Conti Dear Camille, I just got out of a very toxic relationship and I’m trying to put my life back together. I am feeling strong as I have been doing a lot of self-healing work. However, I have been really beat up by a narcissistic person that was very charming when I first met him. Do you have any advice that could help me get through the holiday and repair my life for next year? I would really love to get married to the right one and create a beautiful happy life sooner than later. Please help! I’m Wonder Woman on my comeback from Mr. Wrong still believing that I can find Mr. Right, fall madly in love, get married to my one true love, live happily ever after growing old together, finishing each other sentences… Sincerely, Working Hard at Love Rochester, NY Dear Working Hard at Love, You Can absolutely meet your divine equal spouse, Mr. Right, fall madly in love and live happily ever after together blissfully! You are not alone! Many of the strongest most successful women I know have gone through

this very same growth spurt of being with the wrong one, finding your true self love, picking yourself up off the ground and never settling for less again. It’s about developing your personal boundaries of only receiving kind treatment from people in your life… The first question I need to ask you is…Have you been naughty or nice to yourself lately?

you making time for you first, before you do for two? First it’s me, then its we. Have you ever heard this phrase warm your ears, “but baby you know I love you”? As if those magical words are going to sweep you off your feet, fix everything and make you feel loved and cherished! Actions speak louder than words. A good man always understand. I deeply love, honor, and respect myself. Say this mantra 3 times a day out loud as a confidence builder giving yourself positive affirmations you deserve. Loving yourself is the key that starts the engine. First it’s me then it’s we. Guilt Free.

‘Tis the season for some reason to be naughty or nice. Every time I see or hear the phrase “ Naughty or Nice“, it always gives me a giggle and my mind goes to several places, playing out the coordinates of each interesting scenario. Have you ever experienced this on some level, maybe with a different flavor in the details? Ask yourself, have you been naughty or nice to yourself this past year? Are

Making Healthy Choices Today’s modern world has opened up tremendous opportunities for women to have it all. Young, rich, and chic in all areas of our lives; mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially, at every stage of life. With such infinite possibilities available at our precious, pampered fingertips, making the right choices regarding our well-being, is imperative for an everlasting, fulfilling, evolving lifetime. Living intentionally instead of accidentally. Creating a strategic plan for your life, following it, tweaking it and restructuring it along the way to achieve your goals and dreams!

“Today’s modern world has opened up tremendous opportunities for women to have it all.”



“Every time I see or hear the phrase “ Naughty or Nice “, it always gives me a giggle and my mind goes to several places, playing out the coordinates of each interesting scenario.”

The only thing that stands in between us as women and our dreams is our willingness to allow them into our life. When we stop self sabotaging and we begin to love ourselves and know that we are worthy and deserving of success, we can achieve anything! Allow the miracle’s and magic in life to burst open and surround you with a vortex filled with an abundance of self love, and ride the wave of freedom, spreading the gift of joy on to others. Start with your daily self-care routine; prayer, meditation, gratitude journaling, intentions setting, daily facial cleansing, toning and hydrating while saying positive affirmations to yourself in the mirror looking into your own eyes. Movement (as in yoga or a workout), aromatherapy in shower with eucalyptus or your favorite essential oil, (for energy cleansing and clarity), a nice invigorating walnut and mint scrub, a tantalizing moisturizer for a silky, milky, smooth skin, uplifting music, meditating and preparing for the day. This can all happen in a quick 30 minutes or you can give yourself a few hours, depending on what time you have available that day! You can also choose to add some spice to the mix, and get your groove on with your favorite body movement practice and clear your head, bringing in laser lucid clarity. Dust yourself off and trust yourself again to make the right one. You have learned a lot of lessons from the wrong one that will help guide you to the right one. Notice the red flags now and don’t ignore them. It’s time to operate with your earth goggles on instead of your a rose colored glasses. 50


We can still see the positive in people but not miss the reality!! It’s never too late to find true love, the time is NOW! As we have seen in the past, almost 2 years of utter health care and world health chaos, not knowing what’s coming next, our choices and decisions, become at the forefront of our consciousness. It’s time to have the right people in your life and a healthy relationships that you desire. Having your boundaries intact is vital to your success and happiness in life! It’s imperative that you say no when necessary and stop being a people pleaser if you have been one! You can’t please everyone so it’s important to please yourself. The right people will love the true, authentic you. Naughty or Nice… The company we keep is vital to our happy life! The top five people we spend time talking to are who we become. These people transform where we will end up on our journey. Choose your friends and family (spouse) wisely. 8 Self-Love Resolutions for the New Year: 1.) Stop being the go-to person for someone you cannot go-to. 2.) Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people that mutually uplift you only! 3.) Command and demand an even exchange of energy in every relationship that you have. 4.) Don’t date married people; it’s a heartbreaking recipe for karmic disaster. 5.) Respect yourself and others.

6.) Having boundaries for yourself: Examples, not allowing yourself to be used and or abused.. 7.) Honor your personal space and identity before joining as one team and getting legally married. This takes maturity and self-discipline and respect for the big picture of longevity. If you’re not married yet, wait and get married first before you live together. 8.) Allow yourself to be loved, cherished, and honored by the right one who respects your boundaries, and offers an even exchange of energy to you. If you are married, it’s never too late to establish healthy boundaries and or ignite the flame of romance, give it a perk and if you’re not married and want this kind of connection, it’s never too late! The time is Now! It’s time to get your groove on and Meet, Court, and Marry your Divine Equal Spouse! In our world these days, a magnitude of people spend a lot of time worrying about what’s happening with the next guy, instead of focusing on what they could do to make their own life amazing!! It all starts with kindness. One simple action every person can donate to the societal cause, being kind to others. Today, no one is tolerating Bullying, whether it be in the workplace, playground, schools, or online to name a few, it’s not cool to target persons you may perceive as less than, to go after person suffering from poverty, mental illness, religious affiliations, stigma of a single parent, ethnicity, political affiliations, denying children basic needs, and too many more to mention. It shows an insecurity to be noticed. Park the jealousy and the









“It’s never too late to find true love, the time is NOW!”

self torment at the door, and start living instead of existing, making healthy choices and start being nice to yourself. Eliminate the self judgment and self hate that’s caused you to lash out at others, forgive yourself, and allow love into your life, snuffing out the anger, and let love in. Being nice to yourself has multi-layered benefits. It’s infectiousness that cannot help but to be spread on to others that leads to the joys in life you’ve been craving. Being nice to yourself opens doors of clarity, benefits peace of mind, balance in health and well-being, it shows in appearance, voice, vitality, and

shines through our attitude, attracting positive high vibrations.

weeks to let me know how you’re doing at

Kindness always leads to love, one way or another. And so when love comes to town, hop on that train. There’s a time to be naughty, and there’s a time to be nice! Start practicing dating yourself every Friday night at your favorite restaurant or movie theater and enjoying your own personal company. As you fall in love with yourself you will be giving off vibrations and frequencies of love that will help draw in the right one!

I believe in you! In Divine Love, Success & Joy, Camille Conti Xxx P.S. If you have a question for Camille about Unleashing your Fully Empowered Self and Happy Life please write her at and www.

Start these practices that I have shared with you and send me an email in two ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021







Who is Ashlee Escobar? Can you tell us more about yourself? Ashlee Escobar is a unique individual with exceptional compassion and empathy in this real world. I have had big dreams, goals and ideas since I can remember. A humanitarian who helps a certain population all her life. The elderly, children, the poor and homeless and the wrongly incarcerated.

creating Angelic Love & Light LLC. I am a certified reiki practitioner, energy healer, coach and combine my nursing knowledge and what the body mind and spirit truly need beyond medications. The cure of the world, balance and unconditional love. Our companies leading value and mission and to help

I came from the non typical family setting, I knew I would have to work harder for all that I wanted. I always viewed the world very differently. My empathy led me to my biggest pain in life, I was involved in every type of domestic violence with my ex husband, leading me to become a domestic violence survivor and warrior. In my healing journey, I connected my past with my present self development of who I am and why I am the way I am to lead me to the next phases of life. A nurse who cared for many geriatrics, special needs and all in between discovered my gifts and abilities helped many of her patients but I was still so restricted. I transitioned into my holistic healer role, and am growing into much more. As a holistic healer I can assist the whole person as I feel and know western civilization will start to blend into more over the next 5-10 years. The same reiki healing hands, active listening ears and natural intuition and claircognizance could help so many more people by

others create it, jumping off of societies hamster wheel of life and guiding their own light to create their heaven on earth also. I am a service worker, an advocate. I stand up for whats not right, and say all the things everyone thinks but is

scared to say. I am just my authentic self, no one special. What makes you hustle? Since I was young I always wanted my own stuff including money to pay for things and experiences. Watching my mother go hard for my brother and me made me want to be like that as well. I had my daughter and she became the “why”. Creating a different experience for her with wisdom, knowledge and enjoying life makes me hustle hard. Once I got in this position, it fuels me every day to get up and hustle hard. I know where I came from and what it takes to get to different levels. It takes a different mindset and lifestyle. When did you realize you were meant to be a intuitive guidance coach? Back in 2015 I survived my last episode of domestic violence. I remember my heart and head clicking in the hospital bed. I heard spirit say to me “The time is now”, I always knew I had many “assignments” in life. I had done all the things I said I wanted to do as a teacher. After handling a big portion of my own self healing, I asked to be shown the signs and ways of creating my purpose. I feel that is made up of our gifts and unique qualities, which I had known what those were. Discovering your purpose and blending them to make it a job was the goal. To be able to do something you love without feeling like it was work. I knew corporate world was not meant for me as a free thinker. I trusted in the process and continued to do all the things that led me to finding my true ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


BLACK WOMEN ROC} } } { {WOMAN WHO INSPIRES { SHIFT+CONTROL “ I am a certified reiki practitioner, energy healer, coach and combine my nursing knowledge and what the body mind and spirit truly need beyond medications.”

role as a holistic healer and intuitive guidance coach. What gives you strength? How did you get to where you are today. My personal faith gives me strength. I observed my family from a young age and what they have been through. I wanted to change the patterns and habits. My family instilled important values in me without even realizing. I got where I am today because of my families great qualities. Being a hard worker, not complaining and fighting through whatever life brings you and creating what you desire is all within us. What is your favorite service you offer? This is challenging I can’t ever pick just one when its my favorite. I would have to say my light therapy & frequency healing bed. Its a combination of light therapy with my reiki and musical frequencies that can heal at cellular level. The benefits this bed has, everyone is in need of this bed and so many don’t know about it. My psychic medium readings come second. The clarity and healing it provides to other’s brings my heart joy. I take angel work very seriously and its therapeutic for both parties. What challenges have you faced this year, especially in business, and how have you pivoted? This year I faced my biggest challenge despite all of the pain I have had in my life. In September I had a vision of my mom passing too soon as I knew she would since age five.



I did a reading on her and reviewed her blood work and saw her body was breeding a space made for the C word to grow. Five months later she went into the hospital the day after Valentines day, and we received a terminal stage 4 Brain Cancer diagnosis. My brother and I helped care for our second parent in their last days. I view death very differently than most, I’m still human. I had to care for, grieve, help the children in our family and carry on business as usual. It could have taken me out. But instead my mother passing instilled not only my traits and qualities deeper but hers as my mother. “The show must go on” I heard my mothers voice say. With my most important guardian angel with my side and watching over me there isn’t anything Angelic Love & Light LLC can’t face and get through. Thankfully I was able to pivot because of the previous healing and growth I have done on my self development these last 5 years. My mindset and how I view life from a very holistic broad view is unique. I can turn any negative experience into a positive and flip the mind script. I do it for others, I had to do it for myself to move forward. What motivates you and keeps you moving forward? What personally motivates me is the inner knowing of the “more” that always has existed. Growth and transformation personally and business wise has always fueled me since I was a little girl. Every day is a new day to create and go bigger, start differently. Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in the next 3-5 years?

In the next 3-5 years I plan to continue to grow personally and professionally as I always have. Trusting in the plan and following the steps the journey takes me on. I connect with many people all over the world over internet with my services, but I will be creating more of Angelic Love & Light all over the world. I have places to go, people to see. As a family growing together and teaching my little one the very same steps to find her own passions and purpose. What do you feel makes you a successful business woman and how d you coach others to empower themselves. I know I stand out, I always have and will. I am authentic, truthful and I conduct business from a professional and organized manner. Im real, my energy is like no other, even in the same fields. I love individuality it is what sets me apart from the others. I use that same energy to keep me pushing through life hardest moments. I walk the walk and talk the talk. My clients know me beyond the social media and realize I am myself. I allow others that align with me and what I offer come to me. Tell us about one person who has stood out and inspired you. Another hard one, many people personally and professionally have inspired me but I wouldn’t be here without my mother. She brought me in this world, taught me so much silently. I watched her hustle in ways she didn’t have to at all times. Although we are different individuals without her instilling her values, characteristics and positivity no matter the storm in me I wouldn’t be here. Angelic Love & Light was







BLACK WOMEN ROC} } } { {WOMAN WHO INSPIRES { SHIFT+CONTROL “I had my daughter and she became the “why”. Creating a different experience for her with wisdom, knowledge and enjoying life makes me hustle hard.”

created at a deeper level also for her and my daughter. My mother inspired me because if she couldn’t find a way, she made a way. Teaching me to stand out and live as loud as I want as long as its not hurting anyone or breaking any major laws, being free in spirit is what she inspired me be.

are meant and serve a unique purpose.

Tell us about one moment in your life that has had a lasting impression on you and formed who you are today. During the many years of nursing, I recall a great job that meant more to me than any of my patients or co workers realized. I use to pray for peace daily. Nursing homes were short staffed, overworked under payed. Many people don’t realize as a nurse we are good money, when it comes at a sacrifice of long hours, overtime and shift differentials.

I met a very special sister who I renamed as my God mother, coincendentaly not she had the same name as my God mother. I listened to all my elders but she really made an impact on my life, and helped me in ways I will never forget.

I landed a job through RGH, it was for a “nursing home” which turned out to be Sisters Of Mercy. What people didn’t realize is that it landed me back to care for some of the primary important people from my primary catholic education. My old principle, pre-k teacher and many other beautiful sisters. I have always adored the church and religion along with spirituality. I was able to attend church daily right at work. I use to joke and say if I hadn’t had my daughter or when she turns 18 I would be joining the convent. The sisters liked that. I use to pray for many others but myself and to continue to be shown my next steps as I knew I was meant to help many people in life. Those “assignments” throughout life keep you for how long you

I had lost my dad who I cared for shortly before that and as a single mother was always trying to take care of the bills on my own and still be able to be present in my daughters life to create memories and not work all the time.

I learned a lot from my time with them. Mostly that they are humans as well. Perfection is a illusion. We can work really hard at it to come close to it. Thats what they do, try to be their best self each day. Its what we all could choose to do. Tell our audience one thing about yourself that not many others know. I am a single mother who balances all parts of life and still able to give my daughter the time she needs. It is possible for each and everyone of you to create whatever you truly desire, even when you can’t see how it would be possible. How do you balance work and life responsibilities, especially being such a successful woman entrepeneur? Balance is what I do best, I see why the world is so unbalanced and why so many people lack control of their lives. We have to be able to do less to do more. Prioritize whats important to you and leave room on your personal plate for all the unexpected life stuff.

When you create your personal balance your not living up to societies standards. Secondly, you need to create the time for different types of body mind and spirit self care daily and then a full day of recharge and unplugging. Boundaries are important, as an entrepreneur your bar is set a little higher. You have to be able to focus with blinders as many aren’t living the same life with the same goals. Lastly, make sure your living and not just doing. You have to be able to be so self aware that you can recognize when and where in life your off balance and then take action to change that. I know my limits and allowing yourself to know this shifts throughout life and different seasons. Tell us about some of the things you have had to overcome in your life and how it has influenced the woman you have become. The first death I experienced was the hardest death that impacted me greatly, my grandmother was like a mother figure who lived with us. I learned a lot from her. We had very similar paths in life. I feared death for awhile after that experience. My parents were divorced and my father struggled with many health and personal challenges that kept him away from us. Overcoming and surviving domestic violence definitely changed me and made me into the woman I am today. It gave me a whole different outlook on life. I learned and gained so much ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021








{ SHIFT+CONTROL BLACK WOMEN ROC} } } { {WOMAN WHO INSPIRES “I got where I am today because of my families great qualities. Being a hard worker, not complaining and fighting through whatever life brings you and creating what you desire is all within us.”

Caring for both of my parents and loosing them at very young ages definitely has added to who I am today. Your never fully prepared to loose anyone, let alone your parents. When they are both gone from the physical, with little family it really humbles you. It launches you forward mentally, physically and spiritually. You have to choose daily to fight your ego to not live in victim hood and to live life to the fullest and create your memories. Thats what life is all about the memories and what you learn. Everything else is borrowed land, time and materials. Whats the most crucial tool for empowering one’s self? The most crucial tool for empowering one’s self is the discipline and determination of mind control. The mind is a powerful 2lb organ. It is our personal hard drive that needs to be maintained, serviced, realigned and balanced. Although you have to be able to have enough will power, determination and discipline to actively work at controlling it and balancing it daily. That struggle is harder for near divergent brains, these are the people usually the most naturally gifted. I would also say having at least one person whose not family to go to when you need a reminder of all life tools and resources people forget to look to when life gets hard. What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time? I am a truly simple person. I appreciate the little things of life, enjoying a good 64


cold brew, talking with other like minded people about in depth topics beyond the superficial basic talk. I enjoy to travel and see all the beauty in our universe. I really love connecting with others and hearing others “stories” of their own journey. What inspired you to become an intuitive? We are all born with natural intuition. Some louder and clearer than others. Then there are three root areas that make your natural intuition clouded or jaded. I have always been intuitive. My mother use to call me a “know it all” its my strongest Claire. I just knew and things would be right and they would happen. I held my gifts back for many years, then I had my own journey to live out and learn some lessons. As I healed and got my balance back, those gifts were unparsed and awoken stronger and deeper. Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out? Honestly, I’ve been asked this before and I always say no. I don’t do “what if” situations. I don’t worry about the shoulda woulda coulds of life. I do however learn from every experience which allows me to make wiser choices the next time. Our experiences can be advice for those younger or similar to us, so what I would say to young woman that I myself didn’t know is, life brings everyone challenges. Its meant to be hard,

to overcome and gain your strength. Its how you get through those situations and what you do with your pain. I advice all younger souls to truly get to know yourself, your passions and do what makes you happy! Face the things your scared of or fear, you run into them no matter how fast you run and ask yourself what is this trying to teach me in every trying and triggering situation. Lastly, treat others with unconditional love and kindness but that doesn’t mean they get unconditional chances. You can release anyone or anything from your life. We come In this world by ourselves and we will leave that way to. Make sure you enjoy the time we have with others who are your energy match and you will enjoy more compatible connections and relationships. Where will we see Ashlee Escobar next? Ashlee Escobar will be at the following events: December 27 @ Eutierria Wellness for connecting with spirit & mini reads. January 23 @ New year New You pop up event with Rochester woman in Syracuse craftsman inn& suites April 24 @Influential Woman Entrepeneurs Expo in Syracuse with Rochester Woman at the Marriott Other than those events stay tuned and connect with me on social media platforms and check us out at www.



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“Let’s light it up shall we! We are living in a time where most are longing for a spiritual refreshing, bold authenticity, and honest vulnerability. We are done with playing coy with our futures and we are hungry for more. Now more than ever, after being faced with issues of our own mortality, there is an urgency to live life with zero regrets. With the I’m going after what is mine mentality, we have started to shift our thinking about how the world works. Emerging from our tiny little corners to explore what is around us, we are quickly finding out that the people, places, and things we are familiar with are not enough to catapult us into our desired place of abundance. We need to hear from different voices that will challenge our thinking, activate our ambitions, motivate us, and carefully connect us - one to another. Please meet one of our newest voices, proclaimed culture broker, and guest contributor, Krystle Ellis. Bold is the best way to describe her. This multidimensional powerhouse specializes in catapulting businesses to the next level through strategic planning, fundraising, and 70


diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through executive coaching and policy management, Ellis assists organizations with embarking on a journey of transformational change by examining hiring practices, employee and customer engagement, marketing techniques, and daily operations. Committed to the Rochester community, she sits on multiple

things, her ever burning passion is to help women discover who they are, grow with the flow, monetize their experiences, and flourish! Ellis forwards discussions that are deep, real, and sometimes daring. Featured in Nationwide publications like the Chronicle of Philanthropy, USA Today, and so many more, her voice is considered one of power and influence. As a guest contributor, Krystle will be interfacing with the magazine in a very unique way, setting the stage for exclusive recorded interviews, business commentaries, untouchable topics and more. Krystle was raised in sunny South Florida and is of Jamaican descent. She loves fashion, interior decorating, restaurant hopping with friends and hosting over the top parties. She is easy to call friend and adored for her realness.

boards and committees advocating for women’s rights, equal access to healthcare for children, and the international right to have clean water. Krystle is an engaging conversationalist who has the ability to connect with all women. Her essence is contagious, her voice is powerful, and her laughter can fill any room. Getting to the heart of

Rare complications in her own life have propelled Ellis to become this connector. Just one day after graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Krystle was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. At that very moment, she expressed having to decide what her next steps would be. Would she hide under a rock or would she use the rest of her





“Let’s light it up shall we! We are living in a time where most are longing for a spiritual refreshing, bold authenticity, and honest vulnerability.”







{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } { REAL CONVERSATIONS “Bold is the best way to describe her. This multidimensional powerhouse specializes in catapulting businesses to the next level through strategic planning, fundraising, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

life to elevate the voices of all people and fight for justice, equality, and human connection. Now fully cleared and cancer free,

nothing is off limits and her drive is like no other. Krystle is a mega boss and entrepreneur who believes her purpose is to lift her community through bridge building. She values

the currency of transformational love and honor. We are excited to welcome her. “





Tell us a little about Annette Warren. Who are you? Where are you from? What is your background?

When did you start your business? What is your background that helped push you toward this career choice?

I am originally from Syracuse, New York, but moved1 to Rochester over 30 years ago. I grew up in a family business – my father owned a grocery store. I received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Roberts Wesleyan. My professional path for a long time was in retail management. I entered the information technology (IT) industry when my husband, John, started an ISP / VoIP business in 1995; at the same time we started having kids. With my business degree and retail background, I brought a unique way to approach clients along with the importance of educating our client base. At the end of the 1990’s, we started seeing security had now beocome an issue. We sold our ISP and VoIP client base; iSECURE was formed in 2011 with a sole cybersecurity focus.

iSECURE was founded in 2011, but we’d had an ISP / VoIP business prior. My husband, John, started our original internet company in 1995 and I slowly integrated myself into the business.

What makes you hustle both personally and professionally? Cybersecurity is not a “one size fits all,” and we need to understand what our clients need. I love what I do; it’s about helping people. What made you decide to go into the cybersecurity industry? I didn’t really ‘decide’ to go into cybersecurity, it picked me. iSECURE was started from the needs we saw in our client’s environments, not knowing how big of an issue it would be.



What is the mission behind iSECURE? iSECURE’s mission is to inspire a cybersecurity culture through education and collaboration. Security is a vital component for every business today because cyberthreats are everywhere. As cybersecurity specialist, it is our job to stay on top of the most current threats, trends, and information to give our clients choices and options. Not one client is the same as another. Our clients come to us because they don’t have the time to distill the information. They’re busy growing their own business. Because of the lack of people in the workforce, we are more relevant today than what we were ten years ago. What challenges have you faced this year being a female entrepreneur, especially in your business, and how have you pivoted? I don’t think that being a female entrepreneur has been a challenge over the past year, as much as it was the change in client’s needs and the uptick of targeted cyber-attacks. iSECURE has experienced the distraction of employee turnover with our client’s, as well as

within the vendor environment, which is a cybersecurity concern. We also haven’t been able to find experience personal to our team that has the knowledge. What motivates you and keeps you moving forward? I love what I do! I love the business of helping people and learning new technologies! What do you feel makes you a successful woman in business? I am compassionate, and I have the ability to relate to people and situations. I am also a good listener. What are some of the pros and cons of being a female entrepreneur, and what is your favorite part of what you do? Pros: I love owning my own business. Being a female in this industry has been a definite challenge, especially since I have a degree in business, not IT. Although I feel like I have the experience because I’ve been in the industry for 25+ years. I bring a different perspective to our accounts, and to solving problems. Do you have any helpful advice to someone just starting out in this field? There are so many options for someone who is looking at a cybersecurity career! I recommend doing co-ops and / or internships in a variety of businesses and focuses! To truly know what you want to do,













{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } { WOMAN ON THE RISE “With my business degree and retail background, I brought a unique way to approach clients and the importance of educating our client base.”

ask yourself: Do you like working in large company where focus is very specific or a smaller business where you get variety of experience? Do you like working alone or collaborating with a group? Do you like fixing problems or creating the future? In such a male dominated field, how have you been successful moving up the ladder? I have confidence in what I do and do not know. I am not an engineer in a technical field, but I am a businessperson who understands the concerns of the C-Level.

her love was unending. She always said, “I love you too much!”, which is now part of my mantra to my girls. It’s being part of an incredible family, if you didn’t experience it, it’s indescribable! Tell our audience one thing about yourself that not many others know. I’m shy although I’m friendly and can strike up a conversation. I’m more comfortable in small groups.

Tell us about one moment in your life that has had a lasting impression on you and formed who you are today. For me it’s not one moment; I am one of the lucky few to grow up with an amazing family, but with strong women. My mom had two sisters who had incredible strength! I watched them maneuver through life challenges, and that made me the strong person I am today. My grandmother was an incredible woman, and to meet her you just knew she was – beautiful at 100+, until the day she passed. She was an incredible cook and had her own garden. It’s not one thing she did, but

How have you been able to balance your work and family life over the years? I feel like I’m lucky, owning my own business. I could be flexible around my girls when they were in grade school through high school. Unlike many women I see, I really enjoyed my daughters. I feel very lucky to have a close relationship with all of them in a unique way to them. My

family was very supportive – especially my parents – always willing to help, especially as the girls were growing up. What is your businesses specialty? iSECURE’s specialty is cybersecurity, but we focus on helping our clients figure out the best road map for their business. If they already have a road map, we can help support in their journey. Who is someone that inspires you and why? There are so many people that inspire me for so many reasons, but my dad is my true inspiration! He came to the United States at 14; my grandmother and grandfather had nothing. He joined the United States Army and served doing several jobs but sold solders cigarettes on the side. He sent all his pay and earnings home to his parents. My parents bought their own grocery store and retired at 50. My dad started activity following the stock market and did very well. I learned my business acclimate, hard work and finesse from him, but most importantly I learned that family is everything! What are the secrets to your success? Hard work and grit, as well as being authentic. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021





SHIFT+CONTROL } } { {WOMAN ON THE RISE “Being a female in this industry has been a definite challenge, especially since I have a degree in business, not IT. Although I feel like I have the experience because I’ve been in the industry for 25+ years.”

I want to work in the community more and give back.

being the only woman in the room…. and being a businessperson, not a technologist. I face the small business story roadblock; that we cannot deliver.

What are some of the challenges you face regarding growing your business?

Any helpful advice for other women wanting to be successful as female entrepreneurs?

One of the biggest challenges I face is

Find a mentor, join groups of like-

What do you want to achieve next?

minded people to share ideas and solve problems. Always network to get your name in the community and always take time; FAMILY is important.





When you visit the Social Adult Day Program at Tender Loving Family Care throughout the day there will be lots of music! Music can play a huge part in all of our lives especially with the aging and dementia population. Long before there was language there was music. It brought people together for common goals and celebrations. When we are little our parents sing to us, lullabies, and nursery rhymes, these melodies infuse our earliest memories. We all have that song that reminds us of our first date, that special road trip we took, our wedding dance, the list of memories are endless. As we age we lose the direct recall of these memories but music can help to stimulate them. Musical Memories at SADP One of our routine activities is Musical Memories. We play music and reminisce about the memories that come up. We see participants that are quiet and reserved come to life when the music is on. Music links us in a way nothing else can. Several popular songs of 90


a generation can bring an entire group together. Conversations are had of the shared memories of that time in history. This is a magical time where our Senior Social Adult Day Program participants learn so much! Moving to the Music at SADP During exercise we play music to energize and get us moving. Music has been shown to help with motor function and pain

management. Exercise is often disguised in other activities like singing and dancing. When the music plays our Senior Adults just can’t help but move their body or sing along. Singing is a surprisingly good form of exercise. Boosting Mental Wellness through Sound at SADP During Arts & Crafts, music playing in the background can help

to boost creativity and productivity. We know many people have experienced this when the music is turned up while cleaning the house. Just like we’ve used music to lift us up and keep us going, music can have a calming effect as well. Soothing music can help to reduce anxiety and confusion in TLFC’s dementia clients allowing them to feel more enjoyment throughout their day. Music can also help you to get to sleep and improve the quality of sleep. Sleep is necessary for healing and good health. Without enough sleep, dementia related behaviors can worsen. Music plays a vital role in all of our lives from birth to our last breath. For caregivers, music is a simple and easily accessible tool to make the days go smoother. You’ll probably find yourself rewarded with a surprise memory or two that you never knew about as well.




{ SERVICES FOR SENIORS { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “Music plays a vital role in all of our lives from birth to our last breath. For caregivers, music is a simple and easily accessible tool to make the days go smoother.”






Great for drop cookies and roll outs. Eat plain or decorate. Great fun family activity. Ingredients: Double batch recipe. Feel free to cut in half for smaller dough size. 1 ½ cup Shortening 2 cups White Granulated Sugar 4 Eggs 2 TSP Vanilla Extract 5 cups of Unbleached Flour 2 TSP Baking Powder 2 TSP Salt Mix the Shortening, Sugar, Eggs, and Vanilla in Mixer on low. Blend in bowl Flour, Baking Powder and Salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the original mix. Cover & chill for at least 1 hour. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough onto lightly floured surface. Use any cookie cutters and place on ungreased baking sheet. (Add Sprinkles if desired) Bake 6-8 minutes until very light brown. Let cool and decorate. 98






FIRST POST I spent hours last night contemplating if I wanted to write this post today. Fear of what my friends, clients, and family would think of me was consuming me. Then I realized that is exactly the problem that keeps people like me from seeking help when they need it most. This is a long one and may pull on some heart strings but it’s worth the read. Those closest to me have had to watch me slowly kill myself over the past year. Some tried to offer help and I pushed them away. Others decided they couldn’t watch me do it to myself anymore and stepped back. At the end of the day, I was blaming them for “leaving me” or “judging” me when in actuality I wasn’t just hurting myself I was hurting everyone closest to me. They were scared for me and what this was doing to me. As I looked in the mirror a couple months back, I realized that the woman looking back at me was not Amanda anymore. It was a woman who had been drowning herself in alcohol daily to hide from anxiety, depression, and life in general. I noticed liver spots starting on my face and my legs. I had no color in my face and was basically just going through the motions of life everyday till the next drink. Admitting I had a problem to myself, and others meant that years of showing I had control over my unmanageable life would be exposed. I wanted so badly for it not to be true that I had an addiction that 100


I chose to stay in denial. That was over, It was time I admitted to someone that I had a problem and was needing help. I did exactly that, I admitted I had a problem and then I went to the liquor store and carried on with the same cycle. Fast forward to last Monday: I called my Dr and was determined to detox at home. I called my Mom, Win, and Karena (my support system) to tell

them my plan to do this Friday at my mom’s house. ALL OF THEM feared for me doing this at home but if it was the only way I was going to try they were all hands-on deck. The next step was notifying my closest friends and family and admitting the one thing I was so hell bent on denying for all

this time. As the days went by and I waited for Friday to come I continued drowning in booze. One fireball after another, until suddenly something hit me, and I called everyone back once again to say, “bring me to the hospital RIGHT NOW!” I was hammered and continued to drink nearly until I hit the entrance doors at the emergency room. When I went in, I let them know I was here to detox and my last drink was at the door. My heart rate was borderline heart attack status, I had severe acute pancreatitis, a severe UTI from dehydration and I was essentially completely depleted of vitamins. I spent the next few days in what I consider to be living hell. Detoxing all the toxic substance I was pouring into my body on a daily basis. I slowly started to feel like me again as the days went by. It felt like I was there for years, and it felt like I would never be home. Monday came and I woke up feeling different. I looked in the mirror again and Amanda was staring back at me. I had done it! I fought my damn hardest and I got through the detox, and I was never going back. I got to come home later that afternoon and I hugged my daughter like it was the last hug I’d ever get. I did that because being sober now I realized that had I not gotten the help I needed it could have been the last hug I’d ever get from







{ {INSHIFT+CONTROL HER OWN WORDS } } “Those closest to me have had to watch me slowly kill myself over the past year. Some tried to offer help and I pushed them away.”

her before I left to detox. She knew her Mommy was back and different. She pressed her little forehead upon mine and quietly whispered “mommy, mommy, mommy you’re back I missed you”. As tears started to form in my eyes and I walked through my front door I started my life over again. I have accomplished more in the last four days than I have in the last four months. My husband, family, friends, business I’ve worked so hard to build, education I have poured my soul into, and most of all I deserve to continue down this path of sobriety at full speed. Today marks ONE WEEK to the day of my sobriety. I was so excited this morning that I made it this far. This one week has felt like I gained a month of my life back because I’m living clearly now, and I got the help I need. I will be continuing outpatient therapy and utilizing every single resource I’ve been given to continue this journey. I have been blessed with another chance and I hope that this story helps someone, even if just one person to realize that THERE IS HELP out there and YOU CAN do it! It won’t be easy, fun, or quick but I promise you it will be worth it. Someone told me that “all the pain will be worth it in the end” and they were right. My biggest fear was judgement and how I would be treated by drs if I said I had a problem and so on. Let me tell you what - the drs, nurses, techs, therapist, family, friends, and even the pharmacists rushing around to get meds they don’t usually have on hand; were MORE THAN amazing. They were understanding, compassionate, and

willing to do anything they could to help me through. Win & Karena - I don’t think I even have the words to express my gratitude for you both. Your patience with me, guidance, checking on my little one, understanding, running to my rescue, and making sure my mom was ok. The list could go on and on. You are both angels and I love you!!! (Andy included ) Dad - Thank you for coming and just sitting with me while I slept, bringing me to my appointments, and most of all bringing my personal belongings up so I could feel more human. I know it wasn’t easy and it isn’t easy watching me go through this but having you as my Dad makes me that much stronger. Unity team - It’s no joke that the shortage of nurses is a real thing. These nurses are running, and they don’t stop for even a second. I never once felt uncomfortable, neglected, or dismissed. They are truly heroes and my team of drs was by far the most incredible support during my time there. My Husband & Mother-in-law it wasn’t easy watching me walk out the door. The uncertainty and lack of knowing what was coming next was heart wrenching. You both handled our home, Aves, and the farm of animals we have accumulated without a question. The daily we love you messages and texts kept me pushing through. I love you both so much. And of course, to my other family and friends that sent texts, called, and are

continuing to check in on make me stronger with every word and sent. Thank you for being on this journey with me. Everyone has their own pathway to sobriety, ask for help and get the answers before making assumptions because had I taken that advice, I would have been sober a long time ago.


Today is two weeks of sobriety for me!! I spent the past week analyzing and questioning just about everything in my life. There have been some serious “wake up calls” and getting to know myself again. I had completely lost who I was to a substance. It consumed my mind, body, and soul. My decisions were based on the next drink or the chance I wouldn’t be able to drink if I went somewhere. There was also the fear that “someone might notice” I had been drinking already. I have found empty bottles of fireball in locations that have literally left me dumbfounded. I just kept thinking “how the hell did you get to this point?!”. My anxiety had turned into full blown agoraphobia, and I didn’t leave my house for months. I realized how many important events, memories, and opportunities I had lost due to alcohol. Spending time looking through my photos it was clear just how bad I let things get. It took me a decent amount of scrolling and time to find a picture where I wasn’t entirely intoxicated. I had completely lost myself and had no idea who I was. My typical response to these ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{ IN HER OWN WORDS { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “There have been some serious “wake up calls” and getting to know myself again. I had completely lost who I was to a substance.”

thoughts would be to pick up a drink and bottle it all up again. Instead, I embraced every second of these thoughts and it made me determined to change it. ALL OF IT needs to change, but I also realized I can only change so many things at a time. Taking baby steps with getting my life organized again has already paid off in so many glorious ways. I can never get back the moments or opportunities that were lost to sickness, but I WILL use that as motivation to change the things I can going forward. I have mended broken relationships, severed toxic connections, and embraced my creativity and drive with pure determination. Today I went to my hometown and attended my baby sister’s school event (I have missed nearly everything in her life to a excuse for my addiction). My mom called me probably five times on my way to pick her up to ask, “are you sure you don’t want me to drive?”, “Do you want me to drive?”, “It’s ok I will drive if you want!”. Until I finally said, “Mom it’s ok, I had to literally almost reteach myself to drive yesterday - this is good for me!”. She was so proud getting into the car and seeing me all smiles, and ready to take on the world with her. The smile on my sister’s face when she saw my mom and I walking across the field to her almost brought me to tears. I thought to myself “my biggest supporter is eleven years old, and I have let her down time and time again”. Luckily, she is a smart, loving, and very special little human 104


that only cares that I am there now! As she walked me around and “showed me off” to all her teachers and friends, it hit me that I was glad this was the Amanda they got to meet. They got to meet the sister she is so proud of and supports no matter what bad decisions I have made along the way. Attending this not only accomplished leaving the house, supporting my sister as I should have been all along, but it also

showed me even more the importance of this journey for me. I will do everything in my power to never let her down again! When we left the event my mom and I drove all around my hometown and it was like re-introducing me to my roots again. Showing me the changes I missed since I was present or sober in the town I was born and raised in. It reminded me of all the great memories and times I had prior to this addiction taking over. A piece of me was reconnected today and got me that much closer to finding who I am again.

After leaving her school and dropping my mom off I carried on to my first outpatient therapy appointment. It went amazing and I could not have asked for a better therapist on this journey with me! I left feeling so comfortable and dedicated I went even further with my big steps for the day. When I mentioned my support people in the last post (Win & Karena) who are dear friends to me, I didn’t mention that they also operate a local recovery group “Hope Dealers BTC”. Today was the “Hopesgiving” event in the city. Typically, I don’t go to the city or anywhere like I mentioned earlier. I stepped way outside my comfort zone and surprised them by showing up. I’m so glad I did! I was surrounded by people in recovery or supporting those in recovery. Together with other local resources, and even local law enforcement we were handing out hot thanksgiving dinner and supplies to people in need. When I showed up in the parking lot it felt different than I expected; I wasn’t scared, having anxiety, or worried about anything for that matter, except showing up! I was greeted with embracing hugs, smiles, and words of encouragement. They say you must “change your people, places, and things” and to some (if you’re anything like me) that may sound scary. The way I look at it, I’m not changing those things I’m just finally allowing what was always right there into my life. Continuing this journey is something to be proud of and there is nothing that I will let stand in my way!






Hard work and dedication is what is driving teen model Rebecca Kupczyk to the next level. Her flexibility with style makes her quite a chameleon and allows her to give a wide range in her posing and expressions. From 1940’s vintage t o Hi g h Fa s h i o n editorial, Rebecca can mold herself into a designer’s dream and a photographers favorite muse. Rebecca has been blessed to work with some of the best people who have helped her polish her skills and increase her abilities.

flattering shot and practiced her facial expressions. She attended casting calls for runway shows. One of her first was Buffalos New Generation hosted by International Model Grace

Rebecca began her career in 2016 as a Barbizon Student. Barbizon gave her some foundational tools, and a chance to learn some basic runway walks and poses. After graduation from their program, she was determined to find work within her local markets, which isn’t easy at 14. There isn’t much out there, but what little there was she wanted to be a part of. S h e f o u n d photographers to work with. Getting in front if the camera and practicing her poses and expressions. She learned how to stand, which ways to turn to get the most 106


Modi. Grace worked with Rebecca on her runway walk and helped her develop into a NY City style runway model with her own signature walk.

She began working with clothing companies and brands and became ambassadors for their labels. “Buffalo Gal Vintage” and owner Desiree Sheridan helped her with her vintage posing and style. “Collision Couture” and designer Bernice Lee, helped her with her urban edge and swagger. Photographer Doug Hansgate showed her high fashion posing and using the lighting set ups to get the best possible photos. International model and scout Carmina Suzanne, became a mentor to her. Helping her develop her portfolio and providing honest advice and guidance. He r m o t h e r, D a w n Kupczyk, can always be found with Rebecca on shoots and at shows. Dawn helps to set her schedule, coordinate her style and often does her hair and makeup. Dawn keeps guard while Rebecca gets to do her work and is a constant shoulder for Rebecca to lean on. But ultimately it is always Rebecca who brings her spunk and attitude to each shoot, to each performance. With her, its beyond just being pretty or photogenic. It’s a combination of all she has learned through her training and hard work that have made her the strong young model she is today.






















{ {YOUNG & INSPIRING SHIFT+CONTROL } } “With her, its beyond just being pretty or photogenic. It’s a combination of all she has learned through her training and hard work that have made her the strong young model she is today.”











Dr. Tunya Griffin






Who is Dr. Tunya Griffin? Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? Tunya Griffin (D. Min. Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College) is a Black woman, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, teacher, grandT, and CEO and Founder of Black Women Voices - Dr. Griffin addresses the historical, cultural, religious and political context of Black women, abuse, and the Bible. in her recently published dissertation topic: “overcoming barriers to leadership equality in the Black church.” Through the lens of theology she explores the intersections and tensions on issues of race, class, and gender. More specifically, its purpose is to examine how the Black “Church’s social activism and its inconsistent support for gender inclusivity have sparked a conversation about whether attention to social and racial justice issues undermine efforts toward increased gender equity in the Black church.” What makes you hustle? Simply put, this is why, “I hustle?” Russell Ledet noted, “We are our ancestors wildest dreams,” When I consider the history of my ancestors, and my parents’ migration from South to the North, captured Africans that toiled under the hot sun, no sanitation, no family, no nothing. Women and children were not spared. My ancestors and parents were “strong enough” to withstand the journey through the 124


Middle Passage. The realization that millions of kidnapped African people died before they even boarded the ships. We know about the survival rate of enslaved Africans in the New World, because they worked 70–100 hours a week, because they were underfed, malnourished, had no access to medical

our lips, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because I have lived — What gives you strength? How did you get to where you are today? My Faith in God. How? Blood, Sweat, and Tears - Family and friends that stood by me from start to end to ensure that I made it to shore safely. What challenges have you faced this year, especially in business, and how have you pivoted?

services…. for all these reasons, I hustle. Moreover, I am duty bound to make this world a little better than the way I found it, and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate, you have not wasted your time,but have done your best.” whether by providing support through difficult times, tasting words before they leave

CHALLENGES: 1. Rebuilding my reputation after a public scandal/crisis 2. Onslaughts of attacks 3. Overcoming Victim blaming in many forms, and is oftentimes subtler and more unconscious. It can apply to cases of rape and sexual assault, but also to more mundane.. Any time someone defaults to questioning what a victim could have done differently to prevent a crime, he or she is participating, to some degree, in the culture of victim blaming. 4. Attachment/detachment: Similarities and differences: The psychologies and spiritualities of Henri Nouwen and Adrian van Kaam 5. Welcoming Change - Growing businesses face a range of challenges. As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions - what worked a year ago might now be not the best approach.







{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS }} SHIFT+CONTROL “We know about the survival rate of enslaved Africans in the New World, because they worked 70–100 hours a week, because they were underfed, malnourished, had no access to medical services…. for all these reasons, I hustle.”

All too often, avoidable mistakes turn what could have been a great business into an also-ran. 6. Deciding what to keep and what to discard. I call it the sifting process - Those who are on the boat poking holes in the boat Jim Collins writes, in the book good to great the writer expressed, “Those who build any great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus and right people in the key seats before you figure where to drive the bus. 7. Identifying financial support How have you pivoted? How? I intentionally took a step back, and evaluated our vision/mission/goals resulting in a simpler, more streamlined offering. I understood, If only one aspect of our organization is succeeding and the rest are failing, or, at least, moving slowly, then that may mean that your company should focus on capitalizing on what’sworking and change, maybe even radically, or completely ditch what isn’t working. We launched a pilot program directing our attention on what works, depending on what strategy to take, in hopes that the organization can experience a boost in productivity, efficiency, and revenue. It was through this process that we were able to pick new goals that align with our vision, but in order to do so effectively it required brutal honesty with myself as possible. What motivates you and keeps you moving forward ? First and foremost, my children and grandchildren. Hearing the stories of my ancestors. Lastly,my biggest influences and what motivates me are strong creative

women that chart their own path, lead their own lives and drive the course of history. Please Share With Us What Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mean to You and Why They’re Important. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Diversity is the presence of differences within a giving setting. Equity is the process and programs that are impartial, fair, and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging.mDiversity, equity and inclusion means policies and programs that promote the representation and participation of different groups of individuals, including people of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientation. Why are they important? Why investing in intentional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices is an imperative: Promote a Shared Experience Provide Broader Perspectives Nurture a More Positive Workplace Understand Customers Better Add Integrity to the Team Put Actions Behind Words Give Opportunities to All Mirror the Market Generate Fresh Insights Gain Global Appeal Encourage Innovation Experience Better Retention Diverse organizations are more successful at recruiting and retaining talent. Companies with higher levers of gender inclusivity

Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in the next 3-5 years? Over the next few years I plan on attending law school. What do you feel makes you a successful business woman and how do you coach others to empower themselves? Bravery Whether you’re a man or woman, it takes guts to run a business and deal with all the difficult challenges you will undoubtedly face. You have to constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone to move forward, boost confidence and ultimately succeed. This means you have to take risks and accept that when things go wrong, you can always survive and turn things around. Be brave and you will never look back. Persistence Starting a business is one thing, keeping it going is another matter entirely. To be a successful businesswoman, you have to be persistent and never give up. Granted, there will be days when you feel like sticking your head in the sand. But when you’re feeling down, remember why you went solo in the first place. Remind yourself of all the things you’ve achieved. Stick at it because the next best triumph could be just around the corner. Resilience My ability, at times, to ty to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly.



{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} SHIFT+CONTROL “Lastly, my biggest influences and what motivates me are strong creative women that chart their own path, lead their own lives and drive the course of history.”

How I coach others… For me, one goal of coaching is to teach others how to utilize their critical thinking and problem-solving skills so that they can better help themselves to perform tasks independently. In particular, assisting mentees to develop problem solving skills by introducing processes and strategies to find a resolution.

We want not only to be in the room, not only be at the table, but also be contributing in the decision-making process.

Tell us about one person who has stood out and inspired you. Besides my parents, Dr. Elizabeth Gerhardt.

In my professional life, my race always feels like an exercise in others’ conveniences.

Has being a minority woman leader helped or hindered you in your road to success? Both. They have helped at times, and hindered at times. The stress of being a black woman in Corporate America means we can’t have a full range of our emotions. We can only be happy…never angry. Support Black women when we call out bias in hiring practices, retention, admission, and promotion policies. We see you. And we see through all the insincere words that are never followed by actions. More investments need to be made to be made towards racial equality instead of knee-Jerk reactions like Kumbaya listening sessions. With the micro aggressions and micro inequities in the workplace, I feel strangled and die a little bit every single day.



I want you to know how it feels to be the only one that looks like you in a conference room, in a meeting, at a networking event or happy hour.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities, especially being such a successful woman entrepreneur? Play to your strengths. Don’t try and be all things to all people. ... Prioritise your time. ... Know your peaks and troughs. ... Plot some personal time. ... Have set work hours – and stick to them. ... Find time for your finances. ... Manage your time, long term. ... Make your workspace work for you. Prioritise your time You may have a to-do list with 50 tasks on it, so you need to prioritize those tasks into four categories. They are: Urgent and important Important but not urgent Urgent but not important Neither urgent nor important. Be realistic At the end of each working day, perform a little self-analysis. Ask yourself what worked today, what didn’t, what went wrong and how the issue can be fixed.

Remember there are thousands of businesses just like yours learning the same lessons every day. Don’t forget to tap into the valuable resources around you – your peers – for help. Tell us about some of the things you have had to overcome in your life and how it has influenced the woman you have become. Overcoming defying the Teenage mom statistics: the age of sixteen I had become a teenage mother. I can remember stating that “it was the day that changed my life.” As a result of becoming a teenage mother at a young age the odds of being successful were stacked against me. Statistics on Teenage Pregnancy Teenage mothers are more likely to drop out of high school – fewer than 2% earn a college degree by age 30. Children of teen mothers do worse in school than those born to older parents. They are 50% more likely to repeat a grade, are less likely to complete high school than the children of older mothers, and have lower performance on standardized tests. Each of these facts about teenage pregnancy was the driving force behind why: ● In May, 2021 - Dr. Tunya Griffin ● My eldest son Masters degree in social work ● Middle son Bachelor’s degree in communications ● Daughter Bachelor’s degree Fashion Textiles







{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS }} SHIFT+CONTROL “Diversity, equity and inclusion means policies and programs that promote the representation and participation of different groups of individuals, including people of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientation.”

Maintaining work and life balance 2006-2021 were extremely difficult years. Simply put, when your personal life takes a hit it can and will affect your work. Walter Brueggemann writes that human beings regularly find themselves in one of three places: “A place of orientation, in which everything makes sense in our lives. This is the familiar day-to-day life we have become accustomed to. It is comfortable, reliable, and predictable. In terms of the current day, this would be for most of us, precorona virus. A place of disorientation, in which we feel we have sunk into a 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. Life, as we know it, has changed in some way—we have experienced loss, death, a change in circumstances, health, or finances. Life feels unsettling, scary, and unpredictable. Disorientation often brings emotional pain and suffering.” The challenge for us all is disorientation. We don’t like to be uncomfortable. We don’t like life to be disrupted. We don’t like change. And we certainly do not like pain and suffering. If we’re honest, most of us would prefer to skip this place and go directly from orientation to reorientation. To avoid disorientation, we look for ways to numb, to escape, and to keep the suffering at bay. Unfortunately, if we do this indefinitely, we not only keep the pain at a distance. We may ultimately move into reorientation, but the residue of pain, grief, or loss keeps us from being fully engaged in the new.

How then, did I navigate through a time of disorientation while developing Black Women’s Voices platform? I learn to lament. Lament is the language of disorientation. Lament helps us stay current with the condition of our souls and brings us into the place of intimacy and thereby, in some sense, it creates the necessary space needed to draw your world back into life and work balance. It provides pathways for you to stay in rhythm with what is happening with you emotionally in the present while working through the pain to exhale a better future forward. “If our liminal spaces are approached intentionally and within community, rather than staying paralyzed, running away or going at it alone, we can boldly approach it and confidently move forward into our futures” (or reorientation). Out of this experience, I learned that although people may have good intentions on helping a person through a difficult time, the fact is that many people lives are too busy to commit to: late night phone calls, unwanted visits, crying, praying; and staying up late at night to help a person receive his or her total healing. As I stated, one of my passions is to help women through this journey so that they are empowered, encouraged, and inspired to live a happy and healthy life. What do you feel is the most crucial tool for empowering one’s self? A good pep talk. In 2008, comedian Katt Williams taught us a very valuable lesson in one of his standups, you must be in tune with your star player. Who is the star player? YOU! You must do what is necessary to keep your focus forward and the wind at your back. Life happens and you have to be prepared to roll with the punches and roll over anything or

anyone that tries to stop you from being a superstar and living your champagne life. You may be trying something new in your life to change course and people may not support you. The star player will have to go on anyway. Your money may get funny. The star player will have to go on anyway. People who you thought were your friends show who they really are when you are in need. The star player will have to go on anyway. You may lose a job. The star player will have to go on anyway. Sometimes you just have to look in the mirror and get up close and personal with the reflection and have a hard and honest conversation with the star player. Sometimes the star player is waiting for the team to rally around them to keep going. Well sorry to say sometimes the rally doesn’t come. Sometimes you just have to rally around yourself, pick yourself up, let yourself know that your are the shit, you are making moves, you don’t have time to lay around and be sad and depressed (if needed, take a day to feel how you need to feel then get your ass back up and get moving). Sometimes strong words are needed to drive a point home. You are the star of your life and your team, act like it. If you don’t position yourself there no one else will. And as Katt Williams told us “A star player can’t afford to give up. A star player is waiting for one opportunity and that’s to let people know they ain’t gonna play around with you - It’s go time… Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out? The idea of a like-minded community was popularized by the famous author Napoleon Hill. In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Hill calls such communities as Mastermind group. He defines the mastermind as the coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony with people for ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} SHIFT+CONTROL “Blood, Sweat, and Tears - Family and friends that stood by me from start to end to ensure that I made it to shore safely.”

the attainment of a definite purpose. Being with people of similar interest will contribute to one’s success in a great way. Cheers you up when the tide is rough. Life is filled with ups and downs. And it is never easy to get back on track after a huge setback. When the going gets tough, like-minded people acts like a cushion to fall on, a shoulder to cry on and acts like a dose of your daily happiness.

them to be empowered?

Go at your own pace

1. Disagree without being dismissive We won’t all always agree with one another just because we share a gender identifier,” Nieves says. “As women, however, we often do share the experience of having been dismissed and left feeling unheard and like our point of view was unimportant.

2.Own who you were now, and who you are becoming I owe you nothing I be myself and I ain’t fronting, eh, nah, nah, nah I owe you nothing I be myself and I ain’t fronting, eh, nah, nah, nah I don’t have to smile for you I don’t have to move for you I don’t have to dance, monkey dance, monkey dance, monkey dance for you See, I won’t help you understand I don’t need no helping hand, no See, these aren’t tears, this is the ocean These aren’t fears, this is devotion I owe you nothing I be myself and I ain’t fronting, eh, nah, nah, nah I owe you nothing I be myself and I ain’t fronting, eh, nah, nah, nah

When we have a like-minded community, we know they will support us no matter what, but also caution us on things we may not have considered. Having support with no form of judgment is very motivating. They hold us accountable. ... That’s the power of having peer accountability because they have our best intentions in mind. As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career? Building A Sisterhood: As a female leader, the most significant barrier in my career and a barrier for forward movement for women today is garnering authentic support from other women. My advice to women worldwide is to support and empower each other, starting with our basic principles of who we are — our morals, values, integrity. We must be just. Be humbled, show togetherness, passion, excellence and enthusiasm toward laying the foundation for our progress through our workWomen working with women in an authentic way. What is some of the advice you share with young women today to encourage 134


So let’s not do it to one another. If a woman makes a legitimate point (even if it represents an opposing view), honor her intelligence and courage before voicing your contrasting opinion. ‘I hear you, and that makes sense. And I know it’s not necessarily easy to have these conversations. My perspective is…’”

3. Stop taking the bait of projection 4. Never give up on pursuing your dreams! dedication and consistency will bring success. Stay the course and keep striving, even during the midst of adversity. If you give up, you will never know your full potential. 5. Stay positive. It is so easy to become discouraged when you feel like consistent work is not producing any fruits! What is said and believe in your mind will happen. 6. Financial literacy: Understand and monitor your financial data. Finances are extremely important because the fiscal data tells a story about the trends of your company. The patterns will allow you to make a strategic decision for your company. 7. Mentorship: It is important to learn from experts in your field. They have valuable experiences, knowledge, and strategies

{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} SHIFT+CONTROL “Whether you’re a man or woman, it takes guts to run a business and deal with all the difficult challenges you will undoubtedly face.”

that may help your work’s process and progress, transition smoother and or faster 8. Stand up for other women 9. Invest in self-care mentally and physically. If you cannot sustain yourself, how can you sustain a company? Often, we find ourselves investing in the company but neglect to improve ourselves. 10. Find your voice and surround yourself with women that value the same things in life that you value. 11. All friendships are not worth keeping 12. My advice to women pursuing their dreams is don’t change your personal narrative on your road to success and remember that everyone around you is dreaming too—so embrace your personal path! 136


13. Don’t take any shortcuts (resist the temptation of The Fear of Missing Out FOMA) 14. Social Media is not reality. 15. Live your best life your life What are some of the keys you have found to making it where you are today? Surround yourself around people who believe in you and will open doors for you Silence the noise - Solitude everyday progress—even a small win—can make all the difference in how they feel and perform. Practice Mindfulness Integrity Ability to delegate Communication

Self-awareness Gratitude Learning agility Influence Empathy Courage Respect Find the things that can boost inner work life, the most important is making progress in meaningful work. Where will we see Tunya Griffin next? Follow to follow what will happen next











Who is Esther Ekong? Tell us about yourself and your background. I would describe myself as being multifaceted. I am originally from Nigeria (born and raised) and moved to America at the age of eight. At a very young age, I was always imagined myself as a model – I would watch America’s next top model. My love for modeling led into being interested in fashion designing. During my junior and senior years of high school, I attended BOCES to study fashion design. It was a great program that fostered a lot of great learning about the fashion industry and the skill of sewing. Fast-forward to graduating from Buffalo State with a BSC degree in Business Administration, I started my career in the finance industry, working for a bank. I have been working at the bank for almost 6 years as an Operations Analyst. Designing is a side business for me, and I use it as an escape to just be creative. Tell our audience about your business and how you came up with E G Ekong Designs. Over the years, I have been designing and creating clothes, mostly for women, that are made out of African materials. The business focus has always been to fuse my African culture with western styles into beautiful, yet simple, pieces that can be worn every day. As I evolve as a person, I am redefining

what my brand stands for and what I want it to become. This pandemic has taught us all lessons and one lesson I learned is the need to value and take care of oneself (our wellbeing or wellness). As such, I am re-branding and working towards launching a collection, Spring 2022, that is still rooted in my culture but

inspiration while creating any design? Creating any design first starts with understanding the message I intend on communicating to customers. Once the message is clear, I work on researching colours that will evoke the particular message, as well as elements from my culture that can be fused into the particular design. What is fashion for you? Fashion is more than clothes, shoes, etc. It is a way of life. Through fashion you are able to communicate culture, style and so much more. Fashion is art! Who inspires you to live your best life? Living our best life is intrinsic, meaning we are all born with a purpose. That very purpose is what drives you to get up every day. So, I don’t necessarily have a person that inspires me to live my best life, rather it’s something I must do in order to live in my purpose.

incorporates self-care (stay tuned!). It is important to not only look good but feel good as well. What makes you hustle? Ultimately it is creating a better life for my family and eventually helping my community. Who and which things are the

What do you feel are the most important attributes of successful leaders today, especially in the fashion industry? Being willing to be adaptable, graceful, kind, cooperative, team-oriented, wellspoken, able to set boundaries, able to execute a vision, well-informed, etc. What designer inspires you and why? There are a lot of African brands that inspire me, and they include ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021








{{SHE HUSTLES TALKS }} SHIFT+CONTROL “The end goal. I want to actualize my dreams. Seeing my dreams come to life is what drives me to work hard.”

Kai Collective and Grass-field. Their ability to tell impactful stories of African culture through their brand is what inspires me. What is the mission behind E G EKONG fashions? Tell African stories and cultures through my designs and to encourage people to be bold, love and take care of themselves. Aforementioned, it is not only important to look good, but also feel good.

around good company – people who are just funny and have a great sense of humour. Also, certain movies have made me laugh quite a lot (one movie in particular is White Chicks, not sure if others would agree, however, that movie makes me laugh out loud).

What motivates you to work hard? The end goal. I want to actualize my dreams. Seeing my dreams come to life is what drives me to work hard.

What family member do you call when you have good news to share and why? My mum. She always prays for me and encourages me to be my best.

What has been your proudest accomplishment? Purchasing my first real estate property in 2020.

Why did you choose fashion designing as a career and what do you love most about it? I think Fashion chose me or should I say God placed Fashion in me. I enjoy being able to express myself through fashion and my designs. My creation is an extension of me – my journey through life.

What is one thing you have done that not many people know about you? I am currently pursuing my MBA at Canisius College. What is your favorite thing about the fashion industry and creating the designs in your line? I enjoy that creating fashion is not a restrictive process. You are free to create and show the world your vision. Fashion is liberating because you don’t have to be confined to a box and a set of rules. I enjoy the evolution of the fashion industry and how styles are ever-changing. What makes you laugh the most? I usually laugh a lot whenever I’m 146


What advice would you give to the next generation of minority female leaders in the fashion industry? Similar to what I mentioned above, my advice would be: be adaptable, be gracious to others, be a team player, be kind, have an innovative mindset, be proactive in setting new standards, be focused. Lastly, like Beyonce once stated, “Don’t criticize somebody else for what they’re not doing – you be it, be about it, be about that action, and go do it.”

If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be and why? I would love to Travel. Traveling, just like creating designs, is liberating. I always feel like a kid, in awe, whenever I go to new places. Traveling allows me to experience different cultures and food (I love food!).

Why did you choose Buffalo to start your business? I live in Buffalo, so it makes sense to start in Buffalo. Buffalo has such a rich culture, full of diverse backgrounds. Where will we see you in the future? The vision is establishing a global brand, working with the best people in the Fashion industry. As I grow, my brand will surely evolve as well.




{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} SHIFT+CONTROL “I think Fashion chose me or should I say God placed Fashion in me. I enjoy being able to express myself through fashion and my designs.”













Tell us about yourself and how you became an interior designer. I am an Adirondack native raised in the mountains of the Saranac region, and later relocated to Western New York with my family. I knew I wanted to be an Interior Designer at age 16. My guidance counselor discouraged my interests in Interior Design so I attended college in the arts to obtain my bachelor’s degree. In 1985, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts Education and taught for two years at Greece Olympia High School and in the Rochester City School District. In 1988, I received my Associate’s degree in Interior Design and became affiliated with the Interior Design Society and the Association Interior Design Professionals. I worked in the field in interior design for many years, then started my entrepreneurship in 1999. I had great mentors already in the field of interior design here in the Rochester area. What made you decide to open your own business and become a female entrepreneur? It is a big step to open your own business and I was ready for the feat! I worked diligently with tradespeople, crafts men and women, vendors, sales, design and after making many contacts, I knew I needed a couple more elements

to the developments. I needed clients and a smooth process to my adventure! How do you balance work & life being an entrepreneur? It wasn’t easy to balance work and life as an entrepreneur. I juggled the school activities, after school activities and everyday responsibilities of bringing up a family creatively! Proper planning and good management of time helped

through this journey. There were difficult times, but we, as a family managed to get through them. Good communication with family & clients was a” key” factor in changing appointments or schedules. Yes, you might have a great eye for design but it’s not called a BUSINESS for anything. There is a huge difference between being able to make your own home look great and then starting a

successful interior design business. What does success mean to you? Success means being happy. Success means obtaining goals. As an Interior Designer, I have made a lot of people happy. I continue to make a lot of people happy. I am continuing to meet my goals. What are some of the things you find help you to be a successful business owner especially in the interior design business? The success of my interior design business all began with the ability to create, to plan an to love other people, regardless of age or natural origin. I learned over the years there are many different areas of interior design to concentrate in (110 on my list) and I chose residential remodel, although I have had wonderful projects in the commercial sector, as well. If you had to pick one design project that you have worked on that would be your favorite, what would it be and why? There are many projects that I would call my favorite. I always wanted to test myself with proper planning, scheduling and craftmanship and we completed a 1st floor make-over in 8 days. That project entailed the following: Tearing out soffits, drywall work, new ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021



“What excites me most about my work is knowing what I can accomplish in one day.”









SHIFT+CONTROL {{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} “The most successful avenue in marketing my business is “word of mouth”.”

cabinetry in kitchen, custom built-in cabinets in family room, refinishing all hardwood floors with sand, stain and two clear coats, new electrical fixtures, paint application, new countertops in kitchen, fireplace was wrapped in marble etc. Huge project and big success. Keys were given back to client on the 8th day! They moved in on the 9th day.

them? There have been challenges this year in my business. There have been good challenges and there were challenges that needed an alternate route to the process. When product was not available, we chose other options. My craftsmen and women, contractors and vendors would meet and we delivered on every project.

perfecting ideas, budget conscious, adding more specific craftsmen and women to the team and capturing more resources.

Who is your ideal client, and what is your signature style? My ideal client is one that communicates very well and my job is to listen very well.

What do you do for encouragement or to be motivated ? I am an optimistic person! I am motivated by challenges, ideas and good design. Every project is a different project. I simply love working with people!

What were the things that most surprised you along the way from just having an idea to really become an interior designer with your own business? What surprised me along the way in this profession is the importance to communicate and motivate others around me to create their best work and be proud of the end result. I play so many roles in my business and through the years, I realize how important all of them are to each project and to running a business period.

Have you found social media to help or hinder you in promoting your business especially during the pandemic? Social media, unfortunately doesn’t assist me with my process of administering an interior design business. Social media allows a client to obtain ideas, which can be part of our communication process. What have you found to be the most successful in marketing your business? The most successful avenue in marketing my business is “word of mouth”. In some neighborhoods, I have completed more than 10 homes. In some groups, I have worked with more than 10 people and continue this work with many people I have met over the years. What challenges have you faced this year and how have you overcome

If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heart ache, what would you tell yourself? My 15-minute conversation at the inception of my business development stage would be to spend more time on marketing, specifically a business name, logo and business plan. What makes you hustle? What makes me hustle are the diverse projects, people and the creative process! Where do you see your business growing in the next year? three years? I think it is important to project not only business growth, but business ideals. Over the next three years, I see my business even more “tunneled” to

#15 What would you say truly excites you about what you do? What excites me most about my work is knowing what I can accomplish in one day.

When was the hardest of all times in your startup journey and why and what helped you get through it ? The hardest time in my business was not my start up, it was when I got divorced name changed. I changed the name of my business and website. Fortunately, I kept me phone number. I maintained good relationships with my clients and through that communication the difficulty lessened. If I ask you to merge interior design and landscape in one name, what would it be? If I were to merge interior design ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021



“My ideal client is one that communicates very well and my job is to listen very well.”

with landscape in one name, it would encompass “changing or enhancing a view “ What would you say are the key skills needed to be a successful interior designer? There are many key skills that require one to be an interior designer. A designer who is conscientious of growing a business and is interested in 160


being successful for many years must be able to communicate effectively, provide good design, provide good sales skills, surround the business with the best crafts man and women and work under the most ethical principles and practices. What it is that you would like to share and talk about with our audience?

Having the opportunity to be in a growing field of work has been a delight for me! I have met so many wonderful people in the Rochester area and am delighted to have had the opportunity to work in so many of their homes.





am always here for you! 585.755.5775 Contact me today! cell:

Your Neighbor ∙ Your Friend ∙ Your Realtor 33 S Main St ∙ Pittsford, NY 14534






Tell our audience a little about who you are, where you came from, and what your background is? My name is Kara Karaoguz. I help humans connect to pleasure and expand their consciousness! I’m an Intuitive Coach who is super passionate about guiding high level leaders through deeply healing inner work so they can feel FULLY EXPRESSED in all authenticity while creating a lifestyle they LOVE! This includes empowerment, embodiment and energetics. I was born and raised in Canandaigua, NY. My maternal grandparents moved here in the late 1960’s when my grandfather accepted the hospital administrator position at FF Thompson hospital. My background is in psychology (BA), nursing (RN), energy work (reiki, EFT), Kripalu yoga therapy, professional birth services (doula, HypnoBirthing, RN home birth assist), NLP reprogramming of the subconscious mind, manifestation, spirituality, playing in the quantum field and I love neurophysiology. Understanding how to regulate your own nervous system is vital to this human experience! Whether it’s physically birthing a new baby or metaphorically birthing a new version of yourself, knowing how to stay calm through the intensity (& fear) is everything. What makes you hustle? I know this feature is titled “She Hustles” and I can get down with that. I’m grateful to be here in this feature. Though in my world, I reframe a lot and change words. Years ago, “hustle” got renamed “align” because for me

it’s all about being in alignment with my soul and guiding & supporting my clients through their own soul alignment. How to tell if you’re living out of alignment?? - ”feeling off” lately…you have a deep inner knowing that something is not quite right - disconnected from your pleasure - you keep up a facade, afraid to be yourself - digestive issues - ignore your body’s needs-proper nutrition, hydration, movement, sleep external reality looks a lot different than what you see for yourself on the inside everything is a struggle-living out of integrity - tired all the time-exhaustion-when IN alignment, there is excitement & you feel energized - very unclear, foggy, confused, stuck, uninspired - body aches-every physical issue has a corresponding metaphysical association…the body tells you a lot… and it also remembers a lot - lack, scarcity, not-enough mentality numb out current reality-trying to fill the void with xyz unhealthy habit Sound familiar?? Those are just SOME of the indications that you’re living out of alignment with your soul’s purpose. Oh, one more big one: you’re wasting so much time feeling frustrated, annoyed, triggered and your nervous system is on high alert constantly. I dive into allllllll this with my clients.

A huge reason why I hustle align is because I know I have a legacy to leave behind. I KNOW I am here to hold space for others deep transformations and rebirths. I’m motivated by the impact I am here to have on others lives, radically improving them. Through the sacred work I do, I help others greatly improve their romantic relationships & overcome toxicity, feel more connected to pleasure, to let love in, to safely experience greater depth of connection with others which translates to more meaning and satisfaction with life. I guide my clients back home to themselves, their confidence, their clarity, their happiness. It’s a process and it takes work...and I am here for every minute of it! What made you decide to go into the coaching field? It’s been an inner knowing. I got my first degree in psychology from Nazareth College (2003) with the intention of helping others heal from abuse. All my experiences lead me down that road. I experienced abuse in my childhood and adolescence that I integrated. Because of my intuitive knowing and strength as a leader, I was certain I was going to help others in their healing journey. I had been coaching new parents through empowering birth experiences for nearly a decade before stepping into my intuitive coaching business online. I went back to school in my 30’s to become a registered nurse, en route to becoming a certified nurse midwife so I could do my part to change the culture of birth. Until I realized I really value my sleep and deep down didn’t want ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS} } SHIFT+CONTROL “Years ago, “hustle” got renamed “align” because for me it’s all about being in alignment with my soul and guiding & supporting my clients through their own soul alignment.”

to sign up for a career of late nights or all-nighters while welcoming new lives into this world (though that IS incredible!!) I already had an online, and local, community that I loved to nurture, inspire, educate and show up for so back in 2018 I began to shift the energy behind that. Within a few short months, clients were magnetized and started messaging me, asking how to work together. And so I began! Bringing all of my “unique gifts” together, combining them into courses and programs to help others find their way. Your unique gifts are all the (good and bad) experiences you’ve had, all your trainings, certifications, formal education combined with the lessons you’ve gleaned from the life experiences mixed up with all that lights you up, brings you joy, what comes easy to you, what you feel great enthusiasm for… alllll cooked up together then presented to the world in a way that helps others. Guiding new parents to become an energetic match to their desires of an empowering birth experience was my gateway to the coaching industry. Now that has evolved into helping high level leaders through this process. I play in the quantum field with my clients and community. I coach about living with intention, manifestation, deeply healing inner work, universal laws, quantum physics (in an easy, relatable way), and the premise that all emotions have an energetic frequency. These frequencies are low vibration or high vibration; depending on where you tend to unpack with your emotions, this becomes your energetic signature. That’s what is emanating out from your 168


body to your reality and that is what is reflected back from your external reality. To offer some context: If you are feeling blame, revenge, unworthy, helpless, doubt, fear, inferiority, and the like, those are lower vibrational states. They are destructive and you feel contracted. If you’re around others who are wallowing here, you start to feel it too. Energy is contagious. Conversely, when you are feeling willing, open, loving, optimistic, enthusiastic, joyful, inspired and in deep appreciation, those are high vibrational states. These, as you can feel from simply reading them, are creative and expansive. You are magnetic to your desires in these energetic signatures. That’s not to say: deny the human experiences of frustration or overwhelm. We are humans and we inevitably have every human emotion present itself in life. What matters is how quickly we bounce back and find resilience and flexibility in the nervous system when triggered. I explain more about the importance of feeling the feelings in a later response (below.) There is a process I love to walk my clients through to have a better understanding of this concept. When we move to higher levels of awareness by increasing consciousness, we naturally move from 3D to 5D+. It’s all about shifting mindsets from everything happening to you to everything happening FOR you. We are here to get the lessons and grow, in addition to learning unconditional love and acceptance for ourselves. How did you get to where you are today? What gives you strength? In becoming an energetic match to my

own desires, it’s been a beautiful personal evolution full of many ego deaths and soul rebirths. I come from a long line of strong women. While I am thankful for this inner strength, there has also been a fair amount of dysfunction to repair. I’ve done my share of breaking cycles and healing generational/ancestral trauma. I lead with my heart and make decisions based on how it feels in my body. If it’s a “YES!” I know it as a full body yes! If my decision feels like a “no” I pass and honor the boundary I set. Making future memories and honoring the moon phases as part of my manifestation practices haver helped me bring so many things to fruition. I have invested time, energy, resources, etc in navigating and integrating my own shadow work, inner child healing, reparenting, overcoming people pleasing tendencies, proving my worth to anyone, perfectionism, lack of boundaries, abandoning myself, betraying myself. I’ve improved my self-concept, selfworth & am always in the process of self-actualization. I’ve hired coaches, participated in group coaching programs, and have taken radical self-responsibility for my own stuff as I’ve put the puzzle pieces of me together. And this is the incredibly impactful work I do with private clients. Being introduced to yoga in 1999, learning to get out of my head and into my body is the foundation of embodiment! This was my portal to somatic experiencing and deep healing. I’m an incredible sensitive person, emotionally and energetically. I feel everything others are experiencing. I had to learn to protect my energy and







{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} SHIFT+CONTROL “I’m motivated by the impact I am here to have on others lives, radically improving them.”

observe others, not absorbing them. As an intuitive, clairsentient empath I believe this is one of my greatest superpowers. I feel what others are feeling, which moves things along quickly in a coaching session. I also have the ability to channel for others which bodes well with my coaching services. I’ve overcome codependency, anxiety, PTSD & panic disorders. I’ve overcome feeling a disconnect from my soul purpose and sheer exhaustion as an unaware empath, taking on the intense energies of those around me. I’ve overcome scarcity and fear-based thinking as I have evolved into my own fullest expression. I’ve done sooooo much unlearning and relearning to get where I am today. I’ve completely excavated my beliefs about money, my beliefs about love, my beliefs about manifestation and how powerful I am in creating a reality I’m in love with. This is the sacred empowering work I do with my clients. So much of it is on a subconscious level. We get to dive deep together. I am strengthened by all the success stories my clients reflect back to me as well as my own successes. I am strengthened by the love the surrounds me by my significant other, my close friends, my family. I’ve grown my personal branded business to heights I had only dreamed of and I know I’m just getting started. This keeps me going. What made you decide to write your book “Keep Showing Up: A Memoir and Powerful Guidebook for Empaths to Embody Self-Love, Self-Empowerment, and Self-Worth”? I always wanted to write a book. I wrote this book to show others they can heal

and empower themselves too. To show the reader how to love the sh*t out of themselves, to know their worth and not settle for less than they deserve: in relationships, in life, or in business. When I said down to write it last May, it poured through me. I had been going through a difficult breakup and it turned into my cathartic creative outlet to channel my pain into helping others. The rough draft was complete in a month. “Keep showing up” was a mantra that got me through some very challenging times in my life, particularly my yoga teacher training at Kripalu in 2010 (such deep healing), my divorce (2012) and early days as a single mom, and nursing school (not for sissies!) What I love about this concept is that means to always do your best. And your best looks different day to day, sometimes hour to hour!! Regardless, keep showing up for yourself. Be there for you. Honor your needs first. I directed it to empaths because that is typically who I work with, though really anyone ready, willing, and able to embark on their healing journey, with a spiritual edge, benefits from reading it. The first section is a memoir, part of my story of personal evolution and ascension. The second section is a detailed compilation of healing practices I use with my clients (that I used on myself first! I’ll always go first!). This section is best worked with a guide or with others who can help you process and integrate the lessons. The third section is a wrap up. Get your copy of my book “Keep Showing Up” here:

What challenges have you faced this year, especially in business, and how have you pivoted? My Dad passed March 2nd after we found out a month prior that his cancer returned with a vengeance. I was with him every step of the way including holding his hand and reassuring him when he took his last breath at 10:20 on a Tuesday night. My brother and I honored his wishes of dying in his own bed. Since I’m also a nurse, I felt comfortable administering his hospice meds to keep him comfortable and repositioning him often. Two years before (March 2019) I lost my maternal grandmother through a very similar experience. She choose to “die with dignity.” That was my first experience with escorting a loved one through the transition of death in the home. Having been at both bookends of life (welcoming 200+ new lives into the world either as a birth doula or RN birth assistant), I can tell you birth is way more fun. It was wild how the timing of my dad’s passing played out the exact same, almost to the day as it did with my grandmother, Josephine, in 2019. Both of those experiences changed me forever. Grief is a sneaky bitch. My dad’s passing definitely slowed me down in business this year. Visibility has been a challenge with the energy of grief ever present. I am a huge proponent of feeling all the feelings. Feel, deal, heal. That’s the equation. My significant other has been an incredible support through it all, especially when the waves of random tears come and go at their own pace. I’ve given myself grace & space to process all the firsts without him. If I need to ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS }} SHIFT+CONTROL “I am a huge proponent of feeling all the feelings. Feel, deal, heal. That’s the equation.”

What motivates you and keeps you moving forward? I am motivated by my drive & my desire to impact as many lives as possible. What keeps me going is my desire to live in authenticity and have freedom in my days. Freedom to be a mom to my two young men, who are 13 & 16. Freedom to be present and available for my significant other and loved ones, especially when they need me. Financial freedom & abundance to support this lifestyle I’m creating. Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in the next 3-5 years? I see myself head-lining events as the speaker, as a best-selling author w Hay House as publisher, married to the love of my life, living in a new home custom with spectacular natural light built on land in the country, sold out private coaching with waitlists, sold out group programs, transforming lives, continuing to build my empire supported by an incredible team, traveling to exotic beaches, visiting all the national parks. An integral part of manifestation & co-creation is that all your desires are YOURS. They are meant for you; they’re already in your “vibrational escrow” as Abraham-Hicks calls it. It’s just a matter of becoming a match to be able to receive it all. What do you feel makes you a successful intuitive and how do you coach others to empower themselves? I am a successful intuitive because I have integrated all my unique gifts to raise the collective. I trust my gifts. All empowerment is self-empowerment… just like all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. I show you how, I am the guide who helps you uncover the answers within 174


yourself. Deep down you know the truth. It’s my job to lead you to that. Often I am educating and bringing new awarenesses to situations and it’s your own inspired action that leads to shifts and complete embodiment of the lessons. What are some of the pros and cons of being a female entrepreneur, and what is your favorite part of what you do? Paradigms are shifting. Female entrepreneurs on the rise, particularly in the online space, growing personal branded businesses. As many of the readers know, entrepreneurship is a gigantic personal development journey. There are so many highs with accompanying lows. The task is to hold the vision and stay the course. My favorite part of what I do is that others share their inner world in all authenticity with me. I am intimately involved in my clients lives, walking with them every step of the way through their ascension and rebirth. When others show me exactly who they are, I immediately fall in love with that raw, vulnerable humanness. Do you have any helpful advice to someone interested in starting their own coaching business? Identify all your gifts and what you are bringing to the collective. Then look at who your ideal client avatar is: what their struggles are, what their hopes and dreams are, how you help them bridge the gap. I highly recommend working with a coach or mentor to collapse time. This is an area I love to guide others through, balancing the sacred energies from a business standpoint while removing energetic blocks that may stand in the way.

What services do you specialize in that set you apart from other coaches? What is your approach and mission? I really am a one stop shop. After creating a successful intuitive online business and helping so many people fall deeper in love with themselves and their partners, it’s been such a blessing to use my entire toolbox to help so many different women and men find true soul alignment. I combine energy healing in the form of Reiki + EFT, while accessing messages from your guides &/or utilizing oracle cards, tapping into the subconscious mind through a meaningful NLP meditation channeled specially just for you. As an Intuitive Coach, published author, RN, birth professional, HypnoBirthing instructor, mom, energy healer: reiki, EFT, NLP Master P, Kripalu yoga instructor, clairsentient empath, channel, psychology (B.A), lover of neurophysiology I am a unicorn. There is no one else like me. My mission is to impact as many lives as possible, raising the vibration of the collective consciousness: awakening goddesses to their divine feminine so they can be magnetic to relationships and all the success they desire, guiding implementation of new skils and embodiment of a calm, resilient nervous system to improve intimacy, increase self-worth, build confidence, achieve success in business, and love the sh*t out of the lifestyle they’re creating for themselves. Tell us about one moment in your life that has had a lasting impression on you and formed who you are today. In the fall of 2019, I left my pediatric palliative care nursing position to go all in on my coaching and birth work. My







{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS} } SHIFT+CONTROL “I’m an incredible sensitive person, emotionally and energetically. I feel everything others are experiencing.”

passions light the way. I am continually stretching and growing into the next level, expanded version of myself. How do you balance work and life responsibilities especially in 2021? I balance work and life responsibilities by balancing my own sacred masculine & feminine energies. THIS IS HUGE!! Before I learned this and fully integrated these concepts, I was fried. Absolutely burnt out from life. We all have BOTH sacred energies, regardless of gender. These are like yin/ yang, solar/lunar, hot/cold; the paradoxes of life that we are capable of holding simultaneously. The masculine energies are confident, known for leading oneself before leading another. The focus is on DO-ing. The masculine energy takes the lead and delegates, organizes, makes the plans, is responsible for the container of trust in a dynamic, and is protective. Lots of women LIVE in their masculine energy, often times it’s due to not having had a healthy masculine energy modeled for them. The feminine energy is crucial when we are bringing in more pleasure and magnetism. The feminine energy is concerned with receiving. The focus is on simply BE-ing. The feminine really wants to be led; this requires trust and surrender. This energy is embodied, creative, intuitive, flowy, soft & open. To someone who needs to maintain control to feel safe, it is very difficult to soften into this feminine energy. It took me years to feel comfortable here. Thankfully, now I do. The feminine energy allows for restoration. This has been my saving grace as I’ve grown my business this year and especially as I’ve given myself the time and space to grieve.

Side note: within the context of romantic relationships, there must be a polarity. This is quantum physics, one of the laws of the universe. It’s not woo-woo, hocuspocus. I have experienced it first hand in the dynamic of relationships and it is much of the focus in my relationship coaching. If a woman is too much in her masculine it leaves no room for a partner to be in their healthy expression of this energy. Who knows you best? My cousin Emilie who lives in Oakland, CA. We grew up together; she’s like a sister to me. Who is someone that inspires you in your field and why? Andrea Franco, my private mentor. Melanie Ann Layer of the Alpha Femme brand. Julia Wells. They are What’s the most crucial thing for empowering one’s self? Desire. In order to become an energetic match to your desires, step 1 is identifying your desires. What is your big picture vision? What made you decide to create the facebook group Fully Expressed and what is its goal? I created Fully Expressed to be the {SAFEST} most sacred spiritual vortex on FB for the members to heal deeply, learn energetics and show up as authentically as possible! The group is for queens, creatives, spiritual entrepreneurs, high level leaders, CEO’s, anyone ready to build confidence, increase clarity & visibility, learn to navigate healthy, conscious LOVE, step into leadership, grow and scale your business, be yourself and create a lifestyle you’re in love with.

What to expect: Weekly trainings: Tuesdays at 10a, Intuitive card pulls, inspiration, connection, promotions, celebrations! Becoming an energetic match in love, pleasure, wealth, passions, success, experiences to all your heart’s desires. We play in the quantum field, curious about “what if?” as a means of next level expansion. I regularly channel rich, valuable content that teaches you how to show up as your FULLEST EXPRESSION of self. The goal is help you tap into your own intuitive gifts and give you actionable steps that are aligned with your big picture vision, becoming a match to your desires. The focus is on desire, high frequency living, manifestation, feminine magnetism, balance masculine/ feminine energies, attracting your desires by becoming an energetic match, traumainformed embodiment, regulating your nervous system, deep soul healing, grieving past versions of self while stepping into your highest potential, unlearn & relearn necessary beliefs to GET THE LOVE you desire, leave a legacy, GROW THE BUSINESS you’re building from your personal-branded magic Where will we see Kara Karaoguz next? Oooooh…I LOVE making future memories! You will see me publishing my second book, finally starting my podcast, growing & nurturing my existing community, running sold-out group programs, sold out 1:1 private coaching roster, and taking one more 2:1 private coaching for couples.








Tell us who Ashley Savage is... Hello , My name Is Ashley Savage. I’m A 26 Year Old Entrepreneur Located In Syracuse Ny. I’m Currently In School Full Time Working On My RN Then Moving Along To My NP. Outside Of School Working In Healthcare , && Being A Mom Field Dedicate All My Time To Dont Wine If I Do , It All Started Back In 2019 , One Day I Was Just Thinking Hmmm What Can I Do ? Can I Start A Small Business ? What Will The People Love ? How Far Do I Actually Want To Take This ? At The Time I Was Exploring With Different Wines & It Dawned On Me … Why Not Do Something With The Wine ? So I Started Out Making Wine Slushes && I Attended An Event Summer 2019 Distributing Wine Slushes It Was A Hit ! But As The Fall Started Approaching I Started To Think Who’s Going To Buy Wine Slushes In The Cold Months ? I Didnt Just Want A Summer Based Business So I Decided Right There To Do Wine Baskets && Everything Changed After That ! It Went From The Slushes , To Wine Baskets , Wine Tastings & Charcuterie Boards , To Getting Booked For Wine Tastings , Gatherings , Picnic Set Ups , In Home Set Ups , Witch Only Caused Me To Expand What I Offered So I Started Making Custom Glasses , Custom Napkins && So Much More ! What makes you hustle? What Makes Me Hustle , Growing Up It Wasn’t All Bad But It Wasn’t All Good . My Hustle Brewed Up

In Me As I Came Up , Now It’s Just Something That I Have In Me ! I Come From Not Having Much So Growing Up I Always Wanted Better For Myself && Make Sure I Have The Brightest Future Not Only For Myself But To Be Able To Present Something Different To My Daughter . What made you decide to become a female entrepreneur, and start your

Business && Be The Boss Babes That We Are ! I’m The Type Of Person To Think Outside The Box ! Don’t Get Me Wrong I Love & Respect Anyones Hustle && For Example A lot Of Woman Are In The Beauty Industry ( I Love What They Are Doing ) But That Just Wasn’t For Me I Don’t Do Hair Or Nails & Being That I Loved Wine So Much I Wanted To Get Into A Different Market , Do Something Different & Present Something Different To Other Entrepreneurs I Mean What Woman Doesn’t Love Wine !? As I Mentioned Before I Started Off Just Doing Wine Slushes But I Didn’t Want To Limit Myself & I Knew There Was So Much More I Could Do With My Business. How did you get to where you are today? With The Help Of A Few Pop Up Shops & Promoting Myself On Social Media Platforms I Was Able To Get Myself and My Business Where I Am Today.

own business making wine and wine accessories? What Made Me Decide To Become A Female Entrepreneur Is I Feel Like Us As Woman They Already Made It Hard Enough For Us , I Hate To Get Into The Whole Men Vs Woman But I Always Felt Like They Counted The Women Out . We Can Have Our Own Business ! We Can Do This ! We Can Normalize Us Woman Having A

What challenges have you faced this year, especially in business, and how have you had to pivot? My Biggest Challenge I Have Faced This Year Is Coming Out Of Covid Trying To Get Back To The “ Norm “ Attending Events / Pop Up Shops Has Been A Big One For Me Because Some People Are Still Not Comfortable Being around Crowds So The Attendance At Events Has Been A Thing , Also Many People Have Faced Hardships ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021





{{{ SHE HUSTLES SHIFT+CONTROL SHE HUSTLES TALKS TALKS} }} “ My favorite part of what I do is when i see people’s face light up and they say ,“ YYou make your own wine?””

During Covid So Sales Have Also Been An Issue. I Have Pivot Around this offering different products , doing sales , and just accepting whatever crowd I can get at a pop up shop. What motivates you ? What Motivates Me Is My Dream , I Dream So Big & I Never Stop Dreaming & I Know How Big & How Far I Would Like To Go With My Business So I Use That As My Motivation To Keep Me Going Knowing What Potential I Can Reach , What I Can Deliver To The People , That Keeps Me Going. What do you feel makes you a successful business woman and what advice do you have to others starting out? I Feel Like Consistency , Self Discipline, Staying Focused Are Somethings That Will Make A Business Woman Successful && My Advice To Anyone Starting Out Is BELIEVE, Believe In Yourself No Matter Where You Came From , What Obstacles Are Thrown In The Way , Don’t Let Anyone Try To Talk You Out Of Anything , Just Go For What You Believe In ! && Most Importantly Take Your Time , My Biggest Mistake Starting Out Is I Didn’t Have The Proper Inventory I Jumped In Head First Without The Proper Tools & I Was Running Into Road Blocks . So Definitely Take Your Time , Do Your Research, && Prepare Well. What are some of the pros and cons of being a female entrepreneur, and what is your favorite part of what you do? I Feel Like Some Pros Of Being A females Entrepreneur is seeing your vision come to life , being your own boss , meeting other entrepreneurs and hearing their

stories , being able to collaborate with other people and network ive run across some amazing people so far ! Some cons to being a female entrepreneur is just being in the business , being in the industry no matter what it is that you do and being taken serious . My favorite part of what I do is when i see people’s face light up and they say “ YOU MAKE YOUR OWN WINE,“ or they tell me how much they loved my wine or just seeing the smiles on their face when I bring them something they ordered from me. Tell us about one person who has inspired you. The person who has inspired me Is Nakeem A. he has inspired me in so many ways , he showed me his “ Here I Go “ movement told me the story behind why he started his movement and the story is very sentimental so it made his business that much more intriguing !! He wrote a book on his life and where he has come from and that inspired me in so many ways because he told his story with no shame , no regrets , and told even the ugliest side of things and it just showed me never be ashamed of where you come from , use where you come from and turn it around so when i explained my business to him he was lost for words , he smiled because I went after everything I believed in and I didn’t allow my situation to make me simple minded , or keep me stuck , and that’s everything he stands for . He took the time out and showed me different avenues , && different opportunities in the business world

you and formed who you are today. One moment in my life that has left a lasting impression on me is losing two people that was near and a dear to my heart to unfortunate situations, I felt like I never knew pain until I lost them and turned around and felt lost . That hurt , and pain has definitely left a lasting impression on me because I would of never thought I would lose them especially not the way I lost them, it changed me forever ! It changed everything about me ! Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in the next 3-5 years? In The Next 3-5 Personally I See Myself With More Knowledge , Wiser, BOSSIER. Professionally I See Myself With My Wine On A Few Shelves , A Store Front , A Small Vineyard, && More To Offer In The Wine World , Outside Of My Business I Will Be A Nurse Practitioner So I Have A lot To Look Forward To . Tell us about some of the things you have had to overcome in your life and how it has influenced the woman you have become. I have overcome losing close friends to gun violence , mental health , working extremely hard to get to where I want to be , long nights && early mornings , becoming a parent , and so much more but every situation had its lesson behind it and has shaped me into this beautiful, young , bossy , humble entrepreneur.

Tell us about one moment in your life that has had a lasting impression on ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021





M I 1-844-272-4369






Tell us about yourself and your business Avani Jewelers. I am a creative and hard-working individual with a diverse professional background. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and I have experience in teaching, manufacturing, office and account management, sales, and now business ownership. I am also a mother of a beautiful 8-year-old girl, Lyra. My business Avani Jewelers specializes in unique, high-quality stainless steel and sterling silver jewelry. (www. It is important to me to provide great quality with great style. All of my products are tested and quality controlled. This is done to provide my customers with our guarantee that no piece will contain lead, cadmium, or nickel. As many of you already know, these cheap metals not only tarnish, but they tend to easily cause skin allergies. It excites me to be able to provide a modern, unique collection that my customers love and can wear comfortably every day. What made you decide to open your own business and become a female entrepreneur? After being laid off during the pandemic, I came across an opportunity through a good friend that allowed me to get into the jewelry business. I always collected and wore jewelry just about every day of my life. I even used to be a bench jeweler and created jewelry through casting. This process is where precious metals are melted in a kiln and poured into a mold that was made through the lost wax process. Between that, and all

the other random (but necessary) skills I have acquired, it wasn’t difficult to get started. It was almost as if everything I have tried previously wasn’t in vain but was meant to bring me to where I am now. How do you balance work and life being an entrepreneur? I always strive to balance work and life however, some days are more successful than others. Each week is different as

far as tasks and responsibilities. I just tackle my business life and home life simultaneously. I find that making lists, and constantly updating my calendar helps me to stay organized. What does success mean to you? Success has two meanings for me. On one hand, success means that you had a great day in sales or meaningful interactions with customers. Then, there is that ultimate success, something that has

not yet been obtained, it is something that you continuously strive for. It is what forces you to learn from mistakes and keep going. What makes you hustle? My daughter, I do it all for her. She inspires me and I want to leave this business to her. She loves to be involved as much as possible. Whether it’s putting tags on pieces or helping put items in a display case, she loves to participate. If you had to pick one piece of jewelry from your collection that is your favorite, what would it be and why? My favorite piece is a stainless steel necklace that has five small leaf charms across the neckline. I guess I love it so much partially because I identify with earthy things, but also it seems to go with most things I wear. The charms and the way they fall would complement both a U or V neck shape neckline. It is also modern, elegant, yet dainty, and minimalist. Who is your ideal client, and what is something about your business that sets you apart from other jewelry companies? It is safe to assume my products are geared more towards women, however, I do have something for everyone. There are men’s, unisex, and youth pieces as well. I feel I stand apart for two reasons. One, ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021



“ It is important to me to provide great quality with great style.”

the quality of the products. Each piece goes through a rigorous quality control process and is tested. Also, each piece is hypoallergenic. Secondly, the pieces I offer are unique compared to other jewelers. I have styles that are modern, classic, elegant or just simple everyday wear.

and endless physical therapy and doctor appointments, just to get to a point where I can go back to work. I had to pick up the pieces of the business and jump in again full force. When dealing with tragedy, sometimes you don’t have a choice but to move forward, even if it’s an hour at a time.

Have you found social media to help or hinder you in promoting your business, especially during the pandemic? I believe social media helps more than hinders. Frankly, if you want to compete in business, you need to keep up with what’s relevant. Having an online presence is essential in moving forward. However, I spend a lot of my focus on the local market as well.

What do you do for encouragement, or to be motivated? The biggest factor is my desire to push this as far as it can go. I am curious to see what I am ultimately capable of accomplishing. I would also say that the support of good friends and family helps me stay motivated too. I don’t know if I would be as far along without them.

What have you found to be the most successful in marketing your business? So far, I believe it has been word of mouth. Being physically present at local markets and events is key. I love getting to know my customers face to face. There are so many amazing stories and personalities. They tend to remember my booth, and the question I get asked the most is “Will you be here next week?” What challenges have you faced over the past year and how have you overcome them? Oh goodness, so many. The main challenge was to get my momentum back after being in a head-on collision over the summer. I was the passenger and was struck by a vehicle that crossed over the yellow line. I suffered from a severe concussion, broke my foot in three places, busted my knee cap, and suffered internal bleeding due to the seat belt. It took me almost 4 months 190


If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heartache, what would you tell yourself? The date of the car accident? But for real, I guess it would be to be brave and dive in. Being an entrepreneur is difficult in the sense of finding new ventures. I would have a great idea, sit on it (for too long) then leap. Then I learn it wasn’t so bad. Why didn’t I try this sooner? Business is not just about one stream of income. It’s many. You have to adapt, reach out, inquire, put yourself out there, and simply get out of your comfort zone. It’s a process, not only with the growth of your business but the growth of yourself. The fact that I am solely responsible for this business is both daunting and exciting all at the same time.

Where do you see your business growing in the next year? What about in three years? Next year, I plan on expanding in a big way. I will offer more products in person and online. I will not only be at Rochester markets but Syracuse as well. I plan on getting into fundraising, parties, and wholesaling to other businesses. In three years, a physical store perhaps? I hope to have a larger online following and an improved website with even more to offer. What would you say truly excites you about what you do? The progress of building the business excites me. The days I make big sales are exciting. Even processing data on sales is exciting. When I learn about what sells, why, and to whom. Plus, first dibs on new pieces coming in is pretty fun too. What were the things that most surprised you along the way from just having an idea to owning your own business? I was surprised at how much you have to endure to work at outdoor markets. I couldn’t believe the challenges in terms of setting up in bad weather! The summer months are considerably easier but on cold or rainy days? For eight hours or more? A lot of trial and error goes into properly setting up efficiently, protecting your product, staying warm, and being available for your customers. When was the hardest of all times in your startup journey and why and what helped you get through it?

“Success has two meanings for me. On one hand, success means that you had a great day in sales or meaningful interactions with customers. Then, there is that ultimate success, something that has not yet been obtained, it is something that you continuously strive for. It is what forces you to learn from mistakes and keep going.”






“My daughter, I do it all for her. She inspires me and I want to leave this business to her.”

The hardest of times during startups are all the unknowns. Not understanding your customer base, not developing the brand yet, not knowing how to market, or when you will start making sales. For me, what helped was being organized, making lists of priorities, and being disciplined enough to fulfill the tasks ahead of me. Being the “boss” also means being the boss for yourself. If I ask you to merge jewelry design and empowerment in one name, what would it be? My answer would be unique. People wear jewelry for many reasons. It could be to

grab attention or make a statement. It could be sentimental or simply because it matches your outfit. Regardless, the reason is unique, and so must be your expression in the pieces you wear. What would you say are the key skills needed to be a successful female entrepreneur? I believe the key skills needed to be successful are passion and belief in your product/mission, being insanely organized and disciplined, learning from your mistakes, and being brave to venture out.

Where will we see Avani Jewelry next? For next year, we have BIG plans! First, I will be introducing new fundraiser options for local events, businesses, or charities. I will also be offering home parties, where the host will get awesome perks for planning the event. Next, we will start introducing Avani Jewelers to local shops for consignment. I also plan on getting into wholesale and offering amazing package deals at great rates to other businesses. Contact me at for more information!








Taking Control of your Financial Future In many ways, women today have an entirely new relationship with money than those of previous generations. Many women are buying homes on their own, raising children as a single parent, building thriving careers and owning their own businesses. As a result, statistics show that nearly half of women are now the primary breadwinners in their households. Yet, even as women control their financial destinies more than ever, there are still unique challenges that need to be addressed in order to ensure lifetime financial success and independence. One of the biggest challenges is that women often have a longer time horizon to save and invest for, as on average, women live 5 years longer than men. In addition, they also tend to make less money (although this is improving somewhat, it is still an issue) and are more likely to experience time out of the workforce during their lifetimes than their male counterparts. With such challenges looming, how do we, as women, ensure we are in good financial shape for our lifetimes? Here are some suggestions on how one can build a strong foundation for a financially secure future. Take Control of the Budget Develop a clear picture of your current financial situation, even if it is not optimal- in other words, don’t try to ignore debt and spending issues, but face them head on. Make a list of your current income and expenses, focusing first on the expenses that are critical to you and your family’s lifestyle (rent, health insurance, etc.) and then reviewing discretionary spending (clothes, dining

out, etc.). You may want to investigate some financial software to make this easier (apps such as Mint or You Need a Budget) to track. Once you know the numbers, set goals, and direct your money accordingly. Many find that auto-deduction works great both for paying bills and spending, and most online banking systems can make that almost effortless. Save and invest your money regularly, but don’t forget to build in occasional rewards to keep you motivated. Being intentional, educated and informed about your financial decisions reduces anxiety and improves your financial outlook for the short and long-term. Manage Your Debt and Credit Build and maintain a good credit history in your own name and be aware of exactly how much you owe and the interest rate for each debt that you have. Develop a short-term plan to manage payments, avoiding late fees and paying off highinterest debt first whenever possible. You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year, but many banks and other services (i.e. Credit Karma) will provide a credit snapshot much more frequently. Reviewing your credit regularly will also help to spot any potential fraud/identity theft, as you can monitor what credit is in your name and ensure it is truly yours. Avoid opening too many accounts and keep your credit card debt low, utilizing lower interest rate loans/lines of credit for longer-term debt (i.e., home equity for home renovations). Save for Retirement Without traditional pension plans that many relied upon in the past for

retirement income, investors today must fund a good portion of their own retirements. If you are fortunate enough to work for an employer with a retirement plan, you should definitely contribute to it- even if there is not a match for your contribution. If there is a match, you should contribute at least enough to get the full match-this is “free money” for you. Understand the different retirement options available to you, such as Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Roth 401k, Traditional 401k and the impact they have on your taxes today and in the future when you take a distribution. Figure out what you will need in retirement to live on and achieve your goals and then work to save systematically to save the amount necessary to fund your plan. One thing that always seems to surprise people is how much the draw rate needs to be to get their income goals. Saving enough and investing in the right combination of stocks and bonds for your goals, will help ensure you can have a significant amount to live on in retirement. Know When to Ask for Help As a financial professional, it is easy to take for granted all the knowledge I have gained over the last many years in the business. Some people truly enjoy handling their own finances and building the habits necessary to meet their many goals. Others feel overwhelmed and are sometimes paralyzed by the challenges they face in becoming financially secure. A good advisor can help you by: 1)Determining your current financial situation by reviewing income, assets and liabilities and goals. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{ FINANCIALLY SPEAKING { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “In many ways, women today have an entirely new relationship with money than those of previous generations.”

3)Make recommendations and educate your about specific products and services. 4)Implement, monitor, and adjust your plan as needed. One of the most important things we can do as women is to take ownership of our financial destiny. Money affects 202


all of us and impacts almost every area of our lives, so we need to get comfortable talking about it and making decisions about it. By taking a few simple steps, you can become financially empowered and build a successful plan to meet your financial goals. Laurie A. Haelen, AIF®, is Senior Vice

President – Manager of Investment and Financial Planning Solutions, CNB Wealth Management, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. She can be reached at (585) 3944260 x41970 or by email at lhaelen@


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When you’re running a growing business, administrative tasks, like organizing digital files and cleaning up databases, posting jobs, and hiring can take away the time you need to focus on the important tasks. Free up time to focus on leading your organization, and spend less time buried in spreadsheets and time-sucking tasks that can be passed off for someone else to handle. One may be able to handle a small business at the start, but as time passes and your business grows, there’s a need to build your team and delegate certain tasks. In this digital age, business owners have various options today when getting the right people to help them with their operations. They can hire a virtual assistant (VA) or firm who can work remotely that can save them time and money moving forward. There are so many benefits from hiring a VA or a firm to outsource your administrative work. You can avoid paying payroll taxes as well as paying for other benefits such as sick pay and vacation time. Outsourcing your administrative work is essential in increasing agility and growing your business. It frees up your time and helps you focus on the big picture. Depending on your needs here are five reasons why you should consider outsourcing your administrative work. HERE ARE 5 REASONS TO O U T S O U RC E Y O U R ADMINISTRATIVE WORK: It Gives you Flexibility Sometimes we need a lot of help to

manage to hire during peak times or growth spurts, sometimes we need the extra administrative support if we are going through layoffs, and a helping hand to prepare for resource-draining business realities like end-of-year reporting and tax season. It Saves Money Outsourcing your admin work means you’re paying per project or need, and not paying for someone full-time when there isn’t work. You pay a fraction of the

cost of hiring someone full-time. There are huge cost savings when hiring a VA or a firm to outsource your administrative work. You save on overhead, cut out the payroll taxes, sick pay, vacation time, and more. It Gives You Time to Focus on Leading Your Team When you’re leading your team time to focus can be hard to come by. Getting Admin work off your to-do list gives you back time to spend on making

important decisions, planning ahead for your next quarter, or connecting with your internal leaders. It Helps Move Projects and Meet Deadlines Sometimes unexpected projects popsup. Outsourcing your admin support frees up time for yourself or someone within the organization It Improves Processes and Creates Efficiencies Passing off file management or having someone dedicated to reorganizing data-storing systems means you can find what you need when you need it. Conversance offers temporary staffing services with vetted employees who can help your organization - no matter the size- run smoothly and optimally. Outsource Your Admin Work with Conversance Conversance Business Solutions is a full-service administrative support, and consultancy firm, serving businesses from small to midsize nationwide. Our team specializes in various virtual assistant services and onsite support tailored to meet each of our client’s needs. Whether we work as an extension of your team for one-time projects or long-term engagements, we bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. We hope these tips were helpful. Get in touch with us today at 585-484-0038 or visit us online at to find out more about the ways in which our team can help you. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{ BUSINESS TALK }} { SHIFT+CONTROL “When you’re running a growing business, administrative tasks, like organizing digital files and cleaning up databases, posting jobs, and hiring can take away the time you need to focus on the important tasks.”



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As an actor, on camera talent and business coach to models and actors, my column here often shares auditioning tips, acting advice, confidence building strategies, and projects related to my “Courage to Dream” mission which is to empower women and girls to go after their dreams. This month, I am thrilled to share an interview with Jennifer Ann Galvez. Jennifer is both an incredibly talented Rochester based actor, event planner ( and former tv news associate producer. How did you first get started or interested in acting? When I was 5 years old my mother enrolled me in dance class. I continued to thrive in ballet, tap and jazz for the next 10 years. That’s when I fell in love with the theater. One of the first plays that I ever saw was the musical The Fantasticks by Tom Jones. I wanted to make people feel what I was feeling in the audience that day. It felt like magic! That’s when I caught the Acting Bug. Later on, I began taking acting classes at William Esper’s Meisner Technique, Stella Adler’s Conservatory in New York City and the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. You recently produced “Love Letters” and I attended this amazing performance; can you share how this production was a labor of love? I first read the play, Love Letters by A.R. Gurney while working at Madison Square Garden as a suite attendant in the luxury skyboxes. I was reading it in the hall on my serving tray while working a NY Knicks game. I was acting and

living in Manhattan at the time. I was so drawn to the script and it moved me in such a way I couldn’t breath after the last line. That is what great art in theater does. It makes you stop and feel all these beautiful emotions, both good and bad. So much has happened since then. Decades of a life well lived. I am so fortunate in that way. June 27th, 2021 was another one of those special

moments in my life, a day that I will always treasure. It is wonderful when we allow ourselves to be moved by art through theater. A Labor of Love is the perfect description of me producing Love Letters, which I am happy to announce will continue at the Bristol Valley Theater on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 7 pm and at 2 pm on Sunday, May 1, 2022. For tickets

go to: Please go to What was most memorable about producing and performing “Love Letters”? I have to say it was the audience feedback. I was taken aback by the overwhelming positive responses from our show. Here is one letter that almost moved me to tears… “I saw Love Letters at Canalside Stage on 6/27. I wouldn’t have imagined that a story of upper crust, white, northeasterners could be such a powerful display of diversity and inclusion, but this Love Letters was just that. Through the beautiful and natural performances of Jennifer Ann Galvez and J. Simmons, I watched two actors of color become simply, two actors, who became simply, two people, with all the joys, humor, and heartache we all recognize in our own lives. Art does not lecture, it reveals, which makes art like this unique, multi-racial production of Love Letters the ideal medium to convey a message of hope and healing through the commonality of love. I have so many friends and relatives I’d like to share this experience with, and it should be seen by people from every corner of Rochester to work its magic, so here’s to many repeat performances. Galvez Caton, Esther Winter, and the JCC have given our community a real gift, and we are all better for having it.” - Mike S. As an Asian woman based in Rochester, NY, what changes would you like to see in the tv/film and advertising industry? I would like to see more people of ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


“There is only one YOU, which it really is true. Life is NOT a dress rehearsal. You get one chance in this life and then unfortunately, life ends. Wouldn’t you like to look back when you are 100 years old and see all of the glorious moments that you made happen in your life?!”

{ COACHING WITH KRISTIN } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “I would like to see more people of color, especially Asian Americans appear more frequently across the board – on all forms of media, television, film and print.”

especially Asian Americans appear more frequently across the board – on all forms of media, television, film and print. Unfortunately, Asian Americans often are seen as just Asian. They’re not understood as being American, and that contributes to this perception that Americans would not be able to identify with Asian Americans — and unfortunately that’s the assumption by many of those who invest in theater, film and advertising. That being said, I am seeing a slow change lately but not enough in the mainstream of movies and tv.

and form intimate relationships with. Such as your family and close friends who truly make you who you are today. Maybe some of them are in your life briefly but they were there for you at some point, supporting, guiding, and nurturing all of your dreams. Perhaps, they feel they are not tall enough, slim enough, talented enough, connected enough, young enough, smart enough or any other type of feeling “not enough”?

How has the pandemic affected pursuing acting positively, negatively, or both? The pandemic has allowed many people, including myself, to really give serious thought to what is important to them. The positive affect is that I made a conscious decision to pursue my dream of acting. The negative aspect would have to be that I am not alone in my thinking. So many other people have pivoted their careers just as I have and that makes the selection of actors in the audition pool much more competitive. Now that actors are primarily auditioning for film and casting directors via video, it has become anyone’s game. What would you say to women who feel like something is holding them back from pursuing modeling or acting or any dream that feels a little bit impossible? There is only one YOU, which it really is true. Life is NOT a dress rehearsal. You get one chance in this life and then unfortunately, life ends. Wouldn’t you like to look back when you are 100 years old and see all of the glorious moments that you made happen in your life?! Remembering all of the kind and loving people you had the opportunity to meet 216


I would say to them this piece of advice that I recently read on social media. In the words of the actor, Frances McDormand: I was often told that I wasn’t a thing. “She’s not pretty enough, she’s not tall enough, she’s not thin enough, she’s not fat enough” I thought ok. Someday you’re going to be looking for someone not, not, not, not and I‘ll be there. What has been your favorite photoshoot and a notable moment in your acting career? Ironically, after years of not chasing

the print modeling roles, one day out of the blue, I was asked to model for a medical equipment print ad. This was my favorite photoshoot because it re-opened my world again. I felt so ALIVE for a few hours that day and oddly enough, then I went back to my desk job. Regarding my acting career, I honestly believe my most notable acting job has not even happened yet! It will happen … I promise. What role has Kristin Bauer-Gross played in your own life or have you witnessed her helping others pursue their talent goals? I was so fortunate that the stars aligned, and I was able to meet Kristin BauerGross. She has been my frequent mentor, guide, and I am proud to say has become a dear friend. She is so self-less and generous in helping other models, actors and casting agents make those connections to themselves and one another. I only wish everyone had a Kristin in their lives. Her presence has been a tremendous gift that I am fortunate enough to have in my world. Follow Jennifer on Social Media: INSTAGRAM: @jenniferanngalvezactor FACEBOOK: TWITTER: @jenniferann_actor Jennifer Ann Galvez Actor For more information go to: www. Catch Kristin’s free IGTV series “Talent Toolbox” on Instagram @KristinBCoaching Get Kristin’s FREE Printable Checklist to make Packing and Preparing for Photoshoots a breeze at:







I used to prepare for the cramps. I would eat vegetables all month and try to keep my emotions balanced so that the manifestation of chaos wouldn’t portray itself in my periods. Internal self-care and diet made my periods better, but it didn’t completely eradicate the pain, hence my excessive need to prepare for the pain, by keeping painkillers in my purse and making sure I had my heating pad close.

was not in pain. That’s when I realized that sometimes, we fear for nothing. We set ourselves up for something that will NEVER happen. We prepare for chaos. We use past antecedents to judge the future. We prepare for pain. Granted, we do get cues from our experiences, but we are not to confess that things will go wrong. We are not supposed to anticipate that everything

My period has always been a monster, in terms of pain. It snatches me into a whirl wind of agony. My legs swell, my head aches, my breasts can’t even be touched AT ALL due to how tender and heavy they get. I am just a hot mess at that time of the month. This episode usually lasts for 7 days, but the drama occurs on the 2nd day. This is when I just lay under the blanket and groan. One morning on my way back from work, I remembered anticipating pain. I literally said to myself, “I should be in pain by now. Why am I not in pain?” Can you imagine? I got ready for the pain. Day 1 went by, no pain. Day 2 came by, HEAVY AS HELL, no pain. Day 3, STORMING like a tsunami, no pain. Day 4, MODERATE STORM, no pain. This was the best period I had ever had. No pain!!! No sharp stab in my lower back. No fever or all the nonsense I’d typically have gone through. It was a normal flow with absolutely no pain. I felt uncomfortable. I was dizzy. I had a throbbing migraine. I was tired, but I 218


will collapse, and if we do, we may also be hit with the reality that nothing lasts forever. Things change!!! The pain numbs a little or a lot, or disappears. Poverty becomes rich, and wealth could be impoverished. New gets old, and old transforms. The love grows or dissipates. The living get older and die. The corpse decays and becomes an Angel, spirit, dead but alive. That’s life! Why worry about what will not remain permanent? Why confess frustration when it could only be for a little while? Why put up with nonsense when you can replace it

or remove it and THERE, the season has changed. What happens if you’re dealing with something you can’t easily fix or change or replace? I mean, you can’t just stop your period from flowing. Well, I guess you can with hormonal pills, which buttresses my point about ‘Change’. But you can’t just stop fire from burning or stop rain from falling. What you do in such a precarious situation is, you PRAY!!! Yes!!! YOU PRAY TO GOD!!! The way you have uttered your pain for so long, and prepared for it’s debilitating cycle, this is now the way you ought to pray, with anticipation that the pain will not just go away, but that He’ll fix all that encompasses the issue. If you can’t pray, then continue to be patient, but STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. Not only are you feeding yourself with your own vomit, but you are frustrating others who are listening to it. Stop uttering negativity. Stop anticipating chaos. Just do nothing and carry your cross to the cross. That’s what I do. I carry it to God, and the times that I cannot pray, I just keep my mouth shut, knowing that a shift is going to take place. It is on its way. If nothing breaks, then carry your cross with a smile on your face. Believe me, one day, the pain will end. One day, you will be on menopause.









Recently, I was thrilled to attend an appearance at the University of Rochester’s Certified Duchenne Care Center with the current reigning Mrs. New York America - Jessica Fabus Cheng. The Certified Duchenne Care clinic at the U of R is one of 28 Certified clinics in the USA. These clinics serve 3600 patients and provide 500 care providers. Care. It’s at the heart of what all the Certified Care Centers do. All the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy ( P P M D ) Duchenne Certified Care Centers strive to ensure that people living with Duchenne live longer, more vital lives by providing access to expert healthcare providers, a comprehensive team of subspecialists, and cutting-edge treatments. Early in my journey, I was responsible for managing my son’s care and putting a team of specialized experts together. The model of comprehensive care does not follow the current health care model of specialists being in their silo. It was fascinating to take a step back from being a superwoman advocate for my son and watch how the team at the

U of R Certified Center approached Duchenne care for approximately 150 patients. I am grateful that the U of R was willing to implement the model of comprehensive care for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Emma Ciafaloni, MD, leads the team at the U of R. Dr. Ciafaloni, and her team is the heart of care at the U of R clinic. I had the opportunity to speak with her during my visit.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? I’m a Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester. I was born In Milano, Italy, and moved to the USA in the early 90s to pursue research in Neurology. I have dedicated my academic career to caring for patients with neuromuscular diseases and providing early access to novel treatments for rare muscle

diseases in children, such as spinal muscular atrophy and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. My wonderful poet husband and I have been married for 29 years, and he is instrumental in supporting my career. We are blessed with a 28-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter. What’s your greatest strength or superpower? I look at the positives in life, and I always try to learn something new. What inspired you to specialize in Neurolog y and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Research? The intellectual challenge of complicated diseases combined w i t h t h e l ove for people: in neurology, you really must listen to your patients’ stories to figure out what’s wrong; they will teach you everything you need to know about their disease. It’s not just about the tests; I love this human connection. How do you think Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy’s (PPMD) advocacy efforts in Washington helped New York State and the University of Rochester? PPMD has been a leader in advocating ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021




“Emma Ciafaloni, MD, leads the team at the U of R. Dr. Ciafaloni, and her team is the heart of care at the U of R clinic.”

for Duchenne for a very long time. Their passion, persistence, and forward-thinking have significantly impacted patients, families, and research advancement. We, as other clinics, have benefitted from their support. Their website educational material and webinars are outstanding, and their grant support for our clinic makes it possible to improve what we can offer to our patients continuously.

super visionary, dedicated, and have many years of experience in caring for Duchenne patients at all stages of their disease journey.

What makes the Certified Duchenne Clinic at the U of R different from other clinics? The people. Our team of nurses, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, genetic counselors, social workers, and specialized doctors are caring,

What are some of the exciting things happening in Duchenne that would provide hope to the families and patients you see? Many! Gene therapy trials are advancing rapidly, next-generation and more effective skipping drugs


We also do not transition our patients from pediatrics to adults as we care for patients of all ages in our neuromuscular clinic. So, we are their “medical home” and their advocates for their lifetime.

are under development, and better forms of corticosteroids are on the horizon. There is hope! What’s the one piece of advice you could provide families that have been recently diagnosed with Duchenne? There is hope, and you are not alone. With the best standard of care and new transformative treatments becoming available or already available, living with Duchenne is changing rapidly for the best. Find a team and a clinic that you trust and feel comfortable with and stay involved with research: we can only do better as a Duchenne community with the help and participation of our patients and their family.









STOP CHOP Your Way to Being Unstoppable in 2022! It’s that time of year! Yes it is! Time to set new goals. Time for celebration. Time to vision success. Time to prepare to step into 2022 and experience new goals. Most of all it is time for visionary strategies and practices that help you manifest your unstoppable 2022. But what happens when you are just not feeling it? When you feel hopeless and worn down by life, leadership, and the holidays? What happens when you have had enough? Enough of the stress and tension of the holidays? Enough of business struggles? Chances are you are backed up with emotional sludge. Holding back your authentic expression causes pressure that all too easily builds into tension and toxicity. Imagine that your unexpressed feelings are like a bottle of champagne. The champagne stays in the bottle, the bubbles pressurized, until the cork is popped. And then – watch out! When you don’t have a healthy outlet for pent-up anger, frustration, anxiety, fear, insecurity, or other toxic emotions, it’s likely that they will build up to a point when you can’t hold them in any longer and you end up lashing out or acting out in an extreme way. Or you feel let down, low and hopeless. It is time to express yourself and LET IT GO! The entry to 2022 is the perfect

opportunity to express yourself and get rid of some old patterns that no longer serve you! Let go of the old garbage holding you back and step into 2022 with clarity and renewed sense of accomplishment. When you are clogged there is no space for the new to enter. You must make a regular practice of expressing yourself and eliminating the old. This does not have to be painful and laborious, SuperCORE Fit Coaching provides breathing and movement techniques to give you the opportunity to consciously build up pressure and then release it. You can easily go into the stuck and come out the other side. This is extremely healthy not only in your interpersonal communications, but for your internal balance and unstoppable energy. Stop Chop is one of our most famous and favorite SuperCORE Fit Coaching moves. We think of it as taking out a machete and cutting away the old to make room for the new. If you are not chopping away old energies, then you are probably carrying them around like burlap bags of garbage on your shoulders. This can create an extreme burden in your internal operating system. Stop Chop is a coaching movement we use with women when invaded by negativity and she needs to create new boundaries, eliminate old energies, and create new thoughts and emotions. Stop Chop asks you to say STOP to the old behaviors. And chop them off with a swift martial arts chop. Using

vigorous breathing, the sound STOP, and the intention to eliminate you are saying to your body and life, “I mean business! It is time to let go of old behaviors and patterns that no longer serve my highest self!” When you’ve had ENOUGH… Stop Chop – Set boundaries and eliminate harmful or addictive thoughts or behavior (yours or someone else’s) This move can be done seated or standing. For maximum power and release, we recommend standing if that is an option for you. ● Start in Ready Stance – seated or standing, with feet about shoulder width apart for stability. ● With your arm at a right angle, reach up. ● Chop down with the pinky side of your hand like a blade, saying out loud, “STOP!” ● Alternate sides, saying “STOP!” each time. ● The STOP will send a signal to your brain and body to LET GO! You can be very intentional and let go of specific emotions, feelings, and behaviors. Expression is what happens when the stuck is released and the release creates new space for manifesting what you desire. Most people in our current social structure do not feel free to truly express who they are. We are taught from a young age to sit quietly, stay in line, don’t cause a fuss, follow the rules, and don’t stand out from the crowd. Although these can be important guidelines for institutionalized learning or family stability, they create an environment of stagnancy rather than freedom of expression. And in order to be unstoppable you must create the energy you need to move forward in life. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{ UNSTOPPABLE WOMAN } “Time to prepare to step into 2022 and experience new goals. Most of all it is time for visionary strategies and practices that help you manifest your unstoppable 2022.”

In order to be unstoppable the rules must change and you must express yourself! You need a program that is direct and deals efficiently with your past stressors, drives quickly to the core of the underlying issues, and provides your leadership with a fast, efficient, and highly effective system that addresses all components of health – mental, physical, emotional, and especially energetic. Consistently following the practice of SuperCORE Coaching moves will lead to an inner sense of clarity and awareness. This may be something you’ve never felt before, so be prepared for different

sensations in your body – no matter what! Clarity and awareness will show up in unexpected ways, such as:

Spiritual – connected, supported, nurtured, trusting

SuperCORE Fit Coaching and all it takes is a few minutes of breathing exercises, and movement. Life can get better and you can be unstoppable! Coaching your way into the New Year may be just what you need. Join the Vision Quest 2022 on New Years Eve Day and begin your coaching journey in the safety of our SuperCORE Coaching Community. Or jump on board for a full year of manifesting in our GoddessCORE ROAR weekly small group coaching to consistently practice techniques for building female power, intuition and manifestation.

These are the positive benefits of

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Energetic – tingling, warmth, cooling buzzing, light, empty mind Physical – loose, flexible, stronger, taller, more aligned, better posture Emotional – calm, clear, neutral, excited, positive






Soon it will be the end of the year. Appropriate I suppose, after wrapping all our presents, it will be a time to wrap up the year as well. But instead of thinking of it as being an ending - like ‘wrapping up the year’, maybe we could think of it as a present too? A present we can open up during the next new year! Too often, this time of year, we find ourselves making new resolutions. Guilting ourselves into changing whatever we may not like about ourselves. It can be hard right after the holidays, where we may come crashing down after a high of interaction and celebration. Where perhaps we may dread the new year, so we feel we have to punish ourselves to get through it. Which, in turn, makes us dread it even more! I think, this time, maybe we should focus on what we actually liked about ourselves this last year. What were the highlights this last year you enjoyed the most? Was it a different place you went to? A new food you tried? An interaction with friends, family or loved ones? Maybe you tried a new hobby or thought about one. Yes, January can be a cold, boring month but it doesn’t have to be! It doesn’t have to be all about diet, exercise and just making it through. We always end the year with a celebration, but in reality, New Year’s Eve is supposed to be about a celebration of the new year coming up!

So, what better way to celebrate the new year by wrapping up all the good memories of 2021 and taking them with us? Unwrapping them when we may need help to get through this next year! Or better yet, enhancing our new year’s experiences! How can we do that? Take a good memory from this last year and expand on it. Focus only on the good! Remember that moment of pure joy. True, some of those moments may have been spontaneous. In fact, planning may even take the joy away. That’s something we don’t want to happen! Then how are you supposed to re-create it? You don’t. You simply take the idea of what made that moment so special and create a new moment. The present we are trying to give ourselves is the gift of confidence. The gift of positive thinking. When you find yourself reminiscing about a time that was amazing, does it not give you the gift of feeling good? When our minds feel good, when it is thinking happy thoughts, does that not put you in the mood to do more happy things? Which in turn gets us in the mood to be active. To want to do things. This year, no negative resolutions! I’m not saying you shouldn’t have goals. I just think maybe we could re-package those goals into things we may actually look forward to! It seems the number one resolution for a new year is losing weight or getting

healthier. But even just typing that sentence brings on a feeling of dread for me! So why would I want to start my new year feeling like that? Of course, I need to lose weight. Of course, I need to concentrate on being healthy, but how can I do that if I am dreading it? Think back to one of your happier moments this last year. What were you doing? I guarantee you, you were actively doing something. Even if it was just hanging out with friends, at that moment were you thinking about your weight? More than likely, the furthest thing from your mind! This is what we need to tap into! Let’s take those precious happy moments from this year and wrap ourselves in them for next year. I wonder if our National Holidays have anything we can wrap ourselves up in? January 3rd - National Chocolate-Covered Cherries Day – Definitely not on our diet, but they are “covered”! Why not indulge? I won’t tell anyone, I promise! January 6th - National Cuddle Up Day – This is one we all can enjoy! Some of the most precious moments are cuddling up! Whether it be with your partner, your children, grandchildren or your precious fur baby. Cuddling is simply good for the soul! January 15th - National Hat Day – Beginning to get cold out there! Why not have fun wearing a new hat covering our heads? January 20th - National Cheese Lovers ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{ TAMMY’S TIDBITS } SHIFT+CONTROL “Soon it will be the end of the year. Appropriate I suppose, after wrapping all our presents, it will be a time to wrap up the year as well.”

Day – This one is a stretch, I know. But then again, is it? Just visualize cheese covering something, anything! Can’t say that doesn’t put you in a happy mood! January 21st - National Hugging Day – I sense a theme here. They must have enjoyed cuddling so much they wanted another day to hug? Fine by me! I think we all have missed those hugs we used to give so freely. Maybe we will be able 230


to go back to enjoying them once again. Start this New Year on a positive note. Be kind to yourself and others. When you focus on previous positive moments, it allows you to tackle what may have always been a daunting task, become nothing but a new experience. Life is hard, no doubt there, but wrap yourself up. You are the greatest gift!

When you realize that, then you can share with others your gifts, your talent, the joy you have inside you. Because remember all those beautiful wonderful memories you like to think about? You were there; you were a part of it, and you can do it again! Happy New Year everyone!






{ DIVI9 } } { DIVI9 CHAT


An episode of Frasier “Three Valentines” had me in tears of laughter when a meeting with a new marketing manager gives him mixed signals including an invitation to her hotel room. He dresses and undresses several times as she talks to him from the bathroom and he in the room tries to decipher her intentions.

still shy away which indicates that clarity is needed. Intimate spaces often hold

Being in the business of wellness and particularly wellness via touch it felt natural to reflected on his dilemma and use it to preface a conversation around non-sexual wellness touch. Frasier finally sought clarity after standing awkwardly in his shorts wondering what was next as she climbed into the bed with the questioning statement “well aren’t you coming to bed?” He responds, yes of course and quickly climbs in and asks “so I’m just wondering, is this a romantic thing or is it business” she’s out cold and snoring at this point which puts the humor over the top for me! Massage therapy is not nearly as difficult to decipher. Yet some

This is a great point to explore your own views, feelings and awareness around bodywork. What words, images and emotions come up for you? As you reflect it may be a good idea to write these in a journal so you can prepare for any deeper healing that may surface. With all the benefits that massage holds the work to release old beliefs is well worth it. As a tool for healing from sexual abuse As a tool for resetting Healthy boundaries

preconceived notions no matter what title defines them. We may also hold memories, experiences, stories, judgments and maybe also fears.

As a tool for overall self awareness Being on the table is a conversation that goes something like: Tell the story! Whispers Oh my God Alicia Keys plays “so done” You deserve to feel this good You knew, you knew I needed that. Your words were perfect. You began to do this because it was your dream, but it means so much more to so many others.



{ DIVI9 CHAT } } { SHIFT+CONTROL “Intimate spaces often hold preconceived notions no matter what title defines them. We may also hold memories, experiences, stories, judgments and maybe also fears.”





Animal Care Sanctuary is excited to once again partner with Staffworks for its Save a Life Campaign! Through this initiative, Staffworks will match each donation to ACS up to the first $10,000 and will then donate $500 for every $5,000 donated up to $160,000. In total, ACS could receive up to $25,000 from Staffworks because of YOUR generosity! Please consider donating on Giving Tuesday and in the month of December to help ACS reach the maximum match to help as many homeless animals as we can! After dedicating l a s t y e a r ’s campaign to new communals in our cattery, this year’s Giving Tuesday and Save a Life Campaign will serve our special canines who need a little more help finding new homes. Most of the dogs that ACS receives are truly wonderful animals. But, as part of our mission to all doggos, sometimes these canines come from terrible situations in which their mental scars run deeper than their physical ones. Abuse, neglect, and abandonment can result in behavioral issues with dogs that lead to aggression, extreme 238


timidness, and separation anxiety. Unfortunately, these traits make them harder to adopt, and are accentuated the longer they stay in a kennel or shelter. That’s why this year’s campaign will raise money for new outdoor kennel fencing as well as special staff training for Dogs Playing for Life, a special program that effectively tackles these critical issues shelter dogs face with a

novel, hands-on approach that revolves around opportunities to play in groups – every day! This unique, groundbreaking program will require training for our staff as well as new equipment and fencing for outdoor play areas to implement the program. We are so excited to start this next chapter to help find homes for ALL dogs, including the dogs who need a little extra help – like Enzo.

Enzo is a sweet three-year-old doggo who has problems meeting new people (relatable, right?), and he’s also extremely energetic to the point of being obnoxious. He gets so excited that he roughly bumps into people and mouths them, which are no-nos if he wants to easily find a home. Staff members are working hard to teach him basic obedience commands, and Dogs Playing for Life will take his training to the next level with its programs, playgroups, and more play areas. ACS also wants to thank Staffworks for allowing us to be part of the Save a Life Campaign once again! As the only Pennsylvaniabased shelter involved in the campaign, we are extremely proud to have been selected for this amazing opportunity once again.



THE ACS CORNER} } {{ SHIFT+CONTROL “ After dedicating last year’s campaign to new communals in our cattery, this year’s Giving Tuesday and Save a Life Campaign will serve our special canines who need a little more help finding new homes.”









Hey guys... it’s Ace again!! Things are going much better for me! I’m out of the junkyard where I spent the first 2.5 years of my life and now in a board and train with the best trainer ever, Danielle Jackson at DDT Behavioral, LLC and things are going great! I now walk like a gentleman, sit, stay, come... you name it! I get walks every day, eat good meals,

come over to AAO sometimes, see Ace’s angels from 490 Farmers still... but there is one last Xmas wish that I have... my forever home! I do pretty well with some other dogs... the well mannered bigger ones are my favorite! Older and respectful children are good too! While I love my board and train, I can’t stay here forever... please help my Christmas dream come

true and help me find my forever home. Thank You so much to L u c a b e a r & Fr i e n d s Pe t Photography for the magical shots of me, if I do say so myself! Please check me out at the link below and SHARE away!!





(585) 737-0340






I had been receiving free samples of In The Pink products through a company Hip Hemp for several months, essentially as a test agent from late 2016 into 2017. The founders had decided by feedback which three oils made of natural ingredients, essential, and hemp oils they would produce for sale. After 6 surgeries for reconstruction years after a mastectomy, finances were slim for purchasing and freight costs. I found the company was actually very close to home and hoping to save on the shipping charges, I gave them a call. Angela answered and shared that it was not a retail facility but, she invited me to stop by. So, in October of 2017 I walked into a warehouse of two companies with very stocked shelves and Hip Hemp looked like it was on the roll. We chatted about the products and how I was invited to try them when I visited the owner, Mary Jane Haake, at her tattoo studio. Reconstruction can take you just so far with surgeries and there are ways to create the illusion of “normal” covering scars and or artistic decoration. My plastic surgeon had suggested this and referred me to MJ to explore at the very least a 3D tattoo of a nipple. It had been breast cancer and as we looked at examples of her work and talked, she asked about the additional ramifications, loss of estrogen, menopause, vaginal dryness, and my experiences. She then shared she was starting a company of all natural ingredients including essential and hemp oils for women dealing with these same issues. And she sent me home with a sample of the perles to use nightly for the vaginal dryness and oils to use as a lubricant or moisturizer for my skin. Using these products began to make a difference for this woman in her early 60s 248


especially since I am also a swim instructor. If you’ve repeatedly spent long hours in a pool, you know what I’m talking about, and it might be true for you too as a competitive or general lap swimmer. Something to consider. I walked into the warehouse to make the purchase and to meet Angela, the representative of the company and as “they say” she was (is) the chief cook and bottle washer. If you follow this magazine, you have previously met Angela. I do not know where this came from except maybe thinking I needed another part time job, but before I left, I told her she was going to need me. Self -promoting is not usually in my wheelhouse. She acknowledged the company was possibly looking to hire in the coming new year. However, a few weeks later, she called to ask if I was serious and would I come in for an interview. As of last week, I hit my 4-year anniversary and am so thankful for a job that has helped me weather many things including the pandemic. Other jobs disappeared. The breast cancer showed its ugly face in 2000. I had noticed a slight shape change in my left breast and have always described the intuitive feeling as gray. At 44 I wasn’t overly worried but called to set up a mammogram nevertheless which was scheduled for August 17th. I was at the front counter of Sellwood Pool here in Portland Oregon when I received a call. I crouched down to hear better as the nurse relayed there was an abnormality, and I would need to have another round of tests. It was fortunate that I was already low to the floor because for a moment my knees were not holding me. Calcifications were found and could not

possibly have caused the change in the shape of my breast. I was very fortunate this was caught so early even though everything that followed still had to happen. So, if you understand that gray intuitive feeling about anything involving your body, relationships, your family, or anything else…pay attention! This was very specific for me although I realize some of the other examples may take time for clarity. Yes, I would need to see a surgeon and that was arranged for early September. A funny thing about how vivid parts of that day remain twenty-one years later.My male friend at the time went with me to the appointment and seemed a bit “off”. I could not determine if he was troubled for me and what my circumstances would be or if he was troubled for himself. I had heard stories of folks not being able to cope with their partner’s disease. We had time after the appointment to go for a ride and I took him for a hike to a waterfall on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. It would put us among trees and near water which would temporarily ease the newfound turmoil. The hike started out great and both of us enjoyed the welcome of the trees. He was mostly on the road with his job and seldom had time for a visit in a forest. The day had so many twists to it. Somewhere in the hike his conversation changed to mostly about his first wife and missing the family unit of being together. I empathetically let him talk but he seemed to be taking this to a deeper level. Eventually, however, I wanted to say “enough already”. Did I mention that I had seen a surgeon that morning about cells that looked ominous, and a biopsy was needed, in some ways changing my life forever??? Sarcasm can be so cathartic!




{ HIP HEMP { {SHIFT+CONTROL TRACY TALKS} } } “It had been breast cancer and as we looked at examples of her work and talked, she asked about the additional ramifications, loss of estrogen, menopause, vaginal dryness, and my experiences.”

After we reached the waterfall, we decided to head further up the mountain enjoying the warmth of a late summer day. Finally, we reached a clearing which provided a beautiful vista and a great resting stop. He stood staring off... into the distance, maybe taking it all in or not seeing it at all. And that’s when he made his announcement… He had learned that although he had sent the money to his second wife for the divorce, they were still legally married. The payment had gone elsewhere but she was ill and needed him to help her, along with his insurance to help her with the medical expenses. Hmmm…Suffice it to say what she really needed, while he was out on the road, was his money for drugs and motel rooms with men. This twisted novel doesn’t end there but it does have to be set aside. I had loved him powerfully and had not known or expressed these feelings in other relationships. Another story needing a moment here is that on July 1st while giving a trail ride in Colorado, my sister was thrown from her horse and her right thigh was shattered. It happened to be the same leg she had a congenital birth defect and had already had multiple surgeries. How incredible though that she had been able to ride horses at all! I tell you this because it was just weeks before my diagnosis. We grew up in a small village in New Hampshire and I sincerely hope you know what that small town community feels like especially in a time of need. My folks never had any extra money, but our local church rallied together to raise the funds for sending Mom to help Nan out during her first weeks of recovery. Mom wasn’t comfortable around larger animals, but she took on the chores of caring for not only a horse but also a huge gray bull. The dog and 250


cats were easy, and they always accompanied her to the barn making sure she got it right. In time, Mom returned home. And as I said, it was merely weeks later, I would need Mom also. I was headed for a biopsy to define these cells and again the church helped towards this journey. So many “Thank You’s!” rest forever in my heart. Sharing the in-depth experiences is a challenge. First, you may have been through this. Second, you may have this waiting for you and third, some of it remains too raw even now. Surgery was scheduled for Thursday September 21ST and on the Sunday before, I bravely walked in the Race for the Cure wearing signs of celebration for friends and family. And one “for my left breast going into surgery on Thursday”! Don’t ask me why I still have that pink sign but, at that point I was staying focused on a good outcome and that just maybe it was nothing. To prepare for the biopsy the radiologist had to pinpoint the exact location of the questionable cells for removal. It was a long arduous morning, and it took ten mammograms with needles to reach the spot. They were very close to the chest wall. At the final stage I went into shock (maybe anaphylactic) when dye for the surgeon was injected. The nurse and I were then alone in the room, and I started asking for cold wet clothes for my neck. She also stepped out to ask for more help and I must have been a terrible color because it was many minutes before they let Mom join me. About Saturday with an ice pack in tow we headed west for the rest of the weekend. You know the solace and strength the Oregon coast can share if you have ever been this way. We explored and traveled to both familiar and new places but both of us grew very quiet on the return trip

on Monday afternoon. We knew I was supposed to hear the results late that day and indeed when the doctor called, I had to sit down, while Mom busied herself in another room. The cells were precancerous and Stage 0. The treatment would be the same with further surgery needed as well as determining where it may have spread. There are so many Blessings in finding these things out, regardless of where, in their very early stages. Please have your screenings regularly as it really does matter. I was encouraged to have a second opinion from a highly recommended physician and in short, he was a better choice for me. The lumpectomy and lymphadenectomy were scheduled for Nov 1st. I tried to convince Dr P. not to remove all my lymph glands under my arm as I had learned of a less invasive procedure. I was a swim instructor and knew this could change my ability to do so. The new method was on the cusp of becoming the preferred practice, but he was going to stay with his plan. I am beyond thankful that again the church helped fund my Mom’s return and a younger sister came along for a few days. I didn’t get to stay the night at the hospital (although later learned my insurance would have covered it). So, my sister had to drive us home in my old car that did not have adequate heat to clear the windows, in the rain, the dark, and in a large unknown city. It was amazing to feel how many bumps, turns, stops, and fast braking it took to get there! Over the weekend and again with ice packs, a friend drove us to the coast so Janice could see the Pacific Ocean and some very large rocks. We made it to a favorite beach of mine and got her through a tunnel under a mountain to a very secluded beach I have always called “The Planet of the Apes” (You’d have to see it to know what I mean) but







{ HIP HEMP TRACY TALKS} } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “Using these products began to make a difference for this woman in her early 60s especially since I am also a swim instructor.”

not without her turning a strange color of green herself. The time there was very short and although making the whole trip was not my best choice for the day, I’m not giving it back.

to report the good news. My minister took me home and I must have still been under the influence of my guys as I talked nonstop the whole way. I felt a little bad for her later. Grin.

Mom was able to stay several more days and was a huge help as we navigated the pain and drains. Throughout all of it I tried to spare her from seeing my wounds and the times I cried in the shower. She was tougher than I gave her credit for, but I tried to protect her all the same. My mobility did not let me dress the wounds, but I would place the gauze before I needed her help with the taping.

Radiation started in late January after I had healed enough. I was teaching swimming and was ready two weeks into the treatment when the session ended. I was given thirtythree days of Monday through Friday but fortunately only needed one day off to let my skin rest. My time spent on this went so much better than other stories I have heard.

I believe laughter is hugely important to the healing process and I encourage you to find ways to help you get there. Videos were a great choice, and a particular one came to mind, “Waking Ned Devine” (Go ahead and try to find it and then maybe play it over to catch the Irish speech. Or listen fast!) and we crowded maybe 5 of us into my small bedroom to watch it on my VHS. Others helped too. Throughout these surgeries a friend was giving me Rieke treatments to assist the healing and she would create a peaceful setting for me on the floor, with candles, and quiet. My house rabbit had to be right in the mix and snuggled next to me during her time there. We laughed but even though she had her own rabbit I think I was the only person she treated with a funny bunny in the session. I’m certain it helped in every way including having the drains removed sooner than expected. I had to have one more lumpectomy in Dec to get to clean margins. As usual, the anesthesiologists came in to begin the sedation beforehand but, it was a little over an hour later when they saw me dancing as I called my folks from the nurse’s station

By late March I was able to go for a Volks walk, with a friend at the coast although the wind was a challenge to my lung, chest, and energy. Small victories of returning to my normal were important. And at the end of April, I traveled again with one of my marching bands to San Antonio, Texas for their Fiesta Flambeau celebration and parade. Just at the point I felt I could not play my flute or carry my music any further we turned a corner to find our busses waiting for us. What a great place to celebrate my forty fifth birthday with friends and to feel my strength returning. Life went on. I resumed my multiple jobs, played in both marching bands, worked huge biking and walk events and kept up with my annual mammograms until…2006 when the radiologist found a spot of concern. I visited with my surgeon from 2000 although Dr P. could not do anything due to my insurance other than share his opinions. His radiologist read the results and they concurred I should wait for six months and then be rescreened. There was a possibility it would resolve itself. In March of 2007 I went for the follow-up mammogram and indeed the concern was still visible. A biopsy was required, and I learned a mastectomy would be my only option if

cancer had returned. I asked to wait until after April when I would once again march in the celebration in San Antonio in front of a mere 700,000 attendees. It is a lovely time to visit Texas and have a break from the dark and dampness of the northwest. I would not be healed enough for all the aspects of traveling and participation if I had the biopsy beforehand. I was told to go and have a great time. “Viva La Fiesta!” Tests were done in early May and on the 15th, I went for another visit with my new surgeon. The diagnosis? Yes, to cancer and that there were actually two types. I thought I would be fine going to this appointment alone which as you can surmise was clearly a mistake. I struggled to stay focused and absorb the details for sharing with family and friends, also waiting for the results. The obvious main element of the conversation and although I was semi-prepared for was that a mastectomy was the only choice… other than do nothing. Repeating radiation was could not even be considered. Yes, I felt like I was in a Charlie Brown classroom where the teacher was talking but it was difficult to fully comprehend what was being said. The surgery was scheduled for June 22nd, and I was assured I would be given an anti-anxiety medication, because of my previous experience, for the nuclear test that would happen before the surgery. This test was to check whether the cancer had spread into my lymph nodes this time. That didn’t exactly happen, and I must have looked like a petulant and defiant brat on my bed that morning. The doctor had not placed the order and I was so fearful of the reactions my body had been through in 2000 that I would not let them proceed. I was going to lose my left breast that day regardless of the results of having the nuclear medication injected into it. I sat there with my legs crossed and my arms ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{ HIP HEMP { {SHIFT+CONTROL TRACY TALKS} } } “Sharing the in-depth experiences is a challenge. First, you may have been through this. Second, you may have this waiting for you and third, some of it remains too raw even now.”

s over my chest – protecting it, protecting me. All of this was holding up everyone’s schedule and they scrambled to call the doctor for the order. Why do the tears come to my eyes these many years later as I revisit what was happening and my efforts to advocate for myself? In the meantime, there was a very kind man working the reception for that medical wing and he was able to bring Mom in from the waiting room and she stayed until the sedative arrived and the injections would begin. I had been worried about her due to her medical concerns and navigating the hospital for the cafeteria, etc. It was a comfort to both of us and just maybe I needed a knight in dress shirt and slacks that day. A resident sat with me as I lay in a half of a tube with the diagnostic machine overhead. She wanted to know my story and understand my fears and even without her name, I will never forget her. I lay there with a portable CD player, from my sister, Nan and listened to her gift of offering me strength for the day. “Celtic Women”. Eventually I fell asleep as the screening repeatedly crossed my body. The mastectomy happened a few hours later and my new normal arrived. Many lymph nodes had been excised years before and the surgeon was not able to locate anymore through this sinal node testing. Again, a test or surgery I didn’t really need. Mom and I did some day jaunts after a few days, and I had to leave most of the pain medications behind as she was not comfortable driving. She was there to help me, and I wanted to share time in a different way than just medically. I have shared many details and have left so many out maybe to protect you or maybe me, as I said earlier. The omitted elements are primarily the physical recoveries but as many of you know there are emotional 254


ramifications not always clear from the start. There are a few I am willing to share, and I expect anyone having a mastectomy may have experienced similar issues. Each recovery will stand alone as unique as the individual and perceptions of what that healing includes. Some of the printed information does cover what to expect along the way. I had read about the loss of balance in the early stages of the progression to recovery. I am a small breasted woman and did not believe I would have that challenge. My swagger in the first few days rivaled a “drunken sailor”. Another one happened when I was able to spend more time in the water. It was amazing how much it helped with the swelling and mobility. But, gliding is a special focus of mine for teaching some segments of strokes and I use it as a form of meditation before the work begins. I would set off in my streamlined position only to have my body roll to being face up (single breast up). I found this to be concerning and very humorous. As mentioned, I am very small but when the sick one was removed down to the chest wall it took some getting use to the sound and temperature of swallowing beverages. I don’t think this was covered in the printed materials. I was fortunate this time to have started acupuncture including right up until the day before surgery as well as maybe two days after. I know it clearly helped the recovery process. Medication is a great asset for pain management but please consider these alternatives for anything you are recovering from or everyday life in general. At that time, I was not able to have reconstruction and be absent from work for any lengthy period. My main job was as a para educator in special needs for the school district and my summer job kept me busy on the deck of the pool overseeing the lesson program. In addition, I worked other jobs to supplement my income. Three

weeks after surgery I was at the pool and still not completely healed when an instructor became ill. I had to take her lessons. I knew it would hurt, but I was very gentle entering and with my movements. In those moments, I clearly understood a change the water had provided and that my body was going to recover by using the water. Still, I was also thankful that it was only for one or two classes. At some point I was fitted for a prosthesis and thus began the trials of what type of bra would work for it. Some days while hurrying to dress it went flying across the room or when I accidently put it in backwards one day and went to work. The dent was notable, but laughter helped. It was supposed to make me look normal but there were times I disliked having to be so aware of where it was or where it was sliding to. And it did not work in my bathing suits. The next huge stage was meeting the oncologist and what the possible adjunct therapies would be. Tests were done and, on the day, I would learn whether I would be having chemotherapy or not I took friends with me to his crowded little exam room. They were a representation of my life … work, church, and marching bands. I had been alone when I received the cancer diagnosis in May, and I just needed every one of them. On the chart presented I was on the very low mid-range, and it was deemed that I was not a candidate for that therapy. I was placed on an anti-estrogen however and slammed me into menopause. Speaking of friends, I want to acknowledge there were so many who supported me through both cancer journeys from every aspect of my life. The cards, phone calls, gifts, hugs, emails, and prayers have meant so much. One clearly knew my power color and the red scarf she gave me helped my strength on some tough days in the very




{ HIP HEMP { {SHIFT+CONTROL TRACY TALKS} } } “ “Blessings are coming your way you NEVER knew you needed!”

y beginning. I will be indebted to those folks for the rest of my life. And I am beyond thankful to the friends who helped Mom fly to Oregon and for all of her incredible help. And as with my male friend from the first journey there were others who just could not handle being a part of any of it, which made me sad but, were not the people I should have spent energy on. They sit in the same category as the friends who doled out platitudes like it was a sugar treat. Most of us start out taking a few minutes to an hour at a time but I still want to scream when I hear “take it one day at a time”. I think that person really couldn’t handle what my truth was… even now. Some people have a person whom they live with, and that person stays all the way through providing support both physically and emotionally including at times financial support while time is needed for healing. 256


And there are those of us on our own and not held in the darkest part of the night when the fears of the huge monster are the hardest and tears need to be shared. We are not caressed and shown that we are still beautiful and desired. That’s the way it is for some of us but make no mistake we are strong, and we pull ourselves up because of our own strength and that outside support from so many beautiful people. The years passed before I could even think about reconstruction for a variety of reasons. This is a completely different story with challenges that were in so many ways harder along the way. Maybe someday I will share but there are so many methods, and I am mindful that your journey has likely been different. I will wait. It took place in 2016 and required the 6 surgeries I spoke of at the beginning. I have

something that works without the prosthesis, its warm, and it keeps me balanced in the pool. Wonderful! Not everyone is as fortunate as I have been. Friends and family have passed from this insidious disease although they were so strong throughout. None of us knows what we face down the road. Once diagnosed you always have it with you . One thing I would like to impart with you regardless of what you are facing is something that came to me clearly… “Blessings are coming your way you NEVER knew you needed!” Pay attention! It may not be gray. PS. I have taken both grammatical and literary license on purpose. Missing her









Beauty is commonly described as a feature of objects that makes these objects pleasurable to perceive such objects include landscapes, sunsets, humans, and works of art. But what does BEAUTY mean to you? The six-letter word has many definitions. Depending on your specific lens, how you view yourself and the world. It is said beauty is the eye of the beholder. Beauty is more than appearance; it is more than the outer layer. We have all heard many times that beauty is skin deep but is it also deeper than that. Beauty is not always about our outside looks, but it also includes our personality. Beauty is not only what the media portrays as a stunning symmetrical face or thin physique. How many times have you encountered a beautiful person to the naked eye and experienced their bad attitude? Beauty can be described in various ways. Beauty could mean a summer breeze on a hot day, a food dish you have prepared for the first time, or a newborn baby you have created out of love with your significant other. How can we embrace our beauty and beauty standards in the world today? Let’s dive into it! Beauty to me is self-love and inner/ energy reflecting from the inside out of a healed spirit. Bodacious, Effulgent, Ambitious, Unique, Tenacious, and Youthful is how I

describe what Beauty means to me! Bodacious: be bold, to go for all the things you desire without hesitation, fear, or doubt. You have what it takes to conquer your dreams and goals. Effulgent: shining all the brightness from the smiles, positive energy, and inspiration to those who cross my path. I am the champion of goodness, and you are too. Ambitious: always have intrinsic motivation to be successful and the desire to achieve your goals. Unique: remaining confident in your authentic self, focused on being your best self, and knowing you are not in competition with anyone else. Let’s face it, there is no one like you and that is a beautiful thing. Tenacious: showing determination and persistence by any means necessary. Simply because you deserve it, you can achieve and ultimately maintain it. Youthful: exuding enthusiasm to take better care of your mind, body, and spirit daily. So, what does BEAUTY mean to you? Drop it in comments on IG or FB: All Things Dr. J. Beauty. Be sure to visit us for more Beauty highlights via



{ HEIDI’SBYLAW { { SHIFT+CONTROL BEAUTY DR J} } } “Bodacious: be bold, to go for all the things you desire without hesitation, fear, or doubt.”






SPIRIT COMMUNICATION FROM AN ABANDONED KITTEN It was the beginning of a 5-Day Retreat. And, as in any multi-day meditation retreat, I am visited by animals. This is a classic experience of the Shaman’s Journey.

going berserk as the hopeful intruder faced him off from the other side of the glass door.

constant mewing I heard her say, “Please help me. I’m afraid. I’m alone. I’m lost. Let me in.”

What to do. I found an empty box in the garage, grabbed one of my pup’s blankets, and set it outside for her to sleep in. I fed her bowl after bowl of milk.

My mind spun with worry. “There are coyotes out there,” I thought. I practiced land protection, and sent healing energy to little kitten. On Day 3 I broke my silence and used the magical science of texting to shout out to a group of my friends and clients. Little kitten’s story and photo reached each of their hearts. In minutes, there was a taker!

My visitor this time was an absolutely adorable black little kitten, with a voice to match. My opening day of silence was broken by her sweet but constant, ‘Mew.’ The sound hung in the air like a lost angel searching for her home.

Shannon showed up within the hour with a crate, cat food, medicine, and blanket. But letting kitten go was not easy for me!

She arrived on my back doorstep, staring with her big green eyes through the glass doors that separated her from all the comforts of home.

In those three days I had created a bond with that kitten. We meditated sideby-side with only a window between us.

I didn’t know what to do. I’m highly allergic to cats. So, I meditated. That was, after all my intention for the next five days. During my meditation, she climbed up onto an outdoor chair and peered within. At completion of my practice, she literally tried jumping through the window. Instead, she smashed into it and fell. My heart was breaking! My dog was 264


The next two mornings I found her nestled in the box. Almost purring. Later as I moved throughout the house, she followed, as if detecting my energy, attracted to my inner light. And with a

She ran right to me with those big green eyes, and seemed to ask if it would be all right to go with Shannon. I nearly kissed her sweet head as I passed her along, and gave her the blessing. After tick removal and a whole lot of love, this little kitten has found her home, and is sharing it with two dogs! I’m so grateful for my network, and

{ MIND, BODY, AND SPIRIT } “A little black kitten awoke me to the suffering of children all over the world. By feeding and sheltering one, you give hope to many more.”

especially for my shaman friend, Shannon for taking her in. Oh. By the way, she was a he! Little kitten is a boy.

those in need, and confirmed that I am indeed in the right profession as a healer and coach!

As in any Shamanic Journey, one is visited by an animal guide or spirit.

The most profound message was revealed during a meditation where I was taken on a tour of the earth. I was shown children: homeless, dirty, and hungry. My heart cracked open and a flood of desire to help them arose.

I remember reading about one Shaman’s journey where she set up a tent in a mountainous area and was awakened by a lion - sleeping against her body on the other side of the tent! Fear kept her immobilized until the big cat woke and moved on. But the power of that spirit communication was remarkable. I must admit, I’m fine not having a lion sleep next to me. A little black kitten on my doorstep is perfect! The messages are just as profound. This is why animals visit during a multiday journey, often called a Vision Quest. They offer you messages to reflect upon and unravel. They are symbolic of your inner awakening. What message did little kitten offer me? She/he gave me plenty to contemplate during those five days. It was revealed to me that inner personal traumas and issues of abandonment needed to be addressed and healed. Fortunately, I was able to confront the origins of these issues, and apply my healing techniques along with deep and cleansing meditations to remove any debris. It showed me how sensitive I am to 266


to charitable causes to support them. A listing below shows both local and national organizations that you can look into and choose to support. • Angels of Mercy • Big Brothers - Big Sisters • Bivona Child Advocacy Center • Border Angels • Border Kindness • Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester • Catholic Family Center • National Center for Missing & Exploited Children • Open Door Mission • ROC the Day • Rochester Make-A-Wish • Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking • Save the Children • Soles 4 Souls • St Jude • StandUp for kids • UNICEF • Willow A little black kitten awoke me to the suffering of children all over the world. By feeding and sheltering one, you give hope to many more.

Every day, I take for granted the food I eat, the bed I sleep in, and the warmth that the furnace in my home provides me. I clothe myself and my children. I love them and feed them. I protect them, as much as possible. On day 4 I began to include children in my meditations offering them energetic love and guidance. Today, I contribute

The kitten is now a very happy member of Shannon & Stu’s home along with dogs, Coal and Buffy. He has been named, Floki after the fierce Nordic sea farer and Viking. Alana Cahoon is the Amazon #1 Best Selling Author of Mindfulness, Mantras & Meditations: 55 Inspirational practices to Soothe the Body, Mind & Soul. www.

“… a complete set of tools to align mind and body, and Þll you

with a strong sense of inner peace.” -Velvet Spicer, journalist

“This book will change your life. Alana is the one person I can trust and rely on in a crazy, unreliable, and ever-changing world.” Vaneeta Baronas, MD


Creative Coach & Author, Alana Cahoon guides individuals on their path to personal & professional transformation. Grow your business. Expand your mind. Heal your soul.






Recently I have immersed myself in listening to one of my favorite podcast’s “The Happiness Lab” with Dr. Laurie Santos. There are some new episodes so with glee I have been listening to them over and over and over and over. I do have a tendency to repeatedly listen (or watch) something I like. Sometimes perhaps a wee bit too much, yet this is how I roll. The past few days I have listened to an episode titled the “Kindness of Strangers.” Part of the episode explored the bystander actions when Kitty Genovese who was murdered in 1964. It was reported at the time that there were 38 bystanders who did nothing to help. Yet when Kitty’s older brother went back years later he found that many people tried to help. Another part of the episode explored research regarding bystanders and what propels them into a helping action. Researchers found that giving people to permission to help, along with the expectation to be kind, made a difference in people taking actions to help strangers. Researchers found that people want to help. They do want to take actions to help those around them. Being in a crowd of people can have an impact on whether or not we take an action to help. Studies have shown with more people help is less likely to occur unless, as Ken Brown states in “The bystander effect is complicated -here’s why” TEDxUIowa, “when ONE person actively helps then people are more likely to be in a position to aid further. People become more likely to help.” One person can be the catalyst for unlocking others frozen in the uncertainty swirling in their thoughts of what to do, is it okay to do something, perhaps someone else will do something,

mindset in that moment. One person can do all of that. Another way one person can initiate positivity is with gratitude. The psychology of being thankful and sharing thanks can create a ripple of good. According to Greater Good Magazine by Berkely.Edu “researchers studying gratitude found that being thankful and expressing it to others is good for our health and happiness. Not only does it feel good, it also helps us build trust and closer bonds with the people around us. These benefits have mostly been observed in a two-person exchange—someone saying thanks and someone receiving thanks. A recent study suggests that expressing gratitude not only improves one-on-one relationships, but could bring entire groups together—inspiring a desire to help and connect in people who simply witness an act of gratitude.” Your actions of gratitude and thanks, being on the receiving end of gratitude and thanks, has the potential to bring groups of people to together, inspire a desire to help, because someone witnessed gratitude and thank you in action. You can do all of that. As I reflected upon the events going on in the world along with events occurring around me I noticed how often it was one person’s action that was the catalyst for other people joining in to help. One person’s action helped to defrost the frozenness of other’s around them, propelling groups of people into positive, supporting, helping, and actions. What does this mean for me and for you? It means the actions we take count. What we do matters. We can be “the change we want to see in the world” by

showing kindness and caring for our fellow humans. If we are in a situation where something not good is occurring, our personal actions can help others to follow and help. While we share the uncertainty of what to do, or should we do anything, taking a helpful action for another person who appears to be struggling is the right thing to do. I have had moments where I knew I wanted to help someone in distress, yet felt uncomfortable or frightened to do so. The times I pushed through that fear to help felt so much better that the times I did nothing. Think of it this way. If you are wondering whether or not you want, or should, be doing something to help and support another person, means you want to do something otherwise you would not be thinking about it. You are wanting to take an action. Perhaps you need to follow what your heart is telling you to do. Leading the way in showing gratitude to others creates ripples of goodness all around you. Expressing gratitude, which as Dr. Robert Emmons professor of psychology at the University of California states “is an active process of acknowledging goodness and recognizing the source” It can seem like doing this is a small thing. For any of you who have played Jenga you know there can be that unexpected piece that can hold everything up or let all the Jenga pieces crumble. You just never know whose life you might change by the actions you take. If you want things to change in your life, in the world in which we live, you have the power to be that change. May your power of one be with you.







My Sunday mornings are sacred. I work Monday-Saturday. Sundays are personal, quiet, and commitment-free. As a woman who is almost always scheduled, that unscheduled time is the rejuvenation I need. Someone had reached out to see if I would want to go running on a Sunday morning- I thought about it, and politely declined saying that my Sunday mornings were my only unscheduled time. He persisted. In that moment, this yoga teacher felt a wave of rage wash over her. How dare someone try to interrupt my down time? As the rage subsided, I found myself sitting on the couch, trying to write up long texts, explaining myself. Second guessing myself – maybe I should go, maybe I should give up just this one Sunday, I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was rude, unkind, or unaccommodating. I do need the exercise. The rabbit hole continued, if I say no he may even tell clients not to support me. I’ll be broke and alone. Does this spiral sound familiar at all? Guilt was what I was feeling. A feeling of not doing enough. And then the realization finally came to me. This is people pleasing behavior. I am a people pleaser and totally missed that I do this for the last how many decades of my life? As I looked at my overbooked social calendar, I knew I had to make some shifts, to avoid running myself ragged into 2022. The holiday season is one

of my favorite times of the years – how can I help myself enjoy it? How can I put my needs first? We all know many of us are too busy. Easily pulled into over-committing. To be realistic, if your people pleasing tendencies run deep – you really may need to do some deep inner work to get to the root of it. This article in no way replaces that. A therapist or life coach can help peel back some of those layers to really help you learn to love and support yourself, all twelve months of the year. Here are a few shifts I’ve made for myself over the years, I hope they work for you. 1. What do you want? This is the most important step. I see a lot of women, with all the scheduled selfcare in the world, without a whole lot of joy in their lives. Set a sheet of paper or journal out on a table with a writing utensil. Before you even start to answer the question, move your body! Go for a walk, take a yoga class, kickbox, dance, something that makes you huff and puff a bit. Now, coming from a more embodied self, write down what you want for your holiday season. Calm? Connection? More laughter? Fun? You can journal as much as you like but try to whittle the essence of it down to a word or a sentence that can serve as a mantra for the next few months. When the tug of committing to something you don’t want to creeps in, repeat your mantra to yourself. Example: Your why is “Peace at home.” When you get asked to participate in the annual cookie exchange that really is more of a chore than fun, and you envision

yourself rearranging the whole day for it, running in after a few drinks it and needing to quickly feed everyone at home, maybe even getting short with your spouse- remember your mantra and politely say you can’t make it. Alternatively, if you want to go but you’re getting asked to man a carpool for someone else, do what you want! 2. When is your you time? Without time to take care of yourself you won’t be able to accomplish the why. The saying no is the hardest part. Make some non-negotiable self-care time. Whether it’s three minutes of meditation in the morning or ten minutes of a walk, don’t let yourself get put at the bottom of your own to-do list. In the dark morning hours, sometimes I’ll even just sip my coffee in the quiet and admire my own Christmas lights in the living room. If you have time and space carved out for yourself that you can feel happy and confident about, when someone asks you to show up to something else, you have a reason to say, “no thanks.” I get it – sometimes it seems selfish or even flat out impossible to carve out some time for yourself, but once you get in a daily groove of it, it becomes a non-negotiable. 3. Drop the guilt. Some years our family goes out to dinner for Thanksgiving. Personally, I love the tradition. A full house can be wonderful for dinner, but a lot more work and we all usually end up eating ourselves sick because it’s food.all. day. I have several friends, whose ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{ LIFE IN BALANCE } SHIFT+CONTROL “Sundays are personal, quiet, and commitment-free. As a woman who is almost always scheduled, that unscheduled time is the rejuvenation I need.“

opinions I’ve never asked – but have replied “you’re not supposed to go out to dinner for Thanksgiving!” If someone has limiting beliefs, it’s not your problem. Don’t let them get under your skin. You’re on different paths. Let them work through their own supposed-to’s on their time, not yours. Now go craft or sip a hot toddy. There’s no need to replay the conversation in your head. Your time is too valuable. If you can’t discharge that negative energy, try doing some 272


hard, fast exercise like a short sprint or jumping jacks. “If we want to live a Wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play, and about letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth.”- Brené Brown At the end of the day, saying no did not feel good. But it made me a healthier, happier, and more well-

rested version of myself. It prevented me from lashing out at any family members during Sunday dinner, and as my dog rested on my feet that Sunday morning, I knew this was exactly where I was supposed to be. It’s not too late to change your life this year. Call Kaitlyn for a free phone consultation to see how you can use yoga therapy to become healthier and happier. (585) 200-7209 or TozziYoga. com for more information. .



Hey, hey ladies! Welcome to my new monthly column! Each month I will be writing about a different topic of interest and sharing my thoughts with you about it. It will be a range of different topics, some informational, some controversial, sprinkled with a bit of thought-provoking or relevant topics relative to what’s happening locally or in the world. You will have to check in monthly to find out!

thought-provoking questions to assist the client to think about possibilities they haven’t before or look at something from a different lens, which may help move the client one step closer to their goals. Coaching is not for everyone, and there is no guarantee of success. You will get as much out of it as you are willing to put into it. Life coaching has been

I thought to kick off the column I would talk about coaching; What it is, what it isn’t, and everything in between. Many people have heard of coaching on some level but may not have a good understanding of what coaching is all about and how it differs from therapy. So, what is coaching? Coaching is an agreed upon partnership with no power differential between the coach and client. The coach assists the client to identify goals they want to work towards and helps the client to develop a plan on how to get there or achieve the goals. The coach considers the client the expert on their own life and believes that each person already has everything they need inside them to reach their goals, but may need someone to guide them, support them, identify strengths, explore, and overcome barriers, and help them stay accountable to themselves. In today’s fast-paced, multi-tasking world, a coach may be the one person that will give you their undivided attention and listen to understand, instead of listening to respond, which is invaluable. The coach is also skilled in asking powerful, 274


psychological problems. This is often done (not always) by exploring the past and working toward an understanding of underlying personality dynamics that may be contributing to symptoms. Therapy is a much-needed service and is beneficial in supporting and assisting people who are suffering from various mental health disorders and/or trauma. Both coaching and therapy are important ways to address issues; AND they are quite different in scope, perspective and technique. If you are currently receiving counseling or therapy and are interested in coaching, it is suggested that you disclose this information to your coach so that they can support you in your efforts in therapy. Working with a life coach can sometimes support work done in therapy if there is communication between the therapist and coach. If you are interested in coaching or would like more information, feel free to contact me @ crwcoaching@, (585)210-0263, or visit my website, www.crwcoaching585. com

researched and proven to be beneficial to many individuals. Therapy is a health care service with a primary focus on the identification, diagnoses, and treatment of mental health disorders. The therapist is seen as the “expert” who will “treat” patients to alleviate their problems, change behaviors and/or cope with existing

I am offering a free 30-minute phone consultation, no obligation, where we can explore if coaching is a good fit for you. I specialize in coaching women, leaders, LGBTQIA+, and women in recovery. Until next month, keep being your authentic, amazing, ferocious, fabulous selves! Cheri



{ CHERI’S COACHING CORNER } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “Until next month, keep being your authentic, amazing, ferocious, fabulous selves! “












There’s a focus on giving this time of year with family, friends and to those that are in the greatest need. I am always surprised by the human spirit to go above and beyond their capabilities and above any expectations. We are no different trying to make it a little less expensive by cutting our shipping price by 50% so more can be provided for other essentials. It’s that special time of year again. Please consider supporting your local wineries as we have been a part of the supply chain that have seen what happens when our restaurant clients were shutdown and not allowed to show our product at wine shops as well as having all festivals and gathering shutdown. Every known means to sell just completely gone. Yes, Americans were able to purchase at our local wine shops which did saw sales beyond any expectations as they filled the need and survived. National brands all faired well with one notable exception. The fifth largest Chateau Ste Michelle which mismanaged their business in every way possible during the pandemic and are in the process of being sold and will most likely be sold off. The vineyards that provided the grapes saw guaranteed contract broken by Chateau Ste Michele. Many of these were small family operation close to approximately half of vineyards in Washington state. Here in the Finger Lakes, our wineries have creative minds and began without hesitation trying any option to reach customers including direct sales to delivery to home. This was an idea that originated back in the days even before I was born. We had an insulated box where milk was delivered on a regular basis reliably, the same with chips and

ice cream. Since winery tasting rooms weren’t able to receive visitors inside pickups became a way for customers to stop by and have wine placed in their car trunks for curb side none contact sales. And the rise of direct to consumer (DtC) sales by mailing Finger Lakes wines to those we couldn’t reach by the first two means. It didn’t even come close to match our prior year’s sales, but the wineries held on with a skeleton staff as the tasting rooms which had represented between 50 to 85% of sales disappeared. The Finger Lakes wineries made it by somehow… well with a bunch of fans that decided that we were worth keeping us around. A deep thanks and appreciation to those believed better days would eventually come. And now we’ve come to realize this corona virus has morphed several times and the threat still threatens our existence still. I don’t understand why there is such reluctance of those who aren’t willing to get vaccinated. Yet, that’s another issue. But I can tell you this that everyone on our staff have been vaccinated as we don’t want to be the ones that create a situation where we’re a cluster center. We do want to allow those who are vaccinated to feel a level of comfort to visit our tasting room. How did we make it thru the worst of pandemic? We starting broadcasting on Facebook Live for 30 weeks pouring samples of our wine along with two Rieslings from our friends over 60 in all. When finished, we had a lot of fun as it was informative and entertaining when there wasn’t live sports on TV. With over 100,000 views in total with our last one on Christmas Eve pouring our Finger Lakes Sparkling wine. Our

“Champagne” was released in August and now available in wine shops, restaurants and at our tasting room. And when it was possible, we moved from filming from my couch to the dining tables in the regional restaurant’s to show the public that it was safe to return to at first outside service and eventually inside. What else a redoubling of our effort to gain more wine shop clients than ever before in the same time frame, then worked with the New York Department of Health and Liquor Authority to be meet and even exceed the requirement and guidelines to provide in store wine tastings. Then gave the information on how to for our winery friends so they could join us. We also didn’t forget about helping the community. Our continuing campaign to help finance the Miracle on Ice statue to be constructed for the Lake Placid hockey area, and giving to many 501C3 charities to numerous to mention. And we are grateful being able to do what we can. So when you head out to consider wine as a gift or to serve at your holiday events, please think Finger Lakes. Six Wines for the Holidays … Red, White, Blush, Sparkling, Fortified and Dessert. When walking into a wine shop or ordering from the wine list at the restaurant, you’ll be able to confidently making the decision based on a level of knowledge gained among the overwhelming variety. And available from the over 200 wineries in the Finger Lakes. You should also take advantage of the many wine tastings offered nearly every weekend inside the area wine stores. Be surprised and expand your palate in the process!



{ TRAVEL WITH AGNESS WINE }CELLARS } { SHIFT+CONTROL “So when you head out to consider wine as a gift or to serve at your holiday events, please think Finger Lakes.”




Agness Wine Cellars Tasting Room

NOW OPEN 265 NY 14 Lyons NY 14489 AGNESS

@ Toganenwood Estates

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It is the holidays and like everyone else, I am feeling overwhelmed. It is a race to shop, plan, work, and clean the yard up before the snow flies.

appointment and how filthy and happy they both were. We said goodbye and went our separate ways; me to my leaves, and she to her garage cleaning.

early relationships in life have meaning. I drew her name out of box and for a “Secret Santa” gift my junior year. Her favorite word is “jackass”.

It was early Saturday morning, and I was tired. The work week was long, and my yard looked like a blanket of yellow and orange. Every time I looked out the window it was nagging me. I decided to get my dog Ted, my other nag, some exercise before I got started raking.

I wondered why I said what I felt aloud. I will admit it felt good to say it to someone. My life is filled with friends and family who love me, so why do I feel like I am drowning some days? I feel like I must do it all and I am tired. I wake up every day and say to my myself, let’s do it all again. Don’t we all feel that way at times? I know I am not alone in my periodic state of loneliness. I started thinking about the people in my life who were always there to throw me a life preserver, lately they have all been women.

These are generous women I share insecurities, and dirty secrets with, and feel supported no matter what. They are my people, my tribe, my emotional posse who allow me to be myself. Who needs to be part of the boy’s club when you have strong unique women in your life who love you and want to help? Why did it take an afternoon of wet leaves to realize that it is not about having a lot of people in your life, just a few important ones? I was feeling alone because I forgot to remember the collective power they hold in my life.

My neighbor and I run our dogs every day. On this day, she noticed I was unusually quiet, and asked what was wrong. I said, ‘I have never felt more alone.’ It was a little dramatic, unexpected, but honest and she was not prepared for it. I could not believe I admitted it. Our common ground is our dog’s love affair. We meet every day so our dogs can run, roll, eat dirt, and wait for a treat. We make small talk as Ted and Edith share the best moments of their day together. We converse about gardening, neighborhood gossip and what we made for dinner the night before. Riveting stuff.

My friend who does my nails is constantly adjusting appointment times to accommodate my changing work schedule. She is my bi-weekly therapist without the co-pay. My hairdresser books an extra half an hour for my appointment, so we have time to talk about new products, the annoying habits of middle-aged men, and our kids’ problems. My cut and color leaves me feeling refreshed and grateful for her non-judgement and candor.

But my neighbor is a constant in my life, and these days, someone I see and talk to more often than the ‘important’ people in my life. My unexpected blurt, left her speechless and uncomfortable. She is a stoic woman who has spent the last 20 years living alone. I am certain I sounded ridiculous.

My dog walker steps in on the days I work out of the house. When I’m sick she brings me soup and has a natural remedy for anything that ails me. Sometimes we spontaneously drink Prosecco together in the yard with a fire, laugh and debate politics. She mothers me because she knows my mom cannot these days.

I rattled on about being tired and tried to get off the conversation before it could start. I was also afraid I was going to cry. She willingly moved on and started talking about Edith’s next grooming

My oldest high school friend who lives four states away, sends me a box of fruit each month as a ‘thank you’ for helping her during her divorce. She is a constant source of humor and a reminder that

They are not my best friends; they are women who when I let them in, lift me up and keep me going with their feedback, honesty, and shared experiences. I am not alone, just a little lonely at times with all the responsibility of raising a daughter, caring for an ill parent, and running a business, and raking my yard. I saw my neighbor coming across the street. She simply said, “didn’t you want to have your gutters cleaned too?” She remembered It was during one of our morning runs with the dogs. I was not sure who was going to hold the ladder while I cleaned out the old dead leaves. “I’ll do it,” she said. She held on tight, and I promised not to get any of the old dead leaves on her. We chatted away about nothing. I did not realize she was already a member of my tribe. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{ HER EDGE } } { SHIFT+CONTROL “The most unexpected people are there for you, if you allow them in.”









DURING YOUR OFF SEASON Are you trying to achieve consistent social media engagement with your followers even though your brand may not be considered relevant all year round? Not all brands have a product or service in demand each and every season. Brand marketing leaders must think creatively to invest more in their content during seasons when customers will respond to it the most. However, the marketing for these brands should not dwindle down during their off season. It’s important to keep content consistent to retain followers and inspire purchases all year round. Here’s some ideas to maintain your brand through all four seasons: USE THIS TIME TO GENERATE CUSTOMER LOYALTY How often to post: If your business provides a product or service that’s deemed “irrelevant” for certain parts of the year, for example, a swimwear brand… staying on top of your social media content in the dead of winter is just as important as during the summer months. You want to be top of mind throughout the year. Posting one time per week during off-season, is NOT enough to sustain interest, that’s why it’s recommended you post at least 2-3 times per week during off-season. What content to post: Reach out to your customers and ask questions about what type of content they want to see from your

business as well as any insights on how products or services can be enhanced. It’s very important to take the time to LISTEN to what your market is telling you and fully engage in that conversation. Not only will this allow customers to feel a genuine connection to the brand and sustain their loyalty, but it will also naturally develop the business’ content profile to create posts that followers will interact with more authentically. Furthermore, asking your customers questions offers key reviews and testimonials from a variety of demographics that your business can gather for data analysis. Keeping engagement: One creative way to keep your audience engaged during your offseason is through user generated content. Having followers post reviews, tutorials, or even promotions to their personal pages for their intimate followers to see will help your business reach a lot more followers. Starting conversations on social media like Facebook and Twitter or engaging with popular influencers that are relevant to your brand are effective ways of sparking attention from audiences you may not have reached yet. Consumers trust the opinions of smaller influencers more than they do commercial advertisements, so creating positive relationships with these influencers will further advance the consumer experience. SHOWING CONSTANT VALUE IN THE CUSTOMER

You may be surprised to learn that much of modern retail relies on offering discounts during quieter periods in business. One way of following through with this is selling old stock for much lower prices or heavily discounting certain products that are in excess stock. Online retailers often offer free or discounted shipping during their off-season because it’s proven to be a powerful technique to drive sales when they’re expected to dip. Some customers may have one specific product from your brand that they consider indispensable, and if that product is popular amongst a wide market, there’s a great opportunity for you to offer a heavy one-day discount. Customers will remember they bought their favorite product during an off-season period which reminds them to stay engaged with your brand on social media all year to find out when the best deals happen. Use the time you have during your off-season and the data you have collected from engaging with your followers to make your content even better. Using all of your effort to develop plans, ideas, and a strong brand image will show your followers that you value their opinions and want to provide useful, enjoyable, and even entertaining content that reflects your values. Pushing relatable and educational blog posts across your platforms, shooting short-form video content/Reels, or curating a theme for your profile pages are just a few of the many ways marketers can take the time to enhance their content during the off-season. Providing useful, ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021


{{SHE SHE TALKS SHIFT+CONTROL }} } HUSTLES {HUSTLES B. MORTALKS } “Are you trying to achieve consistent social media engagement with your followers even though your brand may not be considered relevant all year round?”

educational content that’s relevant to your brand will help gain follower trust, which is very important rather than just posting content for clicks. It’s vital to stay on top of industry related news stories as well as form an official brand voice on relevant world topics that followers are interested in. DEVELOPING ALTERNATE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES Creating merchandise for customers to wear is another great way of earning a positive brand reputation by having a brand they’re proud to publicly represent and reaching new audiences through subliminal promotion. Having unique SWAG that customers will love, and that no other brand offers, keeps customers engaged all year round. Marketing teams like to start social media competitions around their SWAG where followers are encouraged to post a photo with the newest merchandise to win something, such as gift cards. Asking followers to tag your business or use a hashtag you created for that competition or promotion in their posts will increase overall brand awareness. Bottom line, providing brand-specific merchandise will keep your marketing momentum going throughout the year. Businesses want to represent the core of their content on the social platforms that are most relevant to the products or services they provide, for example an online retail store 292


will focus most of their branding content on photos for Instagram whereas a local business will focus their marketing on a more interactive platform like Facebook. A lot of businesses do not venture outside of one or a few platforms for their marketing because they believe it’s a lost effort. However, brands have slowly become more creative in how they can grow their brand awareness

and provide various types of content to reach a wider audience. For example, creating a YouTube page or Reels on Instagram for content such as tutorials on how to use products, useful tips, or videos encompassing your brand values and goals allows you to reach a new audience and grow overall brand interest. This also provides additional promotional opportunities such as video collaborations with popular influencers that want your brand to

gain more attention as well as theirs. Last but not least, brands are retaining their professional and wholistic standards on their strongest platforms, and then creating more personal profiles on separate platforms to drive alternative audiences. For example, brands are creating TikTok accounts that allows them to post more lighthearted, entertaining, and enjoyable content that can go viral much faster. This has recently been proven to help younger audiences learn about new brands. It’s also a great way for brands to broaden their brand voice to be more relatable to the general customer. Developing unique content on a non-traditional social media platform is another way of earning customer support and gaining marketing traction during off-season periods. These are just a few ways to keep your audience engaged even during slower times in your business throughout the year! Be sure to comment or reach out with your favorite ways to maintain your brand all year round! Cheers to connecting with purpose and intention, Bre



I try to be grateful every day, to see the gifts of ordinary life, and to be thankful. I find myself strolling through the plethora of tasks as if a horse with its blinders on. Tunnel vision seeing only what I need to do and accomplish to thrive as a small business, as a new self sustaining homestead. As a mother, with grown children who seem to never need me anymore. Picking and choosing a new path, yet still I strive to be grateful and appreciate the hidden treasures most people would overlook. Being thankful really isn’t about me, I find my best feelings of gratitude come when I give a smile to someone else. I hide behind small gestures of gratitude. I think so when I’m overwhelmed with feelings of doubt, I can remind myself of these brief moments in time. I recently had the pleasure of being out at the store with my 19 year old son. Nothing special, a quick trip here and a stop at the dollar store. As we left, an elderly woman watched as I returned my cart, then I took hers and replaced it as well. The look of surprise and joy as she said she wished everyone was as efficient as me, was my payment. And I was thankful for that moment, in the moment. I had a conversation with a pastor to ask if I could assist in collecting coats, hats, and mittens for the needy, and the conversation ended with his words of gratitude, and how these are the types of phone calls that he loves the most. And again, I was thankful. Thankful that I 294


took the blinders off long enough, that I went through several individuals before I actually got the proper phone number, so that I can give to people who need things more than me. The timeless life lesson I learned from my mom. I Remember as a child, we didn’t have the “extras” And sometimes went without. But one thing that stands out about my mom is watching her find a way

to give to someone else in need, even if it meant she went without. “They need it more.” Was one of her mantras. I never understood this, yet the feeling of giving when you yourself needed just as much,is something I am now grateful for. Now, as I sit here knowing I am thankful, I still ask myself. Am I truly grateful? Have I done enough, have I been there enough, said the right things, did I give when I was supposed to?

Have I shown up when needed? Have I done all the things I could to show those I care about just how thankful I am? Was I and am I enough? Maybe it’s the season that brings about all these thoughts. Maybe it’s age and time and memories that sometimes get lost, yet you want to keep them fresh, so you can see the time spent. Hear the words spoken, be in the moment, in that moment when you were truly grateful. For giggles from tiny faces of the children you adore. For walks in the woods, reminiscing. For that hug, the smile, the tear that escapes when emotions take your words. For sharing a coffee, hearing a story, playing that game one more time. For driving hours just to see someone, for sending the dumbest care package, because you really do care. For the look of surprise on a birthday for your bestie,or the look on a stranger’s face when you smile, like really smile. For the voice of my mom, in my head and on the phone. For not being able to afford everything, but still able to give to others, who need it more than me. For all of this I am thankful. And it isn’t just one day, or a season. I try to live everyday being thankful. Finding the small gifts of everyday life, and holding onto them, for the times I may forget just how grateful I am .




KARMA SPEAKS }} {{ SHIFT+CONTROL “I hide behind small gestures of gratitude. I think so when I’m overwhelmed with feelings of doubt, I can remind myself of these brief moments in time.”








It’s December! Blissful Image is wrapping up the year of 2021 with sadness & excitement! This year has been bittersweet to many, including myself & my business. I’ve been in “reflection” mode, analyzing what more I could have done this year, the unfortunate events that happened & how they could have been handled better; along with reflecting on my successes & losses. I’ve also been in deep thought on accomplishing new & old goals for the year to come. I give my good-byes to the year 2021 & begin my excitement for what awaits in 2022! Blissful Image has been slowly transitioning. In one of my previous articles on Rochester Woman Online, I wrote about Paramedical Tattooing & how it has always been on my list of goals to offer these life changing services. I shared how it has always been part of the vision of Blissful Image, to specialize in Paramedical Tattooing among other services. Unfortunately due to distractions & other priorities, that vision has not yet come to fruition. One of the goals for Blissful Image in 2022, is to make training for Paramedical Tattooing a priority! These services require proper training & advanced techniques. These services not only enhance appearances, but also changes & enhances lives! One of the resolutions for Blissful Image in 2022, is to make priority a series of training & certifications towards Paramedical Tattooing. I’m dedicating 2022 to be the year to get back on track! 298


Another goal for the upcoming year is to provide workshops & fun events! I am working on bringing back workshops not only for adults, but teens also! Some workshops will include: BASIC SKIN CARE ROUTINE *It’s important for everyone, especially pre-teens/teens to have a good skincare routine. Puberty & stress are not always kind to the body & many times it will reflect on the face in the form of Acne. Acne can be very problematic not only to the person’s appearance, but also their self-esteem. This workshop intends to give the basic tools to be proactive in properly treating & caring for your face. Basics of Make-Up Application (workshop for ages 13+) *As a teen, I wore so much make-up & used all the wrong colors/techniques. I did not have proper guidance to assist me in my make-up application or color choices appropriate for me. I find that nowadays, many people turn to YouTube & Social Media. Although there is nothing wrong with that, I find that many of those influencers focus on bold & glamorous looks. It is very rare that I come across someone that truly sticks to the basics & to my vision of a natural look. This workshop is intended to go back to the basics! A basic daily look that naturally enhances your appearance, without all the “extras”. Although the “extra” steps give amazing results, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea for their daily look.

HOW TO APPLY MAGNETIC LASHES *Lashes have made their presence to this world decades ago & are clearly here to stay! With so many varieties of lashes, it can get overwhelming! Some of us like Lash Extensions but have a hard time properly maintaining them. I am guilty of this! Some of us have difficulties applying strip lashes. That would also be me. This is where Magnetic Lashes come to the rescue! It is simple to apply, much like strip lashes but with reinforcements to help put on & maintain secured in place throughout your day! This Workshop will include supplies needed, along with a variety of lash styles to take home & enjoy. Blissful Image will also be partnering with people in the community to host events like: Smoothie Social, Mask & Mixology, also Happy Hour & Yoga! These are just a few events being planned. In order to stay updated with our workshops & events, you must stay connected to Blissful Image! Here are ways you can stay connected to Blissful Image: *Become be a member of the social media community via: FaceBook/ Instagram/TikTok *Subscribe to my YouTube channel: Blissful Image *Be a part of the Blissful Image Exclusive Community! It’s so simple to join!




{ {MY BLISSFUL IMAGE} } SHIFT+CONTROL “ Blissful Image will also be partnering with people in the community to host events like: Smoothie Social, Mask & Mixology, also Happy Hour & Yoga! These are just a few events being planned.”

Go to the website:, click the first link-Blissful Image, enter your email information in the dedicated section. That’s it! Every month you will get updates and/or exclusive offers. As we close out 2021, take some time to reflect. In that reflection, include one or both of the following questions & feel free to share with Blissful Image: 300


*What did I gain/accomplish in 2021? *What improvements can I make in 2022? Thank you everyone! My supporters, my readers & my clients! It has truly been an honor to be in your presence, whether it was in person, online or both! I look forward to seeing what the upcoming year has in store for us all. I also look forward to continuing to educate & entertain you this

upcoming year. Take care everyone & see you next year! Remember: self care is not selfish, it’s essential!




{ WELLNESS 360 }


You may think the word “aging” is for our senior population. Unfortunately, when it comes to the body and it’s functions, age 30 is when we begin to lose our muscle mass and bone density. There is never a wrong time to start exercising, but the earlier you make it a habit, the better. Exercise slows down the natural aging process. You will look and feel younger! In this article, we will talk about the best type of exercise to combat the effects of aging. STRENGTH TRAINING: Cardio exercise alone can encourage muscle loss. It is essential to add strength training into your workout routine, especially as we age. Strength training keeps your bones strong, keeps your metabolism moving, and produces strong lean muscles, improving your day-to-day functions. You can combat the aging process by incorporating strength training into your workouts. Here are some great ways to ensure you are getting strengthening exercises into your workouts. Just add: • Yoga • Dumbbell/kettlebell exercises • Strength training machines • Resistance bands • Bodyweight Bringing functional strength training into your workout is a great way to look better and be better equipped to handle your day-to-day functional task. Functional strength training includes squats, lunges, core strengthening, and more. These types of exercises translate into your daily routines like lifting objects, getting off the floor, transferring out of a chair, gardening, etc. You are never too old to start to incorporate strengthening into your workout, you just may need modifications. POSTURAL IMPROVEMENT EXERCISE Posterior chain exercises work on specific muscles, including your back, glutes, and hamstrings. These muscles are essential to 302


improve posture and improve functional activities. Most of us spend long hours sitting at a computer all day, driving, reading, etc. When we sit for long durations with forward posture, we end up with muscle imbalances. Chronic muscle imbalances lead to poor posture, increased fall risk, increased back pain, decreased ability to take deep breathe, neck pain, and more. How does your posture prevent deep breathing? Sit in a chair, exaggerate your forward slumped position. Now take a breath. Repeat this process while sitting tall with a purposeful tall posture. Notice the difference? Good posture allows deep, full breathes. The ability to breathe fully not only lessens your fatigue but can also decrease feelings of anxiety. Some great posterior chain exercises are: • Squats: Watch your form here. Good technique is pressing your butt back, not your knees forward. When you are in a squat position, your upper body should remain upright, and your weight should be in your heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes without difficulties. If you have difficulties wiggling your toes, then your knees are coming too far forward. A simple fix is to place a chair behind you and slowly lower your butt to tap the chair and stand back up. Do not forget to squeeze your glutes at the top. • Rows: These can be done with dumbbells or a resistance band. I prefer the resistance band here. Place the band around a solid surface. Grab the handles of the band and stand up nice and tall. With your elbows bent, pull your elbows back and squeeze between your shoulder blades. For more or less resistance, move closer or further away from the wall. • Bird Dogs: This is one of the best postural exercises. While on your hands and knees, slowly raise your right arm and left leg up simultaneously. Squeeze and hold for a few seconds. Repeat on the other side.

BALANCE TRAINING: As we age, our eyesight, hearing, and proprioception start to wear away. Proprioceptors are receptors in our body to tell our brains where our body is in space. Neuropathy and certain diseases can interfere with this system. The loss of any of these symptoms can significantly increase our risk of falling. Your balance can be improved with the appropriate exercises. There are multiple ways to improve your balance by static, dynamic, and agility training. You can start by standing on one foot. How long can you hold? Holding your balance for over 30 seconds with minimal wobble can significantly reduce your fall risk. Once you can hold your balance for 30 seconds, you will want to add movement, uneven surface, or agility to your workouts. Here are some great ways to intensify your balance routine. • Tandem stance progression Start by standing with one foot in front of the other. Once that feels easy, move a single dumbbell around your body. To progress this exercise, include movement by walking heel-toe while moving the dumbbell around the body. You can continue to make this exercise more challenging by changing the surface you are standing on, closing your eyes, head movements, and more. These are all great ways to improve your workout routine to support the aging process. Incorporating these exercises can make a significant difference in your body, safety, and daily activities. Each of these focused exercises will keep your posture upright, your bones strong, your muscles lean, and your joints healthy. Wellness 360 can provide support for your health and wellness needs. We offer individualized treatments through physical therapy, massage therapy, and additional wellness services. You can find out more through www.









Traveling to see family and friends during the holidays can fill your heart with joy and leave your body exhausted and in pain. We tend to push ourselves a little harder during the holiday season to keep families close and traditions fulfilled. This article will talk about tips and tricks to make your travel more enjoyable and less uncomfortable on your body. • TIP#1 TAKE REST BREAKS You have heard it multiple times; take rest breaks. But is it really important? The answer is Yes! Sitting in the car for long durations can wreak havoc on your joints, neck, back, and blood flow. Movement is the best medicine. Getting out of the car every 2-3 hours and even more often if you have had a recent surgery or injury. During these breaks, walk around and take a moment to stretch. The most important things to stretch are your back, hamstrings, hip flexors, and neck. Here are some great stretches you can do in & beside your car. o Piriformis stretch: Sit at the edge of your seat or on a park bench. Cross your right ankle over your left knee. If you feel a stretch, hold. If not, you can lean forward. This will give you a big stretch in your glutes and hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds and Repeat on the other side. o Hamstring stretch: Stand up next to your car for balance. Place your right heel on the curb and hinge forward at the hips until you feel a stretch. Keep the right leg straight and hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg. You can do this 2-3 times on each side. o Hip flexors: Place your hands on the roof of your car and step back with your right leg. Press your right heel toward the ground and press your hips forward. You will feel a big stretch in the front of your right leg. Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch to

your left leg. Repeat on each leg 2-3 times o Neck: Move your neck from side to side, holding for 10 – 15 seconds each. Finish up with some small neck circles. o Back: Reach your hands overhead, stretching toward your left and your right. If you have no history of bulging disc or hernia, you can hinge forward with straight legs. Let your body hang swaying lightly to the left and right. • TIP #2 HEEL PUMPS TO MOVE YOUR BLOOD Did you know that your calves are considered your second heart? It assists the venous flow of blood from your lower extremities up to your heart for purification. Sitting for long durations of time decreases the blood flow in your legs. This can increase the risk of blood clots or deep vein thrombosis. Between taking your walk breaks, stretch out those legs and pump your ankles. Pump them as if you are pressing on a gas pedal. You can do this as often as you like. Keep that blood flowing! • TIP #3 SUPPORT YOUR LOW BACK Sitting for long durations can cause you to slouch, putting unnecessary stress on your back. Using a small towel roll, bolster, or lumbar support will significantly improve your seated posture, support your low back, and decrease the stiffness in your back, neck, and shoulders. Take your lumbar support and place it right above your hips. Make sure the role feels supportive and not restrictive. • TIP #4 ROLL THOSE SHOULDERS BACK Forward slouched shoulders can cause mid-back and neck pain. Sitting in a car can reinforce this forward-rolled shoulder. Following step #3 and placing small lumbar

support at your back will help decrease this forward roll. Make a conscious effort to sit up tall and roll those shoulders back against your seat. Roll, relax and rest. • TIP #5 LIMIT YOUR PHONE USE Spending a long duration of time on your phone causes a forward head posture. For every inch your head sets forward, it adds 10-12 pounds to your head weight. This can create tension headaches and neck pain. The tighter your muscles become, the less range of motion you will have and the more discomfort you will have in your neck and shoulders. So put the phone down and enjoy the beautiful scenery, have a great conversation, or listen to a good audiobook. TIP #6 REMOVE THAT WALLET Sitting on a wallet can place uneven pressure on your pelvis. This is a guarantee for piriformis syndrome or SI joint dysfunction. If those terms sound foreign to you, it means significant back pain. You can carry your wallet in your back pocket; take it out when sitting in the car. Your back will thank you. Getting out to visit your friends and family is necessary for your mental health and wellness. Do not let pain stand in your way. If you have pain before your trip, seek physical therapy for individualized treatments to relieve your pain and regain your life. Wellness 360 Physical Therapy and Massage Therapy uses evidencebased exercises and treatments for your health and wellness needs. Scheduling an appointment is easy; call 585-259-0782. No Doctor script? No problem! Ask us about direct access. Check out more at





The holidays can be a wonderful, fun, and joyful season spent with family and friends. At the same time, it can generate a lot of stress for many reasons and in many ways. In addition, the holidays can take us off track when it comes to healthy daily habits. Some people (and I have done this myself) have a holiday mindset that says it’s okay to eat, drink, not exercise, stay out late, because it’s the holidays; I will get back to my healthy habits in January. Following are some of my best strategies for reducing stress and maintaining healthy habits while still enjoying the holidays:

a yoga class, meditate, whatever you need. Also, carve out time to connect with your immediate family and cherish special family traditions. 6. Strive to maintain a balance of about 75% nutritious foods to 25% indulgences. The holidays call for lots of parties and meals with special foods that are often prepared onlyduring the holidays. It is okay to enjoy special holiday treats. Be selective – choose your favorites and leave the rest. 7. Don’t go to parties hungry. A bowl of

1. Don’t wait until January. As much as possible maintain healthy habits. If there is a new habit that you want to add to your daily routine, don’t make it a New Year’s resolution – start small, but start now.

weight in ounces of fresh H2O. Have a glass of water upon waking. Drink a glass of water 15 to 30 minutes before each meal. Keep a water bottle with you and sip throughout the day. At parties, drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. 11. Get eight to ten hours of sleep each night. Going to sleep and waking at the same time every day helps you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Turn off all of your devices an hour before bedtime and keep them out of the bedroom. Create a relaxing evening routine to wind down for sleep. 12. Be Mindful. Pay attention to the people you are with and what you are doing. I like to meditate in the morning. I often listen to guided meditations which helps me to stay focused. This morning practice helps me to set myself up for the day ahead. Try to set aside 10 minutes during the day to sit in stillness. If you are new to meditation start by focusing on your breath. If you find your mind wandering, just return to your breath. That is the practice.

2. Plan ahead for holiday shopping. Schedule the date and time on your calendar and be sure it’s at a time that is not going to cause you more stress. Ideally, a time when the malls and shops you will be going to are not going to be super busy. Even if you are just shopping online, set aside time to focus and try not to go online during peak times. 3. Set a budget that is within your means. Finances is one of the biggest stress triggers. Avoid it by sticking to your budget – pay cash for everything or track what you are spending on credit cards and set the money aside so you can pay off your balance in January.

soup or even just a smoothie about an hour before an event will take the edge of your hunger making it easier not to overeat. 8. Bring a favorite healthy and delicious dish to gatherings. If you have food allergies or sensitivities this will guarantee at least one dish you can enjoy.

4. Establish a strategy for last minute invitations. One of the joys of the holidays is spending time with the people you love. However, accepting every invitation can be overwhelming. Decide how many events you can and will attend and regretfully decline invitations if you need a break. 5. Make time for yourself and your family. Reserve time for yourself, to exercise, take

9. Just move. The holidays are busy. You may not be able to keep up with your usual exercise routine, but try to do something every day. Friends want to meet for a drink? Suggest a walk instead. This has the added benefit of getting some fresh air. A leisurely stroll after a large meal will help you to stimulate digestion. 10. Stay hydrated. Aim for half your body

13. Be grateful for all that you have. Remembering to be thankful fosters a heart of gratitude. Share your abundance with someone else. Seeing the needs of others and helping them decreases anxiety and depression. 14. Finally, have fun and laugh. Laughing and enjoying time with our near and dear ones is the best medicine! Wishing you a holiday season full of good health, peace, bliss, and balance! At Blissful Balance LLC our mission is to help you live life healthier. You can follow us on Facebook @blissfullbalanceroc and Instagram @blissfull_balance. Listen to Blissfull Balance’s podcast on Spotify. Contact me at cindydecarolis62@gmail. com for health coaching. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: DECEMBER EDITION 2021






The dictionary defines gratitude as the quality of being thankful, as well as a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. However, I wonder how many of us, on a regular basis, really exhibit these characteristics of gratitude in our daily lives? All too easily, we may find ourselves living in the past, as opposed to being grateful for what we have in our lives currently. Just as easily, we may find ourselves postponing our gratitude for the things that we hope will take place in our lives in the future. I’m continuing to deal with multiple chronic illnesses in my life. I have learned, firsthand, the difference that cultivating an attitude of gratitude truly makes. At various times during the past several decades, I have experienced devastating effects of my chronic medical diagnoses, including blindness, paralysis, incontinence, and severe airway obstruction. Experiencing such significant types of symptoms really helped me to cut to the chase of what truly matters in life. Simply put, I powerfully learned to no longer sweat the small stuff. I was forced to look at my life from a very different perspective; I began to cultivate deep gratitude for those abilities which remained, as opposed to continuing to mourn those abilities that had been lost. Unquestionably, this entire process was made a lot easier by having abilities that were temporarily, as opposed to permanently lost. Nevertheless, having lost such valued abilities to see, hear, walk, and simply breathe powerfully changed who I am. If I was ever going

to cope more adequately with the card of hands I’d been dealt, I needed to radically alter my perspective. Prior to experiencing such dramatic health disturbances, I had been guilty of thinking of those very things that I thought were still missing from my daily life, as opposed to being truly grateful for my many blessings. As painful as my experiences of being seriously ill have been, on multiple occasions, I would never wish them to have never taken place. I have been forced to learn how to live more fully in the present, as opposed to either the past or the future. I’ve learned to pay closer attention to small, daily blessings, as opposed to always thinking that a major transition or accomplishment in my life would guarantee true happiness. I strongly believe that one of the major reasons why I have been allowed to experience such intense suffering is so that I could assist others who are also struggling. Working as a clinical health psychologist has afforded me the opportunity to witness, up close and personal, a great deal of suffering. I see clients who are struggling with both physical and emotional disorders. Because I have personally struggled with both types of issues myself, I am much more compassionate in responding empathetically to my clients. Responding to their suffering has ceased to be a dry, academic exercise. When such clients appear to not be fully convinced that I truly understand the struggles they are facing, I retain the option to gently disclose my own personal struggles. This has profoundly impacted the

therapeutic connection that I’m able to make with them. This season of thanksgiving, I challenge you to also develop an attitude of gratitude. Begin to slowly stop to appreciate your many blessings each day. Initially, this very exercise might feel foreign, since many of us are deeply accustomed to thinking about what is wrong with our everyday lives. Believe me, developing a more grateful attitude is possible over time. Like any other skill, it needs to be practiced on a regular basis in order to become second nature. Each day throughout November, I intentionally list one thing for which I am grateful, via Facebook. I have found that engaging in this exercise helps me to increasingly count my many blessings, no matter how trivial they might appear to others. I find that I’ve also begun to feel much happier as a result of expressing gratitude. Everyday irritations no longer seem to both me as much, too. I’d like to think that expressing gratitude on a regular basis has positively impacted how I interact with others each day. I think that learning to cultivate gratitude has allowed me to become less irritated by the insensitivity of others. I’m much more likely to interpret their responses as a reflection of distressing events in their lives, as opposed to somehow being a personal reflection of who I happen to be. I challenge you to also develop increased gratitude. Promise me, it will powerfully impact multiple aspects of your daily life. You’ll have greater peace of mind, too.





How to Make That Which Is Given to Us, A Divine Gift In 1912, Claude Monet was given a diagnosis of cataracts. Hence why his work in his later paintings shifted from cool tones of blue to warm tones of reds and oranges, reflecting his new perception of the world around him. In Lisel Mueller’s Poem, “Monet Refuses the Operation,” she speaks as if she is Monet, stating, “I tell you it has taken me all my life to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels, to soften and blur and finally banish the edges you regret I don’t see, to learn that the line I called the horizon does not exist and sky and water, so long apart, are the same state of being.” When something so seemingly impossible happens in our lives, it’s how we choose to move within that which is given divinely to us that will shape how we move forward with our new reality. Monet found a way to find beauty as an artist while losing his sight; something we artists rely heavily on for our profession. Degas and VanGogh also suffered from vision deficits yet produced the most beautiful and iconic work in the history of the art world. I had never really thought about this until just this week when my husband was diagnosed with a detached retina. He was unable to see anything out of his right eye, which was jarring for him and initially had him fearing the worst. I also began thinking about it from a vantage point of, “What if that was me? How could I do my art the same ever again?” Then, my friends’ daughter told me about Lisel Mueller’s poem. When I read it, it felt as though Monet really understood what mattered and how it truly can be a gift we are given during those seemingly impossible circumstances. 312


I began to do research about other artists that may have had losses of vision, yet their work was better for it. I found that VanGogh suffered from a condition called xanthopsia; a vision deficiency that causes the patient to see more vibrant yellow tones. He also abused absinth and digitoxin (an anti-demetia drug used in that time period), that are thought to have contributed to his condition. What would his paintings of sunflowers, nighttime coffee terraces, hay bales, or his own bedroom be without those intense yellow hues? Or Degas, who lost most of his sight and turned to sculpture and pastels once he could no longer see his oil paints. We would have no ballerinas or beautiful, flowing landscapes that feel as if you are in a dream. My husband, while lying face down for days, has found a newfound respect for his sight and how it can be such a gift that those of us fortunate enough to have it, take for granted and never normally consider our lives without it. I’m sure this goes for so many circumstances we each face that have found us in situations of losing something we assumed would just always “be.” It fascinates me how little thought we put into the everyday tasks that have just gone on as predictably as clockwork. Who is to say it will be here in the next moment? I have yet to receive a guarantee for a single thing that’s ironclad. As we get older, we are gifted with the ability to know how fleeting everything is. That life just continues to march with or without our consent or even being alive on this earthly plane. It stops for no one. This march that beats its drum more loudly with each passing year or even day, is this odd little present we’ve received upon our entrance into this life. Without it, we would

never place appropriate value on all that is. The knowing that, like the changing seasons, nothing remains constant. We have a choice to make in every waking moment how it is we perceive what we have been living, seeing, touching and experiencing. Resting in this moment and extending gratitude for the good and the bad, allows us to live fully. We find our own resilience and our vulnerabilities that lovingly make us who we are. If we choose to grow from pain and loss, that which is good, suddenly shines more brightly, even if it isn’t fully in focus. We each have indelible memories that bring back sights, smells, emotions and contentment. It grounds us in the knowing of our own roots. These recollections inform us of our true essence. Our triggers are also embedded here. Loud footsteps or noises, tones of voice, “that look” that someone gave us; things that instantaneously throw us into a fight or flight mindset. The emotions they invoke can take us out of reason and put us into a state of panic or frenetic anxiety. We are unable to remember our peaceful selves that moments ago were blissfully unaware. If we know that we are clearly not in danger, we can choose to take a deep breath and notice our feelings and what this trigger is physically doing to us (rapid heartrate, hyperventilating, etc.). We can just sit and notice. By doing so, we are literally rewiring how we view a perceived threat to our well-being. We are teaching our brain that we are safe and all is well. That this too shall pass. Once we make it to the other side of fear, notice what is around you that brings you joy or a feeling of peace. Then relax into a place of deep gratitude. Your entire mindset will begin to alter its own composition to a place of positivity and quiet.




{ SHIFT+CONTROL } { MANIFESTING YOUR TRUE PURPOSE } “Monet found a way to find beauty as an artist while losing his sight; something we artists rely heavily on for our profession.”

The final line of Lisel Mueller’s poem reads, “Doctor, if only you could see how heaven pulls earth into its arms and how infinitely the heart expands to claim this world, blue vapor without end.” When life’s circumstances feel nearly impossible or even downright 314


unbearable, may you, in the time that feels divinely true, see the gifts patiently lying-in wait to be unearthed. They will lovingly ask you to open and welcome them with grace and then gratitude. This can now become your new way of being that lovingly honors all that we

have been given. They may become your greatest masterpiece that couldn’t have been brought into existence without your willingness to lean in and allow.






My back yard makes fun of me. Well, maybe not the entire yard, but certain plants in it certainly do. If I listen very carefully, I swear I hear them laughing. I have been trying to garden for years and each growing season, I start over and get excited for what could possibly be. At the rate I am going, I could starve to death! I love eating fresh food and there is nothing better than being able to step outside and pick something as part of that day’s meal. Be it kale, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, a cucumber or whatever…. it is always so much tastier than the “franken-food” they offer at the grocery store. Who even knows what that expensive stuff has been treated with? Most of the “produce” was picked before it was ripe and then shipped in from somewhere far away. Many people have also touched it. Yikes. The better choice is usually a local farmers market. However, even with that, you still have no clue about what pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers were used on the food before it got to you. UGH. So, back to trying to grow your own. Not only is it a hobby, but it is also like a game. However, it is a total crap shoot whether you will get to eat what 316


you have spent the season nurturing. So, on to my tale of woe. More than once, there has been a plum or something that I have watched like a hawk. After several years of patiently waiting on these fruit trees, there may only be one or two things to harvest at

Some chipmunk, squirrel, or bird has not only violated your space, but ate the whole thing! One little tear wants to run down your face! This scene has repeated itself more than once at my house. It’s almost like craving something that you left in the refrigerator but someone else got to it first. You had plans for it, but they beat you to it. Damn! This is much worse though….. you babied that food in the yard. You prepared the beds in the Spring and watered and fed it all through the summer. These animals have no respect! They are hungry too and while I always try to plant enough for everyone knowing that the little thieves will come, it is an insult to lose that single piece of fruit that managed to grow on the tree this year! I feel like a little kid after someone took my toy!

first. Maybe there will be more next year. You watch it every day, watering, inspecting, and caring for it like it is your baby. Tomorrow, it will be ready. Yes, peak readiness. Tomorrow, I will pick it and I can’t wait! Oh noooooo! Tomorrow came and it was gone!

Then, it finally happened. We had a frost overnight that slammed the door on the growing season. For anyone with a garden, this is usually a sad day. Hopefully, everyone harvested everything they wanted before the deep freeze happened. One day, things are still hanging in there looking lush and the next morning, oops…. all tomato vines, eggplants, summer squash, and most flowers have given up the ghost. However, there can be a silver lining.




TRACY TALKS TALKS }} { { TRACY “Mason jars scare me. So, everything gets sentenced to the freezer or the blender as part of a smoothie. That included that apple.”

The greens like collards and mustards taste better after the frost hits them. So, you tell yourself that it is ok that it started getting cold outside. Once again, you have lied to yourself. Let’s face it….you are sad to not have any more tomatoes. Now, instead of robbing you, the critters are gathering acorns and nuts for the winter. They’re done with you and don’t even want YOUR food any more. This year, I actually had the best garden that I have ever had. I can’t take the credit though because we had so many rainy days and alternating hot 318


days that things had no choice but to grow. I rolled the dice and got lucky with some things. People who garden know that it can be a huge source of frustration. Why is it that one year, you have more cucumbers than you can deal with and the next year, you are lucky if you even get 3? Why was there only one apple on that tree I planted several years ago? At least it had one. Its companion tree had zero. I had a single sunflower in my yard this season even though I plant them every year too. The wild animals must have missed this one seed

and somehow let it grow. Next year, we’ll try again. Maybe there will be TWO apples and I will even get to eat both of them. A girl can dream. In the meantime, I will study up on how to can food. I have all the equipment, but I am too afraid to try it. Somehow, I think I will poison myself if I try to can or preserve something. Mason jars scare me. So, everything gets sentenced to the freezer or the blender as part of a smoothie. That included that apple.




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