Rochester Woman Online's March 2024 Edition

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179 SPECIAL FEATURE Rowing in the Square





















40 COVER STORY Fatima Razic

SPECIAL FEATURE Eat & Drink in the ROC




Dear Rochester Woman Online Community,

In our March 2024 edition, we are thrilled to introduce you to the remarkable Fatima Razic, our latest cover woman and an embodiment of empowerment and inspiration. From her journey as a refugee from Bosnia to her diverse roles as a singer, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker, Fatima’s story is nothing short of incredible. Dive into her compelling narrative on page 18 and mark your calendars to meet her in person at the Influential Woman Entrepreneurs Expo on Sunday, April 21, from 11 am to 5 pm at the Holiday Inn downtown. Hear firsthand about her amazing business ventures and experience her infectious energy as a fabulous female entrepreneur.

But that’s not all – this month’s edition is packed with even more captivating content. Explore our “What About the Men” column, shining a light on the inspiring journey of former felon and recovering addict, Jake Bishop. Additionally, don’t miss our special section showcasing some of Rochester’s finest dining and drinking spots, featuring the all-new self-pour wine bar, Unwine’d, gracing our cover.

Rochester Woman Online Magazine remains committed to delivering engaging stories, empowering narratives, and insightful features – and the March issue is no exception. Best of all, it’s free to download, share, and enjoy, so be sure not to miss a single word.

Of course, we couldn’t overlook our advertisers and the exciting upcoming events in our community. And if you know a woman who embodies empowerment and inspiration or if you’re eager to showcase your business in our upcoming editions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

We also are launching an all new podcast and editing/ production studio in Perinton Sqaure. Let us know if you want to join us. We are so excited for its launch!

Happy reading!

Fatima Razic was photographed on location throughout Rochester, NY by Brandon Vick Photography.

The magazine






Kelly Breuer

Marisa Zeppieri

Kelly Breuer

Brandon Vick Photography

Daniel Delucenay

Julie Oldfield

Kurt Brownell

Vivian Rivers

Paige Mehnke

Stephanie Hanna


Fatima Razic

Jake Bishop

Karen Messina

Robin DeWind

Lisa Wagner

Bill Tiberio

Denise “Karma”


Bonnie Floyd

Kelly Metras

Kelly Bush

Kelly Lisciandro

Kim Fischer

Sheryl Vega

Dan Clor

Chance & Brian Lowry

Laura Ponticello

The ACS Team

Joanne Ryan

Lisa Ireland

Karen Messina

Lori Bruton

Beth Aust

Nicole Doyley

Christine Piacentino




Kelly Breuer

Network Rochester

Network 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
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Our latest cover woman is a singer, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and so much more! From being a refugee from Bosnia to coming to the US, this amazing artist is leading the pack, inspiring others, and empowering women everywhere. From daily motivational reels, to opening a business and clothing line called Evolmi (I’m Love backwards), she is all about selflove and positivity, and Rochester Woman Online magazine is positive that this influencer is going to create success no matter what she does.

Can you share a bit about your background, growing up in Bosnia and later moving to Rochester, New York for school?

I was born in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was a happy go lucky kid and very attached to my dad. I followed him everywhere and wanted to spend every single minute with him. A month before I turned eleven years old, a civil war broke out and my parents decided that it would be safer for my oldest sister and myself to evacuate until it all settles down. We boarded one of the many buses leaving for what we thought would be a two week trip and ended up in Croatia on an island called Brač. That short trip turned into more than three years long because the civil fighting and war persisted for a lot longer than anyone thought it would. At fifteen I moved back to Bosnia to be wth my parents because my sister had gotten married and moved to Rochester, NY and I didn’t have anyone to stay with. The situation in Bosnia was better but still not completely safe. I could go to school

and immediately come home without making any pit stops because we never knew if something would happen. I was always mesmerized by the thought of the United States of America watching Beverly Hills and I thought America looked like that everywhere. So at fifteen I asked my parents if I could go to the US for a better education. They agreed and at sixteen I moved to St. Louis, MO where my middle

sister had moved a year before. After finishing my sophomore year of high school I moved to Rochester, NY to help my sister with my niece so that she could start working. I graduated high school from Wilson Magnet and continued on to MCC and eventually RIT. Moving across the world for a better education always meant that college was a priority. There was always a plan that I followed. Clearly after college I would start my professional

career and then everything else that normally follows.

What made you quit your corporate job to become an artist and entrepreneur? It definitely didn’t happen overnight. It took many years for me to realize that I was very creative and that dwelling in creative spaces inspired me and made me feel like I belonged to something greater than myself. When I was growing up and all through college my brain was very analytical which is why I loved all the logical subjects like math and programming. I loved it because it was black and white and there was always a correct answer. There wasn’t much room for emotional involvement or matters of opinion. Even my college degrees are very analytical with both Bachelor and Master of Science in Information Technology. It was during my time in corporate world that I started asking questions. After seven years in clinical research and predictive analytics I was financially stable and independent. Moving across the world for education meant that my plan was always to finish college and start working but once I got to that place I realized that I wasn’t fulfilled. I thought after spending the previous fourteen years following the plan that once I accomplished it, I would feel some type of internal joy that went beyond my bank account. But that didn’t happen.

It was a Sunday morning and a radical thought crossed my mind. What if I quit my job? At first I was hesitant because I was afraid of what it would mean if I followed a very unconventional path. But after a few days it became obvious


“It took many years for me to realize that I was very creative and that dwelling in creative spaces inspired me and made me feel like I belonged to something greater than myself.”


it would mean if I followed a very unconventional path. But after a few days it became obvious to me that I had to do it because it felt too good to ignore and Universe and God helped me because I had an excuse. I had a two credit independent project to complete to receive my Masters degree and time was running out. I had less than a year to get it done before I had to retake all the classes. So I told everyone that I am quitting to go back to school to finish my Masters but I knew that I was quitting because I had too many unanswered questions. Why was I unhappy? Why was I unfulfilled? Why didn’t accomplishing my goals bring me to some Beverly Hills version of life that I desired?

After a few months of travel, I was ready to start my project but was more than just unmotivated.

I experienced anxiety every day because I could do anything I wanted to but I felt paralyzed to make any moves. What happened next was definitely divine intervention. I asked my friend Jeff Slutsky what he thinks and he gave me one of the most important pieces of advice I ever received. He said forgive yourself for feeling the way you do and take as much time as you need to figure out why you feel that way. That opened up a can of worms because now my analytical brain had to think in terms of feelings rather than logical steps. But it took only a few weeks for me to turn to

music, performing at open mics and writing my first song.

What inspired the creation of Evolmi, and how did you come up with the name?

That was definitely another divine

intervention. It started with diffuser bracelets and when I started selling them to complete strangers I thought there might be something there. I decided to test the concept at the Rochester Public Market and when

it didn’t fail I decided to keep doing it. I made a return on my investment within three weeks and then it just kept growing. I added custom oil blends because customers were asking for them. I still wasn’t set on a name. At the time I was calling my business Spiritual Evolution Jewelry but it was too long, too descriptive but it still didn’t say much. I thought maybe evol can be short for evolve and I could add the word me and ask the universe to evolve me here and in this lifetime with Evolme.

On the day I was deciding between Evolme and Evolmi, I was selling at the public market and a medium came and gave me a reading. They were shooting her pilot for TLC cable channel Mama Medium and she picked me in a crowded market. Her reading was spot on and I learned that her last name ends in mi so I decide that my business would be Evolmi. A friend came a couple hours later and he asked “You know what that is backwards? It’s Imlove”! In that moment I knew I picked the right name as the universe gave me that affirmation. Shortly after I designed the logo, secured the trademark and started printing clothing because I wanted to be able to read it both ways. And today I know that the Universe answered my call to evolve me because it gave me something bigger than I ever anticipated. It gave me the journey



“He said forgive yourself for feeling the way you do and take as much time as you need to figure out why you feel that way.”

of spreading the message if we were kinder to ourselves, we would be kinder to others and we would live in a better and kinder world. And that kindness starts with me.

When did you first realize you were an empath, and how does that influence your work?

Writing songs and performing was the first time I felt the empath side of me. I felt like a different person on stage and like someone who was closer to who I really was rather than the mask I learned to put on throughout my life. Having grown up in war and choosing the technical path in school and work, I don’t think I had many opportunities to use that side of me. But after I worked through the nerves of live performance, I felt myself fall into a vulnerable yet strong version of myself. And I liked the way that felt. It felt like I was being my whole self rather than just one part of who I was. During one of my performances I met a fellow empath who turned into a mentor. He was the first person that really opened my eyes to empathy and how that feels. It was only then that I realized that I was in fact perceiving energy rather than making up crazy stories in my head which is what I believed up until then. Today, I identify as a high empath, because I can feel subtle energies and shifts and I trust that a lot more than I ever did. I follow my intuition even when it doesn’t make sense what it’s telling me because I’ve learned that in most cases my intuition

was right. I connect to people through empathy and I allow my intuition to guide my decisions in business. If something feels off while my logical brain thinks everything is fine, I wait and let the energies reveal themselves and in time they all do.

Could you share some insights about your experience as a refugee and the lessons it taught you?

On the outside I looked normal but I was definitely experiencing a lot of internal turmoil that I’m still dealing

else’s country when it’s the complete opposite. No human will ever leave their home unless they feel unsafe or violated in some way. Nobody would choose to be a refugee in life and have to evacuate to unknown lands.

What exactly is a motivational singer, and how did you discover this passion? It’s someone who doesn’t just sing, but motivates and evokes emotions through songs. I’ve always told stories about my songs and I learned that I connect with my audiences much better when I share the deepest emotions of human life in a way that is authentic yet vulnerable and strong. Stories of perseverance and determination always come through everything I say and I think that’s the part that motivates the most.

with in therapy. I experienced first hand other people assuming things about me both positive and negative and in virtually all cases none of them had the whole story. So not judging others based on what it looks like but rather asking them to share their story is one important lesson I learned. Another one would be that every time I interact with little kids I try to give them a safe space because I know firsthand the scars from feeling unsafe has left me. There’s also a misconception about refugees and that they are invading someone

Where is your favorite stage to perform on, and why?

I’ve performed at Jazz Fest, Rochester Auditorium and the Blue Cross Arena, but I think my favorite stage is still waiting for me. I’ve always seen myself performing for thousands of people, where we all connect in some collective consciousness of love, unity and shared experience and we all walk away as better people.

How do you blend music with storytelling to inspire and entertain your audiences?

Storytelling was always part of my performances. I felt like I could connect better with my audiences if I told them what events inspired the songs. The inspiration comes from

“ They are all creative spaces for me where I get to CREATE what’s in my head and I don’t feel like I have to BALANCE them. I get to try different things and through trial and error I find what works and then I KEEP DOING IT. ”
“Every challenge is possible to overcome when you have faith that you will.”

my upbringing and how I have every reason to act like a victim but I refuse to carry myself that way. The story of persistence and resilience inspires me so I try to convey that perspective. My goal is to bring my audiences into my world for just a brief moment where they forget their life long enough to harness more gratitude for everything they have been afforded in life.

In honor of Women’s History Month, could you name some women who have inspired you in your journey?

My favorite aunt Emina is the epitome of strength, femininity and wisdom. I spent a lot of time with her as a kid and she taught me so much. I am still not at her level, but I look at her and think I want to be like her as I get older.

What inspired you to start sharing your culinary adventures and becoming a chef?

Cooking was the first thing I started being creative with even though it wasn’t conscious or intentional. I’d cook things for myself with whatever I had in the fridge and over time that grew into a genuine love for trying new recipes and ingredients. I love hosting parties and breaking bread with those I love and a good friend would say “she put her foot in it” to compliment my cooking and say that I put a part of myself in the cooking. And I do. It’s really my meditation to play some music and enjoy wine while I’m cooking something.

What motivated you to start doing daily pep talks on social media, and what’s your favorite message to start the day with?

I have been thinking about doing videos for years now. I have some videos that I recorded in 2022 that are still holding up true, but all this time I’ve been holding myself back thinking I’m not good enough and that I was lacking something. Recently I got frustrated when I saw a friend who was stopping themselves every single day and I saw myself in them. It was in that moment that I’ve had enough of holding back and just started recording videos and I still have videos to edit from that first day as I recorded somewhere around 50 different videos. It feels too good to stop so I will continue to share daily pep talks and other lessons I’ve learned on my spiritual journey. My favorite affirmation is to look in the mirror first thing in the morning and compliment myself on doing a great job. It sets my day on a positive note and then I just continue in that same vein. And that practice started with Evolmi and learning to say positive things to myself in the mirror rather than berating myself.

Among all social media platforms, which one is your favorite and why? I don’t have a favorite social network. I consider them as tools to connect with family and friends across the world and for business advertising and spreading the message of Evolmi.

How do you balance your roles as an artist, entrepreneur, and chef?

It all comes naturally to me. They are all creative spaces for me where I get to create what’s in my head and I don’t feel like I have to balance them. I get to try different things and through

trial and error I find what works and then I keep doing it.

Can you share some challenges you’ve faced in your journey, and how you overcame them?

I’ve had many challenges, and if there was one thing I did I would have to say it’s not giving up on myself. Always believing that Universe and God have my back and I always proved that because the perfect teacher or the perfect event would take place that took me to the next level. Every challenge is possible to overcome when you have faith that you will.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists and entrepreneurs?

Keep believing and keep investing in yourself. If you’re not willing to believe and invest nobody else will either.

How do you stay creative and motivated amidst challenges?

It’s easy for me to stay motivated when I know the general direction of where I’m going. When I have the end vision in my head, challenges and obstacles simply become problems that I have to solve. No challenge is insurmountable, because you either find a solution or pivot your direction but you keep going towards your goal. Finding solutions to problems is where I can get creative and think outside the box.

Could you share a memorable moment from your career that has stuck with you?

Quitting my corporate job was definitely the turning point and that makes it very memorable. Today I find the small

“Keep believing and keep investing in yourself. If you’re not willing to believe and invest nobody else will either.”

moments of divine interventions as really memorable because each time it happens it’s the Universe and God affirming that I’m on the right path.

How do you define success in your personal and professional life?

Living my purpose is what makes me happy and in turn successful. I know that I’m on the right path of making the world a better place and I’m definitely close to knowing exactly what my purpose is. I know that it involves sharing myself in some type of creative way like music, public speaking or writing but I think there is more to that. As I keep chiseling away at who I am and who I enjoy being, the exact purpose will eventually reveal itself to me.

What are some upcoming projects or goals you’re excited about?

I’m really excited about sharing the lessons I’ve learned and reaching more people with the message of self-love and self-affirmations because that’s what changed my life in the best possible way.

How do you unwind and recharge when you’re not working?

A glass of wine, maybe some cooking, definitely chill music in the background. Meditation is a must to recharge and fill up my

reserves. Sometimes a good movie or a good book.

Can you tell us about a significant turning point in your life or career?

Quitting my job was the first one that adjusted my career path. The

me towards the more empathetic approach to life rather than just logic and reason.

How do you incorporate your cultural background into your art and business? I think my moral and ethical values come through in everything I do. Being the person I want to be intentionally and consciously choosing to uphold values of honesty, loyalty and that of a human being with good intentions.

feel because that advice started my journey of introspection. That advice alone changed how I think and lead

What’s the biggest misconception people have about being an empath?

That we are walking sponges that absorb all the negativity of the world. While it’s true that we absorb all energy, both positive and negative, and the world has an abundance of negative energy, there is a way to protect ourselves and be beacons of light for everyone else. I’m an example of that. We must learn to transmute the negative energy and create something positive from it.

How do you use your platform to advocate for causes you’re passionate

Social media is a great tool for that and while I’ve been advocating for self-love for years now to smaller

“I’m really excited about sharing the lessons I’ve learned and reaching more people with the message of self-love and self-affirmations because that’s what changed my life in the best possible way..”

audiences, I’m starting to share my ideas far and wide and I know they will reach the people who need it most.

What legacy do you hope to leave

through your work and contributions to the community?

I want to give of myself and make the world a better place than I found it when I arrived. I’m on the way

but let’s talk again in 10-20 years and revisit that question. I’m sure I’ll have a slightly different answer.



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From felon & addict to recovery and redemption.


“By 30 I had over 18 arrests over 6 states, prison/jail time. I served 2 years in a Sioux falls correctional facility and another term for conspiracy.”

Can you share with us a bit about your journey and background as a recovering addict and reformed felon? -

My drug use began when I was 13 with my first drink. By 15 I was using cocaine and a heavy smoker. Sadly this turned into heavier daily use and lead to DWI’S and multiple arrests. Throughout my teens I had steadily increased my involvement with crime, at 17 I was charged with armed robbery of a drug dealer.. by the time I was in my early 20’s I was arrested for trafficking and distribution of over 133LBS of marijuana in South Dakota. By 30 I had over 18 arrests over 6 states, prison/ jail time. I served 2 years in a Sioux falls correctional facility and another term for conspiracy.

What pivotal moment or realization prompted you to make the decision to turn your life around? -

What changed my life forever was a DWI in 2019. I had attempted to leave a bar after being heavily intoxicated, after which I led police on a high-speed chase where at some point I had actually been able to escape arrest, however I crashed my car shortly after. I resisted arrest and assaulted an officer.. I had to be brought down by a K9 Unit and my leg was severely bitten. I spent a couple nights in jail and was brought in front of Judge Mulley in Penfield

on a Sunday morning. Judge Mulley was sad to see me in his Court again, as I had first been arrested at 17 and was brought in front of him again. I realized I was in the same jail cell in front of the same judge for the same crimes. I told myself I wasn’t going to let myself down again and I was going to push myself to be a better man in front of my Judge than I had been. So began my recovery.

How did you initially get involved with the Denzio & Gingello Foundation, and what drew you to its mission? - I became involved when I first met Tony Gingello in 2019 when he asked me to his co-host on his Rising Up Recovery Show on 106.3FM. The show was centeredn around recovery and addiction which

helped me in my own recovery. We had an amazing time together interviewing politicians, health care workers and former substance users. We eventually expanded into a community program, giving food to the homeless. Giving holiday giveaways for clothes or food. We remained on the air for years, eventually moving to 100.9 WXIR. But sadly several years ago he died unexpectedly. We were just forming an non profit when I heard the news he passed, it broke my heart and soon after I heard from a childhood friend Bryan Dezio, who said he wanted to help. Bryan owns his own HVAC business and had just opened Capone’s Italian Eatery when he joined me on the air as my new cohost. Sadly my grandfather and Bryan’s father both died on Christmas morning. We were shocked and decided to use our pain to push ourselves to help others to create The Dezio and Gingello Foundation.

Could you elaborate on the mission and goals of the Dezio & Gingello Foundation?

Our foundation believes in using our network in the Rochester community to help the people who are most at risk. I have worked with human trafficking survivors at Baden Street Settlement, so it’s important for me that we serve women shelters that house victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. Moreover, we do our best to

“My addiction was so bad that my life was almost a eulogy instead of a testimony”


to serve the kids of Rochester through reading programs and haircuts to make them feel confident. Our goals are to expand on a monthly basis for multiple children’s programs and women’s programs. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with the Jennifer House, the Bethany House, and the Bright Star Women Shelter by bringing them lunch or dinner and providing hair services from professionals. We are looking to expand much further by doing more community cleanups and eventually buying a house that can be used to serve the community.

Reflecting on the past five years, what have been some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your journey of recovery and reformation?

That’s a great question, so often it seems that recovery language is so beautiful and makes everything seem so positive.. but it’s s not. In the beginning it was very difficult to be able to find work as a felon. The stigma attached to being a felon was almost as the stigma of being an addict. Here I am a former accused drug trafficker of millions of dollars worth of marijuana and I’m being told that I’m not good enough to work at a meanial job. It was difficult to feel confident about myself, however through my radio show with Tony Gingello about addiction I was offered an opportunity to work as a peer engagement specialist to help human trafficking victims at SAFE COURT. The staff at Baden Street heard me and thought I would be a good, positive male role model for the woman and I loved that job. My difficulty for my recovery was really

feeling success, because my addiction is fueled by success and money. The better I do, the more I feel like I can indulge in substance use. But over the past couple years, I haven’t really felt any strong urges to use. It’s actually become more of a nuisance.

Conversely, what successes or milestones have you achieved during this period that you’re particularly proud of?

Our foundation was chosen by the mayor for a mentorship program for kids! We have a great program set up for kids in the city who want to be a part of our foundation. We offer opportunities for jobs, volunteering and life experience. It has been very special to be a part of these kids lives. Monroe County Executive Adam Bello chose me as the spokesperson for Monroe County’s Medication for Opioid Use Disorder. I also serve on two non profit boards, one at the Bethany House of Rochester and also for the Mission Continues. Judge Mulley who had originally sentenced me and put me on my road to recovery said I was the greatest transformation he had seen in his 12 years. I have been interviewed by News 10, 8 and 13 over 16 times which has been a blessing. I’ve been nominated for the ESL Jefferson Award 3 years in a row. But mostly I love having a wonderful girlfriend and 2 great dogs at home. I am most proud of being able to help other people get into recovery though. Who are some individuals that have inspired and influenced you along your path, and how have they impacted your journey? Tony

Gingello obviously had a huge effect on me, like a father figure. Geoffrey Messenger of The Mission Continues has been a great supporter of the foundation and is a recovery advocate like myself. Bryan Dezio, no part of this foundation could have been done without his help and support. Bryan lost his mother to cancer, his brother to a suicide and his father on Christmas morning. A man that can stand tall and help others after that is someone that I admire. Mary Jo Cooligan the president of Angels of Mercy has been a huge part of my life, I have been in awe of her heart and passion for helping women. Tony Gingello’s son Anthony has been a great supporter of our causes and he has generously donated to our cause in the name of his father.

From your perspective, what does the term “influential” signify, and how do you strive to embody it in your actions and endeavors? Influential means being able to motivate or inspire others to action. To me it means that with the power to influence others, I hope to be able to influence people in a positive way by advocating, inspiring and motivating people to make an actual difference.

What is the most impactful piece of advice or wisdom you’ve received on your journey of recovery and transformation?

“My addiction was so bad that my life was almost a eulogy instead of a testimony” I died of an overdose before and I’m very blessed to be able to share my story.. with the hope that

“I am most proud of being able to help other people get into recovery though.”


a testimony” I died of an overdose before and I’m very blessed to be able to share my story.. with the hope that I might be able to touch someone’s life and influence them to live better.

For individuals currently battling addiction, what tips or strategies would you offer to help them stay resilient and committed to their recovery journey?

You are not alone. They’ll have remember everything that ever motivated them in their life, it won’t be easy but it will always be possible to be sober if you’re strong enough. I would say Make sure that you have a calendar that can help you schedule out your time. Break free of bad habits including people, exercise and most importantly help others. As addicts the worst thing we can do is just focus on ourselves. Didn’t go to AA or NA, I chose to do most of it alone and I also chose to make sure that I spent more time helping other lives than just my own.

How has your involvement with the Denzio & Gingello Foundation shaped your outlook on life and your sense of purpose?

I know that every month that I will be able to create events to help people and serve my community. My purpose now is to be able to find the impoverished and the abused with a plan to make their lives better.

Can you describe a moment or experience that reaffirmed your commitment to staying on the path of recovery and reformation?

3 years ago on my way to work at 8:00 in the morning on Clinton Avenue I saw a man get shot in the chest. I stopped my car, I reversed and and grabbed my gloves because it was winter and provided first aid. The man didn’t speak English and I held on to his wound with spare clothes I had in my car, I stayed with him until the paramedic showed up and something about that moment reminded me that there’s a life path that I could have chosen that would have been much worse. It was startling and helped me be grateful that I was sober and no longer in danger.

In what ways do you believe society can better support individuals who are striving to overcome addiction and reintegrate into their communities?Listen to other people’s stories who are in recovery. Help decrease the stigma for addicts and try to help some of the populations that suffer the worst, like human trafficking, victims or veterans. Be patient and have an opportunity to be understanding of someone who may have made a mistake, but that doesn’t mean that will stop them from making a lot of success in the future.

What initiatives or projects is the Denzio & Gingello Foundation currently undertaking to address the challenges faced by individuals in recovery?

We will be teaching kids at schools locally about addiction through book readings written by people who have lost their own children to drugs. Moreover, we will be meeting with different shelters to speak with people

who might be suffering from addiction and offering opportunities for them to meet with some of our network.

How do you navigate and overcome any lingering stigma or judgment associated with your past experiences as a recovering addict and reformed felon?

Eagles don’t hunt flies is what I tell myself when I hear any judgment by others. I’m in a strong place where I can be able to help my community, often it is the people who have the most to criticized that do the least for others. I know there’s a reformed felon there have been some inquiries into the validity of my purpose but I only need to remind myself that the work being done is real and is helping.

What advice would you offer to individuals who may feel discouraged or hopeless in their own journey of recovery and transformation?I say muster your pride and energy to build yourself up. Some people say you need to submit to a higher power to become sober.. I don’t share that sentiment. I believe you need to call on yourself to be the most powerful version that you can be. It takes dedication, honor and strength to drive yourself forward and It’s always possible.

Looking towards the future, what are your aspirations and goals, both personally and professionally?

I’m looking forward to writing a book about my life semi-biographically that would also work to help people who are in recovery. I would very much like to be able to reach a broader audience


“I became involved when I first met Tony Gingello in 2019 when he asked me to his co-host on his Rising Up Recovery Show on 106.3FM. The show was centeredn around recovery and addiction which helped me in my own recovery.”

and enhance my podcast. As far as the foundation goes, there is no limit. We will continue to push ourselves to help every group in Rochester as much as we can.

Lastly, what message would you like

to convey to our readers, particularly those who may be facing similar challenges or obstacles in their lives?

When you’re pushing yourself and you’re trying to motivate your life.. focus on the goals and be realistic. Don’t make the goals money, Make

the goals about quality and longevity for yourself though and be patient with success..



Can you share a bit about your background and journey as a musician and teacher?

I have always loved music. I have very fond memories of my mom playing records on a cabinet stereo in our living room, really loudly. She had great taste: Stevie Wonder, Booker T. & The M.G.’s, Ramsey Lewis, wonderful Broadway soundtracks. I would listen to those over and over again. She seemed to be drawn to soulful music, as was I.

I grew up in Fairport and ended up using my dad‘s old clarinet and starting in the program that I know have been teaching in for 40 years. I knew that I wanted to pursue Music as a degree, but it wasn’t until my early undergraduate years in college that, I discovered an aptitude for teaching. I did some informal lessons with friends and discovered that I really loved sharing what I knew with others. Later in my college student teaching experiences, I found myself loving, working with kids and feeling like I was connecting well, I was incredibly lucky to get a full-time teaching position right out of college at age 22 in Auburn New York

I am so humbled and honored by being chosen as an inaugural recipient of the Ned Corman educator award through the Rochester Music Hall of Fame. What has been so touching to me is hearing from so many people who have been excited about this recognition. And the fact that my lifelong friend Rick Beato is being inducted on the same ceremony makes this very special to me.

they have had on me, and how they have shaped me as a teacher, Musician and person.

Who were your inspirations when you first began playing music, and how have they influenced your style over the years?

I have been so lucky to have amazing teachers encouraged me from a very young age. I also have listened very deeply to music ever since I can remember, and I have been attracted to the soulfulness and many genres of music. I’ve been drawn, for example, to the blues and gospel influences in jazz music, and I continue to try to stay in those lanes, while, of course, working on all aspects of my musicianship.

Congratulations on your recent induction into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame! What was that experience like for you?

I have never sought the limelight, but

You’ve been a significant influence on many musicians, particularly those from Fairport High School where you teach. How does it feel to know you’ve inspired so many others? The greatest gift one can receive as a teacher is the realization that you have had a positive impact on someone. I can’t tell you how gratifying that is –you can’t put a financial reward on it. What students probably don’t know, however, is how much of an influence

I love classical music, particularly Baroque composers like Bach, but I am equally inspired by many different directions in popular music, including funk and contemporary jazz. I love orchestras and wind ensembles, jazz bands of all sizes, and song writers from around the globe.

Being open to learning from every style of music has been a continual goal of mine as a musician

Among all the places you’ve performed, do you have a favorite? If so, what makes it special to you?

All of Rochester’s live music venues are

“What students probably don’t know, however, is how much of an influence they have had on me, and how they have shaped me as a teacher, Musician and person.“

fantastic and deserve our support and patronage. Of course, there is nothing like playing at Eastman’s Kilbourn Hall, or Kodak Hall, Eastman theater. Lovin’ cup is a great venue as are Record Archive, and 75 Stutson, and I really have enjoyed having informal gigs at Stromboli‘s restaurant.

It goes without saying that playing any of the stages at the Rochester international jazz festival is uniquely humbling and inspiring. We are blessed with a very rich musical culture right here in Rochester.

Your son has followed in your footsteps and become a successful musician in New York City and beyond. What do you think influenced him to pursue music? My three kids are all very musical, and they have great ears. Ben demonstrated strong interest and aptitude in music from a very young age and he was picking out melodies on the piano by ear at about five. He has played a number of instruments and decided to focus on the bass very late in high school. This is turned out to be a great move for him. He has had wonderful teachers, and been able to surround himself with phenomenal musicians from all over the world. He has had the opportunity to perform in dozens of countries, and like me, he was lucky to find this passion for music early in his life. I think he would agree that Music chose him, and that there is nothing else that he would want to

do. He would also agree that he has been lucky!!

What is your favorite instrument to play, and why does it hold a special place in your heart? this will sound like a copout, but among the instruments that I play,

my real self without using words. The sax is the closest I can come to that.

As a teacher, what would you consider your biggest accomplishment?

I am extremely proud to have taught many current musical performers and music educators, but even more so, I am proud to have hopefully instilled a lifelong love of music in all of my students.

clarinet, alto saxophone, and tenor saxophone, my favorite is the one that I am currently playing at a given moment. I am drawn to the sound of the saxophone, because I feel like it enables me to express something within me. I try to convey parts of

More than the accomplishments of dedicated and gifted musical performers I would be proud to know that students who didn’t pursue music or weren’t particularly strong in music found me to be encouraging, compassionate, and inspiring to them.

And as a musician, what do you feel has been your most significant achievement?

The Bill Tiberio Band has been playing for almost 20 years now, and we play original contemporary jazz. I am very proud to be a part of that. I am also proud and grateful to be involved with many different musicians in our area. I have been incredibly lucky to share music with so many wonderful players in lots of styles and settings.

How do you approach teaching music to students at Fairport High School, and what do you hope they take away from your classes?

I try to encourage all of my students

“Being open to learning from every style of music has been a continual goal of mine as a musician.”

to excel in music, and to do so in a communal setting, which fosters interdependence and collaborative spirit. I hope they take away not only a lifelong love for music, but a recognition that I respected them as unique individuals and loved being with them.

Can you share a memorable moment from your teaching career that stands out to you?

A few years ago, a dear friend and colleague, Mark Borden from HFL and I put together a tribute to the late Fred Sturm. Fred was an amazing jazz composer and educator and had had tremendous influence on so many of us. We performed his music and shared our love for this unique man. The performances that night were breathtaking.

go, but find mentors, who believe in you.

How do you balance your roles as a performer, teacher, and mentor?

I do juggle a lot of commitments, but I always try to be completely present and focused in every musical situation. My fellow players and students Deserve my undivided attention. And it helps me be a better performer when I’m teaching, and

to the jazz festival with BTB and that is always thrilling. We are also hoping to record with that group sometime this year as we have a lot of new material. I’ve recently done some recordings with other friends and have met new players recently who I am really enjoying working with and hope to continue.

What role do you believe music plays in society, especially in today’s world?

What advice do you have for aspiring musicians, both in terms of honing their craft and navigating the music industry?

I would say for young musicians to be true to their strengths and pursue them. At the same time it’s important to be open to learning from all different situations and genres. Be supportive of everyone around you and ask questions where you can. Don’t let others determine what Musical direction you should

I really think that being a teacher informs my musical performance profoundly. I know that I learned so much from other musicians and students every single day.

Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re particularly excited about?

Luckily, there are always gigs and concerts. Coming up to look forward to. We are very honored to be returning

This is such an important question, and I truly believe that there is a unique power in the gift of making and sharing music with others that rises above many of our divisions. The collaborative nature of music making serves as a wonderful model for how to be in the world. We need to increase the “Soul Quotient” in the world and Music is a natural agent of expression. Joy, hopefulness, thoughtfulness, celebration, playfulness, fear, grief, love. It’s that important.

How do you stay inspired and motivated in your musical journey? Music is in of itself a motivator for me. I love music and I love being around others who are willing to share it. You can always improve as a player and as a teacher, and I hope to keep doing that.

“Be supportive of everyone around you and ask questions where you can. Don’t let others determine what Musical direction you should go, but find mentors, who believe in you.”

Can you share a challenging moment you faced in your career and how you overcame it?

I have lost students and I was never prepared for that. I have played at their funerals and given eulogies. I’ve leaned on others, and been honest

with my students about our shared grief.

As a musician and educator, what do you hope your legacy will be?

My hope is that I will be known as a teacher who believed in the kids,

and that I modeled kindness, respect and love for them. As a musician, I hope to be known as someone who always tries to bring integrity and soul to every musical experience.



Could you share the story behind Unwine’d and how the idea for the business came about?

When Paula surprised me with a 40th birthday trip to the beautiful Grand Cayman Islands, I totally expected to have an unbelievable time, but I NEVER would have believed it would have changed the entire course of my professional career.

While in Grand Cayman, a place where the weather rarely deviates from its perfect day-to-day conditions, Paula and I encountered a rare rain storm. As we hurried for cover we ran ourselves right into a self-serve wine bar with interactive wine dispensers. I immediately said to Paula – “what did we just discover?!”. This unexpected turn of events led to an experience that WE LOVED so much that we decided to bring the concept home and start a business.

What factors influenced your decision to choose Midtown as the location for Unwine’d?

Paula and I have a special place in our hearts for the City of Rochester and specifically downtown. In addition to Unwine’d and 260 Wine + Spirits we have other business interests in the city, including rental properties in the South Wedge Area. We were specifically attached to the historic midtown district for the following reasons:

benefits very early on of being a part of the Grove; We knew by choosing this area we’d be surrounded by so many wonderful businesses that we could learn from and look to partner with. The overall increase in the midtown area of residential living optionsour building at 260 E. Broad Street plus Tower280 accounts for over 200 residential apartments alone!

After a few years of ups and downs, twists and turns, and the inevitable learning process that comes with starting something new… we now have Unwine’d…an interactive experience that we promise will be unlike anything else in the Rochester area…and our ode to an “Endless Summer”.

We look forward to welcoming you to Unwine’d and sharing with you our passion for people, love of wine, and an obsession with making people laugh.

The sentimental attachment we have to the Rochester area (born and raised here, graduated from college here); specifically the midtown area holding a special place in our hearts from memories as kids spending time with our families going to the mall and riding the monorail, experiencing the clock of nations, shopping, and eating.

Our neighborhood and proximity to other businesses - we’ve reaped the

We’re excited about being a true amenity for those residents plus many others in thesurrounding area. The continued investment and support for residents and businesses in Downtown Rochester - in addition to the 5+ million visitors that come to downtown Rochester per year because of the museums, concerts, performances, sporting events, art venues, and numerous food options we’re pumped to see more and more large and successful companies like Constellation brands choose downtown Rochester as their home base.

And last, but certainly not least, we can’t wait to see what the future holds as part of the Buckingham Properties family of tenants. They’ve been a wonderful landlord partner so far and their reputation in addition to their track record of success was definitely a contributing factor in our decision to choose midtown as the location for Unwine’d.

“We also have great employees who we’ve probably learned the most from (and hopefully they’ve taken a little something from us too).”

As a husband and wife couple owning a business together, what are some of the unique challenges and joys you experience?

We both definitely have different management, communication, and learning styles, but the “challenge” of meshing those things together has ended up being our “joy”. We’ve learned a LOT from each other in the short time that we’ve been open and that’s only strengthened our partnership at home and at work.

We also have great employees who we’ve probably learned the most from (and hopefully they’ve taken a little something from us too). One thing we’d both consider a major success early on has been watching our employees flourish and represent us and our business with such great passion.

What sets Unwine’d apart from other wine bars in Rochester?

Unwine’d is Rochester’s first selfpour wine experience nestled in the heart of the historic midtown district in downtown Rochester, NY. We offer 40 different wines that are unique and rotate monthly.

experience. We’ll have good wine, food, beer, and bubbly but we want to give you the BEST customer experience around when you come to Unwine’d.

What aspect of running Unwine’d do you enjoy the most?

Creating a family run business that focuses on PEOPLE, LAUGHTER, and FUN.

serious passion for people.

What led to the decision to open a wine and spirits store next to the wine bar? We wanted to be able to provide our customers with a way to “buy what they tried” if they fell in love with a particular wine. Paula and I didn’t want someone to taste something they really enjoyed, but then have to try and figure out where to find it later at a different store. As a result, our neighboring business, 260 Wine + Spirits was born!

BUT…we also want to make one thing very clear- At Unwine’d, we offer more than just a drink. It’s a focus on YOUR experience – our goal is to help you kick back, relax, and make memories with family and friends while enjoying wines differently than ever before.

Our passion is in our focus on customer

With our extensive backgrounds in customer service and customer experience we both have a genuine joy in working with people and making sure they have the BEST time at Unwine’d. Whether we’re laughing with our customers or working with our employees to help them grow and develop, we have a

At 260 Wine + Spirits we also decided to also include a small selection of spirits and canned cocktails to our offerings as an additional amenity for the surrounding residents and businesses. If you’re ever in need of something for a party, last minute gift, employee recognition, or just a lazy night at home 260 Wine + Spirits has your back!

Experience is a big focus for Unwine’d. What kind of experience do you strive to create for your customers?

This starts with the name of our business, Unwine’d. We wanted to find the perfect name that encompassed all of the things we wanted our customers to experience - a friendly, cozy atmosphere that encourages relaxation and the ability to “take a load off”, a space to share laughter with friends and family, and a unique venue that encourages networking, collaboration, and “no pressure” opportunities to meet new people.

“We knew by choosing this area we’d be surrounded by so many wonderful businesses that we could learn from and look to partner with.”

At the end of the day, we take our customers’ experience VERY seriously. This is our top priority and the most key pillar of our business. Whether it’s a customer’s first time or they’re considered a “regular” we want them to be blown away by a unique atmosphere that’s relaxing in nature but fun and upbeat at heart. We welcome you into Unwine’d like our family.

As owners we realize how important a night out can be - whether it’s a first date, a night out with family and friends, or just an excuse to get out of the house - and we don’t take the responsibility of making sure our customers have a great time lightly.

We want staff that is approachable, friendly, and attentive to the needs of our customers - no question is too big or too small. We encourage our staff to “play” with our customers and always share a laugh or two.

To keep ourselves on track and make sure we’re creating the best experience possible for our guests and staff alike, we proactively solicit feedback on our wine, food, music, etc. etc…you name it, we want your thoughts on it. We strive to always continuously improve our customers’ experience!

How many different wine varieties do you offer in your self-pour dispensers, and do you rotate them frequently? We offer 40 different wines that are unique and always changing. Indulge in an unforgettable interactive experience and satisfy your palate with a diverse selection of wines from different regions all over the world. A monthly rotation of our wines allows our customers to

always expect something new and fun each time they visit Unwine’d.

Whether you are a seasoned wine enthusiast or a curious newcomer, our ever changing wine list will allow you to explore different varietals ranging in price, taste and region.

And for those who prefer a beer, cider, seltzer, or something non-alcoholic, don’t worry, we’ll have you covered too!

What was the reasoning behind opting for a self-pour system over a traditional wine bar setup?

When we were introduced to the selfpour wine concept for the first time we loved how approachable the experience turned out to be. Wine was “intimidating” to us for a period of time and we really enjoyed how the self-pour wine concept all but eliminated that for us. There was no “wrong” choice, no wrong “pairing”... actually it was quite the opposite - we were able to create our own wine journey.

We tried things we normally wouldn’t try - whether that was from different regions of the world or a unique varietal that we wouldn’t have considered before. For us, the self-pour wine concept really opened up our curiosity and allowed us to start to see how unique and fascinating the world of wine really can be.

Can you tell us about any special features or events that Unwine’d offers for Rochester women?

Since we’ve opened this Unwine’d has been a focus of ours and this is one of the main areas of our business we are looking to grow in 2024. We’ve met with numerous women owned businesses to explore potential partnership and

networking opportunities and hope to launch some of those things this year - as a sneak peak - one in the works right now is with Laughing Gull Chocolates. Some of our first events at Unwine’d were in collaboration with women wine groups (Women for WineSense Finger Lakes) and local women run book clubs. We’ve been excited to see numerous women reach out to us to book their baby and bridal showers. We make a focused effort to always feature wines made from women winemakers and/ or women owned wineries and have events planned to highlight this further.

What are some popular dishes or snacks that customers enjoy pairing with their wine selections at Unwine’d? Our Unwine’d customers seem to really enjoy our cheese and charcuterie boards that can be paired with unique snacks and chocolates. They also love our savory hot dips that are made from family recipes. All the cheese, meat, salty, and sweet snacks that go on our charcuterie boards are sourced from local businesses and we’re proud to say that.

Menu items rotate somewhat regularly as we like to continue to give our customers new things to try. We do keep “fan favorites” on all of our menus though!

How do you go about selecting the wines to feature at Unwine’d?

We taste a lot of wine! �� In all seriousness though, while we do get to try a lot of wine, we lean heavily on the different palates of each other, our staff, and our distributor partners to come up with our monthly wine choices. We also regularly ask our customers to help us choose our next round of wines as well. As with our food, we do keep

“We now have Unwine’d…an interactive experience that we promise will be unlike anything else in the Rochester area…and our ode to an “Endless Summer”.”

“fan favorites” while mixing in an ever changing lineup of wines.

At Unwine’d you’ll see a unique selection of wines that are mixed and matched between never seen before wines with those that are a little more familiar. Highlighted within those wines is a dedicated local Finger Lakes wine section that we rotate regularly, but will always have a presence in our selections. To top things off we have a “VIP” area where we offer higher end wines in an approachable manner.

In what ways does Unwine’d cater to both wine enthusiasts and casual drinkers?

At Unwine’d we try to have a wine for everyone. We try to mix and match varietals, price points, regions, and scales (think dry vs. sweet, smooth vs. bold, etc.). We do this as much as we can to make sure we have a wine for everyone. We also stay up on trends in the wine industry to try and proactively offer options that may appeal more to wine enthusiasts, but might also be an option for a casual drinker looking to try something new and exciting.

How do you stay connected with the local community and engage with your customers?

Getting (and staying) connected to the local community has been an invaluable asset when navigating the learning curve of being a brand new small business. We can’t say enough how lucky we are to be members of both Visit Rochester and the City’s Chamber of Commerce - we don’t know where we’d be without having these fantastic resources to engage with at our disposal. We’ve recently been the beneficiary of being able to lean on our partners at Visit Rochester to provide company brochures to local hotels, the airport, and other hospitality venues. These groups are a gift that keeps on giving.

We’re also staying connected with the local Rochester community through different charitable and educational organizations - the Salvation Army, Mary Cariola, and the Webster Montessori school to name a few.

For our monthly staff meetings we partner with local restaurants and entertainment venues to reward our employees but also to support others in the hospitality industry. We support the Finger Lakes Wine region, which we’re SO lucky to have in our “backyard”, by always having one of our wine stations dedicated to

products from our area.

As of right now our biggest forms of engagement with our customers is social media, our website, and a newsletter that will launch via email in April. We try to keep these things as updated as possible so that our customers always know what’s going on at Unwine’d and what fun things we are offering. As we move forward, we will continue to look for creative ways to further engage with our customers and also start to form partnerships that will allow us to give back to our community.

What future plans or expansions do you envision for Unwine’d?

Every day we try to make Unwine’d the best place it can be for our staff and our customers. We’re always looking to expand and differentiate our menus and offerings. We’re VERY excited about our outdoor space that will be opening up in April! As for future plans, come check us out to see some of the surprises we have in store for all of our wonderful customers. For now, our immediate focus is on continuing to refine ourday-to-day processes, diversify our offerings for private events, parties, and wine themed events that we have scheduled throughout the year.


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Can you share the origin story of Pane Vino on the Ave and how it became a staple in Rochester’s dining scene?

My husband and I own businesses outside the restaurant industry and kind of fell into the restaurant business. We became partners in the downtown location and soon realized we were turning away business for larger parties and events. The opportunity came up for a restaurant location on Monroe Ave and we decided that it would be an ideal location and space for a second Pane Vino. So many customers asked about private events and it was not possible at the downtown location. I feel it quickly became a Rochester staple because of the great, consistent food, location and ease of parking.

What are some signature dishes that patrons rave about at Pane Vino on the Ave?

The Rochester favorite is by far the Chicken French and tied for second would definitely be Calabrian Calamari and Lamb Lolipops!

it is almost double the cost).

How do you handle dissatisfied customers to ensure they leave with a positive experience?

We always try to make it right and have a customer leave knowing that we care. It is impossible for any restaurant to be perfect, but I feel how you handle the situation is so important to the customer.

What has been one of the most significant challenges you’ve faced

as a restaurant owner, and how did you overcome it?

What sets Pane Vino on the Ave apart from other restaurants in Rochester?

The quality and freshness of our food, not purchasing convenience products, all soups and sauces are housemade and we are one of the few restaurants in the city that uses fresh calamari instead of frozen (even though the

For us it was only being open a little over a year and then being shut down for 29 weeks for COVID was probably one of the biggest challenges we ever faced. We definitely tried to make the best of it by offering family to-go meals that were affordable and we made sure we gave out a Pane Vino labeled roll of toilet paper with every

“ I feel it is important to be INVOLVED in the community, we support local NON-PROFIT organizations whenever possible and try to become part of COMMUNITY projects. ”
“Chef Mike is always looking for new ideas and twists for our menu and reads cookbooks for pleasure!”

Can you highlight any sustainability or locally sourced initiatives within your restaurant?

We do try to locally source when possible, but many times with a larger restaurant and event space it is harder to achieve consistency.

How do you engage with the local community beyond serving food?

I feel it is important to be involved in the community. We support local non-profit organizations whenever possible and try to become part of community projects.

What role does customer feedback play in shaping your menu or business practices?

Feedback definitely plays an important role in shaping our menu, and how we try and run the business. We strive for excellent customer service and a satisfying menu and take customer feedback very seriously.

How do you stay innovative in an ever-evolving culinary landscape?

Chef Mike is always looking for new ideas and twists for our menu and reads cookbooks for pleasure!

What advice would you give to aspiring restaurant owners looking to enter the industry?

Learn the ins & outs of the business and make sure you have the financial knowledge of running a restaurant, to be successful it is not about just being great chef, without any knowledge of finances, costs & marketing it is hard to succeed.



with the space. We wanted to do it right starting at the very beginning. So everything inside the restaurant, including the walls, are brand new.

What marketing strategies do you employ to continually attract new patrons and how do you cultivate customer loyalty.

We really did not do a large marketing campaign to start. There is lots of foot traffic in that area so for about four

challenges. I think number one is the parking. There are so many restaurants and businesses in that area and with so little parking, it becomes challenging. One of the other challenges is that it seems to be “feast or famine” on Saturdays and Sundays. We just can’t seem to get people in fast enough due to big waiting lines on the weekends, and then during the week, it’s so much quieter.

months while we were renovating, we had large “coming soon” signs present. That definitely peaked many people’s interest that we were going to be open. We did some digital marketing campaigns and also used social media to get the word out.

In your experience, what is the most daunting challenge in managing a restaurant particular in a bustling area like Park Avenue. There are actually quite a few

Could you highlight some of the standout dishes that sets the Frog pond apart from other eateries in the vicinity?

When we sat down to make the menu with Chef Mike Gangemi, we knew that we wanted to have a few items that would set us apart from the neighborhood. Our corned beef hash is made our own seasoned and brined beef. In fact, we brine it for five days. It is not processed in any way. Our pork sausage is also made in-house using ground pork and seasoning. The pancakes are all made using our homemade scratch made mix and batter and not from a “box” mix. Additionally, our jams and jellies our both house made as well for the freshest of flavors!

How do you stay abreast of the evolving, culinary trends, and preferences to ensure your menu remains relevant to your clientele?


“I absolutely do have a favorite dish. It is called the Rene. I love corned beef hash and poached eggs so, the chef made the dish and named it after me and added a spicy hollandaise sauce for a twist.”

Our chef, Mike Gangemi is constantly researching and staying current with the latest food trends for both restaurants, the Frog pond and Pane Vino on the Avenue. He is always looking for new and fresh ideas and we actually joke with him for reading cookbooks and trade magazines for pleasure!

What strategies do you use to differentiate the frog pond from the myriad of dining options available in the Park Avenue area?

We definitely try to do our best to make as much of our menu items from scratch, not pre-processed, convinence products. We basically just let our menu speak for itself on the quality of the food options we are offering.

As a proprietor, do you have a personal favorite dish on the menu and if so, what makes it special to you?

I absolutely do have a favorite dish, It is called the Rene, I love corned beef hash and poached eggs! So the chef made the dish and named it after me and added a spicy hollandaise sauce for a twist.

with breakfast specials for healthcare professionals and first responders to show our gratitude for the work they do in the community.

How do you leverage community engagement and partnerships, to bolster the restaurants, visibility, and reputation?

Are there any seasonal or limited time offerings at the Frog Pond that patrons eagerly anticipate?

We continually have seasonal breakfast and lunch specials, and we also change up our mimosa offerings. I would say the most anticipated seasonal offering would be when we can put out our patio furniture for people to enjoy outdoor dining.

Could you share an instance of a particular successful, marketing campaign for the Frog pond in the factors contributing to its success. We started a marketing campaign

Since the Frog Pond is so new to us, we immediately joined the Park Avenue Merchants Association. We make sure we participate in all the special events that are on Park Avenue throughout the year.

What measures do you take to ensure the Frog Pond provides a memorable dining experience beyond just great food?

We strive to create a friendly atmosphere, and to provide excellent customer service from the time you arrive until the time you leave.

How do you incorporate customer feedback to refining and enhancing the restaurants, offerings and services?

We take customer feedback very seriously and encourage menu feedback.

Looking ahead what exciting, developments or initiatives can patrons expect from the Frog pond in the future?

We actually do have a new development that is in the works. Unfortunately, at this time we cannot discuss it, but it will definitely be a favorite!



Can you introduce AltBarRoc and its mission to our readers?

We are a non-alcoholic bar & bottle shop offering a social experience not centered around alcohol. We sell nonalcoholic spirits, wines, beers, canned cocktails, bitters, and more. We also will have a bar selling non-alcoholic cocktails, wine, beer, and even shots! We’ll be opening in June (date TBD) at 1947 East Main Street.

Bars are essential to the community as they bring folks from all walks of life together. However, being around alcohol can be tricky for some, and we want to provide a social gathering place for all to feel comfortable. We’re open to all - if you drink alcohol but don’t want to drink for a night, or if you’re alcohol-free and want a great after-dinner place to hang out.

AltBar is owned by Meg and Bob Hartman, business partners and also wife & husband.

support local establishments & love trying new food and drink. We were frustrated with the lack of adultfeeling NA drink options available in Rochester at that time (although it has improved over the last four and a half years!). We kept seeing non-alcoholic bars and bottle shops pop up nationwide, including Sans Bar in Austin, Texas, run by Chris Marshall, and The Open Road in Pittsburgh, PA, run by Mel Babitz. Those were two of the earliest friends we made in the industry, and we loved

What inspired you to open a nonalcoholic bar in Rochester?

This was a combination of things, but ultimately, we opened it for us. Bob quit drinking in September of 2019, and we had a hard time finding good non-alcoholic options when we went out for dinner & drinks. We have kids (Caleb, age 7 and Joanna, age 5) and date nights are precious time out together. We both love to

watching their successes. After a while of watching, we thought, “Why NOT us?” and figured we’d go for it! It turns out that there are a lot of other people just like us who want to go out and enjoy time together, but don’t wish to consume alcohol.

As a women-owned business, how does AltBar contribute to diversity in the beverage industry?

While both Bob and Meg are owners, most of the business is owned by Meg. She’s the one who’s doing most of the day-to-day operations and relationship building. There are many thriving women-owned businesses in Rochester, and Meg’s learned from many of the owners she’s become friends with over the last couple of years. As a woman-owned business, Meg is intentional about working with other women-owned businesses and businesses owned by people who are part of the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. Her background is in higher education and marketing, and both fields lend themselves to paying attention to DEI efforts. She’s always been interested in learning about how to be inclusive and how to provide space to elevate marginalized voices and brands. She continues to do this with AltBar by prioritizing these brands & business owners in her partnership choices. We don’t always get it right (who does?), but we love to learn & be part of a community that embraces diversity of all types!

What sparked the idea of hosting non-alcoholic cocktail pop-ups? We eventually signed up for classes through Sans Bar Academy, run by Sans Bar owner Chris Marshall. This connected us to a cohort of like-

“While we both have strong business backgrounds and a knack for putting together ingredients for a balanced cocktail, we had limited experience with the proper techniques to craft cocktails.”

minded individuals who wanted to open a non-alcoholic business. The final project was to do a pop-up - so our friends at Fuego & Melo, Renee & Tony Colon, offered to help us by providing Fuego as the location for our first pop-up in December 2021. There wasn’t anything like it at the time and it went so well that we kept doing it!

What challenges did you encounter while establishing AltBar?

Neither of us worked in the hospitality industry before we launched AltBar - which was our most significant challenge. While we both have strong business backgrounds and a knack for putting together ingredients for a balanced cocktail, we had limited experience with the proper techniques to craft cocktails. Tony & Renee connected us with Ralph DiTucci & Megan Goodney, who consulted for us so we could learn how to build, shake, and stir cocktails correctly. They became great friends to us over the years and have continued to offer consulting and their hardearned knowledge. We are still not bartending experts (and we will be hiring bartenders for our store), but we have grown & improved over the last two and a half years.

The other big challenge we had was finding a suitable space! It took over a year of looking at many spaces, with several falling through. Everyone told us that meant that the right place was still out there, and they were right. We’re thrilled with our soon-to-be storefront, and it was worth the wait. It’s hard to find an affordable space

with a good location and, even more importantly, good landlords, but we eventually found it all. We’re glad we held out, but it felt like we were never going to get here at times.

How has the community’s response been to your unique concept and offerings?

We sold out our first pop-up at 80 tickets, and only half of those were people we knew. The second pop-up we had at Fuego in late January 2022 was so packed that there was a line to the back of the room to get drinks. It was an incredible reception at the start of a business venture that felt very risky. Since then, we’ve had solid attendance at our open pop-ups and had more requests than we can fill for private events. But beyond that, the stories we’ve heard from our guests at these pop-ups have been really meaningful to us. We’ve had guests say they haven’t felt comfortable going to a bar for 30 years - and we’ve had guests who are surprised that nonalcoholic cocktails can be good! It’s been a very organic growth for us, and we continue to be grateful and blown away by the support we’ve received from our guests. They’re the reason we’re able to open a brick & mortar -- because the community has shown us they want this, there’s a need for it, and they are excited about it!

Could you share some insights into the preferences of your clientele regarding non-alcoholic beverages?

Our guests have a vast range of preferences, from fun, sweet mocktails without spirit alternatives to the

bitterest of non-alc cocktails like a negroni. We sell primarily nonalc cocktails, although it will be interesting to see if the guests will order NA wine and beer once we have a bar. The key is having options for everyone. We will always have a few more traditional “mocktails”cocktails without any type of spirit alternative - for those whom an alcoholic alternative might trigger. They will also be lower-priced, which will help make the space accessible to everyone. We will also have nonalcoholic cocktails like a Negroni or a French 75 - people like slowly sipping on a drink and sharing in a social bar experience.

As far as retail goes - we’ll see! Our best sellers are NA wines, with spirits next, but our selection is also limited. We’re looking forward to seeing what people like and return to buy more once we expand our offerings.

What sets AltBar apart from traditional bars in Rochester?

We’re entirely non-alcoholic, so for those who are worried about being accidentally served alcohol - it’ll be impossible to do at AltBar! We’ve heard from several people who look forward to feeling safe and comfortable. In addition, we have heard from folks who have worked with us as bartenders that we have amazing guests (and we agree). Our guests are delightful, and we love getting to know them and providing a way for them to make memories - and remember them the next day.

Otherwise - nothing will be different!

“It turns out that there are a lot of other people just like us who want to go out and enjoy time together, but don’t wish to consume alcohol.”

We’ll have great cocktails, seating areas, happy hour specials, and more.

How do you source ingredients for your non-alcoholic cocktails?

We source from a lot of places. Buying non-alcoholic beverages is sort of the wild west right now, with some options through distributors and some direct. We also make all of our syrups for the drinks and juice our own juices. Ralph DiTucci makes our ice at Cristallino Ice; other ingredients are also local (tea, kombucha, etc.). We try to support Rochesterowned businesses as much as possible.

What kind of events or activities do you host at AltBarRoc to engage with the community?

We plan on hosting many events once we’re up and running, from trivia nights to industry nights and more. Maybe even book clubs (we’re both big readers) or comedy nights!

We’ll likely start regular events closer to the fall after being open a few months. We’ll also host private events if people want a smaller space to hold baby/ bridal showers, corporate events, or birthday celebrations.

go (although there are some exceptions), there are high-quality non-alcoholic beer and spirit options. More people are asking for non-alcoholic options at bars and restaurants, and if those places don’t offer good choices, they are losing customers. There is money on the table for sophisticated non-alc cocktails - people will pay for them - but only if you put them on your menu. It will only grow, and the bars & restaurants on board now will reap the

botanicals and other ingredients based on wellness choices. We always offer a low or no-sugar drink or two, but we want to spend more time coming up with more creative options for that in the future. Fortunately, most non-alc spirit alternatives are already low in calories and sugar, so making a healthconscious drink is easy.

What role does sustainability play in the operations of AltBarRoc?

benefits of paying attention and being inclusive. We’re still in the infancy of this movement, and we love being part of seeing how it unfolds.

We are thrifting most everything for our space that doesn’t have to be built from scratch. We have been scouring Facebook marketplace & thrift shops, which has been an adventure. We love giving items a second (or third or fourth) life. Once we open, we plan on using recycled bags and will offer a discount if folks use their reusable canvas bags. A full sustainability plan is in the works right now for our brick & mortar, and will likely evolve as we grow.

Can you share a success story or memorable moment from running AltBar?

Have you noticed any trends in the non-alcoholic beverage market since opening AltBar?

It’s BOOMING right now! Watching the options explode over the last several years has been amazing. While most non-alcoholic wine still has some ways to

How do you balance creativity and health consciousness in crafting your beverage menu?

We have a lot of fun crafting our menu and look forward to having a dedicated space for R&D for cocktails. We can do so much more - from shrubs to using tea as a spirit alternative to using

The first pop-up we ever hosted was so memorable. We were so unsure what the reception was going to be: would people be disappointed in the drinks? Would people show up? Would they return for a second (or third) drink? And the response was so overwhelmingly positive that we were in shock afterward. People


“We are a non-alcoholic bar & bottle shop offering a social experience not centered around alcohol.”

drinks and they showed up, but most importantly they felt included and grateful to have an adult experience that did not revolve around alcohol. Every event we do invigorates us and gives us the “ROI of joy” that we are able to provide to people.

How does owning a brick-and-mortar location differ from conducting pop-ups, and what advantages or disadvantages have you encountered?

We’re not open yet, so we don’t have a full understanding of the answer to this yet. However, the amount of paperwork that is needed to open a brick & mortar

location is overwhelming, as is the actual work of just getting the space ready. Having a bar built, sourcing all the pieces for the bar, getting the furniture, the lighting, the electrician, the plumber, building shelving and planning decor -- there’s a lot. We’ll also have to pay for rent, overhead, and employees, which we haven’t had to do much of other than a few space rental fees and bartenders over the years. But at least it’ll all be in one place!

Pop-us are a lot of work in lugging stuff around, and we can’t wait to get everything out of our dining room -

it’s stored all of our AltBar inventory for two years. The kids probably don’t even remember using that room! We’ve also been prepping everything at the Commissary for our events, and while it’s been amazing to have that resource, we can’t wait to be able to prep at our own bar. We also look forward to having a space people can browse all of our non-alcoholic inventory, as they’ve been looking at our online shop and picking up orders at Grace & Disgrace for over a year and a half. Pop-ups were great to get us started, but they were not sustainable for us long-term.



Nestled in the heart of Irondequoit, New York, Blue Palm Grill and Event Space stands as a beacon of culinary innovation and vibrant atmosphere. What inspired the creation of this unique establishment? The vision was simple yet profound: to infuse the Seabreeze area with freshness and novelty, offering a destination that perpetually exudes a vacation vibe, all while being just steps away from the beach and water. This vision stemmed from a desire to introduce something new and fresh to the local dining scene, a concept that would resonate with both residents and visitors alike.

The journey began with a simple question: What would it take to create a dining experience unlike any other in Irondequoit? The answer lay in the fusion of diverse culinary influences, combined with a playful ambiance that would transport guests to a world of relaxation and enjoyment. Thus, Blue Palm Grill was born, a name chosen to reflect not just the tropical imagery of palm trees but also the playful and welcoming environment that awaited guests inside.

countries such as Spain, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico, the menu offers a tantalizing array of dishes that are both familiar and exotic. From classic American favorites like chicken wings, quesadillas, and burgers to traditional Latin American delicacies like empanadas and plantains, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

But it’s not just the food that sets Blue Palm Grill apart; it’s also the ambiance and vibe of the place. From the moment guests step through the

Speaking of private events, what led to the decision to combine a restaurant and event space in one establishment? The answer is simple: versatility. By offering both dining and event services under one roof, Blue Palm Grill can cater to a wide range of needs and preferences. Whether you’re planning a birthday party, a corporate event, or a wedding reception, the team at Blue Palm Grill has you covered. With the ability to accommodate parties of up to 75 people and a range of catering options available, including full buffet service and bar packages, hosting an event at Blue Palm Grill is both easy and stress-free.

But what sets Blue Palm Grill apart from other dining options in the area? The answer lies in its unique blend of Latin American and American flavors. Drawing inspiration from

doors, they are enveloped in a chill and welcoming atmosphere that feels more like a beachside retreat than a restaurant in upstate New York. The decor is vibrant and colorful, with nods to tropical destinations like Miami and the Caribbean. Whether you’re dining with friends, hosting a private event, or simply stopping by for a drink at the bar, you’ll feel right at home at Blue Palm Grill.

Of course, balancing the needs of both restaurant guests and event attendees is no small feat. How does Blue Palm Grill manage to juggle both? The key lies in strategic spatial planning and a commitment to customer service. For smaller parties, a raised VIP area offers a semi-private dining experience, while larger groups have the option to book out the entire restaurant for exclusive use. This ensures that both restaurant guests and event attendees can enjoy their experience without feeling crowded or overlooked.

But what factors contribute to the success of Blue Palm Grill, and how


“The vision was simple yet profound: to infuse the Seabreeze area with freshness and novelty, offering a destination that perpetually exudes a vacation vibe, all while being just steps away from the beach and water.

does the team maintain consistency?

It all comes down to adaptability and continual improvement. By staying attuned to customer feedback and market trends, the team at Blue Palm Grill is able to evolve and grow over time. Whether it’s introducing new menu items, updating the decor, or refining service protocols, every decision is made with the goal of enhancing the guest experience and staying ahead of the competition.

Of course, no journey is without its challenges, and Blue Palm Grill is no exception. From navigating local regulations to overcoming neighborhood

pushback, the team has faced its fair share of obstacles along the way. However, through perseverance and a steadfast commitment to their vision, they have managed to overcome these challenges and emerge stronger than ever.

But perhaps the most rewarding aspect of running Blue Palm Grill is the opportunity to give back to the local community. From hosting fundraisers for local charities to catering events for schools and businesses, Blue Palm Grill is deeply invested in supporting the community that has supported them. It’s this spirit of generosity and collaboration that truly sets Blue Palm

Grill apart and makes it a beloved fixture in the Irondequoit community.

In conclusion, Blue Palm Grill is more than just a restaurant; it’s a destination—a place where culinary excellence meets vibrant ambiance and community spirit. From its humble beginnings as a vision to its current status as a beloved local establishment, Blue Palm Grill is a testament to the power of innovation, perseverance, and passion. So whether you’re craving a taste of the tropics or simply looking for a place to unwind with friends, be sure to stop by Blue Palm Grill and experience the magic for yourself.



How did Chili Liquor, a family business, originate and when was it established?

Chili Liquor came to be in 1967, first originating as Lepore Liquors on South Ave in Downtown Rochester (in 1964) before eventually migrating to Chili. Aldo and Diana Lepore, first generation immigrants from Italy, decided to open up the liquor and wine store while Aldo was working as a welder, and Diana was working in a local pasta factory. To focus on the new store, Diana commuted to the city each day and tended to it while Aldo continued his welding work. This went on for three years before deciding to move to Chili with the population boom in the suburbs. With the big move of the store to Chili, Aldo was able to quit his welding job and at the new store location he and Diana raised their young children during the process of expanding. The future generations have worked to manage and grow the business since both Aldo and Diana have retired and passed away, including the most recent expansion in 2017 which added 5,000 top and bottom. An original expansion in 1991 added 1000 square feet, in which Aldo also personally assisted in the construction of the building.

We specialize in fine wines, value wines, local wines and spirits, whiskey, and unique spirits from around the world.

Could you share the inspiration behind your mission to introduce a top-tier wine store to the Rochester community?

The inspiration truly started with the original owners in the family, Aldo and Diana. They wanted to bring the flavors of the world to Chili, at

high demand whiskey to more of our customers. Each month we feature an item or two for “Whiskey of the Month,” and we also have an event. Our events consist of free samples of our latest barrel picks, and the opportunity to purchase rare whiskies that are otherwise not typically found in the marketplace. There is no cost to join, and we often post deals and special whiskey events within our club email list.

various price points so there would be something available for everyone to enjoy. We pride ourselves in having generally the lowest prices around town, with a great selection!

What are some of the signature items or specialties that Chili Liquor is renowned for?

Tell us about the unique features and offerings of your whiskey club. The whiskey club was created just a short time ago and has now grown to over 1,600 members. Since we’ve gone digital we’ve been able to offer

What are a few standout wine and spirit selections that you personally recommend from your inventory?

As far as wine goes, there are so many good ones to try. We do have an amazing selection of foreign wines that we would recommend. Any of our barrelselected whiskies are also great choices. We do our best to bring a variety of products to the Rochester market, and also showcase the many local companies that exist throughout New York.

Are there any exclusive or rare products at Chili Liquor that distinguish you from other establishments in the area?

Our whiskey selection includes many barrel picks that are unique to our store. We purchase individual barrels from the distilleries and therefore have the rights to sell that particular barrel.

“We pride ourselves in having generally the lowest prices around town, with a great selection!”

Reflecting on your journey since 1967, what have been some of the major hurdles or challenges the business has faced?

Probably the biggest and most important challenge has been the ongoing issue of Wine in Grocery Stores, or WIGS. The grocery stores have been aiming to monopolize the industry that has been established in this particular manner to assist small business owners within the state. Small liquor stores, wineries, and cideries will be greatly impacted by any major law changes within New York State. The wine and liquor selections would diminish, and small stores would be forced to raise prices. Many people who support their families through the industry would be out of work, and the customers would not have as much access to face to face service with the products.

How does Chili Liquor engage with the local community and support its growth and development?

We are big supporters of local organizations when it comes to volunteering, fundraising, and supporting good causes. Chili Liquor has given back to the community in many ways ever since its birth.

Can you describe the ambiance and atmosphere that customers can

customers first, and make sure we give the best service possible. From walking in the store being greeted with a smile, to picking out your bottles and cashing out, our employees do the best to make sure everyone feels welcomed and taken care of.

How does Chili Liquor stay current with evolving trends in the wine and spirits industry?

Conversely, what are some notable achievements or milestones that Chili Liquor has celebrated over the years?

Over the years there have been numerous awards within the local community. Perhaps our biggest recent accomplishment is receiving the award in 2020 for being in the Top 100 Retailers in the United States.

expect when visiting Chili Liquor?

Customers can expect a friendly environment, with helpful associates and knowledgeable staff. They can also expect samples of various wine and liquor on the weekends, educational material around the store, as well as discounts on many items.

What sets Chili Liquor apart in terms of customer service and personalized recommendations?

At Chili Liquor we take care of our

The management team stays up to date on new wine and liquor trends around the world to best inform our customers. In addition, constant education provided for by the suppliers helps grow employee knowledge, as well as self studies.

Are there any upcoming events or promotions at Chili Liquor that readers should be aware of?

Customers can look forward to tastings of various wines and liquors on the weekends, our tasting schedule is posted on our website!

In what ways does Chili Liquor prioritize sustainability and responsible consumption within its business practices?

We recycle all of the cardboard boxes that our products come in, and encourage customers to discard their bottles in recycling bins at their residences as well. We also offer organic and sustainable wines and liquors.

“Chili Liquor came to be in 1967, first originating as Lepore Liquors on South Ave in Downtown Rochester (in 1964) before eventually migrating to Chili.”

Lastly, what excites you the most about the future of Chili Liquor and its continued presence in the Rochester area?

We are very excited to be implementing new technology within

the store. This will allow us to better serve our customers and give more people access to the great products we do carry.

Chili Liquor

3218 Chili Ave, Rochester, NY (585) 889-2660



Can you tell us the story behind Cellar and Folly Whiskey Company and how it all began?

Cellar & Folly started as a routine whiskey night in Nick’s basement between friends. Nick and Colin are old middle school friends that both had a love for whiskey. We later added more friends to the group including Caleb and our love for whiskey grew. Whiskey, to us, is such an interesting spirit and we completely nerded out about it. The aging process, distilling, flavoring, etc - we just experimented with different things until one day we were like “hmmm ... we may have something here”. We continue that same format today - bringing people together and sharing a nice glass of whiskey.

What inspired you to start a distillery, and how did you choose the name Cellar and Folly? Our friends and families inspired us! They were the ones to tell us to take this more seriously, and that we are onto something a little more different than what other distilleries are doing. The name has an interesting story behind it. We used to be called Cellarmen’s Folly Whiskey Company. Cellarmen - because this all started in a basement. And Folly - because its not the best idea to start a distillery with your best friends, haha! We had all of our permits in order in December of 2022 and as soon as we opened our tasting room, we were met with a brewery in TX who had the same name (kinda). It would have been a very expensive and lengthy legal process to fight it so we decided to change it to Cellar & Folly.

The basement is still in the name, and so is the bad idea, haha.

What sets your specialty whiskeys apart from others on the market?

We like to be flavored whiskey for whiskey enthusiasts. We have a chai spiced corn whiskey called Chai Fusion that has just subtle notes of cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom, and allspice. We don’t use any sugar or added sweetner

in our products, and we like how different that is compared to fireball, or your flavored jack daniels. It makes for a really nice sipping whiskey, and fantastic in cocktails.

Could you share some details about your flagship whiskeys and any limited editions or seasonal releases?

Our latest release is something that we never thought we’d release. We left it entirely up to our customers. We

have a patreon page that we started during COVID, and one of the perks is that our members get to vote on new products for us to attempt to make. They’ve had us make a jalapeno whiskey, a spiced strawberry whiskey, and one that really stood out was an applewood smoked vanilla whiskey. It was aged with charred applewood instead of oak, and we blended a homemade vanilla extra to it, and the flavor was incredibly inviting. Warm from the smokiness, but finishes well with the vanilla. We just had to bottle it and label it “Patron’s Choice”. It is now our best seller and we owe it all our customers.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced since starting the distillery, and how have you overcome them? Of course, our name change was a huge battle for us. We had product, labels, and merchandise with the old name on it that we had to give or throw away. And of course the pandemic. We had most of our permits submitted in Feb of 2020. Once everything shutdown, we did not hear back from NYS until October of 2022. This distillery is 100% funded by us. No loans, no investors, and we were so new that we didn’t qualify for any PPP loans or help during the pandemic. We all lost our jobs, and we thought the idea of a distillery was dead before it even began. But somehow we pulled through. We started a patreon membership where we do cocktail class, a podcast, fun whiskey wednesday chats, and many other things.

“Warm from the smokiness, but finishes well with the vanilla. We just had to bottle it and label it “Patron’s Choice”. It is now our best seller and we owe it all our customers.”

On the flip side, what have been some of your proudest successes or milestones?

Opening our tasting room was a very emotional day for us. After literal years of battling through our permits, the pandemic, trying to work to pay our rent, it was a surreal moment to open our doors in December of 2022.

7. Your website mentions a podcast. Can you tell us more about it and how it complements your brand and products?

Yes, we do have a podcast that is part of our Patreon membership. The three of us just get together, tell a little about what’s going on this month in the world of Cellar & Folly. It’s silly, but informative to the people who follow us. We also have a segment where we interview people from all over the world that are part of our industry. From bar owners, to distillers, to people who put on spirit awards, to bitters makers. It’s so fun to learn about the industry!

this business. Nick is a bartender by trade, and has been working in bars for 16+ years. That helps us at the tasting room, our cocktail classes, and he’s the one who primarily works at the facility making the whiskey. Colin is much more behind the scenes but equally as important. He deals with our attorney, our taxes, does most of our graphic design work, and is always on board to help Nick in the tasting room if he needs it. Caleb is a performer,

Containers, Niagara Label Company, Simple Roast Coffee, PMA Foods, ClearSource Corn. And provide a lot of other NYS spirits at our tasting room. Keeping everything local only helps our community.

In what ways do you engage with the local community, and how important is community involvement to Cedar and Folly?

Events, events, events! We love attending and being apart of any events that Auburn has to offer. We love doing the Saturday markets, beer festivals at Prison City Brewing, being a part of our chamber of commerce, and interacting with the community. Events are the best way to meet people, showcase our product, and get our name out there.

You mentioned that the podcast started as a passion project. How has it evolved since its inception?

Our distillery was a passion project at first, not the podcast.

Can you share a bit about each of your backgrounds and how they contribute to the success of the distillery?

Out of the 3 of us, we all have different skills, and they work really well for

and is great with sales. As a musician, he has a great rapport with retailers, and provides a great service as a brand ambassador for Cellar & Folly.

How do you approach sourcing ingredients for your whiskeys, and do you prioritize any particular characteristics or qualities?

We try to keep everything as NY as possible. Even our bottles come from the finger lakes. We use ingredients from Black Button Distilling, Waterloo

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for Cellar and Folly Whiskey Company in the coming years?

We have many new products in the works for 2024, and 2025. Those are our priority at this time. We’d also love to expand our tasting room and maybe move it to a more central location, but that is a few years down the road. And of course, reach out to other cities in NY to try and open up more doors and meet new people in our community!

“ WHISKEY, to us, is such an interesting spirit and we completely nerded out about it. The aging process, distilling, FLAVORING, etc - we just experimented with different things until one day we were like “HMMM ... we may have something here”. ”



Audrey Elizabeth Evans (6 March 1925

– 29 September 2022) was a British-born American pediatric oncologist who was known as the “Mother of Neuroblastoma” and the driving force behind the very first Ronald McDonald House in 1974. Dr. Evans was not only a brilliant clinician, but she fully embraced the idea of caring for the family as a unit and was famously known as saying: “A sick child makes a sick family. So you must think about everybody—the siblings, the mother, the father, maybe grandmother. You must remember that they’re part of a group.” She steadfastly incorporated this belief into her practice long before the concept of “Family Centered Care” originated in the 1980s. She understood deeply the value of family connection and knew that having family members at the bedside was important to a child’s recovery.

Dr Evans trained at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in the early 1950s. She was the only female student in the medical school. She did two years of residency at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where, again, she was the only female in the program.

After finishing her degree in 1953, she applied for and received the Fulbright Fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital. She trained there for two years under Sidney Farber who is known as the father of modern chemotherapy. She went to Johns Hopkins University to finish her medical training in 1955.

In 1955, upon completion of her medical training in the United States, she returned to England to practice specialty pediatrics,

only to quickly learn that this field was strictly for men and not women, so she returned to the United States to pick up her career in pediatric oncology. She worked at Boston Children’s Hospital, and then in 1964, she headed to the University of Chicago hematology and oncology unit. There, Dr. Evans was recruited by C. Everett Coop, former U.S. Surgeon General and Surgeon Chief at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), to create a pediatric oncology unit. She spent the rest of her career at CHOP. Throughout her career she took a total care approach towards her patients, meaning that she did not just focus on her patients’ physical needs but also their social, emotional, and spiritual needs—including supporting her patients’ families.

From 1969 to 1989, she served as chair of the Division of Oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and in 1972 became an appointed professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Evans was known as the “Mother of Neuroblastoma” because of her profound work treating children with that kind of cancer, and after years of treating children with neuroblastoma, she reduced its mortality rate by about fifty percent. Currently, the survival rate is above eighty-five percent.

Ronald McDonald House Charities

As CHOP’s pediatric oncology department grew, people came from a wide range of places to be treated there. Dr. Evans, who had witnessed her patients’ family members sleeping in chairs or in their cars in the parking

lot, or dispersed into different locations, realized that while her patients received treatment, their families had no place to stay. In the early 1970s, Evans was introduced to Jimmy Murray, the owner of the professional football team, The Philadelphia Eagles, because the team had raised $100,000 for children with cancer in honor of one of the player’s daughters who had leukemia. Evans accepted the money from Murray, and let him know that she needed $32,000 more in order to buy a house close to the hospital to lodge the families of the children she treated. Meanwhile, a player for the Eagles had been advertising for McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes, so Murray asked the regional McDonald’s manager, Ed Rensi, if he would donate the Shamrock Shake money towards a house. Rensi agreed under the condition that it would be named the Ronald McDonald House. It started out as a place to stay and meet a person’s basic needs; a place to sleep and eat. As the programs have grown, they have adapted Evans’ total care approach and created a place for family centered care. It’s now considered a home away from home, free of charge. There are now more than 387 houses in 65 countries.

Evans’ personal life was as extraordinary as her personal life. In 2005, she married Giulio John D’Angio at seven o’clock in the morning, so that they could make it to work 90 minutes later. Both were over 80 years old and had known each other for over 50 years. (They had met in 1953 while working at Boston Children’s Hospital—D’Angio had discovered Evans perched at his desk and going through his mail.)

“Thank you, Dr Evans, for your passion, vision and dedication to healing children and their families.”

Evans died in Philadelphia on 29 September 2022, aged 97, survived by her stepsons Carl and Peter D’Angio. The legacy of her work lives on. Evans was a deeply religious woman: “The pillars of Audrey’s career were faith and science. She believed that God brought her here to care for dying children,” said Julia Fisher Farbman, a film-maker who wrote the screenplay and produced the upcoming film, Audrey’s Children, about Evans. Because of Evans, and her vision and commitment to her patients and their loved ones, families from all over the world continue to be supported through some of their most challenging

times. The programs and services offered by each of the 387 chapters in over 65 countries align with the needs of their local pediatric hospitals and the communities where they operate in a true partnership.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Rochester (RMHCR) provides a “homeaway-from-home” to families while their children receive the essential care they need. We serve families with critically ill or injured children of any diagnosis and up to 21 years. We also support high-risk pregnant mothers to enable the best possible care for moms and

their babies even before they are born. Whether it’s lodging, transportation, meals, or companionship, we clear all distractions and barriers so that families can focus all of their energy on the health and wellbeing of their child. RMHCR is a formidable partner in care and positively impacts health outcomes by addressing the quintuple aim: Our programs and services increase quality, decrease costs, enhance the family experience, decrease clinician burnout, and clear barriers to care. For more information about each of our programs and services, please visit our website,



Can you introduce yourself and share a bit about your background, and what inspired you to start Soulful Journeys by Beth?

Certainly! I’m Beth, a seasoned nurse, life coach, and now a travel advisor. The inspiration for Soulful Journeys with Beth Travel Agency springs from my love of culture and curiosity. My father’s childhood tales sparked this curiosity, and Anthony Bourdain deepened my passion with his cultural storytelling.

Growing up, my father didn’t read stories from books; instead, he painted vivid narratives with the brushstrokes of his own life. Born to a British soldier and a missionary from Syracuse University, he spent the first decade of his life in Shanghai, China. In 1938, at the age of 10, he embarked on a remarkable journey from China to England by boat, a voyage that spanned 3-4 weeks. Following a brief stint in England and Canada, he eventually found his way to the United States. Posthigh school graduation, he embarked on a transformative cross-country journey with a friend, weaving tales of exploration and discovery. These narratives of his diverse travels have indelibly shaped my adventurous spirit and curiosity about the world.

As a mother of four, tending to the needs of children aged 28 to 13, and now serving as the primary caregiver for my 95-year-old father, my travel opportunities have been limited. Throughout these years, Anthony Bourdain’s storytelling served as a virtual escape, quenching my thirst for exploration. His captivating narratives made me feel intimately connected to his journeys, allowing me to vicariously experience the diverse cultures he encountered.

However, my limited personal travels only intensify my eagerness to explore

and share wonders with those seeking soul-enriching adventures. Combining my background in healthcare and coaching, and the partnerships I have developed, I’ve crafted a travel agency that transcends sightseeing, aiming to curate soulful journeys inspiring personal growth, connecting communities, and leaving a positive impact on the world.

What’s the concept behind your e-magazine, “The Art of Mindful Travel,” and how does it resonate with your agency’s philosophy?

“The Art of Mindful Travel” e-magazine is an extension of Soulful Journeys with Beth Travel Agency’s core philosophy and mission. At the heart of our agency’s purpose lies the belief that travel is a powerful tool for personal transformation and self-discovery.

The concept behind “The Art of Mindful Travel” is to inspire a new way of exploring the world—one that encourages travelers to immerse themselves fully in the present moment of their journey (at home and in their travels). I believe that travel should be a holistic experience, nurturing the mind, body, and soul. The e-magazine serves as a guide, offering an invitation to explore more mindfully and to introduce the reader to transformative experiences that align with our agency’s commitment to personal growth, connection, and responsible travel.

Could you elaborate on your travel blog, “The Soulful Chronicles,” and how it complements the experience of your audience?

“Soulful Chronicles,” my blog over at blog/ is where I weave travel narratives, insightful tips, and a celebration of diverse cultures. This blog reflects our agency’s philosophy, placing a spotlight on the

transformative power of travel. From captivating ecotourism adventures to serene wellness retreats and the enchantment of European explorations, “Soulful Chronicles” serves as an inspirational guide for meaningful journeys.

Here, I not only share destinations and promos but also provide valuable travel tips and insights. It is a platform that cultivates a community around shared passions, fostering a profound connection between fellow travelers and the soulful experiences our agency curates. “Soulful Chronicles” is where wanderlust meets purpose, aligning seamlessly with our commitment to crafting enriching group tours that leave lasting imprints on both individuals and the destinations they embrace.

What motivated you to establish a travel agency, and what distinguishes Soulful Journeys from others in the industry?

In the middle of life’s inevitable shifts, the pandemic sparked profound introspection for me. Nestled in the hills of Central New York, dedicated to family life for a quarter-century, I felt a magnetic pull toward the wanderlust-inducing vistas of Instagram travel posts.

As I scrolled through the feeds of travel influencers, a deep craving for exploration beyond familial responsibilities intensified. With the youngest set to graduate in four years, I envisioned turning these dreams into tangible adventures.

However, the world of travel influencers left me disenchanted, notably due to its lack of environmental consciousness. Fueled by my background in nursing and life coaching, a vision emerged: to intertwine these skills with travel advising, giving rise to Soulful Journeys with Beth Travel Agency LLC. Partnering with



“In essence, being a mindful travel advisor involves curating purposeful, culturally respectful journeys that prioritize well-being and environmental stewardship.”

suppliers who share our dedication to sustainability, our mission is to redefine travel as a transformative and responsible experience.

We’re not your typical agency; we’re the portal to meaningful, enriching, and authentically soulful adventures, rewriting the travel rulebook while actively contributing to positive change.

What distinguishes us in the industry is our unwavering commitment to holistic travel experiences. Acknowledging travel’s potential as a catalyst for personal transformation, we meticulously craft journeys that transcend the ordinary.

5. Among all the places you’ve traveled to, which one stands out as your absolute favorite, and what makes it so special? No doubt, my absolute favorite transformative travel experience (so far) happened in Central California. My best friend of over 40 years would be celebrating her 50th birthday. She has been living on the West Coast for years and I am on the East Coast. We planned a long weekend to celebrate her birthday and our friendship as it had been several years since we saw each other last. This trip was initially postponed due to a family issue, but we decided to turn it around by adding some meaningful elements and being intentional with our plans.

The coastal explorations, wildlife encounters, and a relaxing spa day at the Madonna Inn weren’t just pretty moments; they became the heart of this unforgettable journey. Despite the initial hiccup, the decision to reschedule and add some extra features turned what could have been a letdown into a special adventure.

What truly made this trip stand out was the quality time spent with friends. From

sharing laughs over pizza by the ocean to exploring coastal towns, wineries, and even an avocado farm – every moment added richness to the experience.

This journey wasn’t just a vacation; it was a meaningful experience. The mix of wellness, nature, and quality time with friends left a lasting impact on my spirit. In essence, Central California holds a special place in my heart, not just for its scenic beauty but for the resilience that turned a canceled trip into an unexpectedly delightful adventure. The magic of this journey lies in the enduring bonds formed and the rejuvenation of both body and spirit.

What’s the most common question people ask you about mindful travel or when planning their journeys?

The most common question I get about mindful travel or when helping others plan their journeys usually revolves around balancing exploration with sustainability. People often want to know how they can enjoy their travel experiences to the fullest while being mindful of their environmental impact and supporting local communities. They inquire about responsible travel practices, eco-friendly accommodations, and ways to engage with the local culture respectfully. It’s heartening to see a growing interest in making travel not just a personal experience but also a positive force for the places we visit and the people who call them home.

I intentionally collaborate with a select few travel suppliers from a pool of hundreds. These chosen partners are distinguished by their commitment to sustainability, with one noteworthy supplier planting a tree for every vacation day you embark upon. Among my preferred suppliers are those that curate genuine “local experiences,” enabling my clients to immerse themselves

in the culture firsthand, often offering the option to stay with locals.

What makes these suppliers even more special is their dedication to giving back to local communities. This could be through initiatives like employing locals as tour guides or facilitating shopping experiences that directly benefit the local communities.

How does being a mindful travel advisor align with the ethos of Soulful Journeys, and what does it entail?

At Soulful Journeys, we view travel as a chance to make a positive impact on the world. As a mindful travel advisor, I bring a thoughtful approach to every aspect of the journey, prioritizing responsible travel practices, and environmental sustainability, and fostering meaningful connections with local communities.

My commitment involves selecting suppliers who share our values, with a focus on sustainability. Thorough research on each destination, especially unfamiliar ones, ensures I prioritize safety and provide a secure and enjoyable travel experience.

In unfamiliar destinations, I proactively reach out to destination management or travel suppliers for necessary information. Emphasizing travel insurance for added protection, and may also recommend group travel for enhanced security and a structured experience.

As a mindful travel advisor at Soulful Journeys, my approach centers on holistic, intention-driven, and culturally sensitive travel:

• Holistic Understanding: Crafting itineraries goes beyond the destination; it’s about comprehending each traveler’s unique needs for an entire experience.

• Intention-Driven Planning: Focused



“The most common question I get about mindful travel or when helping others plan their journeys usually revolves around balancing exploration with sustainability.”

on setting clear intentions, I align every journey with personal growth objectives for a purposeful experience.

• Cultural Sensitivity: Prioritizing diversity, I enable travelers to engage meaningfully with local communities for genuine connections.

• Wellness Integration: As a nurse and health coach, wellness is woven into itineraries, promoting physical, mental, and emotional health.

• Sustainability and Responsibility: I emphasize responsible practices, choosing options that minimize environmental impact and contribute positively to communities.

• Connection with Nature: Recognizing nature’s transformative power, I recommend immersive experiences, from scenic landscapes to responsible encounters with wildlife.

In essence, being a mindful travel advisor involves curating purposeful, culturally respectful journeys that prioritize wellbeing and environmental stewardship.

Can you share an example of how your agency incorporates mindfulness into travel experiences for your clients?

Absolutely! I collaborate closely with destination management companies and travel suppliers who share our commitment to making the Earth and local communities central to the traveler’s experience as well as giving back to those local communities. This partnership extends beyond traditional travel planning to incorporate unique and meaningful elements that align with our ethos of mindfulness, sustainability, and community engagement.

• Sustainable Practices: Our selected destination management companies and travel suppliers prioritize sustainable practices, ensuring that every aspect of the traveler’s journey minimizes environmental

impact. From eco-friendly accommodations to responsible transportation options, we strive to create experiences that leave a positive footprint.

• Local Experiences: Working with our partners, we curate experiences that immerse travelers in the heart of local communities. This may include opportunities to be hosted by locals, fostering genuine connections, and providing authentic insights into the destination. Activities such as local market visits, cooking classes with residents, or cultural exchanges contribute to a richer, more mindful travel experience.

• Mindful Community Engagement: We believe in the power of travel to create positive change. Our collaborations prioritize community engagement, ensuring that travelers have the chance to contribute to and learn from the communities they visit. This may involve participating in local initiatives, supporting community projects, or engaging in cultural exchanges that go beyond typical tourist interactions.

• Emphasis on Local Cuisine: Our partnerships often include experiences centered around local cuisine. Travelers may enjoy cooking classes led by local chefs, providing an immersive way to connect with the destination’s culture through its food. This not only enhances the travel experience but also supports local businesses and culinary traditions.

• Personalized Hosting: For those seeking a more personal touch, our partnerships may offer hosted experiences where travelers are welcomed into the homes of locals. This not only provides an authentic perspective on daily life but also fosters connections that transcend the typical tourist experience.

By collaborating with destination

management companies and travel suppliers who share our values, we ensure that mindfulness extends beyond individual practices to become an integral part of the entire travel ecosystem. Together, we aim to create journeys that not only enrich the lives of our travelers but also contribute positively to the Earth and the communities we have the privilege of exploring.

How do you curate experiences that prioritize mindfulness and enrich travelers’ journeys?

Curating experiences that prioritize mindfulness and enrich travelers’ journeys is a thoughtful and intentional process that starts from the very first conversation. Here’s an overview of how we approach this:

• Initial Consultation: Our journey to creating mindful travel experiences begins with a deep dive into the traveler’s intentions and aspirations. After someone completes my initial “travel request form” found on my website at https:// During the initial consultation, one of the first questions we explore is the purpose behind their trip. We delve into how they want to feel, what emotions they hope to evoke, and what personal accomplishments they aim to achieve during their journey.

• Customization Based on Intentions: Understanding the traveler’s intentions allows us to customize every aspect of their experience. Whether it’s a desire for relaxation, self-discovery, adventure, or cultural immersion, we tailor the itinerary to align with their unique goals, ensuring that every moment contributes to their overall sense of fulfillment.

• Mindful Scheduling: We encourage a mindful approach to scheduling by advocating for downtime within the

“What distinguishes us in the industry is our unwavering commitment to holistic travel experiences.”


travel itinerary. Rather than packing the schedule tightly, we suggest moments of pause and reflection. This allows travelers to absorb the beauty of the surroundings, reflect on their experiences, and truly be present in each moment.

• Incorporating Mindful Activities: We weave mindfulness into the journey through curated activities such as guided meditation sessions, yoga classes, or nature walks, etc. These activities serve as anchors, providing travelers with intentional opportunities to connect with themselves and their surroundings.

• Embracing Nature: Many of our curated experiences involve connecting with nature. Whether it’s exploring serene landscapes, participating in outdoor activities, or simply enjoying moments of quiet contemplation, nature becomes a powerful catalyst for mindfulness and rejuvenation.

• Wellness Integration: Mindfulness and well-being often go hand in hand. Our itineraries include wellness elements such as spa days, healthy dining options, and opportunities for relaxation. These additions contribute to the holistic enrichment of the traveler’s journey.

• Flexibility and Spontaneity: Recognizing the value of spontaneity, we build flexibility into the itinerary. This allows travelers to follow their instincts, explore unexpected discoveries, and embrace serendipitous moments that often lead to some of the most memorable and mindful experiences.

• Post-Journey Reflection: The journey doesn’t end when the traveler returns home. We encourage post-journey reflection, providing a space for them to share insights, lessons learned, and how the experience has influenced their mindset and well-being.

By prioritizing mindfulness from the very beginning and infusing intentionality into every step of the planning process, we aim to create travel experiences that not only meet the logistical aspects but also deeply enrich the soul and contribute to the traveler’s overall sense of well-being.

What role does sustainability play in the travel experiences you design, and how do you ensure ethical practices within your agency?

Sustainability is a cornerstone of the travel experiences we design at Soulful Journeys with Beth. We recognize the profound impact travel can have on the environment and local communities, and we are committed to ensuring that our journeys not only enrich the lives of our clients but also contribute positively to the world.

Here’s how sustainability and ethical practices are integrated into our agency:

• Collaboration with Sustainable Travel Suppliers: We prioritize partnerships with travel suppliers who share our commitment to sustainability. Many of our suppliers actively work to decrease their carbon footprint, and some have innovative initiatives, such as planting a tree for each vacation day a traveler takes. These partnerships ensure that our clients’ journeys align with eco-friendly practices.

• Paperless Operations and Online Booking: At Soulful Journeys, we are mindful of our environmental impact. We’ve taken significant steps to minimize paper use by embracing paperless operations and utilizing virtual online booking systems. This not only reduces our ecological footprint but also enhances the efficiency and convenience of the booking process for our clients.

• Support for Climate Change Initiatives: Our commitment to sustainability extends

beyond our day-to-day operations. We actively contribute to climate change initiatives by donating a portion of our proceeds to organizations dedicated to environmental conservation and positive climate action. This ensures that our agency is actively involved in efforts to address global challenges related to climate change.

• Ethical Practices in Community Engagement: In addition to environmental sustainability, ethical practices are central to our agency’s ethos. When engaging with local communities during our travel experiences, we ensure that our interactions respect and benefit the residents. This includes supporting local businesses, respecting cultural traditions, and contributing positively to the social fabric of the communities we explore.

• Client Education on Sustainable Travel: We believe in the power of education to drive positive change. We actively educate our clients about the importance of sustainable travel practices, encouraging responsible behavior and fostering an awareness of the environmental and social impact of their journeys. This empowers our clients to make mindful choices during their travels. The Soulful Chronicles blog and our social media are both outlets in which we share with our followers.

• Continuous Improvement and Adaptation: Sustainability is an ongoing journey, and we are committed to continuous improvement. We regularly evaluate our practices, explore new sustainable initiatives, and adapt our approach to align with emerging best practices in the travel industry.

How do you navigate offering unique experiences while respecting the local cultures and environments of the places you promote?

“As I scrolled through the feeds of travel influencers, a deep craving for exploration beyond familial responsibilities intensified.”


Respecting local cultures and environments is integral to our approach in providing distinctive travel experiences. We carefully select partners who share our dedication to responsible and sustainable travel practices.

Here’s how we maintain this balance with a few key collaborators:

• Conscious Collaboration: In crafting our travel experiences, we conscientiously integrate conscious travel practices within the framework of our primary collaborator, deeply embedded within the travel industry. These experiences, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, are meticulously woven into our itineraries. Beyond offering enriching moments, they actively contribute to the well-being of the communities we visit. Our commitment to responsible tourism is evident through strategic partnerships that prioritize familyrun businesses, UNESCO sites, and culturally significant places.

• Ethical Practices and Community Engagement: Our association with key collaborators goes beyond travel—it emphasizes ethical practices and community engagement. This collaborative commitment underscores our belief that travel should be a transformative force for positive change on a global scale.

• Sustainability Initiatives: One of our vital partners, deeply aligned with our values, follows an extensive sustainability plan. This strategy focuses on crucial aspects such as measuring and reducing carbon emissions, enhancing responsible operational standards, and ensuring tangible benefits to the destinations our clients explore. Our partner is also actively involved in various sustainability initiatives.

• De-carbonizing Strategy and Community Support: Our partner’s commitment to sustainability extends to a long-term

de-carbonizing strategy and thoughtful dispersal of tourism dollars, particularly to less-visited communities. Actively encouraging travel outside of peak seasons and beyond major cities, this strategic approach aims to mitigate over-tourism. The result is a more equitable distribution of economic benefits, ensuring a broader range of communities reap the positive impacts of responsible and sustainable tourism.

In essence, our commitment to responsible travel practices and sustainability is ingrained in every aspect of our collaborations, ensuring that our clients enjoy unique, enriching journeys while actively contributing to the well-being of the destinations they explore.

What do you believe sets Soulful Journeys apart when it comes to crafting personalized travel experiences? Well, me! But also, at Soulful Journeys, we pride ourselves on several key elements that set us apart when it comes to crafting personalized travel experiences:

• Purposeful Personalization: We go beyond typical travel planning by delving deep into the individual aspirations and intentions of our clients. Our personalized experiences are not just about preferences but are purposefully aligned with the unique goals, emotions, and desires of each traveler.

• Mindful Intentions: Every journey we curate is infused with mindfulness. From the initial consultation to the final itinerary, we prioritize creating experiences that encourage self-discovery, personal growth, and a profound connection with the destinations visited. Mindfulness is not just a practice but a guiding principle in every aspect of our travel planning.

• Collaboration with Ethical Partners: Our commitment to responsible and sustainable travel extends to our choice of partners. We collaborate with ethical suppliers, including those within the TTC family and Europe Express, to ensure that our clients’ experiences positively impact both the communities they visit and the environment.

• Incorporation of Conscious Travel: Conscious travel is at the heart of what we do. We actively integrate experiences that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring that our clients not only enjoy enriching experiences but also contribute meaningfully to the well-being of local communities.

• Flexibility and Adaptability: We understand that each traveler is unique, and preferences can change. Our approach is flexible and adaptable, allowing for adjustments during the planning process and even during the journey itself. This ensures that the travel experience remains personalized and aligned with the evolving needs of our clients.

• Dedication to Well-Being: Beyond the physical aspects of travel, we prioritize the well-being of our clients. Whether it’s incorporating wellness activities, techfree time, or encouraging downtime in itineraries, our goal is to ensure that every journey contributes to the overall wellbeing of the traveler.

• Ongoing Client Engagement: Our relationship with clients doesn’t end when the journey begins. We believe in ongoing engagement, providing support and opportunities for reflection throughout and after the travel experience. This ensures that the impact of the journey extends well beyond the actual trip.

“I believe that travel should be a holistic experience, nurturing the mind, body, and soul.”


In essence, what sets Soulful Journeys apart is our commitment to creating travel experiences that are not just tailored but purposeful, mindful, and aligned with the principles of responsible and conscious travel. Our goal is to transform travel into a meaningful and transformative journey for each individual, leaving a positive impact on both the traveler and the destinations they explore.

How do you approach helping clients who may be new to mindfulness or seeking a transformative travel experience?

At Soulful Journeys with Beth Travel Agency, our approach to assisting clients new to mindfulness or seeking a transformative travel experience is grounded in a thoughtful and supportive process. Here’s how we navigate this journey with our clients:

• Initial Consultation: We begin with a comprehensive initial consultation to understand the unique needs, preferences, and intentions of our clients. For those new to mindfulness or seeking transformation, we explore their openness to these concepts and what they hope to achieve from the travel experience.

• Educational Guidance: Recognizing that mindfulness and transformative travel may be new concepts for some clients, we provide educational guidance. This includes explaining the principles of mindfulness, the potential benefits of a transformative journey, and how these elements can be seamlessly integrated into their travel experience.

• Tailored Recommendations: Based on the client’s level of familiarity and comfort with mindfulness, we tailor recommendations that align with their preferences. This could range from incorporating simple mindfulness practices into daily activities

to suggesting specific transformative experiences that resonate with their personal goals.

• Mindful Itinerary Planning: Our travel itineraries are carefully crafted with mindfulness in mind. This may involve including opportunities for meditation, wellness activities, nature walks, or visits to locations known for their transformative energy. Each aspect is designed to enhance the overall mindfulness and transformative potential of the journey.

• Guided Experiences: For clients who express interest, we offer guided mindfulness experiences during the trip. This may include sessions led by experienced practitioners, workshops, or immersive activities that facilitate personal reflection and growth.

• Flexibility and Gradual Integration: Understanding that everyone’s journey into mindfulness is unique, we approach it with flexibility. We encourage gradual integration, allowing clients to explore mindfulness at their own pace and comfort level. This ensures a positive and supportive environment for those new to these practices.

• Post-Travel Support: Our commitment extends beyond the travel experience. We provide post-travel support, encouraging clients to share their reflections, insights, and any challenges encountered. This ongoing engagement fosters a sense of community and reinforces the transformative aspects of their journey.

• Resource Provision: We equip clients with resources such as recommended reading materials, mindfulness apps, and information about local practitioners or communities they can connect with. This empowers them to continue their

mindfulness journey beyond the specific travel experience.

By approaching mindfulness and transformative travel with sensitivity, education, and tailored support, we ensure that clients, regardless of their familiarity with these concepts, feel empowered to embark on a journey of self-discovery, growth, and meaningful transformation.

Could you share a memorable testimonial or story from a client whose journey was profoundly impacted by the mindfulness aspect of your services?

Absolutely, let me share a heartwarming story from a client whose journey was profoundly impacted by the mindfulness aspect of my services.

I was thrilled to bring this client’s desire for a wonderful getaway to fruition. They were feeling frustrated trying to plan something on their own, so after a few discussions about what they were looking for, I presented options that made the decision-making process a breeze. Once the choice was made, I streamlined the booking process, ensuring it was super easy for them.

The mindfulness aspect came into play again when, upon check-in, the client and their companion were greeted with a delightful surprise—a special touch from me that added a unique and personal dimension to their journey. Armed with the thoughtful information I provided, they were able to curate their own memorable getaway, tailored to their desires.

This testimonial is a wonderful reflection of the ease and mindfulness embedded in my services at Soulful Journeys with Beth Travel Agency. It highlights my commitment to making travel not only stress-free but also a deeply enriching and

Combining my background in healthcare and coaching, and the PARTNERSHIPS I have developed, I’ve crafted a travel agency that transcends sightseeing, aiming to curate SOULFUL JOURNEYS inspiring personal growth, connecting communities, and leaving a positive impact on the WORLD. ”
“Growing up, my father didn’t read stories from books; instead, he painted vivid narratives with the brushstrokes of his own life.”

personalized experience, creating memories that extend beyond the ordinary.

Looking ahead, what are the future aspirations and goals for Soulful Journeys by Beth within the travel industry?

Looking ahead, our primary focus at Soulful Journeys is to expand our client base by inspiring individuals to harness the transformative power of travel. We plan to achieve this through our Soulful Chronicles blog, active social media engagement, and a dedicated travel column featured in the Rochester Women online magazine!! These platforms will be instrumental in reaching and encouraging more people, creating a community that values the transformative and mindful aspects of travel, whether it’s a women’s wellness

getaway, multigenerational trip, or ecoadventure.

Our specific goals include:

• Expanding women’s wellness travel to new destinations.

• Incorporating diverse wellness practices on a global scale.

• Continuing partnerships with European suppliers for our signature “Roots and Culture” trips, catering to multigenerational travel.

• Encouraging sustainable and eco-friendly travel opportunities. This is a great one for families!

• Contributing to global sustainability initiatives and community development.

• Promoting responsible tourism and raising awareness about ethical travel practices.

• Enhancing customer satisfaction through continuous feedback assessments.

By pursuing these aspirations, Soulful Journeys with Beth Travel Agency aims to solidify its position as a leading force in transformative travel, meeting the evolving needs of mindful adventurers. Feel free to visit my website at https:// and subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay connected.



Can you tell us about yourself and the story behind West Creek Event Venue’s inception?

When seeing the landscape of the property and the potential to have a beautiful place to hold Weddings and Private gatherings, we started building what is now known as West Creek.

What inspired the name “West Creek” for your venue?

What inspired the name West Creek was based on the beautiful surrounding area with the large creeks that wrap around the property. One being called the West Creek.

In your opinion, what sets West Creek Event Venue apart from other event venues?

What separates West Creek from other Venues I would say is how private our location is. West Creek is just beautiful and unique. The Venue is far off the road surrounded by the creeks and woodlands.

Staff cares about detail, preparation and goes above and beyond for you, your family and guests no matter what event is taking place. They are the absolute best and I can assure you that anyone coming to West Creek will feel the same. We take pride in this and making sure when the time comes to leave our Venue that everyone leaves happy. This is our number one goal.

West Creek!

Could you share a memorable client testimony and why it stands out to you?

Here are some of the amazing things Guests who have been to our Venue have so kindly said about West Creek:

“My daughter’s recent Wedding was at West creek and it was perfect. Excellent staff that made sure everything went as planned.

What types of events do you typically host at West Creek?

Another reason would definitely be our rates for Weddings and Events. We believe you should not have to pay what these high prices are at some Venues just to book. We want to help make your Wedding or Event possible without having you break the bank. Last but not least, and I would say this is the biggest area that separates West Creek from the others, is our incredible Staff. Our

We hold a lot of Weddings, Bridal Showers, Baby Showers, Graduation Parties, Corporate Events, School Functions you name it!

We are gearing up for holding more Events not only on the weekends but also during the weekdays and of course at a lower rate for all interested! For the customer care and what we offer you really can’t go wrong with

You don’t have to break the bank here to have a beautiful Wedding! Highly recommend!”

“Great place and great help.Attended on memorial service there today, a few hundred folks, the hall was great, the outside had additional seating with tables and Tents, a lovely elevated deck area with a country Woodlands settings. A wonderful spot!”

“Beautiful atmosphere inside and out...great friendly staff who know how to make any event a success!”

“Just amazing inside and out. The attention to detail with the inside of the making of the Venue, the outstanding outside atmosphere, and how helpful the West Creek Staff was for our Wedding was nothing less than amazing. Highly recommend!”

“Last but not least, and I would say this is the biggest area that separates West Creek from the others, is our incredible Staff. “


“The best way for any celebration. West Creek is very professional and human attention is very friendly! We had such a nice experience!”

“Wow! This place looks great. The owners have done a great job making this a nice Venue!”

“We held a surprise party here. The staff was excellent and made sure we had everything we need and was more than accommodating. Venue is beautiful, affordable and cannot recommend this place enough!”

What was your professional background before establishing West Creek?

Before West Creek we were Forks Park Softball Complex. With over 150 teams that played here on the 7 large fields weekly, the sport slowly came to an end in our area. We always held smaller Events during the Softball phase but then it was decided to take a turn towards creating what is now West Creek.

here today without the help of friends and family who all gave their time and hard work building this Venue with myself. Words can’t express the thanks I can say to all. For me personally it’s a never ending job building the Venue to where I personally see fit for all to enjoy. Balancing the comfort for all Guests that come to the Venue can be challenging. The goal is to make sure everyone is happy here and has a wonderful experience. The challenges never end

successful aspects of developing West Creek?

Times were very slow with the transitioning into West Creek during the remodeling and building phases. Not knowing would the future would hold each day. I would have to say seeing guests coming to the Venue and seeing how much they enjoyed it. There amazing comments was just incredible to hear. Hearing and seeing this was a success for me personally.

What amenities or features does West Creek offer that clients often find most appealing?

How much personal time and energy did you invest in creating West Creek, and what were some of the biggest challenges you faced?

The process of building West Creek has been the one of the hardest challenges of my life. The first thing I will say is the Venue would not be

but we keep building and updating to make this one of the most unique Venues around. As far as personal time and energy…I lost track of those numbers a long time ago! It’s been close to 10 years building West Creek from what it was at the start. We still have a lot more to do and are going to do!

Can you highlight some of the most

I believe this to be the privacy of the area. When having your Wedding or Event here the Venue is at the time just for you and your guests. It’s a cozy place with wildlife in the background. When the sun goes down there is nothing better than some tiki torch’s, and nice warm fire and being around your friends and family. Also how we put so much attention into detail and the care for all who come here. It’s very important to me and all of us at West Creek.

How do you ensure each event at West Creek is unique and tailored to the client’s vision?

We meet with our Guests as much as needed to ensure comfort and address any questions that come about. This is priority having you

“What inspired the name West Creek was based on the beautiful surrounding area with the large creeks that wrap around the property. One being called the West Creek.”

comfortable throughout the planning process leading up to any wedding or event. A lot goes into them. Like I have said the staff at West Creek goes above and beyond to make sure of this. They’re absolutely amazing!

What is the capacity of West Creek Event Venue, and what types of setups can you accommodate?

Inside the Venue we currently can hold 100 Guests. Our outside area is huge. For many Weddings and Events large tents are brought onto the property and set up in a location you see best fit. If undecided we are more than willing to recommend what would work best for you. With the mixture of indoor and outdoor if needed, it works out amazing. We will work with you to accommodate however small or large your gathering may be.

How do you maintain the aesthetic

appeal and ambiance of West Creek throughout different seasons or types of events?

As far as appeal we do decorate for the seasons inside and out. With the new remodel this past year we have updated the lighting outside the Venue to adjust to any color you can imagine for your personal Wedding color or for any different holidays and more!

What kind of support or assistance do you offer clients during the planning and execution of their events?

We are here for you throughout the entirety of the process leading up to the big day or any event. With meetings when you need to sit down and discuss options, layout or anything that comes to mind. We make sure to cover with you everything from timeframes to who’s cutting the cake. We are very big on detail because this is how you have a successful, worry free, and enjoyable

time! There is already enough stress with planning a Wedding or Event, we make sure to ease that and do all we can for you to make it easier.

Are there any sustainable or eco-friendly practices that West Creek implements? We are very big on a clean atmosphere inside and out. We take care of everything so you can enjoy your time at West Creek with your Guests.

Can you share any upcoming developments or future plans for West Creek Event Venue?

We currently just finished our new entryway addition to the Venue that has now two large restrooms that are for 200 guests if needed along with a coat room and beautiful hallway entrance. The plans are never ending here and there are big things to come inside and out at West Creek in the near future!





“But here’s the harsh truth – you can’t please everyone, and trying to do so only dilutes your uniqueness and undermines your confidence.”

In the world of entrepreneurship, success often hinges on building strong connections with others. From investors and clients to collaborators and mentors, these connections can make or break your business ventures. But amidst the pursuit of likeability, it’s crucial to stay true to yourself and manifest authentic connections that align with your values and vision. Let’s explore the delicate dance between manifesting, entrepreneurship, and the importance of staying true to yourself in building meaningful connections.

The Power of Manifesting Authenticity

Manifesting isn’t just about material success; it’s also about aligning your actions with your true self. In entrepreneurship, this authenticity is your superpower. When you manifest authenticity, you attract connections that resonate with your values, goals, and aspirations. Whether it’s attracting the right clients, forming partnerships, or building a loyal customer base, authenticity lays the foundation for genuine and meaningful connections in business.

Entrepreneurship: Navigating the Likeability Trap

In the quest for success, the pressure to be liked can be overwhelming. Entrepreneurs often find themselves walking a tightrope between

staying true to their authentic selves and molding themselves to fit others’ expectations. But here’s the thing – authenticity trumps likeability. Trying to please everyone can dilute your uniqueness and undermine your credibility. In entrepreneurship, it’s better to be respected for who you are than liked for who you pretend to be.

Balancing Self-Expression and Likeability

So, how do you strike the balance between self-expression and likeability in entrepreneurship? The key lies in embracing your authenticity while remaining open to others’ perspectives. Authenticity doesn’t mean being rigid or closedminded; it’s about being true to your core values while remaining adaptable and open to growth. By staying true to yourself while respecting others’ viewpoints, you can foster genuine connections based on mutual respect and understanding.

Building Authentic Connections

Authentic connections are built on trust, transparency, and vulnerability. In entrepreneurship, these connections are your lifeline. Whether it’s forging relationships with clients, networking with industry peers, or seeking mentorship, authenticity is the currency that fuels meaningful connections. Be genuine in your

interactions, share your story authentically, and let your passion and enthusiasm shine through. Authenticity attracts authenticity – it’s as simple as that.

The Pitfalls of People-Pleasing

Entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of people-pleasing, sacrificing their authenticity in a bid to win approval and validation from others. But here’s the harsh truth – you can’t please everyone, and trying to do so only dilutes your uniqueness and undermines your confidence. In entrepreneurship, it’s essential to have the courage to stand firm in your convictions, even if it means risking disapproval or rejection. Your authenticity is your greatest asset – don’t trade it for temporary approval.

Staying True to Yourself: The Ultimate

Manifesting Hack

At the heart of manifesting authentic connections lies the imperative to stay true to yourself. Authenticity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a guiding principle that shapes your entrepreneurial journey. When you stay true to yourself, you attract connections that align with your values and vision, propelling you towards success on your own terms. So, embrace your uniqueness, honor your truth, and let authenticity be your North Star in the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship.


“From attracting the right clients and collaborators to building a loyal following, authenticity lays the foundation for meaningful connections that propel your business forward.

Conclusion: Manifesting Authenticity in Entrepreneurship

In the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, authenticity is your greatest asset. From attracting the right clients and collaborators to building a loyal following, authenticity lays the foundation

for meaningful connections that propel your business forward. So, dare to be yourself, embrace your uniqueness, and let authenticity be your guiding light in manifesting genuine and impactful connections in business. After all, when you stay true to yourself, the right

connections will naturally gravitate towards you, creating a network of support, inspiration, and opportunity on your entrepreneurial journey.



The Power of Connections

“Once a flower blooms, it showcases its beauty and appears vibrant.”

“The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.” – Tom Ford

As I reminisce about the power of connections, my mind takes me back to the warm memories of my childhood, where I spent countless hours at my Nana’s house. I can still vividly recall the image of generations of women gathered around the small kitchen table, playing gin rummy and stirring large pots of tomato sauce in huge steel pots. The aroma of freshly roasted coffee brewing in the background added to the comfort of the atmosphere while we savored the delicious Italian biscotti cookies.

At that time, I was just a child, and my fingers were not tall enough to reach the cookies kept on the kitchen counter. But my Nana always put cookies on the platter of rose-stamped China and a table for all the grandchildren, which made us feel special.

At an early age, I learned the value of sharing conversation over coffee, homemade cookies, and Italian meatballs. I saw firsthand how it could uplift and heal those who were struggling. One weekend, my mom’s cousin joined us and shared her struggles with her husband’s financial situation. Despite her tears, the women held hands and prayed, united by their family bond and faith. It was a magical moment that taught me that the power of connection goes beyond sharing a

meal- it can uplift and heal souls.

Years later, Mom stood beside her two closest friends as they draped a prayer shawl around her. She had just recovered from breast cancer and was like a flower bulb planted deep in the ground, requiring time to blossom again.

Once a flower blooms, it showcases its beauty and appears vibrant. Similarly, my mother flourished with the help of her two friends, who fostered and

My mother’s unwavering trust and moments of surrender taught my sister and me the importance of resilience. Also connections between women can inspire us even during our darkest moments.

That’s why it’s crucial to come together and share our experiences, uplift and enlighten each other, and collectively tell our truths with others.

“Why Are Connections Important?”

nurtured her when she was too sick to do it herself.

During this challenging time, my mom’s friends supported her with prayers, meals, and inspirational cards. This sisterhood of women served as a source of strength and hope, like the strings of a violin that produce beautiful music when woven together.

1. Sharing knowledge involves offering your story as a life lesson or bits of wisdom found in stories of human connection. Since we learn from each other.

2. Humans desire connections to express emotions, thoughts, and actions. We seek to touch, understand, and listen to grow, learn, and experience joy. Connections offer us the chance to display human emotion.

3. Support can be a guiding light for others. Expressing belief in someone can inspire change and self-confidence. Connections are that light conduit.

Laura Ponticello is a three-time bestselling and award-winning author passionate about the power of connections. Join her at the upcoming April Influential Women Entrepreneurial Expo where the Power of Connections will be evident as multi generations of women come together to strengthen each other.




What is “rowing on the square” therapy, and how does it benefit rowers?

Rowing on the Square therapy refers to the rowing-specific services we provide for our clients. Rowing is our passion but treating any orthopedic physical therapy need is our specialty. We treat non-rowers, runners, post-surgical patients, and athletic and non-athletic repetitive stress injuries too! We use physical therapy tools such as range of motion and strength measurements to inform how a client uses their body to complete their mobility. Based on our findings we create a plan to address weakness and range of motion deficits to improve their movements. All of our sessions are one-on-one. For rowers we have special performance-based evaluations we complete to meet their physical therapy or coaching needs. We also provide rowing coaching to clients new to rowing, and fitness services.

The name “rowing on the square” comes from a drill we do as rowers where we keep our blades in a particular position to work on balance and control. This drill is advanced and takes concentration, determination, and practice, which are qualities we strive to impart to all the clients we work with.

Can you explain the philosophy behind coaching rowers by rowers?

Rowing, like many niche sports, has its vocabulary, challenges, and expectations. Coaching rowers by rowers explain to our clients that we have firsthand in-depth knowledge of the sport. We are active in and part of the rowing community, and you see us at your local regattas and rowing events.

What inspired you to start offering rowing therapy and coaching services?

The inspiration came from being a rowing coach and seeing injured or poorly performing athletes leave the sport. When you are injured or not the fastest athlete often coaches do not have time to provide the one-on-one attention you need to stay with the sport. In rowing, there is no bench or practice squad to send an injured or poorly performing athlete to. The athlete becomes isolated, we were inspired

to provide a space where one-on-one attention whether it be coaching or physical therapy treatment could be provided and athletes can return to their teams ready to compete.

How do your services cater to both competitive and recreational rowers?

For our competitive rowers, we offer a full evaluation with physiological and biomechanical testing. Our competitive rowers participate in one-on-one hourlong performance sessions. We review

our findings and athletes offer their goals. From there a plan is created, and over a series of sessions, the athlete improves in deficit areas to reach their goals. For injured rowers, we also provide return-torow physical therapy which also includes on-water return-to-row sessions. Water return-to-row sessions are unique as rowing practices are typically 2 hours long and there is no easy way to return to the bench if your pain returns after 30 minutes. With the water return to sport, we can gear the practice to the rower’s tolerance. This returns the rower to the water in a safe environment often earlier and gives them confidence when they return to their team.

For our recreational rowers, we provide technique assessment, rowing-focused strength training, and weekly rowing machine classes to build fitness and comfort with the rowing stroke. For those interested in trying on water rowing, we provide recreational water rowing sessions.

What are some common injuries among rowers, and how do you address them in your physical therapy sessions?

Common injuries for rowers include shoulder, rib, spine, hip, and knee pain, and post-surgical repair. During our physical therapy one-hour sessions, we use a combination of therapeutic exercise, manual techniques such as myofascial release, and modalities such as cupping, TENS, tapping, and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization. What sets us apart from other physical therapy services is our deep knowledge of the sport of rowing. We evaluate the rowing stroke and then provide movement correction

“Proper dynamic warm-up and post-workout stretching are essential for maintaining your ability to row.”


to prevent the injury from returning. What also sets us apart is we do not work with multiple patients at once. We focus only on you during that session’s time which allows us to dive deep into your specific needs.

Could you share some techniques for injury prevention specific to rowing?

Injury prevention in rowing starts with mobility. Rowing is a sport that requires a full range of motion of all the joints to complete in comfort. The first thing we assess is a rower’s ability to complete a deep squat, and this motion becomes the building block for movement. Proper dynamic warm-up and post-workout stretching are essential for maintaining your ability to row.

What types of coaching sessions do you offer, and how do they contribute to overall wellness?

We offer 30-minute one-on-one learnto-row coaching sessions, these are for new rowers without experience. The goal is to give a person who is new to rowing enough knowledge to use the rowing machine effectively for fitness goals. We also offer 1-hour wellness sessions for non-rowers, this is for the client looking for help with achieving any fitness goal. This is completed over a series of sessions to reach their fitness goals.

Can you describe a typical coaching session with your team?

Typically, when our clients arrive, we ask athlete preparedness questions to assess their readiness for the workout. Based on those answers we can modulate the workout based on the athlete’s tolerance

for that day. We will complete dynamic warm-up, strengthening activities, conditioning work, and finishing with stretching. Home exercises are recommended to be practiced between sessions to improve strength and mobility for the next session.

How do you adapt your coaching techniques for different skill levels?

Since we work one-on-one with our clients we can tailor workouts to all fitness levels. We provide enough challenges where needed to improve fitness step by step.

Do you provide virtual coaching sessions for rowers who can’t attend in person?

We do provide virtual coaching sessions which are integrated into the platform we use. The platform is both mobile and desktop-enabled and secure. Athletes log into the app and complete their virtual sessions. All suggested homework exercises, payments, and documents are seamlessly housed in one place for easy access to our services.

What are the benefits of indoor rowing training compared to outdoor rowing? Indoor rowing is great for improving endurance and is an accessible option for learning the rowing stroke on dry land. Rowing is a full-body sport and uses all the major muscle groups while being a low-impact activity. The rowing motion uses both sides of your body in a repeated motion. This type of motion has been shown to improve mood and sense of well-being. Water rowing has the added benefit of being in nature which has a calming effect on many

people. Rowing only burns slightly less calories than running when done at the same level of intensity. Rowing has less joint wear and tear and rowing improves a person’s sense of connectedness and social-emotional health.

How do you incorporate mental wellness into your coaching approach?

Mental wellness is an integral part of what we do at Rowing on the Square. Whether you are a wellness, performance, or therapy rehab client we are aware of the mental challenges improving your health and well-being can include. We talk to our clients about factors that improve their mental well-being at each session. Whether it’s sleep quality, pain management, or mood we track and actively work with our clients to optimize their mental wellness to translate to their physical wellness.

Can you share some success stories of rowers who have benefited from your coaching and therapy services?

“I injured my shoulder when I flipped a single last year. Adrien has worked with me to restore my range of motion and strengthen my muscles so that I won’t be so susceptible to injury in the future. It is wonderful to work with a PT who understands rowing! I have referred several of my friends to her with nonrowing issues and they are also raving about her. Rowing on the Square is out-of-network for my insurance; Adrien helped me with paperwork so I could submit charges to my insurance (not all policies have OON coverage, but mine did). She is curious, thoughtful, and great fun to work with. I actually look forward to PT!” Beverly- Rowing

“Rowing is our passion but treating any orthopedic physical therapy need is our specialty.”

client at Rowing on the Square

“I went to Adrien for physical therapy after a muscle tear. Not only did she help me rehab my injury, but worked with me to improve my running and overall physical strength. Adrien listens and spends time with you, looking at the body as a whole in addition to the injury, helping you reach your goals (and beyond). Using her app, the exercises and health plan were easy to follow at home to reap all of the benefits of physical therapy. Thank you, Adrien!”

Kelly- A Running client at Rowing on the Square

What sets your coaching and therapy services apart from others in the industry?

What sets us apart is our strong passion for rowing and physical therapy, and our cost transparency. The healthcare environment is changing. With decreasing insurance

benefits and rising hidden costs, clients are choosing their practitioners based on the service they need and not their insurance provider list. Many times, your co-pay and post-therapy hidden charges add up to more than paying upfront for the practitioner who is right for you. Rowing on the Square Physical Therapy and Rowing Coaching offers personalized services where you know the cost upfront. A client can choose to invest in their health. The cost of not taking care of your fitness can be more than you want to pay. We lose a small percentage of muscle mass starting approximately at age 30. This loss is so gradual we barely notice. It starts with feeling tired all the time and having aches and pains here and there. Maybe a back pain that comes and goes. Many people ignore this for years until they try to do something simple like pick up a box, and they are unable to. Standing up is one bodyweight squat and many

older adults’ strength has decreased to the point that this is difficult. Working with a physical therapist who understands these changes and can give you the right exercises to maintain and improve your strength is essential to staying active throughout your life.

How do you envision the future of rowing therapy and coaching evolving?

In the future, we envision sharing the sport of rowing with more people in the Rochester area especially the west side where we are located. We would also like to expand our physical therapy services to more area rowing teams. We believe having trained medical rowing professionals involved on the team level can prevent injury and keep rowers rowing longer. We also hope to expand Rowing on the Square Physical Therapy and Coaching to other cities so we can serve more rowers and introduce specialized rowing care to more communities.



Last month, my son Jon was a panelist at the Mind, Body, Spirit, and Wellness Expo. His discussion on Emotional Stamina inspired everyone. Jon’s mindset provided the strength he needed to deal with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He has used emotional stamina to get through his life. At times, his teachers in school thought he was being disrespectful, and he questioned everything. I remember telling one of his teachers not to break his independence. “Later in life, he will need his mindset to remain positive in the face of diversity, as his disease will slowly rob him of physical autonomy. His mindset will provide him with the emotional wherewithal to confront the challenges he will face.” You may ask, what is Emotional Stamina? There are two trains of thought regarding emotional stamina. Emotional stamina could be viewed as how to unleash your potential, what it will take to achieve your life’s goals, and what challenges you will face. The other viewpoint is that emotional stamina can be strengthened through athlete training. Dr. Jarrod Spencer, a Pennsylvaniabased sports psychologist, attributes building emotional stamina to four elements. The first and fastest way to build emotional stamina is sleep. The second fastest is talk therapy. The third way is head knowledge: learning skills, listening to podcasts, reading books, working

on breathing techniques, and focusing on things that remove stressors. The fourth is faith (whatever it means to you).

People go through higher levels of emotional stamina depending on what is happening in their life. A few months ago, Jon had an extended stay in the ICU. He spent 21 days in the ICU. This is where his emotional stamina was put to the test. Imagine having a tube up your nose for nutrition, tubes in both ends for defecation, oxygen in your nose, and a bibap machine covering your nose and mouth. It became extremely frustrating when he would ring the nurse’s call bell, and they would come over the loudspeaker to see if he needed help. They couldn’t understand what he said. He can’t move on your own to get comfortable. It became apparent that a family member needed to be with him 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure he could be understood. Talk about an emotional roller coaster and days fraught with anxiety overload. Every day, Jon would tell the family he was afraid he was going to die. He also felt the Doctors were going to kill him simply because they were not familiar with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Jon and I spent countless hours educating the medical staff on Duchenne. As the days continued, Jon’s anxiety was pretty high. My husband worked with the hospital maintenance staff

so he could plug a USB drive into the TV so we could stream Jon’s favorite movies. This helped Jon calm down a little bit; it gave him a taste of home.

His sister Kat was considered the Zen master and was able to help calm him down. She found apps for Jon’s phone so he could listen to calming music. Jon also has a large selection of music that crosses all genres and all eras. Sleeping is challenging in the hospital, which contributed to Jon’s anxiety and depression. Jon couldn’t feed himself because he couldn’t get in a good position sitting in the hospital bed. Even if Jon was in his wheelchair, feeding himself was difficult. Thus causing more frustration and anxiety. We ensured that a family member was always with him to aid in all of this. We split the day into shifts so a family member could be there to help feed him.

My husband, daughter, and I had long conversations with Jon about how we wouldn’t let anything happen to him while he was in the hospital. We also discussed things he would do when he left the hospital. This allowed Jon to focus on something other than his hospital stay.

Jon decided to have a little faith and allow himself the lows he was experiencing, knowing that he would rise again. Jon calls it riding



“Emotional stamina could be viewed as how to unleash your potential, what it will take to achieve your life’s goals, and what challenges you will face.”

the wave. We assured him that he would never be without a family member. I also ensured he had some say when we left the room. For instance, if a nurse were with him, I would go for a few minutes to get something to eat, coffee, or

use the restroom. Jon focused on his favorite movies, TV shows, and music to get through the lows so he could trust in returning to his normal emotions.

His mindset was the strength he

needed to focus on getting out of the hospital. But it is the stamina he has needed his entire life to deal with Duchenne, MD. Jon has always had the emotional stamina to get through his life.




Hey there! It’s Kelly Bush, co-owner of Marshall Street Bar and Grill and Union Tavern and Kelly Metras, co-owner of Salena’s Mexican Restaurant and the Market at I-Square. As 2 people deeply embedded in the vibrant restaurant scene, we want to focus on a concept that served as the focal point of our Fringe Show last year - the dangerous effects of negative online reviews.

In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever for patrons to voice their opinions about their dining experiences. With just a few taps on their smartphones, they can broadcast their thoughts to the world through platforms like Yelp, Google Reviews, and TripAdvisor. While the ability to share feedback can be empowering, it also comes with significant consequences, especially for small businesses like ours.

Let’s talk numbers for a moment. Did you know that a single one-star review has the potential to cost a small restaurant thousands of dollars in revenue? It might sound shocking, but it’s the harsh reality we face in the hospitality industry. According to research conducted by Harvard Business School, a mere half-star improvement in a restaurant’s rating can lead to a 7-9% increase in revenue. Conversely, a one-star decrease can result in a 5-9% decrease in revenue. For small, locally owned establishments, that difference can mean the difference between thriving and barely scraping by.

Of course it’s not just about the financial repercussions; there are profound moral issues at play here as well. Behind every negative review is a team of hardworking individuals who pour their hearts and

souls into delivering exceptional dining experiences. When someone leaves a scathing critique online, it’s not just the business that suffers – it’s the dedicated chefs, servers, and support staff who feel the sting of those harsh words.

Imagine spending years perfecting your craft, only to have it torn apart by a disgruntled customer who may have had a bad day or simply misunderstood your menu offerings. It’s demoralizing, to say the least. As business owners, we take every negative review to heart, constantly striving to improve and exceed our guests’ expectations. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, we fall short – and that’s okay. Constructive criticism can be incredibly valuable, helping us identify areas for growth and refinement. However, there’s a HUGE difference between constructive feedback and outright cruelness.

Now imagine if someone walked into your workplace and critiqued your every move. Picture it: someone who isn’t your employer, just a customer, scrutinizing your every action and interaction, then broadcasting their opinions to the world for all to see. Sounds a bit unnerving, doesn’t it? Well, that’s the reality we face in the restaurant industry every day.

The impact of negative reviews extends far beyond the digital realm. In today’s interconnected world, prospective customers often rely on online reviews to inform their dining decisions. A handful of negative comments can tarnish a restaurant’s reputation and deter potential patrons from giving it a chance. It’s a vicious cycle!

But here’s the thing: just like in any profession, sometimes we’re all having an off day. Maybe the chef’s sauce didn’t quite hit the mark, or perhaps the server was dealing with a personal issue that affected their usual charm. We’re human, after all, subject to the same ebbs and flows as everyone else. It’s important to remember that behind every negative review is a story – and sometimes, that story is more complex than meets the eye.

So, what can we do to combat the dangers of negative online reviews? First, I urge you to approach online criticism with empathy and understanding. Before posting a negative review, take a moment to consider the human beings behind the business – individuals who are passionate about their craft and deeply invested in providing memorable experiences for their guests. If you do have a less-than-stellar experience, we encourage you to reach out to the restaurant directly. Most establishments welcome feedback and will go above and beyond to address any concerns you may have.

The dangers of negative online reviews are real, particularly for small businesses in the restaurant industry. Yet, amidst these challenges, lies an opportunity for growth and resilience. By having open conversations with our staff in the moment, we can resolve most issues before they escalate to the point of deserving a 1 star review. Let’s remember, we’re all human beings, and we’re committed to making things right when they go wrong. Here’s to empathy, understanding, and delicious food! Cheers!



This purple robe I now possess, was once my mothers robe. I wrap myself within it daily, and can barely feel the presence of that last hug we shared. It hangs on a worn metal hook behind my own bathroom door now. It’s plush and warm and I always thought of grimace when I showed up at my moms house and she was still putzing around in slippers, her night clothes and this warm fuzzy purple robe. Asking me if I want coffee, and if I’ve eaten yet today. It didn’t matter if I did, because she was going to have some treat we were going to indulge in with her freshly brewed coffee to sip, as we dished out the newest gossip about people we kept at her quaint little round table of talk.

his is also where I would present her with my latest idea, problem or issue that was laying heavy on my mind. Me, my momma and her purple robe, conquering all of life’s mini crisis’, not one would she never have an answer for. As I would sit down she would ask “What the hell is wrong with your head,anyway?” It was how she broke the ice when she knew you needed to talk. She was my sounding board, yet we didn’t always see eye to eye, as a matter of fact it was rare when we did. But nonetheless, she taught me how to problem solve, and to open my mind to things that may not have been what I believed was right. And sometimes in the end, I had to admit, she was right about a lot. Time is a cruel teacher, and over time I learned my mother was not the bane of all the evils in my

world,which most teenage girls believe. I wish I could sit and have that talk with my mother as now I need it the most. I am grateful I overcame that immaturity and found the person my mother truly was before she was taken way too abruptly.

I miss these times at her table the most, as my mother was a natural counselor and therapist which at times saved me when I was brave enough to expose my fragile mental state that I disguised as friendly banter. But I’m sure my mother knew better, she had intuition much like an old gypsy fortune teller. Only she wasn’t playing tricks, she was straight up with you. See, other people sought out my mom, too. Not a day would go by that my mom wouldn’t have somebody in her kitchen, sipping on a hot tea or coffee indulging in a treat, and her blazing the trail to a person’s self help solutions. Strangers adopted my mother as their own kin. Purple robe, messy hair, and all the unbiased therapy there sitting at Shirley’s round table of talk.

My mental health seems to yearn for these moments of truth with my mother. And so each time I wrap myself up in this giant purple hug and sip on my morning coffee, I can’t help but hold these quiet conversations within my head, with my mother. It is at these moments now, where I console my wounded inner child. It is in these moments where I seek my mothers advice and remind myself of what she would or could have said. I try to imagine how she would remind

me that nothing is out of reach, or that all problems can be solved. She’d remind me that I too once treated my momma the same way my daughter treats me, and tell me time will take care of it. She would make a joke of people’s judgments clouding my view and say “they don’t pay your bills’ ‘ which was to remind me it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.

My mother was a helper, but one that didn’t allow enabling. She was tough and truthful. She had one of the biggest hearts when she knew you needed it the most. My mother lived day by day and she didn’t leave many materialistic things behind. They weren’t what was important anyway. She left behind her words, her advice and her love for all the people that ever got a chance to come sit down, have a cup of coffee, “eat something”. For anyone that heard the words as you sat down with her to break bread “What the hells a matter with you?” You knew you were locked in now until you and Shirley solved that problem she sensed was eating you alive. She left me with memories and life lessons and conversations I still have with her today.

Sipping on my coffee, schlepping around in my slippers and embracing the day, in my mothers purple robe.



“We can teach them the motivation and the positive influence of movements like Black Lives Matter, even as we are honest about the parts we may consider troubling.”

I took one of my boys on a walk through the woods the other day. I’m not an avid hiker and I would never go on an obscured path, but this path was so well marked even I felt confident.

We had a delightful time chatting about school and friends and then, as kids do, he asked a question out of the blue, “What do you think about Uncle Tom’s Cabin?” I wasn’t even aware that he had read that novel. He admitted that he hadn’t read it, but he had heard about it, and he knew that it would be insulting to be called an Uncle Tom.

I told him that though the Uncle Tom character is imperfect and problematic, the book was very important at the time. He protested and said that Uncle Tom was too… too… obedient! I took the opportunity to teach him a new word and said, “You mean obsequious?” It was delightful listening to his tongue stumble over itself as he tried to say that word and I told him that enslaved people had to be obedient or risk brutal punishment, but Tom was overly simple and servile, overly fond of his enslavers and unrealistically happy.

something very important: it brought to the hearth of genteel Northern women the reality of the merciless slave system. I told him about another character, Simon Legree, who was ruthlessly cruel; he raped and beat slaves with impunity, and since there was no internet back then, those in the North could remain conveniently aloof to the vicious nature of slavery. But Stowe created a word picture that was impossible to ignore. Her book aided the Abolitionist Movement as

things can be complex; they can be both good and bad! How many kids, how many adults, realize this?

white people were more comfortable reading the words of a white woman than a Black abolitionist, and the only book to outsell it in the 19th century was the Bible.

We might not all know about the intricacies of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but most of us hear the news and we have a choice. We can read broadly and teach our kids that poverty springs out of a complex web of problems - and that many poor people have a profound work ethic but have difficulty accessing opportunity. We can teach them the motivation and the positive influence of movements like Black Lives Matter, even as we are honest about the parts we may consider troubling. We can tell them that of course systems can be racist (systems are created by people and people can be racist!), that there is no doubt that aspects of Critical Race Theory are true, even if we believe that parts of it are false. We can teach them the good and bad of both political parties and refuse to demonize either.

Nevertheless, I told him, the book did

Such conversations teach critical thinking. Stowe hated slavery, but she was also a white supremacist; she believed white people to be superior. And yet, her book was used for good. How important is it to know that

In other words, we can make sure that we are raising and educating a generation of kids which think critically, compassionately, and wisely. Isn’t that what we desire in leaders?



“Playtime and snuggle sessions are her specialties. We are so excited to this sweet angel has landed her a home!”

Ty Lee steals people’s hearts with her purr-fect charm and endless affection. She’s a delightful feline with a heart as big as her adorable fluffy paws. From the moment she set her paws on ACS grounds, it was clear that her purpose in life was to spread love and warmth to everyone she met. Ty Lee thrives on human companionship and adores being showered with gentle cuddles and strokes. She’s an incredibly social kitty who gets along swimmingly with both people and other cats. Playtime and snuggle sessions are her specialties. We are so excited to this sweet angel has landed her a home! Ty Lee came into the care of Animal Care Sanctuary in May of 2023, staying with us until February 2024. That’s 9 months! Surprising for a cat as social and confident as Ty Lee is. Ty Lee’s previous owner wasn’t able to care for her anymore and brought her to us with the trust and hope we would help her find another home.

to be her attempt in ridding the uncomfortable association with the sores. Although we were not exactly sure what was going on, our vet team and caregivers monitored Ty Lee closely. It wasn’t easy for Ty Lee being in a shelter with a bothered tail, people she didn’t know examining her daily, and

our care and after exhausting all options for Ty Lee and her tail, we felt it the best pathway for her was to amputate her tail. Her tail amputation provided Ty Lee with a major sense of relief, allowing her to freedoms from discomfort, pain, injury and disease, it allowed her to express normal behavior, and gave her freedom from fear and distress. Ty Lee was adopted shortly after her tail amputation, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Her new name is Somekin and she’s been reported to be doing well in her new home. She has adapted quite quickly!

Ty Lee Facts:

*Estimated to be around 5 years old at the time of adoption

*Came in as a rehoming

During Ty Lee’s stay with us, she endured some health complications. One being sores throughout her tail. We would notice Ty Lee “attacking” her own tail that seemed

although it was for her benefit, no one wants to wear a cone. Our vet team tried multiple medications to help heal her tail, cleaning it multiple times a day, and running bloodwork to confirm it wasn’t a disorder such as auto immune. Nothing abnormal showed up. We plan pathways for all of our animals as soon as they come into

*Had multiple wounds throughout her body, dirty ears, and an unhealthy tail

*Domestic shorthair - Orange Tabby


*Cat Friendly, Social, Affectionate

“Ty Lee was adopted shortly after her tail amputation, and we couldn’t be happier for her!”
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My twenty-year-old daughter called from college, panicking about an in-person interview for an internship she had scheduled for later in the day.

She didn’t know what to wear.

I have always told her to have a go-to polished outfit on hand, even in college: a crisp white-collar shirt and black blazer. Simple jewelry, a smile, and a great attitude are the only accessories needed.

I was taught you should always dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

My first internship was at WHEC-TV, during my senior year of college. I did not have much money, but I always showed up for my shift dressed in business attire, including heels. I was behind the scenes preparing scripts and bringing water to the anchors, but my appearance was always camera-ready.

It was the 1980s, and monochromatic suits were the standard for women. My mother dragged me to Casual Corner and bought me two suits on sale to mix and match, a white and blue blouse and a pair of black pumps.

She said, “Smile a lot; the rest will take care of itself.”

She was trying to tell me that if I dressed the part, it was easier for a boss to see the future professional, even if I was not there yet.

Listening to my daughter’s stress reminded me of those early days of feeling unsure about how I fit into the professional world. Her interview was in person. No comfortable Lululemon sweats on the bottom for this encounter.

Her roommate had said that she should

wear jeans. “It’s okay in today’s workplace, it doesn’t matter.”

My daughter’s tone told me otherwise. She was trying to resist the temptation of convenience and being comfortable.

“Mom, what do you think?”

I share this story because it got me thinking about change and what is “okay” and “normal” in today’s workplace.

A CEO friend recently vented about a 3 p.m. upper-management meeting that quickly became a Zoom call. He was fine with joining in the decision not to have the meeting in the office. But he was bothered when his CFO came on wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt.

The widespread switch to remote work upended dress codes. Seeing co-workers from the shoulder up was a game-changer. Your best work could be done with a collared shirt, or with wet hair, slippers, or from bed with the camera off.

In my past professional life, I was in a small box, too. As a news reporter you have just a few minutes to make an impact, report the story, and hope the audience listens. Most people paid more attention to my outfit and hairstyle. One woman called to complain that she did not like my lipstick. Some viewers took more interest in how I looked rather than the content and quality of my news reports.

They say you have seven seconds to make a good first impression. I do not believe in judging a person by their appearance but in the professional arena, some old rules may still apply in this new digital age.

Management must think so, too.

After dealing with reluctant and disgruntled workers returning to the office, I am guessing businesses are now struggling with employees who still want to enjoy some of their “at-home” habits. Annoying behavior or questionable dressing can be an issue for employers already facing retention and recruitment issues.

Younger professionals lost opportunities for internships and crucial first-year learning experiences due to the pandemic. They also need to learn key etiquette skills: answering emails, how to act in meetings, and managing small talk.

Do people even shake hands anymore?

Reminding employees how to dress and behave is not just for new or younger employees. Everyone may be a little rusty which is why more businesses are investing in etiquette classes. surveyed 1,548 and found:

• Forty-five percent of companies are currently offering etiquette classes.

• Eighteen percent plan to implement this year.

• Of those currently offering classes, twothirds say they have been ‘highly’ successful.

• Ten percent of those currently or planning to offer classes say Gen Z and new college graduates will need the training

• 60% will require training for all employees.

Soft skills are just as important as technical skills, and both must be learned and managed.

“Owning your brand proves you are prepared to take the next step in your organization and career. Overdressing can be as off-putting as wearing a tee shirt and jeans.”

As a solopreneur, I can eat lunch at my desk without offending anyone, and unless I leave the house for an appointment or am on Zoom, I can dress how I want to. However, contractors and consultants must acclimate to each client they work with, and eventually, we will meet in person.

As an outsider entering a company or workplace, I pay attention to office cues, especially how managers (or the person who hired me) present themselves.

From construction sites to corporate offices, the rules still apply.

Win the first impression.

Drab is not bad, but you can add flair to your outfit; just don’t look like you’re going

to a picnic or a nightclub. I still love the look of a suit and tie, but they have gone away just like pantyhose. Open-collared shirts, a nice blouse, pants, or a sweater are fine. Keep a blazer nearby. You have seven seconds to nail that first impression, the same amount of time it takes to snap a selfie, craft a tweet, or send a text.

Look like a leader online and at the office. If you communicate value, people will perceive you as worth it, even on Zoom and webcams. Professional dress is still a critical aspect of the workspace. I agree that it depends on the work and the space, but showing up groomed, clean, pressed, and presentable for the organization paying you each week is not a sacrifice of your individuality.

Read the room.

When everyone had to “dress for success” decoding the rules about what to wear was easier. Today, in companies where dress codes have eased up, getting it right is more nuanced, but when you do, you are showing you understand and are aligned with company culture. Owning your brand proves you are prepared to take the next step in your organization and career. Overdressing can be as off-putting as wearing a tee shirt and jeans.

“Mom, what do you think?”

“I think black pants might be better.”




When I first considered online teaching as a side gig to practice in primary care, my first thought was, “what am I good at? What can I teach the public or young physicians, residents, physicians assistants and nurse practitioners?” My a-ha moment was medication management. As primary care physicians, we do become experts. We become experts at this. What is the value of that expertise for our patients?

We take so many considerations into account when prescribing medications. First, cost. I don’t want to break the bank for my patients. I understand the pharmaceutic world in this country and the burden it places on patients just to get or obtain treatment for an ailment or a disease. Cost effective medication management is crucial in primary care. Think about it, would you stay on a medication that costs you $500 a month? That happened to me as a patient. I needed the medication, but it was $496 on my high deductible plan. It was an asthma medication. I needed it to breathe. I refused to pay it. Instead, I sought out a foreign pharmacy online to get a three-month supply. I got the equivalent drug for $136 with shipping fees!

We must take cost into consideration as the number one factor. Our goal is for compliance with medication management. If I don’t advocate for my patients then who will? We, as primary care physicians, become experts at it.

The second issue is risk versus benefit for

that patient and the treatment necessary. We become experts at knowing our patients and knowing the potential risks associated with every single medication we prescribe. For example, a patient wants Naltrexone because she heard it can help with weight loss and “inflammation” in her body. Inflammation has become a buzzword in medicine these days. The requested “CRP” lab test because “I need to know how much inflammation I have in my body”. And if it comes back elevated, what do we do as clinicians? Nothing.

Back to Naltrexone. Do you know the risk associated with Naltrexone? It has serious mental health contraindications such as suicidality, psychosis, and mania. Now, I don’t know about you, but these are absolutely devastating and potentially fatal adverse reactions to a medication. I don’t prescribe Naltrexone. I don’t prescribe it because of these risks. Weight loss and unnecessary treatment of subjective “inflammation” would not warrant such great risk of a medication with no real benefit for the condition. What I recommend for both weight loss and inflammation is diet and exercise. There’s great information out there on the web for anti-inflammatory foods. There is an excessive amount of information out there on diet, exercise, and weight loss. All come without the serious side effects of psychosis, suicidality, or mania.

Mental health issues are rampant in primary care currently considering the aftermath of a global viral pandemic.

There is very little care available out there for psychotherapy and/ or psychiatry. We must take into consideration every single potential side effect of a medication before prescribing it. First, do no harm. That is the oath we all took.

Every drug must have risk versus benefit profile. Do the risks of the drug outweigh the benefit of the drug in this patient? We become experts at this. We are not perfect and there will always be mistakes but not without the utmost of consideration prior to signing that prescription.

That leads to the third consideration in medication management. If you prescribe medication to a patient who already is prone to that side effect, do you think that patient will take the medication or remain on it? Especially if that medication makes their quality of life worse than what it was prior to that 15-minute office visit. Absolutely not.

For example, would you put a patient with chronic bronchitis with a persistent cough on an ACE inhibitor? Absolutely not. Because a dry cough is the most common reason to stop an ACE inhibitor. Or would you put a patient riddled with the pain of fibromyalgia on a statin? That would be a hard sell. The most common side effect to the statins is body aches.

We do become experts. Jack of all trades, master at none. I disagree. Primary care physicians are masters. We master patient care.



In our relentless pursuit of success and achievement, we often find ourselves setting high standards and lofty goals. But how do we know when we’ve truly reached them? And even when we do, are we fully satisfied? These questions, pondered by many, are fundamental to understanding our own journey towards fulfillment and one of self-kindness.

My mentor, Judy Soprano, once imparted a valuable lesson to me when I asked her how to know when a painting was finished. She didn’t give me a checklist of criteria for perfection; instead, she encouraged me to ask myself if I was “celebrating a success.” In other words, she cautioned against the temptation to overwork something in pursuit of an unattainable perfection. She reminded me that beauty often lies in imperfection.

This wisdom extends far beyond the realm of art. It speaks to the essence of our pursuit of goals and dreams. For years, I found myself tangled in the web of perfectionism, striving tirelessly to meet impossible standards. This relentless pursuit took a toll on my well-being, manifesting in physical ailments and a strained relationship with myself and others. I was afraid of not being “enough,” and this fear paralyzed me emotionally.

It took years of introspection and self-awareness to recognize the selfsabotaging patterns that held me back. I realized that by constantly moving the goalposts further out of reach, I was denying myself the grace to appreciate my own journey and potential. It wasn’t until I embraced the concept of grace—granting myself

forgiveness and acceptance—that I began to find peace.

The key, I discovered, is to ask ourselves a simple yet profound question: “Does this thought, or action honor my heart?” If the answer is no, it’s okay. Instead of dwelling on perceived failures, we can take a deep breath and focus on the next right action. Each step forward, no matter how small, brings us closer to our divine path.

Letting go of self-imposed expectation is another powerful practice that can guide us back to our center. It requires faith—in ourselves and in something greater than us. When we trust in our innate potential and the supportive energy of the Universe, we realize that we can create something truly remarkable. The Universe conspires to help us fulfill our purpose; all we need to do is surrender to its guidance.

For my husband, reconnecting with his highest self often involves tapping into moments of joy and love, particularly through his relationship with our granddaughter. Witnessing his loving actions inspires me to cultivate a similar sense of presence and mindfulness in my own life. Surrounding ourselves with people who embody the qualities we aspire to can be a powerful catalyst for personal growth.

Personally, movement serves as a gateway to reconnect with my true essence. Whether through yoga, walking in nature, or dancing, I find solace in the rhythm of my body and the tranquility of the natural world. These practices allow me to quiet the noise of my mind and rediscover a sense of calm and clarity.

However, one of the most transformative shifts occurred when I became mindful of the language I used to speak to myself and others. Self-deprecating habits, ingrained through societal conditioning, especially for women, eroded my self-esteem and hindered my ability to celebrate my own successes. As I learned to speak with kindness and compassion towards myself, I began to embrace my inherent worthiness and acknowledge my achievements with pride.

In the tapestry of human connections, our conversations with others weave intricate patterns that shape the fabric of our relationships. For me, these conversations have evolved into a space of nonjudgment and ever-evolving loving kindness—a transformation that has profoundly enriched my interactions with others and deepened my understanding of empathy and compassion. At the heart of compassionate conversations lies the recognition of our shared humanity. We all carry within us the capacity for both kindness and fallibility, and it is through our interactions with one another that we learn and grow. By approaching each conversation with an open heart and a willingness to listen, we create opportunities for healing and transformation—for ourselves and for those we engage with. Instead of viewing others through a lens of judgment, you may now cheer them on and offer your unwavering support in their endeavors.

I’ve also made a concerted effort to surround myself with individuals who embody wisdom and resilience. It provides me with invaluable support on my journey. By listening to their

“By embracing imperfection and extending grace to ourselves, we unlock the door to profound growth and fulfillment.”

stories and learning from their experiences, we can gain confidence in our own abilities and find the courage to continue moving forward, even in the face of uncertainty.

Knowing when something is accomplished will come from something deeper and evermore expansive. The power of love is palpable—it infuses our actions with meaning and purpose, imbuing even the simplest tasks with profound

significance. When we act from a place of love, we tap into a higher vibration—an energy that resonates with the very essence of our being. It is this resonance that serves as our compass, guiding us towards our highest potential and deepest fulfillment.

The path to self-realization is paved with moments of vulnerability and self-discovery. By embracing imperfection and extending grace

to ourselves, we unlock the door to profound growth and fulfillment. Each step towards our goals, no matter how small, is a testament to our resilience and inner strength. As we navigate the twists and turns of our journey, let us remember to honor our hearts and celebrate our own beautifully unique journey.



“Babe, she said, we are Fire and Water, Fire can keep us warm when it’s cold and water will keep us alive to drink, both are needed to survive.”

I recently took a trip out West to Southern, CA to clear my mind, heal my soul and to work on our Mission. Still reeling after a break up and other life challenges, the warm sun, cool breeze, palm trees, the ocean and time with friends and family is what I felt was needed. I spent time escaping ghosts in the room by trying to stay focused on myself, working out, taking walks around Lake Arrowhead, doing breathwork and other relaxing and healing endeavors.

While out there, the Universe smiled down upon my troubled soul, dared me to dream, I took a chance and was blessed to be reconnected with the woman who stole my heart. We had been away from each other for some time and by then the vast sky overlooking the Mountain range was as great as the distance between us. After spending time healing and growing together we knew the love was always there, and that we were dedicated to working through any obstacle that life could throw

our way. Sara hopped on a plane and came out to see me, while on a Beach in SoCal she shared this concept with me as we watched the sun set into the ocean.

With our feet planted in the sand, my arms around her waist, we stood under the night sky that filled with light from the stars above. She looked straight up, calling out the names of the constellations and said “ your sign is Cancer and mine is Sagittarius. Fire and Water, both in abundance can kill you, too much fire will burn you and too much water will drown

you. When Fire and Water come together they boil at 212 degrees and create steam, which is what powers a train’s engine to move. Babe, she said, we are Fire and Water, Fire can keep us warm when it’s cold and water will keep us alive to drink, both are needed to survive.”

You can spend life with your person at a level so deep and full of passion that you can’t ever imagine living without them. You do everything together, the bond is as strong as it can be. A broken heart can feel like a death, every day ends up turning into being about survival, and that’s exactly how it felt. We came back strong with healing hearts and souls on fire, stronger together, taking on the world, our life’s mission to heal one soul at a time, from darkness to light, flame to sea, one entity.

“ You can spend LIFE with your person at a level so deep and full of PASSION that you can’t ever imagine living WITHOUT them. ”


“ Their little minds are being molded and emotions are being developed. Feelings are starting to feel like something.”

I have been really focusing a lot lately on children and how their lives evolve from the beginning.

Now that I have 2 beautiful granddaughters, I can see more clearly how I probably should have been with my children during all of the turmoil I suffered.

I have always felt that it is so sad when children have to be exposed to our adult problems. And the result of that is they get wounded right from the start without a choice and without really understanding that it is happening to them.

When I look at innocent and impressionable children, they are being molded right then and there as they start their life.

Everything is fun and funny and interesting and new. Smiles are typical and laughter comes easily to a child. They start off feeling safe. They have no reason not to feel safe because typically their parents caring for them, feeding them, bathing them and making all the right choices for them. They are excited to wake up each day and explore new things in their lives.

They have no reason to feel sad or upset other than wanting a toy they can’t have or a piece of candy that mom said no to, right? And to a child that simple thing is devastating to them, which will cause them, many times, to fall to the ground in tears ……for them it is soul crushing.

That is how they learn, right?

So think of all the times your child cries over wanting something they can’t have. That hurts your heart all by itself, doesn’t it? I mean, if you are in a good space in your life, your focus will be on your children so you may feel badly when they cry over not being able to have something you know they shouldn’t and you will react toward them in a more “gentle parenting” way which is appropriate for their healthy growth.

But if you are stressed out or angry about something or too busy to really focus on their needs you might find their tantrum to be annoying and you will react in an inappropriate way. Rather than gentle parenting and understanding their pain, you are adding to it by yelling at them, further causing the painful moment to get worse.

Now imagine if that child’s loving parents, who they look up to, rely on, and love more than anything in their world, start fighting with each other. Screaming and yelling. Or pushing and shoving one another.

Imagine that just for a moment. It would be beyond terrifying for that child. There in-lies the first emotional wound. The first installation of true fear and the real feeling of no longer being safe.

I also want you to be aware of the smaller things that can cause emotional wounds. Think about how you speak

to your children in your day to day. Obviously when we are in a good mood and things are going great, we are speaking appropriately, lovingly and sweetly to our children.

But think about when you are stressed. For example, in the morning when you are yelling at your kids to hurry up and get going. Or at night right before they go to bed, we might be yelling at them, rushing them to get to bed or finish up so they can get ready for bed. Yelling, yelling, yelling.

It is the first thing they hear in the morning and the last thing they hear before going to bed. How do you think that will effect them over time?

They start to not feel safe anymore and the feeling of confusion enters the picture. They might think, “I am bad or I can’t do anything right or why are they yelling at me?

Their little minds are being molded and emotions are being developed. Feelings are starting to feel like something.

Without knowing it, WE, as parents, are causing so many little wounds within our children, which in turn will create neural pathways that are going to cause so many problems as they grow.

Neural pathways are laid down early in your life and become your patterns and habits. Their neural pathways will be things like, how to deal, or how to manage, how to process something



“When I look at innocent and impressionable children, they are being molded right then and there as they start their life.”

that is scary or painful, much earlier than they need to.

The problem is, these pathways will become their habits and patterns that will set the tone for future decisions and goals. One of their pathways may be to run and hide. One of them might be to lash out. Without realizing it, they are seeking safety. That is all anyone wants.

Kids are impressionable and worst of all, they WON’T know that your stress belongs to you, they will think it is because of them. Good god, do you realize how damaging that is to an innocent child?

Kids are born happy, joyous, curious and loving. As I always say, “you are worthy and loved simply because you were born on this planet.” That is how all humans begin.

It is life… and people… who slowly mutate that wonderful beginning.

Back to my granddaughter. She is looking at life in such a sweet and precious way. I love how she laughs at the cutest things. She thinks that everything is so cute, like babies, animals and even bugs, spiders, worms. That is pure innocences and love.

How does that all go away? And are we as care givers part of the breakdown of love and joy in children’s lives.

It is hard enough for kids when they go to school and have to deal with the real world, out of the safety of

their home, but along comes bullies, rude kids, jealous kids or flat out mean kids. This is all hard enough.

We as parents need to be the soft landing for our children. The place that is emotionally safe when their emotions are being attacked and the outside world does not feel safe at all. They should be able to come home and tell you about it and feel safe to do so. They need to feel better right away and it is our job to provide that. No judgement, no criticism but love and understanding. We need to stop our lives and listen with empathy. They need to matter and to be seen and heard.

You are the adult and can control your emotions, even for a short time for the sake of your children. If you are too busy with your life or too busy fighting with your spouse or too busy to see your children as a priority, than you can expect lots of problems to arise.

Children want to see the people around them loving each other or at a minimum, being decent and kind to each other. They don’t feel safe when their care givers are doing things that are scary.

It seems insignificant to you because you have a world of life behind you and a stressful life that you are trying to navigate most likely.

What we fail to notice is that children don’t know or understand about your past or your pain that is causing your

stress. Maybe causing you to argue with your spouse or shout at your children or act in a way that is frankly scary to them. Where will they turn, who will help them, how will they get that much needed nurturing if you can’t provide it?

The greatest gift a parent can give to their child is his or her own happiness. Take care of your emotional states because children will take on your emotional situation and make it their own. Children will absorb all of it. They will think that there is something wrong with them.

You have to consciously make the first 3 years of their lives as stress free as possible. And don’t stop there. They need to be the focus of your attention and the thing that you are so busy with.

If you are interested in learning more about this, please feel free to reach out to me at Or visit my website at karenmessina. com.





Sciatica and disc injuries can be incredibly debilitating, causing excruciating pain and limiting one’s ability to carry out daily activities. Traditional treatment options such as pain medications and surgery have often fallen short in effectively addressing the cause of these conditions. However, an alternative known as decompression therapy, performed by skilled practitioners, is gaining traction in eliminating sciatica and disc-related pain without the need for medication or invasive procedures. In this article, we explore the concept of decompression therapy and our clinic’s role in providing relief for those suffering from these debilitating conditions.

Understanding Sciatica and Disc Injuries

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, through the hips and buttocks, down the legs, and into the feet. It is often caused by a herniated/bulging disc, which occurs when the soft nucleus of our disc leaks through the outer fibers, putting pressure on the nerves. The resulting pain can range from mild discomfort to severe, sharp sensations that hinder mobility and quality of life. Our doctors are extremely well trained in identifying the source of the sciatica, a proper diagnosis leads

to more appropriate treatment and management of the condition.

Traditional Treatment Approaches: Limitations and Side Effects

Traditionally, treatment options for sciatica and disc injuries have involved pain medications and, in some cases, surgical interventions. However, these methods have significant limitations and potential side effects. Pain medications, while providing

temporary relief, merely mask the symptoms without addressing the underlying cause. Prolonged use of these medications can lead to dependency and may fail to provide long-term relief. Likewise, surgery, though sometimes necessary, presents inherent risks, such as infection, scarring, and long recovery times.

Decompression Therapy: How It Works

Decompression therapy offers a non-invasive and drug-free approach to relieving the pain associated with sciatica and disc injuries. It involves the use of a specially designed table that mechanically stretches and decompresses the spine, gently separating the vertebrae and relieving pressure on the affected discs. This separation creates a negative pressure within the disc, promoting the reabsorption of the herniation and stimulating the flow of oxygen, water, and nutrients to the affected area. By restoring proper alignment and functionality, decompression therapy provides a targeted solution for pain relief.

The Benefits of Decompression Therapy

1. Non-Invasive: Unlike surgery, decompression therapy is non-invasive, eliminating the risks and complications associated with invasive procedures. It is a safe and effective alternative, suitable for those seeking a non-surgical solution for their sciatica and disc injuries.

2. Pain Relief: By relieving pressure on the affected nerves, decompression therapy can significantly reduce or eliminate pain. Patients can experience immediate relief following a session and report improved mobility and functionality over time.

“However, an alternative known as decompression therapy, performed by skilled practitioners, is gaining traction in eliminating sciatica and discrelated pain without the need for medication or invasive procedures.”

3. Improved Healing: The negative pressure created during decompression therapy helps facilitate the healing process by promoting the absorption of nutrients and oxygen, which are essential for tissue repair. Decompression therapy encourages long-term healing rather than temporary relief.

4. Drug-Free Solution: With decompression therapy, patients can avoid the potential risks and side effects associated with pain medications. This approach focuses on natural healing, empowering patients to address their condition without relying on pharmaceutical interventions.

Choosing a Clinic

When considering decompression therapy, it is vital to choose a clinic that has a variety of tools and approaches to your injury. While decompression therapy is a wonderful option, it should be done in conjunction with other therapies such as exercise therapy, lifestyle modifications etc. Our Doctors will assess your condition and develop an individualized treatment based on your specific needs and presentation. They will guide you through the process, ensuring your safety and optimizing your chances of a successful outcome.


For individuals suffering from sciatica and disc injuries, decompression therapy provides an effective alternative to traditional treatment options. By targeting the cause of pain and promoting natural healing, this noninvasive procedure can eliminate the need for pain medications and surgery. If you or someone you know is struggling with symptoms associated with sciatica or disc injuries, consider exploring the benefits of decompression therapy under the guidance of our clinics. Take control of your pain and regain your quality of life with our approach.




A Woman’s Guide to Self-Care Escapes

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s essential to pause, reset, and nurture our well-being. Enter the realm of wellness retreats, where tranquility meets transformation, and self-care becomes an art. For women seeking a soulful escape, destinations like Los Cabos, Costa Rica, and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico offer a canvas for rejuvenation and self-discovery. Here’s your guide to the ultimate self-care getaways.

The Essence of Wellness Retreats: Wellness retreats go beyond the conventional vacation. They are immersive experiences designed to nurture the mind, body, and spirit. These escapes provide a sanctuary for women to disconnect from the demands of daily life and embark on a journey of self-reflection and revitalization.

Los Cabos: The Oasis of Serenity: Breathtaking Landscapes: Nestled between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean, Los Cabos is a paradise of contrasting landscapes. From the arid beauty of the desert to the azure waters of the ocean, every corner exudes tranquility.

Luxurious Retreats: Los Cabos boasts world-class wellness resorts that blend luxury and holistic experiences. Indulge in spa treatments, yoga sessions overlooking the ocean, and nourishing cuisine that caters to both the body and the soul.

Activities for Mindful Living: Engage in mindful practices such as beachfront meditation, wellness workshops, and nature excursions. Los Cabos provides an environment where the soothing

rhythm of the waves harmonizes with your journey toward inner balance.

Costa Rica: Where Nature Meets


Pura Vida Lifestyle: Costa Rica, known for its Pura Vida lifestyle, invites women to reconnect with nature and embrace a slower, more intentional way of living. Wellness retreats here focus on holistic healing and environmental consciousness.

Rainforest Retreats: Immerse yourself in the lush rainforests and serene beaches of Costa Rica. Retreats often include eco-friendly accommodations, guided hikes, and opportunities for wildlife encounters, creating a harmonious connection with the natural world.

Yoga and Healing Arts: Costa Rica is a hub for yoga enthusiasts. Women can deepen their practice with expert instructors, participate in healing arts workshops, and discover the therapeutic benefits of Costa Rica’s abundant natural resources.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: A Tapestry of Wellness:

Cultural Elegance: Puerto Vallarta combines cultural richness with wellness offerings. Explore the vibrant Malecón, indulge in local art, and savor authentic Mexican cuisine as part of your holistic experience.

Wellness by the Water: With its beautiful beaches and oceanfront settings, Puerto Vallarta offers a unique blend of wellness by the water. Picture sunrise yoga sessions on the beach and sunset meditation by the sea, creating a serene atmosphere for self-care.

Spa Retreats and Healing Therapies: Puerto Vallarta’s resorts feature world-

class spas that draw on ancient healing traditions. From traditional Mexican Temescal ceremonies to innovative spa treatments, these retreats offer a diverse range of wellness practices.

The Woman’s Guide to Self-Care Escapes:

Mindful Practices: Participate in guided mindfulness practices such as meditation and mindful movement. These practices enhance self-awareness and encourage a sense of calm and presence.

Nourishing Cuisine: Wellness retreats emphasize nourishing the body with wholesome, plant-based cuisine. Enjoy farm-to-table dining experiences that cater to your nutritional needs while tantalizing your taste buds.

Empowerment Workshops: Many retreats include empowerment workshops focused on building resilience, self-love, and embracing feminine strength. These sessions provide tools for personal growth and self-discovery.

Final Thoughts:

Wellness retreats in Los Cabos, Costa Rica, and Puerto Vallarta beckon women to embark on a transformative self-care journey. As you step into these havens of tranquility, allow the landscapes, healing practices, and empowering experiences to guide you toward rejuvenation and self-discovery. It’s time to prioritize your well-being and immerse yourself in the transformative power of these soulful escapes. Soulful Journeys with Beth Travel Agency is here to help you experience your wellness retreat.

“These escapes provid.” a sanctuary for women to disconnect from the demands of daily life and embark on a journey of self-reflection and revitalization”

Soulful Journeys with Beth Travel Agency

Founded in 2023, Soulful Journeys with Beth is on a mission to redefine travel, making it a powerful tool for self-discovery and growth

Meet Beth, our heart and soul. A seasoned nurse, passionate travel researcher, and dedicated life coach, Beth believes in the transformative power of travel and infuses it into every aspect of our agency.


Thank you Beth for your dedication to making dreams come true, now or in the future


Transformational Travel: Beyond sightseeing, we curate experiences that spark personal growth.


Sustainability: Advocates of ecotourism and responsible travel for conscious explorers.


Women’s Travel: Empowering women with safe, enriching, and transformative journeys.


Multigenerational Travel: Inclusive experiences promoting family bonding and shared memories.


Educational and Cultural Travel: Rich itineraries for those eager to learn and explore heritage

Elizabeth booked a last minute anniversary weekend for my parents that brought them back to the place they fell in love

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Our Expertise Transforming Adventures, One Journey at a Time Kathy A Joseph H


One minute I was soaring on a private jet and another minute I was sleeping in a laundry room. How did I transition from the heights of luxury to the humble confines of a laundry room? I did whatever it took to seize each opportunity that presented itself.

It all begins with a decision, regardless of your current circumstances. Rather than making excuses, you forge ahead, exploring every avenue until you find a way. Seek, and you shall find. Reach out, research, and delve into every option available.

I often ask myself, “Will I regret not taking this chance?” If the answer is yes, then I will make it happen. I dreamed of experiencing a VIP journey on a private jet for years. I didn’t know if it would ever materialize, but it did!

Visualize your dreams, painting a vivid picture in your mind. Engage all your senses—feel it, smell it, taste it. Transform your vision into reality. This principle applies to every aspect of life.

Taking risks becomes second nature when you live by faith rather than sight. While some may deem me overly optimistic, every risk has been worth it. Each experience teaches valuable lessons and enriches life beyond measure. It’s far superior to being consumed by fear, doubt, and the monotony of everyday life.

Being bold and courageous opens doors to encounters and destinations

beyond imagination. I was destined to meet and collaborate with a particular man at that VIP jet mastermind. He recognized my value and saw what I had to offer. Stay tuned; there’s much more in store as our connection unfolds.

Opportunities for collaboration and joint ventures abound. I am an Opportunity Specialist, expanding my sphere of influence. That Jet Mastermind proved to be a gamechanger, empowering me to extend invitations for others to share not only in that experience but other ones as well.

Imagine sitting in the cockpit, engaging in conversation with the pilot—the mastermind’s expert host and coach. A police escort whisked us away to a resort in the Bahamas, where our intimate group convened on a dock over the ocean. Amidst this serene setting, I savored moments walking barefoot on the sand, letting the waves of inspiration wash over me.

Luxury enveloped every aspect of this first-class event, tantalizing not only my soul but also my palate. Each culinary creation was a symphony of flavors, with fresh pineapple standing out as a favorite. Cold beverages offered respite from the tropical heat, as the ambiance evoked visions of paradise—complete with pristine beaches, bobbing boats, and sunkissed bikinis.

It was a dream come true. Want to go? Let me know.

Following this remarkable experience, I immersed myself in another firstclass adventure: a press trip alongside esteemed travel writer colleagues at The Equestrian Hotel in Ocala, Florida. This opulent establishment boasting European-inspired design elements spared us no expense in rolling out the red carpet. Personalized notes and delightful gifts awaited in our rooms, overlooking the majestic arena where equestrians and their magnificent horses performed gracefully.

Exquisite cuisine was included and served with excellence. During our extraordinary World Equestrian Center (WEC) tour, I uncovered hidden gems and indulged in delectable treats. Miss Tilly’s Lollipops offered a plethora of ice cream flavors, chocolates, and coffees to satisfy every craving. I wholeheartedly embraced any opportunity to indulge in a spa treatment or lounge by the pool.

We got hitched up to tour Grandview Clydesdale Farm & Tours owned by a special couple, Shannon and Karen Cobbs. They have expertise at the highest level in all aspects of the draft horse world. It was impressive to see their awards and honors in hitch horsemanship shows and competitions. Their breeding services are essential as Clydesdales are an endangered horse breed. This family and their story deeply touched my heart.

One of my favorite adventures was at The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park. Travis was my horse on the horseback riding tour and Kate and

“Despite facing obstacles, I remained undeterred, knowing that every setback carried the seeds of opportunity within it.”

Nicole were our guides. It was an enjoyable experience. Those are some of the perks being a travel writer. I’m glad I was riding Western so I could hang onto the horn up and down the canyon. Life literally had ups and downs on that ride but also awesome scenery as well.

Following the press trip’s conclusion, I journeyed to an event in Boca Raton, a decision that presented its own set of challenges. At that point, I knew why I felt to originally book a one-way flight and leave my return date open. At first, I had nowhere to stay. I flew by the seat of my pants and landed in some interesting places. I found myself in unexpected accommodations, including an Airbnb that was really a

laundry room with a bed in it.

Despite facing obstacles, I remained undeterred, knowing that every setback carried the seeds of opportunity within it. As circumstances shifted, I learned to discern where to allocate resources wisely, trusting solutions would emerge.

The Uber ride to Boca Raton with Betty Bop was a bit sketchy who at first turned on her Southern charm until she didn’t. My original accommodations fell through, so I had her drop me off at the event hotel and prayed for a place to stay. It all worked out in the end. I wouldn’t recommend exactly how it all went down but know you can always find solutions.

Throughout these adventures, I encountered remarkable individuals like Dr. JoDee Baer, JJ Vilar, Dr. Nephetina Serrano, Tom Chesser, and Chris Trammell. Engaging in conversations and forging connections propels us forward, enabling us to realize our goals and live the life we were born to live The LORI Factor way.

What captivated you in this article? Is there a particular experience or insight that resonates with you? Let’s connect and delve deeper. Feel free to text me at 585-371-8328 or visit my website: Live life to the fullest!



Undoubtedly, stress is a part of our everyday lives. There are so very many daily demands that compete for our attention. We typically juggle many different types of responsibilities, both at work and at home. On a regular basis, there are bills to pay, laundry to wash, groceries to buy, and gas tanks to fill. At work, we face important deadlines for projects, phone calls to return, and decisions to make. We may face the unique challenges of finding ourselves as members of the sandwich generation: we find ourselves torn between caring for our own children, as well as addressing the demands of aging parents.

How we choose to cope with this diverse range of stressors makes a critical difference for our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Excessive stress levels are downright dangerous if they are sustained for prolonged periods of time. Our minds and bodies are well-equipped to deal with acute stressors that occur. They are much less prepared to deal with the negative consequences of high levels of ongoing stress. Sustained stress levels cause our bodies to oversecrete cortisol, a hormone that allows our body to respond effectively to an immediate stressor. In turn, excessive cortisol levels are associated with a diminished immune system response.

Whereas we may have minimal control over external stressors, we do retain control of how we choose to respond to such stressors. Placing our specific stressors into perspective makes a huge difference. Very often, the things that we find ourselves feeling very stressed out about won’t necessarily matter in the long run. As one popular book states, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”

Women frequently have the tendency to place their own well-being at the bottom of their extensive to-do lists. We

typically serve as the primary caregivers for our children, whether we are also employed outside the home. Attempting to competently manage such diverse roles is very demanding. After all, we all possess finite resources. None of us has an unlimited amount of physical energy, time, or financial resources.

Very often, women neglect adequate self-care when juggling their home and work responsibilities. However, you can’t pour from an empty vessel. It’s essential to take the best possible care of ourselves, so that we’re able to competently fulfill the multiple roles that we face as women.

Women sometimes struggle with feeling guilty for taking adequate care of themselves. They may erroneously conclude that doing so is selfish. Practicing good self-care is essential, as opposed to optional. If we have children, engaging in good self-care is also a very important form of role modeling, both for our daughters and sons.

An essential component of adequate selfcare is stress management. To prevent the development of more serious consequences, each of us needs to learn how to better manage our overall stress level. How we specifically manage our stress levels is different for each woman. What works for your friend, neighbor, or co-worker may not necessarily be effective for you. Some women relax by choosing to exercise, engaging in meditation, or practicing guided imagery.

There are several different strategies for achieving more effective stress management. One of the most important rests upon being fully honest with ourselves about just how much we can achieve in any given day. When we take on more than we can comfortable manage, our stress levels invariably rise. It’s not possible to simultaneously be the perfect partner,

mother, caregiver, employee, neighbor, volunteer, and friend.

Another effective method for improved stress management involves learning to feel comfortable with asking for help, whenever necessary. Our society remains heavily oriented towards the importance of individualism, as opposed to connectivity with others. Consequently, many of us struggle with asking someone else for help with completion of a task. We may view doing so as a reflection of some degree of inadequacy on our parts. However, we are all interdependent upon one another to some degree. Enlisting others’ help may serve to powerfully lessen our overall stress level.

Those women with perfectionistic tendencies are particularly susceptible to experiencing the negative consequences of high stress levels. This is true whether they find themselves facing demands at home, or at work. Perfectionism depletes our finite resources, since attempting to complete a task perfectly exhausts both our minds and our bodies; in turn, this creates an even high stress level. Consequently, women with such tendencies find themselves in a downward spiral.

A final method of effective stress management concerns our ability to say no to excessive external demands. We may fear disappointing others by turning down their request for assistance. Nevertheless, effective stress management demands that we fully appreciate the delicate balance between our demands, and our capabilities of meeting those demands. After all, just how effective can we possibly be if we find ourselves over-extended?

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