RWO May 2022 Edition

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In This Edition...




Cindy Zicari Arena


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WOMEN WHO INSPIRE Michele Gennarino Amanda Toal








FOR A GOOD CAUSE The Northeast Kidney Foundation’s Melissa Stephens & Whitney Malone






















SHE HUSTLES TALKS Marianne Warfle The Mobile Spa Renee Reed Chantelle McClain Fancee’s Nail & Lash Studio







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may edition { TABLE OF CONTENTS }





























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“In this world, there is no force equal to the strength of a woman determined to rise.”


We hope you continue to enjoy all of the amazing articles and women we bring to you each month. Want to join our amazing team? Contact us for more information at




Photographed on the cover of our May 2022 edition of Rochester Woman Online magazine, we have Rochester’s funniest lady you have never met...yet, Cindy Zicari Arena. She was shot on location at Comedy At The Carlson on Carlson St. in Rochester, NY by lead photographer Brody Wheeler Visual Artist.









Kelly Breuer Marisa Zeppieri Kelly Breuer Brody Wheeler Brody Wheeler Jolana Hollister Michele Ashlee Laura Marino Murray Yaravitz Rob Daniels

Lindsay MC Photography M.A.P. Graphics Julie Oldfield Michael Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell

Dr Pam Denton Robin DeWind Bonnie Floyd Alana Cahoon Lisa Wagner Dr Jess Germano - Forkin Denise “Karma” Clifford Ellen Feldman Beth Parry Cindy DeCarolis Dara Rennert Dr Tunya Griffin Raquel Walker Christine Piacentino Camille Conti Marisa Powers Omenessa Akomolafe Tracy Simone Vincent DiGiorgio Marianne Warfle Amy Blum Krystle Ellis Rumella Cameron

Marisa Zeppieri Sathya Callender Corrin Stellakis Stacey Cook Michaela Raes Lydia Dean Reese Melinda Thompson Denise Longtin Dawn Kellogg Melissa Stephens Whitney Malone Lisa Wagner

Kelly Breuer Sheila Young


Network Rochester


Network Rochester

Rochester Woman ONLINE is the premier professional woman’s online publication in the Greater Rochester area. Our feature articles address major topics that interest local women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local area women. The electronic magazines are distributed freely through your favorite app store and will be in your inbox electronically by the first week of every month. The publication is available free of charge. Please feel free to contact publisher Kelly Breuer at 585.727.9120 or you can email us at Download our current media kit at www. The magazine is published 12 times a year by Rochester Woman ONLINE. Copyright © 2022 Rochester Woman ONLINE. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publisher. Rochester Woman ONLINE is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of Rochester Woman ONLINE and will not be returned.



Some of you may already know our cover woman as “Rochester’s Funniest Person” while others may know her as the Pickle Pizza viral sensation, but one thing is for sure — when you meet Cindy Zicari Arena, you will never forget her and her sense of humor. The risqué yet down-to-earth comedian (and expert pizza maker) sat down with Rochester Woman Online to share more about her colorful past, rough seasons and laughter, and how using the experiences you have been through can ultimately help you fulfill your purpose in life.

said that I should pursue comedy. So, about four years ago, I finally decided to pursue my interest in standup comedy. I started by taking a comedy class which gave me the courage to join the Rochester Funniest Person Contest at the Carlson Comedy Club. I won first place and have fallen in love with stand up ever since. Q: Let’s take a step back really quick

Q: Cindy, I am so excited to sit down with you and learn more about your life. What is your background, where are you from, and what do you do when you are not performing on stages across the country? A: I am a 59 year-old mother of two who has always loved to laugh and have fun. Born and raised in Rochester, I currently live in Irondequoit with my partner of 18 years. I work full time at Rhino’s Pizzeria where I went viral for the pickle pizza. Can you believe it? Not my comedy but a pizza! In my free time, I enjoy watching My 600-lb Life, Hoarders, 90 Day Fiancé, and any show that helps uplift me. Q: Why stand up comedy? How and when did you decide to give it a try? A: Friends and family have always commented on how funny I am and 20


to meet all kinds of interesting and creative people, but there are always those people that will judge you from where you come from. Q: I am sure you have a lot of material to pull from life experiences. Taking it back to comedy, how do you come up with your content? A: I’ve always tried to find humor in situations and laugh through difficult times. My millennial daughters are a great source of material, as well as my colorful upbringing. I like to take my flaws and laugh about them. I just started therapy and the material I’m getting from this amazing. This poor therapist has no idea what she is in for letting me in her office. Q: Do you think deep down you always wanted to be a comedian? Or were meant to be a comedian?

from comedy and talk about porn. That’s right…porn. What was it like growing up with a family in the porn business? A: Believe it or not it was not much different growing up in a family in the porn business than in most families. Kids who have parents that are fire fighters might get to slide down a pole, I got to swing on one. All joking aside, it had its ups and downs. I had the opportunity

A: I always knew I liked making people laugh, but didn’t really think about doing stand-up comedy. Over the years, people have told me that I’m funny and should consider performing. I was always more socially funny; I was voted class clown and most outgoing in high school. So I guess I’m built for comedy. Q: What was it like being named “Rochester’s Funniest Person”? A: I had only been doing comedy for a few weeks and was going to local open


“Believe it or not it was not much different growing up in a family in the porn business than in most families. Kids who have parents that are fire fighters might get to slide down a pole, I got to swing on one.”










“I’ve always tried to find humor in situations and laugh through difficult times.”

mics when I signed up for the contest. Once the competition started, I found that many of the contestants had been doing comedy for many years. I was afraid I had gotten in over my head, so I was going to open mics and practicing almost every night to prepare. When I realized that I won the whole thing, I was shocked and excited! It helped give me the confidence to continue challenging myself knowing that if I worked hard I could continue to improve.

telling a story and all of a sudden I think “wow” that would make a great joke. Q: Tell us about someone who has inspired you on your journey whether personally or professionally. A: My comedy mentor has been Jessica Kirson and I have been a huge fan of hers over the years. Mark Ippolito from the Comedy at the Carlson gave me

Q: Who really makes you laugh? A: My mother always made me laugh. She taught me to not take life too seriously. Our family always laughed through hard times. Growing up we always had comedies and and sitcoms playing on the TV. That’s where I learned to love great comedians like Joan Rivers and Carol Burnett. Some of my other favorites comics are Jessica Kirson, Fortune Feimster, and Sam Kinison. Q: How do you practice your material? A: I go to a lot of open mics. I also practice my jokes with the girls at work. Trust me, most of the people around me are probably sick of listening to me tell jokes. Also, I keep a running notebook in my phone that every time I think something is funny or I remember a story from my childhood I take notes. I can be chatting with someone and

the opportunity to open for her. She was so warm and encouraging toward me. She really took me under her wing and gave me a lot of great advice. I’m inspired by the way she is willing to give her time and attention to other woman in comedy. She’s been a mentor to several successful comedians and has had a very successful career, but has remained humble and kind.

Q: She sounds like an incredible person. Thanks for sharing a little about your relationship together. So I have to ask, even with all the mentorship and great advice you have experienced, name one time you failed and how that changed your way of thinking, or working for the better. A: I have failed several times doing standup comedy. That is what they call bombing. Each time I bombed, l learned something new. For me the struggle has been not reading the room properly. This has helped me get better at tailoring my jokes to what I think the audience might respond to and being able to readjust and shift topics more quickly when I see that something is not going over well. At the end of the day, I’m there to entertain the audience and I’ve learned it’s important to be able to adapt to what they like. They paid to see me make them laugh and I will do what I can to make sure they do! Q: Rephrasing this in a more personal way, I want to ask what is one moment in your past that completely changed your life, and was it for the better or worse? A: Having children changed my life for the better even though it felt like the worst sometimes. Thank God for Benadryl! Just kidding! I took for granted going ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


COVER STORY } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “I work full time at Rhino’s Pizzeria where I went viral for the pickle pizza. Can you believe it? Not my comedy but a pizza!”

to the bathroom by myself, sleeping in, and not having grubby little hands in my food. On the bright side, they have given me great material. Q: Has anything embarrassing ever happened on stage? A: Not yet, but you probably just jinxed me. I have a fear of laughing too hard and peeing my pants. I know this seems crazy but at my age and after having two kids, it’s always possible. Q:: If you weren’t a comedian, what job would you do? 26


A: I work full time making pizza in addition to doing comedy. I really enjoy doing the social media for the pizza shop. I like marketing and promoting at my day job and in comedy. At this point in my life, I’m just ready to move to heaven’s waiting room, also known as Florida, and tour the Villages and do comedy for nursing homes. Q: Picture yourself on stage and tell us, what’s the best audience? A: The best audiences are the ones that you can tell came out to have fun. I always thought I would do better with people closer to my age, but sometimes I find

the younger kids laughing the hardest at me. I guess silly and ridicules has no age limits. Thank god! Q: Is there anything you won’t joke about? A: Pretty much nothing is off limits, as long as I am not punching down or intentionally being cruel. A well-crafted joke can make any subject funny. Q: What is it like to be a woman in comedy? And how would you encourage other women who are considering trying their hand at the profession?





al, creating e services with current









COVER STORY } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “I also practice my jokes with the girls at work. Trust me, most of the people around me are probably sick of listening to me tell jokes.”

A: I think The table is starting to turn and we are seeing more female standup comedians. I love when I see a headlining comic with a female host and feature. I think it’s important that we have more female comics; woman are funny and the world is starting to see that now. Whenever I see a new female come to open mic for the first time and do stand-up comedy, I am always trying to encourage them to keep on going. It seems like so many women try it and then just give up. I tell them keep getting up on stage and practice your material. Q: Did family and friends ever try to talk you out of becoming a comedian? A: No. Everybody was very supportive and encouraging to me. I think I try to talk myself out of it all the time, however! Q: What has been the most significant barrier in your career? A: I have struggled most of my life with ADD and dyslexia. This has made it hard to organize, remember, and write my jokes. I am also can be a self-deprecating comic. I sometimes struggle with people feeling sorry for me and wanting to laugh. I am still learning how to let people know during my jokes it’s okay to laugh. I know I look like a gym teacher who has never been to the gym. Q: What are some of your biggest fears? A: Having weight loss surgery. I did because my fear of plastic lawn chairs and getting stuck in a water slide were much higher! Most importantly, losing

the ability to wipe my own ass was my biggest fear.

his wife not letting him take his penis when he goes out with the boys.

Q: Where has been the most fun place you have traveled to perform and why?

Q: Now to get a little nosey, what are the top things we can find in your search history?

A: I just did comedy in South Florida and one of the shows I did in Miami was called “Triggered”. The concept of the show was to say things that would provoke and trigger the audience. It was a lot of fun and interactive with the crowd. The audience wrote down triggering words that were drawn out of a hat and each comic had two minutes to riff about the topic they pulled, to see who could be the most triggering. I won the contest and proved to myself that I truly am the monster I thought I was. Q: How have you built confidence and/or resiliency over the course of your career? A: I keep challenging myself to perform in new and different places. The first time I did an open mic, I was terrified. However, every time it has gotten a little easier. I network and talk with a lot of other comedians where I get a lot of support and can share experiences. I love to do comedy in loud bars. It can be a nightmare but it’s a challenge to try to get the crowd to pay attention to me. Q: What’s the funniest joke you’ve ever heard?

A: Sugar free candy; plastic Barbie doll legs; comedy festival submissions; Walmart plus size fashion. Q: And last, where can our audience see you next? A: I will being performing in the Human Rights Campaign Fundraiser on June 7th at the Comedy at the Carlson. The very funny and talented Todd Youngman will be master of ceremonies. I’ll also be joined by Rochester’s famous drag queen, Aggy Dune, and a very talented comedian from NYC, Oscar Aydin.There will also be music by Leah Zicari. This is a cause I feel very strongly about, especially in our current political climate where gay rights, trans rights, and women’s rights are at risk. Thank you so much for sitting down with Rochester Woman Online. We know it will be an amazing show and hope to see everyone there. If you haven’t seen Cindy perform, you won’t want to miss this hilarious event. Follow Cindy on insta @tie_dye_thesky

A: One of my favorite comics Cristela Alonzo does a bit about how expensive Whole Foods can be and says she has to put her tomatoes on layaway. Also, Sam Kinison has an amazing bit about ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022




















The Influential Woman ROAR! It’s time to Empower our Voice, Reclaim Our Body, and Speak our Truth! Who creates life on Earth? Women. Who has reproductive power? Women.

being controlled and denied. When we read history and the facts, we have been abused, hurt, traumatized and DENIED OUR RIGHTS. Some women like it this way. And we are not here to try to convince you otherwise, if you want to be dominated and controlled that is your right. However, the Influential Woman believes this is

Who is controlled and diminished in her power?

Embarrassment Gulit Shame Criticism Judgment Blame FEAR

Who needs to ROAR - Right Now! Women!!!!!!

However, The Influential Woman has hope that when we empower women, there is a potential for radical change. No matter what you believe pro-life or pro-choice, no matter what your political or religous affiliation….when we put all of the dogma aside and look deeply into women and history, our rights are

When a woman is being controlled, when her body is being denied power, why do we silence ourselves in the face of such control? We live in silence because of:


The control of our reproductive rights, this is something we could spend hours trying to understand. And we could also bury our heads right now, in the wake of the intense pandemic, and hide from the facts. And for many of us, I am sure even though we feel “influential” we also feel hopeless in the threat against our bodies and reproductive rights.

people with mass torture and war, we want people to prosper. And we want life on our own terms. This right that we desire is slowly slipping away from our grasp. And freedom is slipping further and further away from all of us.

Many women do not want to feel these feelings so we silence ourselves, bury our head, and retreat from standing our ground.

BS! Enough! We want our rights, our freedoms, and we want control of the choices over our body. We believe in the female voice and female leadership. We believe in uncensored empowerment. And we believe in the female empowered form of leadership. Women, as leaders, naturally have a creative, collaborative and lifegiving approach to her Queendom. We do not want to hurt or injure populations of

And then there are times like these that we choose to harness the power of change and stand together to demand and command a positive shift. The overturn of Roe vs Wade. It’s a threat against, not just our reproductive rights, but our creative power to lead, to have a voice, to govern our body, and to make choices about our children’s bodies. This political decision comes at a time where the world desperately REQUIRES the female form of leadership. says this: ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ SACRED O } } { SHIFT+CONTROL “We believe in the female voice and female leadership. We believe in uncensored empowerment. And we believe in the female empowered form of leadership.”

“Whoever you are, wherever you live, you have the right to make these (reproductive) choices without fear, violence or discrimination. Yet all over the world, people are bullied, discriminated against and arrested, simply for making choices about their bodies and their lives. A woman is refused contraception because she doesn’t have her husband’s permission. A teenager is denied a lifesaving termination because abortion is illegal in her country. ” Amnesty reports these facts: 1/10 Girls worldwide aged under 18 have been forced to have sex or perform sexual acts. The true number is likely to be higher. 40 % Of women of childbearing age live in countries where abortion is banned, restricted or not accessible 215M Women are not using contraception, even though they want to stop or delay having children. -Amnesty International Do you care about her right to decide? Do you care that women are being tortured and sold for SEX? Enslaved into torturous sexual acts with NO reproductive rights? Are you willing to stand up for the rights of women? Are you willing to do something right now today to break the silence? To say NO I will not tolerate the control of women’s reproductive rights! We know, We feel you, it feels hopeless….. What can you do? Are you brave enough to stand up and speak about your story? To share your concerns right now when it looks as if the female body is being governed by 38


the government, by men, by marriage, by sex slavery, and prostitution. Are you willing to take your own power back and make yourself as positively powerful and confident so you CAN share your voice? The truth must be revealed. Women, we still carry the scars of the past and we must heal now. The past is still rearing it’s pain in our souls and includes: ● Being hung and burned for being healers, creators, and intuitives. ● Locked up for our hormonal emotions and called crazy, over emotional, and nuts. ● Denied fair wages and this continues today ● Denied access to education. ● Denied access to vote, to lead, to have money, to write a check, to have a bank account and more! These issues are not very long ago and it feels like we might be sinking back into this paradigm. In fact, some of these issues are still not resolved. Doesn’t this make you want to ROAAAARRRR?!!! To get up and scream!!!!!! STOP! To tell your story to the world!!!!! Do you feel your female creative power is the most incredible gift to humanity? We are the life-givers, the care-givers, the peace-makers, and the nurturers…. yet all of this is threatened by force and control. The Influential Woman is a space to

be heard, be seen, be accepted and be uncensored in your female creative power, body, and voice. We believe there is NO holding back. That women must stand up and lead NOW, before we go backward into the dark ages. We also believe the fastest path to power is releasing and resolving these horrible controls and wounds in the safe space of sisterhood. As women in all areas of leadership, business and power, every woman will become more confident and courageous when she reclaims her sexual body and power, heals her emotions, releases and resolves her trauma, and steps fully into controlling her own body. And this is how we will reign from our Queendom once again! We need the Influential Woman Queendom-EMPOWERED! We believe that when you feel empowered in your body, voice, and leadership - then this threat will go away because you will stand up and speak your truth! Stay tuned as we announce our First Influential Women Empowerment Day to Reclaim Your Body & Power. A day for empowering the female form of leadership through Embodiment and Voice. Day Includes: Boudoir Shoot for Embodiment and Self Love Headshots for Leadership Power to say You Mean Business Facebook Lives so your Voice Can Be Heard! ROARing - Radical Opportunity Appearing RightNOW - Expressive







FROM HINDERING COMPASSION FOR VICTIMS April is sexual assault awareness month. One in four women has suffered the trauma of sexual assault by men, and society has failed women in terms of seeking justice against male perpetrators. In addition to this, many victims struggle with an unwanted rape related pregnancy. Polarization of politics has made the topic of abortion a Left or Right wing issue. Rather than show compassion to a victim under pressure from the harrowing ordeal of forced conception, people are more inclined to promote their personal political views.

The film, Natalie’s Abortion is not a Left or Right wing film. It is not a pro-life or pro-choice film.

fundamental question is put forward, “Should the seed of the wicked go forward?”

Natalie’s Abortion is a film which tells the story of a woman who is forced to deal with rape, a grueling sexual assault examination, an incompetent law enforcement system, unwanted rape related pregnancy, abortion, and the unsolicited political opinions of society. The film shows the ultimate triumph of a rape survivor as she finds her own voice and takes the power back in her life. While she is on this journey the fundamental question is put forward, “Should the seed of the wicked go forward?”

Beyond politics the real question concerning sexual assault, rape related pregnancy, and abortion is, “Should the seed of the wicked go forward?” I invite you to share a story of survival that can uplift everyone and shift the conversation towards justice for all women in support of survivors for sexual assault awareness month. You can watch and share Natalie’s Abortion on

While she is on this journey the





I was 28 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was young, had no family history, and had no genetic risk of developing the disease. I wasn’t “supposed” to get breast cancer – but cancer doesn’t care about that. The truth is, 85% of breast cancers occur in women with no family history of the disease. Though young women account for only a small percentage of those with breast cancer, 1 in 196 women under the age of 40 in the United States receive such a diagnosis.

through the reasons why it “couldn’t” be breast cancer, and shakingly reached over to see what it was that I had felt her pressing on. Immediately, I felt a solid mass, right in that same area. I panicked for a few minutes, before I again tried to talk myself out of being afraid - “It

My lump was large, ugly, and obvious once I felt it; the problem was, I wasn’t looking for it. Like many women my age, I was haphazard about conducting self-breast checks. Falsely comforted by these notions that I was too young for breast cancer, I neglected to set a few minutes aside each month to get acquainted with my body. I was fortunate that my cat was a bit more on top of things than I was – and yes, you did read that correctly, my cat is the reason that I discovered my tumor. One night, shortly after my 28th birthday, my cat (Schrö) was curled up beside me in bed, nestled in between my arm and my body. As she kneaded her paws down the side of my body near my breast, I felt a shift of tissue – it felt as if she had just hit something hard. I simultaneously attempted to talk myself 42


may be nothing, just wait a little while. Don’t get ahead of yourself.” I waited a week or two, attempting to push my fears to the back of my mind. On a nearly nightly basis, Schrö would snuggle up to me and begin pressing her paws at my side. Eventually, I decided

to give in and check again – and I was alarmed at what I felt. It seemed like the mass was harder and larger than before. I finally gave into my concerns and reached out to my OB/GYN. I received a response from their office within a matter of hours, informing me that I was being referred for an ultrasound. A few weeks after that, I had my biopsy performed; I received my diagnosis over the phone less than 48 hours later. I was in complete shock – everything that I had been telling myself not to worry about, had just been confirmed as my reality. The next several weeks were filled with a number of doctor’s appointments and additional tests to establish the specifics of my condition. Throughout the time that I was left sitting with the unknown, I began to recognize that I had two choices. The first seemed completely unappealing - to remain in disbelief and frustration about my circumstances; I recognized that this approach might lead to wasting away whatever precious time I had remaining. The only remaining option that life had left me with was to accept my reality, which certainly didn’t seem pleasant either, but at least meant that I might be able to find some peace in my existence. Fortunately, I learned that my cancer was in its early stages when I began treatment. With my age and the specifics of my tumor subtype, I had no choice but to











{ BREAST CANCER CONFIDENCE TRACY TALKS } } } } { WOMAN WHO INSPIRES { {SHIFT+CONTROL “Take it from me – I wasn’t “supposed” to get breast cancer, but I did, and early intervention was crucial in allowing me to be the survivor that I am today.”

undergo chemotherapy if I wanted the best chances of survival. When it came to surgery, I had a little more flexibility – my surgery options included: • Lumpectomy: removal of the cancerous tissue, leaving the remainder of the breast

avoided with the double mastectomy. I also felt that at my age and the current stage of my life as a recently divorced woman, I would be most comfortable with reconstruction over flat closure.

• Unilateral (or “single”) mastectomy: removal of one breast (only the impacted side) • Bilateral (or “double”) mastectomy: removal of both breasts • Reconstruction: optional surgery after lumpectomy/ mastectomy, to rebuild the shape and appearance of the breast • Flat closure: decision to forgo reconstruction, leaving the breast(s) flat after mastectomy For each woman, the right choice(s) vary depending on cancer stage, type, genetic factors, and life factors. In the interest of minimizing my recurrence risk and avoiding the burden of fear associated with frequent surveillance, I opted to pursue a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. This decision made the most sense for me personally, as I knew that I would feel particularly vulnerable to anxiety surrounding any additional tests, which were essentially 46


It’s been two years since my first of several surgeries to address my cancer. With the timing of my diagnosis coinciding with the pandemic/early surgical restrictions, my approach was modified. I progressed from lumpectomy, to bilateral mastectomy with flat closure, to reconstruction with

temporary implants (“expanders”), to the final reconstructive surgery which exchanged those placeholders for the real deal. It’s also been two years since I was declared cancer free, and I have no regrets about my choices surrounding treatment and surgery. I am happy to be alive and to be considered in remission today, and I’m incredibly lucky that it turned out to be this way. Had I not discovered my cancer by chance, I may not have found it for months, if not years. If I had waited much longer to seek medical attention, my cancer could have spread. I am grateful every single day that this was not the outcome for me. I encourage every woman – no matter how old you are, what background you come from, or who else you think is keeping track of your breasts – to do your monthly self-breast checks, as well as attend your regular OB/GYN and mammogram appointments. I know that it’s inconvenient, awkward, and can feel intimidating – but this is only temporary, and it might save your life. Take it from me – I wasn’t “supposed” to get breast cancer, but I did, and early intervention was crucial in allowing me to be the survivor that I am today.





{ BREAST CANCER CONFIDENCE TRACY TALKS } } } } { WOMAN WHO INSPIRES { {SHIFT+CONTROL “II wasn’t “supposed” to get breast cancer – but cancer doesn’t care about that.”









Behind the Scenes... The Mrs. New York America, Mrs. New York American, and Miss New York for America Pageant celebrates women, families, and community service. We empower women and give them the platform to become leaders. The 2022 pageant will be held on Sunday, July 17th starting at 2pm at the Marriott Downtown Syracuse on the 10th floor ballroom. We will have a pre-show vendor pop-up with over 25 amazing vendors to shop and enjoy starting at 11am. We hope to see everyone there. Tickets go on sale June 1! Please welcome our amazing MRS New York for AMerica and Mrs New York American 2022 contestants. Please visit To vote for your favorite contestant from June 15th through July 15th for our 52


annual Fabulous Face and People’s Choice Contests!

Diane Hardgrove Director

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

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

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


Mrs. Dutchess County

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

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

“Dr. Jackie Berry is a Cognitive Scientist who studies learning, expertise and humancomputer interaction. Dr. Ja c k i e i s t h e first person-of-color to graduate with a Cognitive Psychology doctorate from the State University of New York at Albany. Jackie also holds a B.S. and an M.S. in psychology as well as an M.B.A. As a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt, Jackie studied interface switching in Arabic-English bilinguals at the American University in Cairo. While in Egypt, Dr. Berry taught a class about the science of expertise and helped her students achieve outstanding accomplishments such as triathlons, 4-minute planks, learning to play an instrument, and speaking a new language. Her amazement in their progress led her to write FIND YOUR CARROT, a book to help people organize their 54


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

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

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


Mrs. Cayuga County

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

KATE BOYDSTON Mrs. Electric City

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

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



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

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

for her, she has succeeded.

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

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


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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

Katie’s career also included being a middle music teacher, and was voted “teacher of the year” and was the recipient of the city of West Jordan’s “Hero in Education” award. In 2017, Katie’s husband, Jeremy, received a residency for Cranial Facial Surgery and their family began a new adventure in New York. With it’s breathtaking scenery, inspiring history and diverse culture, Katie has dived in and and has absolutely loved joining the melting pot that makes up Western New York. From tasting the freshly baked rolls in Amish communities, to 58


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

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

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

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

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

BETHANY STEVENS Mrs. Greater Rochester

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

An energetic and passionate storyteller, Amanda worked for Mr. Rather in various roles for nearly 11 years traveling the world both domestically and internationally. Towards the end of her tenure, Amanda jetsetted across the country producing “Big Interviews” with news and entertainment icons like Dolly Parton, Simon Cowell, and Bryan Adams. Amanda and her husband Jim moved to Syracuse in 2019. Currently she is taking a sabbatical while building the foundation for her next adventure, operating as the household CEO, and raising her incredible three year old son, James. Amanda’s platform, HeART, found 60


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

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

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

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

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

CHLOE ROSEN Mrs. Central Park

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



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


truly has an eye for beauty.

We are pleased to announce our very first 2022 Contestant!

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

Mrs. Hamptons

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



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

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

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

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







Who is Betty Bradley? I consider myself very strong willed and determined. I never give up on things I believe in. I am family and goal oriented. I am always there for others and a woman of my word. My father always said, “If you say you’re going to do something make sure you do it”. I am a mother to three amazing boys who are the best accomplishments of my life. I’m also very goofy. I love to laugh and live life. I pride myself in working hard and doing my best no matter what’s in front of me.

didn’t happen at the time, and I see now that had I left, I wouldn’t have experienced the things I experienced up until this moment nor met some of the amazing people I’ve had the opportunity to meet. After years of practice, I finally was able to do my first show in 2009 with Iverson and I’ve been in countless shows since. During this time, I’ve been to Miami, Atlanta, New York City as well as almost every show in Rochester New York. I was also on the tv show WildNOut

My favorite designer to work with goes by the name of Kady Hayle. I met her some years ago. I came to a model casting call she was one of the first designers that chose me. She has a unique eye for fashion and knows what looks good. I’ve done many shoots and shows wearing her designs. Find her on Facebook by her name and Kkreations on Instagram. What is your favorite part of doing what you do?

When and why did you first start modeling? I kind of stumbled into modeling on accident. I was a singer in middle school. My mother had me in the studios recording songs and I was in the choir in middle into high school. A little after my 11th birthday my parents split up and it devastated me because at that age you are not able to comprehend what was happening. I stopped singing and put on some heels and learned to walk in them. I was a fan of Americas Next Top Model and use to watch every episode. At that time, I looked up to Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks and Cynthia Bailey. When I was 15, I was offered the opportunity to move to California with a family member to pursue my dream of being a runway model. That

Who has been your favorite designer to work with and why?

The best part of what I do is the self confidence aspect and feeding from the energy of the crowd. As soon as I am on the runway the crowd gives off a sense of excitement that drives me. I am forever thankful for the ones that support Slimmie. with Nick Cannon. Very proud of the opportunities I’ve had with my career. What makes you hustle? The reason I HUSTLE is so that my children don’t have to. I want to and will be successful for them. Every day I wake up is to support my children and family. They are my reasons for everything I do.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself? I am a shoe lover and I know American Sign Language. If you had the ability to mentor another woman interested in modeling, would you consider it and what advice would you share? Of course. I am currently working on helping other women with modeling. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022





{BEAUTY SHIFT+CONTROL } } {{ BLACK WOMEN ROC LIES WITHIN “My plan is to be more successful within my business Model with A Purpose which helps build self-awareness, self-confidence and runway training.”

The only advice I would be is for them to be themselves. There is only one you! How was the experience of your first shoot? The experience of my first shoot was euphoric! I was at home and in a place of comfort. I was one with the photographer and camera. I knew I was at home. I knew that modeling was what I wanted to do.

was able to obtain my college degree in Liberal Arts and Science from Monroe Community College. What are your career goals over the next five years? My plan is to be more successful within my business Model with A Purpose which helps build self-awareness, selfconfidence and runway training. This is offered to anyone that wishes to join.

My greatest strength is living within my purpose. I know I have a place and a calling that I am fulfilling. To some that may be minor but to me it means everything. I want to always be remembered for the person I am. What sets you apart from other models?

What did you do before your modeling career? Before I took modeling seriously, I was focused on being a mother and graduating college. In which I did, I

Beauty lies within means having a beautiful soul and pure heart and wanting nothing more but the best for people. Seeing the value, strength and courage is all. It’s not all about outward beauty. Even the most beautiful people have the darkest souls. Who has been your biggest influence and why? My mother Mary has been my greatest influence. I admire a few people, but the strength of my mother has shaped me into who I am today. I ‘ve seen her work all my life to support me and my siblings, rarely with a day off until she retired. She’s an amazing woman.

What is your greatest strength?

I’ve never thought about this much because each model brings something different to the forefront. In respects to myself I am very versatile and coachable. During photoshoots and fashion shows I do not have to be shown or prompted to walk or pose certain ways. It all comes natural to me.

within” mean to you?

Why do you want to be a model? It also is a safe place for people to be themselves all the while having fun. I also want to get involved within the Rochester City School District where my services can help little girls and boys that need the motivation and support. Working within the district has shown me that there is a need for men and women to be more involved in the development of the new generation of children. What does the phrase “Beauty lies

Being a model has always been my dream for many years. Walking the runway and being in front of the camera has always been therapeutic for me. No other feeling could compare to it. I want to inspire little girls that look like me. We all aren’t born tall, skinny with the typical features of the modern-day model. I want to show that no matter if you’re short, tattooed, colored hair etc. You can still be a model if that’s what you wish to do. Never limit yourself!



{BEAUTY SHIFT+CONTROL } } {{ BLACK WOMEN ROC LIES WITHIN “My greatest strength is living within my purpose. I know I have a place and a calling that I am fulfilling.”

How do you handle criticism especially in a tough position? I handle it well honestly. I have not had any crazy instances where people were extremely rude. I take everything in and analyze what I could do better and implement those changes if needed into my life as a model and my professional life outside of modeling. You must have tough skin in this industry or else everything will get to you. 72


What do you do besides modeling? Besides modeling I work in the healthcare system ensuring patients experience with the facilities I work for are the best. I am also a snowboarder in the winter months. I love to read Urban novels, watch crime shows and do my makeup on my down time. Where will we see you next? At this point in my life, I could be

anywhere. I really want to be at a place of contentment and peace. I want to know that every day I did all the things I set out to do. I want to continue to be there for the ones that need me. Showing them that there is much more to life than the circumstances they are currently in. Never give upon your dreams. Ever!










{ {BEAUTY LIES WITHIN} } SHIFT+CONTROL “The best part of what I do is the self confidence aspect and feeding from the energy of the crowd.”





Who are you? I am a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority and have been working with and advising collegiate women for over 30 years. I have volunteered with the national organization as a National Trainer, Province Officer and served on multiple committees focused on mentoring and helping young women succeed. I also served as president of the Rochester Alumnae Pa n h e l l e n i c , a n organization made up of women from other national sororities. Our main objective is to support the collegiate groups in the Rochester area (U of R, RIT, SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Brockport,) through scholarships and grants. Why volunteer? Over the years I have found that working with young women on the collegiate level was extremely rewarding especially to see them enter college at 18, watching them mature into young leaders as they found themselves and started to find their way. At first, I was always proud to see the collegiate chapters that I worked with win awards and accolades for their achievements. Now, I am especially proud, when I see women that I mentored or advised 15-20 years ago now advising and mentoring young women. I have seen so many 82


young women take on leadership roles on the collegiate level and grow in their careers and go on to serve their communities, become successful and have beautiful families. I believe that everyone you meet along your journey of life plays a part in shaping your life - even if it is only briefly - there is a reason you met

that person along the way and you probably took something from that encounter or that experience that will guide you later in life. Why Customer Experience? My background is in marketing and

marketing communications, but found my niche working in customer service and educating, mentoring and coaching customer service members. Much like working with collegiate women, it was extremely rewarding to work with individuals one on one and help them grow and mature and see them flourish after just a few meetings. Taking the one on one time is important - it makes people feel like individuals. I have also found that mentoring and advising young women in the sorority can also be transferred to your career and working with individuals and teams at work. In 2014, along with 3 others, I helped to found Velocitii, a small call-center in Medina, NY, the premise was on being a different type of call center. It was focused on the employee as an individual and working with them to be their best, it is all about culture. If they enjoyed their job and their environment, they would provide a great customer experience. We created a leadership academy that identified people who were not yet in a leadership role, but had great potential, and taught them the fundamentals to become successful team leads, supervisors and managers. Many of them have gone on to be very successful in their




{ WOMAN WHO INSPIRES TRACY TALKS } } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “Over the years I have found that working with young women on the collegiate level was extremely rewarding.”

Now at Greenlight Networks, I have done the same thing. Working with newly promoted supervisors, managers and team leads that benefit from not only the fundamentals of leadership, but the mentoring and advising and working together a team. Greenlight Networks has a great company culture and it’s about the best customer experience… the title of our customer service agents is “Concierge” and as the title eludes to, it’s about taking care of the customer, providing a 84


white glove experience and helping them regardless of the reason they contacted us. Who Inspires You? My mother is a very strong and independent woman. She taught me the value of self-respect, self-reliance and that women can do anything that men can do. She taught me to speak up, especially when you think something is wrong. She instilled in me a work ethic that is with me today.

What do you do for fun? I am an avid gardener and love the outdoors. Each year I have a large vegetable garden and many flower gardens around the house. Perhaps it is the nurturing part of me that enjoys tilling the soil and preparing it for planting, watching the seedlings grown into mature plants and then sharing the vegetables that I harvest. Being outside with nature is very soothing and renewing.



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Our approach is custom, not “cookie cutter.” Each of the institutes provides a unique set of solutions and services, they also collaborate to offer creative solutions to complex challenges. The Community Institutes serves as a hub, connecting businesses, organizations, leaders and neighbors in our community with resources to help them grow and thrive.




As I sit here writing this “story” at 6 months, 10 days and 12 hours sober and for what feels like about the 50th attempt to start writing this story over these past few weeks; I realize that this time it’s harder to share because these 191 days have experienced and FELT more life than I have in my 32 years of this life. You see - being “sober” is one thing - being in recovery is another. Sober is something you do - while recovery is an entirely new way of living. It affects every single detail of your life in ways that are unimaginable. Let me try to paint a picture for you…. Early in my sobriety journey I spent days contemplating sharing my story with the world. Fear of what my friends, family and clients would think was consuming me. Then is when I realized that this is one of the most crippling factors in a person’s recovery journey. Societal view and acceptance has warped us to be ashamed of our true selves and the fear of judgment from complete strangers is then allowed to dictate our strength and recovery. This is what needs to change to make a difference in how sobriety and its struggles are viewed. I shared my one week, two week and one month update with the entire social media world in hopes of reaching even just ONE person that needed to hear that no matter how impossible it feels right now - no matter how many times you actually feel like death could be easier than feeling all this pain - you 88


can get there - and YOU WILL GET THERE! There is a whole world of support out there that I closed myself off to because I had positioned myself in a spot that completely isolated me from the world. Once you let yourself become vulnerable to your soul’s true intentions - open your eyes - and finally see clearly through them - everything starts to come to you as it should.

November 5th, 2021 I made a decision that not only saved my life - but created an entirely new one. I had planned to detox from alcohol at home with my Mom there to help if anything went wrong the following day. I had made the decision to do it there because it was familiar and gave me a sense of that childhood protection I would need to get through this complete nightmare ahead. I also was careful about avoiding my five year old daughter from seeing

what was potentially to come in the next few days of self induced hell I planned to go through. My Mother was so afraid and I put her in a situation that she felt if she didn’t help me at her house - I simply wouldn’t get help at all. My daughter knew I was “sick” because I had been prepping her for Mommy going to “get better for a few days” for the entire week leading up. I had planned to be the one to wake her up and had little special morning plans all figured out - knowing I wouldn’t be there when she returned from school that day. I sat on the phone with my mom taking back one fireball shot at a time as I slipped further and further into this deep- dark - drunkfantasy world I had positioned myself in - completely isolated. Those closest to me had to watch me slowly killing myself for what I now realize was years not months. Admitting I had a problem to myself, and others meant that years of showing I had control over my unmanageable life would be exposed. I wanted so badly for it not to be true that I had an addiction that I chose to stay in denial. Something hit me that night and I said “come get me now I want to go to the hospital”. My mom had already been in her car and well on her way to my house with backup (other support people) in route to me as well. When everyone arrived I wanted to shower and sob it out on the bathtub floor before leaving. I poured out words of love to my daughter to be written








{ WOMAN WHO INSPIRES { {SHIFT+CONTROL TRACY TALKS } } } “As I sit here writing this “story” at 6 months, 10 days and 12 hours sober - and for what feels like about the 50th attempt to start writing this story over these past few weeks;”

down on paper for her to have read to her in the morning. It was time for me to leave and I knew damn well it was the ONLY decision. When I went into the hospital, I let them know I was here to detox and my last drink was at the door. My heart rate was borderline heart attack status, I had severe acute pancreatitis, a severe UTI from dehydration and I was essentially completely depleted of vitamins. I spent the next few days in what I consider to be living hell. Detoxing all the toxic substance I was pouring into my body on a daily basis. I slowly started to feel like me again as the days went by. It felt like I was there for years, and it felt like I would never be home. Monday came and I woke up feeling different. I looked in the mirror again and Amanda was staring back at me. I had done it! I fought my damn hardest and I got through the detox, and I was never going back. I called my Mom and will never forget the sound in her voice when I said “can you come get me please? - I’m being released”; she had this frightened tone in her voice like it couldn’t possibly already be time for me to leave. It’s like I could see her face through the phone - the worry. I reassured her that it’s ok and I promised her that she was picking up AMANDA. I got to go home later that afternoon and I hugged my daughter like it was the last hug I’d ever get. I did that because being sober now I realized that had I not gotten the help I needed - that hug before she went to sleep the night I left for detox - may have been the last hug

I got from her. She knew her Mommy was back and different. She pressed her little forehead upon mine and quietly whispered “mommy, mommy, mommy you’re back I missed you”. As tears started to form in my eyes and I walked through my front door I started my life over again, whatever that was supposed to mean; I just knew I was in for one hell of a ride. I spent the first two weeks just trying to navigate my way through figuring out how to do life sober. Every second was a reminder of a negative aspect of my alcohol abuse or finding random empty fireball containers in the most obscure places. Then I started and continued to tackle each and every small detail of my life until it fit exactly how my soul intended for it to. The decisions were finally mine - I just naturally keep moving through the chapters until the next one is ready to start. If someone tells you sobriety is easy they are lying to you. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and continues to be each and every damn day. Every day something appears in my memories that was pushed to the land of “please forget” for so long and then again thrusts me into an unexplainable trip down memory lane - which then transitions into a panic attack that feels like it will never end. Then I remember…that this is all a part of the process. “Waking up’’ 12 years later is what sobriety feels like to me. I have opened my soul up to seriously uncomfortable conversations - and finally started being honest from my heart but it doesn’t make it any less painful. In fact it’s much more

painful when I have nothing to mask the feelings with. Unleashing all the confused emotions is taking every ounce of fight in me, however I have chosen to surround myself with people who want to be a part of my life for ME. They accept the fact that I come with a lot of need for expert navigation and quite honestly I’m not ashamed to be honest about the fact I’m a “hot mess”. I’ve lost so many “friends’’ I can’t count, and clients walked away after my initial moment of social truth. You see, being sober; my tolerance for others’ lack of self awareness is crippling by the second. I have to seriously consider every day who belongs/deserves to exist in my new inspiring life. Accepting that has put me in uncomfortable situations but also opened me up to people, places, and things I otherwise wouldn’t have allowed myself to “see”. It allowed for that incredible growth that was within me this entire time being drowned by booze to flourish as it should. I’m certain that if I continue to learn myself and stand out as I was meant to - that the right people, opportunities and success will naturally fall into place. There are still times that certain people can make me feel that complete loss of hope and control - but it’s recognized quickly and reflected right back to its source of power. Nothing will be able to hold such power over me again like alcohol did and I’ll make changes as needed to stay out of the depths of my hells. Realizing my self worth has been a complicated process of this journey for me.



TRACY TALKS } } } { WOMAN WHO INSPIRES { {SHIFT+CONTROL “Early in my sobriety journey I spent days contemplating sharing my story with the world. Fear of what my friends, family and clients would think was consuming me.”


Things took place in my active drinking days that are right in my face on a daily basis - but only time and a better understanding of myself can heal this. When you spend years in a state of mind that doesn’t allow you to grow at the speed you are capable of - it can be frightening to face all of that at one time. Remembering things you did or allowed to happen to your body and soul in addiction are gut twisting. At times I have flashbacks of the real nightmares I somehow lived through and it brings tears from my eyes that are like never felt before. It hurts so deeply that ultimately it’s just another constant reminder that every second of every single day for the rest of my life will be spent fighting to continue my sobriety journey. There are many topics I have only been able to choke the words out about through tears and gasping for breaths roughly once or twice. As the words spill out of my mouth it doesn’t even feel like it can be real - that could not have possibly been me! How the hell was I so stupid?

are meant to be standing alongside me will take their places as they should as I continue to figure out just exactly what this powerful, dedicated, deeply passionate woman has to offer.

When did this happen? Someday I plan to share it all - but for now I can only tell you that there is just so much more to a person in recovery than you could possibly ever understand unless you have lived it or embarrassed someone who has. If you find someone willing to “ride” alongside you - hold on to them because you will have thoughts that absolutely must be spoken to someone before it consumes your mind. It’s likely if you’re anything like me that - it’s not going to be easy to “swallow”. BUT the right people - will tell you that’s ok and make you look at where you have come NOW! Again, the people that

It could be the “simplest” thing, such as talking to someone on the phone when you’re completely consumed in your thoughts and emotions; for the person expecting my time - it’s easy to think “why can’t you just get on the call at this time?!” - and for me - one small thing could have offset my day, thrown off my anxiety, and taken my sobriety to a full on adventure down memory lane which in return makes it nearly impossible to speak sometimes without bursting into unexplainable tears streaming down my face. Not only is that embarrassing but it is something nearly impossible to explain to someone


That brings me to my next part of this story….. I’m sure you’re wondering “okay so you lost and gained some friends and getting sober sucks!” - that’s where you’re wrong. I LOST energy suckers and gained family and honestly - being sober is the world’s most rewarding experience. YES! I’m an alcoholic - I’m in recovery and I will be for the rest of my damn life. Each and every day is a struggle to keep my shit together, but my PASSION and DRIVE is a pure result of the strength that runs through my blood. Everyday I recover more and more in EVERY aspect of my life. It isn’t just your health that is affected - it’s everything in your life. Facing things sober for the first time is terrifying.

who hasn’t experienced this. Working with me, being friends with me, loving me - it might be what you consider the “norm” but I can promise you that you will get everything and more that you hoped for if you embrace me for WHO I am and HOW I do things - Different! My entire adulthood I’ve been told “Amanda you have to pick one thing - how are you going to do all those different things at once? - Just go where the money is guaranteed!”. That is NOT who I was meant to be and not what I intend to do. Creativity is something that runs through my veins - the ideas I produce even shock myself sometimes. It wasn’t given to me to conform to what is considered to be “the way” - it was given to me so that I could unlock creativity in a way the world has never seen. I finally stopped saying No - I stopped listening to everyone saying “focus on one thing at a time”. Why? Because saying YES to things my soul feels passionate about has allowed me to accomplish these major milestones in my sobriety journey…. 1. Made it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, my Birthday and all the other “days” SOBER AF! 2. I was invited to share my early sobriety journey story right here in Rochester Woman Online Magazine! 3. I’ve been struggling hard with Agoraphobia (Fear of leaving the house/ public situations etc - another wonderful








{ WOMAN WHO INSPIRES TRACY TALKS } } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “I spent the first two weeks just trying to navigate my way through figuring out how to do life sober”

side effect of trying to drink your anxiety away) - I DROVE the entire way and visited Salem, NH, Maine, Syracuse and some other places in between with my forever love Katie. This was my “spiritual road trip” and is entirely its own story by itself. 4. I volunteered and will be the CoChair for my daughters elementary school PTSA next year and also took over the school’s craft fair. I intend to make as many positive changes for myself, my family, friends, and the community as I can. I was lucky to be gifted with creative abilities and I want to share that with the world. 5. I’m DOWN 56lbs! In case you didn’t know this fun fact - it is true - alcohol KILLS YOUR WEIGHT GOALS IN EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE WAY. PERIOD. 6. I will soon be a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! - I’ve been invited to take part in a multi-author book project with International Best-Selling Authors! This experience is going to change my entire life and open me up to possibilities that I have always dreamed of. 7. I completely re-did my entire “office space” (garage) and turned it into an amazing professional space/storefront. (This is what I used to call my “office space” - where I would sit in pure clutter and drink my life away for the entire day) - I was determined to transform this spot with me vs. changing locations. Tomorrow May 16th 2022 My lifetime best friend and I will be opening our

co-branded store together! 8. I have rebranded my marketing business and will be launching that later today! I was sad when I came home from detox and realized how far I could have been right now if I hadn’t been so sick. While letting my pancreas heal and gain functioning back in my blood circulation among many other things trying to heal - I took all that bottled up creativity and CREATED UNIMAGINABLE THINGS! My abilities and creativity are going to change the lives of many. To watch that unfold - follow any of my social media pages - because I plan to be loud about all of these things! 9. I became a licensed Travel Agent and started an at home Travel Agency. I intend to speak to whoever wants to listen - I will empower whoever is ready to get through this - I have always been one to explore anything and everything I can. Opening up that possibility to others and getting the benefits of knowing everything about the locations I want to travel and touch lives in was my goals for this business. 10. I earned my certificate’s in Freelancing Essentials, Hootsuite Platform, HubSpot & Google Analytics to name a few! 11. Certified in Marriott Hotel Excellence & Disney <3 12. Became a certified designer for Canva 13. I went to The Firehouse Saloon AND sang Karaoke (likely for the first time sober). FH Saloon was where I

started bartending at 19 yrs old, created my music industry career, found my passion for digital marketing and met 99.9% of the people that are in my life. I knew that if I could walk into the place that was “my place” for drinking most of the time and successfully stay sober - I could do just about anything. 14. I have written or verbally delivered apologies/feelings to a few people already in my journey for things I needed closure on. I still have many on my list to cross off but it feels great to accept responsibility for some of the hurt I have caused throughout this. 15. I became a consultant with Perfectly Posh - I’ve been a “Consultant” or whatever else you may call it for a few places now. Part of being in Recovery is surrounding yourself with people you don’t feel abandoned by - take that however you wish to but all I can say is that surrounding myself with like minded women on a mission has been so heart touching 16. Sobriety is lonely - that’s the truest thing I think was told to me going into this process. Even if you have a significant other or children or a roommate etc loneliness consumes you when you’re sober because you have every single feeling you were trying to drink away surfacing and racing through your thoughts. Sometimes it’s hard to breathe - literally - it feels like you are drowning and you can’t catch air. All you can do is cry and let it all out and stay strong as hell until it passes. If you know this feeling; then you have likely been sober yourself for sometime now OR you’re ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


TRACY TALKS } } } { WOMAN WHO INSPIRES { {SHIFT+CONTROL “There is so much more to sobriety milestones than simply counting the days, months, or years. It involves each individual emotional success, rebuilt relationships, and most importantly taking your life back one day at a time.”

where I was 5 months ago and scared as hell because this is what you don’t want to feel. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE LONELY! THIS CHANGES NOW! WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN CHANGE IT! Let’s be real here - The groups and the “sober reminder hours’’ as I like to call them ARE AMAZING and I can’t thank my therapist enough - she’s probably the most legit therapist i’ve ever encountered and she keeps it real with me. SHE is also empowering and encourages my feelings of helping others and how I see myself doing that. BUT - we need more than that and that is something I guarantee ANY medical professional that deals directly with chemical dependency will attest to. There needs to be a space where people can come together like we do on all these other pages and groups…. TO BE THERE FOR EACHOTHER. This goes for the family members and friends too - I can’t imagine how hard it is for a spouse/ mother/father/sibling/child/ friend etc to be worried about how to plan an event around a person in recovery or how to ask them OR not ask them to do something. I can almost guarantee that at least ¼ of my friends list is struggling, recovering, or watching someone they love deal with one of the above. Wouldn’t it be great if we had people from all around 96


us planning different events, bbqs, picnics, hikes, games, festivals, music events - you name it! or sober people to feel welcome and connect? If people were able to freely and safely post - “Im ____I live in____ with ___ kids and I’m looking for other sober moms/dads/

friends to _____ with” - and connect with someone similar? I hope that isn’t the case though and I really hope that those of you that want these things will join me in this group i’ve created for people to connect in a comfortable atmosphere. I have retreats, classes, events

and so many more amazing things in the works to share with you all - AND TO BE AS LOUD ABOUT IT AS WE CAN! <3 https://www.facebook. com/groups/sobrietytribe To anyone reading this that may be struggling in any way or is experiencing the many phases of the recovery journey REMEMBER - YOU ARE ENOUGH! - YOU CAN DO THIS - IT WILL GET BETTER - ONE SECOND AT A TIME THERE IS ALWAYS SUPPORT BY YOUR SIDE There is so much more to sobriety milestones than simply counting the days, months, or years. It involves each individual emotional success, rebuilt relationships, and most importantly taking your life back one day at a time. I have no idea where I will go next or what life has in store for me. What I do know is that every morning I wake up and find out a new interesting thing about myself. I get to know ME each and everyday just a little bit more. Every single second of my day is spent fighting this disease. I continue to depict each part of my life, home, work, family, friendships and just about everything and anything. So for now - I look forward to what’s to come in the upcoming days of my journey.




Assisting Clients with their P Busines 200 Canal View Blvd, Suite 102 Rochester, NY 14623 W W W . B L A K E T

Purchase, Sale, Refinance, and ss needs. Phone: 585-299-4240 Fax: 585-299-4209 W E B B E R . C O M



I have known Paul since 2003 and let me tell you what a roller coaster it has been! There is so much we need to go over, so let’s dive right in… Tammy - What do you do for a living? How long have you been doing it? Paul - I am an owner/operator. My business is Vreeland Transport. I own a 9-car hauler and transport cars for a living. I have been in business for 24 years. Tammy - How did you get into it? Paul - I worked for Joe Barina in Lakewood, NJ. Joe put me in one of his trucks. He was my mentor. Because of him, I pursued my career. Tammy - Once you were on your own, how did your business grow? Paul - I transported salvage cars with a 4-car carrier. Then I began to do wholesale with the 4-car. I began to get busier, so I purchased a 5 pack. The business grew so quickly I had to buy a 9-car carrier. I continue to take wholesale and lease turn-ins to the auctions. Tammy - It’s been amazing watching you grow. Was work always readily available? Paul - We definitely had our ups and downs. Cash for Clunkers actually hit us pretty hard. We thought that was bad, but it was nothing compared to the Covid crisis. Not only due to the fear everyone had, 102


but the shortage of chips for new cars affected everything! For two solid years now, work has been very scarce.

personal issues did you have to deal with throughout the years? Were there times you wished you weren’t self-employed?

Many of my friends either gave up, went out of business, or retired. In my 20+ years in this business, this economy today, has been the worse I have ever seen! Not going to lie, it has been very stressful, to say the least.

Paul - Most definitely! Missing out on paid vacations. If the wheels don’t roll, we don’t get paid! We didn’t take a vacation for 12 years! I missed archery tournaments, birthdays, holidays, parties, all because I had to keep clients happy for fear of losing accounts.

Tammy - I definitely have some gray hairs to attest to that! Have you always been a one-man band? Paul - I had until I married you in 2004. Then for 12 years you rode in the truck with me every day. Tammy - I remember those days quite fondly. What was it like going from being alone in the truck to bringing your wife every day? Paul - I actually enjoyed it! Wasn’t as lonesome driving alone. You helped me pull cars, you could drive anything I threw you in. You even drove box trucks and could drive the rig if needed. You helped with loading. I remember one time, in the winter, I chained a car that had to be drug up onto the rig. It was icy. I pulled you up practically sideways onto the rig, but you handled it like a trooper! Tammy - I didn’t think I had much of a choice! It was a lot of fun, especially getting to drive so many types of cars and trucks. Being self-employed, what sort of

Let alone being sick or getting hurt, I never felt I could take off. Once, I fell off the truck and gouged my leg to the bone and used bumper stickers from the auction to keep working. Another time, I fell off the truck and cracked my ribs, but kept working. I also got a concussion while loading on a Friday. Thankfully, you were with me and took me to the hospital. I lost my memory for 7 hours and broke my elbow, busted my eye, only to go back to work on Monday. That was bad enough, but the times I needed to be there for you were the hardest. You broke your tailbone, resulting in no longer being in the rig with me. You had operations, double pneumonia, and yet I had to keep working often times leaving you alone. Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come. I became sick. Tammy - Car hauling is listed as one of the more dangerous jobs and yet I can count on one hand the times you got hurt so for that I’m thankful! Not being able to take off work has always been hard, I’ll give you that, but you handled it the best you could. I know







{ WHAT ABOUT THE MEN? } “The chemo makes you very tired. As well as nauseous, among other things. You become creative in trying to hide your sickness.”

no other who would do what you have or are having to do.

didn’t seem as important. And yet, I still needed to work to pay the bills.

Explain what you have now. The symptoms that led you to agree to see the doctor. What and when did you find out?

After the first surgery, I was back in the truck two weeks after surgery. The doctor was not happy. I also worked while on chemo. Loading cars with the pump on, no less. Being self-employed, I didn’t have the luxury of paid time off.

Paul - I have Stage 4 Colon Cancer. I started having blood in my stool. I thought nothing of it, perhaps hemorrhoids. I am a driver? I also began having more frequent stools along with cramping. I let it go for two years, always too busy to go to the doctor. One night, I filled the stool with blood. Even then, I wouldn’t let you take me to the emergency room. I had work set up the next day that had to be delivered. You were the one that made a colonoscopy appointment and made me go. When I went in, they told me they couldn’t do it. There was a blockage, and it probably was cancer. That was in 2017. Tammy - I will never forget that day. When you got diagnosed, what was the prognosis? Paul - They removed a fist size tumor in my colon, along with 12 lymph nodes. 8 were positive. They then found cancer on my liver. Thus, making it Stage 4. They gave me two years to live. Tammy - Besides the obvious, how did this affect you with your business? Paul - Everything work related suddenly

I have to say during this whole time, my clients and fellow truckers have been so good to me! They helped out, lightened loads, and understood sometimes doctor appointments had to be made before their cars were delivered. Tammy - Such a heartbreaking time to see you go through all of it! And yet, I can’t help but honestly believe working gave you a purpose. Sitting at home day in and day out, thinking about it, did you no good. Plus, you drove me nuts being bored! So, you get the prognosis. You have surgery. They open you up from the top of your stomach to your groin. They insert a port in your shoulder to pump in chemo. You were to do chemo for 12 treatments but only did 11. What happened next? Paul - They decided to put me on the pill form. It would be much easier for me loading cars without a pump. But the pill form is harder on your body. I had a bad reaction. The entire inside of my mouth turned white with sores, making it even harder for me to eat or keep anything down. That was the lowest in weight I got, 145 pounds. I didn’t realize how bad I looked until I

saw pictures later. Tammy - I hate even talking about that time. It scared me so much! But miraculously, we thought, it worked! You were completely clear! Then they go to take your port out. Paul - Yea, go figure, here I thought I beat cancer only to have the port being taken out almost kill me! When they went to take it out, a piece broke off. The doctor was like, um, that’s not good! That piece is traveling to your heart, once there it could block a valve! I’m like, what do you mean? They then scheduled me the next day for emergency surgery. Next day!?! With all I had been through, honestly? I was in total fear, lying all night trying to be perfectly still! Tammy - Of course, that night I’m on the computer researching the hell out of it to see what we were up against. Go figure, it only happens to 2%, our luck! The next day, at the hospital, the doctor first had no clue to why you were there. Then he looked mortified at the thought of having to do it since he had never done one! He quickly x-rayed you and was relieved it was in a spot he may be able to get to and quickly wheeled you into surgery. He literally came running to the waiting room, grabbed me and took me back to you, proudly showing me he got it! After that first process - a year and a half went by with you being clear. What did you do? ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } { WHAT ABOUT THE MEN? “Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come. I became sick.”

Paul - I still worked, but made sure to travel more. Went to Florida to see family. Alaska to ski. You gave me the gift of going to Europe for my 50th. I had never been out of the country. We saw 5 countries in 10 days. It was amazing! Then I then took you to Sturgis with our motorcycles. And of course, being home more, I was able to enjoy our home and our pets more. Tammy - What struggles did/do you have with work and this prognosis? Paul -Working while on chemo is hard. With the pump on, it was a struggle not to hit my port or pump while I chained down the cars. The chemo makes you very tired. As well as nauseous, among other things. You become creative in trying to hide your sickness. I have severe damage to my hands and feet due to neuropathy from the chemo, which makes it harder to load and drive. Then eating and drinking on the road was always tough to begin with. Now I don’t have the luxury of missing lunch or dinner without having to deal with the wrath of you making sure I eat! Tammy - Yes, eating is a must! Was there anything outside of work that was affected? Paul - I could no longer do archery. I used to do target competitions; I miss that. Our personal relationship had to change due to chemo. At times I am toxic, so I have to be careful with you. And of course, my self-image. Scars from my surgeries, changes to my appearance while on chemo, it depresses you. 106


Tammy - To compensate for those changes, did you replace them with other things? Paul - I will never replace you! If anything, we became closer, which didn’t seem possible since we did everything together, anyway. But yes, the things I couldn’t do we replaced. You decided to pull me more into your world of writing. We lost ourselves as King & Queen at a Renaissance Fair. Which in turn led you to writing a Children’s book. To promote it, you dressed me up in a unicorn costume. Yes, a truck driver in a big pink blowup unicorn costume! I even wore it in front of the Eiffel Tower. We had so much fun making little videos to help promote the book. Then you changed it up and decided to get me involved in your horror book’s promotion. We worked on unusual costumes to wear at the horror conventions. Coming up with me being the Ring Master, a character from your first horror novel The Folks. Never would I had imagined doing any of those things, but I have enjoyed it so much! We have met so many amazing people, including stars. It lets me live outside the truck. Plus, of course, we rode our motorcycles more. Our quads. Even bought a camper to do smaller trips. We have crammed so much into the last couple of years. Tammy - What have you come to learn because of your prognosis?

Paul - Unfortunately, cancer is everywhere. Either you have it or know someone who does. You find friends you never knew you had and, unfortunately, friends you thought would be there, distance themselves. Which is ok, some people aren’t sure what to do and I get that. And yet, complete strangers can be supportive and sympathetic. I have even had movie stars and rock stars from the cons, offer advice. Things like that really mean a lot to me. Makes me feel like I am someone who can have hope, not just be a statistic. Tammy - Did you have setbacks with your prognosis? Paul - The first was the reaction to pill form. Then getting port taken out, which was bad but not as bad as what happened next. My scans for a year and a half we thought I was clear, had not been read correctly. The cancer had been growing; they missed it and I needed to be operated on immediately. Tammy - Your second surgery. How was it different from the first? Paul - The timing couldn’t have been worse. It happened at the beginning of the pandemic. I was no longer allowed to have you in with me during the visits to help me ask the questions that needed to be asked. Then the surgery itself was far riskier than the first. They wanted to take 70% of my liver out. In doing so, there was a risk of me dying on the table or 3 days after.







{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } { WHAT ABOUT THE MEN? “The only thing I would change is ignoring my body when it was trying to tell me something was wrong. Do not hesitate, if it happens to you, listen to it and others! ”

Tammy - What was going on at work and in your personal life? Paul - Covid had hit. I was very busy to begin with, then work dried up. We were concerned about getting Covid because of my weakened immunity, but I still kept working. Mostly, I was concerned about the risk of the surgery. However, I was extremely hopeful for if it worked, I could be clear! Tammy - I will never forget dropping you off the day of your surgery, in your pj’s and mask. Going back home to the house alone, anxiously waiting for the phone call. They called me half way through and things were going well. However, later in the day, the next call was quite different. They removed the 3 spots, but when they lifted your liver to get at the last spot, not only did they find it had grown over a major artery, but you flatlined. They got you back and closed you up. When you heard the surgery was not completely successful, what was your first response? Paul - For the first time, I was ready to give up. I was not going to do chemo again; I was done! You convinced me otherwise. Making me realize all the fun we had made the chemo worth it. Tammy -After the chemo worked that time, what happened next? Paul - I was completely clear again.

We had a great summer. I was the healthiest I had been in years. Tammy - It really was and even though in the back of our minds we knew it was only a matter of time for that one spot to come back, there was a plan to radiate it when it got big enough. And yet, it didn’t come back for a couple of scans, so we were hopeful it wouldn’t come back. Then what happened? Paul - Our false sense of security was rudely awakened! This last fall, the problem child came back. We prepared to take care of it through radiation only to find out, right before Christmas, I have new growth in my lungs. Tammy -How are they planning on taking care of it? Paul - I was put back on chemo but could not handle the original chemo due to the damage to my feet and hands. They played around with a different concoction, but unfortunately, it is not working as well. It only shrank everything in half. They then kept me on chemo for more rounds and we’ll find out in June if it got rid of the rest for now. However, because I continuously have re-occurrence, they want to keep me on chemo for the rest of my life. Tammy - So many see you as an inspiration. The way you have handled such a difficult situation is admiring. Is there something you to want to tell others?

Paul - Do not wait, if your body is trying to tell you it is sick, listen! If I had listened, I could have been completely cured through an operation. It would not have spread. Of course, hind sight will always be 20/20 but you also need to remember, prognosis is only a guess. New developments and cures are happening, even during the time I have had it. They only gave me two years. I am going in my fifth year. It may be a struggle, the hardest thing you ever do, but it’s been worth it to live with my friends, family, even strangers and enjoy life! Lastly, work for a living but don’t live to work. Embrace life and hobbies, because it’s more precious than you know! Tammy - I have to ask, if you had it to do it all over - would you? Paul -The only thing I would change is ignoring my body when it was trying to tell me something was wrong. Do not hesitate, if it happens to you, listen to it and others! With that being said, I have enjoyed owning my own business. Sure, it was tough at times. But I am very proud of what I accomplished. The trucks I have owned, the cars I have moved, the reputation I built, the bonds of friendship and people I have interacted with and, more importantly, having you beside me to share it with. It’s ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } { WHAT ABOUT THE MEN? “This is why Paul tells his story. Not to get sympathy or pity, but to bring awareness.”

me to share it with. It’s been a great life and I am thankful. Tammy - It’s definitely been a roller coaster with you, one I have enjoyed and not ready to get off just yet! Personally, I enjoy a good roller coaster. Scary at at times, but always thrilling. I will take that over a well-known traveled road any day! Perhaps the roller coaster is what makes us appreciate the harder, less traveled roads? Our future has been predicted but not written. We have made changes along the way because of that prediction and have several tough ones yet to make. While Paul’s story is not one many like to hear, it is one that has to be told. Owning your own business can be a very rewarding and proud experience. It can also take a toll on you. It can 110


make even the simplest personal decision a task. But what never ceases to amaze me about Paul is his outlook. He is always upbeat, hardworking, loving life. Paul’s key may have very well been to continue to work, giving him purpose, but also to make changes. Not only to preserve the business he worked so hard in obtaining, but to enjoy life and to appreciate the ones in his life. A line that can be hard to balance but worth it. This is why Paul tells his story. Not to get sympathy or pity, but to bring awareness. Not only to the illness, but how precious life is and to enjoy it to its fullest. It’s like a tank of fuel. At first you use it up quickly, thinking there will be more when you need it. Then when you realize there is no endless supply, and it gets expensive

to refill, you appreciate it more. Only for you to realize, finally, perhaps it’s best to just let it coast and enjoy what is around you.






If you asked most people the difference between style and fashion, I think you would get many similar answers. When in actuality, style and fashion could not be more different. Fashion is a business. It changes seasonally to feed the massive amounts of wants in our lives. We want to look good, be validated and to be on trend. This multi billion dollar industry has designers churning out new and innovative ideas that shape what we are supposed to look like this season and every season, every year, infinitum. The fashion industry is all about switching people’s minds at the point of saturation. An example would be shoulder pads in ladies jackets and dresses in the 1980’s. The bigger the better, to the point where everyone looked like football players. Then, once everyone was wearing them, the designers turned around and made shoulderpads a thing of the past. They fell out of favor with designers so you had to either throw all those garments out or get them removed or reduced in size. Every tailor shop from coast to coast was busy removing shoulder pads for the customers that could not afford to just throw everything out and start anew.


made with the finest and long lasting workmanship and materials. Case in point would be the little Black dress or the Navy Blue blazer. Perfectly tailored and fitted to the individual, can be worn for decades and typically change very little in form. Both of these items are simply a perfect background that bring out the colors and the stylings of the accessories you might own. When you think of fashion, names like Versace, Armani and Dolce Gabbana come to mind. With everyone waiting for the next re-invention this upcoming season. When you think of style, names like Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Ferregamo are the brands that come to mind. Each name has a product that is high quality and immediately recognized as the best. The Hermes scarf, Louis Vuitton handbag and Ferragamo shoes. These brands have created a very high quality product that looks very similar year to year without having to reinvent themselves every season. So both fashion and style can be very expensive, but which one is better for you?

So fashion, while innovative and on trend, is an expensive alternative to what we call style.

Believe it or not, it has a lot to do with age. Since both can be expensive, why do younger people gravitate towards fashion and not style? It’s because it is easier to change the mind of a younger person to suggest relevance than it is to convince a more seasoned buyer.

Style is the counterbalance to fashion. It is something that is timeless, is

If you look at most of the brands that are knocked off, it will be easier to


find items that are from style icons like Hermes and Louis Vuitton rather than Armani and Dolce Gabbana. So, why do you think that is? Even the companies that knock off major brands know that fashions are here today and gone tomorrow. Why would they put all their resources into products that are going to be out of vogue by the next season. They choose to recreate knockoffs of brands that are known for their iconic scarves, handbags or shoes. They know that these classic items change very little from year to year and are a good investment that will carry over into the next year with little risk of changing the way fashion items do. Branded, stylized items also have another benefit that fashion items do not. The ability to resell their high quality items in a secondary market. Because they are of higher quality, they are also worth refurbishing when they no longer look as good as they used to. Not to mention, that some items actually gain value over time. An example are Rolex watches. In most cases they are worth more than you paid for them five to ten years ago. This is something that can not be said for most fashion brands. So the next time you consider whether to buy the expensive fashion brands or the equally expensive style brands there is one thing to keep in mind. While fashion is fun, it is fleeting, but good taste never goes out of style.





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I have been a diagnosed rare disease patient for more than 30 years now. My name is Amy Englert and I am a rare disease patient and advocate. My passion is spreading awareness of my rare disease so that more doctors and nurses can correctly diagnose patients. I have a Urea Cycle Disorder called Ornithine Transcarbamylase Deficiency (OTC). Estimates of the prevalence of Ornithine Transcarbamylase Deficiency have ranged from 1 in 14,000 to 1 in 77,000 people. Individuals with the neonatalonset form of the disorder are more likely to be counted in these estimates, because people with the late-onset form are less likely to come to medical attention. Neonatal onset is when the patient is diagnosed at birth or shortly thereafter. Late onset patients, like myself, are diagnosed later in life. OTC is one of six enzymes that play a role in the break down and removal of nitrogen from the body, a process known as the urea cycle. The lack of the OTC enzyme results in excessive accumulation of nitrogen, in the form of ammonia (hyperammonemia), in the blood. Excess ammonia, which is a neurotoxin, travels to the central nervous system through the blood, resulting in the symptoms and physical findings associated with OTC deficiency. Symptoms include vomiting, refusal to eat, progressive

lethargy, and coma. I was diagnosed with this rare disease at age 12 after falling into a coma while on vacation on Chincoteague Island, VA. I was airlifted to a hospital in Salisbury, MD and then airlifted again to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD. Johns Hopkins is where I was diagnosed with OTC Deficiency by Dr. Saul Brusilow. I spent 3 weeks in the hospital because the medication

I was always the smallest kid in my class. I was less than 60 pounds when I was diagnosed at age 12. Research is very import for rare diseases. I have taken part in several research studies over the years. They are always very interesting and informative. Treatment has come a long way since the beginning when I was taking more than 30 pills a day. Now I just have to take an oral medication three times a day and follow a low-protein diet of 40 grams of protein a day. Currently, I am being followed by a metabolic geneticist at Strong Memorial Hospital. My geneticist is also a professor at the University of Rochester. I have spoken to his first year genetics class about my disorder several times.

I was put on at the time was not FDA approved so I was part of a clinical trial. I have had symptoms of OTC Deficiency since birth but as this is such a rare disease nobody knew what was wrong. I used to get very bad headaches. I also used to vomit if I ate high protein food like shrimp. I was also very tiny for my age and

My rare disease is just part of who I am but has to be taken into consideration in almost every aspect of my daily life. I cannot travel without making sure I have my Emergency Letter with me, which gives instructions to the ER staff if I end up in a metabolic crisis while traveling. I also don’t drive so that affects my everyday life. I have a full life in spite of my rare disease. I work full-time at the Town of Henrietta as the Administrative ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022



Assistant for the Engineering Dept. I live in Brighton with my husband and Jack Russell Terrier. I am currently serving as Secretary for an organization called Remember the Girls. Remember The Girls’ mission is to raise awareness of the many issues facing female carriers of x-linked genetic disorders, such as OTC Deficiency. You can learn more about this organization at www. If you want to learn more about Urea Cycle Disorders, please visit the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation (NUCDF) website at or the Connecting Families UCD Foundation website at I have spoken at an NUCDF conference in the past and I have attended a Connecting Families meetup and written articles for their blog. I use my Instagram to connect with other rare disease advocates and help spread awareness. My Instagram handle is @ucdzebra_amye.



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Lately, every time I open Facebook, another family in the Duchenne Community is saying goodbye to their child. Parents dealing with chronic illness, not just Duchenne, shouldn’t outlive their children. It’s not how the universe should work. My son Jonathan is 28 and considered an elder in the Duchenne community. As he gets older, I see his life ticking away. We all experience grief and loss at some point in life. I have said goodbye to my parents and my in-laws. I’ve also realized that everyone deals with grief and loss differently. Grief does become less prominent, but it is always with you. However, I think I’m in a perpetual state of saying goodbye in dealing with Duchenne. It’s not the acute grief; you feel when someone has passed away. It’s a nagging feeling. As the disease progresses, we are saying goodbye to my son’s abilities, Saying goodbye to the activities, muscles, function, and movement, as he loses the ability to do things he once could. As parents of chronically ill children, we tend to become very good at focusing on medical needs and becoming caregivers. We become adept at making constant adjustments and dealing with continuous change due to chronic illness. As a result of this resilience, our focus on mental health gets pushed to the background. Our mental health becomes front and center when grieving the loss of a loved one, totally overwhelmed with caregiving, or in a complete crisis. My preparation to attend Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy’s (PPMD) Power of Us Caregivers Summit has brought my mental health to the forefront. I hope to come away from this summit with tools to make me a better caregiver and cope better with my life’s dynamics.

I also have had conversations recently about “what’s next,” couples learning to be a couple again after losing their child, and how a sibling reacts to the passing of their sibling. We tend to think that these events would occur well into adulthood and not when someone is in their 20s, 30s, or younger. As I thought about these conversations and my mental health, I reached out to my good friend and fellow Duchenne Mom, Lauren McVicker Fritz. She is a licensed therapist in Pennsylvania. Lauren provided some professional insights into what I was thinking. I hope our readers will find our conversation helpful. Tell us about yourself and your background? I am a therapist in private practice who specializes in significant life changes, including grief and loss, trauma and anxiety, and depression-based challenges. I am a licensed professional counselor and a board-certified art therapist. I’ve been practicing for twenty-seven years. I live in nearby Pennsylvania with my husband and our two teenage boys, who, like Jon, also have Duchenne. Other family members include two cats, a service dog, and a spiny-tailed lizard. What made you decide to go into therapy? I always knew that I would be a therapist. I wanted to help others from a pretty young age. I’m a pretty calm and practical person by nature. What’s the difference between a therapist, a psychiatrist, and a psychologist? A psychiatrist is someone who has studied and works with patients to prescribe

medicine. A therapist is typically someone with a master’s degree, like myself, who focuses on the one-to-one counseling or therapy aspect of treatment with a client. A psychologist can be a master’s or doctorate level and may also focus on psychological testing. Do you have any advice on looking for a therapist? Are they specialized? Therapists are specialized. You can often find a synopsis of their specialties through your insurance company or on sites like Psychology Today. Many will provide descriptions of their areas of specialized practice. Some offer the option to have a consult before beginning therapy with them. I encourage people not to be afraid to try out the ‘fit’ of a new relationship with a therapist. It is crucial that you both feel comfortable and that you can imagine working well together. It is perfectly acceptable to try a couple of different therapists if you are not sure if you are satisfied with the first one you meet. When should someone seek out therapy? There are no absolutes about when to seek therapy. It has become something much more widely accepted. My personal view is that it is something that everyone could benefit from at times. Most people can ‘make it through’ without therapy, but having a supportive presence to talk to and offer a resourceful perspective may make it easier to get through challenging times. There are more severe or crucial mental health emergencies when a therapist is imperative. Some people may need a higher level of care than outpatient care can provide. A good rule of thumb is that when a person notices that their support system of family and friends does not seem adequate to support their emotional and ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


SHE HUSTLESMOTHER TALKS }}} } {SHE SHIFT+CONTROL HUSTLES TALKS { {ONE TOUGH “As parents of chronically ill children, we tend to become very good at focusing on medical needs an.becoming caregivers.”

mental health needs, it may be the time to seek therapy as an extra layer of help. What is the best approach to get help if one is in a crisis and needs to keep things from totally spirally out of control? Feeling in crisis is one of the main reasons many people seek help. The level of the situation is essential to discern. If someone is suicidal, they need to go to their local emergency room or talk to a suicide hotline if they are not in therapy. If the crisis is uncomfortable but not life-threatening, a search for a therapist is likely appropriate. Many people also have access to EAP benefits through their work, which can be helpful options. How has social media helped people stay connected in dealing with chronic illness, and how has it hurt? Social media has been a valuable tool in providing online support networks and relationships for otherwise geographically separated and isolated people. We learned how incredibly powerful this was during the most intense times of the pandemic. Social media can be an excellent source of information-sharing and support. But, social media can also be the source of gossip, misinformation, and bullying, so it does have its downside. As a family member dealing with a chronic illness, I feel a constant loss and a change in routine. I feel like I’m constantly adjusting to a new normal. Is this normal for people dealing with other chronic illnesses? Yes, chronic illness inherently involves decline means constant change for the person with the disease, the caregiver, and the whole family. There may be plateau 124


times when things feel calmer, but the sense of upheaval returns when there is a sense of decline. Families may get more used to this routine but never be comfortable with each new loss. It is something new and unwelcome, requiring further energy and adjustment. The adjustments are both emotionally and physically to the new routine. Once a recent change becomes more familiar, a sense of calm may return for a while as that phase might become a new plateau. It almost becomes a dance of this constant adjustment. What is the impact of chronic illness on other family members? Each person deals with the diagnosis and each stage of the disease differently. What are some coping tips that may help in this situation? Living in a family coping with the constant changes brought about by chronic illness brings about both challenges and strengths. When there is constant change and stress, one’s nervous system tries to stay in a place of hypervigilance to the changes that may occur. Family members providing care are susceptible to burnout and exhaustion over long periods. Family members are also dealing with other dynamics, such as how the non-disabled siblings are affected when so much attention is often necessarily focused on a family member with a chronic condition. Guilt, jealousy, deep love and bonding, and resentment. are common responses. Ongoing communication about the reality of the situation and opportunities for people in the family to have time together and as separate relationships is significant. Each individual in the family needs to feel that they can be part of the unit and know who they are as an individual.

How do animals help the families of the chronically ill in therapy sessions? Animals are wonderful companions. They often fill memorable roles when human companionship may be in short supply. Animals have their specific language and gentle nuance that works differently than humans to bring comfort and presence to human beings. It has been enlightening in our own family. Saki, our service dog, initially intended for our younger son with Duchenne, has made it her purpose to comfort a much larger circle of humans. My clients adore her. Since the pandemic, my therapy practice has mainly been virtual. Our service dog, Saki, will often be drawn to the screen when working with clients, insisting that she greet them and say hello before settling down next to me and letting me proceed with the therapy session. How helpful is journaling? Journaling is very effective, and I encourage it for many clients. It provides an excellent means of reflection and self-expression. It can be an enjoyable daily practice and a way of looking back later to see where they have been. Some of my clients prefer to buy journals that have structured prompts that guide them in what to write. Others prefer to write free-form. Some of my clients use their journals to check back to see what they want to focus on with me when they have their sessions. What are some helpful resources? If you have health insurance, inquire with your HR department to see if you have an EAP benefit. The EAP benefit team can help find therapists specializing in the kind of therapy you seek.







{SHE SHIFT+CONTROL SHE HUSTLESMOTHER TALKS }} } } HUSTLES TALKS { {ONE TOUGH “Animals have their specific language and gentle nuance that works differently than humans to bring comfort and presence to human beings.”

You can search for Therapists, Teletherapy, Psychiatrists, Treatment Centers, or Support Groups by zip code or city via this link: therapists/. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is: 1-800-273-8255 New York State Crisis Prevention: crisis.html New York State Mental Health Program

Directory: Compassion Net home-health-care/our-services/maternaland-pediatric/compassionnet CompassionNet is a community-based pediatric and perinatal palliative care program that provides support and care to families caring for a child with a potentially life-threatening illness or families expecting

the birth of a child with a serious medical condition. Journaling App list Day One for Mac and iOS users. Diarium for Windows users. Penzu for secure journaling. Momento for social media power users. Grid Diary for templated journaling. Five Minute Journal for journaling beginners. Dabble Me for journaling over email. Daylio for non-writers ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022




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

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

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

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


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

incredibly difficult, we’ve really taken this time to evaluate what we have been doing and reexamine what we can be doing better. I’m excited about launching some new, upcoming services including an Online Grant Portal and a Live Help feature on our newly reimagined website. This will help us respond to the needs of those we serve much quicker that we ever have been able to in the past. If our organization was not able to accomplish its goals, thousands of our constituents would not have access, support, grants, resources, or a network to depend on. Our work is critical. Give me your best example of the way you’ve seen your organization’s work make a difference? Whitney, my colleague, always tells this story, but it’s so impactful! We receive emergency grant requests on a daily basis. These requests can range from asking to help purchase groceries to paying utility bills; whatever the kidney patients needs to help them focus on their health. After fulfilling one of these requests, we received a handwritten thank you note on a napkin stating how grateful he was to receive the aid. It was incredibly touching to hear and see just how powerful this work can be. Who is someone that inspires you and why? There are SO many people who inspire me and drive me to be a better person every single day. I am inspired by my own family, namely my mom, who immigrated to this country over 40 years ago. She taught herself to speak English, to read, to cook American foods, to cross stitch and sew anything, including clothes! And she never quits 132


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

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




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

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

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

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

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


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

Whitney Malone Director of Operations #1 Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and your role with the Northeast Kidney Foundation. I joined the NEKF family in October of 2019. My initial role with the organization was as an Event Coordinator/Office Manager. Then in June after we lost Carol, our beloved CEO, I stepped into the role of Director of Operations. I am an organized person and a task master so it has been a great fit from the beginning. This new role has allowed me to step back and really see the big picture. I, along with Melissa , our CEO, have really focused on running the organization at maximum efficiency in order to be productive and meet the needs of our kidney community. I have always wanted to have a job that made a difference in people’s lives. Before working for the Northeast Kidney Foundation, I worked at a bank for six years. In many ways, helping people with their financial lives helped me tremendously in being able to meet the expectations of my current position with NEKF. How did you become involved with this organization? I became involved in the organization through a mutual friend of one of the employees at NEKF at the time. I met with Carol and we hit it off almost immediately. I began working for the organization the following week. Why do you do what you do? What is your why? My why is twofold. I lost my father five 136


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

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




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

a dry eye in the house. After the show was over, a member of the wait staff at the venue came up to the Executive Director and I. He was so moved by the event that he wanted to know where he could donate his kidney. It’s moments like these that you hold onto. It makes you want to hit the ground running and work twice as hard to help those in need. What do you, personally, spend most of your time on? 138


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

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



“Yesterday has passed and you will never get that time back.” “Tomorrow is not promised.” “You must live for today.” Each of these expressions is true.However, if you have only focused on the moment, you would find that you have been doing yourself a disservice.

These other folks have basically stood still and, even with good intentions, have failed to act. For some reason, they could not see into their future. They did not study or learn things that would help them reach their goals. They existed rather

The reality is that if you do not think ahead and consider the future as you live in the present, you will be sorry later. For instance, if you work but do not save any of the money that you earn for later, your retirement may not be how you want it. If you eat too much junk food or smoke cigarettes, it most likely will catch up to you in the form of poor health down the road. It is true that you reap what you sow. So, if you live only in the moment and do not plant any seeds for your future, you will not have a harvest. So many people talk about what they are going to do. You run into them years later and they are still telling you what they are going to do. In the meantime, you have (hopefully) been doing things all along. You have tried new things and had new experiences. You have met different people and maybe even lived in multiple places. 142


than thrived. Time flew by. If this describes you, may I suggest that right now, TODAY, you think of something that you would like to be, do, or have. Now, think of the steps it would take to be able to get there. As they say, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. Living life should be

no different. Most people who do not seem to make progress basically do not give themselves permission to become something new. They may be too influenced by others and choose to not step into their own lives, take ownership, and make their own decisions. It is possible that they may also not be able to accept that they can be successful. Some people truly are afraid to succeed. Others are afraid to fail. They have mental blocks and find ways to get in their own way. They are somehow stuck and find themselves unable to move forward. These electronic times that we live in certainly do not help. Some people look at others on social media and just assume that the ones they are watching are doing very well. Many of the things that we see on television and the internet are illusions. How many people have low selfesteem because they don’t think they can keep up with the Joneses? The truth of the matter is that the Joneses are not even able to keep up with their own image. So many of us have fallen victim to the images that we have been fed.We really think that material possessions including money are more important than




{ TRACY IS TALKING { TRACY TALKS } } “Yesterday has passed and you will never get that time back.” “Tomorrow is not promised.” “You must live for today.”

anything else. Truth be told, so many people who we perceive to have so much actually sold their souls to get it…..not to mention that when we spend time thinking about what other people have accomplished, we waste our own time and are not working on things that would help us to reach our own goals. How many times have we looked back and wondered how things would have been had we made different choices in our past? Did we think of our future self and set him/her up to be able to get to where we wanted, OR did we live only in the moment and 144


not take the incremental steps that we should have so that we could be comfortable later on? Did we save enough or even anything towards our future? Did we move beyond relationships that were not good for us? Did we leave a job that did not appreciate us, or did we hang in there just to keep making the money? Were we ever afraid to take that leap? No one knows the hour or the day when this lifetime will be over, and we certainly should all live life to the fullest. However, we need to think about not just the person in the mirror, but rather that person plus

the one in the future.That being who we will become will be so grateful to our current self if it turns out that we took some time to think ahead. Did we live with purpose and function, or did we get so involved in the rat race that we failed to lay a foundation for what and who we would grow into being? Hopefully, one day, you will find yourself as an older person who is in good health. That health should be physical, spiritual, financial and mental. How can that happen? Think to ask your future self.




pageant experience, and make lasting friendships along the way.

What did the journey to your crown look like? I worked extremely hard preparing for the title of Miss U.S. International. I wanted to bring the best version of myself to the pageant. I spent endless hours in the gym so that I could bring a proportional, strong, and healthy physique to the stage. I meal prepped daily in order to reach my fitness goals faster. I was intentional with my wardrobe selection and HMU styling because I wanted to embody the look and presence of Miss International. I spent time in my heels practicing my walk and posing for both swimsuit, and evening gown. I zeroed in on my mission, and focused on my purpose. I did everything in my power to ensure that I was Fit to Reign.

Dream pageant gown designer? Jonathan Kayne! He designed my AMAZING gown for Miss International 2022! I can not wait to showcase this design on the international stage this

What tips would you give to pageant competitors? Prepare like you have never won and perform like you have never lost! Be well rounded and always be on your game. Bring your absolute best to every phase of competition and even when you are not competing, always look like a winner. Bring the intimidation factor with your wardrobe, hair, makeup, and energy (even to rehearsals). Be kind always! Never compare yourself to the other women vying for the title. Be solely focused on what you have to bring to the table and own it! Then you will be able to be confidently yourself, enjoy the 146


December in Japan! A special, “THANK YOU,” to my dear friend and sponsor, Valerie Kettl from That’s My Dress in Virginia. She has been such a blessing to me during my pageant journey and I am so grateful for her love and support! Valerie Kettl from That’s My Dress helped me select two beautiful Jonathan Kayne

gowns from her pageant boutique for my national pageant that showed off my personality and complimented my physique. For all gown needs, call Val! What are your makeup go to’s for a quick glam up? Mascara and lip gloss! I am so thankful for my skin care sponsor, Sheri from Allure Rejuvenation Center in Walnut Creek, California. She has helped make me feel so confident and beautiful in my own skin. She is giving me a vibrant and youthful appearance for the Miss International stage! What was your first pageant competition? Miss Junior Oz 2012 was technically my first pageant, but my first big pageant experience was Miss New York Teen USA in 2014. Growing up as a horse girl, and living on a farm in CNY, I always thought that I would someday run my own equine facility, train horses, and instruct riders. My life changed forever when I won the title of Miss New York Teen USA 2014. Now, I own a pageant coaching business and I work with women all over the country, helping them pursue their dream and prepare for the crown! I still have my horses and I get to live the best of both worlds. Who says that a woman can’t be both a beauty and a beast? Current read? I LOVE to read!! I often read multiple books at one time. Currently, I am













{ TRACY FIT TO REIGN { {SHIFT+CONTROL TALKS }} } “Maybe you’ve been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved!”

reading How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie, The Love Dare -Stephen & Alex Kendrick, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God - Lysa Terkeurst, and The Total Money Makeover - Dave Ramsey. I believe in the constant process of self development and growth in all areas of life. Growing up, my parents always told me: “reading is the magic key to take you where you want to be!” Which portion of competition is your fave? Swimsuit! The swimsuit portion of competition really pushes me to be the strongest, most proportional, and healthiest version of myself! I feel confident on stage competing in swimsuit because I know that I am presenting all of my hard work to the judges. Not to mention, the upbeat music and the energy of this round of competition is so fun! If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Italy! My boyfriend, Joshua, and I will be traveling to Italy this September! I am so excited to travel to this part of the world and experience the culture. I am a hopeless romantic and I have always thought of Italy as the most romantic country of them all. I am so blessed to have a man in my life that also has a passion for travel, and a desire to make my dreams a reality! How do you balance your pageant, work, travel, and personal life? As a pageant coach, personal trainer, self-development coach, makeup artist, equestrian, women’s Bible study leader, and titleholder, I keep myself very busy! I prioritize what is most important, I

manage my time wisely, and I never procrastinate! As a follower of Christ, I believe that if you put God in His proper place in your life, everything else will fall into place. That has certainly been the case for me. I find that I have an abundance of time to do everything that I love. I am even able to travel and enjoy “me-time” because I prioritize what is most important: time with the Lord. Give us a good motivational quote that inspires you. “Maybe you’ve been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved!” In 2019, I was diagnosed with a muscle tension dysphonia, called spasmodic dysphonia, which is a neurological disorder that causes the muscles surrounding my vocal cords to spasm randomly and periodically. This disorder makes it very hard for me to speak. I went through a year of speech therapy where I learned different breathing techniques and vocal exercising. Since speaking is a big part of my career, and my passion in pageantry, being diagnosed with this disorder was extremely traumatic for me. Through prayer, a positive mindset, and hard work, I was able to learn what works for me so that I can speak as normally as possible. I realized that God had assigned me that mountain to show others it could be moved, and that when something gets in the way of your dreams, you find your way around it or you climb over it! There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, there is purpose in the pain, and there is inspiration to be found. God is good and with Him, all things are possible!

Would you consider yourself a hero? Who is your hero? Only when I dress up as Wonder Woman and visit the children’s hospitals or attend birthday parties. My dad, Chris Stellakis is my hero! He has fixed everything in my life that has been broken. He is the ultimate handy man! The only thing he can’t fix is a broken heart and only God can do that. “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” - Psalm 34:18. For that reason, Jesus Christ - The Savior of the World - is my ultimate hero! Drop that skincare routine! Allure Rejuvenation Center provides a customized skin care package for me that addresses my skin individually. I have never felt more confident in my skin! I am so grateful for them! Which artists are on your playlist? Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Elevation Worship, Lauren Daigle, Thomas Rhett, Nate Smith, Chris Stapleton, and sooo many more! I love all country and worship music! I jam out all the time. If you need a road trip partner with a great playlist, and subpar singing skills, give me a call! Haha! What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself? Virtuous, Steadfast, Tenacious What is your favorite movie? Pride and Prejudice or Crazy Stupid Love, depending on what mood I am in. I love romance and comedy and I am always down for a movie night! How do you unwind on a Sunday evening? ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


FIT TO REIGN { SHIFT+CONTROL { { TRACY TALKS }} } “As a pageant coach, personal trainer, self-development coach, makeup artist, equestrian, women’s Bible study leader, and titleholder, I keep myself very busy!”

I eat a meal with my family, and then talk to my favorite person in the world on the phone, laugh for awhile as we recap our day, pray out, and go to bed early so that I am ready for my Monday morning fitness clients. Give us your best Pageant Patty answer: Describe your perfect date? A trail ride on horseback on a beautiful fall day leading to a cute picnic setup 152


with wine, grapes, cheese, pepperoni, and crackers. Eat, drink, and enjoy a deep/meaningful conversation about life! Do you have a degree? Yes! I have a degree in Communication, Psychology, and Christian Counseling from Liberty University. What titles have you held in the world of pageantry?

2021 Miss U.S. International, 2021 Miss New York U.S. International, Miss Multiverse 2017, Miss Multiverse America 2017, Miss Earth Fire 2016, Miss Earth USA 2016, Miss New York Earth 2016, Miss Missouri World 2015,Miss New York Teen USA 2014






The past two years have changed the way that we travel, or even plan for travelling. Restrictions and new rules give us much more to think about and prepare for. Throughout the pandemic, many of us chose to stay closer to home for vacations, rather than travel long-distance. Where we once used to travel to visit family and friends, Zoom and Skype are now used regularly to keep us connected. But now, things globally seem to be opening up and we are travelling once again. Ideally, over the past few years, you have saved up what you would have spent on bigger vacations and can easily finance your next getaway. But what to do if you haven’t been able to save?

to save when you travel, especially on lodging. Options like VRBO, Airbnb, and others, give you more choice and more flexibility beyond hotel walls.

Here are some great tips for financing your next trip of a lifetime:

This is a great way to realistically break your vacation expenditure down so that you can save what you need. Say you are travelling to Italy in November and the cost of airfare and hotel with spending money is going to be about $3,000. There are 7 months between now and when you plan to leave, so you can set aside $430 each month to cover the costs of your trip.

Set a budget. It’s so easy to go overboard when you are planning for, or are on, a vacation, but it’s important to live within your means, wherever you are. Create a trip that fits your budget. Pin down the costs of airfare, hotels, and other costs, and identify potential splurges ahead of time so that you are prepared. There are so many ways 154


Divide your projected vacation budget by the number of months you have until your vacation.

Set up a special savings account.

Setting up a special vacation savings account is a great way to plan financially. You can even have money automatically deposited into this account on a weekly or monthly basis. Cut back on some of your everyday expenses It’s tempting to want to go and grab a coffee every morning on the way to work, but lattes can add up to big $$ that can be put toward your vacation. The price of everything seems to be rising these days. Consider using shopping portals or cash-back apps to make the most of your regular budget. Look for ways to earn some more $$ in the run up to your vacation. This could mean taking a part-time job or grabbing some more hours at a job you currently have. There are so many businesses looking for workers. Now is a great time to take on a fun, part time job and save for that epic vacation! Happy travels! Dawn Kellogg is the Public Relations and Community Engagement Specialist at The Summit Federal Credit Union:






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DISCOVER + ENHANCE YOUR DATING PROFILE + STYLE Ok, let’s be real…the dating scene these days is no easy endeavor to take on. When dating is tough, it can feel like a game that we don’t know how to play. We get caught up in our heads about anything from “What should I say?”, “How should I respond?”, “Is it too soon to respond?”, “Will I seem desperate?”, “Will I scare them away?”, “Why is he/she/they not responding?” to “Do I need to put out on the first date?”, to name a few. Sound familiar??? This can lead to feeling like a fulltime job that is exhausting, daunting, distressing, and maybe even depressing. I always emphasize to my patients + clients, “Don’t play the game or the game will play you!”. When navigating the dating scene, we can get so caught up in our heads that it takes us out of our authentic self and really starts to distort who we truly want to be or show who we are to that person we might be really interested in dating. Furthermore, this can then create pressures within the self and dating dynamic and thus, take away from the pleasures of truly getting to know one another. Early stages of dating are about discovery, education, experiences, and truly building a connection. To help with getting out of your head + enhance dating, I emphasize the 158


importance of activating + engaging in the Power of Play + Pleasure, but first you must know what are YOUR pleasures + playfulness? By focusing on these key areas, we can revel in un-gamified playfulness + pleasure by increasing your awareness + confidence, and hopefully resulting in decreasing the pressures of “Who should I be?” or “What should I do?”. I want you to do YOU by being your authentic self. Some key tips for doing this include: ● Doing some self-reflection prior to getting into the dating scene. Truly knowing who you are + what are your preferences, desires, wants, needs and so on. If you don’t know + love yourself first, you can’t possibly be able to help someone else understand who you are, or truly allow someone to enter into your “personal space” with respect + integrity. ● Do your homework of what might be your preferences with a real + rational potential partner, not your “ideal” fairytale or fantasy partner that might be hindering your dating style with unrealistic expectations. Now, don’t get me wrong, I want you to Do YOU, but you also need to be aware of when you might be “blocking” potential opportunities to get to know someone who might turn out to be a great person + partner because you are too deep in your fantasies or expectations.

● On the flip side of my prior point, you do need to be aware of what you are looking for in a healthy relational dynamic. I always emphasize, “If you don’t know where you are going, any path will do!”. This applies to dating + relationships, too. You don’t want to be in a place of the unknown that could lead you down an unhealthy path or feel like you are settling. This might seem fulfilling in the short term, but can end up leading to an unhealthy sense of self and/or relational space long term. ● Pay attention to the red flags in the beginning. These can be those gut feelings you get when being exposed to something, anywhere from what someone said to how they behave. Remember…when somebody shows you who they are believe them! Those things might not change down the road, so you have to trust your gut feeling or reaction to something and do some self-reflection on why this might be coming up for you. ● Lastly, it’s so, so, so (cannot emphasize enough) important to know YOUR value + worth (and add tax), be able to have your voice, know your limits, and set healthy boundaries from the get go, as well as throughout the relationship. Based on the aforementioned, here are some questions to reflect on to discover + enhance your “dating profile”:




{ SHEBOSS } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “What is your idea of a “perfect” date?”

● How would you describe yourself to a potential date? How would you show your authentic self? ● What do you most enjoy about dating + the beginning of a relationship? ● What do you dread or fear about dating + the beginning of a relationship? ● What is your idea of a “perfect” date? ● What questions would you like to ask your potential partner? What questions might you be afraid to ask? ● What are some “green flags”, 160


“yellow flags”, “red flags” for dating + relationships? ● What are your deal breakers for dating + relationships? For more help with discovering + enhancing your dating profile + style, you can check out my SHE Boss Collection + Coaching Platform at https://power-of-a-she-boss.teachable. com or on IG @shebossdrj. SHE Boss will empower you to be the boss of your own true self + embrace your WHOLE self, mind + body.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do YOU + reflect on your dating profile + style. Stay tuned in, in touch + turned on for more about being the boss of your own true self in dating + relationships, as well as my upcoming article on igniting that spark + turning it into a flame. Love to all my SHE Bosses + Happy Mother’s Day ♡ Xo, Dr. J






ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS | SHARE YOUR STORY — OR NOT To speak or not to speak? That is the question. And the answer is frequently no, at least in the cases of black women who have been in abusive relationships with powerful men. For any survivor of abuse — physical, sexual or emotional — sharing their story can be an important part of the healing process. If you’ve abused by a powerful man, you might be grappling with the possibility of making your voice heard. Talking about the abuse you suffered can help you create a sense of community with others who have had similar experiences, which not only can help you feel less isolated and alone but can also be a source of much-needed support, while allowing you to being part of a push for black society to believe you and be compassionate about what you’ve gone through. The high-profile domestic violence case of R&B singer Chris Brown pleading guilty to the felony assault of his then-girlfriend pop star Rihanna; the downfall of Bill Cosby and R. Kelly; and the #MeToo movement, born out of Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual assault and harassment, have prompted countless women to come forward to share their own abusive experiences with men in positions of power.

But quite often, black women whose abusive relationship with men who are rich, famous or powerful ends, are expected to remain silent. Many of those who do find the courage to speak out about their abusers face a backlash through mob-like trolling, being labeled liars, gold diggers or worse. Their stories are not believed. Their pasts are placed under a microscope. They face ridicule from the public — including other black women — questioning their motives, claiming they fabricated their stories for revenge, attention or money. She must be angry that he ended their relationship, that the so-called “gravy train” has run its course or jealous that he has moved on to someone new. Her goal has to be to “bring down a man who has accomplished something.” Although abuse crosses all socioeconomic lines, somehow, it’s inconceivable that men who are wealthy, prominent or hold positions of influence could possibly be abusers. The reality is, leaving a relationship with these men is often complicated by greater instances of fear, threats, intimidation, shame and financial exploitation. Add to the mix that when a woman goes public about abuse by powerful men, they run the very real risk they’ll be forever seen as a “snitch,” someone who couldn’t “keep their mouth shut” or a “sellout” to her race by calling out prominent men who are abusers.

Given these consequences, many black women’s reluctance to talk about their experiences is understandable from the standpoint of their safety and well-being. Making matters worse, many black children grow up being told “what happens in this house stays in this house.’ So, women from those households are less likely to talk about their abusive experiences, viewing any mention as a betrayal of some kind. There’s no right way to get over everything that comes with getting out of an abusive relationship, which are always filled with drama. For some women healing means finding personal or professional outlets. For others, it comes in the form of keeping a journal as a way to talk without talking. Others still decide to share the intimate details with a girlfriend, close relative or other confidant. And a few find strength and solace by sharing their story with world. So, sisters, please stop telling other black women who decide to speak out to keep quiet. Each woman who shares her story about an abuse — especially at the hands of a so-called powerful man — it makes others who have been abused feel safer about coming forward. This sisterhood of those who share their individual experiences and struggles — that many believed they were facing ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ BLACK WOMEN VOICES { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “For any survivor of abuse — physical, sexual or emotional — sharing their story can be an important part of the healing process.”

g alone — become emboldened by examples being set by other women. They are not seeking 15 minutes of fame; they know that they are not alone, gaining strength and safety in numbers, becoming collectively more powerful. The power of storytelling is evident in documentaries like “Untouchable” a documentary chronicling the Harvey Weinstein case, the “Surviving R. 164


Kelly” series, “On the Record,” which looks at sexual assault allegations against Russell Simmons, and “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich” on the late financier and sex offender. These documentaries show how wealth and celebrity can provided powerful men opportunities for abuse and protect them from being exposed. It’s time to end the culture of silence (and judgement) about abuse. Instead,

let’s embrace black storytelling culture, a tradition rooted in our African ancestry and carried on in the old South. Simply telling someone about these unhealthy relationship experiences can be therapeutic and even empowering, both for the brave women who share their stories and all of us. .









Let’s Chat Midlife… challenges, freedoms, choices In my earlier years when I would hear the term MIDLIFE, I didn’t think it meant anything more than the middle part of life. Of course, now that I am actually in that middle part of life, it takes on a whole new meaning! If you are nodding your head right now, I invite you to join me as we not only try to make sense out of it all, but learn and laugh together while striving to maximize this stage of our lives! If you are not yet at this stage, you may want to read on anyway as this could offer you some perspective helping you to be better prepared when it’s your time! My name is Denise and I am so honored to meet you. I am a wife, mother of 3 boys, Nona of 2, entrepreneur, cancer survivor and a woman determined to squeeze every ounce of awesomeness out of this life even though it seems to be quite a bit more challenging than it used to be. Now that we are acquainted, I’d like to invite you to go along on a brief trip with me. We are going back in time a bit, let’s say, 5th grade or so. Here’s the scene: all the girls have been assembled in the classroom where our mothers were invited. In my classroom the moms were all lined up in the back of the room

as the teachers began showing us a movie that talked about puberty and upcoming changes to our bodies. They did their very best to paint this beautiful picture of a wonderful transition to womanhood - an exciting

time they said. It was sort of an event - you could even say a celebration. Many of us nervously tried to wrap our brain around it all and though we may have been a bit excited, there was also a bit of anxiety. That anxiety

often increased when we got home as the conversation perhaps continued even though most of us just wanted it to end. Not much else was said after that at least not in public. Depending on your age, you may remember “feminine products” were barely allowed to be advertised on TV and if so, done in a very discreet manner. Let’s move our journey forward into early adulthood. At this point it was common to prioritize time for ourselves, how we looked, social events, exercise, friends, fun and adventure. As we continued further into the adult years, the priority we gave ourselves prior was now on the downslide as we possibly managed career, relationships, marriage, kids, homes, finances, etc. The transition to midlife was so subtle we often didn’t realize there was a transition happening. We may have noticed we were tired but who wouldn’t be after working, running the kids to events, cooking meals and laundry just to name a few - we may have to skip that workout, we thought. Perhaps we had a few aches and pains or didn’t always sleep well; after all, we had many responsibilities so we had much on our mind - and forget that workout altogether now - who has time! Then, maybe one day we experience shifts in our mood and perhaps start feeling irritated with our life. The frustration only ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{SHE SHIFT+CONTROL SHE HUSTLES TALKS }}}} HUSTLES TALKS {{LETS CHAT MIDLIFE... “I am a wife, mother of 3 boys, Nona of 2, entrepreneur, cancer survivor and a woman determined to squeeze every ounce of awesomeness out of this life even though it seems to be quite a bit more challenging than it used to be.”

only compounds when our clothes don’t fit and though we went back to that workout routine, it’s not working anymore - what is happening! As we allow ourselves slide to the bottom of the list while putting our job, everyone and everything else first, something happens…one day, seemingly overnight, we look at ourselves in the mirror and are not sure who we see. Am I someone’s wife? Someone’s mother? An employee? I remember wondering if my best years were behind me. I recalled some conversations with my own mother when I was younger and she was questioning herself, her purpose, her life and I would say “oh Mom, you are awesome don’t worry about it” as though she could just flip a switch.

While it doesn’t seem like anyone is rolling out a celebration for this stage, we can create one! From the women I have talked with, it seems common to have a negative view about this stage of life but we have an opportunity to flip the narrative and paint a brand new picture!

The GOOD NEWS is that YOU are in charge of your life and you have CHOICES! Follow along with me in the coming months as we explore some of those potential choices and how small changes in lifestyle and shifts in perspective can create a more fulfilling, joyful life experience!

Now, here I am asking myself similar questions. Is there something wrong with me? Is this as good as it’s gonna get? Thank you for traveling down memory lane with me. Welcome back to the present time where midlife, menopause and all, is in full swing. Where in the world was the prep for this transition? What? No movie? 168


like no more running the family taxi cab, maybe some of us become less concerned with what others think, or there may be a little more time for yourself. We may have gained wisdom from experience, a reduction in our grocery bill, the pantry stays full longer and the bathroom stays clean (assuming those kids didn’t move back haha).

True, midlife often comes with the challenges of getting kids through college, personal physical changes, health issues, adjusting to empty nest, aging parents, retirement planning worries and hoping you actually CAN retire because one of the kids just moved home LOL. The truth is, it can also have some freedoms










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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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A new coffeehouse right on the Erie Canal in Pittsford, Neutral Ground offers amazing coffee with a full espresso bar, breakfast served all day, delicious lunch sandwiches and the best ice cream you’ve ever had. Enjoy our cozy atmosphere with free wi-fi, outdoor seating on our huge front porch in one of Rochester’s premier locations. We focus on quality, good vibes and partnering with local family-owned businesses to bring you the best our region has offer!

Looking for a venue to host a special event right on Schoen Place overlooking the Erie Canal? Consider Neutral Ground on the Canal, a beautifully decorated private room for up to 50 people. Perfect for showers, rehearsal dinners, Celebrations of Life, classes, seminars or any event you can think of, with versatile menus to fit any occasion or budget. We have the flexibility to set the room in many different configurations, and an experienced event planner will help with every detail, guaranteeing your event will exceed your guests expectations. We can also include the coffeeshop for bigger evening events! For any inquiries and all the details please contact: Sherry Grugel, Event Coordinator 585-610-5393 (texting is great too)










Recently I was able to reconnect with Marianne Warfle, owner of the newly opened Neutral Ground Coffeehouse in Pittsford, NY. I knew from the moment that we sat down in her beautiful venue, that we had big things we were going to do together...again!

help me get through a terrible time in my life. Cancer, then a hurtful breakup from a long term relationship that I didn’t see coming, and then Covid. So I got a stem cell transplant, a dog, and with the encouragement from my

I met Marianne in 2018 when she was then managing the Port of Rochester and the venue above it called the Greenhouse. We immediately connected, started planning events, and were planning coordinating some other things for the coming months. Well, then the pandemic decided to make its appearance, Marianne’s life is completely turned upside with a life changing diagnosis, a long time relationship ends, and then by chance I see her post on social media about opening her new dream business. So, of course I decided to stop in and catch up with her, and we talked for hours about her truly incredible, courageous and inspirational journey. So now let me introduce you to our May 2022 She Hustles Talks cover woman...from Hell to neutral ground. we have Marianne Warfle. Tell us about yourself and what made you decide to start your own business during the pandemic? Who opens a coffeeshop during a pandemic! Do you know how many times I said that to myself as I was doing the buildout? About ten times a day. But life really threw me some curveballs and I decided I needed a really big change, something to challenge me and 178


friend Bonnie who I love and respect so much, I decided if I was ever going to do something crazy for myself, now was the time because it may be the last chance I get.

What was one moment in your life that changed everything for you? You know it was probably the time the oncologist told me the Lymphoma returned. It’s something you’re not prepared for, as my whole life I have been blessed with good health within my immediate and extended family. It was sort of like a “well it had to be somebody” moment. I realized that I was that 1 in a 100,000, and I had a pretty big battle in front of me. Everything changed and I knew I had to focus on beating this stupid thing. My brother Steve was there in the DR’s office when I got the news (thank god), and we went out to dinner afterward, called my son, and he immediately kicked into his “lets fix this” guy. Forever grateful for that, he was my 10/10 match and stem cell donor. What makes you hustle? Pleasing people. Every time I get a compliment about Neutral Ground, our food, my staff, or anything I am involved in really, it gives me so much happiness. I am not motivated at all by monetary things at all, heck I drive a 2011 Mazda with over 100,000 miles on it. I buy my clothes at thrift shops, I wear a pair of sneakers until the soles fall off, I eat cereal for dinner. Fancy things do not impress me or make me happy, but making someone smile or laugh, giving a hug to a person I hardly know or someone I love, that’s what makes me happy, and makes me want to do more for the community, my patrons, my family and friends.











{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS }} SHIFT+CONTROL “Every time I get a compliment about Neutral Ground, our food, my staff, or anything I am involved in really, it gives me so much happiness.”

What was your mission behind the start of your company? Neutral Ground has really become exactly what I wanted it to be, a place where people came come alone, with their families, friends or colleagues, with the dog, the kids or grandma, and enjoy some great food in a really cozy atmosphere. When I hire staff I always tell them, I can train anyone to be a barista, work the POS system, work in the kitchen, but I can’t train them how to engage patrons and making them feel welcome then they walk in. That is the most important thing at my place, you will feel like family the minute you walk in. What did you do prior to creating Neutral Grounds Coffeehouse? I have had quite of variety of employment in several different fields, most recently opening the new Port of Rochester Marina on Lake Ontario in Charlotte. It was a challenge I took head on, and enjoyed every minute of it. Previous to that I was a Director at an advertising agency managing a staff of eight for 10 years, previous to that I was a Director at a digital prepress company managing a remote location with 14 employees, the list goes on. I have always been in leadership positions, and forever put my heart and soul into everything I did, to a fault. But, it was always benefitting someone else. It was time to change that.

What are your top three priorities for being a success? 1.)Don’t expect any of your employees to do anything that you won’t do yourself. 2.)Be consistent. Nobody wants to come into a place and get something subpar from what they had gotten before. 3.)And always try new things, (sort of contradicting #2, I know) Some

brilliant ideas will flop (had a few of those already), but there are always services, events, amenities that will enhance your customer experience if you just keep trying new stuff. I feel some places don’t make it because of the whole “rut” syndrome. “What is your ‘why? ‘” Why do you do what you do?

Ah, the age-old question, why. I had so many days second guessing myself, I called them my WTF moments, and there were a lot of them. But I needed to do something that I was in complete control of at this stage in my life, and create a business that was a reflection of me, nobody else. Friends and family provided a lot of input and I will be forever grateful, but at the end of the day Neutral Ground reflects me and what I am about. I have always been a doer, but always contributing to somebody else’s success, to the point of sometimes just being stupid. This feels good that this is mine to succeed or fail. What do you do when you are not working in/on your business? Well, I think about the business, how to improve the business mostly. But I have a dog, Harper Lee (yes, my favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird), and we spend time in parks, at the beach, chatting about life stuff. Dogs are so therapeutic, she knows my deepest, darkest secrets and always gives me the best advice, I couldn’t be more grateful to her and all here love. And I love live music, I will walk to a show downtown on a whim, drive to a show on a whim, music is my medicine as well. How did you come up with the name for your company? Neutral Ground is actually a historic term still used in New Orleans, referring ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} SHIFT+CONTROL “So. I got a stem cell transplant, a dog, and with the encouragement from my friend Bonnie who I love and respect so much, I decided if I was ever going to do something crazy for myself, now was the time because it may be the last chance I get. ”

to common areas such as grassy medians between streets where people of all classes, races, religions etc. would meet to trade goods. Locations where all were welcome, where people would “meet in the middle” without judgement, agendas, or opinions. This is the whole concept behind Neutral Ground Coffeehouse. We welcome and love everybody, and have created a cozy place for folks to meet their friends, family, colleagues, and feel comfortable and a part of the Neutral Ground family. What do you find is the best form of promotion for your business? I am so fortunate to be in the best location in Rochester, and I really mean that. Pittsford is so beautiful as a destination itself, and the Erie Canal off my front porch attracts so many people enjoying the towpath, biking, walking the dogs, running and enjoying the town and all the local family businesses. I have been so lucky that folks stumble upon Neutral Ground, and have a great experience and tell their friends. It’s the best marketing of all and I am so happy to be in this community. 184


Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you. Well let me tell you a few things. I’m clumsy and a spiller, I have a terrible memory (A Warfle curse but I recently blame it on chemo-brain), I actually

enjoy driving and traveling alone and blasting music in my car and I sing a lot, very badly but Harper Lee doesn’t mind, I was a punk rocker and still

revert back to that music often, I can kill an air plant, and love urban living. Oh, and Thai food is my very favorite. Is there anything that you feel sets you apart from other coffeehouses? Honestly, Rochester have some amazing coffee places, I walk to Ugly Duck and Java Joes on Gibbs St. all the time, and stop into others here and there, but Neutral Ground Coffeehouse has an amazing location, great food, an awesome staff and I am trying to keep up on all the trends with Nitro Brew, Matcha, Lavender, other weird coffee stuff (don’t ask me about my latte art, I have watches so many You Tube videos and still haven’t mastered it, not even close) and even have a whole vintage candy section, we have Mallo Cups, come on! What are your plans both personally and professionally over the next year? What about three years? Professionally? I guess staying open would be a good start, we just got approved for beer and wine, and I plan on extending our hours and doing some live music one night a week. Personally? I am planning a trip to visit my amazing son Jeff in Seattle, he is crushing life, and I am doing a solo trip in the Fall







{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} SHIFT+CONTROL “I have had quite of variety of employment in several different fields, most recently opening the new Port of Rochester Marina on Lake Ontario in Charlotte. It was a challenge I took head on, and enjoyed every minute of it.”

my best marketing tool. They tell two friends and so on, and so on, and so on… it has been amazing. What are your typical responsibilities as the business owner? Oh geez, taking out the garbage, shopping for everything, scheduling staff, being a barista, being a cook, troubleshooting the internet and the POS, the banking, power-washing the patio, weeding, breaking down boxes, applying for a liquor license, getting permits, ordering product, hiring, social media, menu changes, special events, being happy all the time. 

But here is what I don’t have to do: payroll, insurances, human resource crap, accounting, taxes, all the stuff I hate. I have my amazing sister Sherry to all the for me and I could have never done this without her. Family is everything. I have been blessed with an amazing upbringing, the youngest of four in a blue-collar family, my Mom and Dad were so hard working, but we had a very modest life in the country. All of us kids, me being the youngest of four were taught a great work ethic, manners, and the gift of compassion.

But we never got a pass, we all forged our own way, paid for our own first car and gas, our own college, the choice of our future was ours. I remember thinking, why couldn’t I have been born into a family business? Been given a restaurant from my Dad to run? Been born into money and just handed a golden ticket? But I am so happy that was not my life, because I am proud of my accomplishments, my mistakes, my perseverance, and am now the best version of myself, thanks to my upbringing, Mom and Dad, and most importantly my siblings.



{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} SHIFT+CONTROL “I am amazed at how many people come in and say that Neutral Ground is exactly what this location needed.”

What are your plans both personally and professionally over the next year? What about three years? Professionally? I guess staying open would be a good start, we just got approved for beer and wine, and I plan on extending our hours and doing some live music one night a week. Personally? I am planning a trip to visit my amazing son Jeff in Seattle, he is crushing life and loves living out there, but I miss him and his wife Maike terribly. And I am working on plans for a solo trip in the Fall to Croatia and Portugal, two places on my bucket list and I can’t wait. I can live out of a little tiny backpack for a long time! How would you describe your company’s success so far? I am amazed at how many people come in and say that Neutral Ground is exactly what this location needed. We have so many regulars that have become my friends, advocates, and my best marketing 188


tool. They tell two friends and so on, and so on, and so on… it has been amazing. What are your typical responsibilities as the business owner? Oh geez, taking out the garbage, shopping for everything, scheduling staff, being a barista, being a cook, troubleshooting the internet and the POS, the banking, power-washing the patio, weeding, breaking down boxes, applying for a liquor license, getting permits, ordering product, hiring, social media, menu changes, special events, being happy all the time.  But here is what I don’t have to do: payroll, insurances, human resource crap, accounting, taxes, all the stuff I hate. I have my amazing sister Sherry to do all the for me and I could have never done this without her. Family is everything. I have been blessed with an amazing upbringing, the youngest of four in a

blue-collar family, my Mom and Dad were so hard working, but we had a very modest life in the country. All of us kids, me being the youngest of four were taught a great work ethic, manners, and the gift of compassion. But we never got a pass, we all forged our own way, paid for our own first car and gas, our own college, the choice of our future was ours. I remember thinking, why couldn’t I have been born into a rich family business or given a restaurant from my Dad? Been born into money and just handed a golden ticket? But I am so happy that was not my life, because I am proud of my accomplishments, my mistakes, my perseverance, and am now I am the best version of myself, thanks to my mistakes and successes, my upbringing, my Mom and Dad, and most importantly my siblings. And Harper Lee.









Tell us a little bit about yourself, and your background. My name is Rayna Brooks and I am the CEO of The Mobile Spa, which has been serving Rochester, NY and many other cities for over 9 years. I am the mother to a beautiful 4 year old daughter, Ava Rhae and I also co-own an Event Space called The Kuulture Room located in the historic Susan B Anthony neighborhood.

women to step out on faith and go after their dreams. It is to provide a long lasting legacy for my daughter and something that she can be proud of. What services do you provide and what areas do you cover? We provide skin care services, body treatments, laser hair removal, wood

I’m a lover of all things beauty and I love the arts .

What is your why? Why do you do what you do? My why is to inspire and influence all

By networking and building relationships with people locally and in different cities. According to you, what are the skills that are necessary for becoming a successful female entrepreneur? Being consistent is key even when adversity is at your door, You have to keep blazing the trail. . What do you feel are your greatest strengths? My humility, my resilience and my compassion for people are my greatest strengths.

What makes you “hustle”? What makes me hustle is knowing my purpose and my goals and also knowing my potential and believing in myself to do anything I put my mind to. What was the idea and concept behind creating the Mobile Spa? The concept of the mobile spa was to provide the ultimate spa experience to stay at home moms, or the on the go type of client who doesn’t have much time for self care, but allows us to come into their home office or private location and perform spa services.

the Mobile Spa?

therapy, lash extensions, brazilian and full body waxing and more . We are a mobile spa, so not only do we service the Greater Rochester area out of our location, but we travel any where in the United States . How do you decide where to go with

Who are some of the people that empower and inspire you and why? I come from a long line of strong black women so I’m most inspired by my mother, grandmothers aunts and cousins. I’ve seen each of them go through some of the worst things in life, but they still come out with a smile and fuel to continue to be strong and successful. If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently personally or professionally? I wouldn’t do anything different because I am on the path that was destined for me . ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ HEIDI’S LAW } } SHIFT+CONTROL { {SHE HUSTLES TALKS “What makes me hustle is knowing my purpose and my goals and also knowing my potential and believing in myself to do anything I put my mind to.”

Name one special moment during your career that has stood out to you and why. Being able to provide opportunities to new estheticians and bring them on as employees let me know that what I am doing is my destiny .

What’s the most important discovery you’ve made about yourself? Just being able to trust my gut and my vision and understanding who I am in God and knowing that he will never steer me wrong .

What’s the biggest factor that has helped you expand your skill set and become a woman entrepreneur? Always remaining a student, always doing research, and going to trainings to stay ahead of the game has provided me my skillset as an entrepreneur.

Tell us something that people don’t know about you. I love curating events!

What has been your best form of promotion and what platform is your favorite? Word of mouth has been my best form of promotio, for my business . I’m old school, and I love Facebook lol. Do you have to have any special licenses to own a mobile spa? Do staff have to be certified, or estheticians? Yes you have to be a licensed esthetician to own a spa . All of my staff must be fully licensed in order to obtain a position with The Mobile Spa.



the future? You can catch me at the Liliac festival under the health and wellness tent May 14-15 and then at the May Pop Up Launch Party for Rochester Woman Online on May 26th. Then, who knows where I will be, you will have to follow me and stay tuned.

How many clients can you serve at one time? We can serve at least 5 people at a time. I have other estheticians along with myself providing services. Where will we see you next? Any big plans? Any plans for franchising in




SHIFT+CONTROL {{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS }} “Being consistent is key even when adversity is at your door you have to keep blazing the trail.”








Tell us a little bit about yourself, and your background. Well first, I would like to take a moment and thank Kelly and Rochester Women Online for recognizing me. My name is Renee Reed. I am the Creator and Owner of Renee Reads LLC. I am a Mental Health Counselor, Professor, Wellness Consultant, Advocate for Suicide Prevention, Real Estate Investor and Author.

research in risk factors; which provides explanation for why a child may end up in a path of criminal mischief. I deceived to create a textbook that will highlight all aspects of the Juvenile Justice System without prejudice. I connected with Cognella Publishing Company, whom endorsed my vision

According to you, what are the skills that are necessary for becoming a successful female entrepreneur? What about publishing your own book? The first step to success (write this down): Create a business plan! You need to have a blueprint for what your business will look like. Whether it’s a hair shop or a restaurant, what do you want to achieve? What do you want others to receive? How will it be funded? Who is your audience? You should make projections of Success through planning and execution.

What makes you “hustle”? My hustle stems from the constant desire to better myself. I work daily to break generational curses for my family and create a norm of success for Women of Color. We belong at the top too. What is your why? Why do you do what you do? My “why” is undoubtedly helping others. I was the little girl that always asked why. And as an adult, I became a Counselor, Professor and an Advocate. Now I spend most of my time helping clients find their why and teaching students the why(s). I’m most fulfilled when helping others find an understanding in their own way. What made you decide to write a book on the Juvenile Justice System? Throughout my journey teaching, I found it challenging to find textbooks that adequately depicts the Juvenile Delinquency process. I was disheartened by the lack of

My textbook now being sold on National Platforms is pretty amazing. It’s so humbling to be able to present my expertise, research and hard work to the world. I even appreciate the scrutiny from other experts. I also collect royalties on each book sold and will be for the rest of my life. That is black women excellence!

every step of the way. I am forever grateful for them allowing me to do things my way.

For publishing your own book it’s actually more simple than one might think. You just have to research opinions of a topic of interest and then present your perspective on the topic. Make sure you back up your perspective with research. I also recommend finding endorsements or investors for support and funding. Close mouths don’t get fed.

Now that it is being sold on National platforms, what is that like?

What do you feel are your greatest strengths?




“Strength is being told No and not believing that because you know your business will be a Success.”

{ HEIDI’S LAW } }} SHIFT+CONTROL {{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS “My “why” is undoubtedly helping others. I was the little girl that always asked why.”

My greatest strength is never accepting No. I can’t even spell that word. No to me, means: 1. Not right now 2. Try it a different way Change the audience, I’m not talking to the right people. Strength is being told No and not believing that because you know your business will be a Success. Another strength for me is hard work. People assume I am just smart but I really just work hard 24/7. Most days, I sleep 2-3 hours/ day. I am that hungry for success and keeping my businesses thriving. Who are some of the people that empower and inspire you and why? My grandmother and parents, 100%. Their selfishness is unmatched. They support me in every thing I do, big or small. They constantly remind me of how proud they are of me. I know people don’t like to admit this but praises and recognition aid your success. My parents think so highly of me that it forces me to set the bar higher for myself. If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently personally or professionally? Honestly, No. I am religious and I strongly believe that everything happens according to God‘s plan. I appreciate every obstacle I’ve been through because it’s truly shaped 210


who I am today. One thing you can guarantee in business is failures. Getting things wrong helps towards your success. Name one special moment during your career that has stood out to you and why. This is very small, but I’m often mistaken for being a student vs. a Professor at Brockport College. It always makes me smile to A, be mistaken for being so young and B, be apart of the small population of black women educators. What has been your best form of promotion and what platform is your favorite? Any social media platform is killing the game for promotion and getting your perspective across the US! I favor Facebook because it keeps a touch of professionalism still. What’s the most important discovery you’ve made about yourself? For me, it’s the importance of vacations. You have to find time for self care and recharge, or you will not be able to give 100%. Traveling and changing my environment for a few days helps keep me balanced. What sets you apart from others? My ability to help and love others. It’s my thing. I always put others before myself and I’m content with that. When I was younger, I would say people are using me but now I see it as God blessing me to bless others.

Where will we see you next? Any big plans? I LOVE my city, but I do have plans in the near future to relocate to Atlanta, GA. I am anxious to see how my businesses will thrive in a new big city, where no one knows my name (yet). Tell us something that people don’t know about you. Although I am sociable and do well with public speaking, my happiest place is being in a quite place, alone. No TV, no phones. It really helps my creative side blossom without distractions.







SHIFT+CONTROL {{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} “ Any social media platform is killing the game for promotion and getting your perspective across the US! I favor Facebook because it keeps a touch of professionalism still. “




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





CHANTELLE MCCLAIN Tell us a little bit about yourself, and your background. Well my name is Chantelle McClain and outside of the fact that I’m a Sexual and Sensual Savant I’m much like any woman reading this article, I’m a Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt and Grandmother. I come from a small town called Lockport NY where I grew up and still reside (for now). What makes you “hustle”? Lol, I don’t hustle, I use my feminine energy to attract what I want & I make it WANT ME. What is a sexologist? Tell us about what made you decide to make that your career. A Clinical Sexologist is the same as a Sex Therapist. I have advanced training in counseling psychology as well as sexuality. I combine the two in my sex coaching practice. I help to facilitate each clients’ sexual growth by guiding them to identify their sexual goals and by offering education, resources, tools and techniques to help them meet those goals and ultimately manage their own sexual growth. I decided to make this my career after my “Rupture”. By rupture I mean the complete destruction of the life I’d built and the idea of what my future would look like. I was forced to kill my dream and everything I had poured into it for years. My career choice was a result of what I learned while healing myself from devastation and had NOTHING to do with sex and everything to do with having an honest self reflective talk

with myself about WHO I WAS. In Short I had to kill a version of myself that was a tapestry of compromise to give birth to a version of myself that was a foundation of intention and before I could do that I had to know “ What I liked”. It broke my heart that I couldn’t even answer a simple question like “where would you like to go out to eat?” without considering 1000 things BEFORE MY OWN PLEASURE and “that” began my journey of Self Discovery and Pleasure Seeking in ALL of it’s forms not just sexually. In my journey I’ve identified MANY reasons “why” women have the troubles that we do and NONE of them are more crippling than our ignorance to our bodies and sexual nature so I’m doing my small part in healing those parts of us and I LOVE IT!!!! What’s your most interesting/ fascinating/weird case? Having the pleasure of dealing with individual fetish and perversions on a regular basis EVERYTHING is fascinating to me honestly and I could probably share MANY stories about things that the readers would find interesting but in an effort to keep it classy for the magazine I’ll share a story I have about a couple that came to me with an issue surrounding hygiene. The problem involved a man coming home and getting straight in the shower. Please allow me to provide the necessary background information for processing. This is a hard working SERVICEMAN/ HANDY MAN who sweats his ass off doing physically demanding things

daily, he justs wanted to come home and take a shower so he could relax but his girlfriend would want him to do things like cuddle and kiss and be affectionate and even sexual AS SOON AS HE WALKED IN THE DOOR to the point he would be pushing her off of him or avoiding her until he had his shower. Well after he got out of the shower he would then start to initiate affection but by that time she was already feeling rejected and annoyed by his avoidance and was non receptive to his advances. Needless to say this caused a lot of arguments. HE thought she was just being ridiculous & insecure because from HIS PERSPECTIVE she just wanted to check him for signs of cheating, the truth was that the whole time she liked his MAN SMELL and wanted it “in her face” BEFORE he showered because it turned her on. Who knew????? I’ll tell you who, ME and now HE DOES TOO…. Everyone is happy and I was worth every penny lol. What does a sexologist treat? I specialize in helping clients in the following areas: • Improving communication skills, mastering the art of listening and expressing yourself lovingly and openly, maintaining healthy partnership and interpersonal relationships. • Returning a deeper intimacy back into your relationship. • Empowerment and exploration of who you are, to be able to understand ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


SHIFT+CONTROL { HEIDI’S LAW } }} {{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS “I help to facilitate each clients’ sexual growth by guiding them to identify their sexual goals and by offering education, resources, tools and techniques to help them meet those goals and ultimately manage their own sexual growth.”

• Enhancement of sex life, embracing oneself sexuality, awakening your orgasmic body, finding your potential as a conscious sexual human being. • Overcoming difficulties with premature ejaculation, painful sex, overly low or high desire, low sexual energy or libido, sex avoidance, tension around sex, and traumatic events. • Exploring and asking questions around relationships and sex, or for couples to check-in and just improve their sexual and emotional connection . • Developing a higher quality of life, boosting your creativity, finding your purpose, working with fears, guilt, shame and limitations, helping with change, personal growth, and selfrealization. • Gaining your inner wisdom, power, and courage back. According to you, what are the skills that are necessary for becoming successful in your field? In my opinion success is determined by your passion for what you do no matter what field you’re in but ESPECIALLY in mine. You can NOT be in this field without a healthy understanding of PASSION and emotions in general. What do you feel are your greatest strengths within your business? I believe my greatest strengths within my business are my genuine intention for my clients well being, followed by my transparency while communicating with them, my relatability and non judgmental position while creating a 220


space for them to express their TRUE DESIRES is also at the top of the list. I know many women want to know... Does size really matter? When you understand the mechanics of the woman’s body and how we’re built one of the first things you learn is that SIZE DOESN’T MATTER but you may prefer one over the other depending on the circumstances and YOUR OWN capabilities NOT HIS. Who are some of the people that empower and inspire you and why? I’ve honestly never been more empowered or inspired by any woman more than my own mother. It’s my relationship with her that has laid the foundation for every other relationship I’ve had in my life and I can’t thank her enough for showing me how to love fearlessly. It’s undoubtedly my SUPERPOWER. Thank you Thelma McClain. I love you the most. If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently in your career choice? Absolutely NOT, I’m in my field of “MASTERY”. My REAL LIFE experiences brought me here. If I had to start from scratch right now I would only be starting with a BETTER SPRINGBOARD of experiences to compliment my abilities. I did MANY things before I was a sexologist. I was a waitress, an Office Manager, Payroll specialist, A Realtor, ALL of those positions prepared me for what I’ve become. “What is your ‘why? ‘” Why do you

do what you do? This question is the easiest one yet, I do it for MY LEGACY. It’s my desire to Be the type of springboard for my daughter that I believe I needed when I was becoming a woman. Name one special moment during your career that has stood out to A: and you. I’m just gonna go ahead be candid here. If I had to pick just one moment that was special to me it would be the first time my daughter was present for one of my presentations. That was when I knew my hard work had paid off. In my mind teenage girls normally want to get away from you because the things they want to learn about are the things PARENTS don’t want to teach. Well, when I reflect on my teenage years I wish I had been better educated on SEX and MY FEMALE BODY because I had to learn from DUMB FRIENDS & BIG MISTAKES. It stands out to me as a special moment because MY DAUGHTER was not going to be the same victim of ignorance that I was. She was going to learn about her body WITHOUT the burden of being ashamed of things she should be aware of & celebrated for. What’s the biggest factor that has helped you expand your business? The biggest factor that has helped me to expand my business has been my online presence. I’m a 70’s baby so sometimes this social media thing can be a buzzkill to your business if you don’t keep up.




SHIFT+CONTROL { HEIDI’S LAW } }} { SHE HUSTLES TALKS “Lol, I don’t hustle, I use my feminine energy to attract what I want and I make it WANT ME.”

What has been your best form of promotion and what platform is your favorite? My best form of promotion has always been happy clients and testimonials but many times the nature of our interaction requires discretion so I tend to rely on my wit, charm, and generosity with my information to spark interest in me and what I could potentially do to help improve any new client’s life. Like I mentioned in an earlier question I’m not very social media savvy so I tend to localize my platform to Facebook however, I’m starting to branch out and post to my other forums more regularly. What is one thing that motivates you? I’m mostly motivated by the idea of creating a sisterhood that supports one another to reclaim their purpose through the route of our feminie force and unification of individual masteries. I hope that by sharing the information that I have with other women it will change MANY LIVES just as it has mine and encourage other women to practice sharing as well. As females we DO NOT graduate to womanhood until we’ve had a RUPTURE where we’re DEVASTATED to the point of BREAK DOWN and how we recover from that experience molds us into a version of ourselves that can handle the pain of that devastation. The quality of the support system you lean on for getting through that time in our lives is CRITICAL to whether your SWEET WINE turns into vinegar or not. When I reflect I could have used a WISE SISTER to help lead me to comforting mental spaces that offer

clarity while giving me HOPE and AWARENESS. Ultimately that is my goal so in my own small way that’s what I try to provide. What’s the most important discovery you’ve made about yourself in the past few years during the pandemic? I’ve made SO MANY it’s hard to choose 1 but if I had to choose 1 thing it would be that I LOVE HARD AND DEEP. What sets you apart from other sexologists? I want your SUCCESS more than I want your MONEY. But I’ll take BOTH lol. Do you have any special training or degrees to provide the services you offer your clients? I certainly do. I graduated from the Dr. Rachel Institute where I was required to undergo studies related to Anatomy and Physiology, Coaching Skills, Artform and skillset, Sex and Sexual Diversity, Wellness Strategies, I’ve had 300+ hours of higher education on love, sex, relationships, wellness, and coaching in class time alone but make no mistake the life of a Sexual Savant is neverending learning through the contrast of my experiences because at the end of the day I’m a PLEASURE RESEARCHER who’s entire life is a LAB in a world who says I CAN’T BE.

MASTERY COURSE. In honor of Mother’s Day I decided to launch in May. I’m generously giving away the entire 1st module for free. The introductory course is on “MINDSET” and is just a small prep course to help get women focused on reprogramming their daily patterns to accommodate THEIR DESIRES…. I’ve broken it A: up into live workshops and challenges throughout the entire month to jump start women into action and leave complacency at the door. I’m also hosting several POP UP workshops on Sexuality and Emotional Health. All of the things I just mentioned will be advertised on both my personal Chantelle McClain Facebook account and “Puss Puss Unleashed” Page. I’m also available for private bookings like Parties Speaking events or Toy Demonstration in the comfort of your own home so for anyone who is looking to upgrade their entertainment I’m your girl. Unfortunately I’m currently modifying my Landing page with my personal branding and freebies so it’s not available at the present time but I can always be reached on any of my Social Media pages for inquiries, consultations and updates. I look forward to interacting with you all & sharing my goodies .

Where will we see you next? I thought you’d never ask lol. I’m actually in the throws of putting together a FEMININE ARTS ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022







FANCEE NAIL & LASH STUDIOS Tell us about yourself, and how you started your own business. My name is Nancy. I am the owner and operator of Fancee’s Nail and Lash Studio. I was born in the Bronx and raised in Syracuse N.Y.. After graduating high school I moved to Rochester where I attended and graduated from Monroe Community College and SUNY Brockport. I am also a single mother to an amazing 11-year-old daughter. I became a certified nail technician back in 2003 during my junior year in high school through a youth trade program. After graduating high school, I worked odd jobs while attending college. towards the end of my college journey, I decided to start using the trade a acquired back in high school. so I began working for a local children’s nail salon to ease my way into the industry. I continued working for other small nail salons for the next couple of years until I decided to become self-employed upon graduating from college in 2016. becoming self-employed was very scary but it gave to the financial freedom that I was looking for. I was always encouraged by friends and clients to open my salon but financially I never thought it would be possible. Then the pandemic happened. I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home which allowed me to stay home with my daughter for homeschooling and run my business. But I was still eager to get back into the community. While watching the news one day I saw the city of Rochester was running a grant program called fast forward Monroe. I applied and to my surprise, was accepted into the program. This grant allowed me to buy all the furniture and equipment needed to be able to hire staff and open the salon I never thought would be obtainable for me.

What makes you hustle? My first motivation for my hustle was proving to my family that you don’t have to be a product of your environment. My second motivation is showing my daughter, nieces, and nephews, someone who looks like them, that comes from where they come from being successful. and my last motivation is showing my fellow lady bosses that the only thing that can truly stop you from attaining your goals and dreams is yourself.

is your favorite? My favorite service in the beauty industry is nail enhancements. being able to create different works of art for people from different walks of life is one of my greatest joys. What is the mission behind your business? My mission is to create a women-owned and operated business that produces quality work, achieves 100% customer satisfaction, and gives back to the community. As a female entrepreneur, who has inspired you? one of my biggest inspirations is my daughter. I want to continue to show her that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. What are your top three priorities for being a successful entrepreneur? Three things that make up a successful entrepreneur is staying consistent and diligent, being able to adjust to issues and still obtain the goal, and Creating opportunities for others.

What, in your opinion, is the most important quality in your business and the services you provide? In my opinion, the most important quality in my business is caring. Here at Fancee’s Nail and Lash Studio, we care about your well-being, your happiness, and your health. We will never provide a service without our clients’ best interests at heart. What is the one service you provide that

Would you do business with yourself if you were a customer and why? I would do business with myself because I make sure we stay up to date on the best practices in the industry and are in compliance with all state regulations as well as providing quality services and outstanding customer service. “What is your ‘why? ‘” Why do you do what you do? I do what I do because it truly makes me happy. I am a prime example of the phrase “if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life”. What do you do when you are not working in/on your business? On the rare occasion that I’m not working ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022









{{{ SHE HUSTLES SHIFT+CONTROL SHE HUSTLES TALKS TALKS} }} “This is a service business so when people hear from others that they know and trust their opinion that we do great work, it gives us the best results for obtaining new clients.”

on my business, I like to spend time with friends and family. What has been your biggest challenge over the pandemic in providing services to your clients? My biggest challenge in providing services over the pandemic was being able to modify the business with the necessary covid-19 protocols and essential products to be able to operate within compliance. 230


What do you find is the best form of promotion for your business? By far the best promotion for my business has been word of mouth. This is a service business so when people hear from others that they know and trust their opinion that we do great work, it gives us the best results for obtaining new clients. What things have you found to be a success in getting your business out to the community?

Participating in community events has been a great way to get our name out into the community. I’ve also placed ads on the radio which have yielded great results. Where will we see you next I cannot predict what the future holds but I will say that I hope to be blessed enough to move on to other endeavors and be as happy and as successful as I am today.










Chronic pain affects about one in five people in the U.S., making it challenging, if not impossible to work, form social connections, or enjoy the little things in life. Chronic pain is linked to conditions such as arthritis, injuries, lupus and other elusive causes. While there are medications to treat chronic pain, there are also some holistic ways to reduce pain at home. When dealing with chronic pain, having a solid, understanding, helpful support system is crucial. Many times, the cause of chronic pain is not visible to those around us, leading to frustration, lack of understanding, and added stress for families and friends. There are numerous ways for spouses and partners to support those dealing with chronic pain. There are also plenty of resources available to help a friend, neighbor, and co-worker dealing with chronic pain. If you yourself are experiencing pain, consider the following. RELATED: 4 REAL LIFE WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT A SPOUSE FACING CHRONIC PAIN & ILLNESS Exercise Exercise is a tricky subject when it comes to chronic illness. Everyone will have their own level of stamina when it comes to introducing exercise into their regimen. Exercise is a natural endorphinbooster that can actually help increase your pain threshold. Endorphins can change our brain’s perception of pain, helping to decrease the daily effects of chronic pain. Often, chronic pain can be too overwhelming to start an exercise routine, so consult with your doctor and see what small things you can incorporate into your daily routine

at home. Even short 5-minute bursts of walking or a 15-minute gentle or restorative yoga session can help. Consider Fish Oil and Turmeric Supplements There are a variety of natural dietary supplements that can help reduce chronic pain. Fish oil is known for its antiinflammatory properties while turmeric can reduce stiffness and inflammation linked to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. You can use turmeric powder in your cooking or take it as an over-the-counter supplement. Consult with your doctor to determine if one of these natural supplements could benefit you and to find the proper dosage. RELATED: MANAGING LUPUS SYMPTOMS: JOINT PAIN Implement an Anti-Inflammatory Diet In addition to supplements, there are numerous foods known for their antiinflammatory properties. Consider adding foods like fresh organic fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, low-glycemic carbs, and healthy fats such as olive oil and omega-3 rich fish. The impact felt from adopting an anti-inflammatory diet may take longer to experience. This is a long-term lifestyle change to help reduce inflammation caused by chronic pain. R E L AT E D : M A N A G I N G AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE WITH NUTRITION Participate in Meditation Meditation can help reduce stress, provide a deeper connection within your own body, and help quell the pain. According to a study published by the American Academy of Pain Medicine,

109 patients with chronic pain that participated in mindfulness meditation reported more pain relief, as well as lower anxiety, reduced depression, and a better quality of life. To set up a peaceful and relaxing environment in your home, try to remove as many distractions as possible. This could include making necessary home repairs, like fixing a leaky faucet, repairing a faulty air conditioning system, swapping out flickering light bulbs, and lowering the noise levels in your house. You can also remove any clutter on the floor and piled up work, which can lead to increased stress levels. RELATED: HOW TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS FOR CHRONIC PAIN Try Heat or Cold Therapy The key to feeling the benefits of heat or cold therapy is to know when to use which. Pain from an acute injury needs ice right away. For example, a twisted ankle that is painful and swollen needs ice to reduce the swelling. Heat makes that situation worse by increasing blood flow to the injury and thereby increasing swelling. Lingering pain, such as back pain and spasms, call for heat. Warm showers, hot Epsom baths or a localized heating pack can help reduce pain. Many times, alleviating chronic pain is a series of trial and error attempts. These are just a few examples of things you can try at home to help reduce chronic pain. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about other ways you can relieve your pain levels. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022







In my last article I spoke about stress and kindness. While humans can be kind to one another, an animal brings it to a whole new level! We all know the saying, they bring with them “unconditional love”. I don’t care if you are a dog or cat person, I happen to be both, or perhaps a unique animal lover - they do bring you the ultimate love! And yet, there can be stress with such a loving relationship as well. I may be working backwards on this, but I wanted to take my experience as an example. I recently lost my 18-year-old Ragdoll. A loss, to me, that hurt beyond words. During a time in my life, I honestly can say I have been most stressed over. Porter, my beautiful Ragdoll, was given to me as a wedding present from my husband 18 years ago. Porter grew with us during those 18 years. He was always by my side, in the office, listening to me bounce off my ideas for my next book or article. Never criticizing, always encouraging. A bond like no other. When Porter was gone, the house became unbearably quiet. Even though I have my two crazy Frenchies, who love me like no other, it was the quiet times I missed most from my Porter. So, even though I swore to myself I could never put myself through that unbearable pain of losing something so precious again, I began to realize it was something I needed to do for myself. Especially during this difficult time.

I went on a quest to find a replacement for that void Porter had left. An extremely stressful quest to find a Ragdoll similar to him. It was no easy task. Now before you wonder why I didn’t simply go and get a rescue, for there are so many deserving, loving, and beautiful rescues that need homes - I had my reasons. Porter represented many things to me. The strongest was I always identified him with my marriage as well. Not only as a wedding present, but the stages and growth throughout our marriage coincided with Porter. I craved desperately to replace Porter, for I wanted that constant reminder of our love, our marriage, our commitment once again. Especially at this time, during my husband’s serious illness. Nothing can ever be replaced, of course, but it can bring comfort in a difficult time. So, as my search for a new Ragdoll began, I dared to become hopeful. Even excited, as I admired these beautiful kittens on the screen in front of me. What you would think would be a comfort became a nightmare! I’m one who does research. It’s in my nature as a writer. I’m fully aware of the cruel idea of scams for kittens and puppies that are out there. Rule number one, if it sounds too good to be true - it is! Easy to say, but when emotions get in the way - not always so easy to see. In my case, right off the bat, I was shocked at how expensive these cats had become! Granted, Porter was obtained 18 years

ago, but still! Especially since I wanted two. I’m a firm believer in having two for their comfort, companionship, grooming, play, etc. how in the world could I justify that type of cost with what we were already going through? Again, a rescue would be the perfect solution but, in my mind, getting that Ragdoll was giving me hope - to have another 18 full healthy years with my husband. Silly, I know, but at this point I will take any hope. So, I searched and searched. Doing my research, or so I thought, but I fell for not only one scam but two! Fortunately, no loss of money but a loss none the same. For each time, I bonded over these little guys. Giving my darkest days a hope that they could bring light back into our dark lives. Naming them, planning for their arrival. Convincing the dogs: it would be a good thing to have baby brothers… lol. Fortunately, even though scammers know how to play on your emotions, they did not completely succeed. Believe me, I felt stupid! Revealing to them my reasons for wanting these precious babies so badly. Not only was I hurt, I became bitter! Truly, what horrible monsters are out in the world that prey on the vulnerable like this? With symbols of love and trust, no less? Predators in every sense of the word! And I admit, I was vulnerable! Death of my cat, the fear for my husband and his illness, the guilt of finances. It all ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


TIDBITS } {{ TAMMY’S SHIFT+CONTROL “I craved desperately to replace Porter, for I wanted that constant reminder of our love, our marriage, our commitment once again.”

compounded. I was ready to give up. Until I revealed my heartbreak on Facebook. Yes, crazy ole Facebook that most hate. Granted, I have plenty to fault with Facebook as well, but I also have a Facebook family I love. Who support me, encourage me, comfort me and look out for me. It is how I found these two, Sam & Dean. When I had given up, embarrassed even to talk about my current situation, I felt it a need for others not to go through the pain I went through in an already difficult time. So, I posted my experience of the two scams on Facebook. And through a friend of a friend, led me to a caring, knowledgeable, loving breeder. So, my very first suggestion in getting a pure bred, for reasons of your own, is by all means - try to go through someone you know or someone your friends know! It will save you a lot of heartache before you even start to look. Once you have exhausted that avenue, and you are tempted to fall in love with that picture on the screen, let me give you some tips to surviving the scams that are out there. First of all, that picture you fell in love with? Is it unique? A very simple test. Take a copy of that picture of the animal you are interested in and do a search on the internet to see if that picture is truly a one of a kind. You’ll be surprised to see how many scammers use the same photo or sadly steal photos from others. Unfortunately, you will have to be your own detective. 240


Research as much as you can before you commit. Next, a simple run of the name of the site you found the animal on. Better Business Bureau has lists of known scammers, mine now included, to help you determine if it is a scam. And yet, they have become masters at this game! They have been detected, so they up their game. But fear not, for you will always have the upper hand, as long as you can keep emotion out of it. Try to not become too attached to that “picture” just yet. If you have exhausted searches about this future endeavor, the next big clue is how to purchase said animal? NEVER use a cash app! I had contacted my credit card company and let them know I was concerned over possible scams on purchasing a pet. Would I be protected? Yes! Your credit card company will protect you from fraud. If you show up at an airport in hopes of a new pet that never arrives, your money will at least still be safe! Sadly, heartache will still have to be overcome.

walk away, if they demand a cash app. Another red flag, not allowing you to come to see the actual pet. Now some of you may wonder why would you not go see the animal first hand, anyway? In my case, the one scam was 16 hours away. With my husband not feeling well, it was not an option for us to travel that far. However, I had never purchased an animal unseen. Let alone the idea of the stress of flying for the animal, I did not like. I know it can be done, but I wanted to avoid it if I could. So, I decided to fly out to make sure my little guys would be as safe and as comfortable as I could provide them. When I was told no, not an option from these sellers, I saw the red flag. Through creative research, I found that even though they were going to take a credit card, advertised I could pick them up directly, offered a ridiculously low shipping cost because “they do it all the time with a nanny and get great discounts” but when push came to shove, they would not let me pick up the boys in person.

Same for PayPal. NEVER use ‘friends and family’ on PayPal to purchase a pet! You will not be protected!!! Only through regular PayPal! Scammers know this and will try to persuade you - they will play on your emotions!

That same night I said no to them and called them out. They took their website down. Crazy. Painful and enlightening. But it did lead me to these new members to our family, Sam & Dean. I figured in this apocalyptic world, I needed two brothers to rise up to the task of helping me.

So, big red flag if they will not accept a simple credit card. It’s a big purchase. Protect yourself! As hard as it may be -

Am I stressed introducing these two to a family guarded with trust and jealousy? Heck yes! But it’s a good stress.

TAMMY’S TIDBITS }} {{ SHIFT+CONTROL “I don’t care if you are a dog or cat person, I happen to be both, or perhaps a unique animal lover - they do bring you the ultimate love!”


A perfect distraction in an imperfect world. The happy moments have already far succeeded the distant memory of bad ones.

Never feel guilty for allowing yourself to let a pet take you out of a dark place. By letting them help you shoulder the difficulties life throws at you.

Having a pet is hard, no doubt. We create a bond we want so desperately never to lose. What we have to remind ourselves is, our hearts are capable of keeping those bonds for eternity while having room to make new bonds.

Never feel guilty over the type of pet you choose. Others may try to make you feel guilty for your choice, but they do not know your reasons.

As we get older, the reality of life, in general, being too short is a very harsh reality. But we do have tools to survive that reality. Through our friends, our families and especially our beloved pets, who truly know our darkest fears.

I have had many rescues in my life. Many bonds I would never trade. I am proud

Let them bring you the light you may need.


of my scarred heart. A pet is a personal choice and should be respected as such.









This month, I had the opportunity to interview Lori Haak. Under a very interesting set of circumstances, I met Lori. Because of that experience, I wanted to share with others so that you too can have the pleasant experience without the worry and hassle I first went through. Tammy: Thank you, Lori, for agreeing to do this interview with us. First of all, let’s introduce you and what you do. Lori: I am Lori Haak, I run a cattery for TICA registered Ragdoll cats with my partner, Lori Parsons. Tammy: How long have you been a breeder?

first Ragdoll, who we love beyond words.

part of the rest of the house.

About 5 years ago, Lori Parsons approached us about working together to breed Ragdolls and I thought what a perfect opportunity to foster my daughter’s love of animals and interest in veterinary work. This is how we became breeders of Ragdolls.

My husband also loves the kittens. While he does not do the chores, they love to play games with him and snuggle with him in the evenings. He is always taking selfies with them!

Tammy: Ah yes, the dreaded rainbow bridges are so hard on us all! In fact, that is the very reason I first met you due to our own Ragdoll, Porter, of 18 years passing over the rainbow bridge. We were devastated. He lived a very long

Lori: I have been breeding with my partner, Lori, for 5 years. She has been breeding Ragdolls for over 14 years. Tammy: Was this something you knew, growing up, you wanted to do? Lori: I have always LOVED animals. In fact, I feel most relaxed at home with my pets around me. I really wanted to be a veterinarian until I learned my grandparents had to help their beloved dog cross the rainbow bridge. Being young and never experiencing something like that, I changed career paths and am now a nurse practitioner who still has a passion for animals. My daughter shares the same passion as I and is on the path to becoming a veterinarian. I met my business partner almost 6 years ago when we adopted our

and healthy life. My husband and I had gotten him for a wedding present to one another. Porter grew with us through the years and we shared everything with him. On my quest to fill the void Porter had left, I found you. What impressed me was the interaction the kittens were getting with your family. Does the entire family help out? Lori: My entire family is vested in our babies and mommas. My daughter is the one who has the most interaction with them. The first 4-5 weeks, the momma cat and her kittens stay in her room until they are big enough to be a

Tammy: I have to say; how could you resist? Having such precious dolls around to snuggle with would be addictive! I liked that the kittens are exposed to other animals in your household. Do you find this beneficial for placement in homes with other animals, too? Lori: I believe that being around our dogs does wonders for helping them to adjust to their new homes. Our dogs love the kittens and let them do whatever they want to them. My golden retriever allows them to steal from them! Being exposed to our dogs and household noises helps them transition to their new families and not be surprised by their new surroundings. Tammy: : I like it, not only because I have dogs too, but I feel it’s hard enough on the little guys being introduced to a new place, new people, then throw dogs in they may have never seen before, has to be hard on them! How long do you keep the kittens before you let them be placed? ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ AN INTERVIEW WITH... { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “We start giving them attention from 24 hours after they are born. That way, they learn to seek human attention.”

Lori: Our kittens stay with us until they are 14-15 weeks of age. They mature very slowly and are just not ready to leave their mommas until that time. By the time they are about 12 weeks old, I can tell that they are feeling more secure and look for their mom less often. That’s when I know they will be fine with their new family and have a much easier time transitioning to their forever home. Tammy: Waiting to get them can be so hard and it’s hard to be patient! And yet, with all the new things they have to deal with when you first get them, I can see that it really is beneficial for them so they can feel more comfortable in their new home. What is it that you do to get the kittens prepared to be placed? Lori: We start giving them attention from 24 hours after they are born. That way, they learn to seek human attention. We worm them every two weeks until they go home. They come home with their distemper series completed, a health exam/certificate from our veterinarian and our health guarantee.


the kittens. Sometimes that helps you see their personalities since you cannot see them in person. We also send a questionnaire to potential families to ensure they are not making a rash decision and a Ragdoll will be the right fit for their lifestyle. Tammy: Do you ever ship your kittens? Lori: NO. We never ship our kittens; they are precious to us! We put lots of love and work into them to get them ready for their forever families and I just cannot allow them to go with a stranger as cargo with someone who does not care about them. If prospective families are unwilling to pick up their babies, we are unwilling to work with them. I like to meet my families. I must know, the kittens leave us with someone who loves them to make their transition less traumatic. We have had families fly in from Florida and Texas to pick up their babies and fly back with them in the cabin, but they have never traveled alone. We love our babies first and we want to protect them as much as we can!

They also come home with expectations of lots of attention, toys and chicken treats daily!! Tammy: How do you go about knowing a new home will be safe for placement of your kittens?

Tammy: Which leads me to how I found you. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams out there for purchases of kittens and puppies. Even though I pride myself on research, and was able to avoid the first scam, the second one almost had me.

Lori: I like to speak to my families prior to them leaving a deposit. We are a closed cattery for the health and safety of our kittens, but we are more than happy to face time so you can see

I too did not feel comfortable with the idea of the kittens being “transported”. To me, they are much more valuable than regular cargo. Avoiding the first scam, the second one tempted me by saying I


was able to pick them up directly. However, the kittens were over 16 hours away. They quickly offered to transport the kittens at a ridiculously low price. Which caused me to see a red flag. When I said no and was looking into flying out alone and would transport them with me, they refused. On further research, their website was actually listed on the Better Business Bureau as a scam. Although both scams were diverted and reported, I had fallen in love with the pictures and videos they had provided. I was already vulnerable after losing Porter, then to continue to fall in love with other fictional ones, even briefly, was extremely hard on me. An emotional strain I did not need at this time. What are your thoughts on the scams out there? Lori: I have had multiple families fall victim or almost get scammed. It is disheartening that they would use animals in this way. My advice would be to never have a kitten shipped to you, never give large amounts of money to someone who says they will then ship the kitten. I would also be worried about someone who would use a transportation system, especially one you have not heard of. One of the biggest things I have heard from my families is them asking for large sums of money for COVID safe crates. There are airline safe crates, but I have not heard of COVID crates. I would also be careful of a “cattery” that emails multiple times to try to get




{ AN INTERVIEW WITH... { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “I have been breeding with my partner, Lori, for 5 years. She has been breeding Ragdolls for over 14 years.”

t you to deposit money, especially in large sums over $500. It is hard to figure out sometimes until it happens to you, but my best advice is to ask to speak to a live person from the cattery. They usually can answer your questions and will not ask for large sums of money. Tammy: Soon I will be getting my two precious kittens, Sam & Dean, from you, which all of you will get to see in next month’s article. I have to say, the whole interaction with you has been such a pleasant experience for me! I can clearly see the kittens are very well taken care of and loved. Through that and the interactions I have had with you, has made it easy for me to trust you. Especially, since a friend of mine already has one of your treasured kittens and is beyond content! Where can people find you to inquire about your kittens? Lori: We have our website, Aragdolltolove. com that is updated regularly with new pictures and videos of our babies. All our videos go to YouTube and you can find them by searching Aragdolltolove. We also have a large amount of families who return and are referred by friends 248


and family. We love that because we love when our babies sell themselves, makes us feel good when they are so irresistible! Tammy: They are very irresistible! Trying to figure out what pictures to use for the article proved quite difficult because they are all so adorable! Are there any personal shout outs to

for doing the interview! Replacing a pet, you have lost is hard enough. For you can never truly replace them but simply start a new bond which helps. Even picking out your first pet can be a daunting task. Having someone take advantage of those situations makes it all so much harder. Finding someone you can trust, through word of mouth or reputation, is truly the way to go! There are reasons we choose the animals we do to share our lives with, so we need to be able to have options that are safe for both the animal and us.

anyone who has helped you along the way? Lori: Shout outs to my daughter and right-hand man Olivia, my husband mike, and of course my business partner/ proprietor Lori Parsons with whom none of this would be possible. And, of course, our puppies Tanner, Abby, and Graceland for loving the kittens! Tammy: Lori, I can’t thank you enough

Besides all the wonderful opportunities for rescues that are out there, there are reputable breeders that can be an avenue to pursue as well. They are small business owners that have to take an even more personal approach to their business. Having compassion and then being able to pass that bond they have made to you. That, to me, is inspiring!






After nine years at Animal Care Sanctuary, Kimba found her forever home on December 29, 2021! Kimba arrived at ACS in 2012 when she was two years old. Her original family did not have the educational resources to raise a Husky, and she was tied to a tree with a muzzle when she began showing behavioral issues.

for sticking her nose in it. Because of this, she progressed into a very positive relationship with the muzzle. So, when she began wearing it during her favorite activities, such as long walks by the pond, she did not even flinch over wearing it. Kimba ended up having so much progress with the muzzle that she would almost shove her nose in it with excitement!

She received so much love on her first day. She went through basic training and made as much progress as possible within a shelter setting. Although her behavior had improved, she remained stubborn, leading to limited adoption options. Due to her experience with muzzles, this portion of her training was slow-going. We loved Kimba as a family does, and we believed she felt the same. Still, we know in our hearts that a shelter is not a forever home. So, to expand her adoption options, we decided that Kimba would undergo months of intensive and prioritized training. We addressed handling discomfort, specifically with those she was unfamiliar with, and resource guarding toward food and various other items. In the end, the muzzle was the key to Kimba’s success so we decided to involve it in everything she loved to do. Initially, her outings would always involve subtle muzzle training. She played games with it on and got treats

Over time, the muzzle gave us the peace of mind to begin having Kimba meet people with a looser leash. It also gave us comfort that Kimba could not lash out inappropriately if things didn’t go well meeting people. Through these meetings, we discovered that her discomfort had a lot to do with short controlled leashes, cautious movements, and controlled meet and greets.

After wearing her muzzle and meeting new people daily, Kimba’s ability to meet strangers and be pet and handled by them became significantly better. By the time of her first meet and greet with her new family, she allowed them to love her and they were able to build a trusting relationship. Kimba was also crate trained. This training would help her in her new home by giving her a comfortable space where she could take a moment to decompress, eat her dinner or stay when her family was not home. Crate training was essential for managing and improving her resource guarding. Still, because resource guarding is so instinctual for a dog who lived in a shelter for as long as Kimba did, our priority was safe management tools to use within the home. Kimba’s adopters did not have a background in dog training, but we were happy with their questions and their commitment in learning it for Kimba. They researched body language cues in dogs, loose leash walking, resource guarding management, and more. They studied the resources we gave them and even found their own. Their level of commitment even gave us new ideas to try with other dogs. It also showed that a commitment to learning and a passion for the dogs in need can be a better foundation than previous experience. The experience we shared with Kimba’s adopters was inspiring for all involved. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


} {SHIFT+CONTROL HEIDI’S LAW } CORNER { ANIMAL {CARE SANCTUARY } “Kimba, thank you for making a difference bigger than you will ever know.”

Kimba’s adopters met her eight times to learn all they could. They used the time to ensure that Kimba trusted them enough to start her new life. Their meet and greets consisted of walks, yard time with her favorite toys, basic training sessions, muzzle training, and all potential handling. Kimba’s ability to use her muzzle opened different doors for her, like being able to live close to dogs and people. Her adopters even used the muzzle to help her learn her new environment, so that by the time she could stroll the town unmuzzled, she had safely learned all that could arise. 252


We shed many happy tears the day Kimba went to her forever home. She is a wonderful dog who had watched other dogs find their families day after day for almost a decade. Now, it was her turn, and she knew. She joyously kissed all her handlers, leaped into the air, and cuddled up to her new family. We all watched Kimba jump into the vehicle with no fear or hesitation. She had only love for the family that changed her life and hope in her eyes for the many years of peace and adventures that were ahead of her.

The team at ACS learned many lessons from Kimba, like the importance of patience, the fact that old dogs can learn new tricks, and how essential it is to provide adopters with educational resources to help them with their new best friend. Kimba, thank you for making a difference bigger than you will ever know. To her adopters, thank you for taking on a misunderstood and overlooked soul. And thank you to the ACS team for never giving up!






As we are closing in on the halfway mark of 2022, I wanted to share some thoughts on our retail regional market, as well as national trends. The impact of commercial real estate impacts every household, including employment, availability of products, convenience factor and what our local municipalities collect in sales tax. Often when people think commercial real estate, the first thought that comes to mind is retail. Retail being the shops that people frequently visit, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, clothing stores, sporting goods and more. First thoughts aren’t the offices where we work, the best hotels we have visited, iconic buildings such as the Sears tower, Famous religious institutions, or even our local hospitals that have been constantly in the news during the pandemic, while caring for our loved ones. Yet, we see for lease signs in many shops and hear about the impending doom of retail, due to the uprise of online sales. So what can we learn from where our initial thoughts go? How does this impact store owners, development and the overall market? If there’s one thing we can all agree upon, it’s the importance of retail. While shopping habits have shifted to a lot of online retailers, the public has a long standing love affair with shopping in person. We each have our go-to for food, our favorite restaurant for dinner, our dry cleaner, our ice cream shop to treat the family…we each have our habits of where we go for items, our patterns, and retailers track that to identify new locations.

We have all been in situations where we need something on-the-spot for our presentation, our upcoming race, our vacation - we need that item that very day. The roads we travel to and from work, the shopping habits of parents while waiting for their kids to complete practice, the ability to have a signalized traffic light into the shopping entrance, which big tenant draws the most amount of users, what service industries are currently lacking in the market… these are all the tip of the iceberg for retailers to consider a potential site. While stopping for at a store, what is the customer likely to need as well so the plaza can be a one stop shop? Which tenant will have the greatest success is the million dollar question that is part of every decision made by both landlords and tenants. In our region, we are often a test-site for companies to broaden their new concept nationwide. The new Dick’s at East View mall was the first in the nation to increase its size and provide customers with the ability to test the equipment on site. Customers can try sneakers on the turf, test climbing gear on the indoor climbing wall, practice tennis/baseball/basketball all on the outdoor court. Oh, and by the way, the outdoor court converts to an outdoor skating rink in the winter so people can experience winter sports gear as well. JC Penny product tests in our region before ordering product lines for nationwide locations. Our region offers affordable pricing for rents and expenses, enabling us to become the region that often sets the standard for

retailers decisions on a national level. Locally, there is a huge demand for smaller size spaces, 5000 sq ft and below. The demand has increased the rental rates, as new businesses have opened, larger companies have downsized and even some traditional office users have transitioned to retail locations, so they would not be subjected to covid restrictions and clients and employee discomfort of sharing common areas with other users. The larger suites of 30,000 and up are more available and more negotiable because there are fewer users. As national retails such as Marshalls, Ross and Five Below are back in the market for expansion sites, the industry has just lost 2 years of growth. It is going to take a few years for these larger spaces to be filled again and communities can again experience job growth and benefits from the tax collection. As summer approaches and more people are out and about shopping, it’s a great time to focus on supporting our local stores, which supports our local economy. There are some fantastic new shops opening, everything from personal service industries, boutique stores, restaurants, handmade gems and even new concepts that provide users with an experience. Keep your eyes open for announcements, ribbon cuttings and grand openings. It’s sure to be a phenomenal year in our community!



{ THE QUEEN{OF COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE } SHIFT+CONTROL } “The impact of commercial real estate impacts every household, including employment, availability of products, convenience factor and what our local municipalities collect in sales tax.”










Ever feel like you’re just going through the motions and don’t really have a roadmap for your business? Or do you keep spinning your wheels and not really going anywhere?

So how can a business strategy help you? Having a business strategy, you will get: ● Clarity around what is you want from your business

● The essential things you’d need to do to achieve those goals

Sometimes it can feel easier to keep drifting along, doing the things we’ve always done, hoping that we’ll somehow end up where we want to be.

● A deeper understanding of what success could look and feel like for you

● The potential challenges you facing and opportunities you have

● A clear idea of what you will need to do to make things happen ● Knowledge about the market and your competition, with insight into how your offering fits in

● A roadmap that breaks down where you’re heading and understands the stage of the business you’re in

Because setting specific goals can feel scary, can’t it? What if we fail? I have learned in my business that there will always be bumps in the road. We won’t always be able to avoid or prevent them. With a business strategy down on paper, you will know exactly where to focus that energy to get yourself back in the driving seat. What is a business strategy? A business strategy is different from a plan. Where planning gives us the opportunity to map out what we’re going to do and when a strategy looks at the bigger picture. If your plan is what you’re going to do to take your business to the next level, your strategy is the why and the how. Many of us have a lot of information in our heads, but never find time to actually write it down. But when we’re as busy as we are and the landscape is always changing, it’s easy for those thoughts and ideas to become muddled.

● The foresight to plan for and overcome any obstacles that will undoubtedly come up HOW TO GET THE MOST OF YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY SESSION During a business strategy session, you might look at some or all of the following things: ● Your long term goals

● The market and your competition, and where you fit in

If you’re not sure where to start or how to turn your ideas into an effective business strategy, we offer a 90 Minute Session where we’ll work together to reverse engineer your goals and break down everything into manageable tasks to help your business grow. Conversance Business Solutions is a full-service administrative support, and consultancy firm, serving businesses from small to mid-size nationwide. Our team specializes in various virtual assistant services and onsite support tailored to meet each of our client’s needs. Whether we work as an extension of your team for one-time projects or long-term engagements, we bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. We hope these tips were helpful. Get in touch with us today at 585-484-0038 or visit us online at www.conversance. biz to find out more about the ways in which our team can help you.







It all starts with knowing your body type and an organized closet. Did you know we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time? If so, do you know why? One reason is because we feel comfortable in those regularly chosen garments. Another reason is because we cannot see the rest of the items that have gotten pushed back and are no longer in sight. Let’s talk about your closet first, or the idea closet. If you can see the items and they are organized, you may wear more of the items you already own. If you want to make the most of what you already have and you are willing to take the plunge. To begin, you must be willing to take everything or almost everything out of your closet, place it on your bed and/or several chairs. Create signs or piles that indicate, keep, donate, or toss. And let me say, I no longer believe the rule, if you haven’t worn it in two years, give it away. Fashion repeats itself, therefore, at some time that item will be trending or in vogue again and now it will be a classic or vintage. Which leads me to the point that you want to primarily purchase classic garments that you can get more bang for you buck and add a few trendy pieces to your wardrobe per season.

As for the sorting: Keep it if you can still fit it, you still like it, it’s your favorite color, or it is a quality piece that can become vintage one day. Donate it if it is in good condition and it is something that you would buy

from Goodwill or a consignment shop. Toss anything that needs repair or is in disrepair. Next you want to gradually switch out all your hangers, no wire at all, ever. Get rid of those bulky,

thick plastic hangers. Invest in wooden hangers for your suits, blazers, and coats. Purchase some velvet hangers, you can get all black or you can get different colors for different pieces, i.e., blue for blouses, sage for skirts, teal for trousers, etc. The greatest challenge about wardrobe analysis and closet updates is the emotional part, sometimes, we want to keep everything. Next, you want to organize in categories, suits, blazers, jackets, blouses/shirts, slacks/ trousers/pants, dresses; (you can put vests with blouses and kimonos with dresses). Then you want to go light to dark, then prints and patterns. The most challenging part about making sure the contents of your closet is becoming to you is confirming that the items in it are flattering to your body type. That’s where I come in. I tell many of my clients, I can make you red carpet ready or everyone on the red carpet who looks like they have the perfect hourglass shape, they have a good, no great stylist. For more information: lydia@







Everyone wants to feel happy. That vibrance in your body. That sparkle in your eye. You want to wake up in the morning, jump out of bed, and feel excited for a brand new day. You want everyday to feel this way. Refreshed, calm, and peaceful. That’s what I want. And I know that’s what you want, too! Here are some of the reasons why you may not feel happy today; the vibrance may not exist in your body; and why the sparkles may be hiding way behind your eyes. Boredom. So unlikely! Because those of you whom I’ve spoken to say that boredom is the furthest thing from your life. In fact it’s quite the opposite. You are overwhelmed. There doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day for you to get through even a smidgen of what’s on your list. Why is it that you don’t have enough time to experience inner peace and outer joy? Well there’s that list, you know, the to-do list that has more to-do’s on it than you have minutes in the day. Let’s take a look at what’s on your list. It could look something like this. 6:00 Get ready for work 7:00 Feed the kids. Get the kids on

the bus 7:30 Go to work 8:00 Review day’s agenda 8:15 Correspond to emails 8:45 Prepare for 1st meeting 9:00 Meeting #1 10:00 Listen to phone messages and return calls 11:00 Recap first meeting 11:30 Prepare for 2nd meeting 11:45 Drive to venue for 2nd meeting 12:00 Meeting #2. Remember to pick up the tab. 1:00 Fill the tank with gas and return to office 1:30 Review and post on social media 2:00 Draft documents discussed in 2nd meeting, and eat a snack 2:10 Listen to music while catching up on emails 3:00 Meeting #3 4:00 Call to make sure kids are home and doing their homework 5:00 Pick up groceries for dinner 6:00 Make dinner 6:30 Take kids to their respective practices. Say hello to all the parents. Make plans for the weekend. 8:00 Go home and get everyone settled 9:00 Make sure you’re ready for tomorrow (this may include email, phone, social media) 10:00 Get ready for bed Repeat the next day

themselves. If that sounds like you or someone you know, read on.

OK. I get it. You don’t have enough time because you’re taking care of everyone else.

You sometimes feel burned out and unappreciated.

Reason #2 for not being able to experience inner peace and outer joy is because you are a caretaker, the nurturer who puts everyone before

The nurturer and the person who has no time have a lot in common. When you put everyone else in front of you, that leaves little time for yourself. The same is true when you put everything else in front of you. Your world may look something like this. At the workplace you are the person who volunteers to organize events. You bring everyone together, inspire them with ideas, and support them along the way. You’re the person everyone goes to to ask for help and advice. And you’re only too eager to listen and offer support! You arrive early and stay late. You drive the entire neighborhood to sporting events, and bring homemade cupcakes. You know when someone’s not feeling well and bring them meals. You are tired at the end of the day, throughout the day, and sometimes at the very beginning of the day.

When you are busy taking care of everyone else, there is little energy left to nurture yourself. These are only a few of the reasons ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ MIND, BODY & SPIRIT } “Everyone wants to feel happy. That vibrance in your body. That sparkle in your eye.”

why you may not be accessing peace within. As a mindfulness coach, I’ve helped many individuals to reveal what’s getting in their way, and to pave a path toward balance. That’s why I created the quiz: What’s Preventing You From Inner Peace & Outer Joy? It guides you through a 268


series of questions that will reveal the obstacle getting in your way. You may discover that you are an overachiever, a nurturer, or that you just don’t have enough time. These are only a few of the the possible outcomes. By bringing awareness to what’s getting in your way to inner peace and outer

joy, you can begin to shift the way you respond to life. You can move smoothly around its many demands and distractions. I challenge you to take the test. Find out what’s getting in your way. And begin to live every day with a vibrant body and a sparkle in your eye.

Coaching & healing with Alana removes the blocks on your path toward happiness & success

“A complete set of tools to align mind and body, and fill you with a strong sense of inner peace.” -Velvet Spicer, journalist









Dear Camille, May 2022 A column to request a FREE DIVINE CHANNEL READING from New York’s Divine Channel, Camille Conti. She will bring the messages forth from Divine, your Higher Self, and Spiritual Counsel. This is accomplished through automatic writing, inspired intuitively through faith, prayers, and blessings of divine intervention on behalf of the person or family writing in for a reading, AKA a spiritual session. ***Note: In this column, Camille will either be speaking from her therapist self, divine channeling self, or life coaching self. And many times it will be all three combined simultaneously. If there is no reference to which self is speaking that is because it is from all three aspects which is her most common writing and speaking style. Dear Camille, I have been married for a few years now, and my husband and I are considering becoming parents. However, in the world in which we live, I have concerns about raising children and being able to give them a wonderful life. Things are not the same as when we were growing up when you could run the streets and play hide and seek without concern for our safety. We are even contemplating living off the grid or moving to another country. However, we have realized that there is no country to move to that would be much better than the one we are in now, the United States of America. There are pros and cons no matter where you live in this world. I am looking for advice

on how to consciously choose to bring another human being into a world with so much pain and suffering. Ever since I was a little girl, all I dreamed about was being a wife and mother. And now I stand at the apex of a fork in the road. Some days I think I may not bring a child into the world because I feel that I can protect my children more by not having them. On other days I believe that we will bravely bring a child into the world, weather the storms, and teach them how to live and thrive to the best of our ability? I am trying to be a mindful mother before I’m blessed with the opportunity to be a mom. I have been working on my conscious awakening and trying to discover my divine purpose. In the forefront of my spiritual awakening is my realization of how much courage, wisdom, and faith it must take to be a good parent. I have called my mom this week to thank her for everything she has done for me from a new level of understanding after this time of introspection that I have been going through for the last year and a half. My mother encouraged me that there is no parent policy book on how to raise children and she encouraged me that I am highly intelligent, caring, loving, and that I will be an amazing mother. As it gets close to Mother’s Day, I yearn to be a mom in a safe world where I can raise children and guarantee their happiness and success. As I mindfully consider my children’s future, I realize that I will have control only over myself and what I teach my children, and not over the world in which we live. This is

a frightening prospect. Can you please do a divine channelled reading for me and let me know what they have to say for myself, my husband and my future children? Really want to be a mother someday, Kay A. New York, NY Dear Kay! Writing here from my therapist, divine channeling and life coaching self all combined simultaneously, Listen to your mother. I agree with her. You will be a fabulous mother, and it is part of your divine purpose. When we have a divine calling in our life, then we become unable to be fulfilled in life without following our purpose. As I ask your spiritual counsel to give you the words in which they want you to receive around the future of your children, they are saying, -Dear beloved one, your soul is yearning to be a mother because your children have already picked you out before you were even born. They are your soul family, and you have had many other lifetimes with them before this one. -When we sit around the Board of Directors table in heaven planning our next lifetime, we choose the soul family members that will become, the different positions in your life, our soul lessons, and our soul missions. -Your children already know who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are. They will be coming to you to help you with your life, and you will also be ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ DEAR CAMILLE }} { SHIFT+CONTROL “Things are not the same as when we were growing up when you could run the streets and play hide and seek without concern for our safety.”

helping them accomplish their soul missions. -Through your motherhood, you will become the woman you are destined to evolve into, and they will become the humans; I’m hearing from Divine, the man and woman they are destined to become. -Children choose their parents and they know exactly what they’re getting themselves into. They’ve also chosen to come at this time into the world in order to be a positive solution to some of the problems that the world is experiencing. -They have their soul mission and need to be brought into the world in order to be able to accomplish what it is they have set out to do. -As a parent you are the steward of God‘s child and you are to help nurture them with their gifts and abilities, protect them, and show them how to be an independent, strong, healthy, and happy human being.


to you by God. -The fulfillment is priceless and nothing can replace it. So is the frustration at times, as parenting can be very taxing and difficult. -It’s time to focus on the positive my dear one and know that the happiness and joy of parenting is your reward and gift for bringing the child into the world and doing your very best job possible to raise them to be a wonderful human being that is a good citizen and becomes a solution maker instead of a problem maker. -At the end of your life you will know that you created a miracle with God and your children are your legacy. They become your gift back to God when they are able to make a positive difference in the world because of the love, guidance, strength, courage and faith that you taught them by example!

-Oftentimes we think that our children are just ours and our responsibility alone. And yes they are, however, they are also God’s children that have come to make a unique impact in the world of their choosing.

-Now my darling, please get busy bringing those beautiful children into the world with your wonderful husband, enjoy your life and put your love, whole heart and soul into every part of their being. They are already here around you, in your energy field, near your body, waiting patiently for their soul to be welcomed with joy and conceived in your body.

-So in many ways, you are the surrogate parent to their ultimate parent in Christ. It is a huge honor and privilege to be a mother or a father to the children that are gifted

-Parent by faith, love, courage and strength with your authentic truth and your intuition guiding you every step of the way. Walk in the true essence of who and what you are and follow


your heart, mind, and gut every step of the way! Go into your bliss and do what you feel called to do. Follow the desires of your heart! -Congratulations in advance, you will be an amazing Mother!! In Faith, Love & Courage, Camille Conti







LANDMARK RULING: Admin CT: Nearly five years ago, then Town of Ogden, NY resident Guy Pietrantoni shot and killed a beloved companion animal, a two year old Dalmatian/ pitty mix, aka Keeno. Keeno had not bitten anyone, he had just briefly escaped from his residence and ran into the street. Evidence shows Pietrantoni had threatened other dogs in the neighborhood and walked down the block with his sidearm in tow. He shot his wife in the process. https://13wham. com/.../police-manshoots-kills-neighbors... Mo n r o e C o u n t y Deputy District Attorney Bill Gargan promised Keeno’s family, the Forte’s, that he would present this matter to a Grand Jury and try to obtain justice for Keeno. He looked in their eyes and lied... he never did. Keeno’s death and subsequent treatment took a huge toll on his family, two of whom have died since this tragic incident. The tragic and sudden loss of a beloved animal can damage a person or family immeasurably. Yet, in New York State, the general law was that the damage to an animal, including death, can only be measured by way of the fair

market value of the dog. Meaning, the death of a pitty mix such as Keeno was worth only slightly more than the death of a pet rock and less than the destruction of a decent pair of headphones. Not anymore.

ultimately help make for a safer and more humane environment as animals’ worth has become recognized by the Courts. We can’t make keenos death any less tragic. We can and did make sure it was not in vain. Please consider becoming a foster, adopting, or donating to Against All Oddz Animal Alliance. EV E RY PE N N Y COUNTS! ! Amazon Wishlist: https:// shlistls/10R68Q1DAD0 6A?ref_=wl_share Chewy Wishlist: https://www.chewy. com/g/against-alloddz-animal-alliance_ b75990160 PayPal: paypalme/againstalloddz For more information visit www.againstalloddz. org

In a landmark ruling and in a case being argued by our attorney and founder, Matthew Albert, New York State Supreme Court Justice Gail Donofrio ruled that one CAN recover damages for the emotional pain and distress relative to the death of a dog, including Keeno. Such a ruling should ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022




Releasing Control of Our Ebbs & Flows That title, “Honoring Life’s Cycles,” has even me rolling my eyes a little. As a woman, we go through more changes in a lifetime than anyone could have ever imagined. We are expected to roll with the punches and never act like that “crazy woman” our patriarchal society has created a false construct of. The burden we carry the second we leave the warmth and safety of our mother’s womb feels like a game of controlling our emotions, flows, desires and needs. Honoring what we have been given and releasing those societal expectations can be the beginning of a path to freedom. No one tells us that we will have a million emotional and physical changes as a woman that will happen continually throughout our lives. There’s been limited data to even look to so that we may understand why we feel or look the way we do. Especially those of us who are middle aged, plus. As a woman in my twenties, I thought my body would look the same, I’d never be unpredictable like my mom seemed to always be and I was going to find a way to not get those weird hot flashes she was getting every hour on the hour. Oh, how life has a way of making light of our beliefs as youth. As a 56 year old woman, I can tell you I laugh at that young lady’s righteous ideals of how she would defy all the inevitables of aging. As a Texan would say to that girl; “Well, bless your heart.” In our younger days, didn’t we all believe we’d have life figured out by middle age? That we’d know who we were and which direction we were headed in? If anything, 280


it’s a time that we get to reexamine our current trajectory and if it fits who we have actually hoped to be. Our hearts have usually been through numerous trials and tribulations that have made it more tender but also stronger. It has also shaped how we view our possibilities with what it is we’ve hopefully learned about our soul’s calling. Finding the strength to move forward to fulfill our lifelong hopes and dreams feels all the more urgent.

deserves to live a life like that.) Rest is where we can tap into creativity and ideas again and then decide which of them we currently resonate with most. It’s foundational work we all must do in order to feel as though we are standing on solid ground. Some of my best ideas come when I’m either in the shower or just goofing around with my paints or drawings. It’s a sacred place rich with ideas and the how-to guidance we all yearn for.

Each passing year and the accumulated experiences shift us continually but also hone our guidance systems. Helping those visions of who we leave this world as, leaves us with an imperative and unbridled desire to dig deep and do what we must to clear a path so we can run unimpeded. Or it can do the exact opposite. Everyone of us has a vastly different experience because we are uniquely made or have had devastating traumas we’ve waded through. But deep down, there is always a longing in our souls that refuses to die. Deciding to hear its whispers and then take action to bring it into the light brings about the gift you and the entire world needed.

Why and how can that be? How can we be laying around, just being or in the mindset of play and have our most profound ah-ha moments? Because we quieted our minds and inadvertently began to allow them to flow through us. I think of it as a slice of divine magic. That our Creator finally had a shot at sliding into our monkey minds and planting a seed that we fertilize and nurture into fruition. That’s also when the feeling of getting into the flow appears, jubilantly and overflowing with euphoria. When I feel that happening, I ride it like the most beautiful wave the ocean has ever created and revel in the moment, memorizing every inch of how it showed up, what it felt like and how I can replicate its beauty and grace. That new map helps me to develop a roadmap to that state of flow more and more regularly. It just asks that we be sure to continually practice creating that perfect stage for it to build upon.

There may be a calling for you to rest and just be. To meet yourself exactly where you are at. This is a loving boundary we can create for ourselves and those around us. When we respect what it is we need in order to live in our highest vibrational energy, it honors those ebbs and flows of your deepest being. (By the way, it’s okay to rest and not do and be everything most have come to expect from you. It’s what we women do. Self-sacrifice is actually a way to become a professional martyr. Trust me. Been there, done that and no one

Dr. Jen Gunter, OB/GYN, talks about how when we reach menopause, our brains go through what feels like a fogginess. We can’t find the words for things that we once retrieved readily. Research is finding that our brains go through this phenomenon because we




{ SHIFT+CONTROL } { MANIFESTING YOUR TRUE PURPOSE } “The time is now for you to choose valiance over staying small. Take a deep breath (or maybe even several), and move forward towards positive, creative change to honor your latest life cycle.”

e are actually burning off that which we no longer need. This allows our brain cells to grow and become our sharpest for that which actually matters in our midlife years. Society tends to dispose of women over a certain age because we aren’t viewed as being at an optimum or peak performance state any longer. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. This is your moment! You are being prepped to grab the reins and break into a gallop towards your greatest potential and self so that you can shine like the star you were meant to be. You can be a leader that inspires others to create the life they are being called to live. How rapturous would that feel to you watching others 284


flourish because you decided better for yourself? The time is now for you to choose valiance over staying small. Take a deep breath (or maybe even several), and move forward towards positive, creative change to honor your latest life cycle. Releasing control, expectations and prior designs you created for your life allows you to graciously welcome in what it is you were genuinely meant to do and be. This gives us sincere spiritual freedom to avoid the pitfalls of self-inflicted shame when we honor our hearts and the hearts of those around us. Have reverence for the ebb and flow

of your life, the emotions they fashion and thank them for showing you their “why.” There’s always gems even within our suffering. It is where most of us garner what we unwittingly will need as a waypoint for those we come across who are experiencing that which you’ve previously waded through. We gift them our understanding and empathy so that they can heal quickly and join you on your journey towards wholeness and an elevated resonance. Know that you are capable and ample enough to grow into something greater than you ever imagined or hoped for and can dance in the light you spiritually co-created.






While calling a medical facility early this morning, I asked to speak to the Nurse or to the Doctor. I asked other questions, and this voice came through the phone saying, “I don’t know, I’m just a secretary”. I immediately responded, “You are not JUST. You are a Secretary”. It took her a while to catch on, but she eventually giggled and said, “Yea”. Many at times we subconsciously belittle ourselves, and because the narrative plays silently in our heads, we begin to believe whatever it is saying. This young lady didn’t know the gravity behind her words, but I picked it up. There are people who have confidently said, “I am a Secretary”, and they say it with so much glee in their voice. You can see they are excited to have a job. I’m not saying this young lady is not excited about being a secretary, but when you add “Just” to a title, it means something deeper, at least most of the time. I remember when I was an HHA. I would report health concerns of my patients, and I’ll end my sentence with, “What do I know? I’m just an HHA”. Then I became a CNA, and I 286


found myself saying the same thing. Then I got accepted to LPN school, and I still found myself saying the same thing. 1. There will always be a higher level to covet. 2. If you are not fulfilled, you will feel as though you haven’t

There is no sin to want to attain higher, but when we don’t appreciate where we are, we tend to miss the blessings that come with the ‘present’ and we seldom perform to our best ability. We also walk around with the negative that we are ‘JUST’ and not enough. You are enough. Today is the first day of Nurses Week, and I am now headed to my 3rd level of nursing. The fact that I am not an RN or an NP does not make me ‘less than’. I am no longer an HHA. I’ve leveled up. I am relevant in my present calling now, but before I get to the next, I appreciate that I am a CNA, and an LPN student. Ironically, I don’t plan on becoming an RN, so I better start getting comfortable saying “I AM AN LPN”, not just an LPN. Nothing Happens In The Grave, #OMENESA

reached your destination. 3. We have to get to a point in our lives where we are content at where we are, where we bask in our PRESENT DAY title, our present day position as mothers, fathers, lawyers, farmers.






{ DIVI9 } } { DIVI9 CHAT


I don’t think I have seen any human lock in on religiously going to the gym more than my husband, well, ok, maybe my trainer Bri Cromartie. How do they, and those who like them are highly disciplined do it!? They build their self-care practice one day at a time, one gym visit, yoga class, or walk at a time. It sounds so easy, yet building a workout routine can often feel overwhelming, some clients also describe it as lonely. Examining what motivates you is a good start toward building consistency and discipline. If you are lonely, a group fitness experience might be what you seek out. A traditional approach to fitness My love for aesthetics and passion for muscles serves as my motivation for taking daily walks. Next to the skeletal system, the muscles provide a true foundation to the body. The question of building and maintaining a fitness routine is one that often arises during lymphatic sessions. Light walking is recommended daily after surgery. It is ideal to check with your surgeon to be advised on when you may begin more strenuous exercises. Typically within three to six weeks, you will be able to resume some level of normal activity including fitness. As you honor the process of healing your body, it is also good to honor the process of building your wellness routine. “Rest but don’t quit. Take time to reset your mind and your body will follow. It all starts with consistency. Remember to stay consistent and results will follow.” Bri Comartie, Cormartie Fitness.

A touch of technology In the name of self-care and science, I decided to take the Emsculpt technology for a spin. I set up an appointment with Angie’s Boutique for a 30-minute session. I love the concept of combining fitness and technology and am particularly excited about tech that benefits the foundation of our aesthetic appearance, strength, and mobility. Emsculpt is an FDA-approved therapeutic application of magnetic fields. While you can work 50 percent of your muscles in a traditional gym workout, Emsculpt engages 100 percent of your muscles for 30 minutes.

muscles like the heart more so when something goes wrong, with the heart being an involuntary muscle, there is no thinking required. Well, Emsculpt makes voluntary muscles do involuntary things, it’s wild! Over the next few days I test out my new strength, yes, I felt stronger immediately. I took the stairs and noticed I was less winded. I did a v-sit and noticed how much easier it felt. Yes, I literally did one, I considered a v-sit to be a reasonable challenge, I am thinking I also tried a plank and felt more stable than I ever had. I am set for 4 treatments for the abs and glutes and I can’t wait to build and tone.

As I prepared to leave the house I braggingly told my husband I was going to do 20,000 crunches. He replied that it would take him 100 days to do that many. I teasingly rested my hand on his shoulder and told him to stay committed.


How does it feel? The treatment room is beautiful, with a mix of flowers, bright white, and hues of purple. I lay back on the table with my abdomen exposed and ready to begin. A paddle-looking device is strapped to my waist using a band, she presses buttons and the treatment begins. She checks in with me to ask how I am feeling as she increases the percentages. The sensation of contractions is more like pulling with occasional taps to break down lactic acid and stimulating vibrations, it is really fascinating to experience. The muscles we think about most often are our voluntary muscles, we think about

Is lymphatic drainage massage and post-op massage the same thing? There are different treatment protocols based on the clients’ needs and the practitioner’s level of training. Lymphatic drainage (a process that engages the use of the internal lymphatic system) can be adapted to treat post-op clients. Postop massage (frequently recognized as a press, wring, squeeze method) cannot be referred to as lymphatic drainage.

Where can I find fajas: Faja’s and body shapers are available at Angie’s Boutique. Get 50% off your first purchase at Angie’s with the purchase of a lymphatic massage this summer.

Being MLD certified allows me to move fluently, adapting traditional massage techniques and MLD to meet the needs of the client. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ DIVI9 CHAT } } { SHIFT+CONTROL “My love for aesthetics and passion for muscles serves as my motivation for taking daily walks.”








The glow of vacation still lingers as I write this month’s column. I traveled over spring break for rest and mental recuperation. It had been more than a decade since I left for a week out of town. In the past, long weekends, and a day here or there were enough to sustain my need for a battery charge. My daily existence has slowly become a cliché. I am a sandwich, stuck in the middle of a teenager with daily drama and an aging mother who needs care. When you work for yourself, it may seem easy to just leave. There is no boss to ask permission, or a hierarchy of seniority to maneuver. Clients will understand and wish you well. But there are also no vacation days, personal time, or sick days to take off. It is just you. If you do not work, you do not earn money. Going on vacation seemed like an expense I was not sure I wanted to make. I also did not think I could afford to take time off. My ‘to-do’ list was growing to a second page. What if my client needed me and I was two margaritas in. I decided to stop being a crazy work martyr and book the trip. During my years in television news, I did not hesitate to leave for a week or more. Detachment was a necessary part of the job to cope with all the daily tragedy. Regretfully you become numb and need to escape. Back then were no texts, emails, Twitter, or cell phones to be accountable to.

Letting go was easier. I left my laptop at home and download a 10-part mindless millennial dating show on Netflix. I did not want to look at news, entertainment or know what was going on in the outside world. I scrolled email once a day as a necessity. What I learned, shocked me. I am a better person on vacation. It got me thinking about the shells we gathered on the beach that now sit on my desk in a jar. Bringing home, a vacation ‘state of mind’ can lead to positive habits we can channel to our personal and work lives. Consider them “better self” souvenirs collected as a reminder that we can be happier and less stressed when we take the time to reset our attitude. Enjoy the journey, do not dwell on the destination. Being someplace new created instant energy. Everything was green, the weather was warm, and my guilt was gone. In the daily grind, we are not present. We live in the past, dwelling on mistakes. We focus on deadlines, details, and minutiae. We spend so much time anticipating what is next, we forget to pay attention to where we are right now. The day before leaving I complained to my manicurists, who has four young children, that I was

not sure I wanted to go on my trip because I had ‘so much to do.’ I was stressed out about packing. I will have to apologize for my stupidity. It will all be okay. Before leaving for my trip there was a pit in my stomach over issues, I was having with one of my best clients. He was asking me to do a project that was larger in scope than I was prepared for. I questioned myself. Looking at the sun set each night reminded me to be grateful. Sometimes it is ok to feel small. Never be afraid to ask for directions Why do we always do things the same way? That is where the trouble starts. We become closed off to different ideas. On vacation we seek out help constantly; where to eat, what to order, what to do, how to get there. We look for guidance so easily. Ask for help when you need it, and always be willing to give it. Breath in, exhale, repeat My flight to Florida arrived 22-hours after the day started. The turbulence made my ears ache. I lost my credit card on the beach. Other than that, it was a wonderful trip. Choose to roll with the punches. Your anxiety drops, and you sleep better. I was not sure I could sleep more than five hours a night. I can, and it wonderful to feel my attitude change. When you sleep better everything else seems easier to manage. I returned from my trip with a bounce in my step. My ‘to-do’ list was still ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ HERCAMILLE EDGE } } { DEAR “My daughter took my phone and posted a picture of me on my Facebook page. It was from the beach. Her caption said, “just what I needed.” She was right.”

l sitting on my desk demanding my attention. The list of tasks did not seem as important as I remembered. I regret that I almost did not go. Getting away from it all is not an 294


expense, but an investment in your mental and physical wellbeing. My daughter took my phone and posted a picture of me on my Facebook

page. It was from the beach. Her caption said, “just what I needed.” She was right.







“It is what it is”, might be the dumbest phrase I’ve ever heard in my life. I guess though when you look around at the individuals who integrate such ideals, it makes sense. If you’re one of those people who says this, well maybe my opinion can enlighten you. But then again, if this comes out of your mouth quite frequently, maybe I won’t. As your already one of those people who lacks the skills to comprehend that your character is built upon your own personal actions. This phrase is such a great excuse to be able to project blame elsewhere, other than onto oneself. It really isn’t what it is, rather “it is what you make it.” Yet people who roll with this, can find ease in being deceitful, or wishing things were different about the life they live. When in reality the series of events we call life, is because of choices we consciously make. Shrugging things off that hurt others and sugar coating it with “it is what it is” should be your first red flag about the person as being narcissistic as well as raised to feel an entitlement. These are those foul individuals Who believe they are too good to have to actually own up to their actions and hide behind phrases such as this. When all the while masking behaviors and character traits with one liners they can hide behind. These are the weak minded who’s mothers must have needed a handbook, because clearly they didn’t 298


have the know-how, when it came to instilling morals and values. It’s easy to just skip through life down the yellow brick road you have paved with lies, when you have been raised by someone who not only enables this, but lives by this mantra as well. I’ve said many times that my mother taught me not to be an a-hole, nor to raise them, and one of the basic fundamentals

was to take ownership of your actions. Own the actions, as those are who you show everyone the person you truly are. There’s nothing worse than confronting someone about what they have done, and what you get is “well, it is what it is,” in return. What they really said was, “your feelings are invalid, I don’t care that I hurt them, and there is nothing I need to do to fix that.” As a parent, you should be embarrassed to have handed down this twisted view on life. In my past, I’ve made some serious mistakes, and I’ve paid some high prices

for them. But in the end, I pointed the finger at myself and took a hard look at why I chose to do what I did. It wasn’t what it was, it was what I did. It was I who then proved to self as well as others that the choices would not define who I am. That’s the difference, there are people who live behind lies, trying to convince the world they are righteous. And then there are those who learn from the mistakes, they own it, then evolve and use what they learned to possibly help someone else from making the same mistake. Not trying to convince anyone about who they are, just proving it. Not letting their fate be sealed by words that hold no true meaning, as it never just is, it’s always changing. Changing by the influence our own personal decisions facilitate. I’ll reiterate as I’ve come to despise the phrase. So,If you regurgitate this nonsense the life you lead is created by none other than your lack to actively advocate to do better. If there’s a pattern you see where individuals cut you from their life, the truth is it’s you, not them. But of course folks who live behind this motto will defend this and create excuses as to why it is never their own fault. Beware, these individuals are toxic, and go to great lengths to stab you in the back, and spread lies to make themselves (or convince others) that they are the victim here. You know, it is what it is, I can’t do anything to





““It is what it is”, might be the dumbest phrase I’ve ever heard in my life.”

make it different. Which translates to “ I went ahead and back stabbed you, and I’m too much of a POS to own my actions. I’ll complain to others, I’ll question why this keeps happening, and 300


I’ll continue to talk behind your back. But what I won’t do is admit my own faults, own up to being two faced, or acknowledge that it actually is what I have made it. It never just “is what it

is.” Unless you keep it that way. Remember that.






If you are anything like me, you barely get enough time in your day for a workout. Stretching gets rushed or altogether skipped. So how essential is stretching? A muscle adapts to your daily function. If sitting for long durations at your computer is part of your daily function, then your muscles will help with the process. By helping, I mean shortening your hamstring, hip flexors, and chest muscles permanently. In time, this leads to significant muscle imbalances. These muscle imbalances will lead to chronic pain, postural deficiencies, and joint problems. Most back pain, knee pain, and shoulder pain come from imbalanced muscles. This article will discuss the benefits of stretching, the best time and way to stretch, and the best muscles to stretch to get the maximum benefits. BENEFITS OF STRETCHING: Improved flexibility and range of motion is the most common benefit of regular stretching. Improved flexibility is essential for functional mobility and injury prevention. Another benefit of stretching is improved posture and decreased joint pain. A less known benefit of stretching is improved blood flow throughout the body. Increased blood flow means improved oxygen flow, energy, and improved healing and recovery time. BEST TIME TO STRETCH While stretching is an essential component of exercise, the correct time to stretch is just as essential. Stretching a cold muscle can cause more harm than good. If you need

to stretch before your workout, warm the muscle up by walking or biking at a low intensity for a few minutes first. Some studies show that stretching before a vigorous workout can decrease the effectiveness of your workout for athletes. This will vary dependent on your intentions behind exercise. You will get more benefit and decrease your injury risk by stretching post workout. While morning stretching may seem like the right thing to do for your stiff and sore muscles, it’s not ideal. The best way to combat your stiff joints is by using gentle movements. Some good movements are ankle pumps, pelvic tilts, and neck and shoulder rolls. Stretching in the evening is great way to unwind. Stretching has an excellent relaxation effect and can help destress and get your body ready for a good night’s slumber. As we said before, sitting for long durations of time can create postural imbalances. So periodically throughout your day, stand up and take a short walk. When you get back to your desk, stretch it out. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO STRETCH? When you are stretching, there are guidelines you will want to follow to prevent injury. When stretching, push into the stretch, but not into pain. When it comes to stretching, “no pain, no gain” is a myth! Your muscles have a stretch reflex. Once your muscles trigger the stretch reflex, your muscles will naturally contract and work against your stretch. Stretching beyond this point can damage your muscles. Studies show that holding each

stretch 3-5 times at 30 seconds each is sufficient for elongating a muscle. Some prefer a longer hold time of 2-3 minutes per stretch which is fine. Practices like yin yoga hold a stretch for 5-10 minutes each. You will want to avoid quick ballistic or bouncing movements with your stretches. This type of stretching can cause injury to your muscles. You can stretch as often as you would like. Taking stretching breaks throughout your day is always beneficial. WHAT TYPE OF STRETCHES IS BEST? If you are looking for stretches that hold the most benefit, stick to your bigger postural muscles. There are additional stretches you can do however, these stretches will address the chronically tight muscles for most Americans. • Hamstring stretch: Sit at the edge of your seat or on the floor. Place one leg straight out in front of you. Do not hyper-extend your knee; keep a gentle bend. Keep your back straight and your chest forward; hinge forward from your hips. You will want to stop as soon as you feel a pulling in the back of your leg. Hold for 30 sec and repeat on the other side. • Quad stretch: There are many ways to do a quad stretch. My favorite way is to kneel onto one knee. Put your knee on a chair or the floor. Place a pillow or towel under your knee for added comfort. Your opposite leg should be in front with your foot planted on the floor. Press your pelvis forward until you feel a stretch in the ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{{SHE SHE HUSTLES TALKS TALKS SHIFT+CONTROL HUSTLES { WELLNESS 360 } }} } “Stretching gets rushed or altogether skipped. So how essential is stretching?”

front of the kneeling leg. Hold for 30 sec and repeat on the other side. • Chest stretch: Find a doorway to stand in. Place both of your arms open wide into the doorway. You can play around with your arm placement, moving them up and down the doorway, bending your elbows, or keeping your arms straight. Step your body forward, placing a stretch across the front of 304


your stretch into your shoulders. Be mindful that you are not arching your low back. Keep your core embraced. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat a few times. There are many other stretches for different injuries and ailments. Most joint pain can be improved or eliminated with appropriate strengthening and stretching. Physical therapy is a great

way to start. Wellness 360 can evaluate your joint pain and give you appropriate exercises and individualized treatments for you and your needs. For more information, check out








As a Yoga Therapist, I help couples experience themselves and their partner using movement, touch, mindfulness and listening activities so they can see themselves from a more centered place. I was at lunch with a colleague when she said, “the couples you work with, is there always a disconnect?” The short answer is no. Unfortunately, many of us are disconnected from ourselves most of the day, none the less our partners. Life leaves us stressed, overscheduled, and numbed out on technology. I personally have opened Instagram at least three times myself in trying to write this article! If we can’t be present to ourselves, how can we show up fully for someone in relationship? Reminder: You don’t have to wait until your relationship is in dire straits to reach out to a trained mental health professional. Talk therapy can do amazing things for couples and families. (It’s just not what I do.) A couple’s session is designed uniquely for each couple but here are a few exercises you can try on at home. There are many holistic methods inside of the scope of yoga therapy, but for this article, I’m going to use the seven chakras, or energy centers. (Note this is written for romantic couples but many of these could be helpful for family members and friends as well.) First Chakra: Get yourself grounded. The first or root chakra is associated with safety and security and being the lowest chakra – grounding. Truthfully, if you don’t have something makes you feel fulfilled and present, what energy

are you bringing to your relationship? Have one or two things that help you feel grounded and centered – maybe it’s yoga, cooking, a breathing exercise, running. Whatever it is, make sure you’re not running on empty and then trying to make relationship decisions. Some self-reflection never hurts. A few years ago, I had been wanting more quality time from my partner, but it wasn’t until I was deep into a 30-day meditation program that I realized I kept shooting down his invites to spend more time together due to my chaotic schedule. Without me taking time for myself, I wouldn’t have been able to make a change. Second: Take a walk together. The sacral or second chakra is associated with sensuality and creativity. How creative can you really get stuck on the couch? Plan a time that you can both go into nature together. Even if you feel talked out, point out what you notice with your senses, the air on your skin, a new flower you’ve never noticed before. Third: Practice listening. The navel or third chakra is all about taking action, but our society might already leave you feeling like you’re not doing enough. And if you’re always trying to do more, you’re probably not showing up fully for your partner. So, the next action you can take: actively listen. Put your phone down, turn off the TV and prepare yourself to hear what the other person says. Read their body language in between. Typically, we talk for conversation. It’s not your job to fix your partner’s problems, simply listen

and make sure they know you hear them. You might come to a whole new understanding of each other. Fourth: Longer hugs. The heart or fourth chakra is associated with love, joy, and compassion. The next time you go to hug your partner goodbye or hello, really mean it! Embrace them. Stay for a few extra breaths. Now, if this is received with a “Hey gotta go the car’s running” the first time, don’t get disappointed. Tell the other person what you’re doing when they have more time. Fifth: Be Honest. The throat or fifth chakra is associated with your voice. Being honest can be hard, but you don’t want to get into the habit of sweeping anything under the rug either. Sometimes we let ourselves compile a list of grievances with the other person – but never let them know until it blows up, and it’s not fair to throw that at them all at once. Now, you may think “I don’t want to be a nag!” The next time something is on your mind remember Bernard Meltzer’s advice ““Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful.” Sixth: Stop Comparing. The third eye or sixth chakra is associated with your intuition. We tend to get in our heads about what our relationship should look like or could look like; sometimes those feelings are brought on by seeing other couples whether in-person or on social media. When you notice that’s happening, come back to present moment. Notice it’s happening, take a deep breath, become aware of what ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ LIFE IN BALANCE } SHIFT+CONTROL “There are many holistic methods inside of the scope of yoga therapy, but for this article, I’m going to use the seven chakras, or energy centers.”

you’re feeling in your body. Now look at your own relationship, without external ideals getting in the way. It takes a lot of energy to worry about what others are doing that could be better spent on the people you love. Seventh: Practice gratitude together. The crown or seventh chakra is associated with consciousness. According to Brené Brown “never talk about gratitude 308


and joy separately, for this reason. In 12 years, I’ve never interviewed a single person who would describe their lives as joyful, who would describe themselves as joyous, who was not actively practicing gratitude.” Try once a day to tell your partner something good that happened. It doesn’t have to be a huge raise or promotion; it could be a great laugh you had. Even better, tell your partner one good thing they

did each day. “I really appreciated you getting the milk out for the coffee” or “Thank you for listening to me when I had to get that off my chest.” If you feel like you need a personalized guide through the chakras, schedule a couples yoga therapy session. Call (585) 200-7209 or email Kaitlyn@tozziyoga. com for a free phone consultation.






WHY SHOULD YOU USE A TAX PROFESSIONAL? 1.The knowledge that has been accumulated over time 2. We check everything over so there will be no mistakes

1. Child tax credit- Child tax credit will be going back to the amount from 2021, for 2022. Meaning it will drop back down to $2,000 from the $3,000 (for children 6 to 17) and children who are 17 won’t qualify due to it going back to the former age limit of 16 years old.

3. We look for multiple ways the clients can receive their maximum refund 4. Paying upfront costs will allow you to receive ALL of your refund!



5. Tax brackets went up for each filing status. Head of household: $450 Single Individual: $325 Married Filing Joint: $650 Married Filing Separate: $4,700

2. Don’t hesitate! File as soon as you can 3. Report all benefits you’ve received

6. We keep accurate records so whenever you need any information from the past it is readily available.


4. No stimulus check payments in 2022 so no recovery rebate credit for 2022 tax year

TAX TIPS 1. Make sure to gather ALL required forms

5. Being a tax professional we can give you tax tips to prepare you for the following year so you don’t make the same mistakes

7. One on ones with me are life changing. I make sure my office isn’t full so you have a personal appointment where we can not only discuss tax tips and also discuss life!

student and working between ages 19-24 years old

4. Claim credits you’re eligible for

2. No monthly advanced payments for child credit in 2022 3. Earned income credit for those without children has also expired for the 2022 year, it’s back to where you can claim the EITC with no qualifying children if you are not a

5. Make sure you keep all your exemptions the same for each job so there is no discrepancy. (Which should be 0 or 1) 6. For self-employed business owners TAKE OUT TAXES prior to filing so you won’t have to pay so much upfront, which you can do by scheduling an advisement appointment with me.




In upstate New York, April showers can be either rain or snow, but neither can inhibit the coming of spring. It doesn’t matter how cold, how snowy, or how rainy the weather is in April, green things are going to begin sprouting and flowers are going to begin blooming. Floral essential oils bring the garden indoors. The aromas of essential oils are up to 70 times more concentrated than the flower itself. Florals invoke positive thoughts and feelings of joy, happiness, and hope.

takes about 10,000 freshly picked rose blossoms to produce one 5ml bottle of rose essential oil. The aroma is sweet and floral. Diffusing rose may uplift your spirits and bring about feelings of harmony. Used topically, rose helps balance moisture levels in the skin and promotes a healthy, even complexion. Try one or two drops added to your moisturizer.

According to The Essential Life Essential Oil Reference Guide, the top properties associated with floral oils include anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, relaxant, antihistamine, analgesic, regenerative, and antiviral. Floral oils are calming and harmonizing.

Jasmine’s aroma encourages feelings of joy and romance. Apply jasmine touch to the pulse points for an exquisite perfume or try using it under your eyes to make them sparkle. • Lately I have been in a magnolia mood, reaching for it in the morning and applying it to my wrists and other pulse points. I love its floral, but fruity fragrance, reminiscent of apples. Species of magnolia are scattered throughout South Asia, the Pacific, and North America. Magnolia essential oil is steam distilled from the petals of the magnolia flower, harvested at night when the blooms are most fragrant.

Florals make wonderful perfumes, and most have properties that benefit the skin. I am going to share just a few florals with you here. • Rose, known as the “queen of flowers,” is the most valuable essential oil. doTerra’s rose oil comes from the rosa damascene, the Damask rose and is sourced from Bulgaria. Roses are harvested before sunrise, while the dew is still on the petals. Because the petals are so delicate, the distillation must be completed the same day the flowers are harvested. It

The jasmine blossoms are so delicate that they cannot be distilled like other flowers. Instead, an absolute is made from the flowers. An absolute contains both aromatic and non-aromatic chemical constituents resulting in a rich, authentic aroma. It takes 21,000 freshly picked jasmine petals to produce a 5ml bottle of jasmine absolute.

• Jasmine regarded as the “king of flowers,” is prized for its fragrance and its many benefits. doTerra jasmine comes from the petals of the Royal Jasmine flower. Sourced in Egypt, the flowers are harvested early in the morning when the chemical compounds are at their peak.

For thousands of years magnolia flowers have been used in traditional Chinese health practices to help create balance within the body, as well as in ceremonies to enhance confidence and well-being. The predominant chemical constituent in magnolia is Linalool, also predominant in lavender, which is calming and relaxing. Magnolia is also soothing to the skin. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY EDITION 2022


{ BLISSFUL BALANCE } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “Floral essential oils bring the garden indoors. The aromas of essential oils are up to 70 times more concentrated than the flower itself.”

• Neroli essential oil is steam-distilled from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, also known as the Seville orange.


my heart and on my pulse points for its calming benefits.

Like rose and jasmine, neroli is precious due to its high labor and low yield. The tiny white neroli flowers are hand-picked at the optimal time in the growing cycle then quickly steam distilled to extract the essential oil. Forty pounds of blossoms result in one 15ml bottle of neroli oil.

doTerra offers each of these essential oils in a 10 ml roller ball bottle blended with fractionated coconut oil. This allows for easy topical use as well as an affordable product. Buy all four and play with layering them to create your own signature fragrance. Magnolia is ten percent off through May.

Its aroma is sweetly floral with a slight hint of bitterness. Research has shown that neroli may help to reduce feelings of anxiety, uplift mood, and encourage relaxation. I like to massage neroli over

Buddha said, “every human being is the author of his own health or disease.” As a certified health coach and a doTerra Wellness Advocate I can help you to make lifestyle changes for better health.


Reach out if you would like to chat. Peace, bliss, and balance… At Blissful Balance LLC, our mission is to help you to live life healthier. Follow us on Facebook @blissfullbalanceroc and Instagram @blissfull_balance. *The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.





Regret is almost universally experienced. It has been defined as the emotion of wishing one had made a different decision in the past, because the consequences of the decision were undesirable. Regret is related to perceived opportunity. It has also been defined as a negative cognitive or emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been, or wishing we could undo a previous choice that we made. The first known use of the word regret occurred in the 14th century. We may regret relatively minor decisions, such as having had an extra slice of pie after dinner. Alternatively, we may harbor regret regarding a major decision, such as getting married. Of course, the implications of these types of decisions are drastically different. We sometimes regret the things that we have not done, such as not having stopped smoking when we receive a lung cancer diagnosis. We might regret not finishing college when passed over for a promotion. With respect to romantic relationships, there are gender differences in experiencing regret. Men are more likely to experience regrets of inaction, failing to pursue a romantic relationship, whereas women report regrets of inaction and action equally. Regret is associated with chronic stress, negatively impacting hormonal and immune system functioning. It extends the emotional reach of stressful events for months, years, or lifetimes. Regret leads to negative emotions, as well as a pattern of thinking that ironically results in making additional mistakes, thereby enhancing our degree of regret. Many negative emotions frequently accompany regret, including guilt,

disappointment, self-blame, and frustration. There are two types of regret: regret by action, and regret by inaction. Regret by action is regretting a decision or choice that has been made in the past, whereas regret by inaction is a regret caused by a lack of a decision. For shorter periods of time, i.e., within the past year, individuals are more likely to regret actions that they have taken. With the passage of longer periods of time, individuals are much more likely to regret actions that have not been taken. Regret sometimes serves a darker purpose, by allowing us to hide from the deeper pain of remorse. Remorse involves insight into the impact of one’s actions on others. Remorse allows us to become aware of our behavior and wanting to take different actions. When individuals can begin to experience a genuine sense of remorse for their prior actions, something authentic begins to develop therapeutically. The pain experienced with regret may result in refocusing and taking corrective action or pursuing a new path. Regret about our dietary choices can result in a renewed commitment to making healthier choices. When they are fewer opportunities to change a situation, it is more likely that regret can evolve into rumination. Rumination triggers chronic stress, damaging both body and mind. It is often a symptom of mental health disorders, including depression. Researcher Neal Roese, of Northwestern University, is a leader in the field of regret research. His studies of young people have shown that regret is rated more favorably than unfavorably, primarily because of its informational value in motivating corrective action. Roese’s research has revealed that regret fulfills the following

functions: making sense of the world; avoiding future negative behaviors; gaining insight; achieving social harmony; and, improving ability to approach desired opportunities (presumably because we regret past passivity). Thankfully, there are several things that we can do to cope with regret. First, we can harness the functional aspects of regret. Regret is our brain’s way of telling us to consider other options. Regret, after all, is a prominent reason why addicted individuals pursue recovery. We can also decide to find a way to forgive ourselves when a past action results in regret. Consider what you might say to a close friend or family member in a similar situation. Most individuals have an easier time forgiving other individuals, as opposed to themselves. To cope effectively with regret, it is important to not take to much blame for a past decision. After all, circumstances may have served to make it more difficult to make the best choice, based on one’s knowledge at the time. You might have needed to make an important decision under time pressure. Perhaps you were facing multiple stressors when you needed to make a choice. To cope with regret, it frequently helps to reframe a situation more positively. Regret can be an important opportunity to learn important lessons about yourself-such as your values, vulnerabilities, and triggersas well as about other people. If we try to completely avoid regret by inaction, we disengage from relationships, opportunities, and eventually life itself. Ironically enough, this one day will culminate in the deepest degree of regret about paths not pursued.





There are Differences in the types of Home Care Home Care provide a wide range services and assistance that allows individuals to remain in their own homes. There are three business structures of providers who offer in-home care: employment based agencies, registries, and independents . Each is substantially different in how they staff and charge for services as well as who assumes the role of employer and the associated responsibilities of the employer.

- Caregivers are trained prior to being placed in a client’s home and there is ongoing training to ensure caregivers are educated and prepared to deliver quality care

Employment Based Agencies The first option is an employment based agency which may be a corporation. The greatest benefit to hiring a caregiver from an organization that employs its caregivers is the oversight provided and convenience for everyone involved. Once you have met with the company and made the decision to work with the company, the “back office” details are not your responsibility. Tender Loving Family Care, Inc. is an Employment Based Agency.-

Registries The second option is a Registry. Registries build and manage databases of caregivers, but do not actually employ the caregivers. The caregivers often act as 1099-contract labor, but the employment arrangements can vary. If you opt to hire a caregiver from a registry, you should know who assumes the role of employer and who is responsible for employment tax withholdings and the appropriate insurance coverage? Generally, they do not provide training, nor do they ensure a level of caregiving proficiency prior to placing the caregiver. Registries act as a “match maker” and provide viable caregiver personnel options for consumers to consider.

Tender Loving Family Care, Inc. Is a NY State Corporation and a Department of Health Licensed Home Care Service Agency. We employ our caregivers providing oversight and convenience for everyone involved. Once you have met with us and make the decision to work with us, the “back office” details are not your responsibility. The biggest distinctions with our organizations are: - We employ the caregiver and clients are not burdened with the laws and requirements associated with being an employer - Employees have undergone rigorous background checks, interview process, and reference validation - Caregivers are covered by Workers’ Compensation, general liability, and bonding insurance 318


- A large roster of caregivers are available and prepared to “step in’ in the event the regular caregiver is unavailable - Ongoing oversight and involvement from the coordination team

If you choose a registry to provide an inhome caregiver, make sure you understand: Who employs the caregiver Who is responsible for employment tax withholdings What kind of background checks have been run on the caregiver and the outcome of the checks Any and all insurance coverage that may apply to the caregiver in the home The type of training the caregiver may have received and certifications the caregiver may have secured How the caregiver is paid The type of caregiver oversight Independent

Then there is Independent as the name suggests; an individual who is not part of an organizational structure. An independent may be someone you know personally or from the community, or it may be someone who advertises in-home services in the classified section of the newspaper. No matter the source of the independent caregiver, there are implications surrounding hiring an independent that should be considered before securing the relationship. A “plus” in hiring an independent is the hourly rate. Generally, you pay the caregiver less than what you will pay a registry or an employment based agency. However, a lower hourly rate does not always translate into the most cost efficient solution. If you secure an independent to provide in-home care, you are now the employer. That means you are responsible for all employment taxes and deductions for your employee, the caregiver. You also become responsible for securing the appropriate insurance coverage such as Workers’ Compensation in case the caregiver is injured while providing care in the home and general liability insurance in the event the caregiver causes property damage. Most homeowners’ policies do not cover the expenses associated with an injury or damages sustained while a caregiver is in your employ. Beyond the finances, is there a backup caregiver in the event the primary caregiver is ill or unable to care for the individual? Is the individual trained or does he/she have access to training, to accommodate the changing care needs of a client? A lower rate does not always translate to a more cost efficient, or highest quality, care solution.




P & W

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ade Italian sub bread!


fish frys, calamari, shrimp, fish sub


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