RWO January 2018

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New Year, New You


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nuary 2018 { TABLE OF CONTENTS }






IN HER OWN WORDS Melissa Matthews















ASK THE DOCTOR Dr Nate Riddle - Nutrimost



















LOCAL BUSINESS MATTERS Comedy at the Carlson


WOMEN WHO INSPIRE Sheila Konar Cara D’ emanuele






LAW AND HIP HOP Update on Michele




DIVAS REPORT Bodymind Float




HER EDGE Danielle Walters




ON THE WAY UP Amanda Torchia
















































“New year. New feels. New breathe. New chances. Same dream, fresh starts. I dare you to belive in yourself. You deserve all things magic.”


his is the beginning of anything you want. The new year is the perfect time to make a fresh start. The only way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. This year I set many personal and professional goals for myself. Out with the old and in with the new. Now it is time to make things happen. As I reflect on the past year, there were so many great and exciting new changes in my life, and especially in Rochester Woman Online. This year will be no different. So be sure to stay tuned because we have a lot of exciting surprises in store for you this coming year starting with not one, but two incredible editions this month. To start of the New Year, we couldn’t think of anyone better then the motivating Alicia Caoila-Hicks to grace our cover. Mother, business professional, student and most impressive, a 180lb weight loss inspiration. Read all about her journey of battling food addiction, losing the weight, keeping it off, all while working, going to school and being a mother to three girls. [p14]. Plus, you can see Alicia, living out one of her dreams of walking the runway in a bridal gown,on Sunday, January 21st at our Ultimate Health, Wellness and Weddings Expo at the Main Street Armory. Show starts at noon with over 130+ local vendors on everything health, wellness, fitness, beauty and of curse, weddings! Fashion show starts at 3:30pm with a “fur”nale you won’t want to miss with some amazing pups from the Mia Foundation.



The beautiful and truly inspirational Alicia Caoila-Hicks who lost 180lbs and is perfect for our New Year New You 2018 edition was photographed on location by Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell. Hair by Marissa at Salon Delees, spray tan courtesy of Glow Sunless Tanning, and make-up by the talented Jessica Marie of Bred for Beauty.

As we start of the new year, we all want to be a better self. Whether it be a heathier start, weightloss incentives, new fashion changes or even some new business goals we set for ourselves. Whatever it is that we do, lets make sure we are the best people we can possibly be to one another. Empowering each other. Motivating one another. As you browse through the over 215 pages of incredible articles and features in this months edition, let us know if there is anyone you can think of that has made a difference in your life or the lives of others, inspires you, supports the community...tell us about them, and let us feature them in a future edition of Rochester Woman! Please feel free to email me with any suggestions to

Kelly 8






Kelly Breuer Cheryl Kates-Benman Cassondra Kubit Kelly Breuer Christopher “GoodKnews” Cardwell Rock Beach Photography Brandon Vick Daniel Delucenay Sarah Salvilla Cheryl Kates-Benman Julie Donofrio Mary Therese Friel Phyllis Haberer Rebecca Jaffarian Sheila Kennedy Cassondra Kubit Tamara MacDuff Julie M. May Debbie McQ Mary Elizabeth Nesser Jason Pierce Lauren Harrison Doug Jones Debbie Santillo Lauren Frankfurter Kathy McClare Christine Buff Sami Sheehan Chloe Corcoran Denisse Dirlam Tamara MacDuff Dave Jenkins Angella Luyk Dr. Nate Riddle Tracy Echeverri Megan Cormack Howie Jones Alicia Caoila-Hicks Kathy Gleason Kelly Breuer


Cassondra Kubit


The Next Design

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 © 2017 Rochester Woman ONLINE. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publisher. Rochester Woman ONLINE is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of Rochester Woman ONLINE and will not be returned.








354LBS. The weight of a

linebacker, a grizzly bear, small cow, and well ME. At least it WAS me . The Alicia that I was 5 years ago is nowhere near the Alicia that sits behind this computer today, writing an article for a Woman’s Magazine being praised for an extraordinary weight loss journey.

“354lb me,” would have never taken photos to be published anywhere, let alone be on the cover of a magazine. In fact, “354lbs me” hated myself. I hated everyone. I hated to leave the house, taking pictures, going to work events or school functions. I hated looking in a mirror. I always tried my best to “blend in” and go unnoticed, not that you didn’t “notice” me. I was like the elephant in the room…..literally! And even though I had such strong feelings against myself, I still continued down a path of self destruction which eventually led to morbid obesity. This is my journey to “Fit and Happy.” In 1998, I graduated from high school at 154lbs. Not necessarily “fat” considering I am 5’6”, but still much bigger than my 120 lb classmates. Yes, I was picked on in school for being “fat” and yes it bothered me, but like with anything you learn to deal with it. At some point I started making “fat jokes” about myself to other people. My reasoning for this was “I’ll say what I know your thinking before you say it.” This “coping” mechanism actually became more prevalent the bigger I got and some pretty great jokes were made at my expense. Fast forward to the year 2012. My husband and I had just had our third child and like I did with every one of my pregnancies, I lost weight. This would be short lived and before you knew it, I had blossomed to

my whooping 354lbs. I consumed literally about 10,000 calories, if not more, a day. McDonald’s for breakfast, always two egg mcmuffins, followed by bagels or muffins that one of the many drug representatives brought into my office. Working in the center of Batavia there was a fast food restaurant at every corner. I was in my glory! Lunch, Wendy’s, always a cheeseburger….sometimes two. On really bad days, I would have an uncontrollable desire to not end my meal with just the “#1” at Wendy’s, but would venture down for a slice of pizza too. If I didn’t fill that “void” and give in to my desires, I couldn’t go on with my day. I knew what I was doing, and I felt bad about it. I felt bad about myself every single day that passed. I was an addict and food was my drug of choice. I NEEDED IT to get through my day. Mind you, what I just listed was just my breakfast and lunch!! It doesn’t even include the “stops” on my way home to fill my void before I even made it home to make dinner, then the endless snacking until I went to sleep. If I knew food was left over in the fridge I needed to eat it before bed. It was like a scratch I couldn’t itch. To be honest, my husband has caught me standing in front of the fridge at 2am eating cold, leftover pasta with my fingers, half asleep, just because I couldn’t sleep until I knew it was gone. No food was safe around me. Do I have you laughing yet? Thinking, “holy crap this girl is a disgusting pig, and if she would just put ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2018


“354lb me,” would have never taken photos to be published anywhere, let alone be on the cover of a magazine. In fact, “354lbs me” hated myself. I hated everyone. I hated to leave the house, taking pictures, going to work events or school functions. I hated looking in a mirror.





down the fork, she’d be alright?” Well, that’s what I was thinking back then. I explain it to people like this, there is the devil on one shoulder telling you to eat, eat and eat, and then the angel on the other telling you to stop, stop, stop!! But WHY was I knowing sabotaging myself? What was I trying to medicate with food. Let’s be honest, you don’t grow to be over 300lbs without having some sort of true underlying issue. My goal as I turned 33, was to figure out WHY I turned to food for comfort and how was I going to control it. I knew if I didn’t change my ways and change them quickly, my three beautiful girls and husband would 18


be burying me before I even hit 40 years old.

and bariatrics offered me that.

Around the same time, Dr. Madeb, the physician I was working for was opening Vitalize Medical Center, a state of the art facility where he and my other co-workers and friends were beginning to offer the HCG diet. This calorie restricted diet in conjunction with an injection daily would eventually help me to lose 48lbs. Not too shabby!! 48lbs in 43 days! But even this was just the tip of the iceberg.I had a lot further to go to not only see results, but to feel results. Up to that point, that diet was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. I made the decision that bariatric surgery would be the best option for me. I needed accountability

I tell you this, before you run off thinking I took the “easy” way out, I can assure that nothing about bariatric surgery was easy. Bariatric surgery, like advocare, weight watchers, Atkins diet, the gym, a personal trainer or any other fad, is a TOOL. Learning how to use the tool is how you become successful. But I’m not going to lie. When you go through the very long process of becoming a candidate for bariatric surgery, you are sent in for a psych evaluation. They want to make sure that you are ready to make a “lifestyle change” and that you have a strong support system.

{ COVER STORY } “Mind over matter!! It’s a lifestyle change. And I can honestly say for the first time in my 37 years of life, I made a lifestyle change!”

Anyone with any type of brains can lie their way through such evaluation. I know I did. No, I didn’t figure out WHY I liked food so much and NO, I wasn’t mentally prepared for what was about to hit me. On a side note, I encourage anyone contemplating bariatrics, to be honest with themselves and their therapist and really get to the deep rooted issue of why food is so important. Not doing so will set you up for failure. April 29, 2013, I was wheeled into an operating room and underwent a 3 hour surgical procedure to make my stomach the size of a shot glass. 3oz to be exact. I would find out later that my surgery was halted midway because a suspicious mass was found on my liver. This, thankfully, came back as fat and was related to fatty liver disease. I remember waking up in the hospital bed and the first thing I thought was “damn, I could really go for a turkey sandwich.” Here I am, laying in a hospital bed, drain coming out of my abdomen and all I can think about it food…. STILL!!! The first week of recovery was pure hell for me. Not because I was in pain. I was an expert at pain, but because everytime a commercial came on TV it was for food, I cried. I wanted food...I needed food. But I had made it physically impossible to eat food. I was angry with myself. Why the hell did I do such a thing. I ruined my life I had thought. The one thing I looked forward to every day, I took away from myself. I no longer had control.

In fact, I was very much out of control and I hated it. I was more depressed than you could have imagined. I felt like someone close to me had died. That afternoon, I received a card in the mail from my cousin. In it it read “You took a giant step in the right direction for not only you but for your entire family. I am so proud of you. Love Erica” That card, made it to me on the day that I needed it most. And she wa right, I didn’t LOSE control. I was just beginning to

GAIN control. My life was mine to live and if I utilized this “tool” appropriately it could me an amazing, healthy one with my family. Anyone who has dealt with addiction knows that there are “relapses” or sometimes a transfer of addiction. Same thing applies to food addicts. Remember when I said that figuring out the importance of your relationship with food is essential in order to be successful? And remember when I said I “fudged” my way through a psych evaluation? Well here is why it’s so important that you are honest with yourself and address the underlying issue. After surgery, I still ate. I ate everything, I wasn’t supposed to. I had learned that I could eat food that was bad for me and all I had to do was go to the bathroom and make myself throw up. Actually, you don’t really have a choice. I would purposely overstuff myself with french fries, pasta, cheeseburgers knowing that I could go and stick my finger down my throat and vomit. I did this sometimes 15-20 times a day. Prior to surgery, I hated throwing up. Now, I had become used to it. I actually liked it. I was able to eat like crap, then feel like crap, then get relief. My husband called it “scarf and barf.” I remember my friend at work video taping me literally sticking my finger down my throat to vomit after eating a sub. A sub! Definitely not something on a post bariatric diet! This went on for several months. I continued to lose weight. At this point I was down a total of about 130lbs from my heaviest weight. Then one ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2018


{ COVER STORY } “Let’s be honest, you don’t grow to be over 300lbs without having some sort of true underlying issue. My goal as I turned 33, was to figure out WHY I turned to food for comfort and how was I going to control it. I knew if I didn’t change my ways and change them quickly, my three beautiful girls and husband would be burying me before I even hit 40 years old.”

day, I wasn’t feeling well. I was light headed, very fatigued, and my heart was racing. I spent three days in the hospital for dehydration and malnourishment. I tried to hide from my physician’s what I had been doing, but my friends and family all knew. They wasted no time telling them. I was now diagnosed a bulimic. I remember my mom and dad coming into my room and telling me point blank, if I didn’t get myself together, they would have me admitted to rehab. WHAT!! How could they do this to me?? I know now that it was just them caring about my well being and I would do the exact same thing if it were one of my kids. After that day, I never once purposely made myself throw up again. I guess you can say that my parents put the fear of God in me.” Now that I wasn’t purposely throwing up anymore, I needed to learn how to eat and how to appropriately utilize this “tool” that I was given. I researched bariatric websites and began eating “clean.” Meal prepping became essential, but this is with any diet. At this point, which is about 2 ½ years after my initial procedure, I again did the HCG diet with Vitalize Medical Center. I lost another 28lbs in 23 days. So for the skeptics, it does work! Total I was down about 158lbs and for the first time in about 17 years I was below 200lbs. I was elated to hit that benchmark. It gave me the drive to keep going, and that is exactly what I did. Pound by pound, inch by inch, I ate healthy and exercised. I began to box at Rochester Fight Factory. Not only was it a great work out with amazing people, but it helped me hash out some of those “issues’ that forced me to eat in the first place. It became therapeutic. Amazing how punching things relieves daily stressors!! Life at this point was “stable” and I was happy. April of 2017 my job as a urology nurse ended. We were bought out 20


by one of the local hospitals and I decided that it was time for me to make a change. Dr. Madeb asked if I wanted to work as his nurse/practice manager at Vitalize Medical Center. He felt that I could relate to our clients who wanted to lose weight and since I had done the diet successfully twice, I could support them through their own weight loss journey. He was absolutely right. I CAN relate to my clients. I can’t tell you how many times in my “journey” that I was sat in front of a nutritionist who tried to tell me exactly what to eat and when. I remember looking at them thinking “ok, but do you KNOW the struggle? Do you know how hard it is to sit on the couch knowing there is a bag of Doritos in the

cupboard and you can’t get your mind off them until you eat them?” Chances are, no. But you see, I’ve been there. I struggled with morbid obesity. I STILL struggle with it. I called my trainer Liz Bordonaro from NO Limitz just the other day and told her that Country Sweet was calling my name. Her response “ Girl, he better be calling someone else’s name.” And she’s right! Mind over matter!! It’s a lifestyle change. And I can honestly say for the first time in my 37 years of life, I made a lifestyle change!! I am down a total of 186lbs. That’s basically another human being. For the first time in my life, I’m a size 4! Am I perfect, absolutely not. In fact, over the holidays I gained 12lbs. When I did the shoot for this magazine, I was the heaviest I had been in a year. But you know what, life happens, and I’m human. I can’t beat myself up over it. I made the commitment just like so many that with the new year upon us I will continue on this journey. I would like to lose another 20lbs. Maybe gain some muscle or “lean” out. I’ve already accepted the fact that I will never be a bikini model, I’ll never walk the runway of a Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, and it’s ok!! It’s about being healthy and I’m finally after so many years of struggling, fit and happy.



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“Why me?” These were the words that echoed through my head while regaining consciousness at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, slowly realizing the nightmare that nearly killed me the previous afternoon was now my reality. Little did I know as I stared out my window onto the ominous graveyard below, that this experience would become the catalyst for a personal journey that would change life as I knew it – forever! A journey riddled with pain, disabilities, discrimination, poverty, and isolation. A journey full of determination, resilience, faith, and hope. A journey that would ultimately lead me to defining and accepting my “new normal” – a place where perseverance transcends despair and courage replaces fear; a place where tragedies of every kind are continuously “meljourned” (transformed into positive, purpose-driven missions) by women who personify the spirit of perseverance!

Here is the celebration of my story… I woke up the morning of December 18, 2003, thinking it was just going to be another ordinary day. With a cup of coffee in hand, I sat at the living room window admiring the tranquil, picturesque scene before me. The air was crisp, and the bright rays of the sun were traversing the light mist that was still hovering the dew covered grass of my front lawn. That morning I did not have a care in the world. I was a vivacious and confident 29-year-old educator whose identity was securely anchored in preparing students for the 21st century. Life was good! Around mid-afternoon, I decided to finish up my Christmas shopping. With “I Can Only Imagine” prophetically serenading me, I headed toward the Waterloo Outlet Mall using a common labyrinth of back country roads upon which I had traveled dozens of times. Unfortunately, my familiarity 24


with the route was no match for the unplowed snow drift and oncoming van obscured from view behind a final curve. In a single moment of impact, my intended journey abruptly ended, and a new journey began. After being momentarily knocked unconscious, I awoke to find myself lying trapped beneath a heap of mangled metal and shattered glass, convulsing from shock and blood loss, waiting to be extricated from the wreckage of a head-on collision that was so severe it caused the bones in the left side of my body to pierce through my skin and winter clothing upon impact. Ironically, the severity of the crash was a Godsend. My legs were crushed under the dashboard of my car which acted as a crude and painful tourniquet slowing the loss of blood from my shattered lower extremities. The steering wheel was pinning me so tightly against my seat it prevented me from moving my torso. As the gravity of my situation began to set in, I realized time was not on my side. With acrid smoke from my airbags burning my every breath, I became panicked with fear. All I could do was scream desperately

into the same mist that only hours before had peacefully graced my morning light. “Help me! Someone, please, help me! Get me out of here!” Following a lengthy and dramatic rescue, I was rushed to Strong Memorial Hospital – a level one trauma center – where I was assessed as having numerous critical injuries to my legs, left arm, and head. I immediately underwent emergency surgery where doctors worked through the night to stabilize me and begin the continuous process of repairing and reinforcing the skeletal structure of my three limbs. My new home for the next few weeks was a room on the orthopedic trauma unit overlooking a local cemetery – which definitely gave new meaning to “room with a view”. The pain was beyond excruciating, and the slightest movement of any kind was almost too much to bear. During the day, I would stare at my wheelchair, teetering between anger and self-pity, while a machine slowly moved my left leg. At night, I would stare at the ceiling often listening to the billowing screams of a neighboring patient – jealous that his agony had an audible voice while my pain echoed silently within me. My mind would continuously dance to the same broken record playing over and over in my head: “How is this my life?!” Once I was no longer in need of critical care, my doctors opted to transport the machines and equipment I needed for physical therapy to my mother’s house. Overnight her living room became a make-shift rehabilitation center where I could progress at my own pace while surrounded by family and friends. I knew maintaining a positive attitude would be critical to my recovery, so I worked hard at staying mentally strong. Research proves that what we “input” every day directly affects the way we feel, think, and act. Knowing







{ IN HER OWN WORDS } “Yes, tragedy had cast me into this sea of suffering unwillingly, but survival was up to me. I knew there would be no passivity involved in this rescue; on the contrary. Survival meant being an active participant in determining my fate.”

this, I made a conscious effort to watch funny TV shows and movies, listen to uplifting music, and read inspirational books every day. After months of hard work, I had reached the point where I was finally ready to take my first steps. In truth, it was more like a hip thrust with legs that dragged, but I felt as though I had just climbed Mount Everest! Being able to teach again had always been my ultimate goal, and every step I took brought me closer to achieving it. The doctors originally estimated I would be out of work for a couple of years. However, with a determined spirit I completed my first day as a substitute approximately 10 months later. I was so excited when I got the call that morning. I had worked tirelessly for months through intense pain to be able to walk back into a classroom on my own two feet, and that moment had finally come. I had beaten the odds, and now I was going to get my life back – or so I thought. Unfortunately, the warm greeting I was anticipating proved to be an elusive mirage. With a discriminatory intolerance I could barely comprehend, the teacher took one look at me – with a cane in my hand and a leg still dragging behind me – and banished me to a table in the corner complaining, “Great! Well, I guess I’ll have to send kids to you!” Then, as I began my walk of shame to that destination of disgrace, one of the students innocently asked, “Why does that lady walk so funny?” That was a defining moment for me because it was then I realized I would never be the person I was prior to my accident. That person did not exist anymore. Yes, I had survived my accident, but could I survive the aftermath? Thus, my search for a “new normal” began. Despite my rocky start, I continued substituting at the school for the next several months. However, I remained so haunted by the scars of that first day, I became hypersensitive to my

surroundings and of others’ perceptions of me. Like thieves in the night, doubt and insecurity crept in; before long, my sense of self, direction, and perspective were gone. Experience has taught me that sometimes the best way to help yourself is to reach out and help others facing similar adversities. So, I started volunteering at a local Veterans’ Hospital. I loved it there, and I always felt like I was making a difference. Despite having significant physical,

mental, and emotional challenges, many of the patients remained grateful for each day and hopeful about their futures. After weeks of being inspired by their persevering attitudes, I began to internalize the fact that my disabilities did not define me as a person or as an educator. Little by little I became more comfortable in my own skin, and I eventually got to the point where I was able to accept my limitations. That acceptance was incredibly freeing, and I knew I was ready for the next chapter of life. Around that time, I received a phone call from an area principal inviting me to interview for a full-time position at her school; I ended up

getting the job. It was a great district, and I had never felt more at home than I did there. My colleagues were amazing, and I considered it both an honor and a privilege to be part of their team. Unfortunately, I was not able to obtain the accommodations my injuries required, and over time my legs deteriorated to the point where my doctors had to remove me from teaching permanently. Losing my livelihood meant losing my income and my health insurance. Shortly thereafter, I also lost my home. Suddenly, all I had left was a mountain of agonizing questions: How can this be happening to me? Where am I going to live? How am I going to live? How am I going to pay for my medical needs? How am I going pay for food? Finally, with no other alternatives, I was forced to apply for disability and public assistance. As truly thankful as I was for these programs, the fact that I had gone from a vibrant, successful educator to someone now needing the help of the government to meet my most basic needs was gut-wrenching. Teaching had been my identity my entire adult life, and now it was gone. This was my rock bottom, and when I hit it, I hit hard! Vulnerable, confused, humiliated, and very angry – that summed up my state-of-mind for the next 18 months. I often felt like I was back in my car – only this time trapped beneath the wreckage of life. For self-preservation purposes, I shut down emotionally, moved to a new city, and lived in a self-imposed exile. However, my situation only grew more unbearable with time, and I eventually got to the point where I was sick and tired – of being – sick and tired. Yes, tragedy had cast me into this sea of suffering unwillingly, but survival was up to me. I knew there would be no passivity involved in this rescue; on the contrary. Survival meant being an active participant in determining my fate. Survival meant letting go of the cruel injustices ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2018


I had endured. Survival meant standing in faith and believing my tragedy had a greater purpose. Survival – was a choice! In the natural, my obstacles still seemed insurmountable: I was living in extreme poverty; my legs were permanently damaged; my head injury was impeding my ability to process and communicate effectively; and I was a stranger in a new city. My only assets were a computer, a phone, the internet, and a steadfast determination to somehow turn this mess of a life into a message. Understanding that focus is the rudder of success, I turned my attention to maximizing the potential of those few resources in front of me. Whenever I could tolerate the pain, I would use my computer to surf the internet for inspirational stories, best business practices, entrepreneurial opportunities, and at-home speech therapy techniques. If I came across an interesting book online, I would order it through a local bookstore where I could go and skim read it for free when it came in; the library charged for parking. Full of brain and word games played daily, my phone became a crucial tool for improving my language and processing skills. Finally, after two years of learning how to do a lot with very little, I realized the only obstacles that truly existed were the ones in my head. My “new normal” was beginning to take 28


shape. I had reached the point where effort had superseded apathy and courage had replaced fear. Unfortunately, my hopes and aspirations for the future were often eclipsed by the continuous reports of catastrophe, turmoil, and chaos dominating every headline. Knowing the internet was full of uplifting, tragedy-to-triumph stories only made the endless onslaught of doom and gloom more frustrating as it portrayed an incomplete picture of the world around us. Motivated by the premise of showcasing a more balanced snapshot of society, I began brainstorming ways to get those powerful, online stories into the mainstream media. Then one day – following an especially devastating news week – things started coming together. Almost overnight, years of disconnected thoughts and ideas suddenly morphed into one, cohesive concept that uniquely blended the media and fashion industries: I would create a meaningful line of story-inspired jewelry collections celebrating women who have transformed various tragedies into positive, purpose-driven missions. This endeavor checked all the boxes. It highlighted my core message that pain produces purpose. It empowered women. And it promoted the spirit of perseverance. After months of research and refinement, I decided to maximize the project’s impact by donating a portion of the proceeds to various charities also working to help people overcome life’s many adversities.

Over the last four years, I tested, pitched, and polished my concept at every opportunity. I spoke to family, friends, elected officials, business people, investors, designers, manufacturers, retailers, charities, the media – anyone who would listen – they all loved it! Before I knew it, I had developed a strong professional network and an even stronger team. Every encounter proved valuable on some level. Unfortunately, the wheels of momentum were often slowed by the bad “breaks” of reality. The challenging nature of my circumstances became further exacerbated by numerous medical complications stemming from my 14 surgical procedures. As a result, the project was forced to endure many stops and starts. Thankfully, I approached my professional ambitions with the same inner determination and perseverance that characterized my recovery and personal evolution. It would be in homage to this journey – “Melissa’s Journey” – that my empowering endeavor would become known as “Meljourne® Women”. May my journey “From Mess To Meljourne®” stand as living proof that it is possible to turn pain into purpose. And may my collection be merely the first in a long line of story-inspired jewelry collections celebrating women who personify the spirit of perseverance.


































This is the story of my son, Sean Jr. This ia raw. This is real. This is the pain of losing a child. July 10, 2017 my world crashed down because doctor’s wouldn’t listen to me.

I called the doctor’s office to tell them of the pains I was having and that I thought my water was leaking. It didnt feel like it had broken completely, but was definately leaking.

My whole world changed on July 10, 2017. Just a short 19 days before my first child’s due date. I prepared for nine long months to bring my baby home, but when I came home, instead of a baby in my arms and my heart full of love and joy, I came home, to an empty crib, broken heart, and a lifetime of questions.

At this point, my water had been leaking for 2 weeks before this and when I was at my appointment on the 3rd, I was told I had a pin hole prick in my water.


The day began by me getting morning sickness and when I left work at 3pm, 34


When they finally got to me, the doctors said to take me to the FOURTH floor. The EMT’s took me to the wrong floor! It took a total of an hour to get me to where the GPS says it’s a 2 minute drive! By the time they got me to the hospital, my son had no heartbeat. My mom and fiancé beat me to the hospital, and that was after my fiance leaving work, goin home and grabbing the diaper bag, our bags and making a quick bite to eat. He still waited for me, and so did the doctor! The doctor left the same time I did (in the ambulance!!!) and he even had to lock up everything still. But he beat me and was all scrubbed up and ready to go.

I’m tired, tired of hiding my sons story-

I mentioned something to the doctor on the third of July about lmy son’s ack of movement. I went for a non-stress test on the 4th. and they said “everything was fine”. I still didn’t feel him moving at all, so on that Saturday, I went back for another non-stress test. Again, they said it as all “fine”. On Sunday I went to church and came home and went to bed. I was tired and not feeling well, but I just chalked it up to me being pregnant. The next day is the day all hell broke loose...

for the ambulance to arrive to where we were. This should have only taken 5 minutes at most!

But they let me go home with NO restrictions or anything. Right after I got off the phone with the doctor’s office and was told to come right in, my water broke... and there was so little fluid thatI don’t know how he survived. When I got there the doctor told me my son was already in distress and they called 911. It took over 45 minutes

This May have been my only child, but a mother has instincts and knows when something is wrong. Had anybody reported to my doctor when that non-stress test came back with my son’s heart falling off the charts, my son would’ve been delivered July 8, 2017. Just 21 days before his due date. The next day is the day my whole life was changed forever. The day my son was born. The day my son died. I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you.




{ A MOTHER’S JOURNEY } Today I sit here writing these memories and open a notebook I forgot about, and am reminded of the plans I had to make... for our sons celebration of life... I miss you so much, my sweet angel baby. I feel your warmth today! I love you, and would do anything to have you back here with me. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you.








You’ve tried everything and spent thousands of dollars in weight loss. Maybe you starved yourself, ate toxic pre-packaged foods, injected hormones, or even elected dangerous surgeries but the weight came back. The promises were made that the weight would come off, and it did, but there was never any guarantees, never any doctor supervision, and never any technology to target that stubborn fat. The weight loss system you chose also failed to personalize it to your body type, your nutritional deficiencies, toxicities, and your specific hormonal imbalances. You see, the CAUSE………is the answer…………. to permanent weight loss and spectacular health. As you may already know, America is one of the unhealthiest nations on earth. We are among the very sickest, fattest, shortest lived of industrialized nations. For the first time in history, o u r c h i l d r e n’s life expectancy is less than ours. In America we spend the most money on healthcare, but we are not healthier for the money. On average, we spend nearly three times more money on “healthcare” than 38


education annually (6.6% vs. 2.4%). Americans also consume 69% of the pharmaceuticals that are manufactured throughout the world and eat 250 million pills every hour of every day of every year.

21 percent of U.S. healthcare costs. That translates into $190.2 billion per year and annual spending for an obese person was $3,271 compared with $512 for the non-obese.

Today, 1 in 3 of us is considered overweight or obese. This number has doubled since 1985 and continues to climb. Obesity now accounts for almost

The cause to this pandemic of weight gain is the years of poor choices that bio-accumulate throughout your life disrupting the neuro-endocrine system then effecting hormonal levels. Some hormones out of balance could be: high insulin, high cortisol, low testosterone, high estrogen or low DHEA (produced by the adrenal glands) causing fat gain and poor health. Hormonal imbalance is the ro o t c a u s e t o stubborn weight gain and fat that will stay or not come off your body. The result is excess abnormal fat in your hips, thighs, belly, neck, or all of the above. So what is the solution to get and keep the weight off? The weight loss system should encompass the following steps: Step 1. Preevaluation- A high


{ A LITTLE { ASKWINE THE DOCTOR EDUCATION } } “Today, 1 in 3 of us is considered overweight or obese. This number has doubled since 1985 and continues to climb. Obesity now accounts for almost 21 percent of U.S. healthcare costs.”

Step 1. Pre-evaluation- A high quality body composition scale should be used to pre-test your current condition measuring: Body fat %, Body Mass Index (BMI), Body water%, Bone mass, Muscle mass, Visceral Fat and Metabolic Age. Step 2. Time should be scheduled to explain: Your condition, a customized and natural approach to solving the cause of the weight gain. The system should also be GUARANTEED TO WORK!



Step 3. Special non-invasive intelligence should be used to uncover the imbalances in order to create high quality specific supplements and a nutrient dense meal plan should be advised. The weight loss system should be personalized, natural, easy, involve no drugs, cravings, hunger, or strenuous exercise. The system should boost your body’s natural, innate ability to burn fat, raise metabolism, create permanent

weight loss and not constantly drain your bank account. If your weight loss package does not create lasting results and deliver overall health, it is time for you to contact an expert that will help you shed the excess fat once and for all!

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This column is admittedly difficult for me to write. For the past two years, you’ve known me as the Platter Chatter writer, delivering occasional cover features and explorations of topics beyond the realm of food. For the past two years, I’ve also run a food blog and Instagram under the name “Follow Your Fork”, where I share my passions surrounding food, cooking, and local agriculture. Because of this, many think of me as a “foodie.” In many ways, that’s true. My life revolves around food.

the very thing I feared – food. I still struggle with these things, but the difference now is that I’m looking to find ways to grow, change, and become stronger as a human being. To become a fighter. Have you ever seen the show “Made?”

From my Roc’n Kitchen webseries to my articles in this publication, it’s easy for me to put on a brave face and wax poetic about food. But there’s more to this story. In fact, it took a long time for me to see food as an outlet of joy rather than an enemy. From the age of eight to just this year, I’ve struggled with an on-and-off eating disorder, body image issues, and a slew of other weight-related problems. Growing up, I was teased for my weight and dreamed of being a new, different person. In college, I transformed this self-hating mindset into one of self-love and managed to lose 50 pounds using exercise and – 42


my skills. This year, 2018, I want that to change. So why fighter? I’m doing this for me, for my younger self who was afraid to take up space in her body, who didn’t know how strong she really could be. I’m doing this for my present self, who loves challenges and facing her fears head on. This isn’t about weight loss, or about being thin – this is about inhabiting the body I was given and showing up, even when it’s hard. For the next year, I’ll be working with the team at Title Boxing Club in Pittsford to undergo this

Growing up, I loved watched downand-out teens like myself set goals and undergo miraculous transformations. I loved watching them sweat a nd struggle and consequently triumph. One of my favorite episodes, in particular, was when they transformed an unconfident young woman into a fearless boxer. I’ve taken kickboxing on and off since I was a teenager, but never felt confident in

transformation. Follow this column for updates, tips on how to be a fighter yourself, and my many trials and tribulations. Pittsford Boxing Club opens its doors on Thursday, January 11. Check out their open house and come say hi.




{ FROM FOODIE TO FIGHTER } “I still struggle with these things, but the difference now is that I’m looking to find ways to grow, change, and become stronger as a human being. To become a fighter.”




Our authentic, transformative, full-body boxing and kickboxing workouts reawaken the fighting spirit in you. How far can you push yourself? Start pushing and see. Your first class is free.

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Let’s take a trip around the world and visit Thailand the birth place of Thai Massage or Thai Yoga Massage. Thai Massage is an ancient healing system that combines Indian Ayurvedic principles, acupressure, and assisted yoga positions. The founder of Thai massage and medicine is said to be Shivago Komarpaj who was to have been the Buddha’s physician over 250 years ago. He is noted in ancient documents for his extraordinary medical skills, knowledge of herbal medicine, and for having treated many important people in his day. In this style of massage there are no oils used and the client stays fully clothed throughout the entire session. The client wears loose and comfortable clothing and will be asked to lay down on a mat or firm mattress on the floor. The massage techniques are compression, pulling, stretching, and rocking. In Thailand, a dozen or more clients would be laying on the floor while the massage would be received simultaneously in a large room. In ancient times the massage was performed solo with just the practitioner and client. The client will be positioned in a variety of yoga48


like positions during the session. These positions are combined with deep static rhythmic pressures. Thai Massage generally follows the Sen lines in the body, these are similar to Chinese Meridians. The hands, legs and feet of the giver are used to position the body and limbs of the recipient. The feet and hands are also used to apply compression to the body. A full Thai massage session may last up to 2 hours includes rhythmic pressing and stretching the whole body. This may also include pulling the fingers, toes, ears, cracking knuckles, walking the client’s back, and moving their body into many different positions. There is a basic routine that the practitioner will adjust to fit the receiver.

There is a variation of Thai Yoga Massage called Table Yoga Massage which has been adapted to working on the massage table instead of on the floor. This makes it easier for the client to get up and down. This also allows the massage therapist to incorporate Thai Yoga into a traditional Swedish massage. There is another style of Thai Massage that has been becoming more popular in the US, Thai Herbal Ball Massage, also known as Luk Pra Kob and has been employed in Thailand for over 3000 years. This massage is done with 2 herbal compresses that are “stamped” along the Sen Lines. The Thai Herbal Ball compress technique offers several potential health benefits: It induces deep relaxation, relieves stress and fatigue, boosts both emotional and physical wellbeing, assists alignment and postural integrity of t h e b o d y, improves circulation of blood and lymph and stimulates the internal organs. The hot compresses are ideal for alleviating pain, stiff, sore or pulled muscles and ligaments, chronic back aches, arthritis, even skin

conditions, migraines and chronic stress or anxiety. The blend of traditional Thai herbs used in these compresses has a relaxing and invigorating effect on the body and mind, soothing sore and overworked muscles while giving the body’s energy reserves a huge boost. The herbs in the compress possess properties that are anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, and antioxidant. They are used to address sprains, bruises and sore muscles, cleanse and heal the skin by promoting cell growth, and aid upper respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, asthma, and the common cold. The Thai Herbal Balls have Plai-

Cassummunar Ginger, Lemongrass, Turneric, Kaffir Lime, Camphor, Tamarind, Curcuma Comosa, Patchouli, Mango Ginger, Sweet Sage and Orange Skin. There is also a whole facial sequence that helps with balancing the skin and refreshing the face. The facial compresses have mango ginger, plai-cassummunar ginger, turmeric, kaolin, cissus quadrangulari linn, wilder ginger, puerarusa mirifica, mulberry, water spinach, white turmeric, and lemongrass. All styles of Thai Massage are a great way of relaxing and having a good stretching session. The muscles are worked and stretched differently than a traditional

massage. If you are looking for a different style and want a great massage you can choose any of these styles. The Traditional Thai Massage you will not have to get undressed which is great for those who haven’t tried massage because they don’t want to be undressed. The Table Thai Yoga is a great style for those who want a traditional massage with a mix of Thai Yoga. If you like Hot Stone Massage but want a little bit more of the healing qualities of heat than the Thai Herbal Ball Massage is the right choice. The herbal healing qualities are mixed with the healing properties of heat.





After a few glasses of champagne, it’s easy to believe you will change everything about your life as easily as Cinderella did at the stroke of midnight. According to Time Magazine, the top resolutions most likely to be made… (and therefore most likely to be broken) include:

Get Fit / Lose Weight Eat Healthier Get Out of Debt Quit Smoking Get Organized Volunteer And we do make resolutions. In January, gyms will be stuffed like holiday revelers. Of course, reality is, those same gyms will be empty and running ads to get another crop of new customers by February 1st. Maybe you could make a simple resolution… one not hard to keep. You could vow to write the year 2017 correctly on all the checks and documents you date and keep that up for the whole year. Or vow to spend more time with family, knowing full well if you don’t cut down on your spending and get out of debt you’ll be moving in with them anyway. Or perhaps you are just too cool or too cynical to make any resolutions at 50


all anymore. Maybe you have given up defeated because you failed multiple times to make any changes of behavior that lasted longer than the last piece of free pizza in the office lunch room. But there really is, truly, only one reason resolutions fail. You just have to change one habit. It’s that simple and will impact every area of your life in the best possible way: Stop making excuses. Excuses are what we use to sabotage ourselves from being happy… as in “living your dream life, top of the world,” deliriously happy. Excuses are insidious. They develop gradually and creep in from every direction, like Kardashians . We label our story and feel sorry for ourselves

because we believe the label: “I can’t join the gym until I lose 20 lbs.” “I can’t save money until I get a better job.” “I can’t eat healthier because I don’t cook.” “I’m not in a good relationship because all the single men are jerks.” And the one we all use practically every single day… “I can’t ‘fill in the blank’ because I don’t have time.” Excuses are like assholes. Everybody has one, and they all stink. Yet, we accept them like death, taxes and award shows. Excuses are what we use so we don’t have to ever really get our shit together. Realizing that you are responsible for what happens next in your life, is both frightening AND exciting. Successful people know that they are responsible for their life. It doesn’t matter where they started, or how many times they fail, the fact is they are successful because at some point they stopped making excuses for not doing or having what they wanted. Anything you want is within your reach.

{ SHIFT+CONTROL } Money can be earned. Time can be made. Education can be acquired. Relationships can be nurtured. Habits can be broken. YOUR GOALS CAN BE ACHIEVED!

Forget about being too broke, too busy, too inexperienced, too old, too overwhelmed. Your whining, your blaming and all of your excuses have never gotten you a single step closer to achieving your goals and dreams. Money can be earned. Time can be made. Education can be acquired. Relationships can be nurtured. Habits can be broken. YOUR GOALS CAN BE ACHIEVED! We can all make things happen for

ourselves, as long as we become willing to give up all the excuses we’re using to hold ourselves back. So make those resolutions. Go for it. Make ten if you want.

Personally, one of my goals was to start writing again regularly, something I avoided because I “didn’t have time.” Now I write 3-4 articles for Rochester Woman Online each issue.

Write down your goals and read them every single day. Then challenge yourself… no whining, no blaming, and for goodness sake NO MORE EXCUSES. If you make only one resolution make it that. It’s your life. Nobody is going to make things happen for you.

The first step is to figure out what it is you really, truly want for yourself in 2018. Then decide what you need to do to get it. No excuses.





To Bring Out The Best Of The New Year! BY ALANA CAHOON

Get ready to kiss 2017 good-bye and welcome 2018 with open arms! The trick to this questionnaire is to answer it quickly and honestly. What first comes to mind is often the best.

challenge and how did you manage it? How did it effect your life?

As you reflect on the past year, you’ll gain wisdom to guide you in the new year. Are you ready? Here goes!

5. What was the most fun experience you had? Remember the day and time, whom you were with, where you were, what you were doing, and even what you were wearing!

4. Who was the most influential person in your life this year? How did they inspire you?

THE YEAR IN REVIEW 1. What is your fondest memory? Breathe into your heart center & close your eyes as you allow these memories to flood your mind. Most likely there are more than one. Then choose the memor y that brings the broadest smile to your face. 2. What was your greatest achievement? This may have been a goal that was on your list. It may have to do with your career, your family and friends, or yourself. You may have run your first 5K race, graduated from school, made it to the team, or signed on a new client. Or, you may have finally taken those braces off, or gotten engaged, or watched your child walk across a stage. 3. What was your most difficult challenge? Whether at work, at home or school something stands out. What was this 52


Obstacles offer us insights into our very own nature. How we respond to them speaks loudly. It is much easier to notice the difficulties surrounding a situation. Self reflection is where the core lesson is held. 8. If you had a chance to do it over again, what would you have done differently? This is the opportunity we all wish we could have! Allow a few circumstances to arise. It may have been an exchange with a coworker or family member. Or it could have been a financial investment. Or a pitch to a prospective client. Or a new haircut! 9. What was your favorite season and why?

6. What skill did you develop? Whether old or new. This could be drawing, skiing, singing, beading, hiking, baking, speaking, driving, writing. 7. What wisdom did you gain? Often in our pursuit of goals, we attain insights along the way. You may have learned a shorter route to the same goal. Or you may have found that the true goal was in the pursuit!

Everyone knows their favorite season, don’t they? Does it stay consistent? Has yours changed? What makes your favorite season so wonderful? Imagine you are in that season now and breathe it in. Feel the sensation it offers. Excitement, relaxation, freedom, joy. 10. What was your favorite look or style? Did you have a new wardrobe? A new color palate? Did you try something new? Did you find yourself pulling out an old fav from the bottom of your drawer? What about the texture? What did you like about it? How did it make you feel? How did it make you look?


{ MIND, BODY & SPIRIT } As you reflect on the past year, you’ll gain wisdom to guide you in the new year. Are you ready?

THE NEW YEAR AHEAD 11. What are you excited about? You may have a fully packed calendar or a wide open one. What gets you excited about it? Is it the summer camp or winter visit? Will you see someone you haven’t seen in a long time? Or will you be getting that new car you’ve been saving up for?

I love this one! How about trying a yoga class? Or meditation? Or a course in mindfulness? Walking, exercising, eating organic. These

18. What are you grateful for this moment? 19. How will you let your light shine? You are as bright as can be. This year, allow your self to shine even brighter. Surround yourself with positive people in a supportive environment.

12. What are your top 5 goals? These may change. Pick what comes first to mind. Place them in order of priority. And send them a blessing that they will all manifest in perfect accordance.

20. What pledge will you make to your self? You are only responsible for yourself. Although you may feel like you’re responsible for others you are only responsible to them. How will you take care of yourself? What promise will you make to support, love & cherish your body, mind & spirit?

13. What skill will you either learn or strengthen? This could be the same one as last year or something entirely new. You may pull out a dusty guitar, a fishing pole, a sewing kit, a camera, a foreign language, a deck of cards or a bowling ball. 14. Who would you like to meet? You may know the person’s identity or simply the personality traits of the kind of person you’d like to know. Where might you meet them? 15. What character flaw would you like to change about your self? I know you are absolutely perfect exactly as you are, so you may need to really think about this one. It may refer to an inclination to judge or to offer your opinion overzealously. It may be self criticism or an excessive sugar craving. 16. What healthy habit would you like to start?

the sofa watching TV. Sound familiar? Or a toxic environment where you don’t feel comfortable. Or a person who does not treat you with respect.

are all great ideas to consider, and I can help you! 17. What would you like to avoid? This may be an unhealthy habit like eating potato chips from a bag while sitting on

Alana Cahoon is a Natural Health Professional who offers creative coaching to professionals in transition, leadership & entrepreneurship. Her signature program, ‘Mindfulness for Professionals’ trains the mind to achieve calm, clarity and balance. Her group program, ‘Body Mind Connection’ provides a holistic approach to weight loss and body image. She can be reached at (585) 953-0503 - alana@alanacahoon. com -


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SELMA HAMMER DESIGNS Selma Hammer is the owner of a fullservice residential and commercial interior design firm. She has been in the interior design industry for 9 years and grew up in the fashion textile industry in Manhattan.

feels a sense of pride to bring clients a unique and creative approach to their goal. She strongly believes in developing

She has a BSBA with a major in Marketing and minor in Spanish from Villanova University. Most r e c e n t l y, s h e studied Interior Design and Painting at RIT. She has a former career in Finance allowing her to assist her clients in making the right investments pertaining to her design consultations. She adds intrinsic value to her clients with her knowledge of the housing market and commercial finance. Her goal is to exceed expectations and giving her clients a room, space or home that represents them and their vision. She does this by focusing on key investment pieces that become her inspiration for the design. She loves a challenge and

enables her to successfully execute the right custom design. Functionality is the utmost priority and aesthetic naturally comes along as she brings in elements of visual interest into the space. Giving back to the community is Selma’s other passion. Selma has done work with the homeless through Catholic Fa m i l y C e n t e r. Other charities that she contributes to include Mary Cariola, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Fairport Baptist Home, March of Dimes and many others.

a lasting bond with her clients. She feels it is a priority to get to know her clients by strategically listening to them and asking the right questions, which

Selma’s designs have featured in Homerama, Junior League Show houses, Rochester Home & Garden Show,, thedesignnetwork. com and Olioboard. com. She is listed in “The Top 15 Designers in Rochester, NY” by and “Best Interior Designers in Rochester, NY” in 2017 on









Do you often think? I really need to redo my space? I hate my kitchen, who picked these horrible countertops? My cabinets are falling apart. There is mold in my bathroom, how should I get rid of it. A lot of us are dreaming of redoing our spaces. I would say mostly the kitchen and the bathroom. Living rooms are another popular room because we entertain in those spaces. Typically, when we move into a new home, we just use what we have until we can figure out what works best. We often see pretty rooms on Pinterest or on the covers of home magazines and think there is no way that our rooms could look like that. On the other hand, if you are thinking about opening a new business, you want the your commercial space to be equally as inviting to have new and potential clients excited to buy whatever your selling. You may have some ideas but where do you begin? The reason I have a career in design is because I have this visual ability. A lot of times, I can see a space completely transformed. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I see a space and want to turn around and run right out! How do you tackle a space? A lot of times, contractors will come in making promises and give you varying quotes. If you have never done a renovation before, this task is incredibly daunting. Should I pick the cheapest quote so I can buy my dream tub or refrigerator, you may ask yourself. Well, sometimes the thing you dream about can come back to haunt you. I’ve been there. I wanted to the biggest granite island without a seam in it to host parties and gatherings. When that island was put in, I thought… What the hell!?! Why is it so huge! I have to get a more expensive refrigerator to put that monstrosity in and pay more square footage for expensive stone, when I probably should have just added more square footage to the kitchen (new home build). You may ask yourself, what makes you such an expert if you’ve questioned yourself. The hardest part of redesigning you own space is your personal

attachment. You are emotionally, financially, psychologically invested in your space. You stare at it all the time and have come up with different potential solutions, all while doubting each one. Guess what? I’m not emotionally invested. Once I get to know you and your goals (often reading in between the lines and figuring out the best solutions) I then become invested. I want you to achieve that dream. I make your dreams come true.

Q & A’s:

What do I like about interior design? I’ve been there. I wanted to the biggest granite island without a seam in it to host parties and gatherings. When that island was put in, I thought… What the hell!?! Why is it so huge! I have to get a more expensive refrigerator to put that monstrosity in and pay more square footage for expensive stone, when I probably should have just added more square footage to the kitchen (new home build). I would say that I like how it’s incredibly challenging. Each project is unique. Every day is different depending on what my clients needs are. I actually facilitate full renovations, where I fully manage the project for a client. It’s more of a turnkey production. My clients are typically very busy with their careers or if a commercial project the owner is focusing on the operational aspect of their job function. My clients want someone that has the expertise to manage their design project and make the best selections. I hire the right people to get the job done. I select all the materials, color palette, choose a design direction, create lighting layouts, etc.… determined by working with my clients and deciphering what their needs are and what their ultimate aesthetic goal incorporates. Do I have horror stories? Every day is a horror story. I’m just kidding. I mean every day there’s something new, so I have to be on my toes. You would think that no matter




The hardest part of redesigning you own space is your personal attachment. You are emotionally, financially, psychologically invested in your space. how much you plan a renovation or make material selections, everything would play out like it is supposed to. No way! There’s always something that’s unusual. Especially this past year, I’ve done a few projects of homes built in the 1900’s. When you open up the wall or you open up the floor, there’s a lot of instability, rotten wood or things are never level. These kinds of findings complicate the design that is based on every inch counting. My contractors and I have to formulate a plan and come up with the best solution. This occurrence is where trust is a big factor. I work really hard to build a rapport with my clients, so they know that I always have their best interest in mind. I keep their financials in mind. My previous career is in banking so this definitely helps. We try to make it very clear in a contract and budget what is entailed in the scope of work and try to think of everything from doorknobs to window treatments. I do warn that there are uncertainties that no one can suspect. I like to use the example of a squirrel family living in your wall without you knowing.

Do I sleep at night? Not really! Especially when a very integral role of a project is happening, such as the first day of construction or major items are supposed to be delivered and installed. I have a high level of sympathy and empathy so I can feel my clients’ nervousness or apprehension. I make sure that

I am there for them to explain everything that’s going to be happening. I basically tell them you don’t need to worry! I am already worrying for you. Contact me with a question anytime! Please feel free because I probably already thought of it and came up with a solution. My job is not just designing beautiful spaces. I think at the end of the day, aesthetics are absolutely important. That’s what people tend to focus on what you see at the end of a project. The tricky part is everything that happened behind the walls, the floors and all the planning to get to that point. If you have every tried to tackle a home renovation project on your own, you know! Of course I ensure the project will be beautiful. The most pertinent thing is hiring the right people to make it happen. I guess I’m the conductor for an orchestra. I also help make the music.

Do I do any of the construction? I have a hand dandy tool set. Drills, assorted nails, and tons of anchors! I will get into the nitty gritty if it’s something creative. I’m an artist so I enjoy creating artwork in my spaces. I have a gallery wall of my paintings at a wine bar I designed, Cork49 in Victor. I also stained the shelving behind the bar, painted the whole tin ceiling and refinished the front of the bar. It was a bit extensive in that project. I take great pride in my work and most of the time; my contractors think my ideas are a bit nuts. That’s where I take things in my own hands. I

believe taking a calculated design risk, always yields the most stunning result!

What does the New Year have in store for Selma Hammer Designs? I just opened up an office/showroom & retail space in the Village of Victor. I have the latest and greatest samples of my furniture lines, window treatments, samples of gorgeous hardware, cabinetry, countertops and so much more! Stay tuned for a Grand Opening Announcement! I’m working on procuring more highly skilled tradesman for my growing number of projects. I’m working on re-launching my website. I also am investing on traveling to Las Vegas Furniture Market and will be participating in the Soft Design Lab Red Carpet Tour with other designers and bloggers that influence the industry. Also, I’ll be launching a YouTube design channel featuring my design projects that so how the process really works and I hope to give my viewers design inspiration and ideas. I’m really excited to be a new contributor to Rochester Woman Online Magazine with a monthly interior design advice article. If you have any questions or ideas of what you’d like to learn more about, please feel free to contact me. I’m hoping 2018 will bring many amazing things to other small business owners like myself. Bring it! To my clients, thank you for believing and trusting in me to bring your dream spaces to fruition. I appreciate you so much!



My name is Jean Dlugosh and I have never been prouder of myself than I am at this stage of my life. I look in the mirror some mornings and wonder how I got here. Then, I remember that I worked for this. I worked very hard for this. I’ll be turning 56 years old this April. I’ve been married to great man for 31 years. I have a 33 year old son, a beautiful daughter in law, and 2 adorable granddaughters that I try not to spoil too much, so my son doesn’t think I like them better than him. I am also a pet mama to 2 French bull dogs, one who hates walks and another that likes to snuggle, and 2 slightly ornery cats. Basically, I’m a small town girl who has always been a bit on the shy side. In 2004, I quit my full-time job. It was a little scary to lose the reliability of a paycheck, but I knew I was ready to start a different phase of my life and my family needed me. My husband and I purchased a 2 family farmhouse where my mom lived with us for 8 years until she moved into an assisted living facility. After my mother moved out, the house was much too big for my husband and me. We sold the farmhouse and built a cute 2 bedroom ranch with just enough room for us and our pet menagerie. I’m not going to lie, the idea of less space to clean was at least as exciting as building a new house. Suddenly, I had a lot of time on my hands. I got bored. I was looking for a part time, at home job. I sampled some botanically based, chemical/ toxin free anti aging hair care products a friend gave me. She was looking for team members. I loved the products and the business plan. In August of 2015, I joined Monat Global, the fastest growing hair care company in the US and Canada, as an Independent Market Partner. I had no idea how to run a business; no idea what 62


I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. My weight, body image issues, and my compulsive eating helped me realize I needed to take care of myself. In July of 1984, three weeks after my son was born, I started exercising. I’ve always liked working out and I have exercised for years. I’d never really focused on any one thing. I just knew it was something I loved doing that had the benefit of keeping me healthy. In June of 2014, I received a diagnosis of frozen shoulder. This was devastating. Besides the time I was forced to take off from my passion of working out, the physical therapy and treatment was painful and lengthy. But, I forced myself to endure it because I knew I needed to fight to get back to being active.

I was doing. I learned as I went along. The support from my team leader, Jenny Sanzo, and other team members on #teamfashionista, helped me tremendously. Working with Monat led to something else exciting. In October 2016, one of my Monat customers was telling me about her modeling classes with the Mary Therese Friel Modeling Agency. That got me thinking that maybe I could be an “over 50” model. It was something I had always wanted to do, but I never quite knew how to go about it. I met with Mary Therese and she saw something in me. I signed up for classes and I have started my modeling career.

Once I started feeling better, I began to train with kettlebells, something I had worked with in the past. About this time, I found my current personal trainer, Alicia Alvarez. We started working together in May of 2016. She got me interested in Girevoy sport, also known as Russian competitive kettlebells. This involves 10 minute sets, only one hand switch, and you can’t put the bell down. Competitive bells begin at 16 pounds each. In August of 2016, I was in a competition called “Bells on the Beach” at the pier in Charlotte hosted by ROC Boxing. I won a gold medal! Alicia also introduced me to power lifting. This involves bench pressing, squatting and deadlifting for the most weight that you can. We trained 6 days a week, 2 to 3 hours each day doing conditioning, lifting, and more recently working with body weight movements. I love it. I’ve been in 2 powerlifting competitions and earned a first-place trophy in one of them and a first place medal in the other. Alicia also has a nutrition certification and has coached me with my nutrition. She’s taught me how to track macros (carbohydrates, fats and proteins). This has helped me greatly with my compulsive eating and I have lost 24lbs

{ NEW YEAR NEW YOU } “I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. My weight, body image issues, and my compulsive eating helped me realize I needed to take care of myself.”

since February 2017 and 7 inches around my waist. I’ve done so without depriving myself of the foods I love. I wouldn’t be where am I today physically (or emotionally) without Alicia Alvarez’s support and coaching. My Monat business is going great and growing. What started out as a side shampoo gig to keep me from being bored has turned into something big and fulfilling. In September 2017, I earned the rank of Market Mentor and my white Cadillac! I’m on track to hit the next rank, Managing Market Mentor, which will be very exciting for me. My modeling career is

starting to take off, too. I was lucky enough to be asked to be Blythe Danner’s stand in for a Hollywood feature film, The Tomorrow Man, that was filmed here in Rochester, NY last Fall. I appreciate the confidence Mary Therese and Kent Friel have in me and the opportunities they have given me. At age 53, I decided to start my own business. At age 54, I started an intense strength training regimen and a modeling career. All these things are way out of my comfort zone. I was, and am, scared and nervous. I’ve had my struggles along the way, but I would like women to know that

you can change your path in life at any point in time, no matter what your age, even in your 50’s and beyond. You can do the things that scare you. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. My confidence keeps going up. I’m loving life! So, get out of your comfort zone! Don’t let fear stop you. Take a leap of faith. You never know where life may take you.




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WHAT WOULD YOUR LIFE BE LIKE IF YOU COULD NOT EXERCISE OR AFFECT YOUR HEALTH IN A POSITIVE WAY? These were the two questions I posed to my clientele, and then to pretty much everyone who crossed paths with me the past few days. Some of the answers were relative to new year goals and year’s end achievements, yet I became increasingly moved by the responses. These are their words, asking them to write down a 2-3 sentence reply for me. Happily several of them elaborated further. Read on! Sharon: Being fit is my awareness I’m capable of physical demands that used to concern me. I run a lot! I wanted to reduce my time so I changed my running program. I saw some improvement but was still a solid 10 minutes slower than I hoped. When I started weight training, I was so surprised how much easier my running efforts became. Who knew!? I didn’t know I could improve on my current fitness level by doing something other than running more. I feel renewed and ready for more adventures with upcoming races! Mark: I needed to lose weight. Plain and simple. And I didn’t want to change any of my “habits” in order to do that. Call me stubborn. I definitely am. But one day, I was carrying my kid into our home, joking around with him the whole way. I got inside and could feel my heart pounding and my breath was like I ran a 40 yard dash. My kid is three. I am not as fit as I will be in 2018, but being fit means I will have many moments with my son and be able to keep up with him! The best feeling in the world is feeling healthy 66


and be able to play with him like the dad I want to be. Karen: I feel confident. I feel like a ready supply of energy is available for me. I train hard for competitions. It is so much more than just looking a certain way. My mindset. My body systems. Every part of me that I can affect in a positive way through being fit, I will do. This is the only body I was given and I plan to live in it healthfully for the rest of my life. Lisa: Well, it may sound superficial but being fit has given me access to most of the clothes in my closet. You create your own happiness and this is mine. I love that I no longer fret about what used to fit. I feel great!! Julie: If I was unable to exercise, I would find a way to exercise my mind. I would imagine my body doing all sorts of physical activities and even imagine the feeling, like running fast and getting to the finish line or riding my bike up a steep hill. I would do my best to keep my body engaged in exercise, even if I was unable to physically participate. Does that make sense? Some times I have weird ideas. Steve: It was surprising to me how many years went by without taking care of myself. I always figured I would eventually get back to me and 18 years later, my body gave me the warning sign that I really need to take care of it. I used to joke at others who made such effort to go for a run, workout, fitness classes and schedule those into their week or day. I would say, “Hey, thanks for making the rest of us look bad.” Trying my best to jab at my friends healthy habits because I didn’t have any. I used to. After my incident with a health scare, I started

a nutrition plan to teach me what to eat. How dumb could I have gotten?? I didn’t know what was healthy to eat! I didn’t have the slightest clue what was the best way to lose weight and not gain it back. I am making progress each day and I motivate myself by looking at my son and my family and my own self. That’s what it means to me. Carrie: Exercise is a huge mood booster for me. My life tends to be one big stressball. I definitely feel better even if it’s a short workout. I exercise at home right now. Someday I would love to join a fitness center because I enjoy being around like-minded people. I think that would boost my mood even more. For me, being fit means keeping my sanity and knowing that exercise is a great way to do it instead of medication LOL!! These replies touched my heart! Did you resonate with one or more of their replies? The benefits of being fit or the consideration of what your life may be like without exercise brought forth emotive components. Notably, being fit and healthy is or becomes a personal experience. Each journey is unique unto the individual. Their mindset being a major factor. If you find yourself questioning why you are or are not addressing your fitness lifestyle and/or your health, read these replies once again. May your 2018 be filled with Light, Love and Laughter and Good Health Always. Kathy McClare “Together we will so that on your own, you can”



Winter has made its welcome and here in full force. While some may love everything about it and take full advantage of the wonderful and fun things it has to offer like winter sports and such, there are those with health problems that this season can cause obstacles because of that and make it miserable for them. Their health obstacles may consist of conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia or just every day common joint and muscle aches that can stiffen joints and low circulation, make mobility more difficult. Here at The Best You Spa we offer a treatment utilizing Fir Infrared technology to help ease any symptoms such as aches and pains associated with the different medical conditions by offering it in our Sauna Blanket treatment. Let’s talk about just what a Sauna Treatment is consist of.



Sauna blankets have become quite popular in both spas and personal use. The outside of the blanket is made of polyurethane material that does not melt when heated. The inside is consisted of polyvinyl laminated to a waterproof fabric such as rubber. When encased in the blanket you will experience profuse sweating. This sweating helps to detoxify the body and eliminates unwanted chemicals and breaks up fatty tissue. They heat up quite quickly, are easy to use and provide many beauty and health benefits. It can even improve blood flow and in some cases you can lose 600 calories in one 30 minute session, and aids in body contouring, and slimming and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Your body is hard at work pumping blood, and burning calories

which in turn is improving circulation and blood flow throughout your body. The blanket heats up thus aiding and relieving any aches and pains also, or just relaxes you overall. Let’s experience what you will encounter at your first appointment. After filling out your consent form and water intake, you will be asked to undress and put on disposable undergarments so as not to ruin any of your clothes and also so they will be dry upon leaving. Your first session will be approximately 15-20 minute session to allow your body to acclimate to heat therapy. As your body becomes more heat conditioned, we will increase your time to 30-45 minutes. While lying there relaxing away the stress of the day and drifting off to sleep, one may add on

Here at The Best You Spa we offer a treatment utilizing Fir Infrared technology to help ease any symptoms such as aches and pains associated with the different medical conditions by offering it in our Sauna Blanket treatment.


any aches and pains also, or just relaxes you overall. Let’s experience what you will encounter at your first appointment.

treatments are necessary when the body has larger amounts of fat deposits. Who is not a good candidate for this treatment?

After filling out your consent form and water intake, you will be asked to undress and put on disposable undergarments so as not to ruin any of your clothes and also so they will be dry upon leaving. Your first session will be approximately 15-20 minute session to allow your body to acclimate to heat therapy. As your body becomes more heat conditioned, we will increase your time to 30-45 minutes. While lying there relaxing away the stress of the day and drifting off to sleep, one may add on a mini facial to have an overall face and body experience. Sessions are limited to 3 times per week and should not be done on back to back days. This allows the body time to adjust and also allows time for the for the dissolved fat to de excreted. Please remember that FIR Infrared heat uses radiant heat to penetrate the skin at depths of ½” to 4”. This radiant heat helps warm the body inside and penetrates the skin to help relax or reach it’s fat loss and breaks up fat deposits. When fat deposits are broken up they are released and excreted from the body as toxins. This is why multiple

Who should NOT use the Sauna Blanket? The Sauna Blanket is not for everyone. I encourage everyone to check with their Physicians before coming in for this treatment. Individuals with such disorders such as any skin disorders, Lupus, Epilepsy, heart disorder or pacemaker, hypertension, Multiple Sclerosis, Hemophilia, Fever or heat sensitivity, broken bones, implants, on a Defibrillator, anyone with a recent surgery, pregnant or nursing, or individuals on prescription medications. Please, as stated, check with your Physician. Individuals should not use this if you are sick, not feeling well, or have current headaches. Do not use the blanket after eating. Avoid foods high in protein, fattiness and energy. Only consume foods which are light, non-fat, and not spicy. Try to avoid treatments less than 8 hours after eating. Drink 8 glasses of water a day.


An individual will benefit the most with using this treatment with a minimum of 3 times/week as it will also aid in Liver Detoxification, Increase of your Metabolism

and energy, deep relaxation, internal cleansing, improved sexual health, significant pain relief, Hormone balancing, improve sleep and memory and stress reduction, controls diabetes, improves blood circulation, massage benefits and physical therapy, enhance immune system, and enhance nutrition absorption and healing. The more you use the Sauna Blanket the better and more lasting results you will have. This treatment can be in conjunction with other treatments such as I-Lipo, mud wraps, salt glows, and even adding a mini facial to this treatment is relaxing. The Best You Spa cares about you and your health and we would like to offer you a 6 treatment package plan for ONLY $550. Anyone purchasing a package may add on a mini facial for ONLY $10. This offer will start January 2nd until the 30th. Contact us now to reserve your spot. We are so sure you will love this ever popular treatment as others have in the past and do presently. At The Best You Spa we always strive for your wellness and to make You, The Best You that You can Be!


The Best You...Believe it, Achieve it!


847 Ridge Road I Webster, NY 14580 I 585- 298-6618 I

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Your Life The Next 12 Months With 12 Style & Fashion Trends! Happy New Year and welcome to 2018! Because I am always looking to stay on top of the newest, coolest, weirdest and most interesting trends, I already got my eyes on the style trends that’ll dominate fashion headlines in 2018. Ok so 2017 dominated with some cool and flirty trends, like floral prints and paper bag waist pants – so here are some predictions that you will want to wear in 2018….let’s go!

NUMBER FOUR: PEEKABOO SIDE SLIPS Sexy side splits are the look we can’t get enough of this year. From splits in wide-leg trousers and jeans, to skirts and thigh-high dress slits, you can expect to see a little more skin in 2018.

NUMBER EIGHT: BOLD MIXED PRINTS In 2018, we predict you’ll see floral...and lots of it. Especially mixed-matched patterns of bright and bold floral. The key to pulling off this intimidating trend? Find pieces that share similar color tones.

NUMBER TWO: ULTA VIOLET Ultra Violet is Pantone’s aptlynamed color of the year, and we can’t wait to see this trend in full swing in the spring. Expect to see lots of this color next year, from clothes, shoes and accessories, to paint and home décor.



NUMBER SIX: WIDE LEG TROUSERS Wide-leg pants are the trouser trend that just won’t let go, and it looks like they’re here to stay through 2018. From wide-leg cropped trousers, to high-waist paper-bag pants, you’ll see plenty of these cool and comfortable bottoms throughout 2018. NUMBER SEVEN: SHEER SOCKS Sheer socks are probably one of the more impractical trends of 2018...but they’re too magical and cute not to love. Pair them with ballet flats for a new look, or let them play peekaboo over a pair of ankle booties.

NUMBER ONE: BERETS Berets were the “it” topper for fall runways in 2017, and it looks like it’s on the upswing for next year, too. And why not? They’re cute, super lightweight, easy to wear, and take any look from bland to bold.

NUMBER THREE: STATEMENT EARRINGS I love me some statement earrings any day! And so happy they will still be trending in 2018. From oversized hoops to hammered metal, oversized earrings are the trend that keeps hanging on.

looking to get on the capsule wardrobe train, timeless denim is a must-have.

NUMBER FIVE: 100% COTTON JEANS Old school fabrication is coming back ladies! The no-stretch denim trend is in full swing, with consumers turning their eyes toward 100-percent cotton jeans and denim in 2018. Plus, if you’re

NUMBER NINE: TEDDY COATS Teddy coats are a particular style of faux fur coat that we predict you’ll see everywhere in 2018. Think of them as coats made with teddy bear fur. They’ve got the warmth, style and texture of faux fur, but with an extra kick of coziness. NUMBER TEN: BRAND LOGOS Those iconically ‘90s branded sweatshirts, hoodies and t-shirts you grew up wearing? They’re back and better than ever,



{ HOT FASHION TRENDS } Ok so 2017 dominated with some cool and flirty trends, like floral prints and paper bag waist pants – so here are some predictions that you will want to wear in 2018….let’s go!

They’re back and better than ever, especially because brand iconography will be huge in 2018. NUMBER ELEVEN: EMBELLISHED SHOES Remember Mindy Kaling’s pearl-rimmed sneakers? That was just the beginning of the embellished shoe trend that’s dominating footwear this year. Expect to see pearls, diamonds, sequins and glitter on your kicks headed into the new year. NUMBER TWELVE: CORDUROY Cozy corduroy is making a comeback in 2018, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. After all, corduroy is basically just a textured form of velvet, and you know we love velvet. Better still, corduroy is a perfect trouser to transition between workwear and weekend wear. Lets kick off 2018 with a fashion bang! Need help – contact me and lets get your 2018 wardrobe on track Cheers!







The month of January is and always will be known as the time we all have these great ideas of how we want our new year to go. Lose weight, find the mate of our dreams, take better care of ourselves or want to work on being a better person or be more organized. Whatever it may be, we all typically want to be better in some way, don’t we?

of it was complete BS. This world and social media put this façade about how it’s so perfect and beautiful. Actually, it’s not. Sure, it’s a beautiful miracle. And maybe some women are blessed with easy pregnancy and quick painless labor but that is not how the cookie crumbles for most of us. I am blunt. I am real and I am going to lay it out for you folks.

I took a little hiatus from RWM. I was writing the Health and Fitness column for several months. Honestly, I loved it and really enjoyed discussing those type of topics. But about ten months ago I decided to start a new sales job that gave me no free time and let’s just say it was torturous. I’m blessed to say I found a new job working from home again and doing outside sales, which I love. Hallelujah!!

I am a person that focuses on clean eating and continual exercise and that was what most of my previous articles were about. No, I am not a health nut so to speak but I pay attention to what I eat and my effort goes into again clean eating and the whole healthy lifestyle crap. In laymen’s terms, fresh fruits, meats and fresh vegetables with very limited if any amount of processed man-made carbs (i.e. instant potatoes, pasta and breads etc.).

So here I am back with RWM and I asked Kelly (the wonderful amazing publisher) to let me venture out a bit. So being the “wonderful amazing publisher” she is-she said GO FOR IT. My column will be something new that RWM hasn’t ever done before. Fit, Crazy & Pregnant!! Surprise!!! I found out my husband and I are expecting our first baby. Yes, this is exciting news but also, I know as well as most of you, that my life and my husbands is changing big time and soon (the clock is ticking). In the meantime, I will be cooking this baby in my personal “non easy” bake oven for another 6 months. I want to document my pregnancy and let folks know the honest truth. I have known pregnancy is not all rainbows and roses and sonogram pictures and fabulous baby reveal parties filled with yummy cupcakes. TO be completely honest I knew most 78


So, to get back to that lifestyle, I pride myself on a bad ass body. I work out, again not like a lunatic but I take care of myself and it reflects inside and out. When I got the news I was pregnant, I was shocked even though we purposely were not being “safe” and it was in the cards or we discussed it as part of our plan but no matter what, you are still in awe of it all. Our whole lives we try to avoid pregnancy like the plague and learn how not to get “knocked up” so its an interesting journey alone having sex with your partner and just “seeing what happens”, or at least that’s what we did and it worked! But not to get side tracked, I wanted to go over how I felt right away. Instantly It wasn’t crazy excitement and I was actually nervous and just confused. I was currently unemployed at the time temporarily but I just felt so uncertain about everything. I think we all say

there is never a “good time” or that’s what our parents said but I believe in fate. I now know I left that last job for a reason and I got pregnant when I did because it was the perfect time. So of course, I would look at Facebook and women flipping out about their pregnancy and just going GA GA over it all and I was over here like… Now I can’t go on my all-inclusive trip to Mexico because of that stupid Zika Virus. WTF!!!! I’ll never get that last trip in a bikini or feel smoking hot and now I am going to get fat. I don’t know probably all this crap sounds vain and stupid and now that I think about it-it is. Fear of my body never coming back flooded through me and I was just terrified and constipated!! Two terrible things to be! All jokes aside, everyone feels different. I felt I would lose my feeling of being an individual and wondered how could I keep my full-time job and be an awesome mom at the same time? Then I think- if I was a man I could do both-couldn’t I? I kept saying to myself, “How am I going to do it all?”. Then it didn’t help with my mother telling me there is no way I could work from my home with a baby and actually work. I think as women we need to cut ourselves a break. Making a human is pretty hardcore stuff and a blessing that many will never have. So right now, I am three months pregnant. I am going to the gym but the first weeks of pregnancy all I wanted to do was sleep. Like I said before I was constipated and that is due to prenatal vitamins and the extra iron but I worked that out with regular Mira-lax.



I am still lethargic and really all that makes me happy is food and sex. That is it. Ladies don’t count sex out. I always had an appetite but now it feels even better and that is one perk!! Thank you, Jesus,! The downside, I don’t feel good in my clothes and I am not at the stage where I look pregnant, I look chubby or “Tracy with a little belly that could use some crunches”. Being a person that wears clothes that fit just right meant nothing fit pretty fast and it is frustrating even though it’s inevitable, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. Thus, it is January and I know this article did not state much for health and 80


fitness. It was more of a diary entry for myself you could say. This is an intro and I plan on talking more about how I continue to live a healthy lifestyle as close to my pre-pregnancy days as possible. I recommend anyone who is fit and pregnant to try to continue to exercise but not to force yourself when your exhausted. Listen to your body, I know I am. The first three months your body is working overtime to create that little being so understand that and just relax. I am trying to take my own advice and I think I am doing ok. Any new future moms out there- you’re doing your best and don’t expect to feel like anyone else.

Don’t feel bad for not acting the way others do because your you. I am excited to be a mom, I really am but I don’t have to love getting large and feeling uncomfortable. I will love the end result though! Happy New Year and I look forward to sharing more of my journey where I can help some ladies who are going through the same things. I hope I can make you laugh because honestly it is the greatest medicine. xo Tracy~



On an almost daily basis as I catch up with my Facebook network, I see at least one post requesting prayers and empathy for cancer victims. I am convinced every one of my friends has been touched by this disease in one way or another and we all agree – CANCER SUCKS. This became personal for me last July when a neurosurgeon sat down with us and uttered, “You have a glioblastoma multiforme, grade 4 tumor. I can’t cure it, but I can and I will do the best I can to remove as much as is possible without compromising your current status.” And our world turned upside down. Glioblastoma multiforme, grade 4, or GMB4 is a specific type of brain tumor. I won’t bore you with the medical terminology, but the three adjectives best describing it include aggressive, unpredictable, incurable. These are not words that instill a sense of hope in one’s future. The standard protocol is surgery to “debulk” or scoop out the inside of the tumor, leaving the perimeter, which is usually too risky to excise due to location and proximity to vital areas of the brain controlling mobility, function, speech or cognition. Next is a six-week course of radiation with accompanying chemo (oral 82


but often for a year or more. Following these protocols is rigorous and demanding. The chemo pills (temozolomide) are toxic enough that caregivers are directed to not touch or handle the pills. This is some serious medication! My husband is retired Army and I think his military training serves him well waging this war against cancer. He remains stoic, steadfast and determined. “I want to live,” were his words when asked about end of life measures. And, like in the military, there is a new weapon in the medical arsenal. Somewhat new to the market, it is called Optune, by Novocure. Optune combines medical research with technology and is finally presenting a better prognosis to those with certain tumors. It was introduced in the U.S. in 2011 and received approval from the FDA in 2015.

temozolomide, or Temodar). This is followed by a month of “vacation” with no treatment whatsoever and then chemo phasing. Chemo phasing is with temozolomide again, with strength doubled, for only 5 days, followed by 23 days of “vacation.” This 5/23 chemo phasing is then repeated for a length of time determined by the neuro-oncology team,

The treatment modality is non-invasive and is delivered by a medical device that I liken to a TENS unit, but the only sensation felt by the patient with Optune is warmth – not a bad thing in Upstate NY in December, right? If your neuro-oncologist feels it appropriate, a recommendation is made to Novocure and the paperwork begins. I picture in my thoughts the alternating electrical energy emitted by the Optune transducer arrays in an aggressive sci-fi fantasy anime depiction. Optune lurks silently until those invincible cancer cells

{ A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE } So, for the New Year my husband and I continue to move forward. Cancer has compromised him physically and mentally, but he remains stoic and determined. We are supported by many and welcome 2018 – with HOPE.

that refused to die from the chemo are about to split, multiplying their numbers and then *ZAP-BZZZT-BAZINGA! Optune for the win! We are a few weeks into our adventure with Optune and certainly too soon to know if it is working in our case. The prognosis uttered by the surgeon last August was “twelve to eighteen months.” Clinical trials with temozolomide chemo accompanied by use

of the Optune medical device have improved this prognosis for many, many people. Some are using Optune after entering clinical trial status in 2011, more than six years. This device is showing such favorable results it is undergoing clinical trials for pancreatic cancers and ovarian cancers, also with encouraging outcomes. Treatment with Optune is a daily commitment, for an undetermined period

of time – but it is one of the more promising harbingers of life after a terminal diagnosis. So, for the New Year my husband and I continue to move forward. Cancer has compromised him physically and mentally, but he remains stoic and determined. We are supported by many and welcome 2018 – with HOPE. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2018


Sip. Relax. Enjoy. Cork49 is the first wine bar in the Village of Victor, New York, and offers a variety of wines carefully selected by our Certified Sommelier, both from the Finger Lakes region and from around the world. Our focus is on providing a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for individual customers, private parties, or small office events. In addition to wine, we also offer a selection of craft beer, cider, and small bites.

49 W. Main Street, Victor, NY 14564 (585) 924-9244





is totally

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed, passionate, and happy. Why? I visited Bitter Honey Restaurant last night. The area of Railroad Street, here in the city of Rochester, New York, has landed a real sweetheart of a tenant. From the moment Zack Mikida walked in with a huge smile on his face, I knew I was in a good place. His authentic energetic, happy personality could put anyone in a great mood! Soon after arriving, we sat and chatted. I learned that Zack is a Buffalo native, and there, was typically a bartender, until he spoke to a man named Josh Miles whom was opening a restaurant here in Rochester, named The Revelry. Zack was asked to move here to become active bar manager for The Revelry, and embraced that position for three years. He also was a program director with SCN Hospitality, for four years, a company owned by Josh and Jenna Miles. That was not enough for Zack, he had a vision. On a trip to Mexico about 5 years ago, he had an excellent experience with the friendly, hospitable people he was surrounded by. The open-air restaurants, true generosity of strangers, placed a passion for its people and food into Zack’s very being. Flooded into his intensions were thoughts of starting up his own restaurant with the same happy, hospitality in which he was met with while in Mexico. After several journeys to Mexico to the town of Tequila and the southern state of Mexico named Oaxaca, he learned all about the culture, food, and the distilled alcoholic beverage made

from agave called Mezcal. Zack even spent some time in agave fields harvesting plants and seeing the plants cut in half, cooked in an oven. It is at that time, it was explained to him that the oil that oozed from the plant while being baked, in English, was called the bitter honey of the plant. Zack knew that he must name his new restaurant after that, thus creating a restaurant with a Mezcal based cocktail list, also including Tequila. Tequila is in essence, a Mezcal, but is made from the agave plants only from the town of Tequila Mexico. Most Mezcal comes from the state of Oaxaca. With active knowledge, and experience in the restaurant business, vision and passion, Zack took a bold step and opened Bitter Honey on September 1st, 2017. I am so impressed at the lengths he has gone to, to make sure this restaurant is a true Mexican restaurant winner! Honoring traditional Mexican fare with an inspired twist. Zack is accomplishing this with very experienced friendly staff. I met cooks back in the kitchen, including Steven Lara, a California born chef and owner of Heritage Taco. Steven has been with Bitter Honey for two months now and is the main chef. I was completely at ease and in great care with the front house manager Shane Tavolino. Every need I had was attended to by Shane, if Zack got temporarily busy in handling business. From the receptionist, to the bar manager, to Shane, to the cooks and wait staff, this place gives good vibes. You can tell the staff is happy to work there. I personally watched as Zack interacted with guests and staff, sincerely having a warm, open, friendly attitude towards all.




From the moment Zack Mikida walked in with a huge smile on his face, I knew I was in a good place. His authentic energetic, happy personality could put anyone in a great mood!

I can see this place being a real home to some regulars. If you want a place to go to unwind for a cocktail, or invite others out with you, this is a great place to be. It is right in the city and easy to get to. Parking is on and across the street. The stylizing of the restaurant is so well done. It’s cool! There are wonderful murals all over the walls done by an artist Sarah Rutherford, and even Zack’s mom added one of two rabbits. The space is wonderful and can seat as many as 130 persons in the main dinning room and an additional 30 at the bar and 20 on the outdoor patio. Once opening the patio during summers, two huge glass doors will open, and the bar will get that open air feeling that Zack experienced in Mexico! Masa harina is the flour made from ground dried roasted corn. The dried corn, named hominy is soaked in a diluted calcium hydroxide, or lime water. Bitter Honey takes dried yellow corn and oven roasts it, then grinds it into their own fresh masa harina flour to make the fresh tortillas and other things, such as the Masa Gnocchi with Winter Truffles, Poblano Cream Sauce dish that I tried. I was in the kitchen to see the process of daily tortilla making, and tried a fresh one. This kitchen goes way out of it’s

way to make its own. The masa gnocchi were set in a rich cream sauce with a few greens delicately folded in. The hint of corn in the gnocchi was very wonderful, and the delicate hint of the green poblano peppers made this sauce delicious! I had to force myself to stop eating it! An interesting dish presented to me was the Rendered Beef Fat Candle. Rendered beef fat called tallow is poured into a small votive and lit like a candle. Once melted, the fat is poured into a bowl of warm Mexican spices. Tortillas accompany to tear or roll up and dip to sop up the spiced fat. The rich clean deep beefy flavor comes through nicely. A very interesting dish indeed! Warm Mexican spices can include: Cumin, garlic powder, cinnamon, Mexican oregano, onion powder, coriander-cilantro, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, salt and cloves. Enchiladas Verdes, was very much enjoyed. Our photographer saw mine and just had to get one! Stacked tortilla shells, lay flat, generously filled with very tasty, moist shredded, roasted chicken, with tomatillo Oaxaca and crema, along with Spanish rice and re-fried beans. The verdes sauce had a tang to it, so back into the kitchen I went. In America, we don’t

typically put vinegar in our verdes sauces, but I thought I detected it. Sure, enough the chef Steven Lara explained to me that authentic Mexican verdes has cider vinegar in it. “You have a great pallet” I was told by the front house manager Shane. An inviting beverage named Bae Watch was presented. Oaxacan Rum, shaken with pineapple and fresh lime, with a large fermented raspberry ice cube that melts and adds inviting taste as it melts. Very nice cocktail! Finally, Churros with chocolate dipping sauce! Fresh airy and dusted with cinnamon sugar. A great treat! All I know is that I need to go back real soon and experience more. Zack, partners and staff, and all others involved with getting this restaurant off the ground, I applaud you! Great job. Loved it. Going to tell every person I know and more, to try out Bitter Honey! Wait, maybe I just did! There at 127 Railroad Street, # 110, is a wonderful, inviting Mexican restaurant, Bitter Honey. Contact them at 585-270-4202, and, or on their face book page.




Rochester’s Newest Comedy Club Has A Rich History BY JULIE M. MAY I PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER CARDWELL

Looking for a unique place to grab a cocktail, some food and have a lot of laughs? Comedy @ the Carlson opened for business in June of 2017 and the venue has a rich local history. Mark Ippolito, a 20-year veteran of the comedy business and founder of The Comedy Club in Webster, NY, took a look at the area and realized a comedy club could go nicely in the newly-renovated entertainment center, also home to Radio Social. (Radio Social is the reincarnation of Clover Lanes, which opened on Monroe Avenue in Brighton in 1957). The venue offers about 2,000 parking spots and is centrally located in the region east of downtown, off of East Avenue. The space was formerly a factory and warehouse for The Stromberg-Carlson Company, which has an interesting history. It started way back in 1894, Alexander Graham Bell’s patent for the telephone expired. 90


Two Chicago employees of the American Bell Telephone Company (later AT&T), Alfred Sromberg and Adrov Carlson each invested $500 to establish a firm to manufacture telephone equipment for sale to independent telephone companies. Stromberg-Carlson was originally located in Chicago, with Carlson managing manufacturing and Stromberg responsible for marketing. Stromberg-Carlson quickly established a reputation for reliable

purchased by Home Telephone Company, a relatively large service provider based in Rochester, New York. The new owners quickly relocated all Stromberg-Carlson operations to New York, mainly to the Rochester area. The company branched out to become a major manufacturer of consumer electronics including home telephones, radio receivers and, after World War II, television sets. In fact StrombergCarlson is the company that created and manufactured the vintage MC-41 dynamic microphone that is prominent in the Comedy @ the Carlson logo. This historic microphone has been used by performers from Don Rickles to Jerry Lewis.

equipment and stable prices. In 1901, a rival telephone equipment manufacturer tried to take over the firm. A bitter stockholder fight ensued, and the takeover attempt failed. StrombergCarlson reincorporated as a New York state corporation in 1902, where state law better protected the company from takeover efforts. In 1904, Stromberg-Carlson was

The company also became involved in the broadcasting industry acquiring stations still on the air in Rochester: WHAM, the oldest station in Rochester, WBZA, one of the first three FM broadcast stations and WROC-TV one of upstate New York’s pioneer television broadcasters. In 1955, Stromberg-Carlson was purchased by General Dynamics. Within a year, all three of its broadcasting stations had been sold to different buyers and eventually the manufacturing facility

{ SHIFT+CONTROL } Comedy at the Carlson is not only for comedy shows they also recognize the diverse community needs of Rochester, NY. From hosting numerous charitable functions and private events, to being go to place for various corporate outings and meetings, The Carlson is rapidly becoming one of Rochester’s hotspots for entertainment.



“The Carlson building is going to becom said Ippolito, saying he’s happy abou Radio Social have bringing c



me an entertainment center in itself,” ut the synergy the comedy club and customers to Carlson Road.”



{ LOCAL BUSINESS MATTERS } “If you’ve ever seen a picture of Frank Sinatra from the 1950s or remember the famous Elvis Presley stamp, you’ve seen a Stromberg-Carlson microphone.”

“We’ve embraced our heritage and designed our atrium bar to remind everybody who visits us just how important our building is to the history of audio equipment, specifically the microphone. If you’ve ever seen a picture of Frank Sinatra from the 1950s or remember the famous Elvis Presley stamp, you’ve seen a Stromberg-Carlson microphone. Now, whenever you look at our logo or the mural behind our stainless steel topped bar, you’ll see a nearly forgotten piece of Rochester’s past brought back to the forefront,” Ippolito said. “Rochester has raised some big names in comedy, as well as produced a steady stream of local favorites,” said Ippolito. “But there are few large clubs in the area. After working with smaller locations for the better part of two decades, Ippolito was looking for a larger venue to bring better-known acts to town. That’s when the old factory caught his attention. Comedy @ the Carlson has brought some of the biggest names in comedy such as Mike Birbiglia, Nikki Glaser, Doug Stanhope, Morgan Murphy, 94


Dominique, Gilbert Gottfried, Preacher Lawson and in 2018 the parade of A-list talent continues with John Witherspoon, Artie Lange, Adele Givens just to name a few. The Carlson has three rooms, The Kevin Meaney Showroom which seats

up to 325 people, the atrium bar and the soon to be opened 100 seat Rickles Room named after comedy legend Don Rickles. Comedy at the Carlson is not only for comedy shows they also recognize the diverse community needs of Rochester, NY. From hosting numerous charitable functions and private events, to being go to place for various corporate outings and meetings, The Carlson is rapidly becoming one of Rochester’s hotspots for entertainment. “ The Carlson building is going to become an entertainment center in itself,” said Ippolito, saying he’s happy about the synergy the comedy club and Radio Social have bringing customers to Carlson Road. To see the upcoming schedule of shows and to purchase tickets online g o t o w w w.

Rochester’s Premiere Comedy Club Some Of Our Upcoming A-List Shows!

John Witherspoon January 25th - 27th

The Sklar Brothers February 22nd - 24th

Adele Givens March 15th - 17th 50 Carlson Road • Rochester, New York 14610

Pam Werts February 14th Follow Us On Social Media







Sheila Konar is quick to do anything for the Alzheimer’s Association. She and her family have been volunteers and fundraisers for them since her husband Bill was diagnosed with the disease more than 20 years ago. “Of course I will do an interview,” she laughed. “I will do anything to help anyone dealing with Alzheimer’s. I just want to help end this thing. And I call it a thing, an evil thing.” Bill was the love of her life. Sheila lived in Rochester but moved to Batavia with her family when she was 12 years old. She met Bill when she was just 17. “And that was it. My friends brought him to my house and I was in love. We were married for 61 years.”


A life dedicated to the Alzheimer’s Association

Bill was a Holocaust survivor who arrived in Rochester as an orphaned teenager and went on to found two successful companies. He and Sheila lived in Pittsford. The couple are considered generous philanthropists and helped found the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Whatever dad accomplished in life, at heart he was always caring and humble. He treated everyone he knew with honesty and respect,” said his son, Howard Konar. Bill, whose earlier education had been disrupted by the war, attended Benjamin Franklin High School and graduated in 1948. Not long thereafter, he went into business distributing health and beauty supplies to grocery stores. By the time he was 23 years old, the business had sales of $1 million a year, according to a 1998 profile of Bill in Fortune magazine. He was recalled as an indefatigable worker, toiling 80 or 90 hours a week. His wife, Sheila, told Fortune, “He was crazy. I didn’t have a husband.” In 1962, Bill went into a new business — operating discount drug stores. He built a chain of 84 stores in the eastern United States that he named Clinton Merchandising. A decade later, the company was acquired by Melville Corp. and his stores made part of the CVS chain. Bill worked as senior vice president for CVS for eight years. Bill later founded the real-estate company the now bears the name Konar Properties. The company has developed Erie Station Business Park in Henrietta, as well as residential and retail space in Rochester, Brighton and Henrietta. The husband and wife also started the William and Sheila Konar foundation. “We just want to do good in the community. We were so

blessed to be comfortable, we wanted to make the world a better place, especially in Rochester because we love the area,” Sheila said. “I am so proud of the work we’ve done in the community. My son Howard runs the foundation now and there is plenty of money to do as much good as we can.” Sheila had never even heard of Alzheimer’s disease when it slowly started to effect Bill. “At first I was just worried because he had a wonderful sense of direction. He started getting confused with directions. I just thought he was pre-occupied. He knew something was wrong too. He started resigning from all the boards he was on… I thought he just felt like he was getting old and it was time to relax some.” Then one day her son said to her, “mom, there’s something wrong with dad.” “I couldn’t deny it any longer so we went straight to the doctor,” Sheila said. “Alzheimer’s in its early stages can actually be very hard to diagnose.” “That’s when I started working with the Alzheimer’s Association. The disease is so horrible to go through, it’s like a slow destruction of a human being. You don’t know who you are. You are like a book with all the pages ripped out,” Sheila said. “Everything that worked for Bill I put out in the community. Music was helpful with his memory problems. We were blessed with the money and the resources to help him and it worked. Music wasn’t a cure but it made him so much better. He was able to play bridge for the first five years after his diagnosis.” “When music helped Bill I wanted to help other families struggling to share something that was very positive for him.” “Exercise also changes the way the brain works so Bill would work out a lot. Physically he was in the best shape of his life. We also tried acupuncture and thought it helped revitalize his memory. Because of all the work we put in to keep the disease at bay, Bill never lost his speech or used a walker.” “What was the most difficult was every time we learned to overcome a new issue, we’d just be getting back on track and then a new issue came up,” she said. “It’s such a horrific disease. I truly hate it.” Bill eventually died from the disease in June of 2015. Her life now revolves around her two children and five grandchildren, one of them planning a wedding. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2018


Today the Konar Family Foundation generously supports the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association by underwriting a variety of social engagement programs and services including GEVA performances, the Jewish Community Center’s Music, Mindfulness and Motion program and open rehearsals at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Thanks to their support, vibrant educational programs have been delivered to support the family and professional caregiver as well as those with early stage dementia. Teresa A. Galbier is President of the Alzheimer’s Association Rochester & Finger Lakes Region.

She had this to say about Sheila: “Sheila Konar’s passion for those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease is boundless. She has boldly carried a torch to advocate for legislation that has a positive impact on those with Alzheimer’s, she commits personal time and resources to enhance and expand programs and services, and she influences others to care as deeply about Alzheimer’s as a public health issue as she does.” “Bill used to say ‘What you do for yourself dies with you. What you do for other stays,’ Sheila said. “If I could have one wish it

would be to have a cure for Alzheimer’s in my lifetime. I feel we are so close. I can’t say enough about the great work they do at the U of R researching this disease.” Sheila then began to weep softly. “I’m sorry,” she said. “He was just such a wonderful man and I miss him terribly. Bill was my secret champion. But I am proud of all the things we have accomplished and proud of our family name. I can say through our foundation, that we made a difference in the Rochester community and helped make the world a better place.”


The Mrs New York America Pageant is held to give honor and tribute to the incredible married women across our state. The pageant is scheduled for Sunday, March 25th from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the RIT Inn and Conference Center. Our winner will compete at the acclaimed Mrs. America Pageant competition! Tickets: $25 adults, $15 children 12 and under Tickets will be sold at the door (doors open at 1:00 p.m.)

Alice Lee Giannetta

Mrs. New York America 2017 Mrs. World 2018

For information please contact: Diane Hardgrove, Executive Director









Cara D’Emanuele first took to the stage almost 50 years ago when she was in her first dance recital at age 3. “I studied tap and ballet at The Ethel Grose School of Dance in Oswego. Just the title of that dance school sounds like a fictional place in a small town in the 1960’s!” Cara says it was in that class that “I learned a great deal about discipline, respect and professionalism during those years.” Today Cara is an actress, theatre director and works to educate and inspire children and teens who wish to make performing a career at her Park Avenue-based business, Cara D’Emanuele Studios. Her infectious spirit, dynamic personality and fabulous sense of humor are a perfect blend with high artistic standards and “old school” expectations.


She guides local students in Rochester and Syracuse towards success by providing them with private coaching in voice, acting and auditioning, as well as classes and workshops and career mentoring. Originally from Mexico, NY, her artistic talents developed through years of dance and piano lessons, but also from her never-ending day dreams of performing in a big city. She is grateful for her small-town upbringing but says she always knew metropolitan life was in her future. She says “I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t certain that I would do something in entertainment/performing arts. I never went through a phase where I wanted to be a doctor or lawyer. I grew up in a small town in Oswego County where I was only exposed to marching band and chorus. We didn’t have a drama program so I assumed I was going to become a music teacher and a singer.” Cara began pursuing her dream by earning a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre/Music Education from Wagner College and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Syracuse University. “Once I went to NYC for undergraduate school and learned what Broadway was, I knew that musical theatre was my goal,” she laughs. When asked about the most rewarding part about working with children, Cara said, “I chose to specialize in working with children because that is undoubtedly what I was meant to do. The most rewarding part of being a coach is perhaps not the fact that I have helped them to develop beautiful voices but that I have been a part of these students’ lives. Voice coaches

are also mentors and life coaches. “Many of my students have gone on to fabulous careers on Broadway, in film and television or in the world of theatre, music and dance – others in non-arts related fields. Whatever the case, I appreciate Christmas cards or messages on social media where students reach out to tell me that they appreciate how much I taught them about discipline, personal accountability, professionalism, and simply how to believe in themselves,” she said. “There are many aspects of participating in or making a living in the arts that are completely out of our control (how tall we are, what color our hair is, 65 other girls that look just like me auditioned but none of us were going to be cast anyway because the producer’s daughter auditioned). So, all we can focus on is what we can control. Most often that is simply being prepared - really and truly prepared.” She said the hardest part of working with children is balancing high standards with compassion. “Every student is different and it takes time to develop a relationship where that balance is working smoothly. While you are getting to know their voice, you are also getting to know their personality, learning style, and fears and you have to respond to that. In the beginning of building a relationship with a student, it’s hard to know just how much you can push them,” Cara said. “Most often I am certain of what the student is capable of but the resistance comes when they don’t think they can do it. Studying voice is not a short-term venture. Students don’t develop a confident, healthy vocal technique without consistent, weekly study over a long period of time. Families need to understand that they are making an investment in their child. Voice coaches don’t have a magic wand – patience and dedication to practicing are really key.” Also an accomplished performer, Cara says her favorite role was Rebecca in the musical Rags with Blackfriars Theatre. “It was one of the first roles I played when moving to Rochester 18 years ago. The character of Rebecca is a strong, independent woman who is the quintessential female survivor taking risks and making sacrifices for her child in hopes of a better life. I met actors and artists during that production who became some of my best friends.” We had to ask what advice Cara would give to parents whose children want to act. “First, seek the advice of a professional who ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2018


works with children. Even if you just hire them for a consultation, you will save time, resources and heartache if you are guided to avoid scams and less than reputable directors, producers and agents. Nothing you find on-line stating ‘agents are looking for new faces’ is true. It simply doesn’t happen that way,” she cautions. “I am always incredibly upset when families tell me how much money they have spent on ‘photo shoots’ or traveling to LA to be in an agency ‘showcase.’ I would advise them to “seek local opportunities, especially if your child doesn’t have experience or a resume. There are plenty of opportunities for training and performance from community theatre to student films right here in Rochester.” Cara says “You don’t need to go to NYC or LA, especially in the beginning. Wait to see

how interested and disciplined your child truly is and ask for candid feedback from people like music and drama teachers. Although well-meaning, the opinions of your relatives about how ready for Disney or Nickelodeon your child is are irrelevant.” As for family, Cara said her perfect day would be to go to dinner and a Broadway show with her son Korey and her daughter Adelaide. “They truly get me and are two of the most insightful theatre-goers I have ever known. I love our post-show conversations, whether we liked the show or not.” Cara is quick to say her biggest accomplishment is longevity. “I have never had another job. I did teach vocal/ general music in public/private schools for 4 years but other than that, I have always been a

freelance singer, actor, coach, and director for 30 years. Everyone decides to live a life that works for them so I am certainly not judging the choices of other artists. Some exceptionally gifted people who I have had the privilege of performing with here in Rochester are doctors, bankers, professors, scientists, photographers. “However, I needed a “gypsy” lifestyle. I enjoy being my own boss and could never have been tied down to a desk. That’s just not me. Has it been a practical and lucrative career? Hardly. I have lived very “lean,” some years more than others, so that I could do what I was passionate about,” Cara said. “I have had a flexible schedule doing what I love, creating a life that I was passionate about, and to me, it was worth the financial sacrifice.” To contact Cara go to



My name is Barbara Pingree and by profession I worked as a registered nurse at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

diet triggers that worsened my pain, including aspartame and gluten, but it wasn’t enough to change the trajectory of my health.

Like many women, I not long ago found myself with the early signs of declining health. I was gaining weight, my energy level was declining, and I was finding that I was having to curtail my daily activities. Worse of all, I didn’t see a way out.

These health conditions had robbed me of my favorite activity – horseback riding. I love being out on the trails

First and foremost, it was effecting my medical health. I was on blood pressure medication, my doctor was recommending cholesterol medication, I was pre-diabetic with elevated blood sugars and was close to being diagnosed with diabetes. Because of chronic pain, I was needing t o t a k e n a rc o t i c pain medication just to function many days. I could sense myself spiraling in the wrong direction. My husband, who is a physician in the field of geriatrics, was likewise concerned. I was far too young to be having these kinds of health problems. A few years prior to that, I had been diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia, and it was dominating my health. I couldn’t tolerate even modest exercise, and eventually just doing the basics of my life was difficult. I did identify some 104


including events as simple as our son’s youth hockey games. And when I did feel well enough, I was becoming increasingly self-conscious of my weight, and wanted to stay home. It effected everything in my life – my emotional and physical health, my marriage, my relationship with my kids, my friendships. This story sounds like a fictional tale, but unfortunately was my life. I continued trying to find something, anything, that would help. I tried some supplements that I had read about on the internet, but they didn’t help. I had heard about Plexus Worldwide products from a friend on Facebook, but h a d n’t t r i e d it, thinking it would be like the other unhelpful supplements. Almost on a whim, I decided, “why not, let’s give it a try”.

and fields, feeling the strength of the horse below me and feeling so close to nature. I felt a tremendous sense of loss, and believed that I likely would never be able to engage in this activity on a regular basis again. Sadly, I found myself becoming more isolated – I didn’t feel well enough to go out to many family and social events,

In terms of my pain, the improvement was within days. It was the best that I had felt in a long time. The pain wasn’t gone, I still had fibromyalgia, but it was better. The thing I remember most was when the seven day sample that I had ordered ran out the pain came back worse than ever! Since it is only available through Ambassadors or from the corporation (and the Ambassador

or from the corporation (and the Ambassador whom I ordered from lives in New Jersey, the corporation is in Arizona), I was stuck. After a few miserable days, my next shipment arrived and things simmered down. With the products, I personally had a wonderful response. My interest in sugary foods diminished, my appetite was sated with less food, and 20 excess pounds seemed to melt off. Although I still had pain, it was better. The negative cycle of weight gain, pain, and declining function was starting to subside. I was starting to get better. The best part of this early improvement was the improvement of my weight to a more optimal level. Excess weight increases the risk of high pressure and diabetes, and when those 20 pounds came off, my blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol level improved. Improved so much that within six months, I was off of all prescription medications – in fact my pain was improved enough that I was able to come off of narcotic pain medications entirely. I distinctly remember my primary care physician walking into the exam room with my new test results in hand. She looked at me in surprise and asked “what are you doing??”. At first I thought that there was a problem, but actually she was thrilled

by the improvement in my blood work and blood pressure. When I explained to her about the Plexus products that I was taking, she emphatically said “don’t stop taking them!” And I haven’t. As time has gone on, my health has moved gradually in the right direction. My weight isn’t exactly where I want it to be yet and I still have occasional minor pain from fibromyalgia, but I am doing so much better. Let me be clear – I am not claiming that Plexus has cured me of any disease but I, and thousands of others, have experienced wonderful results. The best way that I would describe it is that it has tipped the scales (pun intended) in my favor, and along with my doctor I have been able to gradually improve my health to the point that I feel better than I have in 15 years. I took advantage of a wonderful opportunity (in fact, anyone has this opportunity) to become a Plexus Ambassador. When you have had a great experience with something, you talk about it. Whether a great meal at a restaurant, a good movie, an excellent doctor – you tell friends about it. Plexus has a line of products that can help optimize your health. Whether you

need help achieving healthy body weight, maintaining normal blood sugar control, want the best products to improve gut health, Plexus can help. I love being able to sit down with someone (in person or online), look at their health goals, and help match the products with their goals. Do Plexus products help everyone, and can I guarantee results? No product can claim that. But what I can commit to is helping every potential customer or Ambassador understand the products and learn how they might help. And even better, Plexus Worldwide itself gives a 60 day money back guarantee for their products. It’s a win-win! In my time as an Ambassador, I have helped customers find products on which they feel much better, but if for any reason someone feels that it is not for them and want to return a product I will help with that as well. I love being able to help people explore the options, and in the end feel good about giving people complete, honest information. My goals don’t stop at the individual level. I am a native Rochesterian, and want to make our city healthier. We are building a team of customers and Ambassadors that support each other, build each other up and look out for each other. Come join us!!



Finally, after a long-term ban, MMA fighting is legal again in NYS. Full Contact Promotions(FCP) will bring us Rage in the Cage 3 on February 3, 2018, at the Main Street Armory. This organization is dedicated to bringing out up-and-coming amateurs giving them a platform. Their last event, also sponsored by RWO carried a spotlight for women fighters and donated a portion of the proceeds to charity (breast cancer organization). In 1997, Governor Pataki banned MMA fighting (1). There was a lengthy period, prior to the return where legislators stalled reenactment of the sport to force reform and regulation. Senator Roy Goodman introduced some of the laws stating: “My legislation addresses those problems protecting the participants and the public. This legislation will put an end to unbridled human cock fighting which can seriously injure contestants”. (2) Governor Pataki wanted to introduce regulation for the sport through the NYS Athletic Commission. T h e government also wanted licensing 106


provisions for promoters similar to those required in boxing or pro wrestling (2). Regulations such as no children under 18 may attend without parental supervision; a time-frame for matches; frequency of fighting; requirements for protective gear such as gloves and head gear; new judging criteria and development of weight classes were among the changes sought (2). Media pressure tagged the phenomenon stating, “This is a bloody spectacle which turned into a legitimate sport” (2). In 2011, the UFC even resorted to litigation in an attempt to fight the ban in NYS (5). The challenge was filed indicating the law is so vague people can’t understand what is prohibited (5). The court found NYS was misapplying the law but dismissed the lawsuit on a technicality in 2015 (5). It was again

an issue where lobbying was necessary and further action needed to be taken to convince the NYS Assembly to allow the bill lifting the ban on fighting. The MMA sport is cited as being one of the fastest growing sports (6). Even former Lieutenant Governor Duffy weighed in on the platform indicating “If you don’t like it don’t watch it” (6). He further said, “Don’t deny others the right to make a living” (6). There should be no surprise, it wasn’t until a study came out showing the amount of revenue the sport would generate which began to sway the NYS legislators in the other direction to lift the ban. Joe Morelle sponsored the bill which passed. The issue was in transition for many years. The Governor made public statements in favor of the legalization along with adding a provision regarding MMA in the state’s budget (4). Cuomo cited the fact the MMA was an economic generator as his reasoning for the change in suppor t (4). The legislation passed in the NYS Senate for many years but was always staling in the NYS Assembly (4). In 2016, the ban was finally lifted (4). NYS’s ban remained in



{ {RAGE RWOIN SURVIVORS THE CAGE} } “To be an MMA fighter, is something I’m very proud of. As a woman, I’ve been shunned, criticized and judged by some people. Like it’s okay for a man to be a fighter, but not okay for a woman. When I fight, despite that, it’s to show other women it’s okay to be a woman and be strong.”

passed in the NYS Senate for many years but was always staling in the NYS Assembly (4). In 2016, the ban was finally lifted (4). NYS’s ban remained in effect for almost twenty years. Interestingly, many women joined in in this sport, after coming out of abusive relationships. The women learned they can fight back. They gained self-confidence in the training and learned how to defend themselves. Malinda Diffee shared with CNN: “I feel the biggest misconception about this sport is that it is all about brutality. I wish people could see what we fighters see; the honor and respect that is a part of what we do. When I train, I’m not training to hurt someone, I’m training to be the strongest I could be” (3).



She discussed what it meant to be a female fighter: “To be an MMA fighter, is something I’m very proud of. As a woman, I’ve been shunned, criticized and judged by some people. Like it’s okay for a man to be a fighter, but not okay for a woman. When I fight, despite that, it’s to show other women it’s okay to be a woman and be strong” (3).

fights at the Main Street Armory.

A local training center BEDROC points out MMA training is also good for “improving health, increasing endurance, losing weight, gaining muscle and strength, learning self defense and feeling better about yourself ” (7). Victory Church prides itself in having both a pro and amateur fight team. MMA classes are offered at the church’s fitness center free of charge (8). Rochester Woman is teaming with Full Contact Promotions and will be a sponsor of the upcoming

4. FOXSPORTS (2016). New York Legalizes MMA After Nearly 20 Year Ban On The Sport, Retrieved December 23, 2017, from

Resources 1. LaMonica, M. (2016). Mixed Martial Arts in NY, Retrieved December 10, 2017, from 2. Meltzer, D. (2016). A Look Back at the 1990’s Hysteria Which Got MMA Banned in New York, Retrieved December 10, 2017, from 3. Diffee, M (2016). This is Why I Fight: The Power of Women’s MMA, Retrieved December 23, 2017, from

5. Thomas, L. (2015). Court Dismisses UFC’s Lawsuit Challenging New York’s Ban on Mixed Martial Arts, Retrieved December 23, 2017, from 6. Sharpe, B. (2015). Local MMA Scene Ready If NY Lifts Ban, Retrieved December 23, 2017, www. 7. (2017). 8. (2017).



Can you imagine spending the last 24-years of your life in a women’s prison? May 1, 1995, Michelle pled guilty to murdering her husband. In the newspaper Michelle was described as: “According to court testimony and papers, B.L. kept a lawyer on retainer for his wife, a honey-blond, exotic dancer who was arrested numerous times for crack-cocaine use and prostitution. She also had sex with men and women while married to B.L. who was aware of her promiscuity” (1). Newspaper clippings report B.L. verbally and physically abused Michelle for up to a year before his death. Lennon’s attorney told reporter James Walsh: “He has two videotapes and photographs which indicate to me, that Mr. L. definitely was a pedophile obsessed with young girls, under highschool age” (2). Reports cited the murder was because Lennon and her lover did not want L e n n o n’s husband to move in with them, the murder was done for money (insurance and the estate) or irreconcilable 110


difference and a history of alcohol abuse led to the death. But nobody really knows what caused Michelle Lennon to kill her husband in such a gruesome fashion where he was beaten with a bat, choked with a phone cord, a bag was placed over his head and he was disposed of in a car, where his body was dumped in the woods. Michelle’s co-defendant’s lawyer, Mr. Gribetz told reporters; “This was a double life, on one hand, here was a man who was a major corporate executive and here was his other life at 25 South Remsen Avenue” (3). In another article, Michelle is described as: “She’s a young and pretty, party girl who bagged a rich supermarket executive” (4). Does the truth ever come out in the

media’s coverage? In a murder trial, everyone involved has their own agenda. The prosecutor wants a plea bargain or conviction. The victim’s family wants justice. The defendants don’t want to go to jail so they lie to get the deal offered by the prosecutor to testify against the other defendant. The story becomes whichever one flips first and it is not always the truth. Then we add a multi-million-dollar estate where family members are fighting over who gets the assets. Money the root of all evil. Of course, in this case, most of the reports have these themes intertwined in them. At the end of the day, Michelle Lennon serves twenty-four years in prison. How much about prison does anyone know? What does a sentence of (20-Life) mean? Michelle after completing her minimum sentence has the chance to see the Parole Board. When she is interviewed, a panel of 2 or 3 Commissioners review her case. After interviewing her, they either grant or deny parole and specify a time-frame within a twentyfour-month period for a reappearance. In Michelle’s case, she appeared at the Board and was denied parole for a 24-month hit. She is also eligible for work release because she was a victim





Michelle was denied parole at her appearance, and she was denied work release twice. When does enough time pass so that a person is considered rehabilitated? Is there no compassion left when someone like Michelle suffered insurmountable abuse at the hands of her husband? Michelle will reappear at the Parole Board in February. She came a long way from what she was described as during her trial. She serves as a mentor for other inmates. She is sober and rehabilitated. She learned a trade while in prison and studied cosmetology. But despite doing everything she was required to do, it hasn’t been enough. How does a Parole Board judge someone’s worthiness of parole when they spend a mere ten minutes interviewing someone’s file? Is that even possible, when someone like Michelle spent 24 years in prison? How can anyone review so much material in so little time? Michelle’s hair is no longer platinum blonde but brown with streaks of grey. She walks with a cane and limp. The years of living in a women’s prison show on her face. But logically think, how does a human being with varying backgrounds sit down and interview a person for ten minutes and this is sufficient to determine, whether after decades in prison, the individual can live a law-abiding life? NYS employed a new technique to 112


assist the Parole Board with this task. The COMPAS risk assessment is a questionnaire similar to what car insurance companies use to judge risk. The test develops a score to gauge the risk of recidivism. It also scores criminogenic needs to assist developing re-entry planning. Michelle’s scores indicated she was not a risk, but she was still denied parole. As a tax payer in NYS, it seems unreasonable for our state to continue to incarcerate people for over two decades without a reasonable reason determining why they must remain in prison, especially when incarcerating someone for a year is in excess of $50,000. When an inmate is paroled they are still being supervised. Many who come home are electronically monitored so parole officials know their every move. In looking at this query, we must first understand the law in the state allows someone convicted of murder an opportunity to be paroled. So, it is not the case, anyone is expected to serve traditional life. If the individual is deemed at sentencing not eligible for parole their sentence is set up that way. There is still the opportunity to be paroled. Twenty-to-Life, when is enough time if a life was taken? Why doesn’t it matter Michelle was a victim of domestic violence? Especially, in the context of work release eligibility. Being a victim

of domestic violence is the only reason a person convicted of murder is eligible in the first place so how is it the state can deny Michelle’s application on the nature of her crime? This is a factor which will never change. How is this the only defining factor 24 years later. Is it not a better predictor, to look at one’s accomplishments over the last 24 years? Have they relapsed while in prison? Have they received disciplinary tickets and for what? There has to be more. We must do better in NYS. One single solitary act does NOT define the rest of someone’s life. Michelle Lennon is deserving of a second chance. RESOURCES 1. Lieberman, S. (Trial Barred for Woman Who Admitted Killing Millionaire Husband (year and publication unknown, news clippings). 2. Walsh, J. (Abuse Claimed in Lennon Defense, year and publication unknown, news clippings). 3. Saeed, K (County Pair Held in Death of Executive, year and publication unknown, news clippings). 4. Gonzalez, S. and Burke, C. (1994) Cops: Wife and Pimp Killed her Exec Hubby, New York Post.







Bioidentical Hormone Replacement

Ladies, are you feeling tired, sluggish, lack drive, a little more irritable than normal, have decreased response to sexual stimulation, and are gaining weight despite putting in tremendous effort at the gym and dieting? Are you between the ages of 45-55, or maybe even younger?

the synthetic hormones often prescribed by your GP or GYN? Synthetic hormones are made by pharmaceutical companies. Since they cannot “patent” bio-identical hormones because each “formula” is different, they use a “one size fits all approach” by manufacturing synthetic hormones such as Premarin or Provera.

Do you feel that you have addressed your concerns with your gynecologist or primary care physician only to be told that this is just the “normal part of aging?”

Here at Vitalize we understand that no two women are the same therefore each regimen is different.

Well, I can assure you this, NOTHING about the above symptoms are normal. Well, they may be when you speak of menopause, but they don’t have to be YOUR normal. We understand that the thought of female hormone replacement and the use of hormones are scary. After all, there have been numerous articles written about the risk of cancer when using synthetic hormones to combat the symptoms of menopause. Here at Vitalize, we only use bio-identical hormones for the treatment of female menopause. Bio-identical hormones, are derived from naturally occurring sources, such as yams and soy, and are designed to replicate the same chemical structure as the hormones that are produced naturally by our bodies. Based on your hormone levels, our physicians can individually tailor a bioidentical hormone regimen specifically designed for you and your needs. So why are bio-identical hormones different than

Even with overwhelming evidence that bio-identical hormone replacement is safer than synthetic treatment, an adverse reaction can still occur. That is why our clients are closely monitored by our medical staff to be sure that they are safe and that treatment is effective. Vitalize is currently offering bio-identical hormone replacement in the form of creams, gels, pellets, and injections. No need to travel out west or down south to get this state of the art treatment! It’s right here in your home town. Please call the office at 585-287-5299 to start the discussion about female hormone replacement. Our goal is to get you feeling healthy and revitalized! And stay tuned, because next month we will feature the success stories of two of our clients who are currently undergoing female hormone replacement with us. We can’t wait to share their remarkable experiences with you all! ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2018




This recurring column by Dave Jenkins of Rochester Personal Defense, LLC will explore different areas and methods of personal protection and self defense. Topics will range from using specific tools, techniques, or even yourself and your mind as the weapon. The goal is to create a more aware and safer you! Questions or suggestions are welcome!

my own children, starting when they were 5 years old. The other thing my Father did was to secure his firearms from others unless they were educated and responsible enough to be safe. Securing them in a gun safe, or in a holster was the best and most safe way to accomplish this. As such, I follow the same safe practices myself.

Recent news has brought us stories of tragedy with firearms and children. In one, a 12yr old girl found a gun in a car and accidentally shot one of her friends, killing her. In another case, closer to home, a 3 yr old child picked up a handgun and shot himself. He might survive.

The National Rifle Association has a great video online called “The Eddie Eagle Firearms Safety Video” that you can download for free. Use it to assist you in making your children smarter and safer.

What the above tells me is the following: we need more firearms safety education for adults as well as children, not avoidance. The former provides for a safer outcome than the latter. Too many people take the avoidance approach to firearms rather than the educational route. Now, bear in mind that this does not mean you’ll need to shoot one to learn about them, it just means that removing the mystery and stigma from firearms can actually save lives. Avoiding them or pretending they do not exist is an immature and dangerous mindset. My own personal experience with firearms safety education started when I was about 7 and my Father taught me how to recognize a firearm and how to be safe around one. In essence, he taught me to stop, leave it alone, leave the area, and find an adult, preferably a responsible one. I have since passed that very same concept down to 116


It is imperative that we take pride in the sport, activity, or exercise of being a firearms owner, but we also need to willingly accept the responsibility that comes with that idea.

Essentially, you can ‘Gun proof’ your kids a lot easier than you can avoid the topic. Teaching your children the difference between television, toys, and real life will help them understand that their actions will have consequences. Even as young as 4 or 5 years old! Think about the story of the three year old. Yes, maybe he was too young to understand the difference (yet), but that does not mean he should have been hurt either. The adult in charge of that firearm should have known better and should have taken every possible step to ensure the safety of everyone in that house. The handgun in question should have been under their direct control or secured in some way as to avoid the incident. Obviously that did not happen. According to the story, the gun was on a table and the adults left the room. During that timeframe, the child grabbed the gun and was hurt. That negligence is squarely on the shoulders of the adult. Now, before you say that guns are bad and guns are dangerous, let’s look at some facts about other dangers that our children face: 1. Motor Vehicles: Nationwide, over 2.3 million children and injured in motor vehicles. Nearly 8000 are killed. 2. Swimming pools: Our kids have a higher chance of getting hurt or killed in or around a pool. One report states that there are roughly 6 million pools in the US and over 600 kids dies in them. That’s a 1:11,000 ratio. (The ratio of firearm deaths and children is nearly 1 million to 1)



3. Bicycles counted for more than 5,000 deaths of children between the ages of 4 and 15. 4. Household chemicals: According to the Poison site, kids between 1 and 3 were the highest risk (nearly 300k) compared to other ages. All because we want to keep cleaning supplies under our sink. Essentially, firearms are not nearly as dangerous to our kids when you compare them to other risks that we take for granted. Realistically, Pools, cars, bikes, skateboards, and the basic cleaners we have in our homes are far deadlier than firearms to our kids. One person commented to me that they would never allow or invite someone with a gun into their home because of the danger. In talking to them, I told them that they’ve already invited other, more dangerous, things into their home. This house had all of the deadly issues to be concerned about- A car, bikes, skates, a pool, and yes, even the poisonous Clorox spray cleaner under the sink. The sink was not even locked up either! 118


So how do we all survive driving our vehicles, riding our bikes, or swimming? You’d think that since these items are so dangerous, that we would just avoid them altogether, right? We would all be safer then? No. we have to drive, or ride, or even swim. Heck, we do have to clean once in a while too, so how do we all make it through our day without getting hurt or killed? Education. That’s how we do it. We learned how to drive. We taught our kids to watch out for cars, to avoid playing near the road and how to be safe around them. We taught our kids to ride bicycles, to wear a helmet, and we educated them on how to be safe when riding. Hopefully, we also taught them how to handle cleaners safely as well. When to use them and when to avoid them. Again, it all comes down to education, not avoidance. We run firearms safety courses all the time. Soon, there will be a free Family Firearms Safety seminar to help parents and kids know how to be safe around firearms and

how to avoid being hurt- or worse. Parents: don’t avoid the subject because of fear or because of the rhetoric in the media. Very few children are hurt or killed due to firearms compared to the other dangers we face, or put them in. With just a little education, you can ensure that they will be safe. Call us at 585-406-6758 and we can help you learn AND help you Gun Proof your children as well! Dave Jenkins is the founder of Rochester Personal Defense, LLC, Rochester’s personal protection experts. Come join the other women that have learned how to be safe, keep their family safe, and how they became their own bodyguards. You can reach Dave and his team of instructors at www. or 585-406-6758. You can even email them at rpdllctraining@







Join the DIVA’S for a little mind, body and floating experience

There is a local health center where you can obtain a special therapy to float or salt therapy, the Mind Body Float Center. In this month’s Diva’s Report, Rochester Woman had the pleasure of relaxing their mind, and body for a little while and experiencing what all the talk was about. Ok, well if you know either of us, you know that being quiet or still really isn’t in our vocabulary...but the experience was still amazing!

The float tanks contain over 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt which is dissolved in ten inches of warm water. The idea of this treatment stems like the benefit of “the Dead Sea”. The float solution allows the person to float effortlessly as there is no pull of gravity in the tanks. The tank areas allow the individual to also experience the absence of sound and light producing an environment free of sensory input. While we couldn’t obviously get the full experience because we had to do our interview, the sensation of being deprived of your senses was still the same. This environment allows the brain to achieve a “theta-wave state” where it is not distracted from daily processing workloads achieving

true relaxation. This also stimulates the body where cortisol levels drcrease and endorphins are increased. Floating is beneficial to ease joint, muscle and back pain, reduces stress, soothes the discomfort of pregnancy, helps control addictions to food and substances, helps manage symptoms of PTSD, depression and sleep disorders, enhances creativity, allows clearer focus and spiritual exploration. I was honestly surprised that even after just 1 session, and not a true session, that my muscles and joints did feel better. More relaxed and not so tense. his is also a great treatment for Fibromyalgia. For Cheryl who has fibromyalgia, these treatments can be a huge benefit for pain management. The Center allows special pricing for people who suffer from this ailment. Your first session is free. Any additional sessions are half price. The sessions are scheduled in 90-minute intervals. The process involves a pre-shower, the soak and then a post-shower to rinse off the salt residue. Of course Cheryl had a little fun filming me with my showercap on and going live on facebook! ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2018


The float tank is shallow, so you do not have to worry about knowing how to swim and or if there is a danger of drowning. Such a strange sensation when first getting in because you immediately start floating. We were in the 2 person cathedral tank, which is a bit different from the regular enclosed 1-person pods. We decided to float together so we could chat (which really isn’t what you are suppose to do), but you know us Diva’s. The tanks are cleaned and contain 100 ppm of hydrogen peroxide. They are filtered between uses and there is also a microorganism killing UV light. The only counterindications include being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a tattoo less than 4 weeks old, fresh hair dye (under 10 days) and uncontrolled epilepsy. It is not recommended to float if you are in the first trimester of pregnancy and or if you have any large cuts or open wounds. We watched a video upon arriving that talked about all of this, and what we would be experiencing, how to prep to get ready to go into the tank, etc. 122


One of the special rooms that we didn’t get to try this time around is the salt room. The salt room is a communal setting. The benefits of sitting is salt is a powerful sterilizer and anti-inflammatory agent. This is the basis of folk remedies for respiratory ailments. The modern-day action is achieved by using a salt generator which grinds pharmaceutical-grade pharmaceuticals into micro-particles allowing them to be dispersed in the air. This solution when breathed in enters deep into the lungs and sinuses where it can kill bacteria, draw moisture, thin mucous, drain the sinus and allow for easier breathing. The salt treatment is 45-minute period where you sit and lounge, breathing in the compound. This will be next times adventure for the Diva’s. This treatment is good for coughing, colds, asthma, sinusitis, allergies/hay fever, ear infections, bronchitis and COPD and cystic fibrosis. The treatment range varies based on what ailments you are treating. Chronic conditions may require a longer treatment period up to 8 weeks before seeing results.

The cony counterindications for the salt therapy include suffering from tuberculosis, hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease. The treatments are affordable. The float tank is $ 65.00 for a solo float; $ 95.00 for couples. Students receive a discount to $ 45.00. Military is also afforded 15%. The salt therapy is $ 25.00. It is noted there are discount packages and memberships available. There are locations in Rochester and Syracuse. Can you believe that we have this type of treatment here in Rochester? I honestly was a little nervous (and still am), about being in a tank of water, submerging and letting everything go. Anyone who knows me, knows I never ever relax. But, I am thinking this might be something good for not just my body, but my mind and soul. Anyone interested in joining us?

“BHAM!!!!! Total relaxation.” ~Michael R., Yelp reviewer

Your winter getaway without the airfare. Our Float Tanks are always 95°F. Floatation Therapy for pain and stress relief Salt Therapy for your respiratory health

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From the time D. Marie’s daughter J. Marie was three “From the Kink in Her Curls to the Beat in Her Step” was a conversation the mother and daughter had repetitively. It stemmed from J. Marie questioning her own dark complexion comparing it to other people she admired. D. Marie immediately began to teach her daughter to love herself and accept her appearance as God created her. D. Marie as an educator, saw first-hand the negative effects of other’s opinions and comments on young girls of color and their self-esteem. With this concept in mind, D. Marie authored her book with the above title. Her mission was to help girls become confident with their appearance celebrating their skin complexion, hair type and body type.

Self-image is very important to young girls, we all want to look and feel pretty. I learned though my book writing experience there are many young girls, who don’t believe they are pretty because no one tells them their beautiful. It’s because they have short hair, or some girls believe that they are defined by their clothes. In school uniforms, their ugly and in their street clothes they are pretty. I

D. Marie Walters did not think she would be an author. She is an educator in the Rochester City School District with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership. D. Marie shares: “At the age of three, my daughter who is of a dark brown complexion, questioned her skin tone. People would complement her by saying, “She pretty for a dark-skin girl” and “You’re a pretty chocolate girl”. At the age of three, she knew chocolate as something that she eats, not her skin. That was just the beginning, Jalynn began to admire the images of her favorite television stars, who she considered pretty. These characters didn’t reflect her image. She then wanted her skin lighter, and her hair longer. At that point, I knew I had to teach my daughter to love herself the way God has created her. I did this by telling her: “There isn’t anything wrong with her hair or skin, and embrace her beauty”. 124


really couldn’t believe that this is the mentality of our young girls. With knowing this, I now have become a positive role-model for young girls. With writing this book, I want all young girls to believe that they are pretty and to believe in themselves. Jalynn has also become a positive impact for girls, as well. At different events, young girls look at Jalynn, glance at the book cover, then look

at Jalynn again and say, “She’s so pretty”. I think for children to see someone that looks like them on a cover of a book is amazing to them and they want to know how she got on the cover. During this journey, Jalynn has also started giving complements to other girls. I love to see that”. This journey for the ladies is an enlightening one. D. Marie reflects, her father as being an influential man in her life. By instilling lessons such as the significance in goal-setting, coupled with determination, this provided the foundation of how D. Marie lives her life and making her successful. Losing her father six years ago, when he was such an important factor in her growth and as a person was a very difficult time. D. Marie kept it real with Rochester Woman as we embarked on a discussion of race and the implementation of societal norms. She pointed out: “I believe the idea of dark is ugly, is something the black community developed years ago and it has become a social norm. We have developed the idea light skin and long, straight hair, are pretty. What I think will happen to change this, is women must continue to embrace their beauty and stand against the stereotypes. You have more brown-skinned girls and women, who are proud of their skin. More women are becoming natural, using no make-up or chemicalbased hair products, accepting their kinks and curls. Despite the insensitive comments of others or the images depicted on television, I pray the readers will continue to be confident in the choices that they make. I want them to always believe that they are beautiful no matter what anyone thinks or says. I want them to remember,




{ SHIFT+CONTROL { HER EDGE } } Ayanna loves making new friends and cherishes meeting all of the women who were affiliated with the pageant. “I left with new sisters”.

that they are not defined by the clothes they wear, the length of their hair, or the complexion of your skin. They are all beautiful, love yourself”. J. Marie also spoke to us and reflected about the journey she took with her Mom writing this book and how life changed after the book was published. “I feel it’s amazing. I think it’s amazing because I read a lot of books, but I didn’t know the author. The author of this book is my mommy! It makes me happy. I think this book is going to help young girls. I helped my mom with the dialog and the names of the characters. I also helped her come up with new ideas.



The main character Jalynn and I have shared some of the same experiences. We both didn’t love our skin and our mothers helped us to love the way God has created us. Writing this book has changed my life because It has helped me get over my insecurity. My life has been different within the last two months. I was interviewed on a few radio stations, I have attended many events as a vendor selling the book and t-shirts. I autograph books and meet new people. I’ve been asked by kids , “Am I famous?” because they see my face on the cover of the book. We have been very busy”!

J. Marie indicates her Mom is her inspiration to do her best. She instilled the life-long lesson beauty comes from within. J. Marie knows she is beautiful no matter what people say. She appreciates her mother for writing this book and showing her how to become a leader setting goals in life. Rochester Woman is inspired by the journey this up-and-coming author and her daughter have shared to reach out and help others to find their worth and self-esteem in this cold, unaccepting society we live in. We love the message to women of all kind, “You are Beautiful! No matter what anyone else says! From the Kinks of Your Curls to the Bounce in Your Step!







What began as a one-time thing, turned into a permanent quest in the life of this amazingly beautiful and talented young lady. Amanda reflects on the day she and her Mom saw an ad in the local paper about entering a beauty pageant, “It looked like it would be fun”. 12 years later, Amanda knows on this day, her life was changed. Pageantry became a way of life.

Amanda Torchia: The Pursuit of the Crown

Reminiscing, she says, “The experience was like no other. I’m grateful for what happened to my life because of competing. So many doors were opened. I received academic scholarships and obtained many once in a life-time, modeling opportunities. Most of all, this journey taught me valuable life-skills. When I was younger, I did not have a lot of confidence in myself. Through competing, I was able to gain much needed confidence and now, I feel I can accomplish any goal I set. The most fulfilling part is the sense of accomplishment. It is not about whether you win the title, it is about being able to set specific goals and find the courage and power within yourself to accomplish those goals. Being involved in pageantry has truly made me a “go-getter”, someone who recognizes there will be obstacles in the way, but with confidence in yourself, you can overcome any limitation set before you. Throughout my years of competing, I gained so much! I was taught valuable life skills such as confidence, responsibility, public speaking, interview preparation, how to build a resume, time-management etc. All of this, along with being able to better myself, I was able to create a number of beautiful friendships over the years and that is something I will always be grateful for. And of course, I gained countless memories. With each pageant, it truly is so much more than a competition – it is an opportunity to learn, grow and connect with others”. Amanda tells other young ladies, “If you are thinking about competing, I would say to go for it! It is intimidating at first, but it is completely worth it! Don’t worry about winning… have fun with it! In the end, a title only lasts for a year – but the friendships, self-discovery and memories will last a life-time. For young ladies who want to model or compete in pageants, the first step is having confidence in yourself and believing that you can do anything you set your mind to. If you believe in yourself, you are

capable of such amazing things!” Knowing that everything good has something less than favorable about it, we asked Amanda what was her least favorite thing when it came to the Pageants? “There is some negative light on the pageant world. Many believe pageants are superficial and only focus on the exterior of the contestants. Pageantry is so much more than that! As contestants, we participate in an interview process where the judges get to know us on a more personal level. This is where we get to showcase our intelligence, personality and true beauty. Also, there is a high emphasis placed on community service. We find causes near and dear to our heart and use our titles to create positive change for these causes. It is so much more than wearing a beautiful gown and walking in heels – it is about women empowering and celebrating one another, showcasing our knowledge, having confidence and giving back to the lives of others”. Amanda shares, there were times when she had to make choices between hanging with friends and doing pageant preparation. She is thankful her friends are understanding and know her involvement in pageants requires dedication and practice. Her parents were strict about school coming first. She learned early on, she had to balance the requirements of school to be allowed to compete. Amanda indicated learning organization and time-management skills at a young age was very important. Amanda shares her amazing parents made a huge influence in her life. Her mother is from Kabul, Afghanistan and her father from Calabria, Italy. Her parents traveled to America for the freedom of a better life. Through hard work and determination, they created a wonderful life for Amanda and her brother. A life where they have a roof over their head, and food on the table – some of the things they were not able to have all the time growing up. Inheriting this same drive, Amanda uses it in all aspects of her life, whether it be with school, volunteering or being Miss New York. Her parents taught her the importance of being hard- working and never giving up on any goal or dream she sets for herself. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2018


{ SHIFT+CONTROL } “Dreams don’t work unless you do” – this is a quote that I always keep in the back of my mind when preparing for a pageant. If you want to be successful in whatever goal you set for yourself, you need to work for it!”

Amanda shared with RWO her current title and platform: “My current title is Miss New York 2017 for the National American Miss Pageant. My platform includes working with the children at the Boys and Girls Club. At the Club, I am a tutor in the Accelerated Reading Program. This is where I help the children with reading comprehension and helping them develop a deeper joy for learning. Furthermore, I am a mentor in the SMART Girls Program – a program that teaches girls (ages 6-12) to be confident, healthy, and optimistic individuals. I aim to empower these girls to reach their full potential and achieve the goals they set for themselves. Over this past summer, I held an Inner Beauty Pageant for the girls I work with at the B&G Club. This was a free pageant for low-income children. I emphasized to the girls “Don’t worry about buying an expensive dress or getting your hair and makeup done”. They were judged solely based on their “inner beauty” – that is, being someone who is kind, giving and has a good heart. The pageant aimed to teach the girls the importance of being proud of who you are and recognizing true inner beauty! It was amazing seeing the girls participating and realizing their potential”. Amanda shares with RWO we can expect to 130


see her continue her career in modeling. This she indicates is one of her biggest hobbies and she absolutely loves it! She started modeling from a very young age and was fortunate to work with Kent and Mary Therese Friel of the Mary

Therese Friel, LLC Modeling Agency. Amanda indicates the Friel’s taught her so much about poise, elegance, confidence and professionalism. Amanda knows everything she learned from them, she will take with her for the rest of her life. Amanda will continue learning Italian – Her family is of Italian descent and when she travels there next, she would love to be fluent. Amanda will maintain a positive, healthy lifestyle and continue her work to empower youth being a mentor. Amanda would love to have a career in marketing. Being a business major, she indicates she is lucky to have a wide range of options when it comes to career choices. Marketing really caught her eye and it is something she would love to expand her knowledge on for the years to come. Amanda wants to share with the readers her closing statements: “Dreams don’t work unless you do” – this is a quote that I always keep in the back of my mind when preparing for a pageant. If you want to be successful in whatever goal you set for yourself, you need to work for it! Set a goal, make a plan and go for it! Whether that goal is big or small, if you put in the work, you will be happy with the results. Keep in mind that there will be obstacles, but that should only make you want to work harder! Believe in yourself and your ability to follow your dreams”.





Vintage clothing: two words that often excite people, but at the same time can be quite intimidating for those who don’t know where to start. After owning Treasure Trove Vintage for six years I often see my customers struggle with this. They love the idea of what vintage has to offer, but it can be overwhelming when presented with racks and racks of pieces from the past. For anyone just dipping their toes into the vintage waters, I’m here to offer the basics for you.

of vintage clothing is unparalleled for the price you can purchase it at. One of the most important things to remember – which may seem obvious, is that most of the pieces are secondhand. They have been loved by people of the past. This means that not everything will be in perfect condition. At my store, we try only to take in pieces

The first thing to know is that vintage pieces typically run much smaller than what is on the inside label of the piece. Sizing has varied throughout every decade. What used to be a size 12 in the 1960s is now a modern size two. At my store we conveniently go through every piece and take measurements to label it with the modern size. Which brings us to the next crucial part of vintage clothing: try everything on. When buying any clothing it’s very important to try it on, but this is especially true with vintage. Since the sizing has varied so much across time, the fits and cuts have too. Things do not hug the body in the same way as modern clothing does. If you’re a woman, you’ll find that pieces in general will fit the body differently than things made in China today. This is why it’s crucial to try things on to find a piece that will fit your body type. A lot of clothing that’s found its way into my store was custom made for someone back in the day and it might not work for you. A huge positive aspect of purchasing vintage is that the pieces were made with much higher quality materials and constructed much better than modern clothing. There is a reason you can find secondhand dresses from the 1950s in like-new condition when your dress from the mall fell apart in less than a year. The fabrics are studier, the stitches are stronger, and many things weren’t skimped on. For example, a wool dress you might purchase today will not have a luxurious silk lining of a wool dress from the 1960s. The craftsmanship 132


find two of the same item. They each have their own unique past. Quite frequently people will bring me pieces that belonged to their mother or grandmother, and tell me each item’s history. I love knowing their stories and try to pass them along when someone purchases a piece. I’ve had wedding dresses accompanied with pictures from the wedding day. A pair of Go-Go boots a lovely woman said she wore on her honeymoon to the Virgin Islands. A sweet man brought me his mother’s jazz pants from the 1940s that she had worn when she was a dancer. A little lady gave me her mother’s collection of gowns she wore in the 1930s when she was a lounge singer. I even had the privilege of cleaning out the closets of a house that had been owned by the same family since 1905. The clothes ranged from the 1960s all the way back to the early 1900s. They had a lot of beautiful custom made pieces that were brought back from New York City: flapper dresses, a fabulous ball gown from the 1950s, a 1900s white linen dress, 1940s suits, and so many more treasures. All that were worn and flaunted out and about in the Rochester of the past. That’s why I do what I do – I want to pass the stories on to the next generation. I want the pieces to be loved again and again. Don’t know how to incorporate a vintage item into your everyday wardrobe? I always recommend to my customers that you start with one piece at a time. Try a 1970s blouse with a pair of jeans.

that are in great condition – but that doesn’t mean they are all flawless. Some have holes that were stitched shut, others have slight fading, and some show signs of wear. I think this gives them more character, more of a story – but if that’s something that bothers you, it’s something to keep in mind. This brings me to the most important tidbit that I like to share with my customers and a huge part of my philosophy: vintage pieces are one of a kind. It’s very rare that you will

Style a 1960s day dress with a pair of modern shoes. Throw a 1940s coat over your completely new outfit. To me, a vintage piece is the standout in your outfit. For the everyday woman, it’s easier than you think. Once you know the basics it makes shopping for vintage a lot simpler. Having a quick foundation makes it easier to figure out what you want and what you’re looking for. Then one day all the vintage pieces in your closet that you love will have more stories to share.




{ YOU CAN BE...! }


Acting on camera is an important skill set for models to develop if they wish to broaden their career from the print and runway realm, into the world of television, films, web videos, etc. Modeling and acting are very closely related and the skill sets of each are tightly interwoven. The one key difference, however, is speech: Actors have a script - Models do not. This article is the first installment of a two-part feature on acting and on-camera work. Part one will focus on Commercial Acting, part two (see next month’s edition of this magazine), will focus on Dramatic Acting. You will find the information in these articles valuable, whether you are going all-out, pursuing a career in this field, or if you just want to be able to do a better job when presenting on-camera, ideas and information in your everyday work environment.


Commercials are one of today’s most effective marketing tools for reaching a large audience. Commercials are used

to advertise goods and services, promote ideas and causes, increase brand name recognition and of course to increase sales. Most television commercials are complex and expensive productions, from their inception to their completion. Many commercials use people in them; some of these people are professional actors or models, some are celebrities and others are just real people. A person who acts in a commercial may be a spokesperson, a principal, supporting, featured, or a background extra. The actors act. The models, model. The celebrities endorse and the real people give testimony, called testimonials. All contribute their individual talents, to the success of the project. Getting cast in a commercial production requires several key ingredients: performing well at an audition, being liked by the casting director and the client, having the right general traits, that will resonate with the audience and let’s not forget, in many cases, luck. It is important to note, that you only have control over one of these things. And that is, how you perform

and interact with the decision makers (including the casting director). So, we will focus on that.


• Being animated - Add energy to your performance with freedom of movement, a full range of facial expressions voice tones and inflection and various body movements, eye contact (or not), to name a few. 
 • Taking Direction - Listen carefully to what is being asked of you and then be able to deliver it on demand. 
 • A Sense of Timing - Know when to speak, when not to, when to pause and when and where a special emphasis is needed. 
 • Positioning – Know how, when and where, to play to the camera. • Good Diction - Being able to read well, speak clearly and correctly pronounce the words in the script is so important. • Life Experience - A familiarity with ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2018


{ YOU CAN BE... } Most television commercials are complex and expensive productions, from their inception to their completion. Many commercials use people in them; some of these people are professional actors or models, some are celebrities and others are just real people.

different people, lifestyles, activities, personalities, feelings and emotions that you can draw from.


First, identify the product’s name. You guessed it! It is H2O TO GO. Now go to the script and underline the product’s name in each place it appears.

Now, identify any words that represent people, places, physical objects or anything tangible (lightning, mountain springs, doctors). For each of these words that you find, create a mental picture. This is called visualization. The pictures that you create in your mind, will help bring the story to life. Last, identify any words that describe feelings or excite the senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch) like cool, clean, and crisp. Associate the words with the feeling that each one gives you and convey that feeling in your performance.

When thirst strikes, quench it! H2O TO GO does it quick as lightning! Swallow its cool, clean and crisp flavor. Feel it gently soothe your craving. Fresh from a mountain spring, it is healthy, wholesome and all natural. Doctors recommend drinking eight glasses of water a day. So make it H2O TO GO and when thirst strikes, quench it! There are so many ways to perform this commercial. Each person may choose to do it in a different way. There is more than one right way to do it. However, there is information right in this script that will help you find the right or best way, for you to do it. Lets begin by analyzing the words. You may want to mark on the script the instructions that follow. Here we go…

Next, find the words you, your or yours and circle these words. These words connect the consumer with the product and should be spoken in a tone that draws the consumer into the conversation.

What you have just done to the script is called scoring. You have marked your script with instructions that tell you how to read it. Go back and read the script again and apply all that you have just learned. Practice it over and over again. Then ask yourself, what does the product do? Double underline those words (quench and soothe). Remember that every time you say the product’s name, it should be with a positive emphasis.

PRACTICE AND PERFORMING: There are many components that make up a successful performance. They are: your voice, (tone, pitch, speed, inflection) facial expressions, body language and eye

{ SHIFT+CONTROL } There are many components that make up a successful performance. They are: your voice, (tone, pitch, speed, inflection) facial expressions, body language and eye contact (or lack thereof).

contact (or lack thereof). The use of these components, as well as their delivery, will determine how convincing your performance is. Talk to the camera (your audience) as if it were your best friend. Look directly into the camera lens and those watching you, will see you looking/talking at/to them. For your information, some of the best commercial actors that are out there, just act as themselves. So, to be your best (and to be convincing in your role), just relax and be yourself. If you have any doubts about your performance, ask yourself, “would I believe me?” Remember this… when you are acting in front of the camera; be positive, real, and expressive. Above all, have fun! Don’t be afraid to subtly over-exaggerate a gesture, expression or even a single word from the script. Project yourself. Be animated! When you are working with a product, hold it in a comfortable manner. The label should be clearly visible to the camera and the product should be on an even plane with you. Don’t cover it up with your hand or fingers, or turn it just out of view from the camera’s (your audience’s) view. Also, if and when possible, it is always good to show how the product works, or what it does.


Read the script again and commit it to memory. Once you have memorized the words you can concentrate on your performance, 138


including: following the scoring on the script and experimenting with the different components. An important note: Acting is supposed to appear natural and effortless to the audience, not like you are doing a performance. Acting is considered a craft. It may come more easily to some, while requiring much more work on another’s part. For those who are more serious about their craft, they, the actors and models, undergo much more extensive training to be able to portray the roles that they win, with an air of confidence, ease and convincing behavior.


A bit more you should know… As you gain experience as a commercial actor, you will encounter many new terms that you will need to know. Models and actors are called talent. A mark is the place where you stand. (Do not confuse this with a spot.) A spot is an industry term for a commercial. Copy is what the script you read is called. The frame is the amount of you that shows in the camera; a close up will show your head and shoulders only, while a long shot will show an entire scene with you in it. A voice over is a sound recording only. It may be used as a radio commercial or the sound played over a television commercial. So you understand… The Client is the Advertiser; they are paying for the entire production and they have the final say. The Director is the boss. The Producer runs the production schedule and coordinates the crew. The D.P. is the Director of Photography (they run the camera.) A Casting Director screens, tests, hires and places talent. The Stylists do hair and makeup and handle wardrobe and props.


For most of my life I have been involved in the modeling industry. I began modeling at age 11 and worked my way to the very top of the industry. At age 19, I won the coveted title of Miss USA and went on to model for the prestigious Ford Agency. My career spans both sides of the business, both in front of the camera and behind it. I am the founder and CEO of The Mary Therese Friel Modeling Agency, a company that is 30 years old. My role today, is as an agent and a coach, working with aspiring models and actors, as well as clients looking to improve their overall image.



Is a new kitchen on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Have you vowed to eat healthier and get organized? Did the holidays remind you just how dysfunctional your kitchen is? What better place to do this than in your new or updated kitchen. With a little time and careful planning, a new kitchen can offer many rewards. It is best to take weeks or even months to plan your new kitchen. Working with an experienced kitchen designer can save time and costly mistakes. When interviewing designers look for the someone who is knowledgeable, not only about the latest trends and materials available, but who also has experience in the construction field. A good designer will listen to your ideas as well as help to educate you to the pros and cons of different materials. Don’t be afraid to interview a few designers before selecting the one you will work with. Choosing a designer you have a good rapport with is important. Replacing or updating that tired and worn out kitchen is one of the best investments you can make in your home. When deciding on a budget for your home you will want to consider the following factors. What can you afford? It is important to take time, prior to starting the project, to decide how much you want to spend and how you will pay for the project.



What is the value of the homes in your neighborhood and will you see a return on your investment? This is extremely important if you think you may sell in the near future. If your kitchen is 10 years old or newer don’t expect to see the return on investment that you would see if your kitchen is from the 1960’s. Some sources suggest investing no more than %15-18% of your home’s value in your kitchen if you do not plan to stay in your home.

It is important while you are planning to consider your values regarding the materials being removed from your old kitchen. There are many options for existing materials. Some may be reused in your project, if they are in great condition and can be worked into the design. If this is not possible, consider donating them to a non-profit organization such as Habitat’s ReStore where they will be sold, and funds will benefit others. Kitchens in great shape and can be sold outright. Some designers and contractors will facilitate this for you. You will want to take time to create a list of the items you would like in your new kitchen. Prioritizing this list can help if cuts need to be made due to budget restraints. For you, more countertop space may be important, while someone else may want more storage.

The third factor in budgeting is how long you plan to stay in your house. If you are planning on selling the home within five years, then your kitchen renovation should be viewed as an improvement on a real estate investment. Only spend what you think you will get back when you sell the house. If you plan on living in your home longer than five years, you will want to remodel to fit your family’s needs. Your designer will be able to help direct you towards materials that fit your budget and improve the homes value.

Do you shop in bulk and like walk in pantries out of the view of guests? Do you prefer your utensils and spices at your fingertips? What type of sink would you like? Do you need two separate basins or is most of what gets washed in your sink large items that would make a single bowl sink a better choice? What small appliances do you use regularly and where would you like to store them? Would your pans fit into a deep drawer cabinet or would you prefer adjustable trays that allow storage




{ SHIFT+CONTROL } Working with an experienced kitchen designer can save time and costly mistakes. When interviewing designers look for the someone who is knowledgeable, not only about the latest trends and materials available, but who also has experience in the construction field.

for multiple sizes? Taking an inventory of how you use your kitchen is key. You want to work with a designer who is willing to take the time to ask these questions as they are key to achieving a kitchen that fits your lifestyle. Once you have looked at the function of the kitchen the fun begins! For some, it can seem overwhelming to choose finishes. Take time to go to browse through photos of kitchens to see what catches your eye



and what you might like in your space. Online sites such as Pinterest and Houzz make saving your ideas easy and fun. Your designer will expand on your ideas and direct you to the products to create the kitchen of your dreams! He or she may incorporate ideas that are unique to your kitchen such as a hand painted hood or a unique piece of stone that you won’t see in your friend or neighbor’s kitchen. Achieving your resolution for a new kitchen

in 2018 is a lot like achieving all of your other resolutions; get it down on paper, align with an expert in the field, be creative, and enjoy the process! Denise Peters Kitchen Thyme Design Studio Inc. 672 Kreag Rd Pittsford NY 14534 585-385-9149

It’s thyme for your dream kitchen AWARD WINNING

“ D E S I G N S PA C E , T H AT R E F L E C T S Y O U R S T Y L E ”


Call for your appointment today! 585-385-9149




Where do you get your inspiration from?

I’m inspired by people around me. I find so many of my clients have similar stories and they are looking to feel confident in their own skin. That is something that for me, personally, I like to be able to be a part of for them. I feed off of their energy and my creativity grows because of it. The more people I help, the more I want to help.

How long have you been a makeup artist and how did you get your start in the industry?

I started to study makeup as an art a little over 6 years ago. Before my mid 20s, makeup was something that was saved for special occasions. It wasn’t until I had some personal struggles



physically that I turned to makeup to help me feel more comfortable in my skin. I’ve always been a highly creative person but I had thought that I would need to have some kind of 9-5 job that would pay my bills and that practicing creativity would be something I could only do as a hobby. It wasn’t until I discovered makeup that I realized I could actually get paid for my creativity. Makeup brought it all together for me: being able to be creative on a daily basis, while helping others and creating some balance (something I’m constantly striving for) has happened for me because of this industry. I started working as a freelance artist. I worked full time as an assistant and I would do makeup on the weekends. I did it for free just to get my work out there. I signed onto websites that promoted modeling and photography and would link up with whomever I could just

to get my makeup on people. Months later I was able to take a job with one of the largest cosmetic lines in the industry and I trained as their regional artist. They would send me all over upstate NY as a special event artist and I was to train the women that worked at the counters. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I decided to pursue makeup as a full time career.

What do you love most about makeup?

I love how it can help boost someone’s confidence. I’ve met clients that have become happier because they’ve seen themselves in a new light. That feeling is infectious, and its carried into other areas of their lives as well.

If you weren’t a makeup artist, what else would you do? That’s a hard one for me. I’m doing what I love.




{ WOMAN ENTREPRENEUR } “I will not sacrifice my family for the sake of my company. I think it is possible to be an entrepreneur, run a successful business AND raise a family simultaneously.”

Where do you get your inspiration from? I love having the option of helping people feel good about themselves on a more permanent basis so that is something I’m working on now. I also love nutrition. How would you describe your signature look and what is it about your signature style that sets you apart from other makeup artists? I would say the only thing signature about me is that I go more towards natural and enhancement rather than concealment with makeup. I don’t think makeup, permanent or otherwise, should be cookie cutter. We all have our own favorite features that we want played up as well as our own areas of concern that we may want to detract from. I spend a lot of time trying to create a healthy balance for my clients so that they can still feel like themselves and yet be able to look in the mirror and feel beautiful as well. I am not a fan of anything heavy

What is the most important beauty advice that you can give to women?

Self acceptance, to me, is one of the best pieces of advice I can give when it comes to beauty. I know a lot of women that compare themselves to others and I wish that would stop but I know more than that, we need to stop comparing ourself to ourself. We all have a time in our lives when we think we were at our peak. It’s easy to look back on that time and feel less attractive because you no longer look exactly like that but truthfully, a woman is more beautiful when she embraces life’s changes and wears them as a badge of honor

than when she tries to run from them or try to mask them. They’re there. They happened. You survived them. It’s OKAY to let them be part of who you are.

What are some common beauty mistakes that women make?

I am not a fan of trend following. The makeup industry, combined with social media, has given women (and men) a false reality of what makeup can and should do for you. Overly contouring,

wearing false lashes every day, highlighting to the gawds…. Every cheek bone doesn’t need to cut glass! I don’t think its practical nor is it attractive to apply every makeup trick under the sun on every single person for every single occasion. I’m among the school of thought that less is sometimes more.

What products do you think should be a staple in every women’s handbag?

I believe that three things need to be on point to wake up feeling beautiful and that everything else is gravy. If you have good brows, decent lashes and healthy skin, there isn’t much else you need. The brows can be taken care of with proper grooming or brow enhancement (Like Microblading). The lashes can happen with semi permanent solutions like growth serums, perming, or extensions and the skin really depends on your diet. If those are in place you really don’t need much! The things that I always have on hand are a good moisturizer, lip and cheek tint, and mascara.

What’s your superpower?

My mindset. I think I am one of the most determined people I know. If I set my mind to something I will make it happen. Even when life is coming at me a million miles an hour and I get set back in something; I will readjust and forge ahead however I need to do so.

What best motivates you? How have your e n t re p re n e u r i a l motivations changed since you first started?

I am constantly trying to grow, both as a person and as

a business owner. About 3 years ago I decided I wanted to do more in the makeup industry so I started to pursue an education in permanent makeup. There are so many options now in this field, some that are only starting to become popular upstate. I love makeup, I always will, but I love being able to give my clients more permanent (yet natural looking) options.

I watched her and my uncle build successful businesses starting in the living room on a two bedroom apartment with her daughter on her hip. She was constantly researching and working towards her goals and when she attained a goal she would set a new one. It was very inspiring for me.

to do myself and that helps me

What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?

How do you define success?

Success for me has to do with creating balance. Having a thriving business while forging strong bonds with clients that trust me. Being known is great, but I want to be talked about for the right reasons. I want my growth, my ethics, my customer service to be spoken about. If I can balance that with raising a family that manages to also be ethical, promote growth and work well with others, then I believe I will have reached success.

What were your greatest failures and what did they teach you?

I’ve found there are three things that I need to do daily to perpetuate growth. Education, practice and pursuit. I’m constantly trying to educate myself. We have resources at our fingertips now which makes it so much easier to consistently grow. I work on practicing my craft daily as well. I think there is always room for growth but I can’t be better tomorrow than I am today if I am not practicing at it. As for pursuit, what I have learned being an entrepreneur and business woman is that clients will not fall in my lap. Opportunities will not just present themselves. I have to work daily at expanding my reach via social media, client referrals, forging strong bonds with the community and more.

Who is the one entrepreneur to be your greatest example and inspiration? I would have to say that would be my aunt.

If you were to write a book about yourself, how would you name it? Practice Makes Perfect Possibilities

What makes you feel out of your comfortable zone? What are your ways to handle these situations? I prefer to be behind the scenes so anytime I have to be on camera I’m very uncomfortable. I just have to remind myself that I can’t expect anything of my clients that I wouldn’t be willing

What’s non-negotiable for you?

I will not sacrifice my family for the sake of my company. I think it is possible to be an entrepreneur, run a successful business AND raise a family simultaneously.

I’ve had so many I’m not sure I would know where to start. Anytime I’ve been on an upswing I’ve been knocked down a peg (or 4!). Being an entrepreneur, growing a business, going to school and raising children while dealing with medical issues simultaneously means there are bound to be setbacks! The important thing that I have had to remind myself is that I am not on this journey to get to the finish line. I’m on this journey to be on this journey. I am not in a race against anyone else and therefore I have had to learn to really pace myself. I cannot judge my growth based on what my peers may be doing. My life is different than theirs. My struggles are different from theirs and therefore my growth rate will be different from theirs. I have a life that is already predestined for me. It’s up to me to figure out exactly what that is and to live it to its fullest. Learning that has helped me gain perspective.


Happy Holidays AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The Local Expert in Home Financing

Phyllis Haberer Senior Loan Officer | NMLS# 58078

585.314.8511 CALL OR TEXT!

585.363.7087 585.241.0000 x104


(direct) (office)

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays!

shop local!

Phyllis Haberer is a Rochester native and Fairport H.S. Grad

Time to refinance? Thinking about purchasing a new home?

Contact Phyllis Haberer today! 585.314.8511

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2541 Monroe Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618 | (585) 241-0000 | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 3254 | Licensed Mortgage Banker NYSDFS






H How to Prepare for Buying a Home

You’re ready. Ready to progress to the next step in life. Ready to stop paying your landlord’s mortgage, and make the move into a home you can truly call your own. I congratulate you! Purchasing a home is one of the most important decisions you can make, and it is not to be taken lightly. So, I’d like to provide some guidance to get you genuinely prepared for this critical step in life.

Establish credit now. If you don’t have any established credit then you should open a secured charge card with a credit balance of $300–$500 and charge only $10–$50 a month on it. Pay off the credit card on time every month. If you do this several months in a row, your credit score will start to go up. (Make sure the card you choose is one that gets reported to the credit reporting agencies.)

There can be many setbacks, pitfalls and difficulties in buying a home. You will need to find the right home, but also find a quality real estate agent, negotiate offers, deal with home inspectors, engineers and attorneys, acquire financing, find insurance, and much more. It’s not only a very involved process, but your financial future may be at risk if you do not go about it with the right strategy.

But don’t overuse your credit. If you do have credit cards, do not max them out. If you currently have high balances, you should aggressively pay them off as soon as possible. I recommend keeping your credit card balances no more than $50/month. Using too much of your available credit may result in a lowered credit rating.

Particularly when dealing with home financing, it is imperative that you have your affairs in order before you begin. Going into the process unprepared can result in delays, frustrations, higher mortgage rates, or in a worst-case scenario, denied financing. Mortgage lenders require homebuyers to have strong credit worthiness, and problems in a borrower’s credit rating can be expensive! Fear not! With a little preparation and a plan, plus a little help from an experienced professional such as myself, you will find the home buying experience much more rewarding. Below, I’ve outlined 7 tips to set you up for success in purchasing a new home.


Meet with a mortgage loan officer first. Before you begin seriously looking at homes to purchase, you need to know your price range. Get a pre-approval from a respected lender, so you know how much house you can afford. You can also discuss the variety of mortgage products available. And if you’ve already found a home you want to purchase, it would be advisable to get that pre-approval as soon as possible! You’ll be surprised how much more a real estate agent will respect your offer if you have a pre-approval in hand. Pay your bills on time. Do not make any late payments on anything, including rent, credit card bills, utilities, etc. You’ll want to keep your credit score as high as possible for a purchase of this magnitude. Your credit rating will be a huge factor in determining your interest rate!

Pay rent with a check. You will need to provide canceled rent checks at your mortgage application. This will be a major verification that you are able to pay your monthly mortgage bill. Don’t co-sign on a loan for anyone. Even if you are not making payments on the loan, it increases your debt-to-income ratio which negatively affects your credit score. Start setting money aside now. If you haven’t started, you will need to begin putting money into a bank account, for closing costs. Even financing programs that have no down payments require you to have some money set aside to pay for things like attorney fees, inspections fees, appraisals and the like. Do not spend this money; you will need it! Pay close attention to these tips. I promise you, with a little diligence, patience and strategy, you can be successful in financing a new home. It may take some time to get your credit rating in order and save for closing, but it is absolutely worth it. And if you’re finances are in place and you are ready to begin the process, come see me at Premium Mortgage. I’ll take personal care in getting you the best mortgage program to suit your individual needs! If you are in the process of purchasing a new home or have questions about refinancing and the associated closing costs, call Phyllis Haberer at Premium Mortgage Corporation: 1 (585) 314-8511. You can also email her: phyllis@







Health, Wellness &

Expo Spec 154



cial Section




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Join the PLUG Radio as we host the Rochester Woman Online’s Ultimate Bridal Fashion Show on Sunday, January 21st at the Main Street Armory. Starts at 3:30pm.



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Becoming A Better Caregiver BY CAROL PODGORSKI, PHD, MPH, LMFT

January is the time for New Year’s resolutions which often focus on some form of selfimprovement -- adopting a healthier lifestyle, kicking a bad habit, or perhaps completing a long overdue project. For some the list may include becoming a better caregiver. Becoming a better caregiver, particularly for a person with cognitive impairment, can be a multifaceted endeavor. This effort may involve enhancing knowledge or skills, improving self-care, committing to practice patience, adjusting attitudes about being a caregiver, creating more balance among family responsibilities, improving a family relationship, seeking or granting forgiveness, or any combination of these lofty goals. Fortunately, our region has an abundance of programs and services that support those with dementia and their families. The Alzheimer’s Association offers extensive educational programs and supportive services. Through the Finger Lakes Caregiver Institute (FLCI), Lifespan and the Alzheimer’s Association partner to provide assessments, education, respite, and care coordination. The Finger Lakes Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease provides diagnosis, treatment, and related support services through the University of Rochester Memory Care Program (MCP). Our community is rich with other organizations and trained professionals who also assist families touched by dementia. As resourceful as dementia caregivers are, many come to realize they cannot do this alone but rarely know how to go about seeking assistance. 174


They seldom know what they need or which need to address first. Regardless, those who seek services are unique in some important ways -- they have usually accepted that there is a problem; they have a proactive coping style; and they have acknowledged that they need help. In contrast, there are also caregivers who need support to help them realize that they need help, and other families who have issues that need to be addressed before seeking

community services. Those in this latter group often benefit from behavioral health or family interventions as an important first step in the help-seeking process. Several years ago I was invited to join the University of Rochester Memory Care Program to provide family therapy services. I have since worked with over 400 families. My client can be the patient with dementia, caregiver, patientcaregiver couple, a patient and a child or children, or even the patient’s siblings or parents. The most common reasons for referral to me include

patient or caregiver depression or anxiety, caregiver burnout, struggles due to changes in roles or power shifts within the couple or family, problems with communication, behavioral symptoms, and issues related to grief and loss. Other frequently occurring issues include management of personality changes associated with verbal or physical abuse, suspicion and paranoia, and withdrawal from social interaction. Some of the relational issues that arise include caregivers who perceive a lack of support from others; the need to work through a history of marital infidelity; siblings who disagree about seeking a diagnosis for a parent, the course of treatment, or the adequacy of their parent’s living situation; and patients who strive to remain independent. The behavioral health issues mentioned here fall within the scope of practice of many licensed mental health professionals, but family therapists are uniquely trained to address the relational issues that exacerbate the behavioral symptoms or that result from the manifestations of dementia. Marriage and family therapy (MFT) became a licensed profession in New York State about fifteen years ago. Consequently, it is not well known or well understood. MFTs are mental health practitioners who assess and treat individuals, couples, and families with a variety of behavioral health symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and relational stress. Family therapy, a form of psychotherapy, aims to create behavioral change and symptom reduction by altering family dynamics. The focus may involve changing the

{ PARTNERS ON THE JOURNEY } Becoming a better caregiver, particularly for a person with cognitive impairment, can be a multifaceted endeavor.

e family’s authority structure, roles and rules, and how families communicate, express emotion, and solve problems. Medical family therapy is a subspecialty that employs a systems approach to treatment with families who experience disability or an illness such as dementia. Medical family therapists often work in medical settings such as the MCP where the interdisciplinary team is considered part of the family’s support system. I recently worked with a caregiver whose wife with dementia had always “been in control” and managed the finances. His job had been to “keep the peace” which was becoming more challenging as her cognitive function declined. As he moved into the role of finance manager, she became more resistant and hostile and he often backed down, which served to reinforce her negative behavior. I asked him to share recent examples of her judgment and capacity to make decisions, and showed him how her recent cognitive testing supported his observations. He



was able to see that she could no longer manage the finances. We then worked on increasing his comfort level with his new role by generating a list of the types of decisions she could still make; discussed having him transfer bills from paper to electronic so that she would not see the bills in the mail; and I validated how difficult it must be for him to shift this power dynamic. Showing him evidence of her impairment was pivotal in helping him to realize that he was taking charge out of necessity, not for control. The following are examples of situations in which a referral to a behavioral health provider might be warranted: • The family is struggling with accepting or adjusting to the diagnosis. • The caregiver’s emotional distress interferes with his/her capacity to provide the needed care.

• There is a trauma history or deeply held family secrets that need to be addressed in a private, safe, and supportive setting. • Relationship issues obstruct a family’s capacity to communicate, develop or follow a plan of care, or compromise the safety of patient or caregiver. • The person with dementia has a co-occurring mental illness that complicates the situation. Best wishes for a new year that brings peace, partners, and renewal to all of those on this journey. Carol Podgorski, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, and serves as Director of the Finger Lakes Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease and Co-Director of the UR Family Therapy Training Program.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS & EVENTS Ann Lib Kozel Counseling Program Our counselors are dedicated to helping you and your family navigate your journey with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. To schedule an appointment or for more information contact: Orleans County Residents: 585.760.5400 All Other County Residents: 800.272.3900 This service is supported by funding from The New York State Department of Health and The Ann Lib and Bernard Kozel Family Foundation

RPO Open Rehearsals Generously sponsored by The Konar Family Foundation Persons with dementia and their caregivers are invited to enjoy the sounds of music performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Open Rehearsals. No late admittants. Please arrive 20 minutes before the start of programs. Registration required.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in Concert Friday, January 12 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Eastman Theatre 26 Gibbs St., Rochester

Main Office 435 East Henrietta Road Rochester, NY 14620

Tchaikovsky’s Fifth

Thursday, March 22 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Eastman Theatre 26 Gibbs St., Rochester

Southern Tier Office 3005 Watkins Road Horseheads, NY 14845

800.272.3900 •




When I started the Unraveled column, my thought was to unravel some of the harmful stories that people tell themselves. I had been coming out of a phase of healing caused by finally sharing some of the stories that were not good for me. I believed “truths” that were keeping me from living up to my potential. Keeping those stories hidden, caused the untruths to grow and become how I defined myself in a very negative way I like to teach what I learn and through that journey of unraveling stories, I thought I should share those lessons. I feel like I accomplished that for the most part. What I am realizing is how very important it is to share our stories. In all honesty it saved my life on more than one occasion. I feel like it is imperative to encourage and support others as they begin to tell their stories. I think everyone should do it. I am quickly learning that most people will share their story, but they aren’t asked to share. There is not a platform that makes them feel comfortable enough to share a piece of themselves. In an effort to give more people a platform to share their stories, I have a new concept for this column. I believe that everyone has a nugget of wisdom they have learned. Those nuggets usually come attached with a story that needs to be shared. I don’t believe that everyone has a book in them, but I do believe that everyone has a story to tell. At least one … and with it comes something that the listener can and enjoy and learn from. In 2018 I will begin Living Books ~ Zebra Style. I will be interviewing those that have a story to share that may or may not ever see it put into a book. The reader will get the opportunity to learn, feel and appreciate the story’s application to their own lives. I got the idea from a library who had living book gatherings. Older people would be available to tell stories to those who would attend the gathering. It gives the story teller an avenue to share, and the listener an opportunity to learn or connect with something new. I absolutely have fallen in love with this idea. I have already begun to compile a list of people that may have an interesting story to contribute. If you have a story or know someone that does, please email me at The stories do not have to be a major life lesson either – it could be as simple as, “Don’t wear wet pants and sit down on ice in the Winter.” I would love to have stories that make people laugh as well as pause and reflect. What I have learned over the last nearly ten years of being an entrepreneur, is that everyone has a story they can share, but they need an audience. I am going to use this column, and a few other outlets as well, to give people a platform to share. I can’t wait to introduce you to some amazing people. Don’t forget to let me know who might be a candidate for the column. Who would you like to hear from? It is a magical time of year and the more I open myself up to hearing people’s stories, the more magical it becomes. Not just for me, but for the story teller too. I joyfully anticipate being blessed by taking time to listen to what someone else must share. Everyone has a basic desire to be heard. Providing an outlet for someone to use their voice, even if only to share a humorous moment, is a beautiful gift. I am looking forward to 2018 and the Living Books Column. Nominating someone to be a Living Book would be a wonderful gift you could give to them and to your community. Please be generous in sharing those that could benefit from the gift of sharing their story. May you and yours have a healthy, happy and story-filled 2018!


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I had dreamt about it for years. I thought there was at least a possibility, but I always doubted it, leaving it in the gray abyss of my subconscious wishes. It was possible, even if it wasn’t likely. For years I thought about the fact that it could really happen, and then my common sense would take over, overwhelming my own desires and replacing them with hard facts and reality. Psychologists might say that the fantasy was driven by the Id, the doubt merely a by-product of the ego, and both were then overwhelmingly meshed into reality by the Super Ego. And then it happened. Somewhere, somehow, I knew there was at least a chance that a great musician would stand up on stage and say, “My drummer couldn’t make it. Is there anyone out there who would be willing to come up here and play with us?” Of course, I would stand up and humbly mumble, I’d go on to say I would play, after which I would explain that I was horribly out of shape, horribly out of practice, as if I could ever really play well in the first place, even when I was playing full-time. Branford Marsalis is an amazingly talented musician with impeccable credentials. His brain is filled with such musical brilliance that he easily traverses throughout the music spectrum. Years ago, he played on many of Sting’s earlier albums and he travels across the musical world, playing not only with his brother, but with so many other greats of our time. He easily handles illusory jazz, something I never really was capable of. His soprano sax solos are nothing short of astonishing and, although we’ve never met, his extremely likable personality seems to come through in almost everything he does. In short, I’m in awe of him. So for years I’ve had this fantasy. Somewhere, somehow, I would be in an amazing worldclass venue with a world-class musician 184


onstage, minus the one thing I so fervently wanted him to be missing — a drummer. I didn’t start playing drums until I was 12. I’m really not a jazz drummer, but I can play a few different types of music. I even played around with fusion. Sure I did. Sometimes though, at some gigs, I was proud of the

way I played, and people were gracious with their comments. So here, in my own community, in one of the greatest venues in the world, stood Branford Marsalis on stage and my fantasy came to life: He was without a drummer. Then, he actually turned to the audience — presumably could have

Branford Marsalis is an amazingly talented musician with impeccable credentials. His brain is filled with such musical brilliance that he easily traverses throughout the music spectrum.

reading a script that only the thought police could have stolen from my brain, without a warrant or probable cause — and he asked whether anyone would be willing to volunteer to play drums with his group. Usually, at this point, I would wake up in a cold sweat, having been violently shaken

into consciousness by my terrified wife, who first had been awakened in terror by my screams, “Over here, Branford! I’m over here, Sting! I’m over here, Eric……!??” But this was reality, and it was happening. This was amazing. This was unbelievable.

And I wasn’t there. After no one volunteered, Marsalis sat down and played the drums himself. (I keep tearing up as I write this column — I swear, I really do.) Eventually, someone far more talented than I ever could hope to be went onstage, sat down at the drums and finished the gig, with Marsalis back on sax. I read the second newspaper article about this event yesterday and started to cry. My wife started laughing, and then I started laughing. “I really can’t believe this,” I said. “I know, I know,” she said. And she does know. I don’t have to say the obvious to anyone still reading this. It finally happened and I missed my own #@#@%^** fantasy. I still can’t figure out why I didn’t get tickets to that show. I think when I first saw the ad I thought it was on the same night of my high school reunion. But it wasn’t. It was the night after. The truth that really bothers me is, (in addition to the obvious fact that only a few miles from my own home my fantasy came true without me), given the way the statistics are running I’ll have to wait almost forever for it to happen again. I think that sucks. Robert L. Brenna Jr. is a partner in the Rochester law firm of Brenna, Brenna & Boyce PLLC, which his father founded. He is Past President of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and Founder and CEO of Mastermind Lounge LLC He also hosts a Sunday morning radio program, “The Brenna & Brenna Law Forum,” on WHAM 1180 AM at 8 a.m., and on iHeart radio. Robert L. Brenna Jr. Attorney at Law







If you’re a regular follower of my column, then you must think I’m obsessed with hoo-ha’s. In a way I am. I have written funny, non-fiction books about them and I have spent a career ridding them of unwanted hair. But, believe it or not, this article is about making them happier – and I’m not talking about sex. Well… not exactly. And it’s going to be a little shorter of an article this month, because I imagine a lot of you will be hung-over in January and not in the mood to read anything too long, no matter how funny it may be.

The Happy HooHa New Year

When I asked Kelly for a topic idea, she suggested a hoo-ha related New Year’s article. I think I’ve got Ms. Breuer a little fascinated with my snatchy humor (yes, I wrote snatchy not sassy). It makes me happy to think I’ve brought more attention to hoo-ha related topics and maybe made such topics a little less taboo. Since the majority of our readers are women, I wanted to share with you a procedure that my gynecologist, Dr. David Gandell, offers at his practice that is all about making hoo-ha’s happier. It’s called The Mona Lisa Touch. It is an rejuvenating new therapy for vaginal health, which will ultimately lead to more vaginal happiness and that has always been a priority in my life and in my career. As we undergo that annoying stage in life (ugh – menopause) where we all get hot, fat and often ridiculously bitchy, we should be celebrating the fact that we no longer get a monthly period. Sadly, the side effects of menopause often make it difficult to enjoy the benefits of no more pads, tampons and unsightly period underwear, because we are too consumed with the new (but not improved) changes that are happening in our body. It’s a sad fact that many menopausal women have problems with their former baby making parts like Mojave Desert conditions, pain, itching, burning, infections…and the list goes on. By the way, none of side effects are positive.

Many doctors recommend estrogen supplementation to help alleviate those symptoms, but there are many women, including M.E., who should not use estrogen when there is a history of breast or uterine cancer prevalent in their life or in their family. I hear estrogen can make the hoo-ha very happy, but for me, it’s not worth the risk. The Mona Lisa delivers gentle laser energy to the vaginal wall that stimulates a healing response. That response leads to the production of new collagen in the tissue, which enhances moisture to the vaginal canal. The best part is that it is a painless procedure that only takes a couple minutes. Most women get three treatments and they must wait six weeks between sessions. With no side effects, downtime, or anesthesia, I’m surprised more women aren’t taking advantage of this procedure. If you like the idea of a new, younger version of your hoo-ha, check out the website at Just for the record, they didn’t pay me to advertise for them. I just happen to know women who tell me that this is a life changing treatment. Besides, it’s important to have options in life, especially if we can make the aging process more comfortable. Menopause should not be a death sentence to your sex life; it should be a time to celebrate having sex every day, without abstaining for a week each month or having your sheets look like a crime scene. And not having a painful, dried-out pussy is definitely at the top of my list! And I guess if you aren’t dried out and in a lot of pain, then sex would most definitely be better. So I guess this is a bit about sex too. Face it, most things are about sex, at least in my line of work. So my New Year’s advice is as follows: be proactive about your puss and don’t let Mother Nature dictate the happiness of your hoo-ha!




Cat receives care for PAINFUL PAWS BYASHLEY ZEH

On October 28, a 10-year-old orange, tiger cat was found roaming in Ontario as a stray and brought to Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester for help. The cat was in a very sad state. Not only because of the distressed, worried look in his eyes, but because every step he took put him in pain. The veterinary team at Lollypop Farm began care immediately for the cat, now named Buster. The pads on Buster’s two front paws were swollen and bleeding. After completing a biopsy, Lollypop Farm’s veterinary team discovered that he was suffering an inflammatory disease known as plasmacytic pododermatitis.

“This disease causes paw pads to be flooded with plasma cells,” explains Dr. McNamara, a veterinarian at Lollypop Farm. These are the same type of cells that secrete antibodies when a pet has an infection. It causes pads to become soft, swollen, and in severe cases like Buster’s, ulcerated, bleeding, and very painful. The veterinary team started gently cleansing his paws and bathing them in a solution to help them heal. After his daily treatment, Buster receives new bandages on his paws to give them the time they need to heal. In spite of the pain he is in, Buster patiently allows veterinary staff to clean and dress his sensitive paws. “It’s thanks to a caring

community that Buster is able to receive care,” says Dr. McNamara. “Without their support, pets like Buster couldn’t receive the veterinary care they need before finding new homes.” Buster has also had to have two of his teeth removed and has been treated for an ear infection. Buster is still healing in the Lollypop Farm veterinary clinic where he is receiving ongoing care. Once fully healed, Buster will be able to find a new home and family, a day that will surely add a smile to his worried expression.



On January 1, you decided to quit smoking, lose weight, go to the gym consistently, have more confidence or whatever resolution was important to you. It seems like every year that same date comes around and we make promises to ourselves that we want to keep, but never seem to make it very far. How long will you make it this year?

your mind being completely aware of everything around you as you go about your daily business. For example, a good tool for auto-suggestions is your computer or application password. If you had to enter the password “gotothegymtoday586” multiple times throughout the day, you are reinforcing the idea that you need to do something differently. If you say

Have you ever noticed the busiest days in the gym are January 3 to January 29? According to the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), more than 12 percent of gym members join in January, compared to an average of 8.3 percent per month for the full year. Why do some people continue to work toward their new year’s resolution and others after a few weeks decide to go back to their normal routine? It all comes down to selfprogramming. Some may call it willpower but, willpower only lasts a few moments similar to an adrenaline rush. If the feeling lasts longer, it’s called selfprogramming. People that continue at the gym long after a few days or a few weeks are programming themselves to do something different; they are reinforcing a new goal using auto-suggestions. Auto-suggestion is consciously telling yourself something over and over in

It’s easy! 1. Come up with a phrase or suggestion related to your goal. 2. Find a comfortable, quiet spot. 3. Focus on an object. 4. Soften your gaze and close your eyes. 5. Repeat your phrase several times while you are in a relaxed state-of-mind. While your mind is in this altered or relaxed state of consciousness (referred to as “alpha”), your brain more easily accepts suggestions with greater likelihood that you will follow your own recommendation and make the changes you’re looking for. So, I’m wondering. How long will you last with your new year’s resolution? It will all come down using repeatable suggestions to increase your confidence and motivation to reach your goal. Give it a try and imagine where or what you could accomplish by April.

or do it enough, you will catch your brain in the right state-of-mind to make the change. Like self-programming, self-hypnosis is also a great reinforcement tool to ensure success in your new year’s resolutions.

About the Author H. Douglas Jones is the owner of Jones Hypnosis and the Howie Hypnotize Comedy Hypnosis Show. He is a Board Certified Hypnotist (BCH) and instructor with the National Guild of Hypnotists.



2015 or three years ago this January I made a life changing choice. I committed to something I had heard about frequently - on facebook, magazines, on TV - everywhere. It all started while I was at the YMCA with my children. We were in the family locker room after swimming. What life changing event can happen in a locker room? Nothing special at first, I ran into one of my friends from crossfit class. We started chatting and she was telling me that she had completed this “cleanse” in the fall and was gathering some friends to do it again for the new year. Long story short, I decided to join in. The structure of the cleanse was such that an immediate halting of certain types of food was required with a base meal plan of 2 meal replacement smoothies a day. I vividly recall her explaining several times that this was a ‘cold turkey’ kind of experience. Shutting off my body all lactose, unnatural sugars, and gluten. Cold turkey, 100%, a dramatic halt! Well, I had never embarked on such a shift ever, but felt I was at the point in my life that I wanted a clean slate and loose a few pounds to boot. Fast forward to the 30th day, I made it and learned a ton about myself! I think what surprised me the most about myself was that I had the willpower to complete such a cleanse. By when it came to my body - I was blown away with the realization that I didn’t really eat as healthy



as I could and with minimal changes I felt so much better. Now this part is the shocker, I don’t think the particular products I used on this cleanse were the best part - it was more the idea of understanding how to do things in moderation and maintain the amazing feeling. By that I mean - the true learning came at the end of the cleanse when the ‘maintenance’ part suggested to return to normal following the 80/20 rule. And now, almost 3 years later, I continue this food lifestyle and I am learning that this 80/20 rule goes far beyond a food lifestyle. What I underSTOOD my 80/20 commitment to be was that 80% of the time I would have a clean food lifestyle but 20% of the time I could flex my food lifestyle. This would allow my body to be honored while not living cold turkey my whole life. In my terms that meant less chances to ‘fall off the food wagon’ - HA HA! So what does this have to do with anything else? I promise, a ton!!! Check this out…..very often as I am sharing and teaching about the benefits of using the most amazing oils - YOUNG LIVING ESSENTIAL OILS - I am asked the question - do you really have to change everything to get the benefits that these oils promise? It seems this whole clean living revolution we are

all experiencing is coming with great confusion regarding how to “live clean”. Does it have to mean full on in 100% of the time to make it effective? No way - that is not the case at all!!! One size does not fit all, one cleanse does not fit all, one essential oils does not fit all. We were all created to be amazing unique individuals, but when asked this question, I used to find myself challenge with how to explain this in a way that will help others feel comfortable with the approach. But that all changed when I fully understand the 80/20 principle. It’s not about doing what’s good 80% of the time and ‘flexing’ the other 20% as my cleanse taught me. It’s more about effort and results. The 80/20 Principle states that 80% of the output or results will come from 20% of the input or action. This principle helps us understand that in any area of our life - results don’t come from a million crazy efforts but really a couple that ultimately drive most everything. When I considered this on a larger level it was true. 20% of the things I do, focus on, love, find joy with and pray over are really the things that offer me over 80% of my happiness. The rest is kind of clutter that makes me feel like I should feel more abundant. Furthermore, when I consider the clutter, those

things only weigh me down. As I studied and tried to align my life a bit more, I studied and answered these questions for myself: • What are the 20% of your possessions you get the most value out of? • What do you spend 20% of your time doing that gives you 80% of your happiness? • Who are the 20% of people you’re close to who make you the happiest? • What are the 20% of the clothes you wear 80% of the time? • What’s the 20% of food you eat 80% of the time? Changing your lifestyle is not easy to say the least. I continue my 80/20 food lifestyle but I know that now it really means that 20% of my foods that I eat 80% (or most of the time) help me feel great. Regarding my time management - I have began to understand what to say NO to so that it will allow me to say YES and be more present doing what gives me 80% of my joy!

So what does this all have to do with essential oils. Well, there are over 300 essential oils and NOBODY needs all of them to experience a health shift and commit to a healthy lifestyle. Think of the 80/20 principle. This is where it all comes full circle. Now, when I am sharing essential oils - I ask first: what is your 80% regarding feeling healthy and vibrant. If it is related to stress, digestive health, hormones then we focus on the oils that help that! We don’t get overwhelmed by the 300, we find the few that your body loves and go with it! This has helped me and others to embrace a lifestyle with essential oils in a simple easy way but with incredible benefits. AMAZING!!!! It is so easy!!! Young Living offers a starter kit that most new members opt to begin with. It is a kit or set of oils that offer the most commonly relied upon oils for the most common concerns. They are diverse oils and most of them have multiple uses. Some of the common concerns that the starter kit helps with are: • Stress • Lack of Sleep • Tummy health

• Sore muscles/joints • Loss of energy Do any of these resonate with you? For me they all did! Little by little I have identified our families 80% for healthy living and found the 20% of oils that work great for us. Adopt an 80/20 health lifestyle and experience how so much of your life that you want to bring you joy, balance and great feelings can be shifted by just a couple oils. For more information on how this principle can apply to your lifestyle using Young Living Essential Oils - call me on my personal cell any time - Debbie McCue - 716-870-0234.



Julie Donofrio (Julie Dee) is a comedian and writer. Her advice is for entertainment purposes, and is generally not helpful or useful. Follow it at your own risk.


Dear Readers, I would like to wish all Rochester Woman Online readers a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018! I received several letters from distraught people who made New Year’s resolutions and were unable and/or unwilling to keep them. I’ve included two of the letters today, and would like to take this opportunity for an important Public Service Announcement: Please be careful out there! New Year’s resolutions can be dangerous and should only be made, and kept, in moderation. Dear Julie Dee, It’s only a few days into 2018 and I’ve already broken all of my New Year’s resolutions. I said I would eat healthier and get more exercise, that I would drink less alcohol and try a kale smoothie. I even temporarily lost my mind and said that I would cut back on caffeine and stop getting double caramel lattes. What was I thinking? How can anyone be expected to function without caffeine? So far, I haven’t done anything differently this year. What should I do to fix this? Non-resolutionary in North Chili Dear Non-resolutionary, Anyone who is of the legal drinking age and even considers trying a kale smoothie deserves an alcoholic beverage. I recommend that you give up nothing, and have a suggestion for future years. As is so often the case, comedians have the answer. Comedians have a long standing tradition of not making New Year’s resolutions. Instead, we make April Fools’ Day resolutions and tell people that we need a few months to practice. Anyone who actually remembers the details when April rolls around and calls us out on this is simply told “April Fools!” or “We were just kidding.” And there’s good news. During the most recent meeting of Comedians Who Run the World When No One is Paying Attention, it was determined that non-comedians are now eligible to make (and not keep) April Fools’ Day resolutions, too. You’re welcome. Dear Julie Dee, I made a New Year’s resolution to start jogging



with my husband. He ran every day for many years and then stopped when he slipped on a throw rug during his only attempt to go into the kitchen and do the dishes back in 2015, badly spraining his ankle. He started jogging again on January 1st, no problem. I’ve never been much of an athlete and so far I haven’t been able to get myself motivated to join him even once. He’s been asking me every morning, and keeps reciting the health benefits of running. It’s getting boring to hear about, and I’m running out of excuses. What should I do? Lazy in Lakeville Dear Lazy, Let’s not overlook the health benefits of staying indoors, where it is warm and toasty, during the brutal Western New York winters. Staying inside allows a much lower risk of hypothermia, frost bite and missing a good opportunity to watch Netflix. I’m sure if you explain these often forgotten advantages to not jogging, your husband will understand. In fact, you may have to argue with him about what to binge watch very soon. Dear Julie Dee, My cousin has asked me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding. She’s getting married at Walt Disney World, and I was so excited! Unfortunately, my excitement turned into despair when I tried to make reservations and found out that there is a Disney 5K run that same weekend and all of the hotels and resorts are booked up. I can’t find a room anywhere and don’t know what to do. I have to be there for the wedding, and it has to be that weekend. I don’t know where I can stay. Do you have any suggestions? Bummed Bridesmaid in Brighton Dear Bummed, I do have a few suggestions which may or may not be slightly against regulations at the theme park. Cinderella has a huge castle, and you will no doubt be wearing a large, silky, bridesmaid dress with a giant, poofy skirt. Oftentimes, bridesmaid dresses are not that different than Disney princess dresses and there’s a good chance that you’ll fit right in and no one will even notice if you stay there for a few nights. If this doesn’t work out, the Seven Dwarfs may have an extra bed in their cottage or someplace in the mine. Please note: the dwarfs can only accommodate those who are no taller than 5’4”.




{ THE “O” TALK }






This past year was my first full one presenting to the world as my true self, Chloe. It’s hard to describe the highs and lows of my first full year. At times, I feel like I was trying to rush through a lifetime of missed experiences in a short period of time, I felt wonderful, I felt awful, I felt disappointment and elation. But what was really new for me, was that I was feeling anything at all. Even the difficult feelings from experiences I’d rather not have reminded that I wasn’t dead inside anymore. I was dealing with life on its own terms. As Chloe. I spent much of the first half of the year terrified. Of everything. I was nervous in every social situation, would only go out to specific public places, and kept myself from doing a lot of things I love because I was afraid. I still haven’t been to a concert, and I love live music. I avoided a lot of venues because of the stares, the laughs, and the comments that I would overhear about myself. The misgendering, purposeful or not, hurts. A lot. But somewhere in the late Spring I began to find my voice. I started to involve myself more in my volunteer work, spoke up more in class, and asserted myself as a trans woman.

A Life In A Year

working on, and I often wonder how much of the things I am dealing with are things that other women dealt with in their teen years. Setting boundaries, re-learning to assert myself, understanding relationships…It feels like there is a lot of catching up to still be done. In my effort to be liked and seen in a positive light, I say “yes” to taking on new volunteer projects, helping others, and any myriad of things that need to be done. I am starting to understand that this is not an effective way to accomplish what needs to be done. Transitioning felt like a super power in some ways, but I am learning that this did not make me super woman. I can only do so much. One of the most impactful, and emotional, moments of the past year came when I gave a speech at the Federal Building decrying the presidential ban on transgender people serving in the military. This was the most public speech I had given since transition, and one that I felt very passionate about. My legs shook violently as I stood on a concrete planter as cars went by honking both their support and hate, but my voice did not. I said what needed to be said, stepped down, and took a breath.

This was a big step. I struggle in feeling feminine with my literal voice, and am, at times, embarrassed to let it be heard. Still, I started to use this voice a bit more in classroom discussions, and felt a bit more comfortable as I was confident in the content of my arguments. The classroom can also be a difficult place with the concept of academic freedom. One woman felt that, in a class about development, we should not discuss gender development. To me, this felt like erasure. For her, my understanding is that it was a religious-based objection. Whether personal or academic, rejection of one’s whole self is difficult to bear and, unfortunately, something I have been working on getting used to over the year.

Shortly after all the speakers had finished, I was approached by a woman who thanked me for my words, and said that I was an inspiration to her and her family. I had never heard this before, especially in the context of family. She then introduced me to her daughter who happily said, “I’m transgender too!” I chatted with them for a bit, and the enormity of the moment hit me later. I was the representation for her that I never had when I was growing up. I quickly melted into a puddle of emotions. One of the difficult, and beautiful, aspects of being transgender is that I don’t just exist for myself. My privilege to live an “out” life is, hopefully, helpful in showing others that it can be done.

A difficult aspect of this rejection is to hear people advise me to not pay attention to what those people say. From a safety perspective, this is almost impossible. I need to know who looks at me angrily, who makes what comments, and who may cause a problem for me in every room that I enter. The amount of violence against trans women is astronomic, and something I live in fear of every day. While it would be nice to ignore the ignorant and cruel comments, it would also make me less safe in a physical sense. It’s a trade-off that I am forced to make.

I wouldn’t give up my first full year for anything. Despite still struggling to accept myself some days, I am alive. There were many times, before transition, that I thought 2018 was not in the plans for me. And here I am. I may not have gone on a date yet, but I am learning to like myself. I have wonderful friends that are always there for me, and love me. And these relationships are authentic. I am not ignoring a huge part of myself in order to make them survive. That’s the biggest positive of 2017. In a year when much of the world, my religion, and my government would speak out against me, I found true friends who would speak up for me.

I realized, at some point, that I need to learn to say “no”. This is something I am still





Winter Vegetables, Fresh Fruit and Antioxidants BY DEBBIE SANTILLO

Winter has arrived! Cold is in the air. People are getting sick. Free radicals are causing havoc in our bodies, oh my! What can be our best plan of attack? Fresh winter vegetables and fruits containing lots of vitamins and antioxidants! So, ok, I know most people are not into going out and braving the cold and digging up your own winter hearty vegetables, but did you know there are several that can survive the winter climate? There are many vegetables that can be planted by mid-August, covered with mulch, leaves, loose hay, or tented, and can survive cold weather, even snow on them! By planting these vegetables by mid- August, it allows for development of deep root systems. These vegetables, if protected from blasts of frost, can survive and some, even tolerate temperatures to zero degrees Celsius. Snow helps to blanket and protect them. As a matter of fact, a few even benefit from the snow. The sugar levels in turnips and parsnips grows higher, once these vegetables are blanketed in snow. Although, if the area has exceptionally low temperatures for extended periods of time, and the ground starts to freeze, all vegetables need to be lifted. If cells of plants freeze, they burst, and your plants will die. These same vegetables in many cases seem to pack a bunch with antioxidants and other great vitamins, to help keep you healthy, and protected from free radicals. The choices are wonderful, and of course can be picked up at your local market or grocery store, if you do not care to extend your garden into winter. You can plant vegetables such as asparagus, savoy cabbage, brussel sprouts, beets, crinkly style leafy spinach, rhubarb, leeks, turnips, parsnips, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cress, rutabaga, endive, horseradish, kale, onions, radishes, and collard greens. The best collard green cold tolerant plants are the blue-green varieties. Start off your plants in good soil with compost. Most of these vegetables need to be sown by mid-August, except for brussel sprouts, which need to be planted in 200


the spring. Harvesting vegetables is best with temperatures between twenty-thirty degrees Celsius. Any plants not being harvested at that time, should be kept buried under the snow, leaves, mulch etc., until a later time when they will be pulled from the ground. Speaking about brussel sprouts, here is a quick, easy recipe and delicious way of eating them: Take brussel sprouts and peel off outside yellowish leaves, wash. Cut each brussel sprout into quarters. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar, and olive oil onto them, and lightly sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Place in a preheated oven of 375 degrees. Occasionally, toss them. Meanwhile, cook up some thick bacon, nice and crispy and chop. Once your brussel sprouts are roasted and tender, place in a bowl and toss with chopped bacon! Brussel sprouts have a source of fiber, potassium and vitamins A, C, and K. Here is a basic explanation of the benefits of antioxidants and a list of foods that are packed with them and vitamins, that are a great idea to eat all winter to keep us healthy: Antioxidants are important to take into our bodies through our food. They can reduce the risk of some cancers, such as prostate cancer and lower the risk of heart disease. Antioxidants can limit or stop the damage that free radicals cause in us. They can help prevent even more damage to and even reverse damage already incurred to our bodies. Great foods to find antioxidants in are, dark green vegetables, such as, lettuce, collard greens, kale, leeks, broccoli, spinach. Concord grapes have one of the highest levels of antioxidants compared to any other fruit, and have cilium and vitamin C. Walnuts not only have the highest amount antioxidants found in nuts, but also protein, high amounts of vitamin E, which helps with inflammation, and lists omegas. Don’t forget your sweet potatoes, they have beta carotene which is an antioxidant to your system, which helps reduce cell damage to your body. They have high fiber and help to keep sugar levels within range. Try peeling and par boiling or steaming them and combining

them with chopped sweet apples, spinach, white raisins, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger, instead of elevating your sugar levels with typical sweet toppings such as brown sugar and marshmallows. Pomegranates contain folate and vitamin B and have a deep red color which signals it contains antioxidants anthocyanins, which are a blue, violet, or red flavonoid found in plants. Other plants that include anthocyanins are blueberries. Eating blueberries helps to reduce inflammation in our body. Red berries, such as strawberries and raspberries also along with blueberries contain phytochemical named ellagic acid that aids against cancer causing agents. Cranberries are also noted in maintaining a healthy bladder and kidneys. Did you know that the common cinnamon used here in America is cassia, and comes from the inner bark of the tree and is stripped and allowed to coil up and dry? It has essential oils which have anti- inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes, tangerines, are a great source of vitamin C and have potassium. Want higher doses of vitamin C? Eat kiwi, which has more vitamin C than oranges, plus is high in vitamins A and K. Talk about a healthy versatile vegetable, lets talk cabbage! Raw cabbage has vitamins A, C, and K. It can be steamed to be used to wrap fillings, such as a ground meat, rice and tomato sauce combo, or wrapped around other cooked vegetables. Cabbage can be shredded to toss into salads or to make coleslaw. It can also be chopped and added to stir-fries, soups, stews and casseroles. The message I am conveying here is to not only remind you to include vegetables and fruits in your daily diets, but to pay attention to those that give us greater benefits and bang for our buck! Eat well and have a healthy winter!



It always starts out the same each year. The new year rolls around and you are excited about this being the year you accomplish all your goals. The plans you make, the ideas you have. Then something happens‌life starts to get in the way. More and more meetings pop up, paperwork just keeps piling up on your desk that needs your attention. It just seems like the 24 hour day has been shrunk to a 12 hour day. Ok maybe not that extreme, but where does the day go. You truly have good intentions and perhaps for the first few months you stay on task and are accomplishing everything to set out to. But by month 3 or 4 perhaps even sooner you just put those goals aside and decide that you will just make a big push at the end of the year, just like last year. Perhaps you are telling yourself that you need to make smaller more realistic goals, that the ones you chose were just impossible to achieve. The thought may go through your head that you need to just give yourself more time to achieve everything you want. The reality is that we have for years been taught this idea of SMART Goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely. Now I am not saying this is necessarily bad, some people find this to be helpful. By having concrete goals they are able to push through and get everything accomplished on their list. For this type of person I would not suggest making changes. However if you find yourself easily getting distracted, starting out the day strong and by the end of the 202


day wondering where the time went, or just not motivated to jump in and work, then perhaps its time to consider some other options. A good way to start working on your goals is to start forming positive habits. It takes about 21 days of continually doing something for it to become a habit, and once it is a habit you will find it easier and easier to accomplish your to do list. One option is to create a to do list each day of what you want to accomplish. Some

choose to start with the hardest item first, believing that by not starting there all day long it looms over their head making the task even harder in theory than it really is. If you begin to feel overwhelmed by this prospect of tackling the hardest task first, its perfectly fine to start with the smaller easier tasks first to build momentum. If you find yourself never making it to the largest task, another suggestion would be to take that larger task and break it down into smaller tasks. There is a satisfaction in crossing off items on your to do list. A second option is to do a task called time blocking. Time blocking is when you take your average work day and divide the day up into manageable time slots. You should look at all the important items that need to be done each day and how much additional free time you have available. Decide when you think you are the most productive. This is when you should schedule your toughest tasks. When time blocking be sure and schedule in breaks and time for miscellaneous items that may come up. A third option is to work for 30 minutes at a time on any task. You can set a timer to ding when your time is up. During the 30 minutes you should focus on your task and nothing else. Give it all your attention, with the belief that when the timer goes off, you can stop. This will help take some of the pressure off that you the task will never end. When your time is up, do something fun, go for a fresh air brake, talk to a coworker, even go on social media. This is your reward for working through your task. You may wonder why

{ SHIFT+CONTROL } It always starts out the same each year. The new year rolls around and you are excited about this being the year you accomplish all your goals.

30 minutes, simple we can focus only for short periods of time before we start to lose our momentum. Your last option is to FOCUS. Follow One Course Until Successful. Instead of having multiple projects going on at one time, try just focusing on one task until it is complete. While we love to think that we are great at multitasking, in all reality we aren’t. Our brains are not wired to do multiple things at once and what in reality happens is that we are not truly focusing on the task. We don’t do our best and often it take us longer than expected.

The great thing about all these options, you can try each of them to see which one works best for you. You can do a combination of the options, or all of them. The best thing to do is keep trying different options until you find something that works for you long term. Setting and accomplishing goals can be a powerful tool, keep working at it until you find what works for you and make 2018 your best year yet.

to help end the struggles with proven techniques. For more information check out her website or send her an email successhappnes@angellaluyk. com Bring her donuts and she will provide the coffee. Connect with her today and start taking your business to the next level.

Angella Luyk is a national award-winning business owner at Angella Luyk LLC, Midnight Janitorial, and One Stop Janitorial and Office Supply. She understands what business owners go through and wants ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2018




Drinking and socializing after a day of skiing, a workout, or a competitive match just feels right for many of us. Wether you are all business once you lace ‘em up, or you live for the social aspect of sports, most of us can agree that the promise of a cocktail can be a great motivator. After a solo gym session, individual athletics, or a team sport we are naturally in the company of people with a common interest. So why not reward yourself with a cocktail or three and some casual socializing? No need to dress up or worry about your hair. Just come as you are off the slopes into the lodge, hit up a local pub after the gym, or join your teammates and your opponents for a round at your favorite sports bar after a hard fought game. Winter in Rochester is a great time for casual post athletics cocktailing and our city is full of low key bars, taverns, and restaurants suited for this occasion. Rochester Drinks has some low calorie options to take your squad beyond pitchers of cheap light beer. First start with water and pace yourself with a water between each drink. If you like shots try a pickle back. We 206


recommend George Dickel whisky with a pickle juice chaser. This handcrafted Tennessee whiskey tastes great and the vinegar based pickle juice is great for muscle recovery and preventing cramps. Professional athletes discover the Pickle Juice brand in 2001 and now you see it popping up in sports from rugby, to football, to cycling. If you outgrew shots after college try

a scotch with an ice water on the side. Sip the whisky neat at first then add just a little water and experience how the flavor changes. The water adds oxygen like swirling a glass of wine, and the difference made in a blended scotch like Johnnie Walker Black or a single malt like Oban is impressive. Tequila has become an increasingly popular choice among health conscious drinkers. A Don Julio Blanco on the rocks with a slice of orange may not actually be good for you, but it may reduce your stress levels. For mixed drinks add club soda and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to your favorite spirit. You really can’t go wrong with a refreshing Ketel One Vodka and soda. Looking for a caffeine boost, add Grind Espresso Rum to hot or iced coffee. Finally, if you don’t want to look like a rookie opt for a timeless classic like a gin martini made with the amazing Tanqueray No. 10, or a Bulleit Bourbon Manhattan. No matter what you choose remember to always drink responsibly.

{ ROCHESTER DRINKS } No matter what you choose remember to always drink responsibly.




It’s All About Conversation in 2018 BY TAMARA MACDUFF

Happy New Year! So, it begins anew. You have huge dreams and even bigger goals for your personal life, business and online presence in 2018. We have a clean slate to not just set those goals; to truly achieve more than what we think we can. ONE TREND THAT HAS NEVER GONE AWAY Over 2,000 years has passed and there is one thing, one trend that has stood the test of time. This one trend is what is behind every single goal achievement, sales record, business increase, etc. ONE thing. Every. Single. Success. I’ve talked about it in this column many times and I teach it in all my social media and online marketing classes. Conversation. That’s it. That’s the ONE THING that all success in every single area of your life and business will come from. Conversation. Conversation is dominating the search engine algorithms. It’s dominating social media; after all, it is Social. Are You Ready for Conversation? How are you creating content for your social platforms? Are you informing, educating and conversing with your followers? Or, are you talking to them – only telling them about your events, your sales, your latest product or service offering? The latest research from ComScore, is that 69% of people now utilize voice search in their homes, 208


mostly. However, it is climbing in use when people are driving or trying to multi-task. They ask questions, they say “show me restaurants near me” and things like that. Can your website or content be found? When people ask questions, what site is coming up? What content is being displayed? Yours or your competitors? Where do you want to be playing in your industry in 2018? REINVENT DON’T RECREATE The good news is that if your answers weren’t solid to my above questions, there’s still time to get noticed. I can help you reinvent yourself, your business, and increase your impact and influence in 2018. First, don’t think you have to recreate the wheel because you aren’t on the track you

think you should be. Start from where you are right now. Do a content audit. What content performed well for you on your social sites? What was your most clicked on blog post? What piece of content or even a product or service offering got the most comments, questions, and sales? Find those answers and build on that. Those are the pieces of information your audience wants more of. Reinventing yourself or your business is easier said than done. It doesn’t have to be that hard if you are just reinventing your content strategy and how you communicate with your audience. Build on what worked and redirect or drop what wasn’t working. Repurpose content that worked OK yet didn’t set the world on fire. You can reframe those conversations into something your audience wants to know about. Finally, maintain your focus on your goals. How well did your content help you reach your goals in 2017? How will you reframe or reinvent your communication approach to reach your goals in 2018? My advice to you is to first set your goals based on WHY you started your business. Then find out what others, including your audience, are talking about in relation to that why. When your strategy and content meet, great conversations happen. When great conversations happen, your business becomes Top of Mind, you become influential, and your impact gets multiplied; gaining

the kind of followers who are rabid for your information, product and services. YOUR TAKE 3 ACTION PLAN Here is your action plan you can use today in your business and get the most out of 2018. • Do a Content Audit. There are many resources online about how to do one. It’s easy to do – yet it is time consuming. However, just like setting goals and being specific about how you are going to achieve them takes time, it is time well invested. It’s what sets your foundation up for success online. You can also use tools like Google Trends to corroborate your findings and find new things or topics to talk about. A content audit involves a spreadsheet and your website analytics and social insights tools. Then, a lot of coffee or tea, and patience. Once you find the themes, building out your content plan for 2018 will be a breeze.

• Set Your Goals. This is imperative. Build everything you do in your business from your processes to your products/services and your online presence should be aligned with your goals. If anything, you are doing is not aligned, for any reason, ask yourself why you are still doing it if it doesn’t support your goals. • Create a Content Calendar. What gets scheduled, gets done. Put it on your calendar so you don’t forget to post it or write about it. It’s OK to use automation tools to get your regular content posted. The best rule for automation, is to schedule only 2 weeks out. Why? So you have time to also post organically when a customer asks a burning question you have been asked 100 times before, yet haven’t addressed. So you can jump on any breaking news in your industry or your business. Things happen and shift. If you schedule out farther than that you could miss things. Whatever you do – do not just schedule and post. Engage.

Thank people for their comments, respond to them, have a conversation. Remember, the conversations people have online with you will translate into sales. When you have people talking about your Facebook page offline when they see you – like one of my clients – that’s when you know you’ve found the secret sauce to your success. Need help? Have questions about how to do any of this? Reach out to me – I’m here to help. See you in the Social Sphere! Tamara MacDuff, business owner at NOW Digital Marketing. She drives sales for business owners through social media & content strategies. When she isn’t being strategic with her social media, she teaches workshops on social media, social media strategy and content creation & strategy. For more information reach out on Twitter (@TamaraLMacDuff), Facebook ( digitalstrategysocial) or LinkedIn ( tamaramacduff) She loves great coffee, conversation









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