RWO March/April 2019

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Emily Marie Pangburn


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“Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world. ” - Harriet Tubman




On our cover this month we have the beautiful, strong, inspiring and empowering Emily Marie Pangburn on our cover. Many will have read about Emily’s courageous story in the Rochester papers after being shot in her home. Now, hear her own words about her ordeal and her journey. Photographed at her home by Charlene Mann Ford.



Yolanda Smilez, comedian, author, and straight up bad ass funny lady was shot on location at Comics Cafe and Comedy at the Carlson by photographer Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell for the latest edition of RWO’s “Something 4the Sista’s”. Make-up courtesy of Rosalind Matthew with clothing by Kurvy Kulture.








Kelly Breuer Cheryl Kates-Benman Kelly Breuer Charlene Mann Ford Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell Marisa Nicodemus Sandy Arena Michele Ashlee Chris Conlon Cheryl Kates-Benman Robin DeWind Phyllis Haberer Olga Monacell Dave Jenkins Alana Cahoon Audrey Avirett Sandy Arena Glenna Colaprete-Hudson Jamie Gruttadaria Lisa Wagner Judi Swanson Tammy Reese Sarah Wright Roberta Goheen Nicole Lambert Michael Quarteart Lori Nolan Becky Picone Sue Zamiara Vialma Ramos Lori Nolan Joyce Apel Krystal Noriega Megan Cormack Greene Sara Pavia Sherry Hale Alyssa Marie John Galletto Martha Conan

Mary Kay Tandlmayer Sharon Quarteart Eric Johnson

Kelly Breuer


The Next Design


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.






REBUILDING LIFE AFTER VIOLENCE What became Emily’s story s not something anyone would like to experience in their lifetime. Emily is a 25-year-old, mother and entrepreneur who lives in Rochester, NY. She is a beautiful woman, who is a make-up artist (Make-Up Artistry and Beauty by Emily Marie). On September 15, 2018, her otherwise normal life became a movie we watch and hope never happens to us. Her life changed forever that day. It was a Saturday night and she was home with her children. Her son is 1 and her daughter is 3. Emily just finished posting a make-up look on her social media and proceeded around 8 to get her kids ready for bed. After they fell asleep, she went back in her studio in the basement, listened to some music and began editing pictures she would use in future posts. It was a typical day in her life. Everything she knew changed around 11:30 pm. Someone was banging on her back door. Emily was startled by the urgency of the person and she thought it may be someone she knew etc. Emily went to open her door and today she questions why she didn’t try to see who it was first. She opened the door half way

and bullets started flying at her. Her security light was knocked out, so she couldn’t see anyone or anything. She was shot in both of her thighs and twice in her left knee. Her instincts kicked

and exit wounds. Initially, she was frozen with fear and could not comprehend that this just happened to her. Glass was everywhere as one of the bullets hit the stove behind her. Emily shares saying, “Somehow I was able to walk away from the door but then I collapsed on the floor with broken glass all around me from the stove getting shot which was behind me. There was so much blood pouring out and I was trying to keep as much blood as I could inside my body by cupping my hands around the gun shot wounds but there were so many. I couldn’t find my phone and I was freezing cold. I could literally feel my soul leaving my body. I could hear my children crying from upstairs and it gave me a huge jolt of energy. I crawled back to the door and screamed outside for help hoping someone would see me. I saw my neighbor’s car in the driveway. I thought he was home, so I was going to crawl to his door to bang on it. Something told me to go back inside. I decided to leave the door open so hopefully someone would see all the blood and maybe call for help.

in after the original shock of it all. She closed the door. Three additional bullets lodged in the steel door. She was shot 4 times and there were, a total of 6 entry

I crawled over to the basement steps, ripped out the baby gate and threw myself down the stairs. I was able to call for help. I found my phone. It was 11:42 pm. The police arrived 6 minutes later. When RPD arrived, they had to check the premises for the shooter before coming down to the basement. It was getting so difficult to ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


“There was so much blood pouring out and I was trying to keep as much blood as I could inside my body by cupping my hands around the gun shot wounds but there were so many. I couldn’t find my phone and I was freezing cold. I could literally feel my soul leaving my body.”




{{ COVER COVER STORY STORY }} “My life was turned upside down. One day I was living a normal life, and then the next I was unable to walk.”

breathe. I was losing faith and I was thinking about how I may never see my family or children again. I just had to keep breathing and remain calm. I figured out that taking deep breaths and trying not to scream or cry was helping me stay alive”.

dealt with depression and anxiety for a long time. It is something I deal with now especially after all of the trauma I have been through.

Emily tells us this has changed her life in so many ways. The perpetrators have not been apprehended. Emily has trouble walking and needs assistance to care for for her children. She is in pain daily but feels she is making progress every day. She had to pick up her whole life and move when she was still in the hospital. She was in the hospital for 2 weeks. She had 8 blood transfusions and had blood clots in her legs. Her children stayed with family for a while. This experience was the most challenging thing she ever had to go through. She was just making ground as a make up artist to where she did not have to supplement her business working as a bartender or waitress. Pangburn says, “My life was turned upside down. One day I was living a normal life, and then the next I was unable to walk. My left leg was completely broken and crooked. The doctor had to drill a bar into the bottom of my leg and attach a weight to the end of it, so my leg would straighten. I had to stay like that for 48 hours until surgery. I have

happiness. I am not letting this defeat me. This is something that has slowed me down, but it won’t ever stop me. My family are the most significant people in my life. They have been by my side throughout this. I wouldn’t be here or be the same woman I am without them. I love that I have such as strong support system and there’s nothing I could ever do to repay them”. Emily says in the next five years she sees success and happiness. She is taking negative and turning it into a positive. She indicates almost losing her life, opened her eyes so much. Every day when she looks into her children’s eyes, she thanks God for every day on this earth. Her biggest goal in life is to be the best mother she can be.

At one point in my life, I feel like I lost myself and my ambition to strive for the best but after becoming a mother and getting very serious about the goals I wanted to achieve in my life I was able to find myself and make my own

Emily closes by saying, “My advice to anyone reading this is always protect yourself and your family. Make sure you have a proper first aid kit for your home and car. Learn how to defend yourself and read about ways to stay safe. Danger is always around the corner, but we can look for signs of danger before it is too late”. If anyone knows any information about this case, please call Investigator Trevor Powell (585) 428-9378



{{ COVER COVER STORY STORY }} “My family are the most significant people in my life. They have been by my side throughout this. I wouldn’t be here or be the same woman I am without them. ”

“I was losing faith and I was thinking about how I may never see my family or children again. I just had to keep breathing and remain calm. I figured out that taking deep breaths and trying not to scream or cry was helping me stay alive�.

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A BRIEF HISTORY A B O U T U R MEDICINE HOME CARE WOMEN LEADERS UR Medicine Home Care’s history of being led by women isn’t a norm even in today’s society but, it is part of our story and very relevant as we celebrate national women’s histor y month. Way back in 1919, a small group of forward thinking women created a home health care agency in an effort to care for those affected by the influenza epidemic that had ravaged the area. In efforts spearheaded by the Social Workers Club, a mass meeting of community agencies, including the Health Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, the County Medical Society, and many others, met on January 27, 1919 to discuss and pass a resolution for the formation of a Public Health Nursing Association (PHNA). The PHNA was officially incorporated on May 22, 1920 and a board of directors of 12 was elected. Now, if you can follow the simple math of 1919-2019, you might have realized that we are currently celebrating 100 years of UR Medicine Home Care providing care in the Rochester community. From our 32


earliest days of PHNA to Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) to now UR Medicine Home Care (URMHC), our company has proudly led by women. These women leaders include: Mary Laird, Mary Thornton Davis, Cora Warrant, Elisabeth Phillips, Adah Davis, Helen McNerney, Sally Leiter, Vicky Hines, and our current President & CEO, Jane Shukitis. Each one of the women have left their mark in the history of

this organization. Throughout its existence, URMHC has had an emphasis on health, nutrition, public education and care for victims of a myriad of diseases that have become prevalent through the decades. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the significant achievements these women have accomplished. Our first leader was Mary Laird. Mary

wanted to be a nurse as far back as she could remember. In 1909, Laird attended Rochester General Hospital’s School of Nursing. When the United States entered the war in 1917, Laird signed up as a Red Cross nurse and was stationed in France. Many of her personal artifacts, including post cards from the war, are located in the historical sections of the libraries on the University of Rochester campus. When Laird returned to Rochester, she noticed the hospitals were overrun with patients battling a myriad of diseases, noticing that a majority of them could be treated from the care in their own home. With the establishment of PHNA, Laird and the organization began the home healthcare crusade. During the 1920’s the service grew and developed with an emphasis on maternal/child health, nutrition, public education, and care for victims of flu and polio. The Community Chest (now the United Way of Greater Rochester) began funding the agency. In her seven years as the Executive Director, Laird helped to expand the agency to five districts and create some groundbreaking health concepts. They included “milk stations” – which allowed mothers to buy fresh milk cheaply for the babies, classes teaching new mothers how to care for their young ones, and the idea of bringing in nursing students for “on-

{ WOMEN’S HISTORY } “For 100 years our leadership has positioned the employees at URMHC to preserve and enhance the quality of life for the people and communities we serve by providing comprehensive, high quality health care at home delivered with compassion and integrity.”



“The 1960’s and 1970’s saw more programs added, including the Home Health Aide program, occupational and speech therapies, and the initiation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs made funding available for home health agencies for the poor and elderly.”




{ WOMEN’S HISTORY } “From our earliest days of PHNA to Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) to now UR Medicine Home Care (URMHC), our company has proudly led by women.”

Laird’s successor, Mary Thornton Davis was in her role for a few short years, but the service grew rapidly in the 1930’s, and the Depression increased the number of patients who could not pay for the services. PHNA’s next leader, Cora Warrant, saw much of that expansion take place as she led the helm from 1930-1947. In her time, Warrant saw one of the most monumental changes. The rebranding of PHNA to Visiting Nurse Service, a name that lasted 75 years in the community. Besides that, the agency continued to grow rapidly, aided by home care costs being covered by more industries and private insurance companies. In 1947, the shift in leadership went from Warrant to Elisabeth Phillips. Phillips held the title of Executive Director for almost 20 years. Phillips was instrumental i n t h e c re a t i o n o f physical therapy services. Previously, that had to be completed by patients in the hospital, but now VNS could go to any John or Jane Doe’s house and help that patient get back on the right path. Besides physical therapy, cancer and cardiac patients received increased service as treatments advanced. However, during Phillips’ tenure, the largest contribution has to be the creation of Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels originated in the

United Kingdom during World War I, when many people lost their homes and therefor the ability to cook their own food. The Women’s Volunteer Service for Civil Defense provided food for these

their own ultimately evolved into the modern programs that deliver mostly to the housebound elderly – mostly free or at a small charge. The first home-delivered meal program in the United States began in Philadelphia in January 1954. However, the third Meals On Wheels program in our nation originated here in our home town. The city of Rochester, New York, began its homedelivered meal program in 1958. Just last year, we celebrated 60 years of serving meals in Monroe County! The 1960’s and 1970’s saw more programs added, including the Home Health Aide program, occupational and speech therapies, and the initiation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs made funding available for home health agencies for the poor and elderly. This was all achieved under the direction of Phillips, Adah Davis, and Helen McNerny. In 1980, Sally Leiter took the title as CEO and held that role until the new millennium.

people. The name “Meals on Wheels” derived from the Women’s Volunteer Service’s related activity of bringing meals to servicemen. The concept of delivery meals to those unable to prepare

This time frame saw some of the biggest changes to modern home care as we know it. Cardio-pulmonary, pediatric and infusion therapy programs were added, and in order to provide private duty nurses and community health nurses to fulfill ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


staffing/case management needs, VNS created Community Care of Rochester (CCR) in 1987 as a for-profit, licensed agency. Leiter helped CCR establish its own Home Health Aide department in 1990 to meet the needs of the private pay sector of the community. In 1999, a major shift in the health care spectrum took place here in the Rochester community. VNS announced an affiliation agreement with the University of Rochester’s Strong Health. This helped to recognize VNS a preferred home care agency for the hospital. The 2000’s saw new leadership as Cynthia Ryan Huether briefly oversaw the day-today operations until Vicki Hines took the role of CEO until 2013. Hines 38


was influential in many new additions including our Telemedicine program to benefit heart failure patients, the agency partnering with Monroe County to launch the Nurse-Family Partnership program, which helps first-time low income mothers with their newborn babies, and finally the VNS affiliation with Finger Lakes Visiting Nursing Service expanding coverage from one county to seven. With the new affiliation came many changes. First, Hines stepped away and Jane Shukitis assumed the role of President & CEO, a title she holds today. Shukitis helped orchestrate the third name change with agency rebranding and becoming UR Medicine Home

Care, creating closer direct ties to URMC and working in better partnership with the URMC system. Finally, Shukitis helped URMHC win The George K. Hansen Operations Excellence award from the Greater Rochester Quality Council in 2017. For 100 years our leadership has positioned the employees at URMHC to preserve and enhance the quality of life for the people and communities we serve by providing comprehensive, high quality health care at home delivered with compassion and integrity. The medicine may have changed, but our principles and why we do what we do has remained the same. We stand by the saying proudly led by women.




“The medicine may have changed, but our principles and why we do what we do has remained the same. We stand by the saying proudly led by women.�






Your special day deserves a memorable venue! The Rochester Museum & Science Center, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center offer out-of-the-ordinary venues for weddings, showers, anniversary parties, and more for up to 200 guests. To schedule a tour of the Science Museum or Planetarium, contact our hospitality team at or 585.697.1943 To host an event at the Cumming Nature Center, please call 585.374.6160








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The Wedding Dress is a full-service bridal boutique featuring gorgeous bridal gowns as well as bridesmaids, mothers dresses, flower girls, special occasion dresses, accessories and tuxedos. This small town boutique offers big city style at an affordable price. Their staff includes professional consultants and skilled seamstresses all dedicated to making your wedding day perfect.



Visit Jessica, Kasey & Nancy at The Wedding Dress and let them help you find your dream wedding gown. At TWD they make your wedding gown search an experience and not just a decision. They take care of their brides from Yes to I Do. Buying a wedding gown isn’t just a decision, it’s an emotional process and they have spent years perfecting it. TWD is a family owned bridal shop - Jessica, Nancy, Meghann, Kasey and Carol. The Wedding Dress &

Tux Shop was established in 1979. They are a Rochester Premium Retailer for Sincerity, Lillian West , Allure, Allure Romance, Justin Alexander and Casablanca Bridal. The staff visits NYC and Chicago Bridal Markets each year to bring updated styles to the boutique. The Wedding Dress understands the need for modern sophistication mixed with traditional elegance










{ THE WEDDING DRESS } “Don’t let your dreams be just dreams.”


The ladies at The Wedding Dress and Maggie Sottero are FANTASTIC! I cannot rave enough about this little shop and the wonderful people that work there. My dress was a Maggie Sottero that truly wowed everyone at my wedding. I can only hope that every girl out there can have the experience

that I had when looking for a wedding gown. I could never thank Jessica & Kasey at The Wedding Dress enough for helping me find my dream wedding gown. From start to finish they provided nothing but exceptional service and are the nicest girls I could have ever asked to

work with. On top of helping me find my dress, they were even able to find the bridesmaids dresses I had wanted that seemed to be impossible to find! Kasey & Jessica are truly talented at what they do! I will be forever thankful for my amazing wedding dress, and for how beautiful I felt in it on my wedding day!















{ THE WEDDING DRESS } “The dress...make it an experience not a decision.”












Charlene Mann photography is one of Rochester’s, premier wedding and portrait photographers for over a decade. Charlene began photography at a very early age, along side her dad and his camera, she began fascinated with how he was able to “freeze time”.

would give it a try, never thinking this would lead her to where she is today. After photographing weddings as a second photographer for a few seasons, she was ready and then

While attending Roberts Wesleyan College, studying Art education, Charlene worked part time at a local portrait studio, she fell in love with not only taking the portraits, but getting to know her clients on a level that resulted in capturing them candidly. “To see their reactions when they looked at their portraits and how they felt about themselves was priceless, I knew I had found my calling “Charlene said. Charlene’s love of wedding photography began in 2004, while working at the portrait studio, she was approached by a client and asked if she had ever considered photographing weddings. This client ran a very successful wedding photography company and was looking for someone to second shoot for weddings. She thought she

Charlene Mann photography was launched in 2008, after years of wedding photography experience, she was confident to open her doors. One of the many things that keeps Charlene marketable, is her passion (some call it an obsession) for photography and lighting. She has traveled all over the country this year including Hawaii, Las Vegas, the Florida Keys, and Nashville, to expand her knowledge of lighting and posing. “Brides want to feel like a super model on their day, and they deserve to” with the correct posing and lighting Charlene is able to give them that gift. C h a r l e n e ’s w e d d i n g photography style can be defined as Fresh, journalistic, and of course timeless (you know, the ones Mom and Grandma would want to hang on their wall) but ultimately, she creates art from your day, with a focus on fashionbased imagery. Every wedding and couple are unique, so from beginning to end she stylizes her imagery to fit personalities, and vibe from her couples, creating unique wedding images every time.

stepped into the lead photographer position.

What a lot of people don’t understand about wedding photography and what Charlene absolutely loves most about weddings is that you must be a very versatile ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ PHOTOGRAPHER HIGHLIGHT } “To see their reactions when they looked at their portraits and how they felt about themselves was priceless, I knew I had found my calling.”

photographer. Its portrait photography, fashion photography, product photography, and food photography all rolled into one glorious day, making for a new challenge every wedding. Charlene values each and every couple she works with, from beginning with the first meet, you will feel special and like you’re in very good hands, she listens to your plans for your day and is completely attentive, and will you make you feel comfortable asking any questions. She is not only experienced in wedding photography, but with so many weddings under her belt she can



help you with a timeline for pictures and events. Her management skills are an added bonus, being able to manage a bridal party and big family portraits can be a struggle for some, this comes with the experience that Charlene brings to the table. “Your day should be as you pictured, with no added stresses”. With each wedding, Charlene enters into it with at the very minimum $20,000 in the top of the line equipment, she always uses cameras that have the ability to record to 2 camera cards at one time. “Yes these

cameras cost a lot more, but its just another way to back up your images to prevent malfunction, I know I wouldn’t want to trust my day with anything but the best!” Charlene is properly insured as many venues now require that of their vendors. Charlene received the couple’s choice award for 2018 through wedding wire, by maintaining a consistent 5 star rating. She feels extremely blessed to do what she loves and be recognized for it from her clients.


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Vine Wedding Photography is located in Rochester NY. Our vision for Vine is simple, we wanted to give great wedding photography to clients who don’t necessarily want or need the luxury style or luxury price tag associated with higher end wedding photography. All Vine photographers are handpicked and trained by one of Rochester NY’s



top Wedding photographers. We ensure all Vine team members are properly equipped with knowledge, skill and the equipment to make your wedding day photography experience as flawless as possible, while creating great images for you to love and cherish forever. Wedding photography collections starting at $999.

Call one of our wedding specialist today! Vine Wedding Photography provides professional experienced photography at any budget.















INCOGNITO MENSWEAR With over 5000 tuxedo shops and menswear stores closing in the last decade, how has Incognito Menswear & Tux Shop bucked the trend and continued to thrive? Owner Randy Barkin, who has been in the Rochester tuxedo business since 1980 attributes it to staying ahead of their competition and understanding the industry trends. “Many tux shops were very slow to understand that today’s brides and grooms were looking for a much



different look and feel than their parents’ weddings” Barkin said. “They were so caught up in the concept of renting tuxedos they missed the fact that the customer wanted a more casual and practical look”. According to Barkin, more weddings are wearing suits today rather than the traditional wedding attire, the tuxedo. “Since our background was in the tuxedo business, we understood what engaged couples were seeking in a suit store for weddings” Barkin added.

Shop offers a variety of products and services all under one roof including: a complete tuxedo business with over 5000 tuxedos and accessories in their Penfield location, a fully stocked new suit and menswear store, a tailor shop and most uniquely New York’s only resale store for men, specializing in quality second hand menswear. The second hand menswear store is what has given Incognito the competitive advantage over other menswear stores; specifically the national chains.

Today, Incognito Menswear & Tux

“Many of our customers want to



{ HERE COMES THE GROOM } “The truth is, using a local company like ours is the best way to assure you have no worries, come the wedding day, with your menswear.”




purchase the wedding suits rather than rent, but others feel they won’t be needing a suit in today’s casual clothing environment, so we give our customers the option to rent or purchase that new suit. They’ll receive the same new suit as those buying, complete with alterations included, but are able to rent at a reduced rate. Our resale store allows us to sell those suits worn only once a great price.” Barkin explained. For those weddings that are looking for tuxedos, Incognito gives couples the ability to try on styles right at their location in Penfield. “The tuxedo business has been taken over by national chains with catalogs in small corners of their stores and mannequins to look at” Barkin said. The second floor at Incognito is a fully stocked tuxedo operation that gives the brides and groom the chance to try on the styles in their appropriate sizes rather than look at a catalog or mannequin. Barkin says many couples aren’t sure if they are looking for tuxedos or suits when they first come in but by trying things on allows them to see what looks best and compliments the rest of the wedding theme. “It makes this part of their wedding planning much easier” he added. Despite the success that Incognito has had over the last decade, Barkin still gets frustrated that some couples feel they need a national company in order to accommodate today’s weddings that have groomsmen ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ HERE COMES THE GROOM } ““Many tux shops were very slow to understand that today’s brides and grooms were looking for a much different look and feel than their parents’ weddings.”

spread over the world. “The biggest thing we hear from couples at bridal shows, is that they want to use Incognito, but they have guys all over the US and world and assume they need a company that serves those areas. The truth is, using a local company like ours is the best way to assure you have no worries,



come the wedding day, with your menswear” Barkin said. “We have all our tuxedos and suits here so when the guys come in for that final fitting, even if it’s the day of the wedding we can adjust anything right on the spot. We can have that groomsmen, in and out of our store in 15 minutes with a perfectly fitting outfit. Rather

than take your chances with 6 or 60 different locations across the country, you can choose one that has been doing it right for over 30 years.”







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VENTOSA VINEYARDS “Our mission is excellence,” says Lenny Cecere, proprietor of Ventosa Vineyards— and he means it. Lenny has put the winery on the map, one happy wine-drinker at a time. “Ventosa” translates to windy in Italian, a perfect name for the setting with its breezes off of Seneca Lake which moderates the temperature of the vineyard. Mediterranean roots of the winery date back to Lenny’s grandfather who came to Geneva, New York, from Italy. Beer, wine and spirits were hard to come by when Pr o h i b i t i o n and the Great Depression brought about hard times. As a tavern owner, Lenny’s grandfather learned to make his own wine as a means of survival. Driven by his grandfather’s perseverance and his own enthusiasm, Lenny pursued his own calling with the help of his wife, Meg. After years of careful planning, they planted the first of what is now a 21 acre vineyard in 2000 and opened the winery, café and banquet room of Ventosa Vineyards in 2005.

Every year, the owners return to Italy and have modeled the décor of the winery in Tuscan fashion to reflect their love of that country. The interiors of the tasting room and banquet room offer an equally Mediterranean feel, as does to the alfresco dining on the terrace. Guests enjoy views of Seneca Lake and cool winds as they feast

on Tuscan-inspired fare from Cafe Toscana: paninis, pizza, salads, and homemade soups. Excellence in the vineyards equates to excellence in the bottle. Giving up volume for the sake of precision, Ventosa has set a high bar on what goes into the bottle —a sure fire way to keep each visitor pleased. Each

winter, vines are meticulously pruned. Throughout the summer and fall, the vineyard manager keeps a close eye on the clusters and manicures the vines accordingly to get the most sun exposure and little room for moisture. Grapes are picked by hand so we are able to get the best juice possible. Grapes that aren’t perfect are pruned off and discarded. This results in a lower production volume, but higher quality wine. The winery goes to great lengths to perfect the wines and make certain they are enjoyed by guests. It is mandatory that all red wines stay in the bottle for 1 year before they are released in the tasting room. A t Ve n t o s a Vineyards, you will find classic varietals such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Chardonnay, along with Cabernet Franc, Lemberger, and, Italian varietals, Sangiovese and Tocai Friulano. Several have received awards at various international wine competitions over the years. Ventosa was thrilled when its 2011 Estate Grown Lemberger was selected as the winner of the prestigious 2015 ROCHESTER ROCHESTER WOMAN WOMAN ONLINE ONLINE :::: MARCH/APRIL MARCH/APRIL 2019 2019

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{ THE PERFECT VENUE } “Ventosa Vineyards brings the ambiance of Tuscany to your wedding ceremony and/or reception. Accommodating up to 280 loved-ones, Ventosa offers one of the most unique venues for wedding receptions—La Vista e Bella banquet room.”

NY Governor’s Cup trophy, choosing it as the best wine in NY! This was the first time a dry red wine from the Finger Lakes had won this award.

in wine, food and service, all menu items are made the day of the special event. Gluten-free or other special dietary-restrictions are available.


Couples who want to host their rehearsal dinner or bridal shower at Ventosa can utilize the winery tasting

Ventosa Vineyards brings the ambiance of Tuscany to your wedding ceremony and/or reception. Accommodating up to 280 loved-ones, Ventosa offers one of the most unique venues for wedding receptions—La Vi s t a e Be l l a banquet room. Inside, handpainted murals, elaborate chandeliers and wall sconces help create a beautiful European setting. With ceremonies available on-site overlooking the lake, you can be sure to capture perfect shots, even if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate! Access to the expansive terrace allows for a stunning panoramic view of the vineyards and sunsets over Seneca Lake. The landscape and close attention to detail bring the venue to life, attracting couples from across the country—and from around the globe. With excellence the mission

room, which can accommodate up to 80 guests. Services provided by Ventosa include event planning, rentals, AV equipment, and event furniture. Ventosa has an exceptional in-house staff and recommended vendors to help carry out the details of your special day! Our Day-of

Coordinator will ensure everything goes as scheduled so you don’t have to! Ventosa has received highly-esteemed awards year-after-year based on the outstanding experience they provided to newlyweds. They are one of the top 5% wedding venues in the Nation on top wedding sites. Voted 5 stars on WeddingWire. com & theKnot. com, please read the wonderful reviews past brides and grooms have graciously given the team a t Ve n t o s a Vineyards. If you would like to learn more about hosting your special e ve n t o n t h e estate or would like to set up an appointment for a guided tour, please email info@ ventosavineyards. com or call (315)719-0000 and an Events Coordinator will gladly help you. Ventosa would be delighted to welcome and be of service to you, your family, & friends on your special day! We look forward to working with you in planning what you’ve always dreamed of….the Perfect Day!


Agness Top Rated Semi-Dry Riesling in the Finger Lakes

Agness Wine Cellars Best Choice for Celebrating Life’s Finest Moments

Salon & Beauty Boutique Let us travel to you on your wedding day or spend the day with us at the salon! Our team of professionals can accommodate small and large bridal parties for all your hair and makeup needs. We specialize in airbrush makeup, lashes, and extensions. Plan a spa party for you and your bridal party at the salon before your special day!

1 East Ave I Hilton, NY 14468 I 585-448-6037 I


THE PLANTATION The Plantation Party House has been serving the Rochester area for 52 years. Those who have attended events there know that it is an ideal venue for gatherings of all kinds, from weddings and receptions, to corporate events, to charity banquets and award ceremonies, to proms. It is still somewhat of a “hidden gem” due to subtle marketing and a quiet location. Nestled among big old trees on 25-acres of private land about 12 miles from Downtown Rochester in Spencerport, NY. The Plantation Party House differentiates itself from other event venues in the Greater Rochester, NY area in a number of important ways.



Sue & John Zamiara and The Plantation Party House staff use every opportunity to showcase The Plantation’s trademark “Zamiara hospitality.” Experienced personal attention is given to every detail of client events, excellent service, and delicious food. The event planning professionals, maitre d’, and formallyattired event staff at The Plantation Party House bring decades of experience to bear for clients. It all began in 1967 when Jean & Stanley Zamiara purchased “The Plante-ation” from owner Frank Plante. They changed the name to “Plantation Pines Party House” and a family enterprise was born with ownership of the business

eventually passing from the one Zamiara generation to the next. Located on The Plantation Party House property are a large parking lot, gardens, banquet hall with a centrally-located bar and dance floor, coat/receiving area, ample restrooms, a private bridal suite, a multi-level deck, a large gazebo, and a pond with a fountain. The property’s manicured grounds are flanked by rustic forest. All facilities, staff, and amenities at The Plantation Party House are booked for one single event at a time.







{ THE PERFECT VENUE } “The Plantation’s trademark “Zamiara hospitality.” Experienced personal attention is given to every detail of client events, excellent service, and delicious food.”

This level of privacy and dedication means that if you attend an event at The Plantation Party House you won’t be sharing the grounds with golfers, find yourself aimlessly searching for parking spots, have to wait for people outside of your party to get drinks from the bartender, or bump into strangers in the bathrooms. The banquet hall features an understated tan and black carpet, neutrally-colored walls/ceilings, and elegant lighting f i x t u re s . T h e w h i t e g a ze b o and decking are chic but neutral, and are cradled in greenery in the warm months and blanketed in snow in the cold months. This “blank canvas” works with any event color scheme, theme, or décor and clients are free to decorate as much or as little as they like. No two events at The Plantation Party House are ever quite the same. Whether in the heat of the summer or in the cold of Rochester winter, The Plantation Party House is a beautiful AND comfortable place to gather. The banquet hall is air-conditioned when it’s hot outside and heated when it’s cold so 130


guests can enjoy as much (or as little) sun/snow as they like during events. The grounds are stunningly beautiful in every season, offering innumerable photo opportunities—You don’t have to leave the property to pose in the woods, by the

House take food service very seriously. Feeding large groups of hungry people all at once requires experience and skill to do well, and they have been doing it for a long time. The menus clients build with the help of The Plantation Party House planning staff are delicious and exciting but also classic, flexible, and accommodating for diners with special dietary needs. Those guests will receive personalized menus upon arrival for their convenience Food is prepared with care, and great attention is given to presentation and service. If you like to eat, but also like to photograph your food and post it on social media, you’re going to enjoy your meal at The Plantation Party House.

water, on a park bench, under a grand old tree, or against a high-contrast white brick wall—whatever a client’s event photography aesthetic, The Plantation Party House has backgrounds to meet their needs.

The Zamiara’s have seen tastes and trends change over their fifty plus years in business. Those changes helped direct the creative growth of The Plantation Party House into the beautiful estate it is today. They say that their True North through it all has been the desire to work personally with clients. That priority has served them and their customers well and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Finally, the staff at Plantation Party


CONTACT US TODAY 585-352-3300





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As you start thinking about buying a house, one of your first considerations will likely be affordability – can you afford a house payment on top of whatever debt you already have? Or, should you pay off the debt you have prior to buying a home? And, if you decide to pay it off, what’s the best way to get it done quickly? So much to think about! But, we’re here to help with a few answers and a few ideas. First, can you afford a house with your current expenses and current debt? There’s a lot of “rules of thumb” out there but the one we think makes the most sense is that your new mortgage related debt should be no more than 28 percent of your pretax monthly income. “Mortgage related debt” means the combined amount of your mortgage payment, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Keep in mind that homeownership also involves home repairs and upkeep – which can add up. So, if you can forgo using this amount to pay a mortgage and housing related expenses and not fall behind on your other debts, this is a good indication that you’re on the right track toward home ownership.

But What if Those Numbers Don’t Work for You?

But if setting aside 28 percent of pre

tax dollars for mortgage expenses seems out of reach because of the debt you currently carry, does this mean all is lost? Not by a long shot! It just means you need to take time to pay down your current debt to save for a down payment. Yes, this might mean cutting back on expenses or getting a “side gig” but you’re working toward

greater financial stability and that’s a good goal all around! When you’ve made the decision to cut your debt, what’s the best way to do it? These are four good ways we’ve seen: 1. DEBT SNOWBALL: While

making minimum payments on everything else, pay down your smallest debt first. When that one is paid off, take the amount you paid to it and designate it to the next smallest debt. This gives you a couple of payoff wins quickly and builds your payoff momentum and confidence. 2. DEBT AVALANCHE: While making the minimum payments on everything else, pay off the debts that have the highest interest rates first, regardless of how much debt there is. With this method, you’re paying the debt down and avoiding the future interest you would have accumulated at the same time. As with the Snowball method, when you’ve paid off the high interest debt, take the money you were using to do that and commit it to the next highest rate debt. 3 . D E B T CONSOLIDATION: Using this method, you roll multiple old debts into a single new, lower interest personal loan or credit card. The key to this type of payoff method is that you need to have the discipline to not use your paid off credit cards at the same time you’re paying off the new loan, thereby racking up even more debt. 4. DEBT MANAGEMENT: There are non-profit credit counseling ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ HOME AFTER THE HONEYMOON } “First, can you afford a house with your current expenses and current debt? ”

agencies that will help you take control of your debt by negotiating rate reductions with your credit card companies and putting you on a strict repayment plan. This type of debt repayment is generally only available for unsecured debt (credit card, student loans, medical bills). Some of the better rated Debt Management companies are Cambridge Credit Counseling, GreenPath Debt Solutions and InCharge Debt Solutions. How much do you have to cut back, pay off and/or save from a side gig? Enough to pay down your debt and enough to save for a down payment and, maybe, closing costs.



When mortgage people look at your debt to income ratio (DTI) they generally want to make sure you’re not spending more than 43% of your gross (before taxes) monthly income on debt. Their calculation goes something like this: So, you’ve got your debt paid down, your expenses under control and now you need to think about saving for your down payment. How much you’ll need depends on the price of the home you’re buying and the kind of financing you will be using to buy it. Conventional mortgages generally allow for 5%, 10% and 20% down payments while FHA mortgages

require 3.5%. Your mortgage loan officer is a great asset for you and will be able to guide you through the financing process and point you in the right direction in regard to how much of a home you will be able to afford. As your real estate agent, we will work hand-in-hand with your loan officer to make sure that from the kernel of the idea to buy a home straight through to the presentation of keys, your home finding and financing process will go as smoothly as possible.

Beat the Crowd. See Homes Before They’re Listed. Text DREAM to 585.738.3516

Sharon Q Realty 585.900.1111 •

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A Horse’s Friend is a program which was established in 2004. The mission of the organization is to allow urban children the opportunity to experience horses. Prior to this program, the expense of taking lessons etc. or lack of knowledge about it may influence the ability to do so. There is a yearround, 6-week program on Saturdays (9am-1pm) at A Horse’s Friend with open enrollment. Additionally, on Mondays, the program works with the Villa of Hope (since 2010). Programs are offered yearround. Recently, A Horse’s Friend experienced a tragedy which allows community members to step up and doing something great in the community. The program’s Director Matthew Doward cannot do his normal duties due to a major injury (temporary issue). The organization called on social media and the press to get the word out they needed some help. Rochester Woman stepped up to also try to assist. Matthew broke his leg, so he is facing the inability to upkeep the horses as he once did while completing his rehabilitation. A Horse’s Friend has relied on dedicated volunteers to help with the day-today operations “down on the farm”. 150


Volunteers do not need experience, and anyone interested in assisting they will offer you some training to perform the duties safely and keep the programs running until Matthew can resume his role.

because people are not aware they exist. The organization will continue to attempt broadening the minds of city leaders, as it pertains to people and animals and the therapy animals give us.

The program is also facing a possible termination of the programs, as the farm they operate from is up for sale. If there is any interest for a charitable

The program enjoys that it provides a safe haven away from crime, drugs, gun shots and any other illegal element found in the city of Rochester. Elements promoted in the program include hard-work, work ethic, team work, role modeling, and being a responsible individual. There is an element to the program which addresses bullying and how to deal with it. A major philosophy instilled is kids can be themselves, whether rich or poor, smart or not so smart, the horses don’t care, they love unconditionally. The kids tour the farm, learn how to care for the horses and how to ride.

cause where the effort to assist will be appreciated, this organization is definitely worthy. The program is geared towards allowing opportunities to urban children they may not otherwise be afforded. A trip to the farm provides a unique experience to see what life is like outside of the inner city. The program aims to educate the City of Rochester on alternative careers available for people, as often these farm careers are overlooked

Matthew Doward, Program Director states, “Horses are great animals. They have a lot to offer anyone, black or white, rich or poor. Our city and the people in it need to be educated on the powers these creatures have when it comes to changing lives. Horses are not just animals that only


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“Horses are great animals. They have a lot to offer anyone, black or white, rich or poor. Our city and the people in it need to be educated on the powers these creatures have when it comes to changing lives.�

{ SPECIAL FEATURE } “The program is geared towards allowing opportunities to urban children they may not otherwise be afforded. A trip to the farm provides a unique experience to see what life is like outside of the inner city.”

rich white folks can have and enjoy, anyone can. But until we educate ourselves accordingly, there are a great deal of children missing out on something very wonderful. The horses can provide a therapeutic side which many of inner-city kids need”.

A Horse’s Friend, currently provided programming to over 3,000 disadvantaged or underprivileged youth. To get further information about volunteering or assisting A Horse’s Friend, please contact the current Program

Director and volunteer Jessica Furber at (585) 752-8853 or ahorsesfriend@ More info is also available on the website at

V ee t Ani mal

Saturday, June 1, 2019 Rochester Animal Services, 184 Verona St.

Pet Festival & Contests • Live Music • Food Trucks • FREE Clinics Race Registration begins at 7 am • 8 am: 10K Start • 8:15 am: 5K Start • 8:30 am: Walk Registration • 11 am: Walk Start

$20 for 5K and $25 for 10K before May 30, 2019 • $25 for 5K and $30 for 10K after April 1, 2019. • Free tech shirts for first 300 registered runners. • Runners can raise $50 to receive an aluminum water bottle. • Walkers: $25 registration fee includes a cotton t-shirt if registered before May 31, 2019.

5K- Top male / female finishers each receive a baseball hat; medals will be awarded to the top male and female finishers in each age group. 10K- Top 3 male and female finishers receive a $100, $75, or $50 Fleet Feet store voucher; store vouchers for $15 - $40 are also awarded to top 3 male and female finishers in each age group. Plus great new fundraising prizes!

Questions? Call 311•

Register at







Pet Fest

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& Dog Walk

Roche s

Races, 5K &10K

vices er

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Imagine going about your day and unexpectedly receiving a phone call inquiring whether or not a baby living in trauma and unsafe conditions could stay with your family for an undetermined amount of time. Perhaps your home is filled with teens and tweens, nary a diaper, car seat, crib, infant blanket or baby outfit in sight. Perhaps you have to work the next day, or one of your children has a music recital that night. Perhaps your spouse is out of town on business and your other child has a project due at school. Perhaps your dishwasher is broken, and you didn’t get to the grocery store yet that week. Perhaps your car is in the repair shop and you are battling a nasty cold. Perhaps you haven’t slept in days because your life has been riddled with mounting responsibility and stress, and you are waiting for a moment to just catch your breath. Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps you should say NO when this particular placement call comes in, but most likely you find yourself saying YES because this is what you have been called to do no matter what else is happening in your life. Four, local fostering moms knew all too well how potential stressors like those imagined above can challenge a foster family’s strength, schedules, finances, and wellbeing. They looked at all of these possible, placement-breaking circumstances, and 158


created a wraparound organization called His Ministries whose vision is to make fostering seem less impossible. They do anything and everything including making and delivering meals; building and running a clothing/gear closet offering gently used, like new or brand new with tags items for free; hosting a monthly support group and prayer team for foster families; as well as organizing spectacular, social events for foster families and children to regularly have fun and get together.

Founded in September 2018 by Michelle Storm, Jill Farrell, Sarah Repard and Emily Usukhbayar, His Ministries operates as a separate, independent organization whose clothing/gear closet component is located at First Bible Baptist in Greece, and whose organization runs on text messages, Facebook posts, love, donations, solid leadership and many committed volunteers. At the time of this interview, they serve 40 families and 83 children (although they stepped in for this writer who is also a foster mom on a really

bad day when our basement went under sewage and water to provide four days of wonderful meals without us asking – so make that 41 families and 87 children). Their busiest months are November to December and March – which they called “March Madness” - with their organization receiving phone calls for help every day in March with foster care placements of newborns and teens. We recently met with Usukhbayar to learn more about the ministry. She currently co-directs the organization with Jill Farrell, while Farrell’s husband Peter serves as the executive director. A hardworking mom to six, Usukhbayar is quick to smile, inquisitive, attentive, caring, kind and fiercely devoted to fostering. She and her husband Ganzo became instant parents during their own journey of fostering when they went from being a couple with no children, to a couple with six children. We will share their personal story in a future issue of Rochester Woman Online, but for now it is easy to understand why they personally saw a need to begin His Ministries. “In our circumstances, we didn’t have any support for two years. No income. No counseling. No nothing. Even when we would reach out to the county, they would




A hardworking mom to six, Usukhbayar is quick and fiercely devoted to fostering. She and her hus their own journey of fostering when they went couple with six

k to smile, inquisitive, attentive, caring, kind sband Ganzo became instant parents during from being a couple with no children, to a x children.


“We want people to know they are going to be okay and that they can keep going. I wort

say, ‘We will get back to you’ and then they would not because there is just such a big void. Families are not signing up to be foster families because they can’t do it, and they can’t last long term without help. So we asked, ‘How can we help good families who are willing to foster, stay foster parents?’” They created an organization that wraps around families fully. Needs are met physically by providing practical clothing and household items and food that families and foster children need. Spiritual needs are met with prayer support for those who sign up for it. Social and emotional needs are met with regular interactions such as tea parties and monthly phone calls; current and future programming such as babysitting and date night packages for foster couples who are statistically at a high rate of divorce; and a mentorship piece where people can sign up to be a grandparent or aunt/uncle, for example, and provide special support and birthday or holiday gifts. His Ministries will call once per month to check up on families, for example, or arrange for volunteers to serve and deliver meals or gift cards for meals when families first get a placement or when struggles happen. Delivery people will drive items that are needed for new foster care placements including clothing, bedding, beds and car seats. Drivers will go to the closet and pick up items, and bring them directly to the family, or families come to the closet that is open every Wednesday night to stock up on what they need. “They don’t have to have a first-time placement to be able to use the closet. If you are in need, just come and get items,” said Usukhbayar. The His Ministries Support Group meets monthly in Henrietta and families gather to hear about topics including dealing with trauma and anger, and how to deal with common behaviors related to trauma that 162



If you are having a hard time, call His Ministries and let’s get a meal sent to you or a week’s th of meals.”

do not go away. Usukhbayar is happy to report that another support group in the area was started because upon attending their group, a need was recognized for support like this within the foster care community. “A lot of people who don’t foster do not really know what it is like. People will say to me, ‘I don’t get it. These people chose to do this. They are fine because they chose to do it. Why are you trying to help people who chose this avenue?’ I always ask would you want to take in a foster child, or help someone who is taking in a foster child? The greatest need is for people to foster, but if you aren’t willing to do that, then provide support and come along side us. We want people to know they are going to be okay and that they can keep going. If you are having a hard time, call His Ministries and let’s get a meal sent to you or a week’s worth of meals,” said Usukhbayar. She goes on to explain a decrease in the number of families who foster because it became too hard and there is a lack of support. “People just gave up quickly not having the support they need. The resources are just not there. We see this as a crucial piece. We are right here alongside you – whether you take in a placement for one day, five days, five years or adoption. You need community around you to support you,” she said. Children grow and foster families fluctuate with placements. Clothing and gear can be challenging. His Ministries is there to help. Families are welcome to visit the closet if clothing has been outgrown or if a new placement is made. Clothing, shoes, bedding, beds and gear such as car seats and high chairs are available, as well as luggage, backpacks and personal care products. As far as donations, they take new clothing and bedding items with tags so they don’t have to sift through items that could potentially be in bad shape or stained. Gently used ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ WORTH MORE NATION } “People just gave up quickly not having the support they need. The resources are just not there. We see this as a crucial piece. “

items are also purchased from upscale consignment shops where the condition of an item is guaranteed. Donations of used childcare gear such as cribs and high chairs are taken. His Ministries wants children to feel special. “We want to give items where foster children will feel shocked to receive a brand new item. I don’t think people realize. Every time my own children would get something brand 164


new, they would flip out and scream “This is mine? I get to keep this? It seems small, but it is huge to a child who has been in foster care,” she said adding that likewise, items including the bedding are clothing are to be passed on with a foster child if they go to another foster home. The items belong to the child. Donations and volunteers are welcome and needed, and the team has a vision to

recreate their ministry in other areas and churches. Contact His Ministries by calling (585) 326-4608, or checking them out on Facebook at: https://www.facebook. com/hisministriesinfo/. Their email is










AY 12:00-5:00 P.M.


, NY 14534 I (585) 248-0640 OUTIQUE.COM



BEYOND BARIATRICS WOMEN, WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY, AND LIFE EVER AFTER Despite a nearly 50/50 split in the male to female ratios in the obesity epidemic, a 2015 study from UC: San Diego revealed that there is a major gender disparity in those seeking to go under the knife to deal with the problem. According to the study at the time, women accounted for nearly 80 percent of bariatric weight loss procedures—dramatic measures which are usually the last effort after years of struggling with unsuccessful dieting and negative health outcomes. That women undergo these surgeries at higher numbers than men isn’t exactly groundbreaking as women tend to face more pressure from society to focus on how they look, so they are more inclined to take more radical action to achieve those beauty standards. While the overall goal of these surgeries is surely meant to be better health and wellness, it is undeniable that the aesthetic component contributes to these gender disparities. What is even more interesting, though, is how women often go down this path alone, and life afterwards isn’t always easy either. Sherry Hale, Founder and CEO of the Shale Group and Master Artist at medi-spa Custom Beaute in Amherst, NY has opened up with us about her incredible journey before and after bariatric surgery, going from a size 20 to a size 2, and how the process is longer and harder than it seems. Women who have struggled their whole lives trying to lose weight are often burdened with guilt and a stigma that suggests that their weight is “their fault”, regardless of how hard they have tried to adjust their diets and 168


exercise regimens. And when these women have finally struggled too long, and they have decided to reach out to a bariatric surgeon for help, there are often times further hoops for them to go through to reach criteria set forth by insurance companies to determine whether or not they qualify. For Sherry, her genetics were working against her from a very young age as obesity runs in her family and she shared that same predisposition that they did. “Being overweight runs

in my family,” Hale said. “Everyone was always 40 pounds or more overweight. My uncle was over 380 pounds and died of a heart attack. My other uncle has diabetes and is around 80 pounds overweight. My grandfather had a quadruple bypass from cholesterol and my dad died of cancer, and was also around 40 pounds overweight.” Her mother, she points out, was always skinny, but that was due to her proclivity to self-medicate and when left to deal with her body’s natural metabolism, she too was also burdened with drastic weight fluctuations.

Like many women, Sherry’s weight struggles started young—around 12 years old—and were a constant focus for most of her life. After getting married and having 2 kids she found herself at over 200 pounds, grappling with depression, resorting to starvation diets of 800 calories and trying every marketable diet pill she could find. “It was then”, when she got down to 135 pounds, that Sherry says, “I realized that I had a poor metabolism and that an 800 calorie a day diet and constant exercise was the only thing that worked. It took me a grueling year to lose it all.” These diets are notoriously unsustainable, however, and lead to that yo-yoing effect in weight gain and loss. 20 years went by like this for Hale until she had finally had enough and looked into bariatrics—at 38 years old and 190 pounds she was turned away because she didn’t meet the requirements. Forced to battle for two more years her weight spiked at 210 pounds in 2010, when she went back to her doctor to ask again about the bypass program. There were many requirements, but it was worth it for her to try. “I had to write down all of my diet efforts for the past 20 years of my life, go to a counselor, go to seminars, and then apply for insurance,” Sherry says. “I was turned down because I was 2 points short of the BMI (Body Mass Index) requirements.” The BMI is a notoriously unreliable tool used to gauge health, and it is an unfortunately common occurrence where insurance companies are left to make decisions about women’s health—Denying them potentially lifesaving procedures if they’re deemed “not bad enough,” forcing them to gain more weight, and virtually making themselves sicker in order to be allowed to get better. Many give up; Sherry did not. She fought for another year and a half and was finally approved for surgery.

{ HEALTHY WOMAN } “What I have been through was not easy, and it has been an ongoing struggle for me for over 20 years. It’s hard, and it hurt all of those years not being able to enjoy life.”

One might think that the hard part was over. You’re approved! It’s all downhill from here! This is all, of course, very romantic thinking. At this point you’ve just been approved for a major surgery that will alter the course of your life forever. Even with the most ideal of circumstances, where you are fully supported by your family and friends, there are lots of bumps and unexpected consequences of these choices that women are very unprepared for. These kinds of surgeries result in more than physical changes; it’s a mental battle also and if you aren’t supported along this journey it can be incredibly challenging. It was that period after approval, but before the surgery that Sherry identified as being “the hard part,” and that was convincing her husband that this was a good decision. “I was 217 pounds now and scared out of my life. I was in the bed, ready to go under the knife and wondered what in the hell was I doing. I was frightened to the core and almost ran. But I talked myself into staying, closed my eyes and prayed hard—20 years of misery was long enough—this was my only answer to not die and join the rest of my dead family.” The surgery—a sleeve gastrectomy—reduced Sherry’s stomach to a 4 to 6 ounce capacity. The sleeve is only one of several bariatric options out there, and it is up to your doctor to decide which is best for you based on your biological needs and behavioral patterns. Other options include the gastric band, laparoscopic gastric bypass, and the intragastric balloon. It is critical that candidates understand that not one of these procedures in and of itself is a magic pill answer to weight loss. If you struggled with emotional eating before, you still need to recognize these behaviors afterwards or it is fully possible to stretch one’s stomach back out or to eat too much and make yourself physical ill. Sherry stresses that having the surgery was “only a tool. It was not a free ride or a given solution.” “I could still put more food in my mouth than I could handle, throwing up, and facing very 170


dangerous health issues.” Surgery was an aid, not an answer. Dieting was still a reality for her, and it was very hard work. Putting in that work, her weight fluctuated between 138 pounds and 145 pounds for 4 years. Last fall, however, she hit a road bump. “I started putting weight back on,” she says. “I got back up to 157. I had some crazy, insatiable hunger that I thought might be hormonal and no one could figure it out.” Her doctor put her on vitamins and adjusted medication to help curb her appetite, allowing her to lose about 20 pounds as a result. Her journey is not over, however. Unexpected consequences of rapid weight loss have lingering effects and can require treatment of their own. If weight loss and a smaller body is the only measure of success in terms of bariatric procedures, than they are unilaterally positive. It’s not that simple for many women, though. People approach you differently when you’ve lost weight, and you can begin to question your value as a person. When you’re on a path to health and wellness, and your family or friends are NOT on that same journey, well that can get complicated too. One of the biggest hurdles women face is the excess skin that is left behind after their weight loss, which can contribute to a negative self-image. This is an intimate issue that Sherry is all to familiar with to this day: “Since losing that weight, I now look at myself and see all this unsightly skin that I never expected to happen. It’s almost worse than just having the weight on. It is something that is really terrible to look at, and I had to take the next journey to start and remove it. I had the belly skin removed, then the arm skin, and a breast lift/reduction. I have the last of them to complete with my legs.” Facial rejuvenation was also a concern for Hale. “My cheeks and jaws had lost their fullness, so I have filler to bring my face back to a normal shape. I have permanent makeup on my brows, liner and lips that five my face definition and make getting ready each day

easy. I have lip filler for thin, non-existent lips, and I also have filler under my eyes that became so sunken in from the loss of adipose tissue from my face.” Most of these procedures are cosmetic in nature and are not covered by insurance, so her out of pocket costs to complete her transformation are over $25,000. A portion of that is to cover the very basic needs of having new clothes to fit each new size along the way, another unexpected component to the weight loss journey. Despite these challenges, Sherry wouldn’t have it any other way. “What I have been through was not easy, and it has been an ongoing struggle for me for over 20 years. It’s hard, and it hurt all of those years not being able to enjoy life. To be too big to sit in a seat on a rollercoaster with my kids, or sit on a plane and know that my body was in my neighbor’s space. Many, many hurtful times that have been ongoing my entire life. I don’t ever want to go back to that dark place in my life that haunted me for so many years!” Sherry works every day in her clinic to ensure that her clients look and feel their very best. Knowing personally the pain that comes from low self-esteem and low self-worth because of how you look, she strives to help each person transform their outward appearance to match the person they feel they are on the inside. Through her work she gives the gift of confidence to many women who might never have realized their full potential otherwise. She is a living example of the success of her own work and commitment, and she offers nothing less to her clients at Custom Beaute. Always available for consult, Sherry is ready to meet her clients where they are on their own journey and helps to empower them to move on to their next step. The motto at Custom Beaute is “Embrace Your Grace”, and Sherry Hale is always ready to help women do just that.









The Rochester Chapter of Women for WineSense (WWS) was formed in 1999. They welcome women and men, from beginning wine tasters to professionals working in the wine industry to join them the second Tuesday of every month for their meetings. They meet at various locations in the Rochester, NY area including country clubs, hotels, restaurants, local wineries, and wine bars.

through what I needed to do to make the most of the evenings experience. Adrian started out our evening by telling us a little history about Volcanic Wines and what we were sampling that evening. You could tell how passionate he was about what he does, and how much he loves his work. So we have a score sheet in front of us to

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending my very first Women For Winesense event at The Plantation Party House thank you to an invite from my dear friend Rita Pettinaro who is on their marketing committee. The evening was led by wine expert Adrian Buisch. When I arrived, I signed in and was handed an itinerary for the evening, and a glass of Zardetto Prosecco Brut as our opening wine to sample. Have to say this was probably my favorite of the evening. We learned from our speaker that this particular wine was imported to the US in the 80’s and is family made. They only make this particular sparkling wine (which you can find at Lisa’s Liquor Barn for just $11.99). After walking around, networking for a half hour or so, we found our seats, and the amazing evening of learning about Volcanic Wines and some truly incredible food pairings courtesy of the Plantation Partyhouse’s chef began! There were approximately 80 quests for the evening. I sat with 5 other amazing ladies. Some were new to the Women for Winesense, and some were professionals that led me

judge all of the wines. Then, at the end of the evening, they pick the winners and tell us the pricing of all the wines. The first 2 wines we sampled were fruitier (my favorites) and paired with a savory melon tartare with ricota salata and tender greens. It was amazing! I gave the Suavia Soave Classico a 10 out of 13, and the Monte Carbonare a 9.

We then moved on to the second coarse, the Bozza’s wild mushroom ravioli with scallion truffle glaze and bruschetta. This was my absolute favorite of the evening for food! Adrian paired this wih am Argyros White Atlantis and a Rose as well. The ladies at the table seemed to all be raving over these selections. Then, the third section came out. The chef had really outdone himself! Eggplant parmesan with Hunter’s chicken in hearty marinara sauce which was paired with two reds; Bisceglia Aglianico del Vulture Gudarra and Mastroberardino Irpinia Aglianico Redimore. Honestly, these were my least favorites, as I an a sweet wine drinker and these were a little dry for my taste. They only scored a 6 from me. And of course the night wouldnt be complete without dessert and a little iced volcanic wine. Bakes Apple pie with Mastroberardino Irpinia. This one received a 13 from me...and I think was the most popular of the evening. One of the ladies at our table said to freeze it for an hour, and pour it over cheesecake. I absolutely have to try this! Women for Winesense is an amazing evening whether you are a novice like me, or a professional wine conessouir. I had a great time networking, eating, drinking and learning about Volcanic Wines. I can’t wait for the next one on April 9th at Midvale Country Club.














positive relationship-building – a wave of self-doubt crashes down.

They may not know it by name, but most women in the workforce have probably felt the strain of imposter syndrome. Maybe there’s an opportunity to take on a new project or apply for a promotion, when suddenly – despite years of accomplishments, accolades, and

These worries and reservations are manifestations of imposter syndrome, also known as fraud syndrome. It can cause even the highest achievers to question their abilities and feel out of place, particularly when the stakes are high.


Am I really qualified for this? Certainly there’s someone with more experience. The last thing I want to do is embarrass myself.

BREN Aspiring female leaders are among those who most commonly experience this phenomenon. In addition to the requisite challenges of articulating past experience and demonstrating their skills, women tend to have a more complicated path to feeling that they belong. This becomes even more of a challenge toward the top of the leadership ladder. Aware of this dynamic, one Rochester company has taken a proactive approach to helping women eradicate imposter syndrome by empowering themselves and each other.

{ WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP } “We’ve been able to provide a venue and platform for first-time leaders to see and hear leadership stories, challenges, and lessons learned through the lenses of women who’ve lived it.”



Paychex founded a Women in Leadership (WIL) program in 2016. In its earliest iteration, program leaders leveraged content from a thirdparty training platform consisting of modules specific to women in leadership. Participants would review assigned readings and then come together as a cohort to discuss key takeaways. In time, the coordinators began to identify the professional competencies where participants had the greatest appetite and opportunity for improvement.

program was to grow the representation of senior-manager and director-level women in the business,” said Paychex leadership development consultant and WIL ambassador Krista Brennan. “If we [women] are going to grow, we need to educate men and women on the micro-level barriers present today and build confidence in our ability to address them. There are both perceived and real challenges, and when I think of the leading indicator for most women, it’s confidence. ‘Do I have what it takes?’”

“The original intent of the development

Today, the company has more than 100

employees enrolled in its invitationonly development program, which is now powered by an internal learning management system (LMS). Through the LMS, participants can read and have online discussion about articles, videos, and other interactive content. Paychex has also customized a mentormatching tool to help women identify potential mentors who can help them build or sharpen a specific skill set. Social media represents a third channel where all employees can find content. A LinkedIn page offers posts for males and females, employees and leaders alike, to educate themselves ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019



“It’s the women within the program and their contributions,” echoes Andrea Coon, ent needs are always so valuable. It makes me proud to be part of a ‘lady

FANTANZA and bring awareness to the barriers that aspiring women leaders face. The WIL Instagram page is a place where women can find messages that inspire and motivate. Women involved with WIL say the experience has had a profound impact on their career mindset and sense of connection with Paychex. “It provided me with confidence in my accomplishments and my story,” said Sue Kamuda, senior manager of the organization’s regional service center in Rochester. “It made me 178


feel that Paychex is invested in me and my career. It also gave me the courage to apply for a promotion.” As energy around the program ramped up, new WIL events took shape, including a Women in Leadership speaker series at subsidiary company Paychex Insurance Agency. “When the speaker series was born, the goal was to provide personal and professional career development and networking opportunities to the female leaders here at the agency,” said health and benefits operations manager

KAM Lea Bartholet, who co-founded the effort along with operations and service manager Erin Meisenzahl. “As the series grew, so, too, did the leadership potential for many of our new supervisors.” Covering topics such as work-life balance, courage and confidence, and handling failure, speakers have included the company’s VP of HR and organizational development Laurie Zaucha, VP and chief legal officer Stephanie Schaeffer, director of learning and development Jody Stolt, and fellow community business


terprise implementation senior service manager. “Their stories, their successes, and their gang’ as strong as this and for our company to invest in us like it has.”



s leaders such as Lauren Dixon, CEO of Dixon Schwabl.

experience, the answer is almost always the same: each other.

“We’ve been able to provide a venue and platform for first-time leaders to see and hear leadership stories, challenges, and lessons learned through the lenses of women who’ve lived it,” said Bartholet. “At the same time, participants are networking with each other and with senior leaders, building relationships that could help unlock future career opportunities.”

“The greatest lesson is to remember that we play on a really big team,” said senior service manager Michelle Fantanza. “And our team wants to help.”

When you ask these women what they valued most about their WIL

strong as this and for our company to invest in us like it has.”

“It’s the women within the program and their contributions,” echoes Andrea Coon, enterprise implementation senior service manager. “Their stories, their successes, and their needs are always so valuable. It makes me proud to be part of a ‘lady gang’ as ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019







Stacey Hengsterman is president and CEO of the largest statewide Special Olympics chapter in the country and the sixth largest in the world: Special Olympics New York. It is a position she believes her life and career have been leading her to for decades. A native of Rochester, NY and a graduate of the State University of New York at Cortland, Stacey currently lives in Clifton Park, NY with her husband Rick and their three children, Jackson, Alex, and Lauren. Her 14-yearold son, Alex, has Down syndrome. Before becoming president and CEO in July 2018, Stacey was a senior member of the leadership team at the State University of New York (SUNY) for nearly 20 years. Ultimately serving as chief of staff, she was a strategic advisor to the chancellor and Board of Trustees, and a primary liaison to presidents, student and faculty leaders and executive staff at the 64 colleges and universities that comprise SUNY. At the same time, Stacey managed a wideranging portfolio that encompassed community and government relations, advocacy, communications, development, operations and policy. In 2017, she spearheaded the formation of the first philanthropic foundation in the university system’s history, the SUNY Impact Foundation. Now, she’s taking what she’s learned throughout a remarkable career and as a

mother to a son with Down syndrome to reenvision the future of Special Olympics New York as it approaches its 50th anniversary in 2020. Currently, Special Olympics New York serves nearly 68,000 athletes across the state with year-round sports training and athletic competition that ranges from the local to international level. The organization also partners with nearly 150 schools statewide to offer Unified sports, where

students with and without intellectual disabilities compete on a level playing field. It also incorporates health screenings for its athletes at all major events, with the help of medical volunteers in every region. Under her leadership, Stacey says the organization will continue its core mission of providing both adults and children with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) unlimited

opportunities to “find the champion within” by developing physical fitness, competing in authentic sports, and developing lifelong friendships. Among her priorities for the future are promoting a comprehensive health agenda, expanding its reach through the Unified and Young Athletes programs and raising the awareness and funds necessary to support more athletes throughout New York State. “Special Olympics New York is a resource that I want to be sure parents and families know is here for them, because it is so incredibly impactful and life changing for those who participate,” Stacey says. “There is so much good that goes on here, and people need that in their lives. It’s unbelievably infectious too. Once someone becomes a part of the Special Olympics New York family… whether they are an athlete, a parent, a volunteer, or a sponsor… they never leave.” Stacey has travelled across the state meeting the Special Olympics New York staff, community partners, and most importantly, the athletes and their families. She is taking into account all they have told her as she shapes her vision. For now, she is focusing on the following matters: Increasing awareness – Special Olympics New York never reached her family as ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ SPECIAL FEATURE } “Now, she’s taking what she’s learned throughout a remarkable career and as a mother to a son with Down syndrome to re-envision the future of Special Olympics New York as it approaches its 50th anniversary in 2020.”

an option for Alex. This is a staggering realization for Stacey now that she knows how valuable its programs and services could have been. “Our awareness problem is not that people don’t know who we are, it is that families don’t understand what we are,” Stacey says. “Special Olympics is not a charity that exists to make people feel good. We are not giving people medals and sending them on their way. We are empowering people with intellectual differences through sports and in doing so, we are showing the world what it actually means to include. It’s an inclusion revolution!” Fundraising to support more athletes – All of what Special Olympics offers is provided at no cost to the athletes, their families or their caregivers. There is an approximate cost of at least $1,300 per athlete per year. Stacey wants to focus on raising funds and recruiting volunteers so that these opportunities are continued to be made affordable for their participants. Prioritizing athlete health – Currently people don’t identify Special Olympics as a health organization. Special Olympics New York hopes to convey the message that they also work diligently in trying to address the fact that people with ID are one of the most underserved healthcare populations in the country. This leads them to experience dramatically higher rates of 184


obesity and preventable diseases, chronic pain and suffering as well as premature death. At the Winter Games in Rochester, NY, they performed more than 440 free health screenings for athletes and trained more than 100 local medical students and clinicians to more effectively treat people with ID. Expanding Unified sports – Stacey hopes to one day see Unified sports offered in every public high school in the state. Unified

teams are creating climates of inclusion in schools and communities across New York. Seeing its impact, the Golisano Foundation, based in Rochester, recently awarded Special Olympics New York a first of its kind grant to support expanding the program locally. Young Athletes – Families of children with ID are challenged to find social networks where their children can play with peers. Its Young Athletes program engages children with and without ID in activities important to mental and physical

development, teaching skills such as throwing, running, etc. Children also learn to share take turns, follow directions - all practices that promote inclusion. Importantly, the program also exposes them to Special Olympics programming early on so that they are aware of our opportunities. It also prepares the athlete to participate when they become age eligible (age 8). Stacey recently hosted her first statewide competition as president and CEO when the 2019 Winter Games came to Rochester in February. The event brought 1,500 athletes and coaches to our region and attracted nearly as many local volunteers who helped setup, break down, and most importantly – cheer on the athletes. “Rochester was there for us, arms wide open with the biggest hug we could’ve asked for,” Stacey said. Stacey will be back in Rochester on May 14, 2019 as the featured “Chatterbox Club” speaker at Noon, followed by “An Evening with Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman” at the Locust Hill Country Club – both opportunities are intended to engage our community in the organization’s local programs and services. Those interested in attending the Locust Hill event are asked to RSVP to






Special Olympics New York provides inclusive opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to compete in Olympic-style, coached sports. To stay active for life. To achieve goals at local and international contests. And to taste victory and overcome defeat. The Special Olympics New York was proud to announce that over 1000 athletes and coaches traveled from all across the state to compete in a variety of winter sports at venues within the Greater Rochester Area this February 22-23, 2019. There

were 6 sports offered; Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing(Nordic), Figure Skating, Floor Hockey, Snowboarding and Snowshoe. Rochester Woman Online had the pleasure of being able to have photographers Michele Ashlee and Chris Conlon to capture the weekends activities and athletes. The Honorary Chair of the Winter Games is Monroe County Executive was Cheryl Dinolfo. The Winter Games Organizing Committee is led by Co-Chairs Dennis Mullen, The Mullen Group and Maggie

Brooks, Regional Transit Service. Opening Ceremonies were held Friday, February 22 at 8 PM at Riverside Convention Center, featuring the Parade of Athletes, entertainment and the lighting of the Special Olympics Cauldron. Then, athletes competed Saturday, February 23, in six Olympic-style sports all day long, all across Rochester. Rochester Woman Online is proud be say we are supporters of this incredible organization and can’t wait to join in again next year! ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019























Longtime News 8 anchor Maureen McGuire has enthusiastically accepted the appointment as this year’s Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s volunteer committee chair. I met with Maureen to find out why she decided to take on a year-long commitment to support the world’s largest event raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

Q. Maureen, you left Rochester to go first to Manhattanville College and later to the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. Your journalism career took you to New York City and a few other media markets but eventually you returned to your hometown. Tell me more about yourself and your family.

letters Mary and Dennis wrote to each other during their courtship. They were so clearly smitten from the get-go. My mother worked first in pre-school speech therapy and later in substance abuse counseling. My father was a longtime employee of the Rochester City School District. He began his career as a Latin teacher at Benjamin Franklin High School, became an assistant principal and a principal, and

things and couldn’t find the right words. One day, after we had arrived back home, he dropped my mother off at her weekly acting club meeting and later forgot to pick her up. When my mom called, I got in my car, drove around my mom’s club and then called the police. When I arrived at my parents’ house, my dad was already home. He had waited at the parking lot next door to the club for two hours past my mom’s pickup time but didn’t go to the door to meet her. Nonchalantly, he explained he was listening to a baseball game. My mother convinced my father to go see a doctor. Two weeks after his doctor’s appointment, he and my mom called to invite me to their house. We sat down in the dining room and my father told me he had Alzheimer’s. He seemed stunned but stoic. He then called both of my brothers and my sister to announce the news in a very dignified way.

A. . I come from

a close-knit, Irish Catholic family. I grew up on Rochester’s east side and went to St. John the Evangelist Elementary School and Bishop Kearney High School. Having bounced from city to city as a young television reporter, I wanted to work and live near my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews who all live in the Rochester area. Originally from Schenectady, my mother Mary went to Nazareth College. My father, Dennis McGuire, was born and raised in Rochester. They met in 1957, at the Old Pittsford Pub. After both of my parents passed away, I was going through a box of old photos and found a stack of handwritten letters tied with a ribbon. These were love

eventually retired as a deputy superintendent.

Q. Your father died at the age of 81, after six years of living with Alzheimer’s. Tell me more about his disease.

A. . After my dad’s retirement, my parents

traveled the world. I was fortunate to accompany them on some of their trips. When we were visiting Ireland, I began noticing things that were uncharacteristic of my father. He was struggling to explain

A few days later, I took him out for a hamburger and asked, “Are you scared?” He said, “Not really, by the time I don’t know anything, what’s there to be scared of?” I now know that even when my father could no longer speak or write clearly, his limitations made him suffer. As his disease progressed, he used to say, “It’s getting bad, it’s getting bad.”

Q. How did your father’s diagnosis affect your mother?

A. We received a lot of support from the community. Even if we weren’t making use ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ PARTNERS IN A JOURNEY } “Longtime News 8 anchor Maureen McGuire has enthusiastically accepted the appointment as this year’s Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s volunteer committee chair.”

of all of the resources, just knowing they were available provided comfort and helped us live through the toughest moments of my dad’s decline. My parents were a team and truly best friends. My father never stopped worrying about mom, even with Alzheimer’s. She was grieving as my dad continued to decline and they could no longer have a conversation. When it became clear my parents would not be able to stay at their home, the imminent move took a toll on my mom. Even if you are prepared for it, when it happens it’s a whole new level of letting go. A few months after my parents moved to an assisted living facility, my father passed away. His death had a profound effect on my mother. Two years after, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away shortly thereafter. 200


Q. How did your father’s diagnosis affect you?

A. I became committed to caring for my

father. I spent a lot of time with him. We would go for walks and laugh a lot. When he could no longer drive, I would take him out to dinner and to church every week. It was an honor for me to help him keep his routine going. We would just hold hands. If I felt he was in distress, I would reach over and touch his hand. This defined the six years of my caregiving. My father’s disease consumed me emotionally and physically. It became important for me as a caregiver and as a journalist to tell stories about Alzheimer’s, caregiving and elder issues. Two of my stories featured my own parents—one about planning for crises that change your life and the other

about participating in Alzheimer’s research. It was personal to me and I was comforted by all the feedback I received from viewers.

Q. Why did you decide to join the Alzheimer’s Association as a chair of the Rochester Walk to End Alzheimer’s?

A. After my father passed away, my entire

family got involved with the Walk, raising money for care, support and research. My father wanted to take part in a clinical trial knowing it wouldn’t benefit him, but might benefit us or our children or our grandchildren. He was committed to finding a cure or a treatment that would stop the disease in its tracks. It’s our family’s legacy to make sure that Alzheimer’s comes to an end.

Meeting of the Minds WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 2019 8:30 A.M. - 2 P.M. TEMPLE B’RITH KODESH 2131 ELMWOOD AVE., ROCHESTER, NY 14618

SPRINT MIND & Risk Reduction Home & Environmental Safety Communication Techniques Individuals living with early-stage dementia, family caregivers and community members are invited Call to pre-register at (800) 272-3900 Sponsored by This program is funded by a grant from the New York State Department of Health.

Rochester Minimalists Rochester Minimalists Rochester Minimalists present a Tiny Homes Panel Discussion When: Wednesday, April 3 from 6:30-8:30 pm Where: Irondequoit Public Library, 1290 Titus Ave., room 114 Rochester, NY 14617

About the panelists: A registered architect, Eric Menz has turned to natural building to help provide solutions to the environmental impacts imposed on by the building industry. Through his passion for environmental and social justice causes, he has begun working with local groups to conceptualize solutions for area homelessness. He offers design, build, and consultation services with the goals of low impact, net zero, and healthy interior environments, and has begun a nonprot focused on sustainable housing and workforce development.

A local group of like-minded individuals looking to share ideas, practice minimalism, and have a positive impact on each other as well as the environment... Want to learn more?

Logan and Mackenzie Rockcastle have been living small for about three of the past ve years. They each hold degrees in landscape architecture from Cornell and SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry Join us onrespectively. FacebookThey moved into their tiny home with their two dogs in May 2018. Logan continues to work full-time as a landscape architect at an engineering rm. Mackenzie no longer works due to a terminal cancer diagnosis. Living tiny has enabled them the nancial and logistical freedom to travel and explore the world and spend quality time together Join our email list rather than stress about medical bills or a mortgage.

Email Rochester’s Community Leader, Amy Cavalier About fourMinimalist years ago, Honeoye native Erika Guli realized she was becoming complacent about a lifestyle that was no longer fullling. She he decided to nd a better way, and start living for herself. Guli quit her job and moved back to Honeoye Lake to begin building a tiny home of her own design. With no prior building experience, just a few small Join us atsketches, our next meeting $10,000, conviction and the help of her dad, she completed her build in just over two years. Today, Erika is living more deliberately Monday, June 20th at 7 p.m. and with intention in the tiny home she worked so hard to build!

Hawthorne Shelter, Genesee Valley Park

your own chairs, snacks/beverages, and bug spray. Join usBring on (Any location changes will be announced via Facebook and email)

Join us on Facebook



AN AFTERNOON AT LAUGHING GULL CHOCOLATES Walking into Laughing Gull, I notice that it smells more like coffee than chocolate, with a balmy undertone that I take to be tea. Owner Lindsay Tarnoff is chatting with someone when I arrive and greets me warmly. Lindsay smiles with her whole face, and her slender fingers seem to gather at the tips when not busy, like a flower closing its bloom or as if gathering spices to sprinkle over a swath of chocolate. The shop is well-scrubbed and uncluttered, but let your eyes wander and they will find no shortage of things to linger on, from passionate paintings by local artists to the shelves of books (for sale!) in the shop and play area. A coffee-table volume on Alaska catches my eye, and I feel a twinge of nostalgia when I spot Curious George. The play area makes up half the shop, with soft armchairs, padded mats, and plenty of toys. A windowed partition and baby gate keep the small ones safe inside. A bit of paper on the wall asks “How does chocolate make you feel?” with the chalkboard below it answering “happy,” “loved,” and “relaxed.” Behind the windows, a few women relax and talk while their little ones play. I order a dirty chai. It’s sweet and earthy, with a bit of froth that fizzes like a kiss from the sea. Behind me, an infant sleeps to a noise machine issuing oceanic sounds. A 204


display case bears wooden trays of truffles and neatly-cut squares of chocolate. Placed next to each other, they resemble a luxurious chessboard with flavors from lemon ginger to maple cream. Next to them stand jars of chocolate sauce, dark as sin. A table to my right groans under the richness it bears: cayenne salted peanut bark, chocolate-covered banana chips, almond bark, and more. Following my usual protocol of an incognito first look, I don’t announce myself as I say hello, get my drink, and sit down to work

at a small table. All the same, even in the next room the women are wise to my ploy before long. Apparently, few people ask for the Wi-Fi password, and even fewer type rapidly while gazing around the shop, head swiveling like a weathervane. Once discovered, we laugh a little and I’m quickly invited into the play area to chat. Lindsay, CFO (and partial owner) Allison, and COO (also partial owner) Karla graciously answer my questions while the children play.

Was there a moment that you remember when you first become enamored with chocolate? “No. I don’t recall a moment when I wasn’t in love with chocolate. I grew up on it, especially dark chocolate, baking with my mom, grandma, and two sisters. We used to make The Best Brownies- they truly wereand sell them at our lemonade stand. The money went toward sponsoring a whale.” Tell me more about your origins. “I grew up in Rhode Island. It was a lovely place to grow up; near the Barrington River bay, very close to the water.” I noticed that the laughing gull is a real bird. What made you choose that for your shop’s name? “There were lots of seagulls in our neighborhood, but we only saw laughing gulls from time to time. My Grandma loved birds, making people happy, and chocolate. It combined into the perfect name for the shop and a way to honor her spirit.” What kinds of changes would you like to see in the chocolate industry today? “In general, the ethics in the sourcing process need to change. I would like all chocolate makers to be more cognizant of where their materials come from- that’s the biggest thing. Everyone should be able to enjoy the treats they like, but not at someone else’s expense.” Tell me about your trip to Mexico and what came of that.







{ LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT } “There were lots of seagulls in our neighborhood, but we only saw laughing gulls from time to time. My Grandma loved birds, making people happy, and chocolate. It combined into the perfect name for the shop and a way to honor her spirit.”

“We were staying in El Paso near the border, and traveled every day to Ciudad Juarez. There was nothing to do with chocolate there, but it changed my perspective on the world. I began to look critically at the supply chain for consumer goods- fair trade coffee was just becoming a thing then. When back in the States, I started questioning chocolate’s sources and quickly realized I wanted to be part of the solution. I want to help spread ethical practices, so we can enjoy chocolate without guilt.” Business-wise, what do you want to leave behind? “A greater awareness of the people and practices involved in making what we often take for granted. In a perfect world, we could be sure that everyone in the chain is being treated fairly. I would also like public spaces like restaurants to be more accessible to families so that everyone has a safe place to enjoy themselves. I don’t think any one person can truly have it all, but this model works for us. We get to do

what we love with the people we love most right here with us.” What’s next for you and Laughing Gull? “We already do a lot of workshops, but we want to do more. We’d also like to grow our space to include a teaching kitchen, and to carry more local goods. We want to do more mentoring and help people to learn about chocolate and ethical entrepreneurship, and just to be a comfortable community spot where everyone can come have a treat and relax.” What’s your favorite thing that you make here? “Depends on the day! I love the chocolatecovered ginger, and I have a chocolate chai or dirty chai every day. The raspberry truffles are good too. People seem to like the sparkling Riesling chocolate we make with Living Roots’ winery.” What’s your favorite odd flavor to combine with chocolate?

“The chocolate-drizzled cheese crisps are good- that’s a new product with East Hill Creamery. There’s an Aztec truffle with notes of cinnamon, vanilla bean, and cayenne pepper, and coming up we have a coconut curry truffle!” At the end of the day, what do you want Rochester Women Online readers to take away? A toddler gurgles happily. Lindsay motions toward them and says “That.” I couldn’t ask for a more perfect quote. This is a safe place, a hideaway, a place of books and the scent of cocoa. A restful place of spices and brushstrokes where jars full of good things- honey, pasta sauce, seasoning mix- wait for a reaching hand. This is a place that does not demand, only invites. Come, sit. Rest. Taste. Drink- drink in the gifts of earth and the sound of waves. I leave with truffles in my pocket and the sun on my head. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ SHIFT+CONTROL } { LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT } “We already do a lot of workshops, but we want to do more. We’d also like to grow our space to include a teaching kitchen, and to carry more local goods. ”







Strong women abound in Rochester’s theatre scene, and OFC Creations’ Eric Vaughn Johnson has brought two strong teaching artists to his expanding company: Mandi Lynn Griffith-Gurell and Sable Stewart. You will find them both providing the creative backbone to the spring and summer of OFC’s residency at Lyric Theatre, serving to punctuate the creative collision of two unique lives dedicated to a common goal: the exploration and pursuit of an artistic life. Both Mandi and Sable found themselves immersed by the arts from an early age, and for each of them, a future as a performer seems less like a choice than fulfilling a pre-ordained prophecy from an oracle. Mandi Lynn GriffithGurell’s paternal grandmother, Phyllis Griffith, taught dance for 60 years in Ovid, NY, in a studio her grandfather built with his own hands above their garage. As her only granddaughter, Mandi always felt fortunate that she was “born to be a dancer, and [her] grandmother always took great pride in [her] dancing.” Born and raised in Greece, Mandi received her formative training at the New York Academy of Dance (NYAD). She received early opportunities there to lead, choreographing pieces with peers. Those early experiences gave her the skills and confidence to land lead stage roles throughout her school years. A love of singing and playing music came from family too- her father Kevin, now a retired science teacher living in Greece,

invited her early to join him in his local band, where she would sing and play bass and percussion.

attended Greece Athena High School, gracing the stage regularly in the school’s competitive arts program.

Sable also grew up surrounded by a family of artists, though her inspiration sprang from a family centered in the church. Sable says of her family’s influence on her: “My entire family (on both my mother and father’s side) is very involved in ministry. My father (Pastor David Stewart) was a minister of music, choir director, radio host, and even

Sable and Mandi both have an impressive and continually growing list of past projects, a combined list that runs the length and breadth of quality Rochester companies and directors. The quality of Sable and Mandi’s individual work means they each have many theatre companies (Blackfriars, JCC, RAPA) they could call home and many directors (Judith Ranaletta, Adele Fico, Danny Hoskins) they consider profound influences, peers, and friends. Instead, they both consider the many theaters of Rochester their home, and are always looking for new outlets for their creative work.

taught voice and instrument lessons. My mother (First Lady Joan Levine-Stewart, who passed away in 2014) sang on the praise and worship team and choirs.” She loved the positive feeling that came from singing in church, a feeling that took on a special resonance when her father began Destiny Preparation Church in Greece. As she says, “My entire foundation for music in my life in general is deeply rooted in the church, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” But she was able to transfer those roots, growing more accomplished as she

Based on their individual interviews, each would include the other on a personal list of notables. Sable impressed Mandi with her ease in rehearsal: “We were always on the same page. It was as easy as, ‘Here’s this idea for this dance,’ we do it, and she sold it.” Mandi also appreciates the shared passion they have as performers, stating that their colliding energies made working together “easy and inspiring, because it made me want to work harder.” Sable admires Mandi “as a woman who performs and directs and still manages to have a life and family.” Sable calls Mandi’s directing “inventive and electric” and found herself “floored by [Mandi’s] abilities” as a performer. No surprise in the supportive Rochester theatre community, but the passion with which they spoke about each other reveals a finer appreciation of how each approaches creative work. They both met working on ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ SHIFT+CONTROL } “No surprise in the supportive Rochester theatre community, but the passion with which they spoke about each other reveals a finer appreciation of how each approaches creative work.”

Sister Act in the spring of 2017 – Sable as the lead Dolores Van Cartier, and Mandi choreographing alongside Johnson.

training came from the New York Academy of Dance and Mandi Lynn Griffith-Gurell, who’s known her almost her entire life.

So this summer’s flurry of work for OFC will feel like a reunion. On stage in May, Sable takes on another lead role, this time in OFC’s production of The Bodyguard; on stage in April, Mandi co-directs and choreographs Golden Girls the Musical. Both artists will also take on the role of camp counselor as part of OFC’s expansive summer camp programming.

OFC Creations and beyond, Mandi and Sable thrive on the personal connections they find in the theatre community. After earning her BFA in Dance from SUNY Brockport and a brief stint in NYC, Mandi returned to her home dance studio in Greece and gave back to the studio that gave her dance, running it for twelve years. NYAD

Su m m e r c a m p conjures up visions of 80’s comedies and Catskills rom-coms; and while OFC’s arts programming will include plenty of necessary drama, the energy off the stage and behind the scenes will avoid the screenworthy hysterics. For student performers, t h i s s u m m e r ’s programming will offer plenty of opportunity for the best of what those cinema versions of camp offer us: building and strengthening a positive and diverse community through the arts. Forming new collaborations while reinforcing past ones will continue this summer for Sable and Mandi as well. Each will work with new combinations of staff for OFC’s summer camps, while also reconnecting with old friends, like fellow director Emily Beseau. Emily attended high school at Athena with Sable before going off to pursue her own degree in music performance from Ithaca College. Emily has also worked in the Rochester area as a choreographer, and her 216


under her leadership meant teaching the majority of classes as well, and she taught “students from age 3 to age 60, from novice to advanced.” That varied range has given her the confidence to feel that she can reach anyone, because Mandi believes “everybody’s capable of telling a story with movement.” She loves to explore “how people naturally think,” and then apply what she understands about them in her teaching, a perspective that has also assisted her as a fellow performer. More than that, however, Mandi has appreciated watching former students

grow up, and eventually, in some cases, be in their weddings. Dance and theater mean connecting people: “So many people from different towns or schools that probably wouldn’t have met otherwise became a closeknit family” at her studio. And considering the actors and directors who return to her project after project, she continues to grow her arts family today. Given Sable’s personal relationship with performance through her family’s worship, cast and crew alike see a passionate zeal that follows her to the stage and to her direction of young people. Recently, she directed a production of The Wiz for OFC, and said she enjoyed the run of the show, because “everything just sort of happens and that’s where the real magic begins.” Sable’s purpose in giving back to the Rochester community in directing young people dovetails nicely with Mandi’s: “even if it’s something that makes them happy now and they don’t plan to pursue it professionally, I genuinely believe these experiences will stick with them and impact them in a positive way.” And neither of them takes the responsibility lightly. Sable recognizes the powerful role she takes on for young people when she signs on as a director of an extracurricular activity, and acknowledges the weighty issues and buzzwords at the forefront of working with kids today: adolescence, bullying, school, peer connection. Sable studied psychology and interfaith studies at Nazareth College, which has given her the tools to “interact with [people of all backgrounds] in an impactful way. The




{ SHIFT+CONTROL } ““My entire foundation for music in my life in general is deeply rooted in the church, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

drive towards conflict resolution and social justice has opened my eyes especially on how to communicate with my kids when directing.” She adds, “My goal is to not only make performing an escape, where they can just be themselves and love themselves and what they are doing, but also to help guide them through such issues.” Mandi invests in the students she teaches too, and her recent experiences have given her a new appreciation for the time she spends with them. “After the studio closed, and I started teaching Zumba and focusing on my kids, I thought I’d never work with kids again…but I feel at home working with young people.” That comfort manifests in how Mandi invests herself in the performers she meets. Actors of any age or ability who 218


take a class or workshop with Mandi can expect that they might share a stage with her in the future or see her in the audience of a future production. “It might be in a different scope, but I’m still watching people grow up, and art is the reason we’re connected,” Mandi says. Mandi’s tight-knit and personal approach to the arts extends to her two artistically inclined boys, Reece (13) and Brody (9). Mandi has shared the stage with Reece as he’s grown up, but says that despite all she’s done as an artist and choreographer, she would also happily be known to Rochester theater people as simply Reece’s and Brody’s mom. Brody has become a fixture at rehearsals and performances, and he also enjoys helping backstage.

Growing through families anchored in the arts, extending that family to each cast member they meet, placing earnest value on the connections and collaborations they have made and the necessary and vital impact of arts on young people, Mandi and Sable blaze trails into a busy spring and summer at OFC Creations. Mandi will continue to direct and perform, as will Sable. If you want to see what they’ve been up to, go to an audition or pick up a ticket to a show in Rochester, and the odds are good you’ll see their names in the program. Strong female artists abound in Rochester, and the creative output of Rochester theatre thrives because of the distinct and passionate voices of Sable Stewart and Mandi Lynn-Griffith-Gurell.



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But honestly, if anyone is trying to change even just one element of their life then I see that as a positive thing! If changes aren’t realistic for people’s lifestyles then they will never be sustained. It’s true we can all do a lot better - we have an awful lot to unlearn. It’s a journey and it’s going to take time. But we’re in it together so let’s encourage each other shall we! Not tear each other down for trying. When behavioral changes become habits, they become second nature, and then the widespread norm.

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As we have reported, there is a mass movement demanding reform of NYS criminal justice policies. After the Prosecutorial Conduct Commission legislation was passed, criminal justice activists pushed forward with further reform concerns including bail, geriatric parole, and discovery reform. This month we will focus on discovery reform. A bill is pending regarding discovery reforms which if passed will tend to tilt the scales more towards having a fair process for criminal defendants. When someone is facing criminal charges currently the prosecutors can withhold evidence and or turn evidence over the eve of a trial, slighting the defense to be able to prepare a defense to those materials, seek further evidence or witnesses etc. Wrongful conviction advocates indicated in a press release at the Capital while lobbying enacting these provisions will help eradicate wrongful conviction. Many formerly wrongfully convicted people shared their stories with legislators showing how if this discovery process was in law it was likely they would not have been convicted of a crime. Many of those people languished behind 230


bars close to 20 years before being exonerated. The Innocence Project indicates NY is one of four of the worst states regarding discovery laws and their procedures largely hinders the defense’s ability to advise their clients and to

develop a case (1) The prosecution claims these provisions are necessary to protect witness identity, safety and to encourage people to report crimes without fear of backlash ( 1). The NY Law Journal reports (Dan Clark) the revisions will aid both sides of a criminal case by making the system more efficient, moving otherwise backlogged cases along and allowing open disclosure of discoverable material (2).

Exoneree Jeffrey Deskovic stated: “Discovery reform is essential to ensure that a trial is a search for the truth, not a trial by ambush. Why shouldn’t both sides have access to the same information? And crucial time passes by without defense attorneys knowing what evidence specifically the prosecution has. Time that could be spent preparing. A defense attorney receiving witness statements just before a witness takes the stand is not enough time to investigate and prepare. As a result of not knowing what the evidence is against them and fearing a lengthy prison sentence that is often 2, 3, or 4 times as long as the prosecutor is offering in a plea bargain, many innocent people plead guilty. Similarly, many others give up their right to a trial by jury pleading guilty without ever knowing what the evidence was against them and do so without the benefit of advice from their attorney”. Acquitted former criminal defendant H. Bosh Jr. stated: “Discovery refers to the release of information to the defense. NYS is one of the stingiest states when it comes to discovery.




{ WRONGFULLY CONVICTED } “Discovery reform is essential to ensure that a trial is a search for the truth, not a trial by ambush. Why shouldn’t both sides have access to the same information?”

There is no justification for it. In some states like Florida, the defense is immediately given copies of all witness statements and the defense can even subpoena those witnesses to the defense attorney’s office for deposition. In NYS, the witness statements are not provided until after the witness testifies or just before. NYS’ justification is they must do this to protect the witness’ safety. Witness safety has not seemed to be an issue in the other states who allow the disclosure. Judges have the ability to impose restrictions on the defense to balance the need of the defense to receive information vs witness safety if needed. It is time for NYS to make 232


criminal proceedings fairer and more open with discovery. Enacting this reform will go a long way to prevent wrongful conviction”. Tiffany M. Garriga shares saying, “In this country, you are guilty until proven innocent. The discovery bill is a way to ensure a person has a fair trial and a fair court case”. It will be interesting to see in this legislative session if these positive criminal justice measures are passed now Democrats hold the majority. Nationally, there are many measures being looked at to reduce mass incarceration moving towards a fairer

system. NYS may become a leader in some of these reform movements. Resources 1. 2. Clark, Dan M. (2019) Stricter Discovery Deadlines Are Subject Of Bill In NY Legislature, Retrieved March 5, 2019 from https://www’law’com/ NewYorkLawJournal/2019/01/24/ stricter-discovery-deadlines-aresubject-of-bill-in-NY-legislature/?s1r eturn=2019020309






We all remember the controversy of the epic song “F%@# The Police”. Hip Hop emerged on the scene as a voice for the urban. It represented not just music but a culture and a “way of life”. The lifestyle was not a popular culture at first but then it became a wave. Rap was a form of expression. It included anger, poetry, bass, satire, and much more. Differing versions or spin offs stemmed off the lifestyle as it emerged including battle rap and Gangsta rap. These genres were over the top and considered “subculture”. Violence was portrayed n the music. Some artists such as Public Enemy were known for their political message. Throughout the years, the styles changed but at the core was an image of drug dealers, the sexualization/ objectification of women and guns. This hardcore image to some was a real example of their lives as they lived it, but for some it was just fantasy/ role play. Recently, we’ve watched as a trap music icon’s dreams of making it, turned into a crash and burn and landed him in jail due to his image and portrayal through videos and social media as a gang member. Where does the line between “I’m playing a role for record sales” and “This is how we do it” cross or end? Performers were protected that their image and creative expression was protected by the first amendment. No one thought what you did as a performer would be taken seriously and it would land you at the end of a federal investigation, but guess what, welcome to 2019, where anything goes in the world of criminal justice. The US Constitution provides: 234


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”. This right is wide. It protects hate speech, unpopular ideas, protects spoken word, movies , TV, art, video games, what we wear, etc. The only exceptions are we shall be free of compelled speech. Speech is only criminal if there is a perceived threat

(1) . Don’t forget the civil side of course, don’t make statements which are false or defamatory about an individual or you can be sued (1). Recently, a slew of “rappers” are basically silenced and prosecuted by the criminal justice system. In Pennsylvania, a song was produced with a video uploaded to social media ( You Tube) entitled “ F@#! The Police” (same title as 1988 NWA song) but where the lyricists name individual officers as the target of their angst. The rappers’ argument defending their actions stated, “it was artistic expression”. This

was defeated. The courts ruled their song crossed the line from being artistic to being intimidation due to the specific nature of the threats portrayed, especially lyrics about killing the individual officers (2). Another example found in Virginia, a rapper was charged with murder charges wherein officials thought his rap lyrics implicated him in a 2007 murder. The question raised was whether smug, boastful confessions heard through rap lyrics, was it artistic expression or criminal evidence? (3) Also in NJ, prosecutors used written rap lyrics to seek a conviction in an attempted murder case ( 3). The ACLU stepped up to help defend first amendment rights, filing an amicus brief (3). In the brief an example was cited regarding Johnny Cash and his song “ Folsom Prison Blues” as one of the lyrics states “ shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”(3). Arguments in other cases indicate “as an entertainer the rapper serves as a narrator for the story being told in the song” (3). How does the criminal justice system draw the line between truth/reality and fantasy/role playing and does the fear of prosecution limit the ability to tell the story of urban life through hip hop? As a defense attorney, this strikes me as an unreasonable way to shape the culture of the hip hop lifestyle. Control the masses by threatening if you rap about this, you’ll be sitting on the other side of a jail cell, behind bars. Using lyrics as a way to unfairly prejudice criminal proceedings and negatively influence a jury ( which we all know there is a disparate number of minority members




{ LAW & HIPHOP } “A free society is based on the principle that each and every individual has the right to decide what art or entertainment he or she wants or doesn’t want to receive or create. Freedom of expression for ourselves, requires freedom of expression for others”.

serving on juries these days). The issue is can one culture who in general has no understanding of the urban world or what living in a ghetto is like, can they draw the line and understand just because a song says something that doesn’t mean the person who wrote the song actually engaged in that behavior? Police intel in NY openly admit they monitor videos on social media to gain information of gangs, the pecking order, and grudges which may have spurred crime (4). Where does all of this leave artistic expression? The key factor for analysis seems to be what we call “ True Threats Doctrine”, are the statements conveying a serious expression of the intent to commit an act of unlawful violence which is aimed at an individual or a specific group of people? (5). Would a reasonable person perceive the threat



as real? Us v. Jeffries, 692 F. 3d 473 (6th Circ., 2012).

March 5, 2019, from the-conflct-between-rap-lyrics-as-criminal-evidence-andthe-first-amendment

I’ll leave you with a quote from the ACLU website: “A free society is based on the principle that each and every individual has the right to decide what art or entertainment he or she wants or doesn’t want to receive or create. Freedom of expression for ourselves, requires freedom of expression for others” (6).

4. Manly, L. (2014). Legal Debate on Using Boastful Rap Lyrics As A Smoking Gun, NY Times. Retrieved March 5, 2019, from arts/music/using-rap-lyrics-as-damning-evidence-stirslegal-debate.html?hpw&rref=arts&_r=0


1. Wolf, R. ( 2018). What the first amendment protects and what it doesn’t, USA Today, Retrieved March 5, 2019 from, April 9, 2018 2. Resnikoff, P. ( 2018). F#%^ The Police Rap Song Is Not Protected By The First Amendment. Digital Music News, Retrieved March 5, 2019 from www. 3. Bomboy, S. (2014). The Conflict Between Rap Lyrics and The First Amendment. Constitution Daily, Retrieved

5. Calvert, C ( 2014). Rap Music and the True Threats Quagmire Objective: When Does One Man’s Lyrics Become Another Man’s Crime? Retrieved March 5, 2019 from Calvert_JLA.pdf 6. ACLU (2019). No.14 Freedom of Expression On the Arts & Entertainment, Retrieved March 5, 2019 from






And my life has been a spiritual awakening ever since… My name is Jenny La Sala and my ancestors fought in the Civil War. I am the daughter of a 101st Airborne WWII Veteran, niece to a Korean War Veteran, former spouse to a Vietnam Veteran, sister to a Gulf War Veteran with two nephews currently serving in the U.S. Air Force and 101st Airborne with a deployment to Kuwait. My father was a decorated 101st Airborne paratrooper who participated in DDay, Holland, and the Battle of the Bulge during WWII. His then fiancée, who later became his wife and my mother saved every letter he mailed to her between January 1943 until he came home in December 1945. I published those wartime letters in the book, COMES A SOLDIER’S WHISPER, opening the door for my expansion to veteran advocacy, compassion and understanding PTSD within my own family. My intent was to publish these wonderful letters as a family memoir and heirloom for my family to enjoy and cherish. But the book took on a life form of its own and propelled me into a life that I never could have imagined. I began a Face book page appropriately named after my father’s memoir, Comes A Soldier’s Whisper. This evolved into visitors posting their comments about their family military service. With

published books aside, I also collect stories from Veterans of all wars, past and present and feature their service on the COMES A SOLDIER’S WHISPER Face book veteran tribute page, which now has over 75,000 followers. VIETNAM AND BEYOND was honored as a finalist for the 2015 Eric Hoffer Book Award and was co-authored with Jim Markson, my former spouse and Vietnam

Veteran. This book collaboration had a special surprise in store for Jim and I. The experience healed our relationship and has propelled us both into veteran advocacy. Jim has gone on to do several speaking engagements and writes for a local newspaper in his column addressing veteran issues. Jim is also part of several documentaries

on the Vietnam War. I decided that it was time to include the military children and published my first children’s book, WHEN DADDY COMES HOME. It has also been honored as a finalist for the 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award and addresses the challenges faced when Daddy returns changed by the war experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. We follow the child’s journey of their parent’s military service to and from war in a unique child’s perspective. The sequel, When Mommy Comes Home launched in January 2017 with another children’s book coming in the fall of 2019 dealing with the loss of a parent during deployment. I am passionate about writing veteran stories and their return home. These publications have led to collecting several hundred interviews from veterans of all wars, with selected stories for NEVER FORGOTTEN as told by the Vietnam Veteran, their spouses and children. These books have changed me in a profound and totally unexpected way. I believe they will change you too. It has become my passion and life journey to feature and honor our veteran’s service. I was honored and eagerly accepted an invitation to participate as one of the selected editors for the editing team of National Geographic’s publication, Veteran’s Voices: Remarkable Stories of Heroism, Sacrifice, and Honor published in May 2016. My recent publication launched in December 2018 with a collection of stories and reflections of our Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who served in the book A LEAP ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE } “These books have changed me in a profound and totally unexpected way. I believe they will change you too. ”

OF FAITH, The Men and Women Who Served Post 9/11. Their faith also emerged as strength and resonates through their incredible stories. Each story is preceded by the veteran’s favorite psalm. We have a moral obligation to know our veterans and that by revealing their stories that are not found in textbooks, we share an important part of history that needs to be known and passed down for generations to come. I am deeply honored and blessed to feature these stories to remember and 240


honor their service and history, which gives us strength and empowers us to move forward making a better world and future for our children. From the veterans of World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Desert Storm, the Gulf War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now continuing issues with Syria and Russia, loved ones are looking for words that tell our troops of the past and present just how much America appreciates them.

Future projects and published works can be followed at





I was feeling really good about myself the other day. My hair was styled, makeup looked perfect and for once I didn’t have on a sweatshirt or circles under my eyes from a lack of sleep. I had just come from a successful work appointment and I had it all going on. I decided I was going to post one of those cool and casual “hey look at me pictures” to my Instagram account. An easy breezy photo that reflects a person without any cares in the world. I’m just laid back and randomly sitting in my car looking great. When I scroll through my social media accounts at the end of the night to see what the world was up to all day long, I see these filtered faces of friends and colleagues and somehow I always feel pangs of envy and regret. I am not ‘easy breezy’. I’m a bluster usually running on fumes. My moment had come. I was going to share the real “me” with my social media world. I had just picked up my teenage 242


daughter from practice. She said hello and began running her fingers through her hair, and making a series of faces into her phone. She effortlessly snapped away and was ready in a moment’s notice to share herself on Snapchat.

my efforts I barely looked over as she slid in the car and started swiping her phone. I was just about ready to “post” the fabulous version me when without a look up or a pause in her snapping, she said in disgust “don’t post that.”

Meanwhile I was taking minutes off my life trying to figure out which side

I was annoyed. I asked, “why shouldn’t I post my picture, I look good, see” as if I needed her permission. She simply said, “It’s not real”.

of my face flattered me the most. I was struggling to choose a filter that would make me look younger and my teeth whiter. “Juno”, “Vivid Warm”, and “Mono” were offered. Unfortunately there is no “fortysomething” filter that would gloss over ten years. To make things worse, I needed to find my glasses just to see what my improved line-free face looked like. I was so distracted by

“It’s not real?” Her arrow had wounded my ego. This “Generation Z-er” lives in a world where it’s okay to use acronyms rather than words and thinks up-close pictures of her nose to send to her friends is funny, had just stated a simple truth. It wasn’t real. Social media is a version of our best adult self. We are all mini celebrities posing and posturing and showing the world how fabulous our lives are. We all have seen the posts; group shots of friends, fabulous couples celebrating milestones, new babies




{ HER EDGE } } { SHIFT+CONTROL “Social media isn’t going to change, but maybe I can stop feeling so bad about it.”

and exotic vacations. We see martini glasses and sunsets, painted toes in the sand, and beautiful backdrops with smiling faces. Full disclosure, life is messy and the details of my day aren’t ready for prime time. My go-to gray sweatpants should never be seen by the outside world. The last time I traveled was to New York City it rained sideways for two straight days, and pictures from the top of the Empire State Building made me look like I was standing in a cloud. I paid full price for the view and the background was white. I like to drink wine, not martinis, and I’m usually sitting home on Friday night. There are no sunsets, just Netflix. When I am lucky enough to get a

night out with my girlfriends, I rarely think to tell the world where we are or what we are eating. I’m just grateful for the two hours of real connection and thankful I don’t have to cook. The social media scroll shouldn’t be about the struggles or trying to be more real. Let’s face it, who wants a picture of me without any makeup on taking my daughter to school at six in the morning. Social media isn’t going to change, but maybe I can stop feeling so bad about it. Instead of feeling envious about never traveling to Atlantis or the Tuscan coast I can remember how hard we laughed while standing in the rain overlooking a beautiful city we couldn’t see. Those clouded pictures

still sit on my camera roll and make me smile every time. I can stop being annoyed by the new mom who has posted the same twenty-five pictures of her baby. I can ‘like’ every one of them knowing inside that the best part of being a mom is yet to come. And seeing my friend’s flat abs should not make me feel less, but instead feel proud for her and all the discipline it must have taken to get that fit. For me, it’s knowing that the moments in between the perfect photos, are where the real stuff happens. Life is in the details, not in the post.




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Cannabidiol or CBD may alleviate pain and inflammation in people and pets. The key is finding that sweet spot to find relief without using more than you need both for economics and potential sedation. Everyone’s Endocannabinoid System or ECS responds differently but on average one to two droppers a day for two to four weeks can best help assess if that mg strength works for you in most instances. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is located throughout your nervous system, including the brain, brainstem spinal cord as well as in peripheral nerves and cells found for example in your limbs and digestive tract. The ECS includes endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes which synthesize and break down the endocannabinoids with its most important role, maintaining or restoring homeostasis. CBD also has shown effective in helping to alleviate acne, asthma, chronic pain, and epilepsy. Anxiety is thought to be alleviated or reduced by preventing your body from breaking down one of your own endocannabinoids called anandamide (from the Sanskrit ananda, or “bliss”), which has a naturally calming effect. One recent study showed an 80% reduction in anxiety, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553. More research is needed as the efficacy of certain mediums and doses for different ailments. CBD is the second most prevalent active ingredient of cannabis. CBD is non-psychoactive and is derived 250


directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds of Cannabinoids), by itself it does not cause a “high.” According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” All our

CBD Best Oil Full Spectrum Hemp Oil contains up to .3% THC (nonpsychoactive) except the water soluble concentrates which are isolates and therefore have 0% THC. I am not a doctor but an experienced Founder & CEO of CBD Best Oil ( I have personally worked with thousands of people (and pets) searching for relief from pain, inflammation, anxiety and/

{ PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT } CBD is the second most prevalent active ingredient of cannabis. CBD is nonpsychoactive and is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant.

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• Pet Chicken Tincture may help pets alleviate their pain & inflammation along with anxiety. Helps get their mobility back so they can move around better without pain. Also helps calms their fears and reduces barking. Cats & Dogs can take the tincture in their mouth or place the tincture in their food (one to two droppers full a day).

• Serenity Lotion is great for everyday and may be used to alleviate and heal dry skin on your hands, arms, feet, etc. and other skin issues and smells great. • Anti-aging beauty cream (featured in the Buffalo Spree and National DaySpa Magazine and eye cream help reduce inflammation, fine lines and reduce the signs of aging. Great consistency and goes on smoothly. Makes your skin bright and youthful looking. • Triple Relief Ointment (250mg, 500mg & our new 1000mg) is fast acting on areas of muscle, joint or tendon pain. Works almost immediately to help reduce pain & inflammation. Great price point and lasts at least a few months. Use liberally as needed. • 300 mg Spearmint Tincture may help alleviate mild pain and anxiety and tastes good. One to two droppers daily (or micro dose in the afternoon). • 500 mg Spearmint Tincture may help alleviate more moderate pain and anxiety along with insomnia. Take one to two full droppers daily. Visit us online, at participating retailers such as Parkleigh, Fairport Pharmacy and other locations listed on our website. Wholesale opportunities available as well. Here’s to Living Your Best Life.



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Gwen Webber-McLeod President and CEO of Gwen Inc. an company solely devoted to supporting mid level to executive level leaders on the leadership journey leads by an example of not just talking the talk ,but walking the walk in stilettos may I add. Gwen an Entrepreneur who is breaking through glass ceilings with accomplishments, and awards often references she has her hands on the back of established and up and coming business women making their mark and she really does . A true powerhouse of passion, support and mentorship to women with drive , talent and leadership skills. Being selfless in her various successes Gwen believes she has an obligation to assist others coming behind her as her ancestors did. “ My company helps effective leaders achieve business goals by focusing on the competencies of Confidence, Competence, Courage and Calm” says Webber-McLeod. You Can’t Fail Inc., a nonprofit organization Founded by Gwen provides strategically designed multicultural leadership development experiences for emerging and established women leaders. The experiences explore and place emphasis on the unique leadership journey of professional women of color and those who support them is ran by a board of directors made up of women under the age of 50 years old . The diverse range of women who attends the annual

You Can’t Fail conference event celebrating ten years has given Gwen positive and powerful feedback. Stating the impact has been life changing, made women more confident, and

inspired women to start companies of their own. Thousands of women have attended throughout the years. While Gwen Webber-McLeod continues to help others conquer their wildest dreams she too is making history building her legacy. Being a Founder of the Harriet Tubman

troupe, which recently performed “The Gathering Place” stage play at the Auburn Public Theater with rave reviews. A troupe made of African American women celebrating African American women through the arts. The impact Gwen has made doesn’t end here especially with the announced run for Cayuga County Legislature District 14. Her parents both were Jefferson County Legislators. Having been involved with women, and domestic violence programs Webber-McLeod has always been aware of social issues and politics. What motivated her to run now is the current conditions of our country. Everything accomplished so far has been envisioned . She encourages women to remember you may have to break down before you breakthrough. Women should have a mission statement for their lives and career, also a purpose Gwen believes. Her purpose is to pave the way for the next generation. She is committed to opening doors for professional women of color and remain providing resources of business development through her platforms and companies. For more information on Gwen Inc please visit For more information on You Can’t Fail Inc please visit ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019




Welcome back to the Wellness Connects Corner! One of the main things that drive our Wellness Connects mission is sharing information about holistic services available to you. Wellness therapies are mainstream now, and very easy to incorporate into your overall health plan. So from time to time, we will give you practical info on some amazing healing arts! For this issue, I will discuss Reiki Therapy. You may already know about Reiki, but if not, get excited. This may be the perfect therapy to help you feel better.

in which practitioners place their hands lightly on or just above a person, with the goal of directing energy to help facilitate the person’s own healing response. It’s based on an Eastern belief in an energy that supports the body’s innate or natural healing abilities.”

of hand positions along your body. If you aren’t comfortable with touch, it can be done with the practitioner’s hands hovering above you. Cool, right? Reiki can even be felt through a cast! If you have an injury, add Reiki to your medical regimen for pain relief and potentially faster healing.

What happens during a Reiki session?

Most people feel a wonderfully relaxing heat coming from the practitioner’s hands. It will be more intense in some areas than others. You may even feel a slight tingling. That is your body using the Reiki, or Universal energy, to shift any imbalances and get you in the best energetic alignment possible. A full session takes about an hour.

First of all, find a Reiki provider you are comfortable with. The practitioner will

What are the benefits of receiving Reiki?

What is Reiki? Pronounced “Ray-key”, it is a Japanese technique used for pain and stress reduction. When pain and stress are lessened, the human body can take care of itself much more easily. Simple right? That’s one of the best things I can tell you about Reiki... IT’S SIMPLE AND YET VERY POWERFUL. It’s simple to receive, simple to learn, and simple to provide. Reiki is also one of the easiest holistic methods to infuse into all the different aspects of your life.


• Aches and pains may be reduced or gone • Your stress level will decrease • Your overall sense of wellbeing is improved • You can think more clearly • Your sleep may improve explain everything and answer any questions.

The definition of Reiki from the National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health is:

Reiki is always done fully clothed. It can be done as you sit in a chair or comfortably reclining on a Reiki/Massage table. Ideally, there will be low lighting, gentle healing music, anything that helps you relax. However, those things are “added extras” and not required for a successful session.

“Reiki is a complementary health approach

Reiki is done with a gentle touch in a series


• You may release emotions you have been holding in • Your immune system may be boosted • You will feel deeply relaxed Can anyone have a Reiki session? Yes, ABSOLUTELY! The NCCIH states “Reiki hasn’t been shown to have any harmful effects.”


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If you are healthy, frequent Reiki treatments can help you maintain that. If you are ill, add Reiki to your normal medical routine for increased peace of mind and stress relief. There is no one “too sick” to receive Reiki. As a Reiki practitioner myself, I have provided Reiki in many facilities, including two hospitals. I have seen pregnant women, newborns and patients at every stage of life benefit from Reiki. Miles, one of my Reiki babies at the hospital.

In these situations, anyone given Reiki can feel better pretty quickly. Getting Reiki before bedtime brings on a more relaxing sleep too. Think about those nights when the kids just can’t settle down. Once they experience Reiki, they will know to ask for it when they are ready to hop into bed. I recently taught an 11-year-old young man how to do Reiki so he could use it if he was anxious or upset. What a great tool to have so readily available as

Providing Reiki at the end of life is a sacred privilege as a Reiki volunteer. I have obser ved patients become more comfortable and peaceful as they are nearing this transition while receiving Reiki.

• Heard your child say they couldn’t go to school because they had a nervous stomachache? • Witnessed a coworker sustain a minor injury? 260


Once you have fallen in love with Reiki, it makes you think, “Ooooh if there’s Reiki, what else is out there?” There are many other forms of energy healing. Some involve more physical body movement such as Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Qi Gong. There are many options to explore! How do you find the perfect technique and practitioner for you? Wellness Connects offers an online directory of all sorts of holistic businesses!

Here’s another bonus... your pets love Reiki too! I have witnessed dogs, cats, horses and others get excited when they feel the Reiki energy. Then they relax and have a good snooze while their body soaks it up! Think about your daily life. Have you ever: • Woken up with a headache and had to drag yourself to work anyway?

and wherever you can crank up the Reiki energy for a few minutes, it will enhance your overall well- being. For example, you can do Reiki while you’re watching TV, on your computer, or in a waiting room. Really, anywhere!

Are you a wellness provider? Consider joining us!

you go through life! WHEN YOU LEARN REIKI, YOU CAN GIVE YOURSELF THIS WONDERFUL HEALING ENERGY ANYTIME YOU WANT. That’s a HUGE benefit. HUGE. It’s lovely to set aside quiet time for yourself, play soothing music, meditate and give yourself some Reiki. But really whenever

Are you looking for an appointment for a technique that helps you expand your Spirit and Soul? One that helps you feel better physically? We invite you to check out our site and begin your new journey. Joyce Appel Danielle Filipski

WELLNESS CONNECTS: YOUR COMMUNITY WELLNESS RESOURCE Find a practitioner OR list your holistic business.


To expand our mission to nurture the expansion of radiant health, collaboration, and prosperous freedom; creatively through integrity, connection, and teamwork across the planet.


*a bridge between the public and all the amazing holistic practitioners in the community. *a bridge for integrative entrepreneurs to reach clients in need of their unique skills. *a bridge that leads to the education and knowledge you have been seeking. *a bridge between facilities, large and small, and teams of wellness providers to assist with improving workplace health programs. *a two-way, free flowing bridge constructed with love, collaboration, and a passion for wellness expansion. Joyfully created by Danielle Filipski and Joyce Appel-experienced holistic entrepreneurs -- because WE HEARD YOU. Ask us about our new affiliate program! I 315-464-0229





IS FOUND RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER Open Door to the Immortal Phoenix in Auburn, NY is a metaphysical store that provides alternative health care; including medical hypnosis, reiki, acupuncture, chiropractic care, mental health therapy, supplementation, weight loss therapy and the newly added, Hemp CBD oil. Being a health care practitioner - a rehabilitation therapist, I have seen a need for the need for proper supplementation as an aid in promoting a healthy constitution. The following is how I became a healthier human being and involved in First Fitness Nutrition. The entire product line has been added to my shop, along with monthly wellness meetings. In February of 2003, when I was returning home to New York from Virginia, I met someone who started me on the path of healthy living. I was recently separated, gained weight and was a bit depressed. I attended a craft fair in downtown Syracuse and was selling my handmade beaded jewelry and saw a woman wearing a bright yellow button with: “I lost 45 pounds – ask me how!” So I mustarded up the courage to ask her how she did it. Theresa shared that she used a product called Suddenly Slim from the company First Fitness 268


Nutrition. She shared that by using this program, she saw immediate results during the first ten days and by day thirty, and she lost almost 25 pounds. Her husband, Vince, also used the products and experienced some weight loss but more importantly, toning and tightening of his skin. After much discussing my friend, Bev and I ordered the Suddenly Slim thirty-day program and started our weigh loss journey.

Bev and I did very well on our programs and to date I’ve lost and kept off 62 pounds! I would attend First Fitness meetings that Theresa and Vince ran and learned more about the company and their other wellness products. After three months of supplement use, I was experience wonderful results, not just in weight loss, but also in digestion, sleep, mood, and over-all health. I was

a much happier person, meeting new friends at my First Fitness meetings and discussions of conventions and distributorship. So I decided to hope on board and join the company that has changed my life so drastically. There were so many benefits of being a distributor for First Fitness Nutrition. Firstly, the wonderful people who have remained my friends for over fifteen years; Secondly, utilizing and promoting the entire product line of weight loss, wellness, sports nutrition and skin care; Thirdly, distributorship benefits (weekly, monthly, residual paychecks), incredible trips a n d Me r c e d e s car bonuses; and Fourthly, the most important reason, the ability to help individuals become healthier human beings. Along with being a rehabilitation therapist and studying acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, I also studied gross anatomy and was able to see how damaged the human body can become if proper nutrients and exercise were not a part of an individual’s daily life. First Fitness products help to repair damaged organs, joints and muscles. Leaky gut, slow digestion, liver health, heart health, brain health – no matter what the issue is, First




{ SHIFT+CONTROL { FITNESS FIRST } } Leaky gut, slow digestion, liver health, heart health, brain health – no matter what the issue is, First Fitness has the answers to the problems many individuals have been struggling with for a long time.

Fitness has the answers to the problems many individuals have been struggling with for a long time. Lee Causey, the founder of First Fitness, invented the first diet shake, a unique detoxification protocol and also a founder of a gym that later became Gold’s Gym. For the past twenty-eight years, this company has been a been a leader in health and wellness, recognized and featured by Dr. Oz for the chemistry behind the weight loss supplements, and always been in the black with less than 1% returns. Not many companies can say that about themselves!

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Along with our metaphysical products, we will be expanding our line to include specialty mantra infused coffees and teas. Imagine entering a place where you can purchase a crystal ball and a weight loss program and therapy. It is all about wellness and how to achieve optimum health. The following is a list of our First Fitness products. CBD Rich Hemp Oil – 100% pure, powerful and effective

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DR. SAM’S TIP OF THE MONTH For dental health, it’s recommended that people limit eating and drinking between meals. Of course, sometimes eating between meals must happen. Unfortunately, most people choose foods like sweets and chips for snacks; foods that harm teeth by promoting tooth decay. If you do snack, make it a nutritious choice—such as cheese, yogurt, fruits, vegetables or nuts—for



your overall health and the health of your teeth. Did you know that certain foods can put you at risk for cavities and other dental health problems? Here are some MouthHealthy tips. While these hard candies seem harmless, eat too many and the constant exposure to sugar can be harmful to your teeth. Hard candies also put your teeth at risk because in addition to being

full of sugar, they can also trigger a dental emergency such as a broken or chipped tooth. Better alternative? Chew sugarless gum that carries the ADA Seal. For all of your dental needs, please contact Dr Sam at Liberty Dental Arts at 585.434. 2090.




Achieve the healthy, active life that you have been missing




Breathe into your heart center right now and activate your immune system. You have now used meditation as a healing art. Your immune system is deeply connected to your behavior; body, mind, and spirit. Practicing meditation allows you to activate yours. This doesn’t mean you’ll never become ill, but it will lessen the occurrence, and support you to better health more quickly.

before and after each meditation. At the end of the week, review your journal. You will be astounded by your results!

beams of light shining from the center of your star.

Healing Meditation Part I

• • • •

Close your eyes and take a deep, long breath in and a long breath out. Do this three times,

Consider the meaning of love further. • • •

Also known as your heart chakra, this energy center is located in the very center of your chest. It is the seat of love and compassion. No wonder then, that it houses the source of your immunity.

Meditations emanating from your heart center can only support your immune system, and bring you happiness. So if you are suffering any type of illness, whether physical, mental or emotional, try this daily for seven days. Record how you were feeling 278


Are you being treated with love? Can you be treated more lovingly? How so?

Reflect on these questions now, witnessing how love appears to you and how you would prefer love to appear to you. Be quite clear how you would like love to show up in your life.

Some may differ on this suggesting that your immune system resides in your gut. That makes sense. But not on an energetic level.

Being lovesick is being denied love. Being healthy is being showered with love!

What does it mean to you? How does it make you feel? How do you respond to it? How do you express it? Breather deeply into your heart center, as you reflect on the meaning of love. Watch your star light sparkle.

Let’s get better acquainted with your heart center.

It is well-known that prayer can heal. The source is love and compassion. When someone places their hand on your shoulder to comfort you, it comes from a loving place. And when someone looks into your eyes and melts your heart, you are communicating from this deep loving place. It feels good.

Focus on the word Love.

When you are ready, take a cleansing breath in and out. It is now time to reflect on how you express love.

releasing any tension with your exhale.

Breathe into your starlight. Feeling the essence of love. And now observe how you love others. See those whom you love. What is your expression of love toward them? Is it affection? Loyalty? Trust? Service? Security? Sharing?

Begin to follow your breath as you breathe in and as you breathe out. Imagine the air that you are breathing has a color, whichever one that appears to you. See this flowing through your nasal passageway into your lungs and back out.

Who and what do you love? Are they treated equally?

Visualize a star glowing in the center of your chest. Notice what color it is; its size and shape. And with each breath in, imagine

Take a deep breath in and a releasing breath out.

And now ask the question, ‘Why do I choose not to love?’ This may be tough. Identify the challenges. Allow the emotions to rise.

You now have learned how you give and receive love. You have a better understanding what it means to you. Love. And what may be missing. Part two of this meditation will reflect on your true essence of love.

For instance perhaps you are the comforter to your loved ones, both friends and family alike. And yet as you gaze upon your own self expression of love toward yourself, you realize that you do not give yourself comfort. In fact you are in desperate need of being comforted!

HEALING MEDITATION PART II Always begin your meditations with the breath. Inhale and exhale three times, allowing your body, mind, and spirit to relax. Bring your focus to your heart center. See the star glowing within you.

I propose to you to look into ways to give yourself what you need first, before seeking that love from others. Be creative! How would you like to be comforted? The same way you share this love with others? Or in another manner?

Ask yourself, ‘How do I love myself? How do I truly love myself?’

Pema Chodron has authored several books in dealing with the uncertainty of life, the ever changing circumstances that surround us. In her book, ‘Comfortable with Uncertainty’ she examines the qualities of love with the emphasis of being exactly where you are, not striving to be anywhere else, but to be fully aware of your present circumstances.

Notice the scenarios that play out. The feelings that surface. What do you do for yourself that you do for others? What is missing? Here is the piece. The aha moment for most of my clients. When they realize that what they long from others and do not get, they do not give to themselves. 280


“You can cultivate the four limitless qualities of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity by learning to relax where you are. There’s no problem with being where you are right

now. Even if you feel loving-kindness and compassion for only one sentient being, that is a good place to start. Simply acknowledging, respecting, and appreciating the warmth is a way to encourage its growth. We can be where we are and at the same time leave wide open the possibility of being able to expand far beyond where we are now in the course of our lifetime.” Breathing deeply into your heart center, igniting the star within, supporting your immune system, feel your true essence of love. Let it shine through you like beams of light. Be willing to love yourself as much as you love others. And be willing to share what kind of love you would like to receive. As you give that love to yourself, it will multiply. Alana Cahoon is the creative coach and founder of Grow 2 B U, LLC; using her business acumen, mindfulness training, and mystic intuition to bring clarity and purpose to her clients’ lives.




1474 Monroe Ave I Rochester, New York 14618 I (585) 473-8593



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. 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. 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! 284


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. 7 Steps to Prepare for Buying a Home Meet with a mortgage loan officer

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! 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.)

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

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. 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 debtto-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 286


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 Haberer Senior Loan Officer | NMLS# 58078 2541 Monroe Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618 (585) 241-0000 NMLS #3254 Equal Housing Lender Licensed Mortgage Banker NYSDFS

Prepare for the Spring Market! When it comes to house hunting, looking for properties in the spring has its benefits! Most sellers who list their home in spring months are in a rush to get them sold, which means you have to be able to jump at the opportunity to get the home you want!

Not sure where to start? Give me a call!

Know how much you may qualify for, by getting Pre-Approved before you begin your home search!

Phyllis Haberer Senior Loan Officer | NMLS#58078

C: 585.314.8511 D: 585.363.7087 O: 585.241.0000 x104




2541 Monroe Ave. Rochester NY 14618 | Equal Housing Lender | Licensed Mortgage Banker NYSDFS | NMLS#3254 Premium Mortgage Corporation does not intend to solicit business away from other mortgage banking professionals. If you are currently working with another mortgage banking professional, this communication is not intended for you. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019




Sometimes a hospital visit is for an exciting reason like the birth of a child. More often than not, however, people visit a hospital for reasons that are often very stressful, overwhelming, frightening, or anxiety producing. Now imagine that you are feeling all of those emotions while walking into a large, unfamiliar building. Perhaps you are running late, or maybe you are with a loved one that needs wheelchair assistance. Stress and heightened emotions can often lead to moments of crisis… This is where volunteers at Rochester General Hospital can lend a hand, one of the many ways in which they help to meet the needs of patients, visitors, and guests. Rochester General Hospital Guest Services volunteers are just inside of the hospital entrance, waiting to assist visitors upon arrival. Easily identifiable by their royal blue shirts and warm, welcoming smiles, they are familiar with the layout of the building and are ready to provide whatever level of assistance is desired. Whether they are giving someone directions, personally guiding them to their destination, or providing a wheelchair escort, volunteers do what they can to start a hospital visit off right. Volunteer podiums are also found at high traffic intersections within the hospital corridors so folks who lose their way can be easily redirected to the proper route. 288


Volunteers Benefit, too! Most people volunteer for the sense of reward, and the knowledge that they are making a difference in their community. The people they guide throughout the hospital are often relieved to hand over navigation duties, and may even use the walk as an opportunity to talk about the reason for their visit. Sometimes, the

reward comes in an unexpected way. Long time Guest Services volunteer Kurt shares that “Having worked for money all my career, this is the most appreciated and enjoyable adventure I’ve ever had, and I do it for nothing!”. Kurt goes on to describe an encounter he had with a visitor he assisted with a wheelchair escort. Upon arrival, a gentleman was visibly disgruntled and anxious as he asked to

be transported to a patient’s room for a visit. He wasn’t interested in small talk, and was even abrupt and short with his communication as they made their way to the room. When the visitor was ready to return to the parking garage, Kurt was the only volunteer available to help him, so he reluctantly went up to the room, preparing himself for what would likely be another uncomfortable experience. As he expected, the walk back started out quiet, with the occasional grumpy comment. However, while in the elevator, Kurt made a joke that struck a chord with this visitor and caused him to laugh hysterically. Just like that, the mood was lightened and the man told Kurt that it was just what he needed. After a lengthy, friendly conversation, they parted ways, and Kurt knew that he had changed the course of the day for this man. Walking around the hospital is also a great way to get exercise. In fact, that is what attracted volunteer, Linda, to join the team- “I used to walk the mall, so when I heard about the active volunteer positions here, I thought I should do that!”. Likewise, another volunteer, BJ, has benefitted from her role at RGH: “I’ve had several surgeries, and the walking I do while volunteering here has truly helped me heal”.




{ HELPING { SHIFT+CONTROL PEOPLE HEAL } } “All of us at Rochester General Hospital wish everyone who volunteers our gratitude and admiration for a happy National Volunteer Week the week of April 7th- 13th.”

Guest Services volunteers also enjoy the socialization that comes with being a part of a large team of people and assisting new visitors every shift. For some, it is a break from their usual jobs or daily duties. For others, it is a chance to be around people, since they find they are more isolated since retiring or becoming empty nesters. Additionally, all hospital volunteers have the benefit of free parking and a food stipend during their shift, as well as privileges at the Riedman Wellness Center fitness facility. 290


Become a Guest Services Volunteer Today! Whether you are a student or a retiree, or someone simply looking for work experience or a rewarding new opportunity, please consider becoming a Guest Services volunteer. Shifts are available throughout the week, with our greatest need between 12pm and 4pm, Monday-Friday. Visit for more information. You can also call the volunteer office at 585-922-4328. “I love volunteering at RGH! I look

forward to coming here every week. I always tell people ‘if you could only realize that you are helping people, but you are getting more in return. If only more people would do it, the world would be a much better place” -BJ, RGH Guest Services Volunteer **All of us at Rochester General Hospital wish everyone who volunteers our gratitude and admiration for a happy National Volunteer Week the week of April 7th- 13th.**







Am I the only one who feels like that? I don’t think so. I talk to countless women, and we all seem to share some things in common; the many challenges of being a woman today. It starts when we’re young girls, turning into teenagers, going into young adult life, to being a full blown woman of the world, becoming a mom perhaps, a working woman, juggling it all, only to start slipping in peri-menopause, then the fabulous season of menopause, to the Post menopause way of life. It truly is such a glorious privilege to be a woman, but at times it doesn’t feel that way, right? I coach my clients around fact vs, feeling, but feelings are a real thing, and part of the problem is, our feelings are often misunderstood, swept under the carpet or stuffed down so far that at any given moment we may explode ( and sometimes we do!)

many things… we bring beauty and life into the world in many forms: physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. We are often the glue that holds family together or even in the workplace. We bring the soft side and the ability to analyze all at the same time. We have a unique and different way (than men) approach to life itself

Well I’m here to tell you friends, that it doesn’t have to be that way. We may feel many different things throughout our journey of being a woman, but it is not the end all be all. Feelings come and go, but the facts remain the same…. Yes, we will go through different seasons of life, but we can learn to celebrate each one. We may all have different thoughts, and different experiences during these seasons, but there is no one right way or wrong way to approach them, because we are all uniquely different in so many ways. We as women have the privilege of so

may have been told by well - intentioned friends, family or even health care professionals that your body will change in many ways.


Let’s just talk about peri-menopause and then menopause here for a minute. You

For example, your metabolism will slow down, you will start to gain weight in certain areas that you may never have carried weight before, your hormones will go crazy causing mood swings and hot flashes and that’s just the way it’s going to be….. not to mention you won’t have any energy or libido. This is totally false. While these changes may

begin an attempt to hijack us and the very person that we’ve known our entire existence, we don’t have to succumb to this. We can work with nature and not against it. How you ask? Just like everything changes, we may need to make some changes. I know I did! I’ve been through every stage that I mentioned above. I’m now not only living on the other side of menopause, I’m doing it successfully and better than ever. I had to shut out what all the well intentioned people told me it would be like, and go on a journey to find what would work best for me and my body, so that I didn’t have to settle and believe all the false facts. Truth is, I felt some of these changes, but the fact is and was, I didn’t have to render helpless to the changes of life. I did this without artificial stimulants or prescriptions. I paid attention to what my body was telling me, and did what I could to support what it was saying. I made sustainable changes that I do every day, and quite frankly, I feel fantastic! Every woman, every body, is unique, and we need to listen to our “gut” (literally) when it talks to us. Trust it, it’s your friend. I hear so many women question themselves and get confused. They listen to those well intentioned other




{ BALANCED LIFE HEALTH COACHING } “We as women have the privilege of so many things… we bring beauty and life into the world in many forms: physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.”

when it talks to us. Trust it, it’s your friend. I hear so many women question themselves and get confused. They listen to those well intentioned other folks, when in fact, no one knows you better than you! I love to help others on their journey (particularly women, because I am one, and I’ve been there, done that!) It’s not that difficult, but it does take some determination and commitment to yourself to get through each season of life with grace and success.



If you’re interested in learning more, or have questions on how to navigate a particular season you’re in to feel your optimal best and take back your health, then please reach out to me. My practice is Balanced Life Health Coaching, LLC www. I’m in the Old Pickle Factory, 1 Grove Street Suite 117, Pittsford NY 14534 I offer free consultations, and can be reached at (585)755-1880 or email I’d love to show you can utilize the many choices

and options when it comes to having the health you want and ultimately a more Balanced Life.

Why Work With A Health Coach?

* Tired of a one- size fits all approach to Nutrition? * Confused by the latest fads and trends with food? * Drained from toxic relationships? * Overwhelmed by stress at work? * Fed up with nagging cravings and stubborn weight challenges? As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I will guide and empower you, while providing ongoing support as you set goals and make sustainable changes that improve your health and happiness. Together we will navigate your unique bioindividulaity to find what truly works best for you to achieve a more Balanced Life.

(585) 218-4110




Welcome to the first edition of the Second Look column in Rochester Woman Online! I’m so excited to be partnering and to write every month about secondhand and sustainable style. To kick off this corner let’s dive into why shopping new is so last season, and secondhand style is where it’s at. I founded Second Look because I knew there were so many women like myself who wanted to look stylish and feel great without breaking the bank. I love walking into work and events and saying “thanks it’s from Goodwill!” While others may be overwhelmed by the thrill of the hunt, the Second Look team enjoys finding the things you want for you and helping you to style your home, wardrobe, and events. We find the best of the best for you – and you get to look, and feel, great as a result! One of my favorite things to do is find designer items, look-alike or exact, from thrift stores. The thrill of the hunt never gets old, especially when you find things that are look-alike or exactly the same as items you’ve been crushing on. On one trip I was able to find the all of these replica items, for more than a fraction less of the cost. It’s amazing the things you can find from a secondhand store! Secondhand and sustainable style is quickly on the rise – for more than a fraction less of the designer cost, you can get an imitation look without breaking the bank. I scored these Nine West ankle strap heels, new with tag, and loved the color. Baby blue is a popular hue for 2019 and I loved these going into spring. I then saw Miranda Kerr wearing the Schutz version, and on a quick search saw how much money I had saved for a replica look! 298


After the comparison with Miranda’s shoes, I wondered what other items I could find that were the “steal” version of popular items in stores right now. That’s when I came across these gold Colin Stuart stilettos. Unworn, great condition, and great brand (not to mention great price!) All it took me was one quick search to find the Sam Edelman version for much more, and I actually like the gold of the secondhand

find more! (insert gold heels pic) When I shop for clients at secondhand stores, often times they give me pictures of the type of style they’re looking for and that they like. One of my favorite parts is then finding their dream style at prices they can afford – and especially when I can hold it against similar items currently in store. This Philosophy jacket was peeking out at me from the rack at Clothes Mentor, and

while I wish it was in my size I knew it would fit one of my Second Look clients perfectly. And new with tag – how can you beat that! The replica of the Calvin Klein jacket is similar but I have to say I like the secondhand jacket better. It’s amazing what you can find at a secondhand, thrift, or consignment shop! One of my clients recently sent me a picture of these Target slides, wishing she had gotten them in time when they were in store (they’re still available online, but not in her size)! Loving a challenge like I do, I headed to Goodwill and was able to score these lookalike slides instead! They may not be the exact same shoe but they’re similar style and coloring – and she loved them even more than the first! (insert picture of orange mules) It’s not always a guarantee of what you can and can’t find, but that’s where Second Look comes in. We take the pressure off of finding the perfect style or fashion that you’re looking for by doing all the heavy-lifting for you. Not sure secondhand style is for you? Living thrifty doesn’t mean living less – it can mean having even more than you would have in the first place, simply by maximizing opportunity through taking a Second Look! Sarah Pavia is the Founder and Director of Second Look Styling & Consulting. You can contact her about partnership opportunities and booking a service by emailing or visiting

{ SECOND LOOK } “I love walking into work and events and saying “thanks it’s from Goodwill!”





Sustainable Style

wardrobe. home. events. thrift box. @secondlookroc



Ikigai is defined as a “reason for being” “sense of purpose” “reason you wake up in the morning” by a variety of sources. I recently heard about this word when listening to a TED talk by Dan Buettner called “How to live to be 100+”.

sure that Sandy gets out to go to work. Trust me there was some humorous snarkiness between the two of them with their different answers. Bernie did say he does enjoy giving Sandy a kiss as she leaves for work.

Until I listened (quite a few times) I have NEVER EVER thought about what my sense of purpose was as. I would simply wake up in the morning and go. Today feels like a good day to look more at Ikigai.

All the Ikigai talk made me wonder. What is my Ikigai? Each one of us is growing and changing on life’s learning curves, myself included. My growth on life’s learning curve has helped me to have a better sense of who I am and what I

The word Ikigai is a Japanese concept that developed a long time ago in the Heian period. Despite the fact of the word and the concept being present for so long how many of us think about what is our reason for living, our sense of purpose. It feels a little sad that this is not more part of who we are, because maybe it could help us be more of who we are. I decided to do a little research in asking people this question. Each person I asked paused quite a bit as they had never thought about their Ikigai. Here are some of the responses. Carly D (she is 9 years old) stated that the sunlight is out and she wants to have a good day. Sandy B (she is 74) and married to Bernie B (he is 79) stated she gets up every morning to bring joy into lives of people and to make sure Bernie has the best day he can. Bernie answered that Suzie (their dog) would kill him and to make 302


want to do with my life. This is helped me to clarify my Ikigai. My Ikigai is to be a kind, helpful human every day. To make the world a better place to live in. Yep it does sound like a Miss American Pageant. Yep I want to help the world. So I will share my why’s to this in case you were wondering (and I am super sure y’all were wondering). When I look at people around me that I see in stores, restaurants, driving, the news, there is so much sadness, angry,

hurt going on in the world. Now I could sit back, say their problem is not my problem, judge or blame others for their challenges and hardships. Yes, I could do that. OR I could help, heal, comfort, care. I am going for the help, heal, comfort, care. That is my Ikigai. My actions for this include smiling and giving eye contact to people when I am out and about, giving up my car space to someone else, bringing a baked treat into work, returning a grocery cart for someone, if I am treating myself to a drive-thru treat also treating the person behind me. There are some moments that this is hard for me. I am feeling frustrated, stressed or not in the mood. When I challenge myself that I HAVE to do this it helps my mood, my stress, my frustration. The one bigger action I am taking is the “You Matter” postcard project. Every week I send out postcards to individuals and business in the Rochester NY area that states you matter and thank you for bringing your awesome to the world. I use the phonebook for addresses and send away. I never know the impact. I feel compelled to do this even though there are times it feels crazy. A few weeks ago someone sent an email stating “I look at your postcard every day and it brings a smile to my face”. WOW! So what if you carried sticky notes with

“Ikigai is defined as a “reason for being” “sense of purpose” “reason you wake up in the morning” by a variety of sources.”

{ YOU MATTER } “I am going for the help, heal, comfort, care. That is my Ikigai.”

you and randomly left a nice note here and there for others? WOW! I know with every fiber of my being that there are many people who are daily doing acts of kindness for others. The world needs all the kindness it can get. So what if in additional to your Ikigai that might include important things like family, work, your fur babies, putting your kids on the school bus, friends, you added helping to the world be a kinder place. 304


The kindnesses you bring to the world makes a difference. You never know what difference your smile or kindness can make to another person. After the recent tragic Christchurch shooting over $3.5 million dollars was DONATED in 24 hours by so many people wanting to help heal and comfort. Earth Tribe has a great quote: “The power of one. Don’t fall for the lie that one person cannot make a difference. All powerful movements began with the actions of individuals striving for change. YOUR

actions count. Be the change.” Just think of the combined power for this world is if part of EVERYONE’s Ikigai was kindness to others all the time, even for those individuals who do not make it easy to be kind to. I am all in. Care to join me?

Find Your InnerDiva... MARIO’S HAIR SALON 1474 Monroe Ave Rochester, New York 14618 (585) 473-8593



One comes to notice how you’ve been just plodding along, unaware of your surroundings and any thoughts that may arise, one after the other until you come out of your mental slumber. Winter months can be like that. There are times I envy bears cuddled up in their warm dens in a deep sleep, without a care in the world. (Although I never had a conversation with one to see if that, in fact is how it feels to them; it’s just a seemingly plausible theory that my kids would have totally bought during a bedtime story). Spring, which frankly lasts about three weeks in these parts, is a call to begin noticing again. We wake up to the birds singing, bright green grass (it’s the time of year that the worst lawns look gorgeous), budding trees and daffodils liven our awareness. We want to clean out all the closets and shake off the cobwebs. Renewing our faith in life and that beauty that was just hiding under that blanket of snow waiting for its debut is incredibly refreshing. 308


So, how can we do that for ourselves mentally? Becoming more mindful with a true intention of what we want to carry out in our lives takes work.

One of the most helpful ways I have found to do that is through self-care and creativity. It is the least selfish thing we can do. Daily meditation

to create space for yourself and reconnecting to love is a complete game changer. Meditation allows our fear to melt away. We are then free to live fully in our light. Your now direct connection to love and the spirit of that is what will make you begin to soar. Recognizing what it is that we have been allowing to loop in our heads unchecked and then calling it what it is; thoughts. Plain old, powerless thoughts. It is the listener to those little buggers that chooses how much energy and angst we attach to them. There was a meditation I did recently by the amazing Jeff Warren that said simply to take the thought, good or bad, and flush it down the toilet. Flush. Flush. Flush. Assign it nothing and watch your mind free up and your breath to regulate again. It was comically poignant. (It’s hard to get that image out of your mind, right!?) This is how I always begin my artwork. Clearing space for my right brain to come on in and allow me to create something that is well beyond what I could have ever imagined. All those thoughts prior to starting, drift away quietly.




{ MANIFESTING YOUR TRUE PURPOSE } “So, imagine what the world would be like if collectively we all chose to hone our mindfulness practice? (Think less road rage, happier nightly news and folks smiling at one another. Sounds amazing!) ”

Creation is the next big self-care nugget (and my personal favorite!). Remember as a kid, goofing around with your Playdoh for hours, laughing and totally committed to it? This is the mindfulness piece that alludes us in our adult years. To be fully present whilst creating. It’s a feeling of being completely aligned with the Divine or your inner self without a care in the world and making something that just feels good to do. It was never going to be a master piece, but did you actually care? Nope. Did you care when that sand castle you made would soon be washed away? Nope. Why? From my angle, it is always because it’s just what we humans were meant to do. Create. Build things. Think new ideas and make them a reality. It’s the art and fun of doing. During my Courage, Creation and Connection workshops and my art classes, creating a new mindfulness that allows my students to create what has been inside of them but hadn’t had a means to be heard is magical. They are free to just do and be. I will ask throughout the sessions what it was they had been thinking of while they were working. 310


Never once has anyone said that they were thinking about a worry they had recently had. It’s always about how to create what is in their mind’s eye. Their right brains have

been dying for a voice in amongst the chaos of daily life struggles and commitments. As their instructor, I am having the same experience. I become fully engulfed with helping

them move through the process of getting their voice on the substrate. There is such a joy in that for all of us. So, imagine what the world would be like if collectively we all chose to hone our mindfulness practice? (Think less road rage, happier nightly news and folks smiling at one another. Sounds amazing!) Digging deep to see what types of creativity would help us unlock our purpose. Music, dance, drawing, writing, designing; whatever you love is there to help you create a life for yourself that is filled with joy. Healing of your heart happens there. You’ll smile more. You will sing out loud in public with an added dance move like no one is watching. (By the way, kids don’t care if anyone is-another great lesson from our littlest ones). Your left brain is tired, and the right side is giddy with anticipation, so go ahead and oblige it! We will all benefit from your will to become more balanced and alive. Your family will be grateful, too! Now, go be the amazing light that you are.

Do you Þnd that while you strive to be physically healthy and strong, your emotional and mental health is suffering? My aim is to help you Þnd a balance between your mind and body; to create a still mind for your active body. My name is Nicole Lambert. I am a: - Licensed Mental Health Counselor - Nationally CertiÞed Counselor I specialize in: - Body Image Issues - Emotional Eating - Weight Loss Goals & Maintenance - Self-Esteem - Depression - Anxiety - Athletes/Student Athletes - Those who are active/want to be more active

I work with: - Adolescents - Teens - Adults of all ages I also work with a wide range of individuals with other emotional or mental health challenges. What ever it is you are going through, don't hesitate to reach out. I’d love to learn more about you and I’m happy to help!

(585) 257-0529



This journey started last summer as I was cleaning out my closet. The end of summer came and it was time to get rid of cloths that didn’t fit me anymore. No, not the ones that were too big, that was wishful thinking, the ones that were too small. I had decided in my mind that I needed to just accept the fact that I was going to look like this forever! So as I tried to squeeze into my once jeans that use to fit me. I looked in the mirror with a heavy sigh and rationalized why I looked the way I did. Saying, “You are 52 years old. What did you think was going to happen, your metabolism is slowing down and that’s life.” So going back about 2 years, I had joined a wonderful work out facility where I got in shape and lost weight. But as the time went on I was starting to gain weight again even though I was still exercising. I got discouraged and didn’t work out as much as I was. Before I knew it, nothing fit me and as I looked in the mirror I was disgusted with what I saw. What had happened to me? I 312


shouldn’t look like this, I work out and eat pretty decent. I was tired and not feeling good mentally and physically. I finally started taking a real look at my self. I realized I was blaming other things for being unhealthy. When I should have been blaming the person who caused this.

Me. But I was frustrated. As time went on I would be scrolling through facebook and I kept seeing posts of before and after pictures of my good friend Roger. I saw he had lost over 65 pounds. Week after week he kept posting other peoples success stories. My curiosity got the best of me and I figured if my friend

lost that much weight and is posting on facebook he must truly believe in the product, because Roger is a good honest man. Someone I have known my entire life. Our family’s spent a lot of time together and Roger and I were in the same class. So I got in touch with him and he told me all about the OPTAVIA plan. How you buy the Fuelings from them, drink lots of water and have an Optimal Health Coach to help you every step of the way in your weight loss journey and getting healthy. I learned that O P TAV I A is not only about weight loss, it’s also about getting healthier for the rest of your life. Unlike other diet plans, OPTAVIA Fuelings help you get to your goal weight and you eventually transition to learning how to eat healthy on your own. This is not a quick fix plan. It’s a lifestyle change to get to your optimal health. I started seeing a difference within 2 weeks and I was amazed. As I continue this journey I feel myself getting stronger, healthier, losing

{ PRODUCT { SHIFT+CONTROL HIGHLIGHT } } This journey started last summer as I was cleaning out my closet.



{ HEALTHY WOMAN } I finally started taking a real look at my self. I realized I was blaming other things for being unhealthy.

weight and sleeping better. I wanted to share my success with others and help them become the person I know they can be. That is why I decided to become an Optimal Health Coach. I wanted to share my own experience with other people who were also struggling with getting healthy and losing weight. As an Optimal Health Coach, I help my clients achieve their goals and feel 314


better mentally and physically. Not only do my clients have my support, but they also have the support of the entire OPTAVIA family. Because losing weight and getting healthy is not easy. So in closing, I’m not trying to look perfect. I just want to feel better, look great and know I’m healthy. I especially want to say thanks to my daughter Gessica for supporting me

in another one of my new adventures. I couldn’t do what I do without her love and support. Lisa Smart Casaceli

Welcome to OPTAVIA® At OPTAVIA, we believe you can live the best life possible, and we know that requires a healthy you. Here are 5 tips that our most successful Clients use to help move their health forward: OPTAVIA succeeds where other programs fail because we incorporate Healthy Habits in everything you do. Be sure to read The Habits of Health® System to learn the habits that lead to lifelong transformation, including Nutrition, Sleep, Movement, and Hydration. Study after study shows that support and guidance increase your chances for success in reaching your optimal weight.* Lean on your OPTAVIA Coach for support. Your OPTAVIA Coach has been in your shoes and can help steer you to success. They will help you learn the habits that create Optimal Health and lead to lifelong transformation. Your OPTAVIA Coach guides you and helps you celebrate the little victories that add up to big ones. When you are part of OPTAVIA, you are part of a community of like-minded, like-hearted people who support each other through and through. Participate fully in the OPTAVIA community with your OPTAVIA Coach, join our weekly support calls and webinars, and be a part of the conversation on social media using #LifelongTransformation It starts with achieving a healthy weight. This is the catalyst for bigger changes. When you achieve your optimal weight, you increase your health, confidence, and vitality. OPTAVIA works because it’s simple and easy to follow. When you know what optimal nutrition looks like, healthy eating becomes second nature. When you succeed, your transformation will be an inspiration to others. Soon, those around you will begin noticing your transformation and you will have an impact on others. If you’d like to help your friends and family get healthy, refer them to your OPTAVIA Coach. Getting healthy is more fun with others! Or, many of our Clients decide to pay it forward and become an OPTAVIA Coach to help others achieve lifelong transformation, and keep themselves accountable too!

the life you want is waiting all you have to do is take the first step *Appel, L.J., et al., Comparative effectiveness of weight-loss interventions in clinical practice. N Engl J Med, 2011. 365(21): P. 1959-68.

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Some of you are saying, ‘What the heck is that?’ Well it’s just what it sounds like! This has been on my heart for a while. The lack of parenting in this world today is just absolutely disgusting. Although there are many wonderful parents who have taught the basic lessons in life plus a lot more, there are way too many more who aren’t teaching their children a dam thing. Kids today lack in respect, manners, compassion, kindness, willingness to learn and/or view education as important and an entitlement that was never earned. Some parents are the same way and the kids have learned from them! I’m NOT talking about our teens either. This starts at the age of 2 and 3 on up! Now, I know kids younger than five don’t have an idea about school but I can tell you that the mindset and attitude begins at that time. Since when did we become a society where parents are afraid of their children? Sounds crazy right? It’s so true! As soon as the child starts having a fit when they don’t get a specific toy, they throw a huge tantrum wherever they are, grocery store, toy store, it doesn’t matter. What does the parent do? They give in!!! NO,NO,NO!!!!! Get that child and WALK OUT!!! That child needs to know that ‘not now’, ‘no’ etc. means just that!!! My four kids acted up in the grocery store one day, I gave them a warning, then a second (one too many), the third time we were walking out the door! All four were crying and carrying on like I beat them and people were looking at me like I was the bad guy. I didn’t care. I had to let them know I was a woman(mommy) of my word. I needed to teach them so when they get older they will know 316


boundaries! Needless to say, I never had a problem in the grocery store again! Did it damage my children’s psyche as most psychologists, psychiatrists would have a parent thinking. No, it didn’t. It taught them respect. If I let them continue doing what they wanted, I would only be teaching them that they could do whatever they want. If I allowed them to act up in the store, they would think it was the norm and it’s ok. When a child gets older, they will hold out and not do chores until they get what they want or get violent towards you or any adult, including teachers and even their friends!. Disrespect is what you get. How did we get to the point where children rule the house and parents revolve everything around the child? What happened to a healthy fear? Yes, I said it right, a healthy fear. Meaning when momma or daddy said no, you knew better not to cut up!!!! If you did, there was a swat on the butt and sent to your room or some big consequence like no TV. Nowadays, kids have their own little sized apartment in their bedroom! Children are being given too many choices at too young an age as if they were adults. I’ve seen parents trying to bargain with a three year old!!! Everything in life is a stage and we have to go through the first stage to get to the next stage or level. There’s a reason why the Bible said ‘spare the rod, spoil the child.’ How does a child know they are loved? How does a child know structure, boundaries and how to love themselves if, as parents, we aren’t teaching them? We do it by discipline and love. Just a side note, when saying, ‘No’ to

a screaming child rest assured it never killed a child. Parents who can’t afford it will go broke because the child wants the latest in technology. There was a study done in INDUSTRY, a juvenile detention for boys (baby jail is what it’s referred to). They asked what they wished they had more of and the answers were astounding. They felt they weren’t loved by their parent. When they were asked why they responded that there was no discipline and no structure or time spent with the parent or parents. As parents, we have to get back to the basics. I’m talking about letting the child scream. Walk out, with the child. When the child is calm, then explain on their level about what happened, why you walked out without getting their toy and don’t allow for the child to have a ‘power struggle’ with your decision or make you feel guilty! YOU are the adult! YOU are the one in control! When they get older, at the age of 21 and beyond, they will always be your babies but they will also be your friends too. Raising my four as a single mom wasn’t easy. Now that they’re older, I really enjoy being with them! They turned out to be well-mannered, responsible and kind adults! So parents, let’s step it up. Don’t be afraid to be a parent. We get so caught up in what other people think or say that we don’t see the damage we are doing to our own kids and family. Remember who’s in control.






Warmer weather is well on the way, and it’s time to think about: Shorts! Yes, shorts! Spring 2019 hails the beginning of longer, sun filled days, so it’s time to plan on what is the most on-trend for the Spring and summer months. The runways this year featured a vast array of styles, and a rollover from last year’s wardrobe staple is the bike short- it’s still around and holding it’s ground stronger than ever. Why? Because it’s comfortable, versatile, and super easy to pair with pretty much anything you have in your wardrobe. Look for the bike short in fabrics such as lycra as well as cotton blends. Add a little zip with a floral print. We particularly love the ease of care of the cotton blends, and anything mixed with cotton is much cooler as cotton tends to be a more breathable fiber. Designers such as Chanel and Prada both embraced the trend and graced the runways with these styles. Another trend that we are so excited to see again is longer lengths. Bermuda shorts have finally made a comeback! One of the things we love the most about this style is it’s classic elegance. Dressy enough for a casual Friday at work, but still light and easy for happy hour and beyond. This style looks great with everything from a simple tee, or a blouse. Add a structured jacket for a more polished, professional edge. A high waisted style is uber-flattering for all body types, creating a slender, taute silhouette. Bermudas have emerged in simple khaki to bold prints. Pastel colors are being featured throughout the Spring and Summer season so adding a few pairs in lighter shades will boost your options for pairing, but don’t forget about 318


the neutrals as they are an essential and go with absolutely any color. Think Navy, Black, White, and even charcoal hues. Curvy gals should skip the pleated waists and look for a more tailored front with tapered legs. Petites should look for styles that hit just above the knee. Unless you are straight and thin, skip the paper-bag waist, and avoid deeply cuffed legs. Fabric- it’s all up to you! Again, cotton blends will be more breathable, as cotton tends to wick moisture away from the skin. Purchasing a blend also lends to easy care, so you can skip the iron. Trends on the runway this

for the warmer months and even beyond into Fall 2019. Cargos are showing up in denim, canvas, cotton in all lengths from shorts to capris and even traditional pant length styles. As far as cut the possibilities are seemingly endless from a classic, more tailored look, to the original carpenter style. A definite must-have for all pocket loving gals.

year in Bermudas: absolutely everything from denim, leather, even lace. Bold tropical prints (think Surfer style) are sure to make a statement.

Regardless of the style you choose, pairing is paramount! On trend choices this spring include a re-do of the floral trend, as well as the ever staple polka-dot. Bright bold florals and romantic pastels are blooming on everything from tops to shoes, and polka-dots are a classic that truly never go out of style. If you are the “print shy” type, consider adding a floral bag, scarf, or belt to add a bit of color, with a subtle “nod” to the print trend this season. Be sure to look for our next column coming in May for the ultimate guide to swim! We will be featuring an in depth exploration of what is hot, what is not and how to find the best style for your shape.

The Utilitarian trend- or call it “cargo” is also making a big resurgence this year. So happy to have access to pockets that can actually hold your celly (and maybe a lipstick or both!)! Drawstring waists are super comfy (and adjustable). Leg styles can be found in a cinched ankle or regular cut, wide and slim cut. The sheer beauty of this style is the vast array of lengths and fabrics to choose from. Marjan, Valentino, Prada and even Fendi are all showcasing this style

Love them or hate them, the warmer weather brings back the thought of bare legs… don’t forget skirts! Super cool and always stylish. The micro minis are a thing of the past. This season we are seeing lengths just above the knee, to ankle grazing lengths. Unlike the more tailored trend that shorts and capris are boasting, skirts have taken on an uber feminine profile this year. The A-line is the perfect compliment to any body shape. Think: handkerchief hems, ruffles and even prairie style. Details such as raw edges, panel insets and lace keep it fresh and interesting.

{ FASHION FORECAST } Another trend that we are so excited to see again is longer lengths. Bermuda shorts have finally made a comeback!





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Have you ever wondered, “Just what are hormones?” It’s one thing to know that hormones play their role in our bodies, but do you REALLY know what hormones are, what they do, and how they can contribute to some of the major issues women face? “Oh, she’s just being hormonal!” Let’s be honest here, how many times have you heard the words hormones or hormonal used in a sentence with a seemingly negative connotation? Our guess… more often than we’d like to admit.

do not understand what hormones really do, or better yet, how they are meant to function properly. TAKE THE POWER BACK! Ladies, we are about to blow your minds. Are you ready for it? Hormones can be your best friend! Not only do they have the power to help your body work exactly as it was meant to, they can help you feel energized and youthful, help you stay calm even in times of stress, promote deep restful sleep, burn fat, and so much more! In short, they have the power to make you feel amazing!

When did the word hormones become a bad thing? Is there any truth to a statement like, “She’s not acting herself, her hormones are making her act crazy!” When YOU think of hormones, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it your adolescent or teenage son or daughter going through “changes?” Maybe you relate it to excessive emotions during a pregnancy or when PMS symptoms seem to completely derail you during “that time of the month.” Perhaps you think of hormones as something that only effect “older” women who are going through menopause. Although all these situations and phases of life involve a hormone connection, the truth is, your hormones effect every part of your body throughout your entire life. So, it’s safe to say most people truly 322


On the other hand, when imbalanced, they have the crippling power to make you feel miserable. YOU’VE GOT MAIL! – HORMONES 101 Hormones are often called “chemical messengers,” created in the endocrine glands. Let’s think of them as mailmen delivering important messages to recipients in your body 24/7. In terms of hormones, there

are about 50 different mailmen, and they are all dropping off important pieces of mail or messages that your body needs to survive. When they are on their “A-game,” everyone gets their mail on time. But when something gets in the way or they get interrupted, the messages may be delayed or lost in translation. So, what are these important messages? Hormones deliver messages that essentially tell your body what to do and how to function. These functions range from simple basic needs like hunger, digestion, and immune function to complex systems like reproduction, your metabolism, blood sugar, and even your emotions and mood. Not only do your hormones individually deliver these important messages, they work as a unit or a team. So, when one of them isn’t delivering their specific important message, it affects everything in your body. T H E ENDOCRINE SYSTEM – THE POST OFFICE Hormones are part of what is known as the endocrine system. The endocrine system is a set of hormone secreting glands within your body. The job of the endocrine system is to keep balance. Some of the main hormone-producing glands are: • Hypothalamus: The hypothalamus is responsible for body temperature, hunger, moods and the release of hormones from

{ BE BALANCED } Let’s be honest here, how many times have you heard the words hormones or hormonal used in a sentence with a seemingly negative connotation?

other glands; and controls thirst, sleep and sex drive.


• Pancreas: This gland produces the insulin that helps control blood sugar levels.

As we mentioned, your body has many different hormones. And although all these hormones work together, there are certain types that play a bigger role in your body’s health and wellbeing. Understanding these roles is important if you are looking to protect and manage your health at any age. Progesterone A fat-burner and diuretic that soothes mood, nurtures sleep and calms PMS and menopausal symptoms. Progesterone also helps to balance out blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

• Thyroid: The thyroid produces hormones associated with calorie burning and heart rate. • Adrenal: Adrenal glands produce the hormones that control sex drive and cortisol, the stress hormone. • Pituitary: Considered the “master control gland,” the pituitary gland controls other glands and makes the hormones that trigger growth. • Pineal: Also called the thalamus, this gland produces serotonin derivatives of melatonin, which affects sleep. • Ovaries: Only in women, the ovaries secrete estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone (the female sex hormones).

Estrogen A key hormone in ovulation and libido, it also supports many other functions in your body. When out of balance, it can also trigger weight gain (belly fat), fluid retention (breast tenderness, migraines, high blood pressure, leg swelling), mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, cravings, and thyroid issues. In addition, out-of-balance estrogen levels cause female issues including heavy periods, fibroids, endometriosis, and

even some female cancers. Cortisol A stress hormone needed to buffer our bodies from the effects of stress. Cortisol itself is not a “bad” hormone but is problematic when we cannot produce enough of it to meet our needs. Simply, when our bodies can’t make enough cortisol to meet the demand, progesterone is stolen and converted into cortisol, leaving our bodies with a condition known as estrogen dominance. This condition lays the foundation for stubborn weight and PMS/menopausal symptoms. Insulin A hormone produced by your pancreas which plays an important role in metabolism and blood sugar. Insulin helps your body convert the food you eat to be used for energy or for storage. However, if we are under chronic stress and/or eating a diet high in processed sugars and carbohydrates, our bodies will over compensate by producing too much insulin. Over time, this can cause our cells to stop responding, or become resistant to insulin. This can result in high ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ BE BALANCED } It’s one thing to know that hormones play their role in our bodies, but do you REALLY know what hormones are, what they do, and how they can contribute to some of the major issues women face?

blood sugar levels, fatigue, and sleepiness, brain fog, weight gain, fat storage, and high blood pressure.

questions (below), it’s time to take a closer look as to what might be going on with your body’s messengers.

• Do you have hot flashes or night sweats?

Your body was meant to be and wants to be in balance. But when even one system is out of balance – whether it’s your blood pressure or blood sugar (too high or too low), or your sex hormones (too much or too little), the results can be disastrous.

• Have you tried every diet and exercise plan out there with little to no success keeping the weight off?

If so, it’s time to turn your life around by using the power you have within. It’s time to get to the root cause of your symptoms. It’s time to get balanced from the inside out – naturally!

When hormones (mailmen) need a GPS. Sometimes the messages from our brain and organs don’t make it to the proper destination. If we have overloaded our cell with too much of a hormone, our body can stop receiving the message, telling it what to do, and will turn off communication. In other instances, we may stop making proper amounts of a hormone altogether. Whatever the case may be, if the communication isn’t there – we suffer. The good news is, there are natural options and lifestyle factors that help correct the miscommunication! So, if you and can relate to any of the following



• Do you struggle with intense cravings? • Are you having trouble sleeping and suffering from low energy levels? • Are your thyroid results coming back as “normal,” but you are dealing with symptoms of thyroid dysfunction? • Do you feel like your moods and emotions are all over the place? • Is your sex drive low to non-existent? • Do you feel anxious or have bouts of depression?

• Are your PMS symptoms unbearable?

Are you ready to start feeling better? Schedule a FREE consultation today to learn more at a BeBalanced center near you! Our mission is to help you feel empowered and to take control of your health and happiness through natural hormone balance. Click here to find a center near you or fill out our FREE hormone assessment to see if your hormones could be holding you back from living your most vibrant life!


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We live in a time where there is information overload on nutrition, health, wellness, fitness, weight loss and more. How do we know what’s genuine and what’s a fad? When it comes to nutrition and life long wellness, it is all too easy to drown amidst the thousands of voices shouting which way is ‘better’. If it sounds like a fad, it likely is a fad. Before we go any further, if there is one book I could recommend to any reader today who wants the truth on nutrition, please purchase Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and also browse through the Weston A. Price Foundation online for free articles to get educated. If you go no further than this paragraph, you are at least are armed with the two most important resources I have yet to find. The goal with any nutrition lifestyle is that it should be sustainable and generate good habits for a lifetime, not for 3 weeks as you desperately try to fit into a dress for a date. It should support you to feel vibrant and energized. It should actually be filled with a variety of dense nutrients the body craves, (not just a caloric number). And, it should be sourced in a way that optimizes the nutrient content profile while also respecting the earth from which it came. The origin of the word nutrition comes from the early 15th century, derived from the Latin word, nutritionem, meaning, “a nourishing”. We come to the most important question of all as you embark on the ‘right’ way to feed your body. Are your dietary habits nourishing, supportive, healing, whole? Or are they harmful, detracting, incomplete, lacking or empty? What holds you back from seeking wholeness in your food, or in your 328


life? Think about it honestly, critically, and be kind to yourself with whatever answer you find. It’s never too late to make positive changes that can last a lifetime. Dr. Bill Sears, colon cancer survivor and acclaimed author of more than 26 books on health and wellness for all ages, says it best in his compelling book The Inflammation Solution, “Inside your body is a voice that will prompt you to eat what is good for the body and not eat what is bad for it. The

more you listen to it, the louder is shouts, the more you don’t listen, the quieter it becomes.” At the end of the day, we are animals. We need to be eating as such. Just like any other animal, our body craves real nutrients. When we feed the body in a way that makes us feel alive and animalistic (not weak and inflamed), and we take the time to listen to what the body needs, we are going to think, feel, look, and perform like the functional, beautiful and robust animals we are meant to be! In another book, Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford writes about wholeness, “The

strength in life that comes from wholeness in general and unrefined foods in particular is difficult to describe, since that perfection includes the interrelationship of all things.” It is also the larger picture of wholeness, on all levels, that should support us and propel us all to eat in a way that brings our bodies, the earth, the seasons, the cycles, in full circle. When we feel whole, from the foods we eat, to the relationships we grow, and the work we do, we tend to feel complete, satiated, and fulfilled. I believe when we eat fractioned, commercial, franken-food- that wholeness is lost, long before it ever reaches our table. And we begin to lose the wholeness of life and we feel incomplete, in so many ways. I am here to admit that I am not a doctor or a certified nutritionist; these are merely suggestions from high quality resources I have discovered over the last eight years paired with my own personal daily habits for health. These are 10 large brush strokes for the average individual who is looking for daily actions that can have profoundly positive long-term effects physically, mentally, and emotionally! 1.) Seek out real foods, whole and complete; find local farmers and food producers who you want to support. Go to a farmers market. Find fresh cuts of fish and meat, organic, colorful, seasonal fruits and vegetables, pasture raised eggs from chickens eating bugs and grass, bone broths, sprouted and fermented grains, healthy and unrefined fats like avocado, cold-pressed virgin olive oils, fish oil, coconut products, grass fed butter, beef and pork tallow, nuts and seeds, local cheese and crème top yogurt. Remember, the larger the producer, the higher the chance their practices and quality of food




{ HONEYBROOK HEALTH CORNER } “We live in a time where there is information overload on nutrition, health, wellness, fitness, weight loss and more. How do we know what’s genuine and what’s a fad?”

generated will be compromised. Seek out farmers near you; support what you want to see more of in the world with your dollars! 2.) Forget the sugar, substitute for fat! In April of 2018 I gave up sugar with the support of my long time acupuncturist. I have, without intentionally trying, lost weight, gained more muscle tone at the gym, regained mental focus and clarity, mellowed my mood, elevated energy levels, eliminated chronic aches and pains, balanced hormones and PMS, and no longer feel chronically ‘hungry’. The research is out, sugar (and crappy vegetable oils) are the cause of inflammation in the body, and when you have inflammation, you have diseases of all kinds. (When I say ‘sugar’ I mean all forms of cane sugar, alcohol, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, fruit sugar, starchy grains. It wasn’t until January 2019 that I began to reintroduce small amounts of natural sugars. As an athlete as well, eating carbohydrates around training is vital for performance. I time my carbohydrates such as berries, apples, kombucha, brown rice, sprouted or fermented breads, and root vegetables, right before, during, or after my workout when muscles vigorously suck up sugars from the blood stream to replenish themselves after a hard workout or physically taxing work day. Placing carbohydrates around activity uses them up, instead of storing them as fat.) 3.) Sucralose, aspartame, and other artificial sweeteners are neurotoxins and anti-nutrients. Opt for truly all-natural sweeteners like monk fruit, stevia, or lo han fruit if you need a little sweetness. We are human and chocolate is a wonderful treat! Try a natural sweetener that doesn’t affect blood glucose levels like stevia, monk fruit, or lo han fruit. Simply cutting out ‘sugar’ and then drinking a diet Coke or a Bang energy drink loaded with aspartame or sucralose doesn’t actually bring you any closer to enjoying the benefits of a low/no refined sugar diet. Artificial 332


sweeteners like aspartame are neurotoxic and over time, are scientifically linked to a decline in cognition and hippocampal integrity. 4.) Forget calories and listen to your body! Truly, just stop looking at them! Be active, rest well, feel true hunger (not just boredom, sadness, or incompleteness), eat real food, feel satiated, pause to listen, and repeat. Listen to that voice in your body, it will tell you what you need, and I don’t mean another donut or margarita. Your true voice will tell you otherwise. 5.) Get the f*#k in your kitchen and prepare your own food! If you want your food prepared in a certain way, with the peace of mind to know exactly how it was cooked and where the food came from…fire up your stove and get chopping. Michael Pollan has an amazing documentary on Netflix called, Cooked, and if that doesn’t make you want to get into your kitchen and connect with your food, I don’t know what will! 6.) Grow a garden, pot a plant, feel the dirt! Compost! Just the act of caring for a plant, getting your hands covered in dirt, or not allowing any food scraps to enter your garbage will connect you further to your great grandmothers ways. Mother nature will speak to you and inspire you to eat colorfully and mindfully from her bounty. Be creative in how you connect with nature; find a community garden, volunteer on a farm, put a rosemary plant by your kitchen window, or begin your own compost pile and create the richest, blackest soil for free in your own back yard! 7.) Be willing to spend money on your health and wellbeing. Whether it’s food, fitness, free time…You’re worth it! We will always have more opportunities to earn money, however, we can’t earn a new body. We have the one, and we should be

interested in taking care of it as best we can! 8.) Invest in proper water filtration. Water is dirty in 2019. At home, we use a top of the line Berkey Water Filtration System. Most drinking water today contains heavy metals, pesticide residues, pharmaceutical drugs, and hundreds of other harmful substances. The list of what this system actually filters from water is unmatched by any other product on the market today. It is an amazing investment in your health and the filtration parts only need to be replaced once and or 2x a year. Check out www. and take charge of what you drink. Water hack: add a pinch of pink or grey sea salt to your water to re-mineralize your H2O that has been stripped of its mineral content! 9.) Accept that maintaining true health will require daily participation. It certainly takes effort to look and feel your best, it doesn’t happen on its own. Investing your time and energy in you, has the largest pay off of all. You will feel vibrant and can show up for your day as the best version of yourself. Who doesn’t want that?!  10.) Pick up a good book and read! Who are some of my favorite authors on genuine nutrition and life long wellness? Here are my top choices for reading, listening, and watching; Michael Pollan, Max Lugavere, Sally Fallon and the Weston A. Price Foundation, Dr. William Sears, Dr. Eric Berg, Dave Asprey, Suzanne Sommers, and Aubrey Marcus. I hope they can become your favorites too! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for next time! We will be discussing physical training and functional fitness for the average person looking to be strong, capable, and more confident.



This recurring column by David S 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! Last year, I shared a story about a woman (Madeline) who was attacked and almost sexually assaulted. Her story caused a few of you to contact me and ask what can you do before you are in her situation. Unfortunately, there are still some of you out there that do not think they are either capable of defending yourself, or have not put this topic on the ‘front burner’ and made it important enough to be proactive by attending a course before you actually need to fight for your safety or your life. It’s time. Here’s another reminder from a woman who came to our program a couple months ago and allowed me to share her story after a few hours of interaction and discussion, not to mention a few self defense classes. “Allison” is in her 30’s. She is a professional, educated, and driven woman who has the job of her life, a husband, and no kids. They live in the area and she works in a suburban office complex setting. She often starts early and works a bit later than normal. Last Summer, I was leaving work late one evening due to a conference call and was in the parking lot by my car. There were a few cars there, but not many. I saw a guy walking in the parking lot and as I saw him 334


and he saw me, he walked over towards me, asking for help in locating a certain building. He had a small bag and a few papers that looked like directions with him. He told me that he was looking for a new job and he asked if I worked here and if they were hiring. At first, I thought the questions were normal. Then he asked me if I was the only one in the office. I hesitated and said that I might be the last one to leave. I turned around to look at the building and turned back… That was when he grabbed me by the

throat and pulled out a knife. I froze. This guy went from asking nice questions to choking me and pushing a knife into my stomach. All in a split second. I wanted to yell but I couldn’t breathe. I felt helpless. I was in shock He told me that if I fought, he’d hurt me worse. He said that he wanted my keys and purse and then he would leave. I dropped my purse and keys on the ground and tried to run. He didn’t let me go. I wanted to just run. Right then, he let go of my throat and before I could do anything, he punched me. Hard. I saw stars and got dizzy. I wanted to throw up. When he let me go, I fell down

and wanted to curl up. I was scared but I did not know what to do. He kicked me in the side and told me to stay down or he would cut me. I stayed there. Curled up in a ball and crying. I started sobbing and yelling. “Why me?” “Help! Someone help!” I got up. My face hurt, my ribs hurt, and I was a mess. I yelled for someone to come help but there was no one there. I did not know what to do. He took my purse. My wallet, my phone, and my keys were all in there. I didn’t know what to do. After a few seconds, someone else came out of a building and saw me walking around. I’m sure I did not look great but I was upset, scared, and worried. She came over and asked me if I was OK. I told her what happened and she sat with me and called 911 for me. I borrowed her phone and called my husband to tell him and he said he was on the way. When the police arrived, they called an ambulance for me and sat with me to find out what happened. I described the guy, told them where he went, but that was about it. The ambulance wanted to get me to the hospital but I wanted to wait. My husband was on the way and I did not want to leave my car. I was sure that the guy would come back and take it. Luckily, my husband had the spare keys. He left his car there and drove me to the hospital in mine. I got checked out by the staff there. I didn’t realize it, but the guy had broken my nose and two ribs. I didn’t even want to look in a mirror. I was scared. I didn’t want to go back to




{ IN HER DEFENSE } Last year, I shared a story about a woman (Madeline) who was attacked and almost sexually assaulted. Her story caused a few of you to contact me and ask what can you do before you are in her situation.

I was scared. I didn’t want to go back to work. Hell, I didn’t even want to go home. This guy had my keys, my wallet and my phone. He could come to MY HOUSE and hurt me more! My PHONE! I completely forgot about my phone. I called and told them what happened. They shut off my phone and did something to disable it and wipe it. I felt a little better but still…… My husband called a locksmith and had the locks changed. We parked my car in the garage overnight and sat. I was too tired to sleep but I did not want to sleep either. I called in and took the next couple of days off. I didn’t want to go back there. I finally fell asleep on the couch. I remember dreaming of all the bad things he could have done. He could have killed me – or raped me! What would I have done? How could I fight him? He was so much stronger than me! I woke up a few times. Scared. Mad. Upset. What do I do? Since my husband s one of those problem solving type people, we talked the next day about what I can do. He said that we cannot fix what happened, but we can see how to make me better and stop it from happening again. We went online and searched for self defense things. We found lots of options. Karate, MMA, and cardio kickboxing. I didn’t think they would work. I called a couple of those places and they told me that in a few weeks, I could learn to kick or punch. I didn’t want a few weeks, I wanted now. A couple of my friends came over and I told them what I was doing. One of them suggested this Rochester Defense place. She took a course there with some friends a few years ago and thought they might help. I started Googling them. I didn’t find anything

labeled Rochester Defense, but I DID find Rochester Personal Defense. I saw that they did a lot of gun training and other stuff but when I saw something called The Equalizer class, I knew this was it. I called and spoke to a Dave. He turned out to be the owner! How many times will he actual owner answer the phone? I was curious and excited. He talked with me on the phone and I told him I’d been robbed and wanted to find out how to stop it from happening again. Dave was great. He made me feel OK about being scared and he told me one thing that stuck with me: “You were scared and you froze. That’s normal. Let me help you fix that so you don’t do that again.” He invited me and my husband to stop in to see the classroom and talk. We did the next day and we all sat and talked about my attack. He gave me some easy tips on awareness and showed me a couple easy skills to use. He made me feel better. I signed up for the very next Equalizer course a month or so away and also took an application for a gun permit. I wanted to know more. At the class, Dave told me that if I felt uncomfortable, to let him know. Otherwise he wouldn’t say a thing. I was in a class with 8 other women. Some were young and a couple of them were way older than me. We were able to beat up on some mannequins and bags. That felt great! Once we got some frustration out of ourselves, Dave and his other instructors, two females named Nancy and Darcie, started working with us. We learned how to hit, where to hit, and what we can do to better our odds. As part of the course, we got to proof test ourselves. Dave got dressed up in this big blue suit that made him look huge! We got to strike and fight a bit – just to see how it would be against a person. It was scary at first but after the first round, it was much better. I got to feeling that I could do something more than freeze and panic.

At the end, we got to choose a skill that we wanted to work on, or a situation. I was thinking about which skill I wanted to do. Then it came to me. I wanted to fight that guy and see what I could do. I told Dave to do what I had told him. He stopped and said “Are you sure?” I said yes. He just gave a little smile and a nod and said ‘Ok.”. Then he did it. I froze. But only for a second. Then, I hit him. And hit him again. I grabbed him and kneed him. I got his feet out from under him and we went down. I elbowed him, I kneed him, and just kept hitting. Finally, Dave stopped and I got up. Everyone was yelling and clapping. I was exhausted. Dave got up and pulled his helmet off and smiled. I was smiling and crying and I wanted to roar!!! This was awesome! THAT was what I needed. To know I can fight and win. I left that course with a confidence that I never had before. I did the course again the next month and had even more fun. My friends even came with me. They didn’t realize how much they learned but also how much they forgot. I cannot stress enough that every woman needs to take this course. Two or three times even. You need to do this. Had I taken this course before my attack, I know I would have done more than just freeze and get punched. By the way, the cops did catch the guy. I lost some case, my phone, and some credit cards. But I did learn something valuable. I am my own bodyguard! (Dave taught us that in the class) Look Dave Jenkins up on his company’s website at www., or call him at 585-406-6758. He always more than willing to educate, chat, or work with you to obtain your goal of education and safety. Rochester Personal Defense and The LionsPride Training Group are the area’s predominant self defense and personal protection education company. Come find out why!










Yolanda Smilez THROUGH IT ALL!







LáLew Public Relations provided top notch service organizing our annual luncheon and securing television coverage to promote this year’s event. William G. Clark

Urban League of Rochester CEO

LáLew Public Relations is a full service PR firm specializing in media relations, marketing, branding, web management, social media and community engagement. In August 2017, LáLew PR was recognized by the Rochester Business Journal as the Small Business Feature of the Week.

LÁLEW PUBLIC RELATIONS Jessica Lewis, Owner P: 585-773-1140 Email:



Kelly Breuer Cheryl Kates-Benman Kelly Breuer


Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell Devin Mack


Regina Smith Gary Ariel Washington Vialma Ramos Jessica Bain Jessica Lewis Yolanda Smilez Dr Kiki Michelle Mr Carlyle Williams Sheila Young Ayanna Jackson Latiffany Anderson Renee Cobbs Hill Akilah Moore Tammy Reese Rachel Deguzman Shettima Webb


Kelly Breuer


The Next Design


The Next Design



Yolanda Smilez, comedian, author, and straight up bad ass funny lady was shot on location at Comics Cafe and Comedy at the Carlson by photographer Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell for the latest edition of RWO’s “Something 4the Sista’s”. Make-up courtesy of Rosalind Matthew with clothing by Kurvy Kulture.

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.






Rochester Woman Online introduced you to new writer, Yolanda Smilez in January with the Launch of “Something for the Sistas”. Yolanda hopes through reading her column, you too, can find your smile as she has after facing so many trials and tribulations in life. Yolanda is a local comedian, the co-founder of Ms. Kurvie Pageant system, CEO of the Roc Awards, CEO of Smilez Entertainment and an up-and-coming author. She does it all. What is most amazing about Yolanda is her resiliency. The ability to get back up after life knocks you down. In addition to all of the awesome things Yolanda accomplished, she is a high-school dropout. She failed her GED test the first time she attempted it. She was a teen-aged mom. She lost one of her children to SIDS and lost her home in a fire. She somehow managed to keep going and became a woman of success and she wants you to know that you can too. Yolanda hopes by sharing her story she can give women the strength to overcome their difficulties and misfortune. Most importantly, that “You can find your smile again”.

Yolanda’s child died of SIDS at 9 months old. Yolanda indicates her faith in God and that she was still a mother got her through this tragedy. Yolanda knew she could not throw in the towel because she still had to

care for her oldest child, Tahlia. It’s easy to give up, but you have eyes watching you. You are still responsible for your remaining children. Life can’t end there.

Yolanda offers the following piece of advice for any mothers experiencing the loss of a child by saying, “I know, it’s a pain that never goes away. It’s a hole that will never be refilled. You must continue to live the life God gave you. Most of all, you will smile again, no matter what you’ve been through. You will smile again”. Yo l a n d a l o v e s entertainment. She loves attending live music shows, movies and hanging with her family. You can stay in the house or you can live. The choice is yours. Living exposes you to interesting events, meeting new people and enjoying your life. The choice is always yours. One of Yolanda’s most prized accomplishments is founding the ROC Awards. The ROC Awards is a local platform to celebrate Rochester accomplishments. The annual event seeks nominations and then the voting begins. Categories include “best barber, best model, best DJ, best designer, etc.” There was some controversary surrounding the event, but when isn’t there? You can’t make all people happy all of the time. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{{ COVER COVER STORY STORY STORY }} { COVER } “You must continue to live the life God gave you. Most of all, you will smile again, no matter what you’ve been through. You will smile again”.

Yolanda says, “I keep doing the ROC Awards because there is a community of people who believe and appreciate this platform. The heartfelt testimony, the comments of how people say they will do better, the tears on the faces, the cheers from the audience, and I can go on-and-on. We also create jobs for the youth. I love the flow of the production. The speeches were amazing. Let’s not forget the amazing performances. It is definitely a diverse production. 348


Our host Racqui B was awesome. She brought entertainment, fun, and sexy but remained professional. I believe in pouring back into the community because it gives others hope to be great and to pursue their dreams. It also lets them know there is someone who cares”. Yolanda is also an author. Her first novel is entitled “Big Momma Is the True Trap Queen”. The novel details the life of a church woman who also

sells drugs. The drug business is a family business. The Black Mafia. Yolanda is currently working on part two of her novel series. Be on the look out for that! Yolanda is also a professional local comedian. She does several shows monthly in Rochester. Make sure you catch one of her upcoming gigs. Never forget, you can always find your smile again!





“I keep doing the ROC Awards because there is a community of people who believe and appreciate this platform.�





Welcome to the March “I Love Smilez” column by your local comedian, that’s me, Yolanda Smilez! My goal with writing this column is to make you smile by the end of every read. I hope that here, you will find you can smile, even when things in your life are not going right. Keep this in mind, “No matter what you been or going through, you will smile again”. It’s a known fact, smiling gives power and energy to the human soul. We must try to always remember this. Living in Upstate New York, we all know about the four seasons: Winter, Fall , Spring, and Summer. I believe relationships have seasons. It’s an old saying. people come in your life for a reason and a season. Sure, we have our favorite season we don’t want to see go, but each season must happen, so things can produce and live. You ever held on to someone or something and it didn’t produce, but you didn’t understand why? You gave it the proper attention and took care of it with care. It’s because your season is over. Many people dream of falling in love, finding your soulmate, the one you create your foundation with, celebrating each other dreams and creating a family together. It feels so good when you are in a relationship with the ideal person, the one you

feel so complete with. You begin to give your significant other more of you, to build them to their fullest potential. Until one day, you become empty and you feel the shift in your relationship. The light that once shined so bright has become dim. We begin to say the season is ending. The pain

sets in when you can’t identify the seasons are over and you’re trying to pour into something that is dead. Your mind is stuck in the summer, but your relationship is in the middle of an ice storm. Nothing is able to grow. You have to be real with yourself and adapt to your new season. Divorce is a season many of us have a hard time understanding. We would never think after our wedding, we

would not be together. You’re standing in front of everyone looking your best. You smile and the tears can’t stop because the day is filled with joy. You blocked out every sign of this (your spouse is not you season) because you want a wedding, not a marriage. Please don’t confuse this. as I’m being a bitter writer and I’m against or don’t believe in couples finding true love, because I do. My goal is to help the reader who thought when it was time to divorce, they would not find joy, love, or their smile again. Facing the season of divorce was the hardest decision I had to make. This decision was hard because I was not faced with your typical reason for divorce, like cheating, being beat physically or emotionally. I forced someone to marry me, because I was ready for marriage. I wanted to be a wife, settle down and raise my family. See I was ready, and I had my own selfish needs that I pushed on my ex-husband. Yes, we loved each other, but he was not ready for marriage. Just because someone is a good person, doesn’t make them the one God has for you. I had to step up and be honest with this man and say, let me let you go, because I’m wasting your time. I was in marriage feeling ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ I LOVE SMILEZ } “I hope that here, you will find you can smile, even when things in your life are not going right. Keep this in mind, “No matter what you been or going through, you will smile again.”

empty and alone because he was not the one God had for me. It was so painful because I didn’t want to hurt him. He was a good man and father. It was a season I hated to face and be honest with myself when it was over. It left me in a depression; I thought I would never find true love. I dated so many in my past. All types: thug, church, blue collar, entertainer, you name it I went out with it. I thought I would never be back on the market for dating. I was getting older and just 358


didn’t have time for not being clear of my desires in any relationship I was going to enter. I took the time to heal from the season of the divorce. You need time to prepare for your next season or you will not be fully ready to receive everything the next season has for you. You hear many speak of spring cleaning. Ladies and Gents! Do a mental spring cleaning, so you can see clearly. You must get ready for the

new and let go of the old seasons. Prepare yourself to take charge of your season. Find your smile again. Find your peace. Find your way. Find your happy ending. Never be stuck in a dead season any more.









A NEW APPROACH TO D AT I N G, RELATIONSHIPS AND SELF-LOVE In 2016, 48% of African American women reported that they had never been married compared to 34% of all Americans. According to www. blackdemographics. com, there are about 364,000 more Black men who are married than Black women even though Black women are 51% of the Black population. While marriage has been a declining institution among all Americans and this decline is even more evident in the Black community fewer Black women are have never been married than ever before. While there’s evidence that shows high incarceration rates of Black men and interracial marriage are contributing factors, Black women are more likely to be single than other women across America. As such is the case with myself. In early 2019, I set out to address the issue of singleness among women in

the Black community with the goal of changing the societal narrative that being single is a sad and lonely space to be in. While there are persistent stereotypes and myths there are significant advances toward more affirming and accurate discussions of what it means to be single.

In February 2019, I launched a blog called Single Dope Black Chick (SDBC). SDBC is a space to have real conversations about life as a single woman. All too often, society has told women that they should be married with kids and have a flourishing career by a certain age. Reality says something different. Most women are waiting later to

get married and have children, and are exploring various careers, entrepreneurial endeavors and passion projects. The blog explores all realities of Black women and gives readers a glimpse into my life as a professional and business owner, who is unmarried with no children. After three failed relationships, I’m ready to help women redefine life as a single woman, discover self-love, explore new definitions of dating and relationships, and live happy and whole lives. For more information on Single Dope Black Chick and to read the latest blog posts, visit the official Facebook page at: https://www.facebook. com/singledopeblackchick/





In Arts & Culture Must Be Intersectional

many are producing innovative, exceptional work for which they are well respected at home and abroad.

In 2016 the New York City (NYC) Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) conducted a diversity in the arts study with input from most of the arts organizations, in all 5 boroughs, that received DCLA funding. The study concluded that even though NYC is what has been referred to as a majority, minority city - the arts and culture landscape continued to be inequitable for people of color (POC). The majority of people of color who worked for the cultural organizations that were responsive to the survey were employed as receptionists, security guards, and in other positions without decision making authority.

I think it is hard for some white women to fully process how more justice for them doesn’t automatically produce more justice for women of color. And why an over emphasis on breaking through glass ceilings could seem tone deaf to their black and brown sisters -many of whom are struggling to just get in the door. Why should women of color be more willing to

Harris, Delores Jackson Radney, Tamara Leigh, Tianna Mañón, Rachel McKibbens, Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez, Danielle Ponder, KaeLyn Rich, and I. Because we are all so busy with our careers and activism, our greatest challenge to-date has been getting everyone in the same room. at the same time for a meeting. The other reasons WOC Art Collaborative was established are affirmative, proactive, aspirational. We plan to make and produce art in multiple disciplines through our lenses as women of color, create collaborative nets that work, garner resources for redistribution to other women/femmes of color, initiative conversations about things that matter, and overall to get things done.

It’s critical to add that even when they identified as creators, most of the employed men and women of color were not engaged as artists or culture workers at their institutions. The diversity in the arts study also found most of the CEOs working for organizations funded by the NYC DCLA were white women. This fact was statistically surprising to me even though I knew that white women, over decades, have been the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action programs and other diversity initiatives. I say that not to begrudge them their ascendance in the field (which is a positive advance) but to point out that under the majority leadership of white women in NYC, the sector continued to struggle with creating more equity for people of color, especially for women of color. Let’s be blunt and bring this conversation closer to home and say out loud that women of color creatives in Rochester are marginalized and have fewer resources because of systemic racism and gender discrimination - though 364


accept trickle down equity from other women who passionately reject similar trickle-down equity being bestowed on them by men? This is but one of the reasons I founded WOC Art Collaborative with 10 other women artists and creatives. WOC (pronounced “woke”) Art Collaborative is a multi-generational collective of Black women & women of color creators in Rochester, NY committed to bringing the power of their individual accomplishments, visions, and social justice practices to create an institution rooted in intersectional equity for women, femme, gender-variant and nonbinary artists of color. The Collaborative is comprised of N’Jelle Gage Thorne, Reenah Golden, W. Michelle

as culture workers.

In 2019, WOC Art Collaborative will solidify our vision, mission, structure, and programs as we all continue to do the impactful work in arts and social justice, which we did before we came together. We will also engage emerging women artists of color in innovative programs that accelerate their careers and growth

WOC Art Collaborative employs a “powerwith” engagement model, which we will implement from our own loft space, our headquarters located at 215 Tremont Street, Door 3/Suite 300. We also have access to 240 days per year in the adjacent Gallery Seventy Four – where we will perform, exhibit, entertain, and educate. The public is invited to join us. As I heard Miguel Gutierrez once say at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference, one year – “transformation is disruptive.” Talking about sexism, misogyny and racism is uncomfortable. But we only have to look at our legacy in Rochester to

{ QUEEN OF ARTS } “Let’s be blunt and bring this conversation closer to home and say out loud that women of color creatives in Rochester are marginalized and have fewer resources because of systemic racism and gender discrimination.”

know that transformation is possible. We won’t be as successful as a community when we exclude some of our most brilliant voices from the chorus.

Founder and Managing Artistic Director of The Avenue Blackbox Theatre, a creative bold space with a mission to elevate the voices, interests and art of the marginalize.

But we’re not waiting for anyone to give us permission or let us in closed doors. WOC Art Collaborative has the creative talent, skills, and initiative to start our own chorus.

W. Michelle Harris is a digital media artist and associate professor at RIT. Harris creates both interactive video installations for gallery settings and live-mixed visuals for music and dance performances. Her work often explores lives lived in the context of patriarchy and racism.

Our website is under construction, but follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ WOCArt585 Rachel Y. DeGuzman is the president and CEO of 21st Century Arts, founder and curator of At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice, host of Up Close and Cultural, and the founder of WOC Art Collaborative ADDITIONAL INFOWOC Art Collaborative members: Rachel Y. DeGuzman is CEO of 21st Century Arts and ARTivist in Residence at Gallery Seventy Four. The focus of her work is decentering whiteness in arts/culture by centering the art, narratives & voices of people of color - especially women & marginalized LGBTQ communities. In fulfillment of that vision, she established “At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice” and then organized and initiated the founding of WOCˑArt Collaborative. N’Jelle Gage-Thorne is president of FuturPointe Dance, which she co-founded in 2009 with the vision to re-introduce Caribbean creative diversity in the dance community and to promote cross-cultural dialogue and conviviality. Born in Jamaica, N’Jelle has performed on stages throughout North America, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. She is an in-demand choreographer and educator. Reenah Golden has spent her life cultivating experiences that reflect her passion for arts, culture, and education in ways that redefine womanhood and purpose. Her primary mediums as an artist are pen, page, and stage. She is a native of Rochester where she is the

Delores Jackson Radney is an actor, director, art historian, educator, curator, writer, and founding partner of Kuumba Consultants, an arts-in-education agency providing arts and cultural programming for school and youth organizations throughout the greater Rochester, NY region. Tamara Leigh, a Rochester native, is the current Director of Communications at the Out Alliance, an agency that champions the rights and lifestyles of the LGBTQ+ community and Editor of their publication, The Empty Closet. Leigh also acts as co-host of radio show, Brunchin’ With Dee & T. on WAYO 104.3FM and CEO of Roc Candy Media, an urban Public Relations, Brand Development and Media Management firm. Tamara co-chairs, Rochester Black Pride and is a published author of “A Young Thug’s Heart” and “Love and Loyalty, Not Just

Another ‘Hood Love Story”. Her most sacred accomplishment, however, is being mom to her two young sons, Zaire & Zayden who have already begun a movement to change the world all their own. Tianna Mañón is a multimedia journalist based in Rochester NY. She enjoys covering political and policy decisions and making them approachable for the average reader. Rachel McKibbens is an acclaimed poet & resistor. She is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and the author of three critically acclaimed books of poetry, blud, Into the Dark & Emptying Field, and Pink Elephant. In 2009, she became the first Latina to win the Women of the World Poetry Slam championship title. In 2012, McKibbens founded the Pink Door Writing Retreat, an annual retreat exclusively for femme, trans & gender variant writers of color. She co-curates the reading series Poetry & Pie Night and co-owns the Spirit Room in downtown Rochester. Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez is artistic director of Borinquen Dance Theatre, which she founded in 1981 as well as an administrator with the Rochester City School District. She is an expert on the traditions of dance in Latin culture. Danielle Ponder is a musician and attorney. A native of Rochester, NY- she performs internationally with her band Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People. She was previously employed by the Monroe County public defender’s office where she provided criminal defense for the indigent community. She is involved in several community initiatives and sits on the board of Teen Empowerment. KaeLyn Rich is an intersectional feminist, a direct-action organizer, a nonprofit leader, a teacher, and author of Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution. She’s an adoptee immigrant from South Korea, a comfort food foodie, and a working queer mama.





Tommi Billingsley an graduate from Lemoyne College graduate ,also a mother of two beautiful girls Aliena Yasia Jones and Yamoni-Rose Jones is a positive role model and influence in the Syracuse community. A community advocate who creates new ways to inspire, uplift and pour love in the souls of Syracuse residents especially women. Tommi’s organization Fearless Queens mission is to inspire women to fearlessly and with intention discover their inner power, develop their talents and gifts, and utilize their power as Queens to initiate change. Through motivational speaking at events or on social media platforms she definitely began a movement for women to be more confident and get outside their comfort zones. She uses amazing catch phrases regularly that can make anyone initiate change, such as “embrace her” or “be the change you want to see”. Traumatic experiences from hanging in the streets in her former life and losing a friend to violence made something spark where Tommi wanted to change her way of thinking and her environment . To achieve her goals ,to become someone. Change indeed she did fearlessly. Billingsley began doing internships at amazing companies in corporate America while taking business and management courses at Lemoyne College

However changed her mind of not wanting to work in corporate America instead she wanted to work in community, as well as start up her own companies becoming the changed she wanted to see in the community. This was an phenomenal change. Things she was learning she wanted to take back to her people where she comes from. A woman who speaks with passion Tommi is looked at not only as a community advocate , but also at times as a life coach using her social media and consultation platforms to give advice to women, moms, business Professionals and more on time management, self care and other topics . Business Tommi has created for herself includes selling boots and sneakers, having a hotdog stand , which she began to inspire African American children to be whatever they wanted to be. Tommi gives credit to god for the gifts she gives back to the community. Some major gifts she gives back includes a clothing line called Flygirlishhh which stands for : Forever Love Yourself. Become Glamorous , Intelligent, and Respect Ladies. Tommi clothing line message also includes putting a stop to Hating Human Habits. Inspired by her father love and support towards her she wanted women to love themselves too by putting inspirational quotes on t-shirts and it became success with a message of empowerment . To Tommi the message is more important than the fashion. Previously Tommi had Cancer now

cancer free her life continues to be a gift to her community. Other ways Tommi has given back to the community is with a Syracuse household name event called the Queens Brunch , an annual event that allows women from all walks of life a rebirth. The event includes motivational speakers, and empowerment activities. Showcasing unity with celebrity guests and celebration. The Queens Brunch allowes women needing to belong to something an event with meaning. Everyone being uplifted and changing. While putting a stop to not wanting to mingle with other women, teaching how important it is to love ourselves and support each other. The next brunch is September 2019. This event overall helps with personal development. Advice Tommi has for women who want to be a fearless leader is to change your mindset of how you see your self. Encourage yourself, forever love yourself. In the process learn to not allow fear to block you so do it afraid if need be. In order to do that it takes practice. Change your mind of what u believe in. Belief starts with you . Everything Tommi does she does for her community. As she learns and grows she takes what she learned and poured back. This amazing fearless Queen leading the charge on her throne To contact Tommi Billingsley email








We have all heard of the old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well the truth of the matter is, words can be a double-edged sword. Whether the verbal attack unearths a hidden wound or causes a fresh offense, words can be lethal. How else do people develop self-esteem issues, and have their dreams snatched away from them? It can be a simple conversation where someone shares their goals and dreams, just to have someone say “it’s impossible” or give a condescending smirk. It can be the best idea which has never been done before, yet some will discount it before the dream has had a chance to sprout. Considering this scenario, some people would let the lack of support and negative comments fester. The wounds then turn into animosity and the joy of what they were excited to do, suddenly diminishes.

tend to shy away from the aggressor, or even tuck the pain so far in the back of their own minds; just so they can function on a day-to- day basis. In some cases, the person may think they are getting through life without any issues from their pain interfering with daily life. However, the truth of the matter, the individual may

Take a walk down the journey of your own childhood, how many times have bullies made demands or inflammatory remarks which have caused identity issues or low self-esteem?

revisit the pain and be restrictive in certain dealings, so they do not position themselves to be hurt again. The fact of the matter is the more people unmask their own truths, they are sharing histories of being domestic violence survivors. People not only reveal they have survived

When someone is offended, they

horrific experiences, but share stories of how they came out as a survivor, despite the odds. Maybe you were not the victim of domestic violence or never a suffered painful offense, but what did you do with the situation where you found out you were lied on? How did you resolve the issue where you were passed over for promotion? What if you were betrayed by a significant other or heard how your name was scandalized in the rumor mill? If you have not dealt with the pain or the offense, it is highly likely you are harboring unforgiveness. If something happened and you felt you were wronged and decided to move on and vowed to never work with someone else, you may be harboring unforgiveness. Just as hate does more harm to the vessel it is housed in, so does unforgiveness. In fact, the person still resentful, pained and otherwise wounded has to let go of the situation to in essence free themselves. When we forgive, it gives us a position of power and actually frees us from the place of hurt. When we are free, we can live life with clarity and live a life of abundance. We can forgive and allow ourselves ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ DR KIKI SPEAKS } “When we are free, we can live life with clarity and live a life of abundance. We can forgive and allow ourselves to no longer be a victim of how we were treated. �

to no longer be a victim of how we were treated. Forgiveness is not for the oppressor, it allows us to be faced with similar issues and not be angry. Forgiveness allows us to function at an optimal level, without any regards to what happened to us. After all, we are not responsible for how others treat us, we are only responsible for our responses. Hence, we can forgive and move forward to be a better person and once we are strong enough, help someone else. Forgiveness allows us 376


to move past what happened to us and gives us hope that we are not the experience we lived through; we are not the words they said, we are not the rumors, the insults, the violence, the favoritism, the lack of love, the rape, the actions done to us which diminished us at that time. Forgiveness is within itself the art of admitting something happened, and knowing you are not responsible for the horrific act, yet you can let it go without diminishing the fact

that something happened. Pain will heal with time, however the sooner we relinquish all the ill feelings and thoughts attached to what harmed us; the power of forgiveness becomes ours. So, I challenge you to live a better quality of life by letting go of what may have offended you and forgive. The moment you forgive you will then unblock the goodness of life and be able to provide the same hope to others. Go Forth & Forgive!






2019 is the year of bridging together in the fashion industry world and Katlady Productions is off to a great start. The flavor of the year is collaboration with other designers, models, producers, film agents & writers. It is so very exciting. Working together provides bigger opportunities. A great business woman knows it takes a team to really reach success. My creations are just one piece of the overall picture of what it is all about. I would like to introduce some of Katlady Productions’ © mature models and our manager, Teddy Peterson. Being part of our team, means we share the spotlight. Teddy manages the business part of the organization. The models assist in making the furs beautiful. Their style and grace make the fashion come to life. What is it actually like to be a Katlady Production model? Managing a designer is often hard work and takes someone who is dedicated to the craft. Teddy Peterson, a designer himself (CEO of Suits by Teddy Peterson) is also the manager of Katlady Productions. Teddy says, “I met this phenomenal woman, Regina Smith, while doing a video clip for my suit line. She immediately impressed me with her vision and energy. She was doing a fashion show for the late, great Vaughn “Quiet Storm” Harper. We collaborated on a youth fashion show at a youth center in Harlem, and the rest is history. I must say this young lady inspired me to take my own creativity & energy to another level. I’ve learned quite a lot by being around her, and networking, I am honored and privileged to be in a position to assist in the fashion world. The future looks very bright and I am excited to be a part of this production company. The

company has no limits of elegance. On behalf of Regina Smith and staff, I am proud to say, borrowing this phase from Ms. Smith, “We are changing the world, one step at a time”. Katlady Productions© models come from all around the world. They are all so beautiful and talented, as well as, seasoned & mature. We are an equal opportunity employer. Becoming a model with us is an interesting experience as we do a variety of

rock the runway! This is a dream come true and was always a long-term goal of mine to become a model. I will not let any of you down. I am looking forward to being part of the team. This experience showed me I’m a model for life!”. For the last two years, Cookie modeled with Katlady Productions©. Model, Cookie explained stating, “Two years ago, I met this beautiful person, named Regina Smith aka Katlady Productions©. She afforded me the opportunity to continue something I embarked on years ago, modeling. Regina embraces the young at heart and is seasoned in spirit”. Model, Wendell Sawyer, is an original founding member of “Blue Magic” 40 years ago. He joined us modeling because he was interested in trying something new. He started as a supporter of model Carol Hamilton.

shows in many different venues employing interesting concepts of fashions. We use a mix of models; beginners, returning models and experienced models. Each model has an interesting, compelling personality and demonstrated they were capable of slaying the runway. Newcomer, Model, Carol Hamilton states, “It was a moment of immense pleasure to learn I am showcasing for Katlady Productions©. I am ready and excited to

Wendell says, “At first, I was there to support Carol Hamilton. After watching her grow, I joined and I am happy I did. The entire experience is amazing. I learned a whole different side of the entertainment business. Katlady Productions© showed me how to walk the catwalk and “SLAY”. Models are people like you and me. Where do they get the confidence to showcase fashions? The first step is remembering, you are the most important person in your life. See your beauty, protect, and respect your space. Ask yourself what are your priorities in fashion? Be accountable for your individual style. Find your answers ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019



in the colors you wear daily. Follow your dream and become a fashion icon in your life. You can be a model in your everyday life. 101 Fashion & furs will guide you to your inner beauty behavior. Live life focusing on colors. It is time to be adventurous and brighten your world! Use fierce, vibrant colors and always be graceful, infusing those near and far into your light, so they can shine too. Research colors, fabric and furs. Laugh on purpose; learn that making a mistake 382


with colors may turn out to be amazing. Once you see the finished project come together, you have created your own style. Think outside the box! Measure yourself by your own standards. Be influenced by you. Be enlightened by others. Passion for fashion comes from the inside of individuals. It takes on its own personality in everyone. It is a personal choice to follow 101 Fashion & Furs. We will grow to have a personal relationship. Come out of your shell and embrace your individuality! Be your own model every

day. Slay! Be confident! Don’t’ forget to smile. Strike a pose! VOGUE. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at katladyprod@gmail. com and we will respond within 24 hours. As the CEO & founder of Katlady Productions©- a platform highlighting the talent of multicultural of models, designers, and much more in the fashion world, we would like to say thank you and enjoy! Until next time.






Taking chances are literally my claim to fame narrative since I arrived in the world. I never once passed over an opportunity which potentially alters my life for the better. I chose pageantry as the initial game changer for me to advance and become the gentleman I’ve always wanted to be. Through my years of competing, I only looked at myself as just the “pageant guy” or the “overly interesting guy” never anything past that. Now I can call myself “aspiring male model” as I participated in NY Fashion Week. I was blessed with a model’s dream come true. This article is taking a departure from my pageant prep to explore my 2019 fashion week journey through the lens of Mr. Gay Pennsylvania America, 2018. Having this chance opened my eyes, and I hope you readers are ready to enjoy! New York fashion week usually is held in February and September of every year on a semi- annual basis. This week cram packs international, local, experimental, and new designers of the world all showcasing their designs. New York coupled along with Paris, Milan, and London are the four most important shows of the season. Each collection is viewed by fashion heavyweights, may it be buyers, the press of major publications, and more importantly also the general public. We as models look at fashion week as our Super Bowl or championship if you will. Having the opportunity to walk as an aspiring model, reigning titleholder, and coach is truly remarkable. Having the opportunity

to walk along side professional models, reigning titleholders, and miscellaneous fashion ICONS proves great things can come when you least expect it. This was a truly different experience for me, then the first time I participated and honestly me want to model more. My first fashion week was in September

of 2016, I was asked by PS Privette from Pageant Live to compete for the title of Mr. New York Fashion Week. This contest combined modeling and pageantry in one very diverse format during fashion week. We were tasked with modeling a black & white look, fun fashion, and swimsuit. The big stipulation was we had to use our clothes, professional hair & makeup, and create the proper fashion vibe while being a

model. The winner was given various print/ commercial jobs, the honor of walking in Fashion Week over seas in Asia, and exposure. The feedback I received was so ICONIC, from the platinum colored suit to the camouflage fun fashion and ending in a super cute yellow & blue swimsuit. I felt like a true top model. After the shoes left the runway, I ultimately placed as the first runner up to Tommy Maksanty of Woodbridge, Virginia. This experience I believed was going to be it, until we fast forward to February 09, 2019 when I walked again. My second fashion week experience was granted to me by Rene Bionat and Art & Beauty Magazine who were hosting the fashion week 2.0 shows. This show exclusively had the delegates of the Miss Earth USA, Miss USA, World’s perfect pageant, and other mainstream pageant systems walk amongst the professional models. This was the first year that the 2.0 show featured a curvy girl collection, and two various menswear lines which featured two different but up and coming designers. I was selected with eight other models ranging from 16 to 31, representing Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania. During rehearsals, all 9 of the male models were asked to do a “go see” with one of the designers. They only had 6 menswear looks and had to choose who deemed the best fit for her collection. To my surprise, I was selected to walk in both shows which was literally an OMG moment. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ AN ICONIC MOMENT } “Having the opportunity to walk as an aspiring model, reigning titleholder, and coach is truly remarkable. Having the opportunity to walk along side professional models, reigning titleholders, and miscellaneous fashion ICONS proves great things can come when you least expect it.”

My first collection, I walked for was NONELIAH by Naomi Johnson out of Glen Cove, NJ. This collection was centered around her son’s legacy and memory. Naomi’s son was a up and coming rapper and clothing designer whom was brutally murdered by a bus driver. This bus driver repeatedly ran him over and dragged him over and dragged him to death and received zero ramifications for this. Naomi fearlessly decided to continue on and took the clothes and infused her son into it. The looks varied from solid two pieces with hoods, bright blue pieces with urban style collars. The main pieces in this collection were centered around music notes, keyboards, and the brand of the collection on those pieces were the direct nod to her son. I was blessed to wear one of the more important pieces in this show a two-piece short & shirt combo. The garments were simple, sexy, urban, and cool for the summer. Miss Johnson was truly a sweetheart, a pleasure to work with, and reminded me of my mom at points. The biggest take away from her collection was love has no boundaries between a mother and son. The second collection I walked for was RAD CREDENTIALS by Darron Chapman of Minnesota. Making it to fashion week was a dream come true for Darron and he was 388


overjoyed to work with all 9 of us guys. The RADDIE collection encompasses classic men’s silhouettes, urban modern prep realness with a vintage 90’s sensibility. Each look gives a variety for men to choose from especially

made his collection the most swagtastic of all. I loved my look the most and I wanted to keep my look truthfully. I wore a play on the patchwork sweater meets turtleneck with the only amazing collar. This look also was the only one that featured the brand logo and had the most drama to it. I enjoyed walking with that collar over my face, I truly felt certifiable with the only rad credentials. All in all, my New York Fashion Week experience has changed my life. Being the oldest of all the guys, I assumed that my time was gone. I gained a newfound sense of confidence in myself that I needed to find. I was able to promote my title amongst pageantry & fashion royalty, made new connections, and left having me itching to do more modeling. I can’t say thank you enough to Art & Beauty magazine for the chance, it honestly made my year so far and proves ICONIC MOMENTS exist for those who need it.

for the fall/winter. I also want to highlight how cool, chilled, and relatable as a person/ designer Darron was. Darron made walking his clothes easy, super calming, and most importantly fun. These aspects are what






It was a cold a rainy morning around 2:30am. I dreaded getting out of my bed, however Fashion calls. I remember feeling sluggish and not as excited as I was when I was asked to participate in New York Fashion Week(NYFW). However, I got myself dressed and ready to travel these roads for modeling love. As we headed out (Precious Taylor) and I, with her family, it all started to sink in. I was actually headed to NYC to model. At that point, I became full of energy and started to get excited again. Not nervous, but excited. You see, I never went to NYC and for me that was a gift to see the “BIG CITY”. We headed towards NYC and as we were on the road, I had so many thoughts running through my head. The who’s, what’s and how will I react once I get there? What I will see, touch and feel? The food and the people and on and on and on, my brain was just rapidly running. I decided to just take a nap and hopefully when I wake up, BAM we’re in the BIG City. However, I woke up and we were still driving lol. When I opened my eyes, it was somewhat sunny out, wet but nice feeling. It was nice because I was NOT in Rochester, NY, my

home town, you can say. I am not exactly from Rochester. I was born and raised in Sodus, NY, about an hour from Rochester. Yup, I am a Country Gal. Sodus and Sanford, Florida was my world till I was about

stops and or gas fill ups whizzing by as we passed them. We were an hour behind because of encountering about 3 accidents on the way to NYC. We were supposed to be there by 9 am.

18-years-old. That is when I became a Rochesterian. So, as we proceed to have this adventure, I started writing some things down on what I saw or was feeling. I see a lot of cars and trucks with different people of all nationalities driving to get a destination, as we were. Signs of restroom stops, truck


What do you know, we arrived in NYC and it was different, busy and a lot of people honking their horns. Cars and buses were cutting in front of people, but it was so awesome to see. Big buildings tall and wide. We got to our first destination (Fittings). We were walking for a Designer named DivaBIgg, from Florida. She was a wonderful woman, but also a hot pepper. She had a great personality and her style was amazing. You can follow her on Instagram, ( bbwintheroom). When we were done with our fitting, we proceeded to head on over to our “meet and greet” at Venue on 35 West 38th Street. We did a run through with other models and met so many women from all over. Once the meet and greet was done, we headed to the

What I needed …… We spent our first night in NYC sleeping, getting ourselves ready for the big day, modeling. We modeled at a Venue at 4 West 43rd Street ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


New York, NY 10036. We had to be there at 9am to start, what I call a day of full effects lol. Within an hour of us being at the venue, we did a run through to make sure the runway was comfortable for all the models with their heels they chose to wear. Around noon, our makeup started, my face was beat by Simaia Few (Facebook). Precious and I were asked to bring our pageant sashes and crowns. We were recognized as pageant titleholders while other women were being crowned. It was time to “Rip the Runway”. The Show began. When I put on the outfit chosen for me, I felt beautiful and flawless. Makeup beat and wardrobe on fleek, I felt more than beautiful, but Important. It is a different feeling any time you rip the runway, no matter who you are modeling for 394


or where. This feeling was huge to me. To rip the runway in NYCFW was BIG. As it was our time to represent (DivaBIgg) Models, my heart was beating ten times faster than normal but in a good way. To be in a modeling show, full of camera’s and lights, and so many different people watching you from all over the world was great. As It was my turn to rip the runway, I stepped on that stage and walked smoothly and swiftly as I could to show off my clothing and me, who I was at that particular time, and how I felt was amazing. When it was all done, I felt like yes! Yes! Yes! I did it and didn’t fall, stumble or even freeze. You see when you go through some storms, the feeling you get about yourself can make you a little low, but when I am on that stage, I do not think about what I am going through

or what just happened. Again, the who’s, what’s, why me? My passion for modeling is a special feeling that takes over on the inside and makes me feel invisible to the world of cold and bitterness but visible to sunshine and grace. Being a Model is not easy at all. Some of us just don’t have that “WALK” to “Rip the Runway” or be able to be photogenic for the camera. To look at yourself on video, or in a photo can be amazing. I thank God for the blessing he has given me, the gift of beauty for the runway. It is a great feeling. Again, when I get on someone’s billboard or bus I have met my goal. Till next time  ~ Sheila Young ~




Dear Woman,

Never forget who you are!

Through the centuries you have been down played Downgraded and told you are the weaker sex Cook , clean and have babies And I must confess that often times I too, give in to a woman’s demise of feeling less than or not powerful enough to stand up and claim that I am a Woman But Dear Woman Where does your power lie? Not with muscles Not with Brawn For it was in you since the beginning of dawn that YOU were the birth of all men and it was in You where all life began so Yes, Dear Woman Where is your strength? It is not through your ability to hide your tears for in fear of being called “too emotional” But in your ability to know that your tears are like waves in the oceans and your water gives life so Dear Woman, it is within you that sets things in motion for your secret portion is not of spells for in you dwells your femininity Like the Lioness of the jungle who is to humble to say that she is the real king Oh, Dear Woman, How did you forget who you were?

March is Women’s History Month and I wanted to celebrate WOMEN. What we do wrong and most of all what we do right. Often times we as women are too hard on ourselves. Some of us never give

in to our inner inhibitions of whatever that is because we are so busy being the perfect woman that society tells us we should be. We are either too loud, too weak, too emotional, too emotional, too emotional (yes I said it three times),

not beautiful enough and the list can go on and on and on. I often wonder why society is just so hard on women as a whole. I mean you do know that we cry right? I even often wonder why this world is ruled by men? Who made that rule? I mean really, just take a look around you and you tell me that if women were to be removed from this world then where would the men be? And pretty please, don’t think that my celebration of women is somehow man bashing. I love my men. I could not live without them. We need our men to.. to……., let me get back to you on that. I mean who is going to change my tires or lift something heavy/ Yessss, that is what we need men for. After all I don’t want to break a nail. But back to this women’s empowerment situation. We just want to be respected. We want our voices to be heard. I am in love with the #Metoo Movement, which gave women a voice who were ashamed or in fear or just didn’t think anyone cared about their voice. Even men were able to join in and have an open dialogue on their own personal #metoo stories. But it was a WOMAN that had the courage to stand up and shout that women and not only women but all our voices matter and we should not be silenced.





{ MODEL ESTEEM } “So to my women who are rocking , handling themselves the way they want to handle themselves and not being manhandled (it’s the poet in me), I celebrate you, this Women’s Month. Rock On Girl! Rock On!”

My favorite woman of all time is Harriet Tubman. Yes, that Harriet Tubman and I don’t have to wait until Black History Month to celebrate her. Nicknamed Moses, she was the epitome of a fearless woman. After being able to FREE herself from slavery, she could have just worried about herself and not went back and risked her life to free other slaves. I can’t imagine the thoughts that went through her head, along with the fear. But her faith and her will to truly have

those who were in bondage be set free is truly implacable. I strive to be a little like Harriet Tubman and I truly believe that ALL women no matter what race have a little Harriet in us. Women all over the world sacrifice daily for their families, friends, jobs, success with little to no recognition. I think that is really what we all want in the long run, respect. Respect that our sacrifices are not in vain. That being a

woman can be both powerful and beautiful at the same time. So to my women who are rocking , handling themselves the way they want to handle themselves and not being manhandled (it’s the poet in me), I celebrate you, this Women’s Month. Rock On Girl! Rock On! Shettima Webb Model Esteem LLC








Women share there stories of why they got married There are numerous reasons why people decide to make the ultimate commitment in life and get married. Marriage is a unionship, that two people take before the eyes of a higher power, and sometimes family and friends. For some, marriage is a way to define their love, but then there is some who marry for money, some marry for emotional support or companionship, some marry for the big celebration, some marry for legal reason and residency, then there are some who marry for the hell of it. For me, getting married at 21 years old was the right thing to do at the time, at least I thought it was. I had been surrounded by married couples my entire life. My parents had been married for 33 years at the time, both my brothers had gotten married and just about every one of my paternal and maternal aunts and uncles were married, or had been married. It was also a symbol of adultism for me. By the time I was 21 I had not made any major decisions on purpose, deciding on getting married was defiantly the first. By the time I was 12 I had watched so many movies centered around marriage, weddings, family, and parenthood. Coming to America, Steels Magnolias, and Sixteen candles where some of my favorites. I can

remember getting the Sears and JCPenney catalog in the mail and flipping through the toy section and seeing bride and groom barbie dolls and wanting one. When I was in Kindergarten my classroom had a play corner which was set up like a home. In this play area there where was a kitchen with fake food, pots and pans, plates, cups, utensils, there were boy and girl dolls, as well as clothing for us to dress up in. All the girls would play with the babies and

put on the wedding dress and vail. Like many, the idea of weddings in marriage was engrained into me at a young age. Being smothered with the idea of marriage left me day dreaming about getting married, but way to inexperience and young to understand what marriage entailed. I know that I wanted to get married and settle down, but I wasn’t really ready for

all marriage offered. I found excitement in the idea of dressing up and smashing cake in each other’s faces, even though my wedding didn’t really go that way. When I met my husband, I was 20 and I wasn’t really thinking like “okay I am going to marry him”, it just kind of happened. We had talked about what it would be like to get married, but we had not planned on getting married no time soon. As I said in a previous article, he and I had only been dating for 3 or 4 months when we decided to get married. We were walking downtown one day, and we walked past the hall of justice or maybe we had to stop in there for something, whatever the reason was it brought us to talking about us actually getting married. Somehow that very day we wound up applying for marriage license, and we set a date to come back to city hall and get married about a month later. He and I had some of the same reasons for wanting to get married, yet we had some very different reasons as well. For me, one of the main reasons was the fact that I was pregnant with our first child, was only 20 years old, and I didn’t want to be a young single mother, nor did I want to be an embarrassment to my family and myself (I never was an embarrassment in my parents eyes, it was me thinking that I would be). Other reasons for me was I was in love, and I was exercising my right to make a major adult decision on my own. For him, he fell in ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ THE MARRIAGE CHRONICLES } “For some, marriage is a way to define their love, but then there is some who marry for money, some marry for emotional support or companionship, some marry for the big celebration, some marry for legal reason and residency, then there are some who marry for the hell of it.”

love with me, he appreciated my weirdness, my sweet personally, how humble I was, and how I never judged him. He had already played the field, he had been in a long-term relationship prior to me, he had already had children, and he was truly ready to settle down. He was a little older than me and had lived a very different life then I had. He had gone through things in his 26 years of life that I could never imagined going through. He had reached a point in his life where he was truly ready to make that commitment. Why do others get married? Jamequa, Mrs. Kurvie Upstate NY 2018 shared why she and her husband got married. For Jamequa, she had always known she was going to be somebody’s wife, “I mean it’s every girls dream” but for her marrying her childhood friend made it much more worth it. Her parents were married for 23 years so having that influence and seeing that love whether good or bad made her want the same as she got older. Getting married completed her. For Jamequa’s husband, getting married gave him purpose in life! Sedawnie, owner and operator of Sharpe Fit clothing, shared why she and her 406


husband made the ultimate commitment. For Sedawnie, it was all about the love they shared and built with one another over the course of 5 years before getting married. Sedawnie’s husband told her that he knew when they were just friends that she was going to be his wife. Her husband

and laugh every day, when he held her in his arms, she felt protected and provided for. Chars husband proved to her that he was the man she wanted and needed in her life, and Char said that her husband filled a void and she has never desired another man. Regina shared her beautiful story of why she and her husband got married. For Ragina, she and her husband were able to maintain their relationship through some of the worst of times and was able to come out standing strong. This let her know they were able to past the test of trials and tribulations that was put in front of them. For them, getting married was in Gods ultimate plan. Lastly, just to add in a little humor, Davi Jay said she is still trying to figure out why she got married a eternity later, lol. Ebony said “good question, I am asking why too”.

was and is the man she wanted to share her everything with, every moment, every great accomplishment, her love and respect. Char June explained shared why she got married. Char said that she married her best friend when she married her husband. She and her husband were able to share anything together. He made her smile

Marriage is a universal part of culture across the world and is celebrated in many different ways and has many have different meanings. Everyone has their own personal reason for getting married whether justifiable or not. For whatever the reasons may be marriage is a big decision and always a work in progress.











Diabetes is a severe metabolic condition that affects 16 million Americans. Over the last decade, it has reached epidemic heights in Black women. 1 in 4 black women ages 55 and older have diabetes and is listed as the fourth leading cause of death for all ages. Diabetes is also more prevalent among black women than in other ethnic groups. As millions of people live full and happy lives with diabetes, so did Harriet Ballard. She was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010 at the age of 29. Like most 30 somethings, she wasn’t concerned about health, and she never took her medication prescribed for diabetes. One day in February 2014 Harriet Ballard noticed a grey film covering her left eye. Not knowing what was happening or what was to come, Harriet merely adjusted, only to be faced with a similar experience one year later. While working at her computer, suddenly she has no vision in the center of her right eye. On the drive to the emergency room, Harriet’s mom prayed, and Harriet began to tell herself “it’s nothing, you will be back to work tomorrow, don’t worry.” It was only when the nurse asked Harriet to sign her name; that it became real because she could not see the paper. The doctors were unsure as to why this was happening. Even the specialist was looking for answers. Finally, she was told that there was a bleed behind each eye that had caused the loss of vision. Devastated and afraid, she thought “ how am I 33 years old, and blind”? She now depended on others for everything. Harriet an outgoing, get up and go, independent young women, could no longer work, she felt helpless. It was even hard for Harriet to pick out clothes to wear because she could not see colors and patterns. That was incredibly frustrating for someone who loves fashion and expressing herself through clothes and makeup. From a young age growing up in church and enjoying ministering to others by

singing in choirs, these feelings she was experiencing were different. She was mad at God! Wanting her sight back she was lost. Harriet began to deal with depression; she sat in the dark and hid all the things she was dealing with, crying in secrecy. For those that know Harriet is a sweet, kind, optimistic and encouraging woman. At this point, she felt like none of those things, but she put on a great front for others, so they

brothers, six sisters, and a loving church family helped remind her of the faith in her heart. She was reminded of “I can do all things through Christ Jesus that strengthens me” (Phil4:3). Harriet began to remind herself that no matter what, she believes God! Through a 4-hour eye surgery and numerous eye procedures, she held on to her faith and the prayers of her loved ones. Realizing that she didn’t have to give up on her dreams, she just had to adjust the way she looked at achieving them, researching on how to do things differently, finding ways to enhance what she sees. Harriet began to reteach herself on how to do makeup, learning new techniques of the application on not only herself but her clients as well. In doing so, she became more determined to prove that she could do anything. Harriet became serious about her life, health, and goals. Being grateful for lady Pamela Hennings for the lessons on food and nutrition, Harriet has adopted a vegan lifestyle and a more proactive approach to her health. She was starting to see the beauty of life that she was taking for granted.

wouldn’t be sad about what had happened to her. In the dark Harriet thought about how she would have to give up her dreams and her hobbies. No more doing her makeup, let alone “beating” anyone else’s face. The isolation had her in a dark place. Facing her future just made her more depressed. Through it all, Harriet still went to church, continued to do most the things she enjoyed. Her support system of a loving mother, ten

Harriet no longer sits back and dreams about her dreams; she gives them wings. One such dream that has taken flight is Harriet B cosmetics. (www.harrietbeauty. com) Harriet B cosmetics is a representation of how vivid Harriet sees things now. Being an entrepreneur and getting back to doing makeup has been Harriet’s rainbow after a dark storm. Losing her sight and now being blind in one eye, and legally blind in the other, has stopped nothing! Ms. Ballard says she has learned to not take anything for granted and to live her life for her. Taking her dreams to new heights Knowing all she has experienced that she is still clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. (Prov31:25)








As I have previously stated, I will use “Thoughts of a Curvy Girl”, to educate, entertain, and inform our readers on all matters of health, fun, and not so fun topics. I will this article with quotes about the month of April. Enjoy!! April is Aprhodite’s month. April is the fourth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar. April is derived from the Latin word Aperit, which means “to open”. It is considered that April is the month of growing season and when trees and flowers begin to open. We celebrate good days such as: Easter Sunday, Earth Day, April Fool’s Day and not so fun days like: the American Revolution. The bright colors of Spring, informs us that the long cold days of winter are over. April is also an awareness month for several things: National Oral, Head, Neck, Esophageal, and Testicular Cancers. Also, it’s Alcohol Awareness Month. Testicular Cancer--- in the United States it’s estimated that 9,310 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer, the average age of those diagnosed is 33, for men 15-44, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, but 8% of cases are diagnosed in men 55 or older, and 6% of cases are diagnosed in men and adolescents. The official ribbon color for Testicular Cancer Awareness is orchid, a purple violet color. Esophageal Cancer—The American Cancer Society estimates for esophageal cancer in the United States for 2019, are about 17,650 new esophageal cancer cases diagnosed (13,750 men, 3,900 women). About 16,080 deaths from esophageal cancer, 13,020 men, 3,060 women. Esophageal Cancer is more common in men than women, esophageal cancer makes up 1% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States, but is much more common in some other parts of the world, such as, Iran, Northern China, India, and Southern Africa. The

risk factors that cause increase risk of getting esophageal cancer are: Gerd, smoking, bile reflux, obesity and alcohol. The color ribbons for Esophageal Cancer Awareness are Blue and Gold. Oral Cancer—Approximately, 53,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer. 132 new people in the United States will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer, and 1 person will die from it every hour of the day.. whew, that’s a lot of people. Smoking and tobacco use are still the major risk factors, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients are young healthy non- smoking individuals, due to the HPV virus. Historically, this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in it’s development. Red and white pinstripe ribbons are used for Oral Cancer Awareness. Nasopharyngeal Cancer--(Head and Neck Cancer)—This cancer involves the mouth, nose, sinuses, salivary glands, throat, and lymph nodes. Head and Neck Cancer account for about 4% of al cancers in the United States. This year an estimated 65,410 people will develop Head and Neck Cancer, while younger people can develop the disease, most people are older than 50 when they are diagnosed. 48,000 men and 14,410 women will be diagnosed with Head and Neck Cancer. Tobacco and alcohol use are not risk factors for salivary gland cancers, infection with cancer causing types of HPV is a risk factor. The Head and Neck Cancer Awareness ribbon is burgundy and ivory. April is a host to other special days such as: Rosacea Awareness, March for Babies, Facial Awareness, National Volunteer Week. Every April, charities, hospitals, and communities recognize volunteers and foster a culture of service. National Volunteer Week was created By President Nixon in 1974 by executive order.

Autism Speaks kicks off World Autism Month during the month of April, beginning with World Autism Day, April 2nd. Joined by the thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes, and communities around the world light blue in recognition of people living with autism. World Health Day is observed on April 7th, which celebrates the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. In the United Kingdom, April is known as National Pet Month, here in the United States, we celebrate this day in May for our non- human family members. Also, National Pillow Fight Day is, April 6th. Here are some nice April quotes: “April is a promise that May is bound to keep”—Hal Borland “The first day of April is the day we remember what we are the rest of the other 364 days of the year.”—Mark Twain “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.” –T.S. Eliot “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”— William Shakespeare “Oh, the lovely fickleness of an April Day.”— W.H. Gibson “April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.”-Christopher Morley “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”—Socrates “Spring is nature’s way of saying, let’s party!!”— Robin Williams




NATURALLY KISSED I officially started Naturally Kissed By Latosha back in 2015. Both my girls (7 & 8 years of age) and I have our hair in its curly natural state, and purchasing products from the store was getting pretty costly.

definitely reap the benefits. Their favorite product is my vegan sugar lip scrub. The directions are to wipe off with a warm damp cloth, but they just ignore that and eat it off.

I started playing with different raw butters and oils to see what works best for our hair many years ago. So for a while, I would just make products for family and friends for fun. Then they really liked it and was requesting it more. So, I started purchasing product in bulk to make on a larger scale. Along with a little nudge from my husband, I said to myself “Why not make a little money for doing what you love?” People really enjoyed my handcrafted skin, beard and haircare products and things took off from there. I use raw/organic ingredients in my products which make them safe for babies, teens, adults, and folks with a mature swag. Our girls really love when I have extra product that I cannot jar. They 414


are my office and I deliver to those who cannot come to me. I also ship throughout the US and Globally. You can catch me at the Rochester public market in the spring/ summer, festivals & craft shows around Rochester, Buffalo, & Syracuse area. (More cities coming soon) Also on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Tumblr under kissedbylatosha I ’m c o n s t a n t l y thinking & creating new & innovative ideas. So, Naturally Kissed by Latosha’s brand will continue to expand. Being a woman of color with a business shows me that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to. I am showing my daughters, that women of color can be entrepreneurs and raise a family at the same time. has something for women and men alike. My kitchen and mini van

My girls have a front row seat on this adventure and being “like mommy” is already an achievement within itself.

Sharpe Fit is an Active Plus Size Clothing line that was founded in 2016. Sharpe Fit promotes the healthy lifestyle of a Curvy Woman, and getting Flawlessly Fit whether your in the gym, working out at home, or exercising outdoors. Sharpe Fit is more than a clothing line but a movement about accepting your curves and saying Eff the standards of society. The great thing about Sharpe Fit, is that it can be worn anywhere and you will look fabulous. To place an order Check out my IG and Facebook business page under Sharpe Collections. “BBWs make working out look good!�

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