RWO March 2017

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A Mother’s Perspective The Heroin Epidemic Pt.2

Law & Hip Hop

Women’s Rights

Estelle O’Connell An Incredible Love Story

Special Feature

Human Trafficking

Kitty VanBortel making car dealing history

THIS REGION IS HOME TO LEADERS. This region is home to motivated people like Katie. Just weeks after Rochester Regional Health’s neurosurgeons removed a life-threatening tumor from her brain, she was back to coaching – leading her girls to victory.

Katie Titus, Webster

How Can this Kitty Sell More Chevys than the Big Fat Cats?


Busy becoming the largest Chevrolet dealer in the Rochester area.

1338 Pittsford-Palmyra Road, Macedon, NY | 585-22-CHEVY |










A MOTHER’S PERSPECTIVE The Heroin Epidemic Pt 2




ALL ABOUT THE H... Descrimination








BADGE OF HONOR The Women Behind The Badge


LAW AND HIP HOP Women’s March












ON THE WAY UP Rain Christie


IN HER OWN WORDS Candice Korts





















rch 2017







HER EDGE Sitima Fowler

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CHRISSY MONROE’S Fashion Forward



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“Solidarity is what we want. We do not want to find fault with each other, but to solidify our forces and say to each other: We must be together; our masters are joined together and we must do the same thing.” - Mary Harris “Mother” Jones


arch is women’s history month...spread the word! As not only Time Magazine’s dealer of the year in 2016, our March cover woman, Kitty Van Bortel is a powerhouse in a prominently male dominated field.. With Van Bortel Subaru, Van Bortel Ford and Van Bortel Chevrolet, Kitty owns and operates not only one of the top selling Subaru dealerships in the nation, but a powerful group of dealerships taking over the Rochester marketplace. Kitty is more than a smart, successful business owner. She is also a well-recognized role model for businesswomen in the greater Rochester area and throughout the nation. Read all about her on pg [ 12].



Our March cover woman, Kitty VanBortel, was shot on location by Karlie Lanni, owner of Lush Light Photography with hair design courtesy of Mary Bushey of Mario’s Hair Salon in Brighton and make-up by Jess Kohlmeir.


As the premier resource for Rochester women, Rochester Woman Online stands in solidarity with those on the front line standing up for us all. In the United States, Women’s History Month traces its beginnings back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. Organizations like PlannedParenthood and the New York Civil Liberties Union should be honored and celebrated for all that they stand for in preserving our fundemntal constitutional rights. The womens march held here is Rochester in February, was democracy at its fullest. Rochester Woman was proud to walk next to our sisters and you can read all about the women’s march in our Law and Hip Hop column on page [82]. Plus, you don’t want to miss our special feature on Planned Parenthood and their local obstacles that we as women have to fight for on pg [46]. In honor of women’s history month, we want to honor the extraordinary achievements of some incredible Rochester women. You can read one amazing story of Estelle O’Connell on pg[ 76 ], whose parents were murdered by a serial killer, or Debbie McQ who starts off our new monthly column called What If with her courageous and empowering story of life on pg [182 ]. Honestly, there are just so many incredible articles and features in this issue, that I am sure you won’t want to stop reading the over 190 pages we are bringing to you this month. Come and join us on March 12th for another Day of Empowering Women...A Little Women’s History event from 12-5pm at the Century Club of Rochester where you can enjoy the ultimate ladies day out with over 70+ vendors, free services and products, sampling and incredible grand prize drawings! Bring all your friends and get extra tickets to win.


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Kelly Breuer Cheryl Kates-Benman Cassondra Kubit Janie Ziemba Kelly Breuer Chris “Goodknews” Cardwell Daniel Delunacy Lush Light Photography Tim Toal Brandon Vick Julia Antenucci Cheryl Kates-Benman Jill Burress Mary Bushey Lisa Cove Rosa Davila Mary Dougherty Tracy Echeverri Mary Therese Friel Gabrielle Hermosa Marisol Hernandez Sarah Itkin Rebecca Jaffarian David Jenkins Sheila Kennedy Julia Khoury Candice Korts Cassondra Kubit Fabrice LeYon Angella Luyk Beth Lynch Tamara MacDuff Michael Massielo Chrissy Monroe Debbie McQ Mary Elizabeth Nesser James Payne Rita Pettinaro Dr. Nate Riddle James Woods, MD Luci Zagari Kelly Breuer Cheryl Kates Julia Antenucci Jessica Kelly

Rochester Woman ONLINE is the premier professional woman’s online publication in the greater Rochester area. Our feature articles address major topics that interest local women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local area women. The electronic magazines are distributed freely through your favorite app store and will be in your inbox electronically by the first week of every month. The publication is available free of charge. Please feel free to contact publisher Kelly Breuer at 585.727.9120 or you can email us at Download our current media kit at www. The magazine is published 12 times a year by Rochester Woman ONLINE. Copyright © 2017 Rochester Woman ONLINE. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publisher. Rochester Woman ONLINE is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of Rochester Woman ONLINE and will not be returned.




With her heavyweight status as a Rochester female entrepreneur and auto industry titan, it’s hard to imagine her as anything other than a success. But only decades ago, Kitty was selling used cars on a dirt lot in the front of her Victor home rental. With relentless drive and challenges both ahead and behind her, Kitty Van Bortel, a woman of determination, mother and breast cancer survivor, vowed to do whatever it took to be at the top of the car sales business in Rochester and the greater United States.

Kitty Van Bortel is a Rochester entrepreneurial legend. If you haven’t purchased a vehicle at one of her dealerships, you’ve certainly heard her name on the radio, or splayed across billboards on 390. Since 1997, her three dealerships, Van Bortel Chevrolet in Macedon, Van Bortel Ford in East Rochester, and Van Bortel Subaru in Victor, have been recognized among the top five largest-volume dealerships in the United States. Recently, Kitty was named TIME Dealer of the Year in 2016.

“I gave up everything to make my business work,” she said. But it wasn’t because Kitty loved selling cars or making money. Indeed, these things are as important as the utility of vehicles themselves in our everyday lives. But what Kitty wanted -- and still wants -- is to help women and the community at large. Since her humble beginnings in 1975, Kitty has used her inexhaustible drive and uncanny sales talent to help empower women on all fronts: whether it’s in the dealership or in the quiet beginnings of their dreams. Kitty began selling cars in 1975. Growing up, her father was a car dealer, owning up to 17 franchises at one time. Looking for a summer job and vehicle to help her cruise through her last summer as a college student, she applied for a sales position at Ridley Ford in Webster.

Although she received her job on the spot, she was later met with opposition when the sales manager informed her that there had indeed been a mistake. They couldn’t hire her without disrupting the current hierarchy in place at the dealership -- namely, she would be the first female salesperson in the history of the dealership. While sitting here in 2017 such a notion seems far off. But only a few short decades ago, women in sales were scant -- particularly in the auto industry. In 1975, women in the auto industry only held administrative positions. In Rochester, there were no women on the front lines selling cars.

But that didn’t make Kitty flinch. At the time, she was attending Welles College, an all-women’s university in the throes of feminist revolution. In addition to her education, Kitty grew up in a household where the sky was the limit. “I was raised in a household where my mother taught us to fight for what we wanted and to never take no for an answer, so limitations never end crossed my mind.” Already unshakeable, Kitty asked the hiring manager if she could meet the fellow sales managers and employees at Ridley Ford. If they liked her and voted in her favor, she would be able to assume her offered position in sales that summer.

Of course, Kitty entered the all-male space and as part-anomaly, part-genuine human being, secured her summer job. She went on to become the top salesperson in her short months at the dealership. At the end of her senior year, she was offered a full-time position with Ridley Ford. These sales skills, on the forefront throughout her illustrious career, are attributed to her keen understanding of others and her proclivity to kindness and curiosity. “I was always friendly and outgoing, and that made it easier for me to sell cars.” And as a student of psychology, Kitty had a keen understanding of human behavior and the underpinnings of human desire.


This ability to observe and understand also helped her to recognize the discrimination that was all around her in the world of car sales. “I noticed that female customers who came into the dealership were often ignored or belittled. And it wasn’t just our customers.” On the administrative end, Kitty noticed that women who worked within car dealerships were strictly young and attractive, and were soon replaced with other younger, more attractive women as time went on.

So to get where she wanted to be, Kitty sold her comfortable home in Brighton for an upstairs rental at a home in Victor, which soon became the sales location for her used car business. Her remarkable rags to riches tale took off from there. After a few years of making a name for herself, Kitty considered her mission: to help women. And she remembered Subaru.

As a woman in my mid-twenties, this dystopian, Mad Men-esque world where women had to be voted into their sales positions by an overwhelmingly male team seems far off and quite frankly, absurd. But this was the norm, and at first, Kitty found the antics to be entertaining. As a woman who didn’t take no for an answer, the subtle, misogyny imposed roadblocks seemed to be things Kitty stepped over, unphased. Her career at Ridley Ford proved to be a springboard to even greater heights in the world of car sales. After a few years making a name for herself, she was offered a sales manager position at Mercedes/BMW. This, to Kitty, seemed like the pinnacle of her young career. During the 80s, the Mercedes/BMW franchise was one of the most appealing, highly successful franchises to be apart of. And as a sales manager at the franchise, she saw massive success. 14


“It was an exciting time to be selling cars,” she said. Eventually, she received an opportunity to become general manager of the dealership. Alongside her in the running was an older male colleague that she had grown to trust as a fellow employee and friend. While he ultimately received the promotion, Kitty continued to work hard and rake in the sales in her original position. Months later, her friend and now-superior called her into his office. He fired her, and informed her that he would be replacing Kitty with a team of male employees. “At that point, it wasn’t funny anymore. I had it. And I realized, at that point, there was no way I could work for anyone else.” While a unconscionable display of discrimination, this setback was to ultimately define Kitty’s career and ignite the fire that led to her numerous successes.

“I learned that in order to move forward, sometimes you have to be willing to take several steps back.” So to get where she wanted to be, Kitty sold her comfortable home in Brighton for an upstairs rental at a home in Victor, which soon became the sales location for her used car business.

Her remarkable rags to riches tale took off from there. After a few years of making a name for herself, Kitty considered her mission: to help women. And she remembered Subaru. In addition to Mercedes/BMW, her old employer and friend also managed a local Subaru dealership. Kitty saw great value in Subaru vehicles. At the time, without the availability for hybrids there weren’t many options between often too-large trucks and ultra-expensive Audi Quattros. “To me, the Subaru was an incredible vehicle for women.” Recognizing the value of the franchise, Kitty set out to raise the funds to open a Subaru dealership of her own. But this venture, of course, was met with a number of roadblocks. Despite her successes, the banks were reluctant to place their trust in the business, and she was seemingly unable to find the proper funding for the time.




Along the road to success, we meet people who, in their faith and their willingness to recognize the potential of a person or situation, gives us the chance we need to hit the ground running. For Kitty, this person was George Hamlin of Canandaigua National Bank. While he was able to bring her venture to his board, they initially voted against it. In a last ditch effort, he secured a lunch between Kitty and two of the board members. This was a pivotal moment, one that would decide the fate of her future Subaru dealership.

“I realized that this was it. This was exactly what I had envisioned for my future every night before I went to sleep. From what everyone was wearing to the beautiful cars. I did it.” And the keys to her success? There are two sides to the coin that brought Kitty to where she is today: empathy and a fierce competitive edge.

“I went into the bathroom of the restaurant and looked in the mirror and said to myself: ‘You’ve got an hour to do the best selling job you’ve ever done in your life.’” Kitty’s present success is a spoiler alert of her triumph during that lunch in and of itself. After securing the financial backing she needed, Kitty was determined to make her Subaru dealership the top distributor in the United States. In 1997, that dream became a reality. This isn’t the first time someone is telling this story. With a simple Google search, you’ll find countless rehashes of the trials and tribulations of Kitty Van Bortel throughout her incredible career. But for Kitty, what she really wants people to take away from her story is the understanding that as far as success goes -- especially for women -- there are no limits. 16


“You have to have clarity of your goals and envision what it would be like to have that success every single day,” she said. In the throes of Subaru Victor’s success, Kitty looked around one day at the comfortable hum of the sales floor, of the sales managers in their professional dress and the happy customers, and she had a poignant realization. “I realized that this was it. This was exactly what I had envisioned for my future every night before I went to sleep. From what everyone was wearing to the beautiful cars. I did it.” And the keys to her success? There are two sides to the coin that brought Kitty to where she is today: empathy and a fierce competitive edge. “I’ve always been an empathetic person, and I really think that’s made a difference. My life’s work is more about helping others than anything else, and having a kind heart and a

larger purpose really takes you where you need to be.” But her kind heart doesn’t dampen the flame of her tenacity and competitive edge. “You have to want to win,” she said. “And you have to do whatever it takes to get there, even if it means taking a few steps backwards. No isn’t an option, you can’t let that stop you.”

While discrimination in the workplace isn’t quite as blatant as it was in the 70s and 80s, women still face a number of invisible roadblocks that create the proverbial glass ceiling we are constantly trying to break through. But if there’s anything, I, a young woman in the beginnings of my career, can glean from Kitty and her remarkable career, it’s that the only thing stronger than that glass ceiling is your own willingness and determination to transcend it.

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ADDICTION. A word that has become

way too common in our vocabulary. We all know that addiction has taken a part in our lives one way or the other but do we really know what addiction is? The word “addiction” is derived from a Latin term “enslaved by” or “bound to.” Anyone struggling to overcome addiction, or has tried to help someone else to do so understands why. We see the struggle, we feel the frustration, we are “enslaved by it” on a daily basis as we try to navigate through our lives with the powerful influence of addiction. Addiction has a powerful hold on the brain; the actual addiction manifests in three distinct ways; craving for the object of addiction (most commonly heroin), loss of control over its 20


use, and continuing usage with it despite the adverse consequences. I believe that stigma surrounding heroin today is from studies used for many years where experts believed that only alcohol and powerful drugs could cause addiction and with this idea, addiction was treated by punishing the person by encouraging them that they can overcome addiction. They have the willpower to overcome addiction, and that addiction was a moral failing on that person. Somehow we believe they are lacking in willpower, that addiction was just a habit. We have gone as far as kicking them out of the house, using tough love. We have stopped looking at them as people with an illness and decided that they deserve exactly what they get because they choose to do drugs.

Addiction changes the brain, first by subverting the way it registers pleasure and then by corrupting other normal functions, such as learning and motivation. Today it is safe to say, with many studies, we can reasonably recognize addiction as a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function. Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain. This happens as the brain goes through a series of changes, beginning with recognition of pleasure and ending with a drive toward compulsive and erratic behavior. *The brain registers all pleasures in the same way, whether they originate with a psychoactive drug, a monetary reward, a




sexual encounter, or a satisfying meal. In the brain, pleasure has a distinct signature: the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a cluster of nerve cells lying underneath the cerebral cortex (see illustration). Dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens is so consistently tied with pleasure that neuroscientists refer to the region as the brain’s pleasure center. All drugs of abuse, from nicotine to heroin, cause a particularly powerful surge of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. The likelihood that the use of a drug or participation in a rewarding activity will lead to addiction is directly linked to the speed with which it promotes dopamine release, the intensity of that release, and the reliability of that release.

Even taking the same drug through different methods of administration can influence how likely it is to lead to addiction. Smoking a drug or injecting it intravenously, as opposed to swallowing it as a pill, for example, generally produces a faster, stronger dopamine signal and is more likely to lead to drug misuse.


Addictive drugs such as Heroin, provides a shortcut to the brain’s reward system by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine. The hippocampus lays down memories of this rapid sense of satisfaction, and the amygdala creates a conditioned response to certain stimuli. Scientists once believed that the experience of pleasure alone was enough to prompt people to continue seeking an addictive substance or

activity. Recent studies show that the situation is more complicated. Dopamine not only contributes to the experience of pleasure, but also plays a role in learning and memory—two key elements in the transition from liking something to becoming addicted to it. *According to the current theory about addiction, dopamine interacts with another neurotransmitter, glutamate, to take over the brain’s system of reward-related learning. This system has an important role in sustaining life because it links activities needed for human survival (such as eating and sex) with pleasure and reward. Repeated exposure to a substance such as Heroin causes the nerve cells in the accumbens and




{ A MOTHERS PERSPECTIVE } the prefrontal cortex, to stop communicating normally and creates a process of wanting and an urgent need to go after it. The main goal of this process is to take action out of the source of pleasure. (Basically, the addiction drives the person to chase after that first high where the brain registered the mighty euphoric bliss and numbness they seek.) Over time, the brain adapts to “chasing this high” in a way that actually makes the sought-after substance or activity less pleasurable. Addictive drugs and behaviors provide shortcuts, flooding the brain with dopamine. Our brains do not have an easy way to process these feelings, emotions, memories and “this need” for the drugs. For example, addictive drugs can release two to ten times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards do. A person who becomes addicted, the brain receptors start to become overwhelmed, so the brains natural defense responds by producing less dopamine or as the person becomes chemically addicted, the brain eliminates the receptors response and dopamine stops being released completely. This is why the addictive drug has less impact on the brains reward system and the person becomes chemically dependent at this point; which causes the “chase and the intense need”. In turn, the person takes more and more of the substance, an effect known as “tolerance”. Now compulsion takes over. The pleasure associated with the addictive drug or behavior disappears—yet, the memory of the desired effect and the need to recreate it (the cravings) persists. The “normal processing system” of the brain is no longer functioning. It’s almost as if the person becomes someone else; their reasoning is gone and the choice to make rational decisions based on “right and wrong” is non-existent. The learning process mentioned earlier also comes into play. The hippocampus and the amygdala store information about environmental cues associated with the desired substance, so that it can be located again. These memories help create a conditioned response—intense craving—whenever the person encounters those environmental cues. Cravings contribute not only to addiction but most importantly, relapse too. A person addicted to heroin may be in danger of relapse when he sees a hypodermic needle, for example, while another person might start to drink again after seeing a bottle of whiskey. Conditioned learning and these memories helps explain why people who develop an addiction are at high risk of relapse even after years of abstinence. In layman’s terms, from my own research and understanding of this process, it is safe

to say that memory plays a huge role in addiction. These memories can be compared to traumatic memories stored. Addicted behavior, for example, makes a person do things they never would have without the addiction. We rationalize this behavior as “I don’t recognize my son/daughter anymore”; because they literally are not the same. Their brain at this point has changed. It is held hostage by the processing of memories and information, only needing and intensely craving the substance. A joyous occasion can be stored and processed in our brains “normally”; a memory we can automatically bring up and explain the joyous feeling we experienced from that occasion. It is very easy to explain to another person how much fun we had, the laughs we shared etc. A traumatic experience, on the other hand is not processed “normally”, it cannot automatically bring up or explain the negative feelings we experienced because it is visually attached in our brains. Meaning, that we cannot make another person understand how we feel. We only know that we feel it, and that it can drive us to sheer panic. For example, we witness our child overdose and we see them being revived by Narcan. We are relived that they made it through this time, but the emotion and negative feeling we attached to the actual memory of seeing the overdose can haunt us in many ways and affect our lives. Sometimes we block these memories out and don’t understand why we are depressed, lifeless, hopeless, and angry; and the list goes on. We are at this point driven by the negative emotions we attached to that specific memory. I firmly believe that the addicted person suffers from this process continuously. We may see them become different, they actually experience it. They are compacting one negative memory after another daily by using the drug and also by doing things just to get the drug. If we actually pay attention to their words, their self-loathing, their beliefs that they will never be able to stop this demon and their negativity to the world we can clearly see the effects the drugs and the actual addiction has done to them. It is a very sad and vivacious cycle. They develop patterns and have intense mood swings. Their bodies become sickly in appearance, they develop poor hygiene habits and just don’t care about anything, not even their own life. The intensity of the need is all that they can process and everything and everyone takes a back seat to the addiction. Having gone through my own traumatic memories and PTSD symptoms of my son’s addiction, I have explored many ways to overcome this depression and deep sorrow that has held me hostage over the past few

years. I have reached out to doctors, therapists and psychologists for my own healing. I have explored EMDR, TAPPING (EFT) and most recently Aroma Freedom Technique (AFT). I personally have experienced the most healing from the AFT technique, and in my opinion, so far has been the most beneficial to getting right to the heart of the situation and releasing the negative emotions I attached to my own experiences. Before I explain the technique, let’s explore the modalities used by health care professionals for people suffering from trauma and PTSD. EMDR-Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a psychotherapy that helps people heal from the emotional distress that are the result of traumatic and disturbing life experiences. Studies show that by using EMDR therapy, the mind can in fact heal from trauma. It is assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can heal by removing blocks in the information processing system in the brain. The imbalance caused by the traumatic event/s, if left untreated can cause intense suffering. EMDR therapy uses a detailed protocol and procedures for clinicians to help clients activate these “memories” and help them through to their natural healing process. TAPPING (EFT)-A basic technique that requires you to focus on the negative emotion: fear, panic, anger, sorrow; basically anything that is bothering you daily. While concentrating and using your mental focus on the issue or emotion at hand, you are also using your fingertips to tap numerous times on the body’s meridian points. The important rule here is to keep that concentration on the emotion of the memory, not the actual memory itself. We are at this point, to resolve the negative emotion, trying to access your body’s energy and trying to restore it back to a balanced state. In my opinion only, these two modalities did not work for me personally. Studies show that they have had great success with both techniques, but I did not resolve much. The way I look at the situation is that both techniques did not concentrate on the actual memory which causes the emotional sabotage of our minds. I became more depressed daily and got to a point in my life I couldn’t even move off the couch. I felt hopeless, depressed and cried daily. I was paralyzed by the events that happened. That is when AFT was introduced to me. Aroma Freedom Technique (AFT) - The Aroma Freedom Technique is a powerful new modality for releasing the emotional blocks and limiting beliefs that hold us back from life and creating this unbalanced cycle of


depression, sorrow and anger. By using the sense of smell, he has identified one of the key ingredients in a “satisfying/reward’ system part of life in our brain. Whether it is the smell of food cooking, perfume of someone we love, or any of the millions of smells, we gain a deep sense of comfort or joy. It is also the same as with “bad smells”, they trigger some deep emotional feeling with in us that we don’t even notice. These “good or bad” smells are attached to memories. AFT was developed by Dr. Benjamin Perkus, Clinical Psychologist, based upon his 20 years of experience integrating therapeutic grade, pure essential oils with traditional psychological and psychology techniques. Dr. Perkus has incorporated his extensive knowledge and experience in psychotherapy by integrating the power of essential oil blends specifically designed to speak to the amygdala gland for release of traumatic emotions, by allowing someone to open the “door” to these traumatic events without further injury, thus allowing the person to experience a positive shift once the negative emotion tied to the memory is released. The Aroma Freedom Technique is 24


still in its infancy stage and no research is shown to validate this technique; also noted that since its birth, AFT has had favorable responses from hundreds of testimonials across the nation and internationally. Health care providers are also finding this technique very favorable with clients as they become certified in AFT and use the technique in their daily practices. I personally have had tremendous positive results by incorporating this technique daily in my life. I was able to finally open my traumatic events and release the emotions attached to them. I still struggle, but with continued use on a daily basis, I feel empowered instead of broken. I cannot speak highly enough about it. I am so thankful for this technique that I became certified in it immediately and have taken a step further to sign up and continue with my education on this with Dr. Perkus. In conclusion, with a few key notes and questions…it is safe to say that addiction can be linked to traumatic injury that reoccurs daily with the addicted person. Can we as a whole consider the possibility that we should concentrate on treating recovery with

trauma/PTSD methods of therapy verses the traditional therapy used today? So far we are certain that punishing the addict, or tough love does not work. I will also go as far to say that detox and rehab facilities don’t work, along with faith based treatment programs and the 12 step programs. Relapse is a constant reminder that there is an important key element missing. Is it possible we need to shift our thinking to using these modalities as a way of treatment for a higher chance of full recovery and a higher success rate? Is it possible that the answer is so simple and staring at us all along? *Overcoming Addiction: Paths toward recovery **EMDR Institute, INC. ***WHAT IS EFT, TAPPING.COM ****AROMA FREEDOM TECHNIQUE, AFT, by Dr. Benjamin Perkus, Clinical Psychologist and Author of The Aroma Freedom Technique


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“...He looked at us, both of us, me and Paul, and said, ‘You guys are a bunch of f---ing f----ts.’”

It’s been almost a month and Jim Eskildsen can still feel the sting of those words and the brutal beating that left him with a broken nose and eye socket, bruised ribs and other physical injuries, not to mention the mental and emotional scars.

He and a friend had met at the Victor Village Inn for a night of beer and karaoke. Eskildsen says they were having a great time and decided to go outside for a little fresh air. They had only been outside for a short time when he says two men approached them, yelled the gay slur and attacked them. It was over almost as quickly as it started, but that wasn’t the end. Eskildsen went back in to get his coat and left. He says the men came back, but this time with a third man and the beating started all over again. “I was tackled... slammed to the ground, punched, kicked. I basically couldn’t do anything,” Eskildsen said. I sat down with him and his fiancée two weeks after this happened. Throughout the hour or so that we talked I could hear the raw emotions in his words… sometimes sheer anger. Other times I could sense his shock and humiliation. How could this 40 year old - who looks more like 30-something, athletic build, soccer player, engaged man – be brutally beaten because he was presumed gay. He is heterosexual, but so what if he was gay? I kept asking myself, he’s a Caucasian male and he was subjected to the same hatred and bigotry that African Americans, Jews and now Muslims have faced. Eskildsen puts it best: “If it can happen to me a White heterosexual can happen to anybody, it can happen anywhere.” I keep hearing those words and it leaves a chilling picture in my mind about this America where hate seems to be on the rise in places as small as Victor, NY all the way to Orlando, Florida where a lone gunman opened fire last summer in a crowded night club frequented by L.G.B.T. people. He left 49 people dead. Forty-nine people lost their lives why? As Eskildsen puts it…”over a man’s hate.” I ask myself how could these people think their hatred justifies their actions? The most recent statistics collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation show members of the are twice as likely to be targeted as African-Americans, and the

rate of hate crimes against them has surpassed that of crimes against Jews. Of the 5850 hate crimes in 2015, 1053 were hate crimes based on sexual orientation and 664 of those were based on an anti-gay male bias. But beyond the statistics maybe it’s time to begin asking ourselves the question, what kind of America do we want to live in? Do we want to tolerate hatred of this magnitude whether it’s based on race, sexual orientation, religion, gender or ethnicity. I remember when Trayvon Martin, an AfricanAmerican 17 year old was killed in Sanford, Florida, in 2012. His killing outraged people from coast to coast. This case was tried in the courts and the shooter George Zimmerman was acquitted on self-defense grounds. But I can’t help but imagine That the teen who was wearing a hoodie, was “perceived” as threatening. So I had “the talk” with my son - who was 18 at the time and who loved wearing hoodies - about how he dresses and the image he portrays. Thinking that if you look innocent you’re less likely to have those kinds of issues. But I wonder should Eskildsen’s mother have had “the talk” with her son? Would it have spared him if she had warned that people in 2017 when it is legal for same sex couples to marry, might perceive two men singing karaoke and making fun of each other as gay and attack them? No! No mother should have to have any talk with her child to protect him or her from America’s hatred and bigotry. This country was founded on freedom – that everyone has the right to freely pursue his or her own happiness without fear of reprisal. So what’s next America? How many more of these hate crimes can we stomach before we take a stand like Eskildsen and say this is wrong. When will we compel lawmakers to put more teeth in the hate crimes laws and our law enforcement leaders to train officers to treat these crimes seriously so people will have the courage to report them. When will we begin to talk to one another, lay our differences on the table and have a conversation. Maybe I’m idealistic, but I believe at the end of the day we are more alike than we are different! ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017





of Church and State of Mind: Discrimination Masquerading as Religious Freedom & Superiority ***

They say it’s best to avoid talking about religion and politics so as not to offend anyone. You know - political correctness and all. The thing is, I’m not a politician and political correctness is just another form of restrictive social “bs” in my book. If I held my tongue every time there was potential for someone to find what I have to share offensive, I’d never speak publicly again. Having said that, it is my goal to offer useful information, insight, and provide opinions in thoughtful, respectful ways, which are least likely to be off-putting. When I get things wrong, I’m always grateful to be called on it. Feedback and criticism are welcome and appreciated. Some seek to shame and control people. My passion is to enlighten and empower, starting with you...

interested in what I have to share. Conversely, some people go out of their way to let me know they will “never accept people like me,” tell me what a “terrible, terrible person” I am, explain why I’m the living embodiment of “sin,” intentionally misgender me, and unapologetically call me disparaging names. I’m happy to say that this only represents a very small percentage of the people I share face time with during my adventures in outreach work. When you put yourself out there, some people are going to judge and take shots at you. Strangely, this seems especially true if your message is that of love, kindness, explaining human diversity, and the many benefits to be gained by building inclusive, supportive, collaborative communities.

You may recall reports of Christian owned bakeries refusing service to gay and lesbian couples, citing religious beliefs. A few years ago, these reports were heavily debated in the news and social media. To some, the whole argument might seem trivial, I mean, why not just do business with another bakery, right? That’s not the point, but for most people it may seem like a complete non-issue.

People fear what they don’t understand and attack what they fear. To properly explore these issues, it will be helpful to first understand some of the human psychology at work.

As a transgender woman, public speaker and human rights advocate, I meet all kinds of people. The overwhelming majority treats me with dignity and respect and seems genuinely

Insane as it may sound, sometimes people are more comfortable remaining in fear of the unknown or misunderstood, rather than learning the truth about things. It’s called “willful ignorance.” Look it up and you’ll find plenty of useful, interesting information, and much written about the psychology behind it. In my opinion, offers one of the better-worded definitions:

“willful ignorance (noun): The practice or act of intentional and blatant avoidance, disregard or disagreement with facts, empirical evidence and well-founded arguments because they oppose or contradict your own existing personal beliefs.” A major contributing factor of willful ignorance is the cognitive dissonance that sets in when information contradicts one’s beliefs, dogma or subjective “understanding” of things. This was mentioned before and worth repeating because it’s the foundation of cause preventing people (of opposing views) from getting along and playing nice. The definition: “cognitive dissonance (noun): The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.” Please keep this in mind as you continue reading - particularly, “attitude change.” Cognitive dissonance can be so intolerably uncomfortable that most people will do just about anything to avoid it, including choosing to believe a lie over truth (as in: willful ignorance). It’s part of the human experience, but doesn’t have to prevent us from learning, growing and becoming better people for taking the initiative. The choice is ours. It’s not easy, but choosing to ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017


{ ALL ABOUT THE H... } learn & evolve or at least keep an open mind is always the correct move. All knowledge is power and I’m all about empowering people. Before moving forward, I want to make a very clear distinction between religion and a person’s subjective religious views, practices and beliefs therein. It’s a common misconception that religion (often noted: Christianity) is at odds with LGBTQ people. Some religious organizations and communities strictly adhere to a “formal decree” against LGBTQ people. I’m happy to say that as humanity grows and evolves, this is becoming less true. I’m regularly invited to speak at churches and places of worship by communities seeking to learn more about human diversity, become more inclusive and supportive, and let everyone know they are welcome to join in celebration of God, faith, and love. It’s equally important to note that what someone is raised to believe has significant influence over his or her thoughts, feelings, opinions and level of comfort about perceived differences in others. The older one gets, the more difficult it becomes to allow the introduction of new information and knowledge that contradicts life-long beliefs that have become integral to self-identity. Most young people today don’t stand in judgement of differences in others, but rather view them as (in)significant as differences in eye color or hand dominance. Older folks (myself included) can learn a lot by observing our youth with an open mind and passing less judgement. Last fall during a medical conference at the University of Rochester, I wound up on the receiving end of a rather condescending complaint made by one of the vendors. One of the two women with whom I was conversing on and off, appeared noticeably uncomfortable with me. I’m used to being misunderstood and welcomed the opportunity to allow her to get to know me a little and hopefully ease her discomfort. She challenged me on aspects of being transgender, which I was happy to explain. Even as I attempted to thoughtfully and carefully address her questions, she continued looking for fault. The exchange seemed productive at times, but my failure to make a connection and open her mind was becoming clearer with each passing moment. In what felt like an effort to let me know that I was an undesirable “other”, she concluded our conversation by contemptuously expressing, “how terrible that any business might be required by law to provide a service to a gay couple.” “Gay” and “transgender” are two very different things. The former is about sexual orientation (who you want to sleep with) and latter has to do with gender identity (who you want to sleep as). Everyone has both a sexual orientation and gender identity, regardless of how they identify.



Before walking away, the (self-identified) Christian woman felt it necessary to justify her discomfort and disapproval of me by expressing how wrong she felt it was for a Christian-owned catering service to face legal action for refusing to do business with a couple because they’re gay and believe that to be a “sin against God.” How nice it would be if these issues were limited to just wedding cakes and pastries. How about denying someone medical treatment based on personal opinions and the right to practice “religious freedom” in doing so? Should doctors, nurses and medical care providers be allowed to legally refuse treatment to people on the grounds that doing so violates their religious beliefs? December, 2016, District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the government can’t require medical providers or insurance companies to treat or provide coverage for things that “violate

their religious beliefs.” The Christian medical associations and insurance providers behind the lawsuit argued that providing gender transitionrelated, abortion and abortion-related healthcare services would constitute “material cooperation with evil,” and that the law should recognize these beliefs to be of greater importance than a patient’s right to receive such medical treatment. Discovery of this ruling was rather alarming. I’m used to random strangers targeting me in the crosshairs of judgment with various forms of disdainful sentiment because I’m transgender and visibly so. It’s not pleasant and I have a pretty thick skin, but this kind of primeval culturally ingrained arrogance does indeed have numerous negative consequences that cisgender people (meaning people who are not transgender - 99.5% of the population) are privileged to never experience. Unless of course, they’re mistaken for being transgender, which I touched upon in last month’s column

{ ALL ABOUT THE H... } transition. Those of us who need to transition but lack the means necessary, end up suffering the effects of gender dysphoria with greater severity and intensity over time. This causes depression, feelings of hopelessness, contributes to social rejection, increases potential to underperform at work, difficulty obtaining employment and consequently becoming a burden to the very system that stacks the deck against us by design. About one in two transgender people have or will attempt suicide. My own suicide attempts landed me in a psychiatric hospital years ago. Transgender people are not genetically predispositioned to self-destruct, but rather many of us lack the means to successfully transition, and struggle with the agonizing effects of gender dysphoria and frequent social rejection. When married lesbian couple Krista and Jami Contreras brought their newborn baby, Bay, in to see Dr. Vesna Roi at Eastlake Pediatrics in Roseville, Michigan, they were instead greeted by another doctor. Dr. Karam said, “I’ll be your doctor. I’ll be seeing you today because Dr. Roi decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won’t be able to care for Bay.” Jami explained that, “Dr. Karam told us [Dr. Roi] didn’t even come to the office that morning because she didn’t want to see us.” After word of this spread, Dr. Roi apologized for not meeting them in person that day and added that, “I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships that I normally do with my patients.”

about anti-transgender bathroom legislation and consequences of legalizing discrimination. While researching Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling in greater depth, I discovered that the original report I read contained what I refer to as “freight-framing” of information that was probably intended to scare and enrage transgender people and women who have had abortions. It was certainly very stress-inducing to me. Although factually reported, I don’t think the fear-framing treatment to was necessary to effectively raise red flags. Reading the actual ruling was very concerning on its own. I’m tremendously grateful for the efforts of LGBTQ rights (human rights) advocates, activists and allies, but don’t appreciate intentional use of fear tactics to do so. In my opinion, that kind of “advocacy” does more harm than good. To say I’m beyond disgusted with the whole political-reporting game of smoke and mirrors,

fear mongering and sensationalism (from both sides) would be a profound understatement. It’s incredibly difficult to make progress with so many focused on demonizing the other side rather than engaging in important discussions about the realities and figuring out how to bring diverse communities together in ways that support and strengthen the potential for everyone to collectively thrive. It’s very troubling that the exercise of “religious freedom” can play any role (legal or personal) that inhibits ease of access to medical care and foster the illusion of “sin against God” based on a person’s state of being, or suggest that fellow human beings are “abominations” because of subjective interpretation of religious texts, practices and consequent upbringing. The current negative perception of transgender people significantly limits access to affordable medical treatment necessary to successfully

Who would want to risk their precious newborn baby not receiving the best possible medical care from a doctor who has “prayed on it” and passed such a judgement, because the baby has parents that violate her religious beliefs... because they are lesbians? So just work with the other doctor or find a different practice that genuinely puts humanity first, right? Again, that’s not the point. It’s like a privileged white person telling a person of color, “Why would you want to drink out of the whites-only drinking fountain when there’s a ‘colored’ drinking fountain around somewhere?” You know, because, “some people are just lesser than others and that’s what I was raised to believe and sucks to be you, so just deal with it.” What century is this again? In a time when people believed the world was flat, women suspected of witchcraft were routinely murdered, and trepanning (drilling a hole through someone’s skull to “let evil spirits out”) was performed to cure mental disorders, it’s understandable that religious belief and superstition were significant contributing factors in how people judged and (mis)treated each other. How is this still culturally acceptable today? The short answer is that there’s a shrinking but ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017


{ ALL ABOUT THE H... } about anti-transgender bathroom legislation and consequences of legalizing discrimination. While researching Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling in greater depth, I discovered that the original report I read contained what I refer to as “freight-framing” of information that was probably intended to scare and enrage transgender people and women who have had abortions. It was certainly very stress-inducing to me. Although factually reported, I don’t think the fear-framing treatment to was necessary to effectively raise red flags. Reading the actual ruling was very concerning on its own. I’m tremendously grateful for the efforts of LGBTQ rights (human rights) advocates, activists and allies, but don’t appreciate intentional use of fear tactics to do so. In my opinion, that kind of “advocacy” does more harm than good. To say I’m beyond disgusted with the whole political-reporting game of smoke and mirrors, fear mongering and sensationalism (from both sides) would be a profound understatement. It’s incredibly difficult to make progress with so many focused on demonizing the other side rather than engaging in important discussions about the realities and figuring out how to bring diverse communities together in ways that support and strengthen the potential for everyone to collectively thrive. It’s very troubling that the exercise of “religious freedom” can play any role (legal or personal) that inhibits ease of access to medical care and foster the illusion of “sin against God” based on a person’s state of being, or suggest that fellow human beings are “abominations” because of subjective interpretation of religious texts, practices and consequent upbringing. The current negative perception of transgender people significantly limits access to affordable medical treatment necessary to successfully transition. Those of us who need to transition but lack the means necessary, end up suffering the effects of gender dysphoria with greater severity and intensity over time. This causes depression, feelings of hopelessness, contributes to social rejection, increases potential to underperform at work, difficulty obtaining employment and consequently becoming a burden to the very system that stacks the deck against us by design. About one in two transgender people have or will attempt suicide. My own suicide attempts landed me in a psychiatric hospital years ago. Transgender people are not genetically predispositioned to self-destruct, but rather many of us lack the means to successfully transition, and struggle with the agonizing effects of gender dysphoria and frequent social rejection. When married lesbian couple Krista and Jami Contreras brought their newborn baby, Bay, in to see Dr. Vesna Roi at Eastlake Pediatrics in 32


Roseville, Michigan, they were instead greeted by another doctor. Dr. Karam said, “I’ll be your doctor. I’ll be seeing you today because Dr. Roi decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won’t be able to care for Bay.” Jami explained that, “Dr. Karam told us [Dr. Roi] didn’t even come to the office that morning because she didn’t want to see us.” After word of this spread, Dr. Roi apologized for not meeting them in person that day and added that, “I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships that I normally do with my patients.” Who would want to risk their precious newborn baby not receiving the best possible medical care from a doctor who has “prayed on it” and passed such a judgement, because the baby has parents that violate her religious beliefs... because they are lesbians? So just work with the other doctor or find a different practice that genuinely puts humanity first, right? Again, that’s not the point. It’s like a privileged white person telling a person of color, “Why would you want to drink out of the whites-only drinking fountain when there’s a ‘colored’ drinking fountain around somewhere?” You know, because, “some people are just lesser than others and that’s what I was raised to believe and sucks to be you, so just deal with it.” What century is this again? In a time when people believed the world was flat, women suspected of witchcraft were routinely murdered, and trepanning (drilling a hole through someone’s skull to “let evil spirits out”) was performed to cure mental disorders, it’s understandable that religious belief and superstition were significant contributing factors in how people judged and (mis)treated each other. How is this still culturally acceptable today? The short answer is that there’s a shrinking but still significant minority of people working diligently to perpetuate ideals they feel are righteous in spite of the tremendous hardship it causes others. Unfortunately, some of these people are highly influential elected officials or community leaders in positions of power who regularly (ab)use their ability to mislead, manipulate and control their followers. Now there IS good news and plenty of it. Research conducted by the Professional Relations and Research Institute (PRRI) drawn from a data set of 40,509 interviews conducted throughout 2016 as part of their American Values Atlas, reveals that most American religious groups support same-sex marriage and oppose religiously based service refusals. Americans are increasingly in favor of equality for all. I think we’re entering into a phase of “extinction burst” in regard to perpetuation and legal

enforcement of many of these long-held practices of discrimination. In other words, a faction of the ruling elite is attempting to seize control, increase pressure and utilize forceful means to roll back the clock to more oppressive times... and more and more people are making it known such treatment toward fellow human beings will no longer be tolerated. Be mindful of influential “leaders” who prey upon good people by co-opting religion and faith with toxic rhetoric that divides communities and perpetuate “otherness.” And please, please do not stand in judgment of people who exhibit discriminatory behavior in what they genuinely believe to be “right” in accordance with their upbringing. Remember what I shared about cognitive dissonance. I can’t stress enough, the importance of having thoughtful, respectful conversations about these things in ways that do not alienate our fellow human beings in the process. There’s a big difference between someone trying to intentionally deceive, and someone trying to live according to what they believe. The latter deserves the respect from each of us that we want to see extended to all of humanity, despite perceived differences. This does not mean we should tolerate discriminatory behavior. Ignorance (willful or unintentional) is no excuse. It means we figure out ways to correct poor behavior during a process of change that may feel uncomfortable and scary. It’s not easy, but very much worth the effort. Humanity is totally worth it! We have to get involved and do the work. And we will work through this, create a healthier society and collectively thrive together. Believe. This concludes my short lived, and hopefully thoroughly enjoyed, monthly contribution to Rochester Woman Online. It has been an honor and I’m filled with gratitude for the experience! I want to thank publisher Kelly Breuer and editor Cheryl Kates-Benman for extending an invitation to join the amazing team of writers and contributors. Thank you so much for the warm welcome, support, and incredible adventure as a fellow Rochester Woman. And thank you for providing inspiration to the whole community as hardworking, successful, stylish and super cool business women of Rochester. Thank you, thank you, thank you Rochester Woman Online readers for allowing me to be a part of your day! I know, we were just starting to get to know each other. I’d love to hear from you - thoughts, comments, criticism, questions. My email is my first and last name at (no spaces, dashes or underscores), or just do a quick online search for “Gabrielle Hermosa”, and you’ll find contact options. To loosely quote Dr. Seuss: “Don’t be sad it’s over. Be grateful it happened.”

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One of the most interesting things involved in the aftermath of the Trump election is the subliminal assault on women’s rights. Women are not taking it lying down as evidenced by the massive turn out at marches across the nation. Women are appalled by the things which occurred during the election including the Trump’s very public comment, “Grab her by the pussy”, This started the pink pussy hat movement in which women everywhere were sporting pink hats to show solidarity.



Planned Parenthood, a women’s sexual healthcare provider for decades, finds itself at the front-line of the women’s movement. Planned Parenthood is one of the leading reproductive and sexual healthcare providers in the nation, with more than 10 million activists, supporters and donors nationwide (2). The mission of the organization is to protect fundamental rights of all people throughout the world allowing each individual to manage their own fertility without a focus on race, income, sexual orientation, age nationality, origin or residence ( 2). There is a need to protect the right to privacy and to enforce the lack of governmental interference into decision regarding one’s fertility (2). As one of the leading healthcare providers, Planned Parenthood’s service to the community must be preserved as they provide in one year, 650,000 HIV tests, 4.2 million STD tests, 270,000 pap smears, and 360,000 breast exams which are vital for preventative services (2). 1 in 5 women have accessed Planned Parenthood’s services at least once in their lifetime ( 2). They serve 5 million people nationwide in one year ( 2). Planned Parenthood provided services ensuring 80% of unwanted pregnancies don’t happen ( 2). Although Planned Parenthood is an abortion provider, only 3 % of their actual services are attributed to performing abortions ( 2). In 2016, Planned Parenthood marked 100 years in service to communities ( 2). Why would such an established service now be

in jeopardy? Hidden agendas. The use of terms such as the Affordable Care Act and the slighted attempt to defund this organization is a national issue for women across the country to worry about and should be take very seriously. It is the very means for the nation to take a step back and pay attention to what is really going on. Planned Parenthood contributes 650 healthcare facilities to the community (2). They provide preventative primary care, prevent unintended pregnancies, provide contraception, decrease the spread of STD infections, and screen for cervical and other forms of cancer ( 2). Planned Parenthood understands women’s needs and there motto is women should have “the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams , with no ceilings and no limits” (2). In Western NY, Betty Defazio, Executive Director of the Action Fund at Planned Parenthood indicates Planned Parenthood here in Rochester/Western NY region services an 18 county region with 10 health centers, one mobile unit serving approximately 31,000 women, men and teens. What is alarming of the recent proposed cuts or defunding of Planned Parenthood initiatives is that for the first time since 1975, the number of abortions in the US dropped below 1 million in 2013/2014, according to a study done by the Guttmacher Institute (1). According to the report, the use of varying birth control methods and family planning are largely responsible for the decline (1).


If these preventative and educational methods to reduce the number of abortions is working, people are obtaining medical services and a service is being given to vulnerable populations including our youth why is there a movement to defund Planned Parenthood by the US government? Transgender clients receive care in the Ithaca Planned Parenthood where they receive their hormone therapy. If the services become no longer available transgender people will be forced to drive hours to places like Manhattan to receive care (3). Planned Parenthood clinics are one of the largest sources in the US of transgender healthcare (3). “They offer hormone replacement therapy, medication to make a person’s body appear more masculine or feminine, and a growing share of its staff are trained to perform routine sexual health exams for trans patients”(3). In addition to the women and the transgender client, people with limited income seek care at Planned Parenthood because of the sliding scale cost of services which is provided from 48


government subsidy. With Congress now attempting to defund Planned Parenthood because of its role as an abortion provider, those services could easily be terminated. Each year, Planned Parenthood is reimbursed hundreds of millions of dollars for services it provides at little or no cost to low-income Americans. If Congress freezes Planned Parenthood out of funding, it could force an unknown number of care centers to close. Health providers have long warned that this would have a detrimental impact on women’s health but also teens, transgender, low income people etc. We need to stay informed regarding all of the Trump administration’s proposed policies. This is becoming an era of all human rights are under attack. If you are not a privileged white male your rights are subject to violation. As women, our healthcare needs must be available at a doctor of our choosing. An organization which has fought to allow us the right to have access to birth control and abortion should be supported. It is our right to have access to an abortion if we choose to have one. It is our right to have affordable healthcare in

close proximity to our home. It is our right to not experience discrimination when seeking care. Now is the time to stand up. Don’t sit back and watch the very fundamental rights we enjoy be taken away. Get up and fight!!! Resources (1) Jones, R., and Jerman, J. (2017). Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States; Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Guttmacher Institute, Retrieved February 26, 2017, from (2)Planned Parenthood ( 2017). Retrieved February 26, 2017 from (3) Redden, Molly, Guardian News (2017). How defunding Planned Parenthood Could Wipe Out Transgender Healthcare.







diva’s report ***

redeeming my Ideal Image As a woman in my “forties”, I was beginning to see small changes in my appearance that really began to bother me when I looked in the mirror. Some people may say this is being vain, but for me, it was more about erasing some of my hard earned stress lines. Ideal Image has been a great vendor for events, and advertiser in Rochester Woman Online and I decided to go in for a consultation and see what all the talk was about. Molly Lane brought me in to give me the 911 on all that is Ideal Image. We went over BOTOX and Fillers, and what she thought I might need to give my face a little “lift”. BOTOX® Cosmetic is the first and only FDA-

approved prescription product that temporarily improves the appearance of both moderate to severe frown lines between the brows and moderate to severe crow’s feet in adults. Unlike a face lift or other kind of invasive facial rejuvenation procedure, treatment takes minutes and requires zero downtime. Using a very fine needle, BOTOX® is injected into the facial muscles that are responsible for unsightly wrinkles and fine lines and relaxes the muscles. The ingredients in Botox block the signal from the nerve to the muscle, and therefore reduce it’s ability to contract, and form unsightly wrinkles. Then they have fillers such as RESTYLANE® and JUVÉDERM® are all non-surgical, FDAapproved, fillers used to instantly smooth away

{ THE DIVAS REPORT } moderate to severe wrinkles like smile lines (the lines from your nose to the corners of your mouth) as well as plump the lips and restore lost volume for a fresher, more youthful appearance. So, with all of this onformation, this month the Divas learned about these new innovative procedures available to improve our appearance and erase the signs of aging and creating our “ideal image”. After touring the facility and having the initial consultation, we went into one of the procedure rooms to speak with Heather, our nurse, and the one who would be performing the services. She took a look ay my facial features, asked what I would like to have done, and what I wanted to see for results. She then recommended what was needed to increased my lips, fill in creveses, and wipe away wrinkles. It was very important to me to look as natural as possible, and this was something they were also very cautious about. “You can always add more, but once it is injected, we can’t take it away,” Heather said.

I decided on the botox and filler treatments. After taking before photos of all areas being treated, and putting a numbing cream in the creases between by nose and mouth and all over my lips, I was handed two stress balls to grip if I got “uncomfortable.” The procedure was fairly quick and easy, not taking more then about 15 to 20 minutes. I did feel the fillers being injected on one side more then the other, so a stress ball or two might have flown across the room...and I may have jerked leaving a slight bruise on my face. I don’t recommend talking, or licking the numbing

the appearance of wrinkles. Something most of us ladies want to see disappear. I have to say that the staff at Ideal Image were absolutely incredible from start to finish. I was amazed at the results when I was shown the before picture and what my face looked like right after receiving the injections. The only after effect I experienced was some swelling that night and being a little sore. I just used some ice packs, took a few ibuprofin and by the morning, it really wasn’t bad at all. They did say everyone has different experiences after the procedure. Mine happened to be great. Good thing, because we were off to Turning Stone Casino the next day, and I had a lot of eating to do.

“It looks completely natural, and I look 10 years younger.”

The use of technology when signing up for my services made the process so much easier and more personal. I actually was able to sign everything via an ipad and then speak online through Skype to a nurse for my medical history information. There were no stacks of paper to sign, it took much less time, and best of all is the staff at Ideal Image performing services are all Registered Nurses. Given there could be an allergic reaction to products, having someone trained medically was a huge reassurance. All of the procedures were explained thoroughly and I felt I understood what actually was going to be performed and how each product (botox and filers) would be used on me personally. 52


cream either...YUCK! The needle used was fairly small and was inserted and then with the nurses fingers, moved around to distribute evenly in my lips. I was a little apprehensive about undergoing the procedure especially since Diva 1 was filming live on Facebook to share the experience with all of you. I’m sure many of you got a good laugh as I cringed and winced a few times. Then, it was time for the botox. Now this was a piece of cake compared to the fillers. Quick and easy, and no discomfort at all. The product relaxes facial muscles which are the cause of

So, what you really want to know now are probably these two questions: How long does it last? How expensive it is?

For most people the effects of the treatment can last anywhere from 3-6 months for BOTOX and 9-12months for fillers. Many factors can influence how long the effects last. As the product wears off, muscle action returns gradually, and the previously treated lines & wrinkles may begin to reappear, and need to be treated again. With repeated treatment, the lines and wrinkles often appear less severe than before, as the muscles are being trained to relax. Expense varies, depending on how many vials you use, but I found it to actually be very affordable. I will definately return. I look 10 years younger now, and feel amazing when I look into the mirror. So who wants to try it out? Join us Wednesday, April 5th for Ladies Night at Ideal Image and see everything they have to offer, and you can even enter to win free BOTOX, Laser Hair Removal and Ultherapy!









Although there were some hiccups along the way, and people who desired to underestimate me, I nevertheless overcame it all. Vires. Sapientia. Virtus. A motto I learned from my grandfather. Strength, wisdom and courage have helped me along my path. Learning does not end once we walk the stage to receive our diplomas. No matter where you are in life, we’ve all experienced those who look us as the enemy.

Black. Educated. Trans. One way or another, I have always been seen as uncommon, unusual. An enemy of the so-called natural order. As a child, I was teased for talking “white.” As a teenager, I was laughed at and poked for identifying as a girl. As an adult, I’ve been stared at for simply being me. When you show the world who you are, people become misinformed. Fear of the unknown produces hate which, sadly, leads to violence. The latter has become all too common in recent weeks and months. My own experience with violence resulted in a decision to go back “into the closet.” For me, survival was key. It would take another thirteen years before I gained the confidence to emerge once again. Over that time, I worked through many jobs, continued my education, met some amazing people, and built long-lasting relationships.

There will always be those that hate, fear, and wish violence upon transgenders, who want to regulate our lives, limit our opportunities, keep us on the periphery of society. But things have changed. In the past eight years alone, we have seen the emergence of prominent figures from the trans community. Icons like Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and (ugh) Caitlyn Jenner have initiated the discussion - and debate - on trans lives. It has encouraged many to come out and live in their truth. There is nothing more exhilarating or freeing than being completely honest with yourself. My moment of truth was three years ago. Beyond the lights and stage, drag can be an expression of one’s identity. Indeed, for some in the trans community, it is a stepping stone for transitioning. (However, not all drag queens and kings are trans women and men.) My first time was exciting and nerve-wracking - finding the right wig, choosing the right shoes, shopping for the perfect makeup (MAC Girl since 2014!). While I don’t dance or do splits, my talent as a singer brought me to first-runner up at the local amateur drag competition. Drag, rather than my degree, have opened doors for me. That same year, I helped Sarah McPike (RWM August’s covergirl) coordinate her show during Fashion Week of Rochester. I’ve gone on to work on social media projects for entertainers, designers, and local businesses. I even coordinated my first drag brunch! Sponsored in part by Rochester Woman Magazine, the Inspired Queens Drag Brunch at the Memorial Art Gallery was a fabulous event. These opportunities gave me the confidence to emerge as the beautiful, elegant and somewhat sassy person I am today. I am and will forever be grateful for those who have been at my side since the beginning. All I can do for those who wish me the worst – who see me as their enemy – is pity them.

*** Picture this: Friday night cocktails in lateFebruary with my sister. The weather is fierce, but not too frigid. And I’m just trying to get a Cosmo. After one or two (or three or

four) glasses, my eyes began roaming. While observing, women twirling their hair and seductively sipping their cocktails, I frequently became recipient of their cold stares. And I wasn’t the only one; my girlfriend, who is a little more comfortable with public gazing, also took note. Was my nose running? A spill on my gown? I turned to my friend for guidance and, she quipped, it’s because I have something extra down the belt. Despite a graduate degree and a taste for strong drinks, as a trans woman of color, I am often relegated to one of three archetypes: the sassy, black girlfriend; the queer friend to be doted on, affectionately known as the ‘gay’ best friend (GBF); or, the sexualized being with a few kinks. It’s the last which brings a lot of derision from cisgender women. Will I go out of my way to snatch your gentleman? Will I bat an eye towards your date when if he looks my way? Will I take your husband into the bathroom, expecting him to... appreciate my worth? No. No. And only if he’s paying! Just kidding. All I want to do on a Friday – or any other day which ends in ‘y’ - is enjoy a cocktail at the end of the day. Ladies, trans women are not the enemy. No doubt there are some, who wish to be the “other woman.” But for many – yes, I’m willing to speak for the masses – we only desire to be respected for who we are and how we live. And, yes, at times, we desire to take a bite of that sweet, delectable apple. What red-blooded American woman doesn’t appreciate a finecrafted man in a tailored suit? But even when it looks ripe for the picking, we do know the pains of biting into a rotten apple. Apologize in advance if the root of that tree is yours. My cisgender sisters (may I call you sisters?), all trans women want is to be appreciated. To show up to a party and feel like a princess. To be admired and adored. Every woman – cis or otherwise – understands that. So when a trans sister entesr a room, don’t deride. Value the risk she takes to compose and present herself in a public space – one that isn’t always the safest. Socialize with her, get to know her, and understand the life and love she shows to the world. Don’t try to dim her light. Don’t wish her the worst. She simply wants to celebrate the achievements she has accomplished, and tell the world the accomplishments she desires to achieve. She doesn’t want to be your enemy – but she does want to be a friend and ally. xoxo




SOMEWHERE IN THE GREATER ROCHESTER AREA RIGHT NOW. - A woman is selling herself on Lyell Avenue and knows no one will provide her with food, shelter, or the drugs she’s addicted to if she doesn’t earn enough money this way. - Someone is working in a restaurant from before it opens until after it closes, every day. They believe they are paying a debt they owe to someone who helped them get into the country, but somehow the debt keeps growing, not shrinking, every week. - A teenager in the suburbs is being sold through an online classified site by a pimp. - A child in elementary school is forced to engage in sexual acts, which are filmed and sold online.





{ SPECIAL FEATURE } These are some of the many versions of human trafficking. Human trafficking occurs in every corner of the world, including the entire Greater Rochester Area. That means in our community, force, fraud or coercion is used to make people perform commercial acts of labor or sex. And often these victims are children. The Center for Youth identifies over a hundred local youth who are being trafficked, or at risk for being trafficked each year. New York has the fifth highest call volume to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center of all 50 states. Each type of human trafficking has many causes rooted in issues like sexual abuse, poverty, trauma, racism, homelessness and misogyny. Helping victims emerge from this life, and preventing new victims, is difficult. Complex problems like these require complex solutions, and that was the philosophy upon which the Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking was formed. So who are these victims, and why do they wind up in Monroe County and the surrounding counties (this is by no means limited to the city)? Contrary to popular belief, human trafficking is not human smuggling. Trafficking involves someone’s vulnerability being exploited for someone else’s profit. Sex trafficking victims can be recruited and trafficked in their home town. Most trafficked minors were abused and often were living in the foster care system or on the streets before they crossed paths with a trafficker. A child who suffers abuse and neglect at home intensely enough to wind up in foster care is highly predisposed to mental illness and drug addiction. Since they have seen unhealthy

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relationships, healthy ones are unfamiliar and scary to them, whereas unhealthy ones seem normal. Someone who is kind, who offers shelter and safety, will seem like an improvement over a home or foster home that offers none of these. After a while, a price is attached to that kindness, and that price can only be paid through commercial sex work. Many immigrants to this country fall victim to “agents” who keep them isolated, ignorant of their rights, and unable to leave due to threats, beatings, and debt bondage. And even if freed from their trafficker, victims still face the same vulnerabilities they had before they were trafficked plus new mental and physical illnesses, stigma, isolation, and often a criminal record that impairs future employment. Trafficking truly is modern-day slavery. And there are variations on these themes. Anyone finding himself/herself homeless is incredibly vulnerable and often resorts to “survival sex” with someone who offers a couch to sleep on. Child pornography may or may not be child trafficking, depending on whether or not the pictures were sold or traded. Drugs, sex, poverty and exploitation are woven together in very complicated ways in the hot spots of street prostitution. So what do trafficked people need to put their lives back together? First, they need to be removed from the direct control of their trafficker. This isn’t easy. Traffickers maintain intense psychological control over their victims (trauma bonding is a partial explanation for how this happens). Sex traffickers gain this through

their relationship with their victims, and victims often need much time, much opportunity for reflection and growth, and an overall change in their life circumstances before they can permanently leave that life. Realistically, that means trafficking victims often need financial support, educational/vocational support, access to physical and mental health care, and substance abuse disorder treatment, and skill building, all while using a trauma informed approach. In classic labor trafficking there may not be as intense a bond between victim and trafficker, but victims are kept isolated through threats, fear and isolation. There are very few direct service agencies in our community that work specifically with trafficked people. And these agencies strain under low budgets, high workloads and constant uncertainty. Doing the public education, training and coordinated community responses that this issue warrants is nearly impossible for them. But without doing these things, the problem can’t be fixed. The Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking (RRCAHT) was founded with the belief that public education and coordination can help end this horrific crime in our communities. We do not provide direct services, but we try to facilitate what the direct service providers can do and increase their impact in our community. RRCAHT Chair, Celia McIntosh, says “Our coalition formed years ago when people realized they weren’t the only ones working on the issue of human trafficking. It only made sense for us

{ SPECIAL FEATURE } to collaborate and support one another’s efforts.” According to Laura Lederer, former Advisor on Trafficking in Persons to the U.S. Department of State, the City of Rochester is addressing a need and other cities should follow suit. “Educational events that explore human trafficking and the rights of those being exploited in this trade are foundational in this movement.” Lederer was a guest speaker in Rochester in 2013, and spoke to the founding members of RRCAHT.

So what is RRCAHT doing right now? ---Our website serves as a clearinghouse for information about the topic in general, but with a focus on local stories and resources. ---We are raising the local profile on the issue with a recent Proclamation event and with posters raising awareness of the issue on four two city buses for two months. The goal of the posters (or ads) is to increase awareness and reporting of this crime.

connect and communicate, so that direct service agencies are getting goods and volunteers that are truly useful. A prime example of this are our Care Packs. Direct service providers advise us of things they need, and RRCAHT organizes the collection, storage and packing of the bags. --- We provide an opportunity for people and agencies from very diverse backgrounds to network and problem-solve. This can range from one member sending an email out to other members asking about a particular type of service, to more in-depth discussions. --- We provide ongoing education to members about different facets of trafficking, its causes and effects, and about different community agencies.

---We set up educational tables at colleges, health fairs, and disseminate information about this issue.

RRCAHT is now poised for faster growth. Among our big projects for 2017 will be training staff at local hotels about spotting and responding to human trafficking, training local health care workers (this has already started) and developing research and intelligence on youth homelessness in Monroe County. Youth homelessness is a complex problem, with a variety of causes that include child abuse, over-reliance on and weaknesses within the foster care system, lack of safe, accessible shelter beds and inefficiencies in the human-service delivery systems. Any single agency can fix one of those problems, but the kind of coordinated community effort that RRCAHT provides is the key to coming up with a real solution.

--- We provide a format where direct service providers and indirect service providers can

Human trafficking truly is modern-day slavery. Some people look at the fact that slavery has

---We offer free, customizable trainings to anyone in the community about human trafficking, and intend to focus on local hotels, which can play a significant role in recognizing and responding to sex trafficking. We recently had training for RCSD social workers on the topic.

been found throughout human history and say it means this is a problem that cannot be solved. But history also teaches that where there has been slavery, there has also been resistance, people committed to ending it. Some of that work was done directly, some of it was done by changing laws, and some of it was done by publicizing the issue in a way to change people’s hearts and minds. And these movements have been successful. Not completely, not forever, but they have been a way to transform passion into freedom. With human trafficking at the epidemic proportions it currently is at, every community needs a resistance movement like that, and in Rochester that movement includes RRCAHT.



Let Us Help You Begin Your Own Fairytale At The Holiday Inn Rochester Downtown

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5K &10K Races, Dog Walk & Pet Fest

Saturday, June 3, 2017 Join us for a Pet Festival, Pet Contests, Live Music, Food Truck Rodeo, FREE Vaccination & Microchip Clinic, and more! Rochester Animal Services, 184 Verona Street, Rochester, NY 14608 Race Registration begins at 7:00 am 8:00 am 10K Start • 8:15 am 5K Start 9:00 am Walk Registration • 11:00 am Walk Start $20 for 5K and $25 for 10K before May 31, 2017 • $25 for 5K and $30 for 10K after May 30,2017. • Free tech shirts for first 300 registered runners. • Runners can raise $50 to receive an aluminum water bottle. • Walkers: $25 registration fee includes a cotton t-shirt if registered before May 31, 2017. 5K- Top male / female finishers each receive a $50 Fleet Feet store voucher; medals will be awarded to the top male and female finishers in each age group. 10K- Top 3 male and female finishers receive a $100, $75, or $50 Fleet Feet store voucher; store vouchers for $15 - $40 are also awarded to top 3 male and female finishers in each age group. Plus great new fundraising prizes!

Register at

Questions? Call 311•



From the Streets of China to Monroe Ave.


Sean Sun left Hahn Noodle with one hope in mind: to keep things simple. Sun was a partner of the wildly popular Monroe Ave Chinese food restaurant for six years. Upon opening, he and his partners hoped to bring more authentic Chinese flavors to Rochester. And while they certainly succeeded, the spot’s expansive menu left his head spinning.

“I wanted to try to do something different,” Sun said.

So Sun set out to establish Crepe N Go, a fast casual restaurant, with a concise menu and a concept that has yet to be demonstrated in the city of Rochester. This simplicity manifests in the form of Jianbing, a savory crepe whose origins hail from China. It is an extremely popular street food, knowing for its portable nature and versatility of flavors. Busy commuters route and hungry wanderers can watch the street vendors craft the thin, round disks, stuffing them with a range of fillings, such as Peking duck, pork belly, and tofu. You may be familiar with French crepes, typically made with flour or buckwheat flour. But Sun reminds me that essentially all cultures have an iteration of the beloved crepe. From Albania to Korea to Poland, the pancake lives on in tasty, culturally nuanced forms. Jianbing is made with a combination of flours that Sun says vary depending upon location and availability. In the case of Crepe N Go, the crepes are crafted



with ground mung beans, millet, and corn flour. The beans are soaked before being ground and combined with the flour creating a thin batter that is spread thinly on a flat cooktop surface. As the crepe cooks, Sun uses a special kitchen tool (it kind of looks like a rake) to distribute the mixture evenly over the surface of the cooktop. While Crepe n Go has a specialty cooktop, made specifically for crepe-making, he tells me that they’re easy to make at home. An egg is cracked on the surface and distributed in an evenly thin film across the surface. It is then flipped, helping to create a beautiful, glossy sheen on the outer surface of the pancake. Jianbing is typically served as a breakfast food. As Westerners, we typically think of eggs and bacon as the perfect savory morning fix. For those who want to satisfy their palate with a blend of the foreign and familiar, Sun offers eggs and bacon crepes that he says are popular with young kids and weekend stragglers. But believe me when I say that pork belly is an excellent thing to have for

breakfast. Made only hours earlier, the pork belly was crispy and succulent. Just as it melts in your mouth, you are met with the crunch of the crispy wonton chip, providing the perfect textural marriage. Just when it seems like it might get too decadent, the fresh bite of green onion, herbaceous cilantro, and crisp romaine provides a timely palate cleanser. The plum sauce, with its deep tangy molasses notes, generously drizzled on top provides that almost unnameable and elusive yet undoubtedly satisfying umami flavor, tying the sweet and savory flavors of the dish into a perfectly balanced, on-the-go meal. If you’re looking for a lighter, more plant-based crepe, the tofu and shiitake mushroom crepe is the one for you. The tofu is lightly fried, added a muchwelcomed crunch when met with the earthy, chewy texture of the shiitake mushrooms. Aside from their range of crepe offerings, the joint’s menu also includes belly warming classics from across the eastern hemisphere, including ramen, curried chicken bowls, and banh mi sandwiches. Like the menu, the décor is concise, yet

tasteful and inviting. Before entering the restaurant world, Sun lived in countless states across the country, where he worked in home remodeling. When establishing Crepe N Go, the chef and owner put his handiwork skills to task, constructing the entire interior remodeling, from the charming cork backsplash to the handmade sign. Jianbing may be a fast casual staple in China, its introduction to Rochester’s menu is exciting and promising of more adventurous flavors to come in this upand-coming food city. “Chinese food is complicated. Nobody wants to take a risk,” Sun tells me. But if anything, it’s clear that this risk is well worth taking.




the Mastermind

Have you ever wished you could chat with your favorite sports figure? Have you ever needed to audition for a band or a school or even an orchestra in another city without leaving your own home? Or discussing strategies with the greatest coaches in the business? Would a class on computer security help you or your business? Would a oneon-one with a network administrator be beneficial? “The service we offer is stateof-the-art technology which for the first time enables interaction with mentors and professionals with people the general public would not otherwise be able to contact”, Brenna states.

The new project “The Mastermind Lounge” is an innovative, connection between aspirations and dreams with a way to connect to the professionals who make a living in entertainment, music, sports, etc. The networking opportunity presented is the “baby” of no other than WHAM 1180’s radio host (and attorney) Robert Brenna Jr. Six years ago, this exciting venture began leading Rochester into a whole new way of networking and mentoring.

Notable professionals including John Beck, professor emeritus at Eastman School of Music (Executive Director of Music, travels world serving as a judge regarding music events and known world-wide as a honorable percussionist), Steve Christie ( Executive Director of Sports, holding record for longest Super Bowl field goal), Nick Francesco (Executive Director of IT), James Foreman (CFO) Robert Brenna Jr. (CEO), Bruce Pilato ( Executive Director of talent acquisition and marketing), David Sieling (Executive Assistant to the CEO), and Tom Rivers (Project Manager of New Launch) grace the organization with their expertise and talents. Some of the additional services the public can access from the Mastermind Lounge include obtaining a clearing house of mentoring and education (a simple guitar lesson with a master, a one-on-one session with a sports idol, or a discussion of marketing for a start-up business for a corporation). There are several levels of opportunities with access to the most accomplished musicians, sports icons, celebrities, artists, business executives, education, attorneys, physicians, and marketing strategists. Bob explains what the Mastermind Lounge is during our interview saying, “I began the Mastermind Lounge almost 6 years ago by 70


relationships even in a new city when he moved to Boston. Once he was in law school, he stopped playing in bands for fear of having his attention divided, but he did still find the time to manage 3 bands. Over the years, his passion for music grew. He realized that there were exceptional musicians who could barely make a living. Prior to adding sports, business consulting, etc., the original concept of the Mastermind Lounge was aimed to assist musicians by giving them a way to enhance their income, on their terms and on their schedule.

deciding I could really have the possibility of achieving a new concept and bringing it to fruition.”

The concept began as someone on tour giving a lesson to a student anywhere in the world, even if they were teaching them from their hotel room. Musicians had the ability to teach anyone who wanted a session with them, from their own apartment or home, without giving up their personal information through the use of updated technology. This concept eliminated the typical issues when giving access to the public such as – i.e. no drunk dials in the middle of the night. This allowed for a steady means for amazing musicians to earn more money.

He continued by saying, “The people involved are unbelievably top-notch, talented professionals who strive to share their knowledge in their fields to make a difference. This is a largely self-funded project where I have the chance to work alongside my wife Judy. Being an attorney takes up most of my time. Masterminds Lounge allows me to have a connection with something I love and to share it with others”.

Although Mastermind Lounge is a-for-profit business – the secondary gain is to reach out to impoverished youth who may have no hope under the current paradigm. This means mentors have the option to voluntarily help others who have never had the advantages in life we all deserve. The concept of the Mastermind Lounge is constantly adapting to serve any needs which are identified as the concept grows.

Robert Brenna Jr. started his at a very young age by focusing on his love for music. He enjoyed listening to Big Band music played by his father around the house before he left for the service in World War II. At the age of 12, Bob asked for a drum set. This is where it all started. Bob continued to play the drums and perfect his craft throughout high school and college. He solidified his commitment to try to be the best drummer he could be.

Robert L. Brenna Jr. is a partner in the Rochester law firm of Brenna, Brenna & Boyce PLLC. This is a law firm which his father founded. Over the last three decades, Mr. Brenna actively represents people suffering injuries. He was recently named a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America. Mr. Brenna is the past president of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and hosts a Sunday morning radio program, “The Brenna, Brenna & Boyce Law Forum,” on WHAM 1180 AM at 8 a.m., online at

Bob learned his connection with music made it easier for him to meet new people and establish



d Lounge




THE WOMEN BEHIND THE BADGE We’ve all heard the phrase, “There’s something about a man in uniform.” For those who have done nothing more than appreciate the view, there is a lot more to consider before making a decision to be a part of all the uniform entails. The two remarkable resilient women you are about to meet will tell you that being the wife of a police officer is not for the weak, self-centered, needy, clingy, insecure, or high maintenance type of woman.

“I also need to be responsible as a woman, to teach my daughters how to be strong, and carry themselves with dignity, integrity, and honesty.”

Sue Cirencione and her husband David have been married for 15 years. They first met about 18 years ago when she worked as a Probation Officer and he was working as a Child Protective Case Worker in Seneca County. Within months of getting married, he was hired by the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department. He had forgotten to inform his wife that he was on the list and wanted to be a police officer. David started the Monroe County Academy Police Academy Recruit Class 38 later that month. He is now a lieutenant in the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office and mainly supervises road patrols and related operations. They have three daughters. Kristen Ferguson met her husband, Russell, when he was managing a bar and grill in Brighton with the hopes of becoming a Police Officer. She did not marry into the life, she was volunteered for it, somewhere in her wedding vows. She laughs that she should have read the fine print. Today, her husband is a Rochester Police Officer on the Westside. They have two young daughters. For Kristen, one of the biggest challenges of

days. My husband is the reason the sacrifice that we all make feels like a commitment. We commit ourselves to each other as a family, and to our unseen families - to stand together for a greater good.” It’s true. We let go of our individual needs, simply because we have to. We serve those we’ve never seen or met, by letting someone we hold most dear walk out the door each night without question, and pray he returns safely. “My reward, knowing he’s happy serving those families and serving us in his own sacrifice. He doesn’t give us up for those in need, but because of those in need, and I’m perfectly fine with that.”

– Kristen Ferguson

being married to a law enforcement officer is parenting alone. “There are no easy shifts for officers, so you can count on weekends mostly alone, evenings, holidays, parties, even fears, any or all of it, alone. It’s a lonely life and you need to be tough. I run my kids to and from events by myself because he is either working or sleeping. I cheer for my kids alone. I cry with them alone. I discipline them alone. We go to mass alone. I trade that so my husband can have family meals with us every night of the week and tuck his kids in every night.” To them, that matters. “Daddy needs to be the last face they see when they go to sleep, and the first face they see before they get on the bus. Mommy is the one to hug everything else away, and trust me, just watching the news daily, I give out a lot of hugs. You do your best to shield them but children know. They feel it.” Her rewards come from knowing he’s happy. “To leave your family behind every day to face the unknown is extremely difficult. He makes that sacrifice willingly because he knows he makes a difference, even if it’s just in small ways some

According to statistics, police marriages fall victim to an extremely high divorce rate, and there is good reason for that. Sue Cirencione gave us some tips on how she handles being married to a law enforcement officer. “I’ve been in law enforcement myself (18 years as a Probation Officer) so I feel that gives me a little more appreciation of some of the issues that law enforcement officers face. David and I talk about his day (and mine back when I was out in the field), his frustrations, our fears. I feel like it is important for officers to be able to talk openly and honestly about what they face day and day out so they don’t carry that burden with them daily. My husband has seen some horrific things and I’ve seen them through him, but it’s what makes us a team.” It’s no surprise she counts her husband as her biggest inspiration in ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017


{ BADGE OF HONOR } her life. “He inspired me to be a better person and mother, because he is simply one of the best people I know.” After experiencing the journey of breast cancer a few years ago, she also counts her children as inspiring her to be as healthy as I can possibly be. “Those three girls are why I get up every day.” Kristen Ferguson said she takes one day at a time when it comes to how she handles being married to a law enforcement officer. Adding that she relies heavily on her faith in God, our marriage, and my girls, “I keep my mind occupied on life, never what if, or what could happen. Fear

is always there, but you can’t let it consume you. I focus on being a friend, and wife, and living right here, right now. I was very unaware going into this how different my life would so do I find ways to make the days ‘normal’ for us. I find it helps to really appreciate the time he has off, to recognize the value of the time we have. I take nothing for granted, I can’t.” One of Kristen’s biggest inspirations is a woman she met later in life. “She left a mark on me in the short time I had the privilege of knowing her, but none the less, Edith Ferguson inspires me constantly. She was a woman of true grace and kindness. She defined what it means to love unconditionally 74


and her strength defied all odds.” Kristen views her law enforcement wife role as a responsibility for sure, as both a role model for her children, and how society views law enforcement in general. “We live in a fishbowl, so everything I do should be worthy of the arm I share and that arm wears a uniform. He worked hard to wear that uniform. How selfish would it be of me to tarnish that for him, or any other Officer? I also need to be responsible as a woman, to teach my daughters how to be strong, and carry themselves with dignity, integrity, and honesty. I don’t wear the badge, but I have been there the entire way and paid

I’m proud to say I’m married to a Police Officer. I’m proud of him. He worked hard to be where he is, and he’s a good man. I’m blessed to be a part of this Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) family. It’s an instant connection that binds us all. When one is in need, we all come together, it’s never a question. When one rejoices, we all do. There is a saying, in this family, no one stands alone. Does that contradict what I mean by being a lonely life? Yes, a little. Inside my house my partner is missing, but in my family, I am surrounded by hundreds of brothers and sisters that would come to my aid at the drop of a hat. I can’t describe what a powerful

my own dues, so my own courage is not without its own merit and my girls need to realize how they have it within them as well - now, more than ever, as we are facing damaging viewpoints of law enforcement, and senseless violence against our officers.”

feeling that is, to belong to the biggest family in the world. It goes back to commitment vs. sacrifice. This life I live is not one I chose, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Strength isn’t always found, it needs to be taught and I’m a firm believer in leading by example. Do I have bad days? Absolutely! Do I want to engage with the people who say horrible things about the police? Of course! I don’t view it as a burden, ever. If it were the other way around, my husband would stand by me 100 percent, so

Both Kristen Ferguson and Sue Cirencione are volunteers with the Badge of Honor Association and are on the planning committee for the Policeman’s Ball. Join us on May 20th for the Bob Johnson Chevrolet Nissan Websmart Policeman’s Ball to benefit the Badge of Honor Association. Visit



O’Co Je’taime; A Untold Love Story Concealed in Shattered Lives

“Can you ever say “I Love You” too often or hear it told too many times? None of us knows the day or the hour that will be our last, or whether we will return home to our family after a day’s work or see our friends again after an evening’s entertainment. Never miss the opportunity to tell those you cherish how much you care for them. When either of you is gone, there will be loneliness and grief, but there should not be regret. My father was the first victim of a troubled youth who later became a serial killer, but he deserves to be remembered for the wonderful life he lived and not the evil way he died. The purpose of this initiative is to preserve and perpetuate the memory of the innocent victims of evil violence”. - Estelle O’Connell

Estelle O’Connell grew up in a two-parent home. Her memories of her childhood were very fond. She always remembered above all the love her parents shared for one another. Instead of telling each other “I love you” they said Je t’aime. When Estelle was 19-yearsold, the family was shattered by a troubled youth who entered the family business and killed her father, Stephen F. Sladowski, attorney, entrepreneur, father and husband. Snuffed out in a moment in time, a man and his family, lives changed forever. The kid went on the lamb and was caught, tried and given a life sentence. The family had no choice but to survive. The memories were always kept alive by Estelle’s mother. Estelle had just started school at the Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School. Her parents just bought their own business in August/ 76


September. Estelle was the oldest of the children with her brothers aged 9 and 11 and her sister age 13. Estelle recalls being happy she was on her own. Her childhood was happy but very restricted. She was living every girl’s dream, on her own in the “Big Apple”. The family lived in NJ. Her parents just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. On the day of the incident, December 18th, Estelle and her mother went shopping. Her father was the city prosecutor. He came home

from this job and worked evenings closing the store. A gunman came in and killed Stephen, he didn’t even take anything. Four guys who were standing outside got the license plate and one of them ran and called 911 from the pay phone. The night this happened, Estelle remembers her house was filled with police and reporters. At first, they thought the murder was targeted due to Stephen’s job. This wasn’t the case. The priest asked Estelle was there anyone he could call. She said “Ed, from across the street”. As she said this, he appeared. Fast-forward, 56 years, 2017, December 23, 2017, the day of Estelle’s husband Ed’s funeral; The same day as her father’s. Estelle married the boy across the street, two years after her father’s death on the same day her parents married and in the same church. Estelle feels her husband was her biggest champion.







“Appreciate and enjoy a treasure every day. Don’t miss an opportunity. You never know. My mom couldn’t say goodbye”.

Last fall, Estelle decided after reading a novel written about her father’s killer she would write a novel about his life and love of her mother. After the killer served 17 years in prison, he was paroled. He went on to become “The Jersey Shore Thrill Killer”. He killed five more people. Estelle couldn’t figure out why the author of the book written about this killer focused so much on her father, his first victim almost two decades prior to the others. It was such a loss to the community. Estelle’s father was such a wonderful man. Estelle feels she was lucky. Her husband suffered a stroke. Estelle was grateful she had 6 weeks to say goodbye and cherish her best friend. Her mother did not have that option. Estelle feels she would like to memorialize her father for the man he was, the life he led and not that he is just another victim of a serial killer. Estelle feels so many strange things have happened since her husband’s death which she

calls “little miracles”. Her husband had 23.00 dollars in his wallet when he died ( the age they were married). She had 32.00 (2 tens, 2 fives, 2 singles) and four quarters. The two amounts make 56.00 (the time they were married). She had 34 cents additional (this was the amount of days between their wedding anniversary and the date of his death) (34 days). Estelle believes these little things are little angels smiling or divine messages that this is what is supposed to be happening. Estelle’s father was a gentleman. He so believed in what he did. He believed in the law. He wasn’t political. When asked what Estelle’s “favorite memory of her father was?” Estelle replied: “It was in 1957, the year before his

death at Christmas. Christmas was always a time the family was together. He was always a generous man. Every Christmas, our home was like Toyland. I was the oldest girl. I attended a fashion show at my school. I saw this black fox muff. It was so beautiful. He bought it for me. I still have it”.

Estelle has grieved the loss of her husband for 6 weeks but feels he would want her to “get back to getting it done”. Estelle feels “This is a true story of an exemplary life, a shattered dream and an enduring love”. This is a story that must be told. Estelle’s mother told them stories to keep her father’s legacy alive. Estelle feels this is her duty to share this story of her parent’s love to keep it alive for generations to come. She feels her novel Je t’aime will be complete by April 2017. She is working with Mary Kathleen Daughtry from Boot Strap Publishing. Estelle wants to leave us with this message: “Appreciate and enjoy a treasure every day. Don’t miss an opportunity. You never know. My mom couldn’t say goodbye”.








When someone receives the diagnosis of cancer, life changes forever. Just one minute before, that individual and her family led normal lives. Never more. They suddenly are flooded with questions. “What does this mean? What can be done? Do I need a second opinion? Do I need surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or immunotherapy? Am I going to die? And again, what did you just say?”

with hysterectomy) or estrogen plus progesterone (HRT), as well as differences in age of study participants, type and degree of cancer stage, length of observation, confounding health issues, and changing treatments over time. Still, a trend seems to be developing that underscores possible differences in a variety of cancers for women who receive estrogen alone versus those who are given estrogen and progesterone.

Endometrial cancer is the most treatable of women’s cancers. Standard treatment consists of removal of the uterus and ovaries, along with a sampling of lymph nodes. In one study of 1,236 endometrial cancer survivors, of which 618 were placed on ERT versus those on placebo after surgery and followed for 35.7 months, the recurrence rate was very low, 3.1% in the placebo group and 0.6% in the ERT group.

Our fear of cancer drives much of our preventive health care. Mammograms, Pap smears, annual examinations, colonoscopies, all are targeted at ruling out cancer. As affirmation of these efforts, however, the National Cancer Institute reports that the number of people living after a cancer diagnosis was almost 14.5 million in 2014 and is expected to rise to almost 19 million by 2024. How we follow these people and improve their quality of life is a work in progress.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of all races. In the 1940s and 1950s, women with advanced or metastatic breast cancer were treated with high-dose estrogen (diethylstilbestrol-DES) with one-third of women responding favorably. Many years later, while women from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) given HRT with Premarin® and medroxyprogesterone (PremPro®) showed a small increase in breast cancer over non-treated women, those with a hysterectomy receiving estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) only (Premarin®) showed a reduced incidence of breast cancer. Young women, who carry BRCA mutations, who elect to remove their fallopian tubes and ovaries prophylactically after childbearing, and, who choose to take ERT have not been found to have an increased risk in breast cancer in small studies.

Ovarian cancer recurrence risk with ERT was examined in the Adjuvant Hormone Therapy trial initiated in 1990. One hundred and fifty women were studied, with 75 using ERT and 75 as non-users. Estrogen replacement therapy users exhibited fewer recurrences, longer disease-free intervals, and improved survival.

For many women, the aftermath of several treatments for cancer involves the loss of reproductive capabilities and cessation of hormone production. Because of radiation, chemotherapy, and/or surgery to remove the uterus and ovaries, many women find themselves thrust into menopause. With the loss of ovarian estradiol, these women are likely to experience menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, mood swings, sleep disorders, bone loss, and vaginal atrophy. For some, the symptoms may be so acute as to lead them to consider whether the benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are more desirable than the possibility that hormone supplementation may enhance the risks of cancer recurrence or the occurrence of a new cancer. Absent cancer, those same women at some stage of their lives may benefit from hormone replacement therapy. A common response from many care providers is, “No hormones for you, because of your cancer.” That common response is not exactly true as newer research demonstrates. Nonetheless, accepting conclusions of most cancer studies must be tempered by whether the hormones used were estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) only (women 80


Lung cancer is the second most frequent cancer among white and black women and third among Hispanic women. In a meta-analysis of 14 cohort studies, no increased risk was found for developing lung cancer if HRT (not defined) was used. When a prospective cohort of 36,588 women with lung cancer was studied, the combination of estrogen plus progesterone (HRT) increased the risk of incident lung cancer, but estrogen alone (ERT) produced no such association. Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer among Hispanic women and third among white and black women. From a cohort of 7,701 women who were initially free of cancer, but were placed on estrogen-only replacement therapy, ERT was associated with a reduced cancer risk when compared with non-users.

Cervical cancer recurrences and HRT was studied in 120 survivors after surgery and/or radiotherapy for stage 1 and 2 cancers. No significant increase in recurrences or survival was observed for HRT users (N=80) compared with non–users (N=40). The safety of HRT versus ERT to treat menopausal symptoms in cancer survivors will never be absolute until our understanding of what causes cancer is complete. Why ERT only, as opposed to HRT, would seem to offer some protection against cancer of most types remains an enigma. One could postulate that the anti-inflammatory properties of estrogen reduce the incidence of mutation-derived cell change. Despite lacking a clear explanation, the emotional trauma of learning one has cancer should not, de facto, prevent a discussion of available studies of hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms. All a cancer survivor wants is to live a life of quality. Care providers should use that as a guide. James Woods, M.D. is a practicing gynecologist certified in menopausal medicine and a regular contributor to Rochester Woman Magazine. Elizabeth Warner, M.D., is a retired gynecologist living in Rochester, NY. For questions regarding this menoPAUSE or other menopausal issues you would like to see addressed in future editions,

please call him at (585) 271-7800 or email him at

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WOMEN MARCH ON CAPITAL HILL One week before the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America I felt impotent. I was sad because the future of our country seemed bleak. My children and I had been watching the news and talking about how we felt. I reassured my daughters that they can be anything and anyone they want to be. I reminded my son that respect is important and that a good leader has respect for all people. But I wished there was a way we could talk to others who felt the way we did. One of my daughters said she would love to march on Washington, putting the idea in my head! With a few clicks I arranged for lodging and we were all set to go. We could not wait.

January 21, 2017 proved to be quite a day. My two teenaged daughters, Nayomi and Safia, my seven-year-old son, Justice and I boarded a train to history. We were on our way to Washington, DC. We began to see groups of people wearing pink, “cat ear” hats. Other groups donned same colored shirts, tutus, and other accessories. When we arrived in Washington we were swept by a wave of people; all as enthusiastic and excited as we were. Some chanted, others 82


sang but the message was the same; “we are here!” As we approached the main stage we were showered with signs, stickers and even a pair of those cute pink hats. We later found out that they were called Pussy Hats. The meaning behind the hat depends on who you ask… they are pink cat ears, they also speak to the crude statements about women made by #45. I was touched to see that each one included information about the creator of the hat and why they would have marched had they been able to. Walking thru the crowd was an experience on its own. We saw and interacted with people from all over the United States and some were even from other countries. Reading the signs people carried was one of the highlights of the day. “I wish I would have thought of that!” I kept saying. Many were clever, others were sad, but I really loved the funny ones. We stood in the crowd from 8:30 a.m. until the march started at around 3:00 p.m. Even though there was hardly any room between each person, everyone was pleasant and helpful towards each other. It was as though we were part of a whole, moving as one. During our wait, we listened to the speakers. I was

so excited when Michael Moore and Van Jones spoke. Then there were numerous performers and celebrities. But the real excitement came from the crowd. We were energetic and full of hope and purpose. The speakers incited that in us. When the march finally began, there were so many people, that the route had to be altered to accommodate the crowd. Every street leading onto Pennsylvania Avenue was bursting with pink hat wearing women, men and children. It was quite a sight! Our feet were sore and our stomachs growled from hunger but we kept on. Signs in hand, we chanted. On our way back home we reflected on our experience. Nayomi announced that she would like to pursue studies surrounding the Law and Politics. Justice said he loved that people kept saying his name. Safia was fired up about women’s rights. I felt proud to have children who care about others. So when I am asked; “why did you march?” I say; “for my kids’ future, which includes every issue raised during this march.”


TO HAVE OUR SAY In 1973, the US Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, (January 22, 1973) and now, January 2017, we celebrate the 44th year anniversary of legalized abortion. Women’s rights are now being trampled by the Trump administration. The election was a charade with female reporters being bullied. No one will forget the “Grab her by the pussy* statements leading up to the pink hat movement. What is the nation coming to? How could an election which had the potential of changing history with a woman possibly winning the presidency turn into this? What is important is that women across the nation came together and said “we’ve had enough”. The women’s march in Washington was heavily attended. Women came from across the nation and brought their children. Rochester Woman Online attended the local march in Rochester, NY . It was a powerful feeling to stand in solidarity with women and have our say!

Rochester’s chapters of The National Organization for Women ( NOW) , The New York Civil Liberties Un i o n ( N YC LU ) , Planned Parenthood and Rochester’s Congressional Representative Louise Slaughter came together at a program gearing up for the presidential inauguration and the women’s marches scheduled across the country (the following weekend) to educate and warn of the impeding dangers we all face after Donald Trump takes office.


says, “The Trump Administration is hostile to women’s health”.

This meeting was packed. It was standing room only. Protesters lined the driveway entering the church protesting the right to life. Myself and staff writer Mary Terese Friel attended the meeting. It was phenomenal to see all of the people ready to stand up.

Our 25th District representative Louise Slaughter said, “When our generation is gone no one will remember the back alleys. There will always be abortion. We want it to be safe, legal and constitutional…We thought we were going to elect the first woman president and break the glass ceiling”.

Barbara Moore, Now’s Rochester Treasurer,



Louise Slaughter indicated the biggest issue currently is the Supreme Court nomination. When the make-up of the court changes it is a big deal. This can shape the policies and interpretation of law in a negative way. Landmark decisions such as Roe v. Wade can be reversed. Where would that leave women’s right to choose? The nominee is Neil Gorsuch, Missouri’s Attorney General. He served as a clerk to Chief Justice John Roberts and serves as a judge recently ruling on the Hobby Lobby case (1). Some people argue Gorsuch is the right fit for the court and others disagree. Democratic legislative members are cautious as Gorsuch doesn’t seem willing to discuss merits of past decisions, judicial philosophy and principle (2).

We must take notice his nomination is backed largely by Conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation (2).


The result of defunding Planned Parenthood and disallowing people on Medicaid from using their services is to prevent some people from obtaining medical care. It was reported that 54% of the individuals live in rural areas where there is no other options. Without Planned Parenthood these people will have to drive extended distances to find medical care.


Two of the attendees were headed off to the marches; one to Washington DC and the other to Seneca Falls, NY. “Why are you going?” Sue Sparnecht was leaving for Seneca Falls said,“It’s time to get off my duff and put myself where my mouth is . I am a self-respecting woman and I’m going to stay one. I raised a strong competent daughter and I need to be a role model and I’m doing this on her behalf and mine”. Deb Bozydaj attended the DC march on January 21, 2017. Deb is the President of CURE NY, a criminal justice reform group. Deb indicated estimates for the march stated there were 600,000 women marching. What was most remarkable was the women who attended the march were there for many varying reasons. Deb attended as a woman seeking criminal justice reform . There 86


were a multitude of issues being represented from immigration to transgender rights to healthcare and other things. “As we travelled by bus in the wee hours of the morning, the highway was full of hundreds of buses. It was amazing. To be on the bus, on my way to be a part of something great, a moment in history. Everyone on the bus was super charged up to stand together against the Trump administration and the rapid break down of women’s rights,“ Deb recalls. When we arrived to DC, as we departed our buses at RFK stadium, those of us that walked up to the rally site were greeted by residents of the row houses we passed. They thanked us for coming to their city. The offered their support, opening stations with coffee, hot chocolate and restrooms. The soldiers from the National Guard station came out to greet us and offered their support and we all thanked them for their service to our country. The police officers beeped their horns in support and also welcomed us to their city. We were not shunned. Everyone wanted us there. There was absolutely no violence or intent of violence amongst the thousands of marchers. There were no police lines. It was just a pure and peaceful enormous gathering of not only women but men too. The people included mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, and disabled people in wheelchairs. There were people there from all walks of life. Everyone was respectful of each other. It was definitely a movement. It was nothing short of amazing to look up along the route we were

marching and see people in the windows of office buildings. They were chanting and supporting too all the way to the white house! This is what Democracy looks like. This is what love looks like. This is what brotherhood looks like. No matter who we were, what color , what sex, our sexual orientation, or financial status, it didn’t matter. We all stood united together… Standing up for what I believe in is not new to me but this was like nothing else I’ve ever been involved with and will hold it deep in my heart and memory as long as I live”. The women’s march touched a lot of people in different ways. It was a great opportunity to participate in history in the making. Women from all walks of life came together as one uniting to “have our say”. We cannot ignore the threat of fundamental rights being stripped away. Families are being destroyed. It is sad to watch the land of the free become not so free. The devaluation of the US constitution cannot be taken lightly. We must stand up and take a stand! Resources 1. Hawley, Josh (2017). Neil Gorsuch is exactly the kind of Supreme Court Justice we need. CNN Retrieved March 4, 2017 from opinions/Neil-Gorsuch-supreme-justice-we-need-opinionhawley/index.html 2. Hulse, Carl (2017). Gorsuch Like Previous SC Nominees Keeps Views Hidden, NY Times , Retrieved March 3, 2017, from us/politics/gorsuch-like-previous-supreme-court-nomineeskeeps-views-hidden.html?_r=o





Hello readers I’m hoping that this month finds you in great health, great spirits and most important some great shoes!! I am actually not a big fan of March , but I must say I am happy that it is finally here and New York Fashion Week is officially over!! Although I promised myself this year I would not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of all of the fashion shows and events, it was completely unavoidable. I battled the ice,snow and freezing cold of New York City to witness first-hand all of the hottest looks on the runway . And the not so hot ! The first major trend on the runways were definitely stripes! They were everywhere! From the oversize Rugby’s at Marc Jacobs to strategicallyplaced lines on accessories via Diane Von Furstenberg. I am not a fan as I am a very shapely woman and stripes really don’t do it for me! They usually make me look 10 times bigger than I am depending on where they are placed. I usually avoid them altogether, but that is just a personal choice. Nudes are definitely in for the spring and summer and I am all for it! Beautiful hues in every shade and skin tone were a sight to behold! From luxurious silk pants suits to ultra sheer dresses embellished with intricate patterns and hand beaded gemstones , there was definitely something for everyone’s taste. I truly believe you can never go wrong with these neutral pieces to mix and match even if you’re not comfortable wearing all nude from head to toe. DKNY did not disappoint with casual sporty pieces in beautiful flesh tone colors which are perfect for a casual weekend anywhere in the world. There was a major comeback for rock star looks and I have to say I was most surprised with Ralph Lauren and their rendition of the eighties rocker looks which adorned the runway. Why? You may ask . I have always associated Ralph Lauren with the conservative “preppy” look I knew so well in high school. I absolutely

do welcome this spin on the American Classics that they are known so well for.

Coach even had their rendition which I think they should definitely stick to making handbags they did not pull it off very well in my opinion. One of my favorite pieces with the rocker theme this year was a black studded leather biker jacket with beautiful fringes hanging just right by Rodarte. I am sure the jacket probably costs the same as a brand new Honda Accord but it is always nice to dream.

Another lingering Trend seems to be athletic inspired clothing of all sorts. I really don’t know how I feel about this trend it’s one thing to leave the gym and go to a cocktail party but I think the gym clothes need to stay behind in your locker . Hey but to each his own!! Some people obviously like looking like their at the tennis court while they are at a black tie event .Who would have known? Definitely not one of my favorite Trends this year!! Let’s move on to my favorite part. The shoes! Let’s see, where do I even begin? I never thought I would say this but kitten heels are back in style. There were so many varieties my head was spinning! Prada had some very interesting low to the ground numbers as did Jason Wu. Aldo kitten heels have never been at the top of the sexy Shoe list they are good for tall people such as myself who do not want to add the extra height two their already towering frame. A good kitten heel is also nice with wide leg pants as they do not give you the high water effect that a stiletto or higher heel shoe may have when you are combining the two. For my more vertically challenged readers you’re in luck also! Platforms are back and taller than ever!! With everyone from Gucci to Ferragamo putting their spin on these height enhancing masterpieces there is definitely something for everyone’s taste and budget as I am sure Aldo and Steve Madden will be replicating some of these Runway looks at a much more affordable price point.

As if we didn’t have enough of old man winter thus far,out came the boots! Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen were definitely my favorites! I could definitely see myself wearing some cool cut off shorts with a nice white button-down tied in the front and some cool mid-calf boots well I’m trekking around the city. And my absolute favorite trend for this spring and summer? Pink!! Everything and anything pink you can imagine. There’s just something about this color that makes me feel happy youthful and girly ! Many relationship advice books advised single women to wear the color pink as it is very feminine and attractive to the opposite sex. I don’t know how true that exactly is but I do know that I feel extremely feminine and pretty when I wear any shade of this beautiful color. Pink also works well with all skin tones. Anyhoo, despite the blistering cold, Fashion Week definitely did not disappoint this year. Not only is it a spectacle to behold and a visual feast for the eyes it is also a place to network and bump into your fellow fashionistas who also have a passion for fashion and live for this this time of year. There is definitely an unspoken sense of camaraderie amongst everyone . So while March can be a little uneventful , it is nice to know that it is women’s history month, a time to reflect on everything female. For me fashion is definitely on my mind in March. We have come very far throughout the years and have made so much progress through trends, design, and style. I love to think about some of my favorite fashion icons such as Jackie Onassis, Princess Diana, Madonna, and Bianca Jagger. All stylish women in their own right trendsetters and Divas to the Core! May you celebrate this month in your own personal style and continue to look your best not only this spring but throughout the rest of 2017 !




SENIOR ISOLATION AND LONELINESS My life has been filled with loved ones, companionship, social causes and a career that has kept my mind and soul in a state overload (in a good way). Life has been filled with a hundred reasons to get up in the morning and a hundred new reasons every day. But some days, I think about what it will be like when I retire and life slows down to the point that I can do all those projects around my house, or I could simply sleep in until the sun is up. We all hope our retirement will be a time when we can travel, watch our grandkids more often and volunteer a couple of days a week to give back to society. Being a senior in the future at sixty-five sounds pretty good to me, but let’s turn the clock ahead another twenty years and consider how life might look for many of us. By then there is a strong chance our spouse has passed and we are now living alone. Many of our close friends and neighbors may have also passed or moved away. The independence of driving

ourselves wherever we want to go may be a thing of the past, so we are depending on others who are younger and have busy lives for support and our transportation. Our lives may now be one of seclusion as we have become isolated from society by our limitations. Our children and grandchildren may have moved away or they are living such busy lives that we don’t see them as often as we would like. We watch too much TV or read, but we seldom talk or interact with others and we miss the most important and enjoyable parts of our past life. We don’t have the cognitive stimulation of conversation, the fun and laughter we once had with good friends and the love or the personal touch of having our spouse in the house. So, are we all destined to a life of isolation and loneness as we age? According to the U. S. Census Bureau 11 million, or 28% of people aged 65 and older, lived alone in 2010. Is your

aging parent or grandparent in that situation, or soon to be? Let’s consider the issues and explore what options are available for aging adults that might change the paradigm of this aging “plague” for your family, friends and maybe yourself. Social Interaction In recent years, towns and cities have created senior centers to provide social interaction, fitness classes, nutritional programs and educational events. What a great way for senior adults to get out of their home to exercise their minds and their bodies. I have had the pleasure of connecting with and speaking on senior issues to many of the senior centers in our region in recent years and they are bee hives of activity. Seniors can now have a reason to get up in the morning to get healthy, make new friends, eat well and continue to learn. Check them out in your town or section of the city and see what they ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017



have to offer for yourself or your senior adult family and friends. Transportation There is no reason today not to get out of the house with the many transportation services that are available for senior adults. Options are available at little or no cost that can help with medical and non-medical transportation needs. Organizations such as Easter Seals, Eldersource, Medical Motor Service or the Catholic Family Center are just a few options that you can find in a few minutes of searching. If you’re a senior adult who still drives confidently and has a dependable car, why not volunteer to drive friends and neighbors when they need a ride? You will be helping others while enjoying the company of people your age who have a lot in common with you.


Talk about a reason to get up in the morning, what is a better reason to get up than helping others? Volunteering at a local church, museum, school or senior center can provide an opportunity to get out of the house, find purpose, interact with others and get a bit of exercise in the process. Search on “not for profit organizations” in your region, ask your clergy or ask at the senior center if there is anything they need help with. There is nothing better for the mind and soul than helping others.


After years of supporting senior adults in my career and personal life, I have seen many new friendships develop in later years and even a bit of love when the chemistry is right. But, society seems to wince at the thought of their own parent or grandparent finding new love later in life. For some reason, our senior adult family members are not supposed to have a new love after their lifelong spouse passes. Without adequately thinking about how loneliness feels, younger family members may think 92


that dating again means that their parent or grandparent is getting over the loss of their spouse too quickly or that they will get hurt if it doesn’t work out. I am sure there are a thousand reasons why family does not want their senior family members to date, but ultimately it is important that we are all adults and should be treated like one no matter what our age and life challenges are. Respect for the individual rights to pursue happiness that we all want to possess should hold true at any adult age. A great snapshot on senior adult love can be experienced in the international award winning movie “The Age of Love” that I recently viewed as part of my company’s sponsorship of “Intergenerational Learning Lecture Series” at the College at Brockport. The movie was created by Rochester based movie maker Steven Loring who was inspired by his mother’s own experiences with loneliness and love in her 80s. The film chronicles the personal stories of a group of single seniors who desire companionship and love. He then follows their experiences as they become part of a speed dating event for adults 70 and over. The film will make you laugh, cause you to “aww” a bit and maybe shed a tear. But ultimately the common thread among the participants in the dating event was that they all missed the friendship and personal touch that we all need in life when we seek a special companion or fall in love. Independent Living for Seniors I spoke in a previous column on the levels of senior living and care that are available today and one of those levels was Independent Living apartment communities. I bring that level up again as the value of Independent Living offers one of the best solutions for seniors to

escape from isolation and loneliness that their current life has become. By nature, Independent Living apartments are a “community” that connects their residents with people who have much in common and share similar interests. Walk out of your Independent Living apartment and you will run into others who understand you and look forward to knowing you better. Services included at Independent Living communities are all geared toward creating the lifestyle that allows and encourages their community members to interact, make friends and enjoy the life they deserve. Apartment housekeeping eliminates the burden of maintaining their apartment and allows seniors to get out of their apartment and participate in the active community. Outside of their apartment door they can enjoy meals in the community with their new friends or participate in one of the many activities that the community offers every day. The diversity of activities available allow senior adults to enjoy arts, hobbies, pursuits of passion and day trips, but most of all social interaction and a reason to get up in the morning and enjoy life.


We would love to know what you would like discussed in future issues of Senior Lifestyles. Knowledge is power when it comes to creating the best lifestyle for seniors and their care providers, so let’s start a dialog on what matters to you. Feel free to contact me directly at Jim. Jim Payne has provided consulting and held executive positions for companies offering senior living/care communities and services. Jim is a certified Eden Alternative Associate and has also held a three-year cabinet position with Leading Age New York, the premier association of senior living and care communities. Seniors’ Choice Communities is a developer of senior living and care communities serving the needs of upstate New York by offering independent and assisted living communities with unique upscale amenities and services including the new Chateau at Heritage Square in Brockport.

Chateau at Heritage Square

ENJOY CATERED LIVING With unique amenities and services, Chateau at Heritage Square was created from the ground up to genuinely enhance the quality of life for seniors without all the worry, obligations and unpredictable cost of owning a home. • Located on a wooded property near the quaint Victorian Village of Brockport • Six luxurious apartments styles from studios to 2 BR-2 ½ Bath 1,400 sq. ft. • Apartments include: Granite counters Stainless steel appliances Washer & dryer in each apartment Tiled baths with walk-in shower Fireplaces Weekly housekeeping and linen services All utilities (except phone) Flat screen TV FREE cable and Wi-Fi internet • Meal plan at Madeleine that is open to the public • Clair de Lune cocktail lounge that is open to the public • Services Free Transportation services Valet parking Concierge services 24 hr. maintenance and security Personal emergency alert system • Amenities Luxurious salon and spa that is open to the public Modern fitness center that is open to the public Pet friendly community Library Extensive arts, cultural and educational activities calendar Educational collaborations with the College at Brockport

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without compromise The summer season is closely approaching. While everyone loves the sun, sand, and sitting by the pool, this is the time of year when many people experience extreme damage to their hair. The sun changes coloring. The oxidization destroys your vibrant coloring, tones it to a brassy hue and dulls the natural shine. The heat can degrade protein which otherwise protects your hair. UV rays are alos damaging. The chlorine in pools and salt water can also cause hair issues. Your hair is at risk of becoming frizzy and brittle. How do we protect our hair when we are having fun in the sun?

protect your hair wear a hat. Floppy hats and summer fashion go hand-in-hand. Try a turban or simply put a towel on your hair. Use extra care when pulling hair back in a ponytail, if you hair is wet it easily breaks. Also the scalp can burn and this will cause flaking of skin while healing.

The first tip for protecting your hair from summer damage is to maintain your hair care. A trim cuts off dead ends and allows for heath hair. Maintaining the ends of your hair is very important in keeping your hair looking great. No one wants split ends as they make your hair appear frizzy and unmanageable. When showering, use intense hydrating shampoos and conditioners. Moisture must be put back into your hair. This will combat the dry appearance from sun damage. You can also take preventative measures by using UV shielding products. These products can assist so coloring doesn’t lighten as much. Try the UV shielding hair sprays or leave-in conditioners. You must use these products when your hair is damp. If you apply to dry hair the product simply stays on the surface and you will not get the effect the product was intended for.


Another simple tip before going swimming in salt water or chlorinated pools is to use the pre-rinse showers provided. Wetting your hair will cut down the amount of chlorine or salt the strands soak in. When sun bathing, 94


Add a hair mask to your weekly hair care schedule. Masks can assist in restoring moisture. You should leave the product on for at least twenty minutes. There are some homemade masks you can try as well as the products available in the salon. Ingredients:: 1 banana, 1 egg, ½ avocado, 2 tbsp. honey, 3 tbsp. buttermilk, and 3 tbsp. olive oil.

Directions: Mash banana, egg and avocado then add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Apply to hair from roots to tips. Leave in for 30 minutes and then wash out with a moisturizing shampoo. You can double this recipe for longer hair. Use the mask twice a month to maintain healthy hair.


(dry or frizzy hair) Ingredients: 1 egg white, 1/4 cup plain organic yogurt, and 1/4 cup mayonnaise Directions: Beat egg white until it is frothy. Mix egg white with the yogurt and mayonnaise. Massage into wet hair. Cover your hair with plastic shower cap or plastic wrap. Leave in for 30 minutes, then wash out with a mild shampoo. Rinse the hair with very cold water. Use monthly to moisturize hair.


The milk_shake product line is a dedicated product with natural, vibrant results for all hair care and styling needs. From cleansing to styling, each hair care step has been carefully devised to provide visible result in both the appearance and health of hair. Products created with an awareness of their environmental impact and a solid commitment to minimizing such impact by reducing sulfates, parabens and sodium chloride in the product formulas and opting for packaging and printed materials that can be recycled. The milk_shake Hair Product line features shampoos, treatments, conditioners and styling products that are inspired by nature. The milk_shake hair products philosophy is one that relies on the beauty of nature to get healthy, gorgeous & vibrant hair. Each of the product families use specific natural ingredients that correspond with the intent of the product. Whether, its blueberries, to make the purple tones in the silver line or the date seed extracts, to tame down frizz in the no frizz line. Or the sweet honey and chamomile that enhances the color blonde hair making it incredibly soft. These are just a few of the examples. milk_shake is an incredible wet line that promotes health and wellness to your hair, which we know from my previous articles I am a huge advocate for. Our salon is committed to finding products to promote healthy and beautiful hair.

classroom | Z.One Concept Diagonal slices of warm amber and butterscotch enliven this brunette shade and pull focus to beautiful eyes. Z.One’s Simona Soudaz uses the Triangle Freedom Technique, from the Femme Collection by Z.One Concept, to achieve the effect.

amber angles 2.


1. Create a triangular section within the crown area that extends from the part line and omits the fringe, as shown.


2. Apply Milk_Shake Color Specifics Powerful Protector to protect the hairline.





3. Apply Formula A below the occipital, working in horizontal sections. 4. Continue applying Formula A to all areas in this manner, omitting the fringe. applying the color with a comb and isolate the colored areas using wax paper.





6. Release the triangular section. Apply Formula A to the section. 7. Create a ½-inch diagonal section. Isolate the section with Bright Stickers and apply Formula B, roots to ends. Fold the Bright Sticker onto itself to isolate the section.



8. Create another section, similar to the previous one, and isolate it with a Bright Sticker and apply Formula C. Continue working through the remainder of the triangular section in this way, alternating Formulas B and C.

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Z.One COLOR FORMULAS formula a: milk_shake semi permanent color #7 + #Anthracite formula b: No Inhibition Multi-Color #9.1 formula c: No Inhibition Multi-Color #10.03


milk_shake conditioning semi permanent color

This ammonia-free formula saturates thoroughly, leaves hair super shiny and features milk_shake’s amazing fruit, milk and honey fragrance.

9. Apply Formula A to the fringe section. Process, shampoo, condition and style the hair.







Out Like A Lamb


“In like a lion out like a lamb.” – Lamb Two Ways with Couscous, Red Wine Jus and Arugula Pesto. The phrase has more to do with the unpredictability of weather than it does food. However, when cooking lamb, or composing a lamb “dish” it is very much like the weather. Sometimes unpredictable. This “recipe” or guide works for lamb, chicken or beef and illustrates the use of several cuts to make a composed dish that will satisfy using available ingredients in your fridge and pantry. Lamb is not an inexpensive product, and to some an acquired taste. What we chose to do was lamb “two ways”, using the richness of the braised shank and the clean brighter flavor of the rack of lamb. We also added a starchy component, here we used Israeli Couscous. Finally we made a bright pesto from some arugula, mint, pea shoots, parmesan and olive oil. Not only is this a great flavor profile, it is a great value

by providing both depth of flavor and prime ingredients. Try it with chicken thighs and chicken breast or short ribs and flank steak. As always, we are hoping to share ideas. These photos will show you our process. Thank you for joining us. Next month – Cooking with Liquor. Sounds dangerously delicious.






TABLE FOR You are a woman and you are hungry and alone. How do you feel about going out to eat by yourself? There are a bunch of reasons why someone would be eating in a restaurant alone, and none of them are related to the reasons why I typically choose not to eat out by myself. I can count on one hand how many times in my life I have ordered a meal at a table and eaten alone at a restaurant. Guess what? The only person impacted by that decision is me and why am I choosing to miss out? Personally, it feels a bit humiliating to eat alone. I kind of feel like the word LOSER is tattooed on my forehead. When I look at how ridiculous that thinking is, I can’t help but laugh at myself. Seriously, I must think I am all that and a bag of chips that anyone cares that I am eating at a table alone. The ego is such a funny thing, isn’t it? It gives us all kinds of warped ideas of what perception and reality are. There is no tattoo on my forehead and honestly the amount of people that would even give it a second thought is so small, I can’t believe that embarrassment or humiliation has deterred me from eating alone. Nobody but me cares and if someone else does, it is their problem, not mine. Has anyone ever walked up to someone eating alone at a restaurant and said what a loser they must be to be eating out by themselves? NO!! I think part of it is a gender thing. I see a man at a table in a restaurant and I think nothing of it. Must be a man traveling or he is single, lives alone and doesn’t know how to cook. I see a woman eating out alone – which is a rarity I might add – and I don’t think the same thing. The thought that she is traveling or decided to treat herself to a meal cooked by someone else or anything along those lines rarely crosses my mind. I also think about how dangerous it could be for her and isn’t she asking for trouble? (Yes – totally blaming the victim. Mea Culpa!)

I have a couple of male friends that eat at the bar in restaurants. They avoid the whole table thing and become social on the bar stool. Again, why is it that it feels more acceptable for a man to belly up to a bar stool and eat a meal or have a drink but not a woman? It is Women’s History Month in March and there are quite a few of you that are rolling your eyes at this line of thinking. Help a sister out – tell me I am not the only one who has ever thought that seeing a woman eating alone at a bar or at a table by herself is much less safe than seeing a man eating at a bar. It doesn’t make it right, but safety is still a real concern for women even in 2017. Having a touch of a defiant nature in my blood, I have considered eating at the bar instead of taking my meal home to eat at my kitchen table avoiding the social stigma created in my mind. Really all I need to do is sit down at the bar, get a good meal or have a drink, be friendly and go home, right? I can’t help but think that the signal sent out by a woman sitting alone is different than a man’s. Why does it appear to give some an invitation to approach and be inappropriate? As if there was a sign on my back that says: ask me why I am sitting here alone? If I want company? Then I get to reel those thoughts back in and ask if that wasn’t the goal – to be social and have conversations with people so it didn’t feel like I was eating alone?

Oops – again I get caught up in a story that deceives. That is what this column is all about. It is called unraveled because I am attempting to unravel the stories that I – and so many women like me – have been deceived by for years. We develop these story lines and accept them as truths for ourselves, but the truth is these stories are deceiving and false. They keep us from living rich beautiful lives because we claim their ugly truths as our reality. The reality is these stories are so far from the truth. I, for

one, am ready to take back the truth and go take the world by storm on my terms. I can do that at a restaurant alone or at my kitchen table, but I get to decide how I want to show up in the world. I get so blinded by the fear of what will be thought of me if I am alone in a restaurant that I forget to wrap it in gratitude. I get to be grateful that there are restaurants to attend and that I have transportation to get there. I get to be grateful for making a living that can afford me the opportunity to go to a restaurant, because Lord knows that hasn’t always been the case. I get to be grateful that I can patronize an eatery that is the realization of someone else’s dream coming true. How about that I have intellect, health, mobility, etc. to notice that I am hungry and know how to fill my own needs? I get to be extremely grateful that I can express self-love in the form of taking myself out to enjoy a meal. The list can go on and on and on. Typically, when I finish making a list of things I am grateful for, I can’t remember why in the world I didn’t want to go sit at a table or cozy up to a bar stool for a meal by myself. The bottom line is there will be no more depriving myself of eating out when I am alone. No one gives a rip if I am alone. As for safety, always be aware and be smart. That should stand to reason if you are a woman or a man. Besides I am all about self-care and I want to enjoy treating myself occasionally. I deserve a great meal if I want it. Part of loving who I am is treating myself like a gift and what better gift than a good meal prepared by someone else. Can I get an AMEN? Eating alone will no longer be taboo, because who is it depriving? Are you with me? Isn’t it time to unravel the stories behind eating out alone, so everyone can benefit?



“ 102





I thought it would be fun to research the history of “Brazilians,” since this month’s issue focuses on women in history and so many women get waxed nowadays. I have made a career of performing Brazilian Bikini Waxes on tens of thousands of women in the Rochester area and am fascinated with how far back this ritual dates. Brazilian waxing became popular in the United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but it is not a new trend. On the contrary, this practices dates as far back as 4,000 years ago.

In case you are unfamiliar, a “Brazilian” refers to the removal of the entire pubic and rectal hair on an individual. Currently, it is a routine salon service worldwide. Yes, both men and women are waxing it all off around the world and have been for centuries. The desire to be hair-free isn’t just about sex, although most people claim that sex is better when that part of their body is bare. “Brazilians” also have proven health benefits. This service has become so popular in the past twenty years that pubic lice, aka crabs, have become virtually extinct. Who would think that the simple act of waxing a particular body part could eradicate a disease? I like to tease my clients and suggest that I should receive the Nobel Peace Prize for helping eliminate this pesky problem. Crabs are no longer a threat to our sexual health. With the absence of pubic hair, those little buggers don’t have a place to call home anymore. What a shame. In ancient Egypt, the removal of all body hair was customary before a ceremony such as a wedding. They would use sharp flints, pumice stones, and even a type of mixture that acted similar to the kind of waxes we use today. The level of sophistication in their culture never ceases to amaze me. As a woman who waxes for a living, I’m tickled by the fact that people have been removing their pubic hair for centuries. Some of my research found that hair removal originated in the Middle East as a response to combatting lice, fleas, and other parasites that could get trapped in the hair. Being hair-free also


helped regulate body odor that was prevalent in hot climates. In many Middle Eastern societies, the removal of body hair was considered proper hygiene. Inhabitants all over the world made it a part of their culture; there is even evidence that it was customary in Ancient India. Historians believe that this practice dates as far back as 4000 BC in that part of the world. If you thought “Brazilians” started in the year 2000 after the popular Sex in the City episode, think again. Societies have been donning the bald look for centuries.

this ancient custom of removing all of their pubic hair. There is documentation that some religions made hair removal part of their rituals to promote cleanliness and purification. Countless women have told me that they feel much cleaner when all of their hair is removed. It makes sense since it is such a hot and moist area. I have read numerous articles on this subject over the years and I applaud the creativity that our ancestors used to rid their bodies of unwanted hair. Their ingenuity fascinates me. Some of their methods also terrify me.

For those of you who haven’t gotten this provocative sounding service, you should consider giving it a try. Getting a “Brazilian” elicits a feeling of liberation and sensuality that is difficult to describe. That is not simply my opinion. That is exactly the sentiment I hear from my clients on a daily basis. There is a feeling of eroticism and empowerment that accompanies a thorough “Brazilian” that would surprise and enlighten you.

History or no history, if you’ve never had it done, you probably think women are crazy for subjecting themselves to such a seemingly barbaric ritual. You’d be surprised how many different reasons women have for making this a routine salon service. My physically fit women find it a necessary preparation to enjoying their sport. Women who run, bike, and swim, for example, find their sport much more comfortable to perform when the hair is removed by wax. Shaving the area can make the skin irritated, especially when they work out. Overweight women find that “Brazilians” make them feel cleaner and sexier, since the area can be hot and sweaty. Logistically, it is easier for me to access the area on any sized woman. And, most importantly, countless women get “Brazilians” because it makes them feel sexier. I can’t think of a better reason than that.

There is documentation that describes how women in Ancient Turkey made depilatory creams to help remove their body hair. There are still products today that do the same thing. Nair, for example, is one of the more popular depilatory creams. Be careful with these creams, however. I’ve had several clients end up in the emergency room with burnt genitalia. That kind of reaction will most definitely dampen the pleasure you were hoping to experience from removing the hair in that delicate area. Ancient Greeks were known to pluck out or even burn off pubic hair because they believed it was uncivilized to have hair anywhere but on the head. It is unclear whether all women removed their pubic hair or just the courtesans. Even though I enjoy removing all of my hair, I’d prefer to not pluck it out or burn it off, especially between my legs. There are women of all ages, ethnicities, and religious affiliations that come to me to receive

If something as simple as removing pubic hair can make a woman feel empowered and sexier, then I will continue to champion this salon service that I have dedicated my life to. The women in history who have made an impact in society have been strong and confident. There is something about a Brazilian wax that makes a woman feel exactly that way. I believe every woman is important, not just the women that made the history books. We should feel gratitude for all the women who preceded us. Women rock and I am proud to be one. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: JANUARY 2017



Conversations Everyday ***

The 6th sense, also known as our intuition, is still mired in fear, myth and misrepresentation. We share our passion for what we do and why we do it, and bring a “voice of reason” to a profession that has been thought to be an impossibility.

We are professional psychic-mediums, and offer reading services as well as instruction and presentations about the 6th sense and the process of psychic-mediumship. We believe that the 6th sense is a natural ability we all possess which can be sharpened to be trusted life guidance and a valuable communication tool we can use for ourselves, as well as a service to others. How it started: Susan: I have been seeing spirits since I was a child. The experiences were not frightening until I realized that my parents didn’t see what I saw. My parents were wonderful people who didn’t understand and thought I was sleepwalking. Since they didn’t believe, I grew more fearful about the experiences I was having, many of which can be chalked up to spirit activity but I blocked much of it out. In 2001, I became very ill which resulted in a near death experience. I remember all of it, the feeling of lightness, the peace I felt and the knowledge I was given, including the knowledge that my beloved grandmother would soon pass and that it would come just before Christmas. I saw her sitting with my deceased grandfather who was a wonderful man. The feeling was not one of dread or fear, but joy of everlasting life. It took many years to recover after my illness. However, I was experiencing a burst of energetic information in that I saw things about people and I heard things about situations as though I was in the middle of conversations only to become

quickly aware that the conversation had not yet taken place. I experienced communications from those who had passed and it was so clear that I sometimes didn’t realize the person was deceased. Having this near-death experience didn’t give me any extra senses…they were the same senses and experiences I had as a child. The difference was, the fear was gone. The fear that I had as a young child that kept me up at night with my heart pounding and sent me into complete panic running through the darkened hallway of my home. That fear was gone...for good. I am left with the peace and joy of knowing everlasting life and I keep that with me into my life every day. I brought this peace into the moment of my dear father’s passing, knowing that he was experiencing the feeling of lightness, joy and peace, surrounded by those that loved him in this life. These are the emotions that I feel with every reading. People ask “Doesn’t this work exhaust you? Isn’t it hard to hear the terrible things that happen?” The answer is that I have been to the end and back and I’ve been to what we fear most. I’m accessing the information of another who resides there, in this place of peace. It’s an honor to be given the opportunity to open my heart and be their mouthpiece so that the living can be healed through their words. No, it doesn’t exhaust me and it doesn’t make me sad. This is a joyous ability that I will share willingly and wholeheartedly. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017



Connie: I always knew I was intuitive. Being raised in a Catholic-Italian family, we went as far as astrology and did not talk about intuition or psychics. So on with my life of raising a family and working at Kodak for 30 years as an administrative assistant in manufacturing, my world was information, organized and quantified. In my late forties, after a divorce and kids off to college, I remember watching a PBS show on Edgar Cayce, the trance channel who remotely connected with people to heal and guide. As a person trained in process, I wondered how he did that. I found books on near-death experiences, spirit guides and energy healing and eventually worked with a small group of women interested in the same thing. It was after attending a Spiritualist church that I studied mediumship and met Sue, who eventually joined me at The Purple Door to offer her services and workshops on psychic-mediumship. WHY WE DO IT: This understanding comes from our experiences as psychic-mediums, through countless readings, discussions, classes and personal life events. We have realized old-world thinking no longer applies to the contemporary psychic-medium. Our experiences have shown us a different, more infinite universe of information than what we were originally taught, and even what’s in most “new age” books of today. If we look at what the 6th sense is, we also must look at what it is not. Even in this new age of information, the problem has been that folklore, myths and Hollywood have taken a natural sense and associated fear and mystery where it is concerned. Furthermore, religious/spiritual

dogma and societal norms have hindered an unbiased look at the psychic self. But the science of energy and mind are on our side, and dovetail with our understanding of the information available through extra sensory perception. Our passion is to educate the consumer as well as the reader (the psychicmedium) in the positive power of intuition which is the connection to the energies around us. We are finding that beliefs place people in either a state of “fear or fabulous.” Fear (false evidence appearing real) paints the picture of a place where negative energy or entity exist. When we sense fear, our brain sends us into “fight or flight” and prevents us from moving through the entire experience. In other words, we don’t take it any farther than fear. Fabulous is a result of the old world thinking that psychic ability is a gift for only a chosen few. It is also the result of new age razz-ma-taz labeling people as a Lightworker, an Indigo or Crystal child, a Star Child, etc. Here’s the thing… everyday people have psychic experiences, synchronicities and intuitive moments. One does not need to be “on a spiritual path,” know the chakras or wear crystals to explore and engage their 6th sense. An ego-centered mindset of being special or having a “look what I can do” mentality takes a natural sense and dilutes its true nature. The risk is when the psychic-medium comes from this perspective, they place their own importance (beliefs, opinions, biases) ahead of the authentic information and the client. There is no room for the reader’s own beliefs, life experiences or opinions as this covers up the connection to

higher thought and guidance. As with any other profession, there are those that are not true and take advantage of another by not serving the highest good. There are also those that cloud their interpretation of the information with bias, fear and judgement, oftentimes from their spiritual beliefs, childhood upbringing, or misinformation from the unreliable or outdated sources. We feel the 6th sense is the gateway to information that is seen, heard, felt (emotionally and physically) and even tasted as it is translated through our physical senses as well as our mind (felt as a “just knowing”). This sense is energy that the brain interprets. The purpose to share this information with someone is to uplift and empower, comfort and heal. Today’s psychic-medium must seek to continuously improve the understanding of their 6th sense, to receive the authentic information and provide the utmost of service and responsibility in relaying that information accurately to the client. To this end, we strive to demystify psychic experiences and redefine the work and service of today’s psychicmedium through our services, books, classes and presentations. Our first book “Everyday Conversations: The Key to the Contemporary Medium – Unlocking the Myths” offers an understanding of the definition and use of the 6th sense in our everyday lives. We have followed it up with a companion workbook, “Unlocking Your 6th Sense” which is a step-in process that allows you to naturally access your own 6th sense for intuitive guidance. The Purple Door is in the Win-Jeff Plaza, 3259 Winton Rd South, Rochester NY. Our books, classes


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KaeLyn Rich, a new mother juggles her new responsibility having a daughter at a very trying time in her role as the Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. KaeLyn is a writer at AutoStraddle and teaches as an adjunct professor at SUNY Brockport teaching a class on Women and Gender Studies.

The election and the Trump administration have advance many new issues for the United States as a country and for individuals now living in this “free for all” Saturday Night Live Comedy show which is really or presidency. If “grab them by the pussy” wasn’t enough, the after-math of new policies aimed at doing just that have begun to surface in Washington. The campaign to defund Planned Parenthood have placed in question ‘s right to sexual health-care.


The immigration check points are out in full force and thousands are being detained. What’s next? KaeLyn indicates we all should be fundamentally concerned. A question and answer interview was given as there was extended information KaeLyn wanted to portray to the readers about why every woman should be concerned about what is going on around them.

What is the most threatening thing going on under the current administration? KaeLyn stated, “The

most threatening thing under the Trump administration is so many core civil rights and civil liberties are under attack. This is a difficult question because the women of America are not a monolith. Like the Women’s march on Washington made clear, women’s issues are broad and intersectional. Already it’s clear that the Trump administration is going to make good on their platform of proposals shaped by fear, hate and bigotry. Muslim women and girls are afraid for the safety of their families in their own communities. Transgender girls have to worry about their safety and privacy in schools while mothers of transgender children lose sleep over how they can protect their children from hate. Immigrant mothers worry about their families being harassed and torn apart. Black women are afraid for themselves and their children as Trump promises to push a law and order administration supporting aggressive and racially-biased policing tactics like stop-and-frisk. With the ability to appoint a Supreme Court Justice many people feel that constitutional landmarked cases such as Roe v. Wade will be overturned sending reproductive healthcare back into the dark ages in many states. Trump has stated he is seeking to overturn Roe v Wade which protects the women’s constitutional right to have an abortion. It’s so hard to pick just one issue that is “most threatening” when so many people feel threatened for who they are. So many women and girls are afraid right now and so many are angry right now. The reasons why are diverse and intersectional as the identities are of the women in America.

What do you feel about the immigration issues?

KaeLyn responded by saying, “The Trump administration’s immigration policies are deplorable and fundamentally un-America. These new rules released this month will result in thousands of lives being ruined and families being torn apart as more and more

immigrants find themselves targeted by Trump’s mass deportation machine. The most recent directives eliminate earlier policies that deprioritized the deportation of immigrants who pose no threat to and are integral members of our communities. The directives significantly expand “expedited” and “administrative “ removals allowing immigration and Customs Enforcement officers agents and Border Patrol officers to deport even more people not only at the border but throughout the United States without any court oversight. The directives promise a massive expansion of detention of children and families seeking asylum requiring with limited exceptions, that officers detain any undocumented immigrant found at or near the border. These new rules would gut the due process rights of immigrants by assigning huge numbers of immigration decisions to the unchecked authority of ICE and Border Patrol officers instead of judges- a dangerous step toward destroying even the appearance of fair procedure. The directives also reinstate the Secure Communities Program and emphasize the expansion of a program that recruits local police departments and sheriff’s offices to do the work of federal immigration officersinterfering with their ability to do their job keeping communities safe. Police officers simply have no business doing the work of federal immigration agents. Deputizing local officers to carry out the work of ICE makes communities less safe while alienating immigrants from local law enforcement and encouraging racial profiling. Meanwhile, Trump’s unconstitutional anti-Muslim ban seeds hate and ignorance while doing nothing to keep America safe. It goes against everything this country represents from the very day it was founded”.

What will the NYCLU do to counter these issues? “We will fight, every single day, for the rights of all New Yorkers. We have been overwhelmed with support since the Trump administration took office and that’s a good thing because we’ve also been working hard every day to fight back,” KaeLyn says.

In NYC, we were on the ground when Trump’s Muslim and refugee ban went into effect and challenged the unconstitutional and un-American ban immediately in court. A federal court judge issued a stay that night, temporarily preventing refugees and immigrants from being deported. We have since jointed ACLU affiliates across the U.S. in demanding documents on the implementation of the ban ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017




“The most threatening thing under the Trump administration is so many core civil rights and civil liberties are under attack. This is a difficult question because the women of America are not a monolith. Like the Women’s march on Washington made clear, women’s issues are broad and intersectional.”

We’ll ensure that transgender youth in New York know they are protected by the Dignity for All Students Act and by state law. However, we must take proactive steps to protect transgender people in our state, given the hostility of the federal government towards transgender people. To do this, we must finally pass the Gender Identity and Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) in 2017, which will fix a loophole in the state Human Rights Law to ensure that it applies to students facing discrimination and will improve existing protections for all transgender people. We must update our state’s antiquated abortion laws. New York has yet to fully codify Roe. v. Wade into state law. With this threat to Roe v. Wade and Supreme Court decisions hereafter under a President Trump Supreme court, the lapses in our state abortion law can no longer be ignored while politicians pass the buck again and again. If New York is a state that respects all people and the Constitution, it must act fast to make Roe v. Wade state law. We must also act to protect access to contraceptive coverage if Trump succeeds in dismantling the Affordable Care Act. New York should pass the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act (CCCA) which guarantees birth control coverage with no co-pay for the full range of birth control methods.

continue to hear alarming reports of invasive and inappropriate questioning and detention of noncitizen travelers arriving to JFK. We will fight any unconstitutional ban targeting Muslim people, refugees, and immigrants. In Rochester, we recently advocated with other organizations including the Worker Justice Center of NY, Roc/ACTS, ROCitizen, the Rochester Worker Center to build support and make recommendations for Rochester to pass a new sanctuary city policy. The new policy passed with our support and the unanimous support of Rochester City Council on February 21st. We’re now working to expand sanctuary 112


work to cities, towns, and counties outside of Rochester. We’ll work on police reform at the local and statewide level, from working to reform civilian review in Rochester to passing the Police-STAT Act in NYS. The Police-STAT (Police Statistics and Transparency) Act would allow the state to capture and publicly report vital information about policing in order to understand the impact of policing on communities, and how policing can be improved to advance justice and safety.

These are just some of the ways we are fighting back. We won’t give up or give in to tyranny because we recognize every New Yorker is in danger of losing their freedom. We will no longer stand for empty promises from politicians. We want actions to ensure a free New York -- where everyone is free to exercise their rights regardless of who they are”. KaeLyn Rich is a woman trying to make a difference in this world fighting to secure all of our rights. She is a world leader. She participates in our community helping to educate all of us about the jeopardy we are now facing under the new presidential regime. American ideals are under fire and we are becoming a country who doesn’t respect anyone’s rights anymore. No one is safe and we are all being targeted. KaeLyn is a woman we should all be proud of.


Rochester Woman Online


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S 114




ometimes the Pieces Most Broken are the Most Valuable of All…

¬Up until college, Amy grew up living mostly in London. Beginning at a young age, she studied piano throughout her school years and into adulthood. Developing her craft, included learning to play-by-ear as well as traditionally, reading from music. Amy composed her own music also. Eventually, she moved to Rochester, NY, to attend school for medical illustration at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). It was actually after Amy became a successful medical graphic artist that she began to pursue her dream of playing the harp. It was later in life, when Amy had married and had her first child, that she plucked her first string.

Amy Walts was a very accomplished woman, who found great joy in her life because she was someone that was lucky enough to pursue a career doing what she loved. She made a living being an artist and not a starving one either. Amy was ecstatic that she was able to make a secondary career out of playing the piano and the concert grand-pedal harp and Irish-Celtic harp also. Additionally, her background as an illustrator and graphic artist allowed her to appreciate multi-media fine arts. Most importantly, bringing happiness to others through the enjoyment of listening to her music and watching her performances is what Amy loved most. Booked well-ahead in wedding season until one tragic day seven years ago, her life changed. A distracted driver, texting while driving, in a solitary moment, destroyed Amy’s life and robbed her of her happiness. He drove his car into Amy’s car head on. At first, Amy thought she was fine at the scene and did not opt to go to the hospital. However, she soon discovered that she suffered a severe injury to her hand and wrist as a result of this accident. Unfortunately, the accident resulted in one of her arm bones being shorter by an inch than that on her other arm. A loss of motion in one finger prevented her from returning to her previous career as a pianist and a harpist. Now, she knows all too well, the things

we take for granted. Things like how to hold a pen, how to hold a fork, or how to open a door. Challenged, once again, she was forced to learn how to do these simple tasks all over again. What was so important that the driver of the other car could not wait until a safer time to text? “What do you do?” became a forever hated question of Amy’s. “Answering used to be A, B, C, and D. Now it was all past tense. I used to play the harp. I used to play the piano. I used to be an artist,” Amy reminisced. She recalled: “I was told I would never use my hand again by one of the insurance doctors. My life was stripped away. My total identity was gone. Art and performing were my life!” Amy shared the most frustrating thing she experienced - trying to weave your way through the no fault insurance coverage process, which was infuriating because of the bureaucracy that prevented her ability to access her top-notch health insurance in spite of possessing a debilitating arm and hand injury. Determined not to give up her passion for the Arts, Amy researched and found her answer in the Japanese art-form of Kint Su Gi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. She indicated that the Asian culture, differing from the American, prefers to



{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE } make a broken plate whole again instead of throwing it out. The broken pieces are not hidden in the finished piece of art. They become beautiful. The struggle to restore the broken pieces of her life back was nothing short of a nightmare. Kint Su Gi became Amy’s story. Amy was beyond annoyed, when the insurance company determined what became her life was “ a hobby”. Her success as an artist was discounted, diminished and disrespected. Being an artist was not seen as a viable career. During her darkest time, as she battled her insurance company who had determined that Kint Su Gi was merely a “hobby” and not a “career,” Amy was forced to express herself through a different medium – her voice instead of her hands. Refusing to allow the accident to take away her sense of purpose, she joined Toastmasters. Concentrating on developing humorous speeches, Amy started to win state championships. Her public speaking competitions resulted in a trophy closet where she stores her entire collection of “golden trophies.” Amy addresses other artists and warns them of the importance of preserving their careers if a fate similar to hers were to befall them. Amy’s journey to become “whole” again led her to Dr. Michael Liet, a respected hand surgeon. He proposed a radical surgery, which allowed her to regain her life oneday-at-a-time. She proudly states: “He didn’t just save my hand, he saved my life”. In a variety of ways, the “pieces most broken” were repaired through a determination to not give up and they have become “the most valuable of all…”



Psychic Intuition




Dear Sarah, I have had many dreams that have come true and recently dreamed of someone with whom I was very close but she suddenly moved without even a goodbye. In the dream she was parked and loading her car very near my home but did not visit. How do I figure out if I have abilities? Thanks, A friend from Massachusetts


Dear A Friend from Massachusetts, It is an honor for me to be able to answer your question. In a word, YES! You are psychic and I’m picking up that you’re an empath as well. You’re very sensitive and can feel other people’s emotions as if they were your own. I’m also getting that you were very intuitive since you were a young girl. You always felt connected to the energy of nature and I see that you have a special connection with animals. In my opinion, everyone has psychic abilities. Most people experience déjà vu, which according to The Free Dictionary by Farlex means: “The illusion of having already experienced something actually being experienced for the first time.” I believe there are no illusions and déjà vu experiences are brief moments of psychic awareness. The reason why most people are not able to access their psychic abilities is because their psychic ‘muscle,’ has not been exercised. It’s kind of like learning how to play an instrument. Anyone can learn, but some people are naturally more gifted. The only way to excel as a musician is to practice. I believe that having psychic dreams are the beginning stages of developing psychic abilities. Our egos are kept at bay while we’re dreaming. The key for you is to trust that your psychic dreams are real. The angels are wanting you to trust, as you are slowly tapping into your psychic intuition while you are awake. You can utilize your gifts to enrich your life and the lives of others. According to Doreen Virtue, there are four ways of experiencing psychic intuition: clairaudience, hearing actual words; clairsentience, receiving messages through your heart and body; claircognizance, receiving psychic information through symbols and nonverbal expressions; and, clairvoyance, being able to see into the future. I’m seeing that you experience intuition through gut feelings which means you are clairsentient. Your prophetic dreams mean you are clairvoyant. There are many avenues of psychic development if you are interested in being able to access your gifts at any time. Dear Sarah, How can I prevent the migraines I’m getting? Sometimes they are so bad I am incapacitated and it worries me. Thanks, Harriet Dear Harriet, I’m so sorry to hear that you have such terrible migraines!. Think of my advice as a useful adjunct to traditional medical care, so be sure to follow your medical doctor’s recommendations.

I feel that you have done this already and are now seeking a more spiritual solution. The angels are helping me identity the root cause of your migraines and specific actions you can take in order to heal. I’m getting that you are empath to the extreme. You experience emotions of those around you and the collective consciousness of humanity. I’m getting that you have a belief that was ingrained in your mind as a child that you are responsible for saving other people emotionally. You witnessed a lot of pain and turmoil in your family, which you were unable to process as a child. You figured the only way you could survive was by trying to make the pain go away by fixing it yourself. I believe you carried this idea with you throughout your life. You continued to feel other people’s pain, and your way of making sense of it was to sacrifice enormous amounts of energy so they would feel better. Every day when you take a shower and wash your hair, say out loud that you are releasing negative energy that you may have absorbed in your head and imagine it flowing down the drain with the suds of your shampoo. Then imagine the water is bathing your head with warmth and healing light that is filling your entire body until you are entirely bathed in light. Say out loud that you are releasing yourself from the responsibility of saving others. Ask Archangel Michael to help clear this life long thought pattern. Take about ten minutes when you are feeling well to mentally capture the feeling of being migraine free. Pay close attention to the sensations in your head. You will experience a warm, almost tingling sensation. Then say, or ‘listen’ to the affirmations that come to you, such as “I am healthy, I am pain free, I believe in my body’s ability to heal, I am healing in mind, body, and soul.” Write these affirmations down, or better yet, record them on your phone. If you get another migraine, remember the warm, tingly, sensation you experienced when you were pain free. Listen to the recording of your affirmations. Imagine Archangel Raphael, the angel of healing, bathing your body in emerald green light. This should reduce the duration of your migraine. Thank you, A Friend from Massachusetts and Harriett for trusting me to answer your questions. I am truly honored. I’m looking forward to hearing from more of you! Please email your question to asktheangels777@ Type Ask the Angels in the subject line and indicate how I should address you (using your real name, just initials, etc.) in my response. Feel free to visit my website if you’d like to learn more about my work at or find me on Facebook at @sarahitkinintuitivehealer. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017



I’VE JOINED THE V-CUP REVOLUTION Recently Rochester Woman Online’s Diva 2 (aka me, Kelly Breuer) had the chance to test the V-Cup for the past few months. Originating right here in Rochester, NY, this revolutionary feminine hygeine product is an experience no woman should go without trying. It provides a cost-effective, environmentally friendly and convenient alternative to monthly menstruation products for the woman of today.

this, I thought , “I’m good with what I am using now, this sounds gross.” But, then I decided to try it, and it really wasn’t as bad as I thought. Much easier, actually.

I will admite, when asked to test out this product I was a little hesitant. Using something new and “unknown” can be a little scary, especially when you are inserting it into your body. But, all my friends wanted to know what it was like, so I decided to be the guinea pig.

I was most excited about the huge savings from monthly “products”. The cup costs around $34.99, where I spend about that per month in tampons and liners alone.

The V-cup can be worn for 12 hours and provides long-term coverage which is so much better then having to change products every few hours. There are no worries regarding being exposed to the harsh chemicals found in tampons either. I have found the V-Cup to be something that is much easier then feminine products such as pads and tampons once you get over the initial “shock” of using it. One of the best features of using the V-cup is that it is a cleaner way to handle the unpleasant mess of your period. There is no clean-up required aside form rinsing out the cup after disposing the collection in the toilet. Ok, when I first heard 120


The cup is even reusable so it also eliminates any contribution monthly to the landfills. It comes in two sizes and it is inserted like a tampon and forms a seal so there is no leakage or worries of ruining clothing from accidents. Yeah! That’s a relief.

When I used the V-Cup, the product stood true to all of the things that were promised. It was easy to use, not uncomfortable and after insertion you couldn’t tell you were even using the product. The V-Cup provided a “clean” alternative to what I have been trained to use for the past 30+ years. I was amazed at the ease of using and cleaning the product for reuse. I was a little apprehensive at first, as I am sure most women are when they read about these types of new products. I think as women we are very careful about using any product we have to insert in our bodies.

The conveniences of using a tampon as opposed to a pad, where we don’t experience the scent of the product or having to wrap up a pad to throw it out, makes us take the risk. This product provides a healthy alternative which is even more convenient than using tampons. This product is the new wave for feminine hygiene. You feel cleaner. You are able to do all the things you can using other products but you save a tremendous amount of money as the product is re-usable. Trying this product may have not been something I would have done on my own, but I am glad creator Kaitilyn Barry talked me into it. After I used the product all of my worries subsided. The V-Cup is an awesome alternative and I encourage you to try it out. It’s revolutionary. I’m sure you have lots of questions, like How do I know which size to choose? How do I insert the V-Cup? Can I go to the bathroom while using my V-CUP™? Will it get “lost” or “stuck”? Can I keep it in during sexual intercourse? Be sure to check out their website at, or come visit them at our women entrepreneurs event Sunday April 9, at the Holiday Inn downtown. You truly won’t be disappointed...I wasn’t!


E G A S S A M What By Cassondra Kubit

Is It

Massage. What is it? In the United States, most people look at massage as a therapeutic treatment or as a luxury relaxation treatment. Massage therapy can be dated back to 2330BC at the Tomb of Akmanthor, also known as “The Tomb of the Physician”. In the tomb, there are pictures of two men having work done on their hands and feet. Massage is also referred to in 30 different chapters in the Nei Jing, also known as the “The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon”, where it describes the different massage techniques and how they should be applied for different ailments and injuries. Hippocrates wrote in 460 BC, “The physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly in rubbing.” There are many books written about massage and the different techniques that can be used in the BC era to this present day. So, we can all agree that massage has many healing benefits from pain relief to relaxation. There is also very long list of different kinds of massages, but the most popular ones are Swedish and Deep Tissue. These are just 2 kinds of massages that are performed across the world. In the United States, massage became popular around the 19th century when two physicians introduced the techniques based on Per Henrik Ling’s techniques, “The Father of Massage.” Per Henrik Ling created the terms of the Swedish Massage; effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction and vibration. In the 1930’s and 40’s massage’s influences started to decrease for many reasons. The medical

field was advancing and putting pressure on the massage field for regulations for the practitioners of massage. There was also a rise in masseur parlors that were using the front of massage for illegal practices. This hurt the massage field exponentially. In the 1970’s massage started to make a comeback because of the athletic world. Around that time masseurs were rallying and setting regulations and laws into place. It was decided that dropping the title of masseur, which had a bad rep attached to it, was the first step. The field started to refer to themselves as massage therapists. There were schools for massage therapy popping up with certification programs and eventually states started creating licensing exams. Massage Therapists were now Licensed Massage Therapists and they started once again earning the respect of the population and the medical field. Now in 2017, the medical field is pushing for insurances to cover massage therapy, which is a huge step for the massage field. You would think that would be the end of the story, but it isn’t. There is an ugly side of massage that Licensed Massage Therapists must deal with every day. There are still those masseur parlors floating around. Rochester has quite a few of them. Every now and then you turn on the news and you hear such and such a place has been shut down for illegal prostitution. That the girls were arrested for eliciting sexual acts. What is


truly sad is most of the time the workers are forced to perform these sexual acts. We may scuff our nose at it or pretend that it isn’t real, but it is.

Licensed massage therapists deal with this issue more then we really talk about. I have been in the field for over 8 years and yes, I have been approached, asked and grabbed in my own room. I don’t like telling men what I do for a living because there is always going to be that one person who has to ask if you give “Happy Endings”. My answer is, “it’ll be a very unhappy ending when you meet my elbow.” I am strictly a treatment therapist and that is what I tell people. I do not even promote that I give relaxing massages because that is usually when you run into issues. Even when you come off as a very strict and business like person there are still those who try to push the boundaries. Each time a place is shut down for illegal acts I find an influx in the boldness. It’s like the news personifies people’s actions. Whenever a masseur parlor is shut down I celebrate but also cringe, because I know with in the following days I am going to get a phone call or someone trying to push the boundaries. When The Client List was released in 2012, was the worse time in my career with men thinking that I would give a “Happy Ending” because I was a Licensed Massage Therapist.


I remember one phone conversation where a gentleman asked to speak to the massage therapist, I was working in a spa at the time, and I answered. He boldly asked if I would give him a “happy ending” if he gave me 300 dollars. It was a very heated conversation where he got very angry with me for telling him no. I have had men get angry and ask me why I didn’t massage the “front of their legs”. I have had one bold man grab me by the arm and moan my name. I have worked with many Licensed Massage Therapists and each one of them has at least one time, if not more, where a client has overstepped the boundaries. This isn’t just an issue for female therapists. I have spoken with some male therapists who have been grabbed by female clients. I would have to say male therapists have a more difficult



time then females. The male therapist has to be more careful, because most of the time the female is the one that is looked at as telling the truth. I have owned Healing Massage Retreat for two years and I can honestly say we haven’t had any issues up until two weeks ago. I had heard that two places had been raided and shut down in the last month and I once again went on high alert. We had to have one guy leave in the middle of a session and a day later we got a phone call asking if we massaged in between the hips and the front of the legs. It feels at times it’s a losing battle. I want the sex trafficking ring in Rochester to be shut down completely, but I also want to be able to do my work without feeling threatened.

Licensed Massage Therapists have to go through a rigorous training that is 1000 hours of school. They have to take anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, myology, neurology, pathology and many hours of massage classes learning the different techniques and different treatments for different ailments. And then sit down for a licensing exam and every three years they have to do 36 hours of continuing education classes. They get into this field because they genuinely want to help people get better. It’s a very physical job that ends up hurting the hands, arms, back and neck. You have love this work to do it for a living.

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is weight loss a struggle

{ ASK THE DOCTOR } body—it’s a question of keeping your metabolism healthy. Those useless calories, chock full of high fructose corn syrup, refined flours, refined vegetable oils, and trans fats, are not natural dietary habits. As omnivores, we evolved to be eating much more nutrition-rich foods.


So maybe what’s obstructing you from weight loss may not be calorie counting but your metabolism and body chemistry. Recalibrating your system can aid in burning more fat, steadying blood sugar, keeping your hormones in check, and building muscle. And of course, staying healthy means a higher quality of life. To start taking your nutrition seriously, consider eating more unprocessed foods. Think vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Next, seek out fatty foods in plant form. Get most of your fat intake from healthier sources, like extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds.

So you’ve heeded the Riddle Wellness weight loss prescription. You’re visiting the gym regularly, you’ve trimmed your diet of fatty foods, maybe you’ve even upped your cardio. But every time you step onto the scale, you don’t see any change. What are you doing wrong? It can be frustrating to put tremendous effort into a healthy lifestyle and see little results. The answer lies in particular nutritional deficiencies. Nutritional deficiencies are more far reaching than one might assume. One in nine Americans lack the proper amount of calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. It may sound surprising, but overeating can have a direct impact on malnourishment. In consuming large amounts of foods, your calorie meter can run up while your nutrient meter can plummet. It becomes a bit more intuitive once you realize we need vitamins and minerals to properly digest anything you put into your

Another core component to watch out for is your protein intake. Aim for foods that contain omega-3s and other healthy fats, like bison, grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, and barnyard eggs. Finally, if you want to take things up a notch, working with a trained nutritional expert can take your body from average to spectacular. Working with a professional can help eliminate toxins specific to your physiology and tackle individual weaknesses. There are many ways to get started. With tests available to gauge where you fall on the nutritional spectrum and experts to consult, it’s easy to improve your nutritional health and start losing those pounds Contact Dr. Nate Riddle with any questions you would like to see answered for our next edition at nateriddle23@



The Rochester area is host to many wonderful spas, yet reading a spa menu and picking a service can be an intimidating, confusing experience, if you are not familiar with the treatments. Mud wrap, wine wrap, seaweed wrap, herbal wrap, salt glow, sugar scrub, body mask, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, aromatherapy massage, reflexology. Yes, it can be overwhelming when trying to get the best value for your visit. While one could argue that spa treatments are pricey, and some of the menu descriptions can lead to many skeptical glances, their health benefits are well founded. Hydrotherapy, Seaweed wraps and body masks fill spa menus around the world and have been enjoyed by many for their acclaimed therapeutic properties.

Spa cheers to health!

Mention the spa and you can almost hear a chorus sighing: wouldn’t that be nice? Let’s face it, most of us dream of a visit to the spa. Whether we have ever visited one or never have set a foot in one, spas never fail to evoke the ultimate, everelusive feeling of relaxation and pampering we usually reserve for the elite and glamorous. And yes, isn’t it nice to feel like a celebrity and indulge yourself in a world all your own, even if only for a few hours?



Hydrotherapy is a well-known therapy in the United States and is widely offered in spas around the country. This therapy is the main treatment in many European countries with a long standing tradition of medical spas going back to the Roman baths, and reached its peak of popularity at the beginning of the 20th century and the Victorian bath houses. These medical spas combine allopathic medical treatment and alternative medicine modalities to improve the overall health of their clients and have been in vogue for the last 30 years. They are usually built around a natural mineral spring and offer hydrotherapy (thermal baths) for pain relief to stimulate blood circulation. These facilities are sometimes prescribed as part of a post surgery rehab protocol in many European countries. Hydrotherapy baths are recommended for a vast array of ailments such as circulatory disorders, spinal column issues, arthritis, rheumatism and osteoporosis, among others. Hot springs are high in salts and sulphur, which are absorbed by the skin into the blood stream. As a spa lover myself, I think of the wonderful hot springs or “ojo calientes” that fill the Southwestern US and California. Moor mud wraps are also a popular treatment in the spa to enhance the healing of the hydrotherapy baths. These are used to treat joint ailments or simply to rejuvenate the skin. Moor mud is a combination of organic materials such as flowers, herbs and grass deposited at the bottom of a swamp that in time and due to the lack of oxygen turn into a peat. When the mud is heated, a combination of acids, minerals, vitamins, hormones and trace elements are released, absorbed into the skin, and deposited into certain parts of the body. Europeans have used these baths since the 14th century. Detox Seaweed Wraps are inspired by the ancient purifying rituals of Japan and have become very popular thanks to the weight

loss community. They involve the application of either a 100% seaweed powder paste, seaweed strips or a mix of seaweed powder and clay, and some may add essential oils to support kidney elimination. Their true health benefits are best achieved when applied by a massage therapist focusing on enhancing the lymphatic drainage and the circulation. The treatment usually starts with light dry skin brushing that exfoliates and prepares the skin for the absorption of the seaweed nutrients. Seaweeds are rich in minerals, especially iodine, which may aid with balancing electrolyte metabolism and the elimination of extra fluids accumulated at the epidermis. The client is wrapped into a cocoon in a muslin sheet, thermal blanket and extra blankets and left to rest while listening to relaxing music. Toxins are eliminated through the skin as a slightly raised body basal temperature is induced. This is a wonderful treatment, providing you don’t suffer from claustrophobia and can lie still comfo¬rtably on your back for 45 minutes. For an ultimate de-stressing session include a mini facial and a neck and scalp massage if desired. Do they work? When done properly Body Wraps are truly mind body and spirit healers. Seaweed Wraps work well as a part of a holistic program to lose weight. A series of 6-10 wrap is always recommended to obtain longer-lasting effects. However be aware of inch loosing claims, since even when achieved they don’t tend to last more than a couple of days. Regardless of your intention when booking your Detox Wrap it is one of the best anti-stress treatments available at the spa. Your skin will feel hydrated, smooth and possibly tighter, but results will vary according to the specific hydration levels of each individual between treatments. If you are an ecofriendly green-consciousness kind of person, make sure your spa doesn’t use mylar foil blankets as these aren’t readily recycled and do not biodegrade! The ever-growing demand for anti-aging treatments has gone beyond facial, antiwrinkle treatments into whole-body treatments. As a result body masks such as cacao, shea, mango, and kpangnan, packed full with free-radical scavenging antioxidants and rich in vitamin E and A, are found in spa menus across the country. Viniotherapy, or wine therapy, uses wine by-products such as grape seeds, skin and stems rich in polyphenols and resveratrol. These polyphenols are said to reduce 80% of the free radicals responsible for wrinkles and skin aging. They can accelerate wound healing and stimulate new cell growth, according to Lynn Curry, senior vice president of NRI, a leader in the international and medical spa consulting industries.

{ MIND, BODY & SPIRIT } So go ahead, please yourself. Keep that New Year resolution alive by treating yourself like the Goddess you know you are. Find the spa of your dreams and cheer yourself to health this spring!



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A celebration of the work of Easterseals Bring a friend and let's bring on the spring! Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 Memorial Art Gallery Rochester, NY | 6:30 – 8:30 pm

To register, contact Jay Ackroyd at




Welcome to my world. As a poet, painter, and pianist, my inner world is rich with lyrics, color and music. I have a vivid imagination and believe in the infinite beauty of the world around us. Although the world is certainly resplendent with magic there is a large amount of pain in our daily lives. I do not believe we are alive to merely survive. I believe we all have the exponential potential to become the very best of ourselves. I believe in the power of not only my destiny but yours as well. I believe that you have a purpose to serve on this Earth. I believe that you have something to offer that only you can. Everyday life offers me more puzzle pieces to construct this grand algorithm that is my existence. I try to inspire every life I touch to become the Divine Light they contain.






{ ON WAY { ON THETHE WAY UPUP } } How does one recover from the struggle? Rain finds the sunshine in every day and tunes out the storm. An 88 cent can of Chef Boyardee, sometimes cold was all she had to comfort the pangs of hunger, after sleeping a restless night on the cold, hard pavement of the sidewalk. But she rose above. Even being the victim of rape, seeing the true darkness from a human being who steals the ability from a woman to feel safe from another, she rose above How does showing someone a fishbowl for sale end up being the ultimate violation? Words not enough bring Shortly justice. her a giftwere to share with thetoworld. How does a man go free? Rain effortlessly after this performance, Brianna’s father, also a states: “These areto part of your soul”. musician invitedthings Brianna share the stage at Words now bring andfestival. power. After Rain Fairport’s “Music onhealing the Canal” her performance, the family was approached expresses her world through her words by Mayor andand Brianna was invited to in the poetry, song theater.

and people suffering from mental health ailments and it’s all a different story. The stigma is unreal. Rain hopes that through her community center all people can find peace and holistic health. Let it Rain.

“We all have weak areas in our lives. No one is perfect. What makes us weak only makes us stronger”. Rain is actively working on her third

Brianna Collichio, an 11-year-old, Rochester native made a big name for herself singing at NFL games. At this point, she sang the National Anthem at 3 NY Jets football games. This aspiring, young singer’s story is even more remarkable when you learn she suffers from cystic fibrosis, a long-term illness which affects her lungs. While being faced with the challenge of this illness and the diminished lung capacity, Brianna is currently home schooled and follows a daily medical regime. She is an inspiration to all and she does not allow her illness to get in the way of the message she wants to send to “just believe”.

Rain Christi, a poet, an artist, a song bird, an activist and pianist, let it Rain. Rain Christi, a Brianna shares some of her daily routine and woman who inspires, the challenges she faces. She indicated she wears a Respir Tech vest. She describes the atreatment: multi-talented “It shakes you to break up the mucus”. Brianna takes a slew of medications Renaissance woman, including inhaled medications, enzymes (pancreas is deficient) and antibiotics. As a young lady, sometimes daily lifelocks, with Cystic with twisted Fibrosis is frustrating but Brianna finds peace throughwho singing. sees the good one It waseverything, around the age of 6 while decorating in despite the Christmas tree, Brianna’s mother, Colleen first noticedthe Brianna’s beautiful gift tolife, sing. seeing bad in her Brianna stood placing ornaments on the branches out a Celine Dion song “O this isbelting the essence of Rain. Holy Night” hitting the high notes perfectly. Colleen recalls being simply amazed at the Rain overcame many sound. Brianna simply thought “everyone had a beautiful voice like mine”. obstacles to gain the For Brianna, it was after her first performance level of understanding she knew singing was her calling. She enjoyed seeing the people’s faces smiling with all eyes she portrays on her. currently She indicated: “It was really fun. I wanted to keep doing it”. Ironically, her first including a church bout performance was in a small beforeof an audience of about 5. The Collichio family is homelessness atinthe extremely grounded in their beliefs God. They attribute Brianna’s success as God giving tender age of 17.

perform at the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, where the towndream honored responders. Rain Christi’s andfirst vision is to create

a safe place. This place of hers, is a vision

Brianna wants to be an encouragement to of a unique place for all, a community others. Her life is a struggle but she does wellness a place whereher. all people not allow center, her illness to define Cystic can seek to find their voice and heard Fibrosis is not her identity. Briannabe believes: by others, a place to listen and understand. “We all have weak areas in our lives. No one specialWhat place,makes a place where through isAperfect. us weak only makes thestronger”. arts, music, dance theater us Herpoetry, faith in Godand carries her through the rough days. everydayonpeople can find peace and healing

to comfort their soul. A community center,

Her mom, Colleen Collichio indicates:despite “Our where everyone can obtain services, God a loving God. I watch my daughter theirisrace, income-level, sexuality or any struggle but everything seems to work other reason. A place, where theretogether. are no That is what faith is. You have to keep your worries about payment, where the fees eyes on the goal you wish to achieve. Brianna for services are affordable for all people. often has horrible coughing fits but amazingly is her dream, Rain!I remember itThat doesn’t happen whenlet sheitsings. one day we were scheduled to do the Jets game.

Rain is currently a graduate student

in woke the Master’s of Divinity at We up the dayProgram we were planning to leave and Brianna hadcalls a high We left a day Colgate. Rain it afever. spiritual journey early it wason New Year’s. We out she isbecause embarking exploring therode spiritual believing our faith and thinking everything realm. AinBachelor’s Degree in Psychology would okay. It was! The weather was 52 formedbethe foundation of the philosophy of degrees and Brianna’s fever broke. Brianna Rain. Catharsis is something Rain believes sang beautifully”. Colleen remembers asking is a powerful tool in emotional, physical God to show her a sign it would all be okay andaspiritual Let itappeared Rain! See the and rainbow healing. mysteriously in the good, Rain believes in the exponential sky over where Brianna was standing while potential inwas all human beings. Why must she sang. “It remarkable”. we fit into an organized mold?

In 2015, Brianna’s first single “On my Hands” was released a vocal coach Why is it after thatworking havingwith heart disease is (Richard In 2016, second song was okay butFink). mental illnessher is not? Traditional released “Glow in the Dark”. She worked medicine, patients are suffering but with songwriter Elviowhere Fernandes theya are at a place their(Daughtry illness is band). Both songs are available I-Tunes. recognized as a valid disease.onThere are

album. She hopes to release it this spring. Rain lives through her music. When she plays at Rochester Woman Online events, no one in the room leaves untouched by the beauty of her music. It is music for the soul. When asked how she has the strength to work everything Also in 2015, youngthrough Brianna was given the she lived Rain indicates her art and is her Michael Brennan “Spirit Award” in venue. She finds her space. Western and 2016 the “Michael Brennan Courage Award” American promotes traditional for her workculture assisting the Boomer Esiason Foundation, created tobut assistRain people suffering organized religion does not. from Cystic Fibrosis. Brianna alsoallow sang She emphatically stated: “Wehas must on national radio, calling in to K Love 104.9 space for people to be themselves”. FM. Brianna enjoys contributing and assisting causes surrounding also suffers Rain points out: the “ I illness believeshesociety has from but more so wants to be remembered spiraled downward so far where so many for being an encouragement to others.

people have forgot how to love themselves let along also finds She states: someone “I want to else”. sing inShe front of many strength in the love she shares with her people. I want to encourage them for whatever partner Will. Will is a spoken word artist. they are doing. It’s an opportunity to do what howto they both in a IRain love. recalls I also want breedwere retrievers”. struggle when they first met. “I never Colleen “Atover timesa things thoughtCollichio I wouldindicated: find love piece are hard.potato There were when I have said of so sweet pietimes at the Charleston to God, “Where aresmiling. you?” This is especially House” Rain says true, when I sit helpless seeing Brianna when she has a choking/coughing episode. Our Rain is happy with her life right now. She country faces so much strife right now. We found her being voiceaand she shares with have started politically correctitnation. the world. She found the love of her God is our strength. We aren’t ashamed tolife tell andstory she plans to live our and reveal ourhappily belief heever willafter. get us through. Although your life may be broken, She leaves by saying, “I have fulfilled there’s still aus plan”.

many dreams so far. I work on my vision

When askedYour whatlife doisyou want to leave our every day. a gift. Live it to the readers a last thought? Briana replied: fullest.with Stayaspresent in every moment. “Never give up no matter whatyou you’re going Allow each obstacle to make stronger through. You might lose some battles but God and be grateful for every joy offered. will win the war. Don’t lose faith”.

Come walk with me and may we enjoy the roadCollichio home”.will perform for Rochester Brianna Woman Online at our February Launch party, Let it Rain. February 9, 2017, at Brass Nightclub at the corner of East and Alexander in downtown Rochester. The event is from 5:00 pm-9:00 pm . Please join us and see for yourself, Brianna Collichio as she performs. It will be a day you don’t want to miss.

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Healthy Snacks for the Mindless Eaters

For most of my life, I didn’t have weight issues. I was always active in sports, I watched what I ate and was a healthy individual. I never had eating disorders or anything aggressive like that, I was just constantly active, on the move and definitely health conscious. In high school, I never was one to hang out with the kids who were experimenting in drugs or alcohol and I drank maybe once or twice, so that was never really part of my life until college. Throughout my college years, I continued to work out regularly at the campus gym, but also started an unhealthy habit of drinking that most can relate to. That’s when the long nights of binge drinking several days a week began, which was a new habit that continued long after college. With the binge drinking, you then have the “after drinks” pizza or Chinese food. It continues for the next day as you are in the” hung-over” phase where you eat anything and everything greasy to try to feel better, but never do. I think we have all been there or some of you are still there, even after college. So what does this have to do with the title of this article regarding snacking and mindless eating? Heavy drinking is just one way I started becoming a “mindless eater.” Some people would refer to this as “emotional eaters” and have been their whole lives. It didn’t, necessarily, stem from alcohol or drugs. For me, snacking or eating when I wasn’t hungry started after the college years when drinking more created being hung-over frequently, which resulted in just gaining weight and a large feeling of unhappiness. Like I said, some of you have struggled with this your whole life and it is truly all in your head. So when I decided to (pardon my French) “get my shit together,” I limited my booze, got back into the gym and started really

re-evaluating my life. I was trying to feel good again, inside and out. When you eliminate a habit, whether its drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes, many people gainmore weight because they are substituting food for their other addiction that has been eliminated. My parents each gained over 10lbs after they stopped smoking. My mother said she would pop candy anytime she wanted a cigarette and my father ate more as well. So this is not an abnormal thing and when people are considered “emotional eaters,” they will eat when they feel sad or maybe even use food as a celebration of happiness. Once again this is not unusual, you see this everywhere in different shapes and forms. People eat out of boredom and not because they are hungry. When I wrapped my head around this, I started paying attention to what I was eating and why I was eating and if I was even hungry at all. For anyone that is reading this, I want to give you tips on how to snack healthy and to become more aware of yourself and your habits. Focus on how you feel and why you may do things and you will come to find that your actions are typically based on your emotions and how you feel at that moment. Let’s start snacking healthy! I use these tips daily.

STEP 1: Drink a glass of water. Our brains

can be confused by what hunger or thirst is. Typically, we think we are hungry when sometimes we are just dehydrated or need water. The second you think you want to snack, drink a glass of water. You may feel full and not be hungry anymore and, nonetheless, it also rehydrates your body. Drinking a glass of water before meals also will help you tend to not over eat. Another tip I strongly recommend and I do myself.

STEP 2: Snack Healthy! We aren’t talking

M&M’s and Snickers bars; we are talking carrots, apples, nuts or Greek yogurt. These forms of snacks are great and they will provide energy and keep you busy if you tend to eat just because. Eating those sugary treats brings instant alertness, but also brings a quick immediate crash where you then crave more food soon after. Snacking in between meals is good. Just like a car, we need fuel to keep moving. By depriving yourself of any food, you have no energy. It’s just plain and simple, but what you eat is super important.

STEP 3: Portion your snacks. I brought up

that nuts are a great snack, but in moderation. You need to read the nutritional labels and make sure you are measuring the right amounts and not eating too much. Nuts, again, are great, are a wonderful source of energy, but they are high in fat. You need to eat small portions, such as a handful, for it to be an appropriate snack size. Again snacking is good and it is important to keep yourself energized and alert throughout your day. We need to be aware of the habits we have formed. As I learn more about fitness and health I realize that we are all an equation. We need to solve ourselves and try to understand why we do what we do. Every year I grow older, I learn more about myself and I find out what works for me. We all need to find our way to stay healthy and happy. Keep striving and be positive! Xoxoxoxoxo



In November of 2013, at the age of 33 I was rushed into the emergency room, nine weeks postpartum with extreme shortness of breath. I wasn’t supposed to be on this side of the curtain, I was used to being part of the medical team as I had spent countless years as a volunteer firefighter and had been working for a few years as an emergency medical technician.

I had the knowledge of what different rooms in the emergency department meant and how critical you actually were based on how quickly the team moved and how many of them were surrounding you. I knew something was very wrong as I was wheeled past my basic emergency room bed and taken quickly over to the trauma bay. All I could hear through my struggles to breathe were whispers of the medical team trying furiously to save my life. IV’s in both arms, a 12-lead set up and monitoring every heart beat, the oxygen sensor being placed on different fingers to make sure it was reading correctly because afterall I should not be at 83%! All I could think about were my three boys and my husband. How it seemed like just moments ago, not years, but moments I was blessed with them as my own. I kept thinking that this had to be a nightmare, this had to be from the lack of sleep I was experiencing with a newborn at home and I was going to wake up. The look in my husbands eyes as they pulled back the curtain to transfer me upstairs to the Cardiac Care Unit said it all. The fear and pain I saw I can never unsee. I thought I was there for a simple pneumonia and as it turned out if I hadn’t forced myself to go the my doctor like I had, I would no longer be alive. The gravity of that was surreal. I honestly can only

remember the looks on the medical teams faces and hearing my own breath through the oxygen mask. The words were echoed as they spoke to me about my condition and told me I was being admitted for at least a week. I wasn’t absorbing much else. I remember closing my eyes for what I thought was just a second to wake up a day later in my hospital room to discover that my world would forever be changed. Everything I thought I had the answers to no longer made sense. I wanted solid, true facts right then and there. But I was disappointed to find that patience was going to become my worst enemy. As it stood, I had none, and it was the one thing I needed most at this very moment in time. I spent seven days in recovery with tubes in and out of every part of me. When I was discharged I was sent home with a book of instructions on how to live as a heart failure patient. There was hope for a full recovery over the next twelve months but nothing was guaranteed and no promises could be made. All I had was what little faith was left in me and hope. Over the next year I became someone different. I was scared to live the life that had been so graciously saved for me. I was living like I was already dead. I couldn’t make plans for the future because I didn’t

hat We Think We Can’t Handle

believe I had one. It was a year filled with specialist visits, life vests, cardiac rehab and talks of surgery should my heart continue to be as weak as it was. I became an expert on left ventricular function and what a healthy heart versus my heart looked like. I was all too familiar with the blood tests that were run to ensure the medications you take for strengthening the heart weren’t failing your other vital organs. What the difference between an EKG and an Echocardiogram were. Something called a MUGA scan and the all too familiar cardiac stress test! I also became accustomed to extreme fatigue. Two naps a day minimum were what I needed to just barely function. I was a shell of who I had been and it was all just beginning. At the end of this year my heart only slightly increased in strength and surgery number one took place. An internal cardiac defibrillator was placed and I was no longer recovering, I was a lifelong heart failure patient. Not an easy pill 142


to swallow for a thirty something mother of 3 boys with a career that expected top physical performance and the ability to run on empty and now added to my diagnosis of cardiomyopathy came post traumatic stress. It took the better part of two years for me to come around and start to understand that nothing in life is guaranteed and if I did not work hard and push through the physical and mental struggles of what had occurred for this new version of myself and take advantage of every moment then I was wasting the gift I was given, the very reason I was put on this earth.


It wasn’t months or years in the making. It was the culmination of what my near death had forced me to see the months of crying myself to sleep, visions and nightmares, depression and thoughts of self harm that I had become all too familiar with because of the lack of

peer to peer care available to first responders dealing with post traumatic stress or PTS(D) after the countless emergencies and traumatic incidents we respond to. In our career paths (EMS, Fire, PD) we know what we may be up against, and yet while we understand what we can face, actually coming up against the worst possible scenario is nothing anyone of us is ever prepared for. Sudden, unexpected death of yourself or any other human being is not something I feel anyone, no matter what their background can be prepared for and personally I had just dealt with both of these scenarios in less than 24 months. I had been forced to face the reality of my own life ending as well as witness the sudden, unexpected death of too many others. I was the mother of two young boys at the time of my worst call and when I say nightmare, that paints the picture for something much nicer than what it actually was. An accident is one thing, an intentional death of anyone, especially a child is another

{ IN HER OWN WORDS } and that is what we were up against. As a mother, the feelings I had are something I will never be able to put into words. As a professional called to assist in this trauma I can tell you the grief and pain in all those that were there was so heavy it was almost unbearable to face for a long time following. When we answer a call the personal “hats” come off. We are not mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, women, men, husbands or wives. We are trained professionals expected to execute specific tasks in hopes of saving a life or lives and making what could have been a persons worst day the best we possibly can with the experience we have. We live most of our conscious time in “fight or flight” always trying to be ready for anything. The adrenaline and the thought processes that take over, overshadow the grief and pain that will come for us in the hours, days and weeks following. They allow us to do our jobs without becoming emotional wrecks on scene, in the back of the ambulance or at the hospital where the patient needs us to be their strongest ally. It takes a very specific type of person to be able to do this work. I say we are born for it. Without helping others and responding to these calls we do not feel like we are serving our purpose. Other jobs may pay more and may have ideal hours, even holidays off but that doesn’t matter to us because this is what we feel “at home” doing. Nothing can replace that feeling of fulfillment. The morning I decidedto move forward in what ended up being a whirlwind of events to jump start HeroPeers I awoke knowing with every fiber of my being that something had to change and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was raised by very strong, independent women to be the best I could be no matter what adversity I faced and I would be damned if I was going to let them down. This disease would not define me or take my life with it, I would define it. I would use it as the power behind positively influencing the lives of so many others who too were suffering. HeroPeers would be the peer to peer support that did not currently exist in our area and utilize those heroes that too could empathize not just sympathize with what each other had gone through and most definitely if we remained in these career fields, would continue to battle. Throughout my time in emergency services I found that all too often I would hear both patients and other folks employed in these fields talking about being overwhelmed, ready to throw in the towel so to speak because they just don’t think they have anymore to give to anyone or anything. I am not talking about death, although I am sure many like myself over the course of their careers and lives have had suicidal ideologies. The job related stress and mental fatigue place those in these fields at one of the highest burnout rates among any other career field. Type A personalities as most of

us are labeled tend to take the world on our shoulders. We are healers and love to help others in any way we can even at the sacrifice of our own mental and physical well being. This is not purposeful by any means, in most cases we do not even see that we are doing this or that there is a problem until it has gone too far. I began spending my time learning coping mechanisms and researching PTSD and rebuilding a healthier, happier me that I would share with so many others through my own trials and tribulations with HeroPeers. I hear the saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” or some derivative of such time and time again. With that, I ask you- won’t he? After all, would we strive to be better if we weren’t pushed by that inner voice telling us to be bigger, be stronger, to do it again? What if we all settled for mediocre and were content with it? How would this world of fantastic, self motivated and powerful women look? I’m focusing on women here because, well hey, I am one! How would our daughters view us? How would men view us? I am a firm believer that we reach a comfort level and become good at it, expert really and just when things begin to look easy and we are content the pot is not just stirred but flipped upside down and dumped out to challenge us to start fresh and be even better! It is not so much about what we CAN handle as it is what we THINK we can’t. Nothing is impossible with hard work and a strong faith believing that as women there is nothing we cannot conquer on or own or in numbers. We create life inside of us or we adopt life others have created as our own. We take that life and we nurture it for the remainder of the time we are blessed with. If that isn’t miraculous within itself then what is? We are strong, we are brave and we are defining what the future holds for all the women to come just as those before us did for the generations to follow. I’m venturing a guess at saying that I am not the only woman who feels like life, or time, or is it life, UGH! Regardless, they both equally seem to fly by! Am I right? Wasn’t it yesterday we were all just nineteen and carefree living for the moment and having fun storming through our self destructive, chaotic life without a care in the world? We were indestructible and selfish, rightfully so at that tender age without any regard for what was to come. Diet? HA! We could eat anything. Political correctness? What is that? We said what was on our mind without fear of repercussion or a care for who thought ill of it because after all we knew everything! Or so we thought. Alarm clocks? No! Who needs sleep when life is so much fun and our youth has yet to tell our body it’s

time to take it down about ten notches! Then one day, somehow what feels like moments, seconds even, becomes years and before we know it a lifetime has passed. We closed our eyes and suddenly we are wives, mothers, full-time taxi-cabs, chefs, nanny’s and nurse maids! Where did the time go? Who are these people we have created or better yet, who is THIS person we are staring at in bathroom mirror at 5am because that is the only time we have to ourselves before life erupts in madness for the next 15 hours of our day?! We take a few brief moments and look at her, this person we have become and ask, did we answer the dreams of that teenager who aspired to be so many things? Have we made a difference or accomplished goals that were set or did we settle for comfort and a life we hadn’t at that age thought we would ever have? Are we stunned at what we are looking at or are we fulfilled in all that we have become? In my “recovery” stage I spent too many hours asking myself these questions and staring at someone I didn’t feel like I knew anymore until I found my purpose. It can be a struggle but you will find it if you dig deep. Have any of you blinked and had this moment or maybe a few moments of realization that time does not cater to any of us as we naively thought that it would so many moons ago? The clock never stops moving whether we are on board or not. We are older, some wiser and there is a whole new generation of late teens that have replaced us in those thoughts of never ending youth. Are we molding them and setting a good example to follow? I have had many of these moments and in them I have learned to lean heavily on my closest friends, coworkers and even my superiors. Those who make me want to strive for better, for more. The ones that when I feel like I cannot do anything more or less, show me that someone has, so why not me? And, I leaned on my faith. Without faith and the belief that there is something so much more than any of us ever could imagine waiting for us what would be the point? I’ve told you a short version of my story to show how much we can strive for better to help others around us even when we feel like we have nothing to give. But most of all how we need to utilize this thing called time and understand that we never have more on our plate than we can handlewe are meant to handle anything! God does not discriminate-he pushes everyone of us no matter what issues we are facing at that moment to try harder and be better. I found my purpose in HeroPeers. It is still a work in progress, but I believe in it and that’s what will matter. So with that, I say again, your plate is never full. Strive to find your gift, your purpose and always seek to make it better day in and day out. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017





hear birds singing outside my window! March 20th is the first day of spring, so bring on the warmth. Oh wait; it’s Rochester! I must have typed that with a brain freeze because warm summer breezes could still be a couple months away. That beautiful week in February was just a smidgeon of what is to come. If anything, it created in me some wishful thinking. What about you? Even though the warm weather is not here yet, spring is almost here. Can you hear the birds chirping? See the flowers starting to poke their heads above the earth? Just like nature comes alive in spring, we can all anticipate something different or new in life that is just about to begin. According to the dictionary, springtime is the early part or first stage of something. What are you



about to begin in a new season of life? Is there anything in life you can look forward to in order to change things up a bit? Maybe something you haven’t attempted before? How about considering throwing in some new twists to something you have been working on for a long time?

I don’t know about you, but as for me, I have to change things up as soon as I start to feel like I’ve lost my enthusiasm. This has been the case with many things from my workout routines to my Bible studies. Life can get so routine and mundane, but it shouldn’t. In an effort to ward off coasting through my existence on autopilot, I often times find myself doing a mental slap in the face. Life passes us by if we’re not careful, doesn’t it? Despite this busyness, I am constantly struggling with my need to stay in the present and appreciate the little things. Let me say that one of my favorite things to do every day is to plant a big kiss on my ten year-old son’s precious face and say, “I LOVE those cheeks… soft as a baby’s bum!” Yes, as you can imagine he sometimes rolls his eyes, but he subconsciously loves his mother’s affection! It’s true; right, moms? Even though he says he hates that I compare his cheeks to a baby’s bum, he doesn’t understand that in just a few years, those cheeks will never be that soft again with all that man hair growing on it! It makes me tear up now just thinking about how fast life gets away from us. So if life is flying by and spring is almost here, let’s capture the moments and seize the opportunities to make life new and exciting again. Maybe this is a good time to stop and consider how to spice up our marriages, friendships, work environments, eating habits and so much more. For example, I saw a posting for a book by one of my favorite authors that intrigued me. As I was reading the book, I was able to use the information I was learning to help encourage other women through their troubles. This led me to ask a friend at church if she would like to read this book together. She also fell

in love with the book and we both agreed that it would be fun to do a book study in which we will meet and share fellowship with more women. This will start in April and I now have something new and different to look forward to! Now, how can you take something you enjoy and turn it into a new opportunity?

As you can see, I try to take advantage of opportunities that come my way that will give life a renewed sense of purpose. Of course, this leads to increased demands on my time and resources. Along with that, there is always something that seems to lack my full attention because I’m juggling so many plates. The plates can’t all be spinning with the same tenacity at all times, but it’s fun to put a new twist on something old. It’s a cycle that needs constant attention, but prevents me from falling into a mundane lifestyle. For those of you, who are entrepreneurs, you can possibly relate to a comment I recently read in a blog. Written by an entrepreneur, the article explained how the joy of starting something new was just as rewarding as the money that was made from his business. No matter what our income levels are, there is more to life than simply making money and living in survival mode. Survival mode is “for the birds.” Hear them chirping along with the honking of the geese. Soon they’ll be back with anticipation of a new year of life and sustenance. If the birds can do it, we can too! Keep seeking those opportunities to live your life with a renewed sense of daily expectancy. In years to come, we will look back and cherish the memories. Jill Burress is a full time Speech-Language Pathologist at NTID/RIT along with another full time schedule of “randomness.” As a pastor’s wife and mother of 2, she is passionate about inspiring women to be the best they can be! Find her on Facebook, Instagram and

into something



WHAT CAN I DO You watch the news, you see random, everyday, people being victimized by criminals. You think: “She is just like me, all she was doing was walking to her car” or “I jog there as well and she was attacked.” Pretty scary when you think about how a random crime can affect you. How a seemingly innocent night out, trip to the park to run, or a drive in your car can become a life changing event. “I need to do something,” you say to yourself, but what CAN you do? Believe it or not, there is a lot you can do to ensure your safety. In this month’s column, I’ll explore a few of the most popular options for self defense and their advantages and drawbacks. t can be confusing to figure out what you can do to be safer. Let’s go beyond the basics of having good locks on your windows and doors, an alarm in your home, or stronger doors on your house. (Remember they don’t work unless you actually use them  ) I’ll start with the basic, easy to use tips and tools and work my way up. n all of our self-defense oriented courses, we promote the idea of awareness. Awareness of potential danger, of factors that will lead to dangerous settings, and awareness of your surroundings. Think of this as cheating. You can pay more attention to what’s going on around you without anyone knowing. Your eyes and ears are powerful tools, but you have to know how to fine tune them to be effective. There are four levels of awareness: Unaware, Aware, Alert, and Alarm. Unaware: you’re basically daydreaming or totally engrossed in whatever you are doing (it had better not be your phone while you’re outside!).

AWARE: You are essentially interacting with

the world. You are paying attention to what you see, hear, and feel. You’re also thinking and processing the information you are receiving.

ALERT: There is a problem. It’s a situation

that might affect you in the next few minutes or seconds. This is the time to decide whether to watch and see if the situation gets closer or grows worse, or gain some distance and leave.

ALARM: That situation is now affected you. It’s time to decide if you are going to leave or stay and defend yourself if you cannot leave.

Next we have physical skills. Learning how to use your hands, feet, elbows, knees, and more can actually be very satisfying. One of the great things about physical skills is that you’ll never be disarmed. Tools can be taken from you but skills, once learned and practiced, will be with you no matter where you are or where you go. They can be altered depending on what kind of response you’ll need. This means you can use a softer skill or a harder one based on what you are dealing with. A drawback to physical skills is that they may be limited by your own body’s ability. You may have an injury, arthritis, or not be feeling well. Regardless, there are a lot more advantages than drawbacks. Delving into the world of self defense “tools” we start with pepper spray. Some people have been told that pepper spray is illegal in NY State, but that is incorrect. Not only is it legal, I encourage everyone to obtain some and learn how to use it. Why? You’re able to use spray in self defense prior to touching someone or fighting with them. It’s a great tool that will give you a few seconds (initially) to get away from your attacker. What’s the drawback? Well, for one, you can have some “blow back” into your face and it will affect you as well. Not too much, but it may be a little irritating for a while. Also, if you do not learn when, and how to use it properly, it may not work as well as expected. Believe it or not, quite a few women prefer some sort of edged tool. This can be anything used to cut: Scissors, kitchen knives, pocket knives, etc. They make great tools for everyday use AND they make very effective tools for self defense. Most attackers will try to intimidate their victims with knives or sharp objects, but when you learn to use them, the advantage is yours. Drawbacks? Just like any object, you have to have it with you and you have to practice with it. You should also learn how to avoid having a knife taken from you and potentially used against you. Believe it or not, this situation is very easy to prevent. Skill development and training is important so that you learn how to move and respond- regardless of the tools you have. Lastly, on the top of the tool “pyramid” is a firearm. Some of you may already own one. Some of you might not, yet. There are those of you that may have never considered a firearm for your own protection for many different

reasons. In my long career of training, I have found that many women find a firearm to be the greatest equalizer there is. Think of it this way: most women are 30% smaller in body size and strength compared to the average attacker. Physically, there is no way to even the odds when you are fighting for your safety or your life. A firearm can, and will, even those odds dramatically. Beyond the self-defense concept, firearms education is a great way to discover what you are capable of, what you are willing to do to protect yourself and your loved ones, and how effective you can be. So, what are the disadvantages? The first one is the “‘fear factor” of the unknown. Most will say: “Guns are bad” and avoid the subject altogether. This avoidance of education is unsafe. Guns are no worse than a rock, or a pen or a car. They’re all inanimate objects that only reflect the person using them. Another drawback is that you’ll definitely need training. Learning how to use a firearm safely involves going to a professional instructor, who can teach you what you’ll need to know to be safe, yet effective, with your firearm. There are quite a few choices to pick from in your self defense. I’ve only covered a few of the most popular ones. Ultimately, it is your decision on which method or tool you will wish to use. One thing I would urge is to avoid discounting ANY method of self defense until you have talked about it, or tried it, with the guidance of an experienced and professional instructor. Dave Jenkins is the founder of Rochester Personal Defense, LLC, the area’s best self defense training company. Come join the other women that have learned how to be safe, keep their family safe, and how they became their own bodyguards. This recurring column, by Dave Jenkins of Rochester Personal Defense, LLC, will explore different areas and methods of personal protection and self defense. Topics will range from using specific tools, techniques, or even yourself and your mind as the weapon. The goal is to create a more aware and safer you! Questions or suggestions are welcome! You can reach Dave and his team of lady instructors at www.rochesterpersonaldefense. com or 585-406-6758. You can even email them at





Sitima Fowler Sitima Fowler, has been making waves in Rochester. As Co-CEO of CAPSTONE Information Technologies Inc., one of Rochester’s Top 100 businesses, and the founder of She is also co-author of the book, Computers Should Just Work! and frequently blogs for the RocNext section of the Democrat and Chronicle. Sitima and her husband, Mike Fowler, started CAPSTONE in 2003 and since then have grown it into one of the fastest growing companies in the nation according to Inc. 5000. Together, they are honored to be chosen as Rochester Business Council’s 2015 Person of the Year.





She failed 90% of the time when she was trying to sell their those failures and used them as her building b

Capstone IT is a company that takes IT to another level. They focus on making sure that the company they are working with has the right fit technology for that company. They really focus on the goals of the company and make sure that there aren’t any gaps in the technology that is being used, so the company can meet all their goals. They really work on network dependability. They don’t believe in nickel and diming the small businesses they work with, so they created a fixed rate. Having a fixed rate, that is charged every month, makes sure that the company can budget and won’t have any surprises from the IT Department of running a business. Sitima Fowler has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Maryland and her Master’s Degree in Manufacturing, Management and Leadership. When she was in Maryland, she was applying for jobs and she applied for a job with Xerox. She told her friends she didn’t care what they paid her she was going to be taking the job because she wanted to live in Western New York. At that point in time, she thought Western New York meant Manhattan. She was shocked to find out that she had taken a job in Rochester, New York. She had only planned on staying for two years and she has been here now for over 25 years. When her husband started Capstone IT in 2003, she knew she was the one who would be the bread winner while he built up the company. In 2006, her and her husband, decided that she would quit her job and join the company fulltime. She became the head of business development and culture. Her job was a very difficult one. She was the one who was going to be expanding the business. She was to build the brand and build a product that they could sell. A product that was intangible. She was given a task that she had no experience in. 152


She had to design a product that she could sell to her potential clients that they could not hold in their hands. Clients were used to seeing the IT workers come in to their businesses and working on the computers. Capstone IT does the work by remote access. Fowler said it was a trial and error and a lot of failure. She failed 90% of the time when she was trying to sell their product. She took those failures and used them as her building blocks. When Fowler was starting out on this journey she picked every book up on business and marketing. She found mentors and had many meetings with other CEO’s about business and marketing. Fowler took on every meeting with companies who were interested in their company’s services, even if they weren’t a good fit. She took each meeting as a learning experience and improved her product selling with each meeting. Fowler takes her failures and goes over each one of the questions that were asked and tries to answer them in multiple different ways. She tries to figure out why she wasn’t able to sell the product even if she felt that her product was perfect for the company. She sometimes even asked the company why they choose not to go with Capstone IT. Fowler says that she tries to stop objections before they even happen. She knew she had to find the top 3 objections and make sure she had answers for those objections. She has learned in the last 11 years that when you focus on the company’s number one problem and show them how Capstone IT was going to help them fix it, was the answer. Capstone IT is a company that customizes their work to fit in with each individual company, a customized fit. A big piece of the company is security. Fowler said that there is so many places our computers can be breeched. Social media has truly caused more risks for the smaller companies to be hacked and they build in firewalls to protect them. They even have special firewalls for

employees who work from home. While Fowler was building the brand, she was also helping expand the company. They started with the Rochester location, where they have 30 employees, and have now expanded out to Buffalo, NY, with 2 employees, and have just opened a satellite location in South Florida. They are working with 150 local companies adding up to about 3,600 computers. They have what they call their Big Hairy Ambitious Goal of 10,000 by 2025. Fowler is also in charge of the culture of Capstone IT’s employees. They moved last year to Penfield, where they have a building that is 11,000 sq ft. They have an open collaborative office space, no cubicles. There is a fully stocked café with healthy food that are free of charge and an open cafeteria where you are encouraged to talk with your coworkers. They have a Zen room that is a stress-free space where employees can work. Fowler also sets up fun events and at times brings in massage therapists to do chair massages. They also built an employee award system. Each week an employee will win the Employee Recognition Award. The employee who had it from the week before will pick someone else who they have found to truly be presenting the core value of the company. They also have to explain why they picked that particular employee. The Core Values of Capstone IT are spelled out PERFC: Passionate

Extraordinary be Reliable create Fun be Caring

At the end of the year, the employee who received the most Employee Recognition Awards is rewarded with a cash reward. The culture and wellness of their employees is very


r product. She took blocks.

important to the Fowlers. They want to make a space where their employees are happy to come to work. Fowler knew she always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, until her husband started this company. She is passionate about her work and truly believes in her and her husband’s company. Fowler isn’t just a busy business woman but also a mother of two kids, a daughter who is going to college at Penn State and a son who is in 9th grade. She has learned over the years of how to balance the business world and family. Capstone IT is having an Extreme Phone Makeover Contest. Your business could win A FREE phone makeover worth up to $10,000. The contest is running now till March 24th. It is open to all businesses a 25-mile radius of Rochester, NY or Buffalo, NY and you have to have 10 or more phone lines within your current network. Check out for more information.





Make a wish list. Making lists of what you like and dislike in your existing kitchen. Have fun. Save pictures from the internet and magazines of kitchens that you like. These will help when creating a kitchen that is unique to you. Develop a budget. Share your budget with the people you will be hiring to create your new kitchen. I like to tell people, “We will get to the budget sooner or later”. Sharing it early in the design stage will help you get the best design and products within your budget.

Kitchens are the heart of the home, serving a unique purpose in every home. If you are considering a new kitchen, consider the following tips when you are planning the project. Work with an experienced kitchen designer that can help guide you through the many decisions necessary in creating your new space. Your designer will help to educate you on the newest products that are available as well as the offer recommendations for the best use of your space. A designer’s expertise should help educate you on the available products that will satisfy your needs as wells as reflect your personal style. Working with a professional can save time and costly mistakes.



Consider purchasing the best products that your budget will allow. Kitchens bring much value to your home. When you use quality materials you increase your home’s value while at the same time creating a space that is enjoyable to use. I am not a fan of putting in a kitchen that will last only a few years simply from a waste perspective. If you are going to stay in the home and cannot afford the counters that you ultimately would like. Start with quality cabinets and look to trade out the counters later. Always start with a strong foundation. A timeless design will last many years and not feel out dated as quickly as more trending designs. You can add less expensive trending items to the kitchen that can be switched out as the trends change. Repurposing items to local organizations that make use of old cabinets will help the community as well as save on waste in the landfills. Do you have a favorite old table? Could it serve as part of the island? The authentic qualities of items from the past, mixed with quality products of today will create a beautiful unique look for your space. What type of appliances do you want? Do you have small appliances? Many cabinet manufacturers have designed non-custom cabinetry to house microwaves, mixers, and coffee makers. Do you entertain frequently? Would you want the guest in the kitchen and part of the food preparation or would you prefer the work area to be hidden from your guests? Will you want an eat in kitchen? Many people

are using the dining room as a less formal eating area and expanding the kitchen with an island that provides seating as well. What type of storage do you need? Do you shop in bulk or do you purchase more fresh foods? Someone who shops in bulk may want to create a walk-in pantry or large storage area, while someone who shops for more fresh foods may want to invest in larger refrigerated storage. If you have an area in your kitchen that is currently disorganized with papers and chargers hanging from the outlets you may want to dedicate an area for organizing these items. Cubbies can be built into your cabinets to help with this task and charging centers can be designed into the drawers or wall cabinets. Don’t forget the view. Adding a focal point inside the kitchen can be done with a beautiful wood hood or tile arrangement behind the range, on the backsplash. Positioning windows in a way that you take advantage of the beautiful view from the sink or work station adds a sense of beauty that materials cannot duplicate. If your view is not one that you want to accentuate, consider planting a tree in the front of the window, allowing the beauty of the outdoors to be brought into your design. Does your spouse have a different vision of the kitchen? This is not uncommon and should not stop you from moving forward with your project. Many times, I can help balance the dueling wishes while infusing a bit of each parties wishes. These are just a few of the items to consider when preparing for a new kitchen. Then the fun of selecting door styles, colors and counter and tile materials begins. A kitchen is a big investment. Take your time and have fun with the process! Denise Peters is owner of Kitchen Thyme Design Studio Inc. in Bushnell’s Basin. Call for your appointment today at 585-385-9149 or visit their website at

It’s thyme for your dream kitchen AWARD WINNING

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


Call for your appointment today! 585-385-9149





These days we hear a lot about being mindful. But do we know what it means exactly? I have been practicing and teaching meditation for twenty years now and I humbly can tell you exactly what it does mean. As women, we hold many roles. We nurture, we provide in and outside of the home. We lead, we teach, and we believe in the importance of this. But often we worry that it won’t be enough for those we love, guide even protect and more. But do you give the same energy to yourself? Let’s begin with understanding mindfulness. It is about being in a present state of thoughts and emotions, without judgement. An awareness that runs the conditions of our life experiences. Now add into the equation, the Law of Attraction. This Law is moved by emotions that are a response from your perceptions of your own life. Everyday this perception will create the conditions of every relationship, personal, careers, financial, and, inevitably, affecting your physical energy and condition. The power to choose the thoughts we have is mind boggling. It is also natural and sacred. The next step is how? Meditation is a portal to mindfulness. Meditation is the “mediation” between your thoughts and how you respond emotionally. All we do is think and feel; don’t you agree? So now that we understand how important it is to be mindful of our thoughts we now need to understand the power they have. Why not choose to claim this power? It energizes all the responsibilities you have and in the higher frequency will be responding to the abilities that you have as a woman in today’s world! Simple Exercises for Daily Meditation:


Your morning is the opportunity to direct the energy of the day. You can begin in positive direction or to allow the energy to be a free for all. Think of when your thoughts are going in all different direction, you feel pulled, anxious even depressed.


It is important to keep the positive intention “energized,” especially when patterns of thought or the patterns instilled for days, months or even years have a subconscious influence over the new thoughts. In other words, you have been thinking about it for a long time and the thoughts and emotions connected are of lower frequency (create feelings of sadness, anger, doubt, etc.)


This is a very important time because of the subconscious mind and connection to sleep.

When we are asleep our conscious mind is basically in off mode, but the subconscious is strong. Therefore, dreams can be filled with guidance and an opportunity to heal. Sleep habits can be disrupted because of the lower frequency of the body. This is created by stress or suppressed emotions. Positive or higher frequency thoughts (happy, grateful, joyful) will raise the vibration of the lower and this is will be accepted by the subconscious, basically lifting the lower to higher). Now the magnetics of the energy body will draw higher vibrational opportunity to you. This will be seen in relationship with self, others, careers, finance and ultimately health. Is it fair to say when in higher frequency we never experience sadness, fear and challenges in life? Absolutely not! But when you go through challenging times, you will have a stronger and more positive approach “naturally” that moves you through the experience. You will learn, heal and create from this vibration now!


The first minute of your day is most powerful to set intention! Breath awareness awakens the spiritual frequencies. • BEGIN WITH BREATH AWARENESS / BEGIN WITH A MININUM OF 4 • INHALE COUNTING TO 4 SILENTLY / EXHALE COUNTING TO 6 SILENTLY • AFTER 4 BREATHS INCREASE INHALE TO 6 / EXHALE TO 8 FOR 4 BREATHS • Relax or continue with affirmations! AFFIRM WHAT YOU WANT! MORNING AFFIRMATION - Begin with breath techniques. IMPORTANT! Today I walk in my Truth, Acceptance and Power. I am free to express my Creativity in all I do. I am free from all relationships and challenges that no longer serve my Happiness and Security. I Am worthy of this. (Take a deep breath SMILE and say “Thank You” aloud) MIDDAY - Begin with breath techniques. IMPORTANT! Take time to do breathing techniques repeat the affirmations above. Remember to take conscious time-outs to do a few breaths smile and be aware of how you feel. Use the shelf we have talked about. In all its simplicity, it is powerful. It stops the emotional cords from getting energy and allows them to “unplug,” if you will. You will see this in inner peace, focus and your breathing.

EVENING / BEDTIME - Begin with breath techniques. IMPORTANT! This is a time to be grateful for the day. If you know you will or cannot do right before going to sleep, do before going out or before you get too tired. Consistency is very important. Begin the conscious breathing from above. Energize this affirmation and the daily one you have been using. “I Am grateful for this day and the opportunity to learn, heal and create my day. SMILE! REMEMBER ANY TIME IS A GOOD TIME TO ENERGIZE THE POSITIVE DIRECTION. IF YOU “NEED” TO THINK ABOUT WHAT IS CREATING CONFUSION, SADNESS, ANGER, FEAR, ETC. TIME YOURSELF. GIVE IT 5 MINUTES. SAY “OK I CAN THINK, FEEL (EVEN WRITE) ABOUT THIS FOR 5 MINUTES.” YOU ARE TAKING ACTION AND DISCIPLINING THE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE. BECAUSE YOU CAN!! Beth Lynch, Intuitive Consultant, Medium and founder of Inner Light Teaching, has helped families understand grief and healing for 2 decades. She shares the power of understanding the relationship between the Spirit (relationship with God) and Self (personality). She is a graduate of Delphi University in McCaysville, Georgia, as a certified metaphysical and meditation facilitator and intuitive consultant. Lynch is ordained under the Church of Wisdom. She has been practicing meditation and alternative options to life for 20 years and knows firsthand the importance of balancing a spiritual practice, motherhood and career. She has founded the Inner Light Awareness and Practitioner Program and is passionate about teaching meditation to all ages. She volunteers in her communities to teach and share meditation and how it can guide one to a happy, healthy and abundant lifestyle. Beth truly feels life experiences will be our greatest opportunity to learn and our greatest teacher. Embracing all roles in life as a mother, woman and intuitive she feels is a blessing and hopes to help others recognize the privilege of life. For more on meditation, speaking & other services: Enjoy a free meditation download on the Meditation Corner: www.innerlightteaching. com/meditation.php



{ YOU CAN BE...! }


Success! Dressing For

Welcome to my column… You Can Be…! My first article addressed the issue of how you see yourself. Mysecond article dealt with how others see you. In this third and final installment on the topic of Self Presentation, I discuss “Dressing for Success” and the impression that you make on others. Your fashion sense informs others about you. You can reveal your own special personality and individuality through the use of it. Fashion is an essential, challenging and an alwayschanging force. Colors are important, as well. They can often reflect your taste and mood. Colors can also make a very exciting impact. Everyone has their own special colors, which when used correctly, can bring about a small change, or an entirely different look. I think one of the most exciting aspect of fashion is that is always changes. Year by year, season by season, collection by collection, there is always something new and different. At the same time, there are some things that always remain the same - the classics. Some advice that can really help you as you build the foundation of your wardrobe is to remember that you can’t go wrong with the classics. When building a wardrobe, it is best to stick to the basics and opt to stay on the somewhat conservative side with your choices. Trendy can be fun, but it can also be very costly. Use good judgment and put thought into colors, patterns, textures and styles.

The best way to build a wardrobe is to “build by priority.” First, buy the clothes that you need. Then buy the clothes that you want. Think quality not quantity. Take the time to put together the right wardrobe; one suited toward both your work and leisure time and looks that can be interchanged on occasion, when needed. Let’s start with dressing for the workplace. There are many options available to women today. It’s important to remember individual choices reflect your personal taste and personality. Think first, about making a good and lasting impression. Develop your own sense of style. Create a look that works for you -from your head to your toes. That will be “your image.” When you make your choices, keep in mind that you are also trying to portray a “winning image”. Putting together a wardrobe that covers all of these bases can be as simple as the following example. This is an example of a basic, stable, classic wardrobe, using soft colors such as greys, peaches or pinks, and creams, and fabrics like gabardine, silk and cotton. It can be considered business or upscale casual. It consists of: • 2-Piece Grey Suit with a Skirt • Cream Blouse • Cream Skirt • Grey Short Sleeve Top • Peach or Pink Sweater • Peach or Pink, or Grey Pants • Grey, Cream, Peach or Pink, Pearl Necklace & Matching Earrings

• Neutral/Skin Tone, Cream & Grey Pantyhose • 2 Pairs of Shoes (Closed-Toe Pumps): Grey & Cream • 2 Leather Belts: A Grey & A Cream • 2 Purses: Grey & Cream • Grey & Cream Nice Dress Hat (optional) We’ll start with a simple 2 piece grey suit. Skirt lengths can vary, anywhere from just above the knee to the floor. Lines of the skirts can vary, from a straight A-line to a full- swinging skirt. Let’s choose an A-line skirt that falls just above, at, or below the knee; one will be cream and the other one will be from the grey suit. Now choose a cream colored silk, long sleeve blouse and a grey silk short sleeve top. A peach or pink colored cardigan sweater can then be added for color, warmth and versatility. Select a matching pair of peach or pink, or grey pants, without cuffs (which can “shorten” the look). As stable pieces you’ll need three pairs of pantyhose (neutral/skin tone, cream and grey). To accessorize, you’ll need two clutch purses, two pairs of shoes (closed–toe pumps) and two leather belts (one grey and the other one cream colored). Select the correct neutral colored undergarments (bra, panties, and slip). For jewelry, let’s use a mixed strand of grey, peach or pink, and cream pearls with matching earrings. Now let’s put it all together. Start with the suit. Just to make it easy to visualize the changes as we make them, pretend you’re in your bedroom at home. Lay the two-piece grey suit on your bed. Place the cream blouse next to it. Now add your cream hose, grey shoes and purse. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017


{ YOU CAN BE... }

grey skirt, purse and shoes. Add the grey top and neutral hose. Now put everything away and bring out the cream skirt and cream blouse. This skirt has belt loops so we’ll use the cream belt. Add the cream pantyhose, cream shoes and cream purse. This is called “tonal” dressing. This is dressing in all the same color or different shades of it. Now put everything away except the cream skirt and bring out the grey top. A grey belt with grey shoes and grey purse along with cream or neutral hose will complete this outfit. Consider adding a hat where appropriate or desired, for a fashionable addition. A small brimmed cream and grey hat that would finish the look nicely. Now, clear everything away once more and put the peach or pink cardigan with the matching pants, on the bed. Add the following in the cream color: blouse, hose, belt, shoes and purse. You have just mixed and matched a wonderful ensemble for a day at the office, an early evening event, or a weekend outing with friends to the club. Now, there are some additional pieces that you may want to consider. One is a grey medium weight (gabardine) raincoat (with a zip-out lining). This material travels well, resisting wrinkles easily. Add a pair of matching boots, a heavier-weight hat, gloves and scarf that will protect you on those bad weather days. Dressing for success is more than just coordinating your outfit. It’s putting on your nicest smile and stepping out with your best foot forward - making your best impression. Dressing for success is a combination of style and attitude - a good attitude. Don’t forget, as the day wears on; keep yourself fresh and alert, to keep that initial impression a good and lasting one!




Challenge ACCEPTED.

I am going to CONQUER.

Having an accountability partner can be very powerful if you find the best fit for you and remember to use it wisely. More and more I hear from colleagues that they are working with an accountability partner but it doesn’t seem to be going so well. Perhaps they chose a “good friend” and it just seems to fall flat. I always suggest not using a “good friend”, you simply are too comfortable with them. An accountability partner is someone you will meet with about goals you have set for yourself. Think of this person as the one you answer to, the one

you must say, “I didn’t get the job done”. Now will you have an easy time telling your “good friend” this? Most likely you will, people often fall into the trap of thinking she is my friend she will let me slide.

goal is to help you stay on task with what you want to accomplish. Yes, they may brainstorm occasionally with you on ways to achieve your task if you are stuck, but their primary focus is not to help you accomplish your tasks.

When choosing an accountability partner, choose someone who will kick your butt. Who will motivate you to work harder, who will inspire you to do your best and then some.

•Is your accountability partner organized and dedicated? If they are the type of person who is always late, or never seems to have their stuff together, you will fall into this trap with them. You need someone who is going to meet with you on a set schedule and hold your feet to the fire. If they are not as committed as you are, you will easily get off track.

Once you have decided to work with an accountability partner, there are a few questions that will help you get the most out of this new relationship. •What are you hoping to get out of each meeting? If you are looking for someone to help you solve all your business problems, you need to seek out a coach or mentor. An accountability partner’s

•Do you respect this person? You will be spending a good amount of time with them over the next few months, sharing personal details about your business. Do you feel comfortable that




they will keep your confidential information to themselves? Are they as committed to their own success as you are? Once you enter into a relationship with an accountability partner understand that there are guidelines you two should put in place. • Schedule one call/ meeting a week. •The call/ meeting should run around 30 minutes. • Schedule the call/ meeting for the same day and time each week. •Do your best to show up! Don’t casually reschedule. •Be on time and come prepared. •Calendar your calls/ meetings at least 90 days out. This supports your mutual commitment.

•Clearly define each person’s role, and put it in writing. •Track your achievements. •Agree that this is neither a social call nor a ‘bitch’ session. Each call/ meeting should follow the same format. •Start the call with a recent ‘win’ from each of you. • If there is something frustrating you, and you need to ‘get off your chest’ set a timer for no more than 2 minutes! •Discuss your top three business issues/goals and the action steps to move them to the next step. • Discuss your prospecting activities from the prior week.

•Choose one aspect of your business to review together and then work on improving that skill set. Discussing a chapter in a business book is a good plus for this area. •Set the top three action steps you will take before the next call to move you in the direction of your goals. •End the call/ meeting with a brief positive or motivational quote. An accountability partner can be an added value to you if you use them correctly and find the correct one for you. Make sure you are doing your part as well by bringing value to your partner and expect it in return. Don’t be afraid BYa STEPHEN REARDON to hold your PHOTO partner to higher standard and expect it in return.

Re-writing History, One Dance at a Time




When we talk about women’s history and the legacy they leave behind, it always makes me feel proud to be one of the leaders that can share and highlight those who are part of my culture, my community, my family. In fact, I feel we are rewriting history, one Latina at a time. This month we share the story of one of the successful Latinas that have changed the lives of many young people in the Rochester community, especially Latinos. Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez, founder and artistic director of Borinquen Dance Theatre (BDT), has been raising the bar and opening doors for her community for over 36 years. Nydia is one of 7 sisters and 3 brothers. She was born, raised and educated here in Rochester, New York. She earned both a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance and Elementary Education, a Master’s Degree of Science in Education and Administrative Certification at Brockport State University. She has been in this community advocating for children to be educated in a way that they can be successful and productive, especially with a focus on Latino students and any other student that has been oppressed because of their background, social and cultural differences; thereby, ensuring that there is a voice on behalf of our youth. Nydia currently works as an administrator with the Rochester City School District and uses BDT to follow her passion of working with youth, using arts as a vehicle. A trailblazer since she first learned to dance at 6 years old, Nydia’s oldest sister was the one who actually thought her how to dance Salsa, Bachata and Cha Cha. Nydia was always fascinated with the Latino style of dancing and by age 13, she began to take ballet, modern dance, ballroom dance, etc. with John Gravascu Dance. She is an original member of Garth Fagan’s Bottom of the Bucket Dance. She began to travel all over the world when she joined. That exposure and being part of that cultural group opened her eyes to realize that there are so many resources out there that many of our young people and their families, especially Latinos do not have access to or they don’t even know that these resources exist. She feels that she has a responsibility to expose our community to those resources. Seeing the high drop-out rate of Latino students in high school, Nydia decided to use the arts as a vehicle to try to get them to understand that education is a key ingredient to their success but using the arts as a way for them to get collected. I think that dance was always a way for me to heal, it its kind of spiritual. If I was upset about something or had fear or not content with a specific situation my way of dealing with that it was through dancing. I just feel that it is part of my spiritual and what God put me in this earth to do. For me it was very instrumental in sharing that with others, to use that skill as a way to work with others,” shares Nydia. Nydia does not like to talk about herself since she is the kind of person that does what has to be done, and never does it for recognition. As a humble person, she believes in working hard. She comes from a family where values and morals were installed in her, and she proudly carries that legacy of what her parents did for her. She has successfully run Borinquen Dance Theater since

its inception in 1981, not only educating young people about our history, but also educating the rest of the community and our own Latino community about what “Borinquen” is, about Puerto Ricans. A lot of people do not know that “Borinquen” was the original name of Puerto Rico. Nydia says, “A lot of the kids do not understand why is it that some of us may look black, Tainos, white, European. Even the customs represent the fusion of African, the Tainos, the Spanish European that makes us so unique. My goal is to change the negative image some people have about Latinos in a way that they can just learn about us, embrace us, embrace diversity and understand why we come in all colors and why we believe we are rainbow people. And that we do not want to deny our roots and our ancestry. And for that reason, I just believe that everything I can do to continue to expand that vision not only in the Rochester community, but wherever we travel is important. We need to share the history of where we come from in a non threatening way using dance, poetry, theater and the arts.” Nydia also talks about having plans A and B in life. Sharing with her students that she loves dancing, but in order to be successful in life she needed to have options A and B. She chose to go on to teaching and then became an administrator, but still having that passion to work with young people, using the art as a way to connect them to education. Ultimately, her goal is to expose those young people to real life situations. It always amazes Nydia to see her students come in being very shy and soon after they develop that sense of belonging, improve their self esteem and see themselves as the beautiful human beings they are, and at the same time know that they have work hard for what they want. BDT starts them as young as 8 years-old and goes up to 24 years-old. The program is set up that once they meet the criteria of keeping their GPA at 2.50 or higher, their school attendance is good, and they learn at least 7 or 8 dances, then they receive little stipends. This way, they also learn and understand work habits, the importance of being on time, to get along with others even if they may have differences. They build team work, understand group dynamics, and learn how to spend their money. Nydia feels proud that these young people also build their portfolio so that when they do transition to college, they have something to show: the discipline they were able to create, the balance of keeping their academics in check, as well as, the involvement with the performing arts company. Not only that, but they are representing Rochester as a role model because when BDT travels to perform, they are representing Rochester in a positive manner. Nydia says, “One of the things that I admire is that many of our dancers when they graduate from BDT and move on to college, they stay in contact and they come back and serve as either peer instructors, or work with me during the summer to help out with the younger group. This is something that I admire because it shows that they are giving back in a way that is positive. And they can use that skill to make some money while they are pursuing their college degree. They

always want to come back, especially when they are on break or in summer vacation.” “When I see them grow from being 8 years-old up to college and witnessing that emotional, social, personal development, that’s why I continue doing what I do. That in itself, makes me feel that I am doing something right,” says Nydia with pride. Nydia has been recognized and BDT has received many awards. She is very grateful and honored when she receives those awards, but she shares with us: “In all honesty, those awards are a piece of every single student who have participated, parents who are also part of supporting what I am doing, the board members, many volunteers from the community that have always been there giving their time and support, “Borinquen” and the funding sources that make it all possible. For me, they all deserve a piece of those awards and that’s how I embrace those awards - with the understanding that is not just about me, it is about all of us coming together unified as a community supporting this program.” Nydia has received numerous recognitions for her work with Rochester’s children and youth, from local organizations such as Geva, Ibero, to the New York Council on the Arts and the President’s Council on Arts and Humanities. According to her husband, John, there are two recognitions Nydia seems to enjoy most, when a student overcomes a personal challenge and she sees it on stage, and when she receives an invitation to one of their college graduations, and they have attended many over the years. Being part of the history of Rochester and the Latinos there is something that Nydia takes pride in. Some time ago, the Rochester Museum of Science received a grant to focus in the Latino archives in Rochester, NY. She was approached because she was the only professional Puerto Rican performing art in upstate New York. They decided to submit programs and information about how they started their vision. Nydia excitingly shares: “Now, we are part of the Latino archives in Albany, actually that was very important because that allows me to keep the legacy going, whether I am here or not. For those that might be interested to learn more about the history of Rochester, NY and how Latinos have contributed in Arts, Legal, or Education, Government, or any other profession, this is important to us to make sure this is very well documented. We submitted as much information as possible to ensure that we are part of the history of Rochester NY.” At the 36th Anniversary Community Performance, Nydia and her crew gave a very interesting program since the political climate has made some of her dancers concerned. It is creating some fear in the kids, but she is trying to address that by, again, using the arts. This major event will take place on April 29 and their theme is Together We Dance, United We Soar ( “The purpose of that theme is to try to get not only our young people to think how important it is for all of us to come together regardless of our race, or religion, or color, or our beliefs, it is to show them that when we come together and we unifiy as a community, we can overcome the fear that has been imposed on many of our Latinos,” says Nydia. She is hoping that everyone ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017




Know Your Personal

It’s Women’s History month…yeah! We are all thankful to the famous women that have contributed to making the world a better place. But do we ever search deep into our personal heritage to celebrate and discover which women made us who WE are? They do not have to be well known or even related to us. But they hold as much power and significance in our lives as the women in public history. My grandmother died at the age of 59. I was only 11 years old. I remember things about her through memories, photos and what others tell me about her. I see her personality and her physical appearance in my mom, as the only live resource of our connection. But I am thankful to her for being who she was and how she made me who I am. Do you know your grandmother? What do you think of her? Do you have anything that you feel is directly related to her? Have you asked your mom or dad about her? Personal genealogy shapes genetically who we are, but also personally who we are. articles/interest-in-genealogy-by-personality-type Have you ever been asked, “Who is your female role model?” It may sound like a crazy question to some of you, but others may agree that it is a typical question asked through out your life. I am a “pageant girl”. I know this may stereotype me into a whole different category for some readers, however hear me out on this. That question is a favorite for many pageants. I have learned to answer it quite fluently with articulation, which has been practiced (in the mirror). But this personal soul searching enabled me to really think about the women in my life and how they impacted who I am today. My mother, as much as she has been my biggest fan and inspiration, is a typical answer for many. https://www.psychologytoday. com/blog/emotional-fitness/201305/top-10reasons-why-moms-are-important Going beyond your mom, or grandmothers takes a bit more thought. Can you stop and think of what other women in your life; from childhood (teacher), through the teenage years (guidance counselor or coach), through young adulthood (your first employer) or through middle age (friend, co-worker)? How has their presence in your life made you who you

are today? How have their values impacted your choices and your journey? We are made up of not only heredity but also the human sprits we meet along the way. The people that impact a moment or a time in our lives when we learn the lessons we were meant to learn. Sometimes we search them out and sometimes they just come to us from a higher power. All my life, I have been intrinsically drawn to older women friends. I guess you’d call them senior citizens. Even as a very young girl, some of my best most memorable friends where elderly. As a child of about 6 years old, a neighbor named Mrs. Giezer comes to mind distinctly. I would spend hours at her house on a Saturday in the winters, learning how to formally drink tea, decipher different stones and gems, and read old classic novels. I remember her smile and her wisdom. How she intrigued me with her knowledge on life. In my middle-school years, we moved to another home in a suburb of Buffalo. Right next store to me lived 78-year-old “Sylvia”. She became my best friend and allie. I’d spent weekends with her learning to knit, how to make candle dripped vases and how to interview with people, all while National Public Radio (NPR) played in the background. When I started dating, she would be the friend I would confide in with my “boy problems”. She always felt like a grandmother to me. After I married and had 3 little boys, living in Cleveland Ohio, I met my neighbor, an 80-something, widowed, woman named “Bobbie”. She was quite active in the social circuits, especially with the Cleveland Orchestra. I would spend hours with her discussing “old Cleveland socialites”, while my boys ran around her back yard and played in her old stoned wishing well. Coming back to Rochester, 3 boys in tow, we moved to a beautiful historic home in the Park Avenue neighborhood. Sure enough, the first month in our new home, I see a very small statured, old woman raking her leaves across the street from us. One introduction and we

became the best of friends. This special lady was “historic” in the Rochester community. Her name was Elizabeth Holahan, I was intrigued by her spirit and her confidence. She was quite self sufficient and stubbornly active. She lived in the oldest house in Rochester, (the Oliver Culver House at 70 East Boulevard). Her prestigious resume included being the top interior designer of her era, starting at Sibley’s Department store. She restored George Eastman’s birthplace in Waterville, Oneida (now the Genesee Country Village and Museum, acquired the Stone Tolan House, directed the interior restoration of the Patrick Barry Mansion on Mt. Hope Avenue, was active with the Rochester Landmark Society and served as president of the Rochester Historical Society for 20 years. http://rbscp. Our time together was beautifully simple. Besides the intricately remembered stories of her younger years, to include partying at the Eastman house with George, we spoke of design and historic preservation. We talked about her family and her accomplishments as a single woman in a “mans world”. Never married or having her own children, she loved having my sons over to her home. She would make them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and watch them jump off her back outside patio and run around her old apple trees. She became another unique spirit of who I am today. We are women of unique expedition. Our journey is one we own and follows us through the people we touch. Some we remember distinctively and others we need to take more time to conceptualize. Take a moment (or three), during “Women’s History’” month to reminisce about the women in your life. The very souls that have guided nurtured and supported your personal being into shaping who you are today. The person that feeds your passions and provides you with energy that comes from a power that enriches your soul. Who are you and where did you come from? You should know….

Because you’re worth it!!




The History of Women: From BRAWN to BUFF *** Women have always been the soft beauty of the sexes; made of sugar and spice and everything nice. . . OK, let’s be real! Women are the care takers, the bag holders, the house cleaners, and the glue that holds families and life together. Let’s not forget we still continue to create life! Yes, we are sugar and spice, but we are all strong and BRAWN wrapped up in what used to only be viewed as a smooth, curvy, soft body. All of the macho “pick things up and put them down”, jacked muscles and fun activities were predominantly geared towards men. Our BRAWN was always there, but we needed to bring out the BUFF! Like the Hulk exploding out of his clothes when you made him mad! Let’s travel back about 100 years. Between the 1920’s and 1940’s, something started to happen with women’s fitness. There were these so-called “fitness machines” of a crazy sort coming out during this era. These machines looked like fun, but sometimes almost painful, just standing there and having a band vibrating around your waste, legs, and rollers kneading up and down your body. Of course women wore heels to workout in this era (please see links). These exercises looked uncomfortable and all in all just silly. There were also different types of stretching movements that resemble today’s yoga movements. Well, it wasn’t perfect, but it was the start of a new era for women! BRAWN was making its move to BUFF!! Check out this videos to catch a glimpse of fitness in the 1920’s and 1940’s! Ue6l7P5lROY , and the 1940’s https://youtu. be/7G7cBihgUmg , and this Vintage Glamour Girl Workout. It wasn’t until the 1970’s through the year 2000

that women really started “Getting Physical!” With very familiar names such as Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons. In 1982, Jane Fonda made the first ever fitness video. Her home workout series stormed the world! Soon to be followed by Richard Simmon’s, “Sweatin to the Oldies,” and other at home fitness workouts. Meanwhile, modern women’s bodybuilding also began in the 1970’s. It introduced the “BUFF” type of female physique. It challenged the social view of acceptable feminine female bodies in terms of looks and physical development. This sport would have women build and create the maximum exquisite development of the muscles of their body and change the soft—yet strong—BRAWN to a now sharp, defined BUFF. Building big muscles, but also involving aesthetic consideration such as shape, symmetry, proportion, and just defined beauty of lines and structure, this era was the start of something wonderful! Women taking charge of their bodies and developing their muscles purely for the purpose of sculpting and creating a body that was a work of art. Keep in mind that the opening years of women’s body building were still visually made up of softer body contours and toning. Let’s just say the founding mothers of women’s body building were smaller versions of the jacked female body builders that surfaced about 10 years later. Women learned that they could build their bodies to the level of BUFF that was far beyond what was previously expected. And that is exactly what they did! Of course, female body builders had experienced a degree of gender discrimination in the sport. Nonetheless, they still grew in leaps and bounds, defying any and all push-back from

naysayers. They laid the foundation for today’s female bodybuilders, whether you just enjoyed sculpting your BUFF body or you choose to actively compete in the sport. Bodybuilding for women has created a revolution in how people view the female body, and most importantly how we view ourselves. We are strong and beautiful! Today, for the average woman we have an endless list of group fitness classes: kickboxing, HIIT, Semperfit (functional fitness), yoga, and CrossFit to name a few. What was once almost a cute gesture for us girls to do is now BOOMING! Women are staying fit through pregnancy and after! This era has empowered us, and we have empowered it, creating the new and improved version of WOMAN! Our history of going from BRAWN to BUFF has been a short journey so far, but we have brought out the Superwoman from within and taken our bodies into our own hands. We now control our own beauty standard and will choose to be BUFF, to get fit at home, to be an athlete, or even a female bodybuilder, choosing whatever level of fitness suits us. We have all grown leaps and bounds from asking a man to pick up a heavy weight at the gym, to loading up our own stacks to press. Today is a great day to be a woman! We are loving, we are feminine, we are caring, and we are powerfully beautiful! I thank those who came before me, making my journey of fitness a wonderful one! Kitty Teresi BEDROC MMA


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I was given a gift certificate to Bodymind Float Center for my birthday a while back and promised myself that I would make an appointment, but I never did. I came across it on my next birthday and found that it had expired. I was very upset with myself because I had really wanted to go and float in the salt tanks.

The first time that I heard about Bodymind Float Center, I did all my research on floating in salt and what the benefits truly were. I put their website in my favorites and started following them on Facebook. Every time they popped up on my newsfeed I would say to myself I need to go and try them out. I own an Integrated Wellness Center and I have had a ton of people ask me what I thought about the tanks. Of course, I would list off the many benefits of floating, but I would have to say that I haven’t tried it myself, but I wanted too.



With Valentine’s Day fast approaching I wanted to get something that was unique to do with my boyfriend, Mike, that wasn’t dinner, going to a bar, or to a movie. And then my newsfeed popped up Bodymind Float Center once again, but this time it had a 20% off coupon. Of course, we all love a discount so I clicked on it and decided to buy a couple’s float gift certificate for $76, normally $95. Mike and I both suffer from neck and back pain and one of the great benefits of floating is pain relief. Who doesn’t want pain relief? A perfect gift! It was very easy to book an appointment. They have an online booking system with pictures of each one of their tanks. They have 6 different float tanks to choose from, two of which are big enough for two people. They have two different styles of float tanks for a couple’s float. One is a tank that is enclosed inside of the room, the other is the pool room which is open to the room. The tank that is enclosed is quieter and a little warmer, this is the room we picked. When we arrived at Bodymind Float Center we walked in and were asked to remove our shoes, this keeps the center clean from the outside world. We checked in and were asked to watch a video on what to expect and what the procedures were before and after getting into the tanks. We sat on a comfortable couch while we watched the video on a tablet, you only have to do this on your first visit if you didn’t do it at home. Once we were done with that we were taken into our room and were told what to do and warned about how slippery salt water truly was. They showed us where the bathrooms were and advised us to go to the bathroom beforehand, because 90 minutes was a long time. They also showed us a room where there were hair dryers, hair gel, and combs to do your hair afterwards. Then they walked us into a clean and pristine room with a large float tank. The room had a shower and was stocked with body wash, shampoo, conditioner, facial cleanser, ear

cleanser, ear plugs, and towels. We quickly rinsed off before we got into the tank. The tank was a very large that fit the two of us very comfortable. They had floating neck pillows that we slipped around our necks and got into the water. It was a very interesting feeling of not being able to sink into the water. You get a weightlessness feeling throughout your whole body, this weightlessness takes all the pressure off all your joints. Absolute heaven. Floating is meant to give you a quiet atmosphere where you can just relax and drift off to another world. Mike stated later that he had been nervous that he was going to ruin the experience because he isn’t someone who can sit still in the quiet. We of course talked while floating but it was an awesome experience of floating in a relaxed state and enjoying a good conversation. We did have some mishap after the session when we were cleaning up afterwards. They have a vinegar rinse to rinse off with, which helps remove the salt, and I ended up putting it in my hair. I have purple and teal in my hair and that stripped the purple and teal right out of my hair. I ended up ruining a towel and a bit of my hair. They do ask that you wait 2 weeks after getting your hair colored, I was 3 weeks out. I had no problem with the salt water it was the aftercare. So just a head’s up for the anyone who colors their hair, bring a color safe shampoo and conditioner or wash your hair at home. We loved the experience so much we ended up signing up for a membership, and to our surprise our first session was free. They have 3 different memberships and two of them are sharable between 4 people. This also gives you a discount on a couple’s float, floating more than once a month and on the salt room. The salt room is a beautifully put together room where you sit for 45 minutes and breath in the salt air. Breathing in the salt air has many health benefits, including helping with asthma and colds. Mike and I loved the experience. Mike was very calm and relaxed after the session. We were also both pain free the whole day which isn’t something we experience very often. We have already floated and sat in the salt room once again, only 4 days later. Mike this time fell asleep while floating. So, this was a very successful date, and Bodymind Float Center has gained two lifelong clients.





RETIREMENT PLANNING What Else is More Important? ***

Continuing the long-term strategy of these articles, I plan on picking a theme per issue or a topic of interest. If there are specific topics you would like covered please send me an e-mail at

of expenses is often an acceptable range. This is a “when,” not “if” situation. Accept that emergencies happen, plan for them so the impact is small you to your finances.

The majority of available information is free and can increase your financial literacy.

retirement years? Will it stay the same throughout, or will you down size at some point? What might be the triggering event?

You may recall the first article was labeled Financial Freedom, now I’ll explain a few more reasons why this is important. For starters, most people have a long-range goal or target. I think it was “Blanchand” who stated: “Begin with the end in mind.” So to help answer that, let’s assume – “Retirement is your goal;” perhaps the following will be of help for you.

A – While accumulating assets, do not

borrow or withdraw from your retirement accounts. Simple logic, you can’t replace these dollars and often they are gone when you need them most, i.e. in retirement. I have heard many stories and rationales on why this has to be done, to date none have moved me to agree.


– Eliminate debt before you retire, being debt-free enhances your ability to enjoy retirement.

C – Learn and discuss your social security

claiming options and develop a strategy that is best for you. There is a great deal of uncertainty and confusion in this area. Based on your circumstances, it could be 20 -65% of your monthly income during retirement. is one resource you may want to check out.

D – Have a trial run with budgeting and

cash flow before you retire. Knowing your cash flow needs is critical. How much will you need each month and where will it come from?

E – Do you have your emergency fund? Is it properly financed? One to six months

F – What’s your living strategy for your

I think you can see that these are just scratching the surface of the “Retirement” goal. There are many moving parts that can make this very complicated. I strongly support using the services of a trusted specialist to guide you through your planning process and help keep you on track throughout your retirement. There are tons of available websites and calculators for you to experiment with. Trial and error before you have to make these lifetime decisions is strongly advised. Usually trying two or three can give you a good sense of which you like best. Retirement can be a serious challenge, but it also can and should be very gratifying. Spending time now on understanding the variables and issues regarding retirement should help you be more comfortable and confident. The most frequent challenge is to accumulate adequate resources so that you can live off the money you earn on them. Certainly, easier said than done. If you have an employer sponsored plan it makes sense to contribute as much as possible. Certainly, at a minimum you should contribute enough to get the match. This is found money! A recent Janus Study reports only 45% of women working between 3264 participate in these plans and have 50% less in their retirement savings accounts, than their male co-workers.

organized, focus on your goals and objectives, review your budget, and get started. Many people get overwhelmed by this process, but I strongly urge you to work through it. Retirement can be a serious challenge. With help, I believe it can be a success. Many of us struggle to save for retirement, due to the previously discussed wage gap. Prospects for women are even more perilous. On average a woman needs to save $1.25 for every $1 a man invests to build an equivalent nest egg, according to Marketwatch. In part this is due to the wage gap of .80 cents per dollar difference, so it stands to reason that the lesser paid person needs to save more. This wage gap varies by state. According to Nerd Wallet, New York requires a $1.13 per dollar savings while Oklahoma requires $1.37 per dollar to catch up. Saving for retirement is not a gender thing. It is an American problem. Roughly half of us aren’t saving enough to maintain our standard of living in retirement! Are you? Have you checked lately? How do you know? There are a number of good, free calculators and websites to take a look at, here are a few: Nerd Wallet, Fidelity, and Bankrate. These will provide you with a starting point and unbiased non-sales based information. You don’t have to go it alone. Ask for help! Michael A. Masiello is a Financial Advisor with Masiello Retirement Solutions. His office in Greece can be reached at 720-0590 or email him at: Securities and advisory services offered through Cetera Advisors LLC, member FINRA, SIPC. Cetera Advisors LLC is under separate ownership from any other named entity.

The great news is that this is not terminal. You can improve your retirement situation. Get the help of a Financial Advisor, get ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017




The number 3 is a powerful number. It represents many things. On a personal level, it usually represents saying “I Love You” to a loved one. In business, the number 3 is the power number that helps you to define your day and your goals. In your personal life, your SSN or Social Security Number is what defines you to your bank, your doctor, the government, etc. In business, your SSN stands for Search, Social, and Networking. This SSN allows you to define it. The power of 3. Simple steps you take to claim your digital presence and to increase your influence. Let’s look at them separately. If you do the things in each section I have outlined below, you will see an increase in your influence, your appointments and higher quality prospects to increase your business.


People are searching for you online. They are searching for what your business offers. Can they find you? Are you setting the right goals for your online search presence? Try the power of 3:




• Daily find out what your prospects want to know from you. What do they want you to talk about? Where are those conversations happening and how can you bring them to your website? Every day find these conversations and engage. Offer advice, drive them to your blog post on the subject or send them a resource.


• Take small steps every day to upgrade your website with images, blog posts, or repurposed content. Respond to comments on your blog posts by offering your advice or a resource you trust. Your prospects will begin to think of you as the expert you are.

• Each week take the time to understand your audience. What content do they consume most often? How often do they consume content on your social sites? When do they visit your website? When do they convert (call you, email you or book an appointment)? Knowing the when what, how and why is crucial to providing better content and more engagement with your audience.

• Use tools like Google Alert to keep you on top of the important things happening in your industry. This tool brings fresh Google content to your inbox so you can start conversations in your communities or blog about a hot topic and get the conversation started on your website.

Social media is an important part of the digital life of any business today. It is important that you are engaged in conversations with your followers and fans. It’s more important to go beyond the clicks, likes and follows to provide real solutions for your fans and followers.

• Every day curate quality content that brings value to your audience. Schedule your postings so you have time to engage with comments on your social platforms; or to leave your own likes, comments, and shares on other business


{ SOCIAL MEDIA MOXIE } pages. Use tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, CoSchedule and Buffer to help you find and schedule quality content your audience wants. • Have conversations every day with your audience. Build those relationships. This is what is important. If you only build likes, follows or shares; it’s like a bad coffee date, only one sided. Social media is about more than how many people like, follow or share your content; it’s also about how many likes, comments and shares you give.


Networking is where the rubber meets the road. It’s how you take your online persona and bring it to life in real life. I have cultivated many online relationships with people who are top in their field. Those relationships started online and grew offline. You can do this too. Networking events are not always about getting a business card or getting in front of your target audience. It’s also about building



relationships, moving you out of your comfort zone and increasing awareness of you and your business. These three powerful actions for your next networking event: • For any networking event, set a goal. Practice your 60 second pitch, start 10 conversations, meet 10 new people or meet people in a specific industry. • Our local area has many business leaders and media people. Learn about them. When you know they will be at an event, introduce yourself and start a conversation about THEM, not you. Build a relationship. • After the event, sit down and send a Thank You note for their insight, their time, etc. Connect with them online and mention where you met them. Over time, you can turn this meeting into a relationship. The action steps I’ve outlined above have helped me to increase my influence with leaders in

their field. It has increased my influence and I’m now seen as an expert in social media for business. What the power of 3 is all about is called the Compound Effect. The compound effect is taking small steps every day, consistently, and achieving your goal. Your digital SSN is your 3 most powerful components of your online presence. Set your goals accordingly, take consistent action and you will have a thriving business in no time. I’d love to hear how you are using the power of 3 in your business. You can connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or send me an email and say “Hi” at Let me know how I can help you use the power of 3. Tamara MacDuff, an award-winning business owner at Web Moxie Media. She empowers business owner to get real results from their social media efforts & teaches workshops on social media, social media strategy and content creation & strategy. For more information visit her website at AND

on Twitter (@WebMoxieMedia), Facebook (fb.




What’s Hot in the Greater Rochester, NY Real Estate Market For most families, selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions they will ever make. The process can be daunting, with many important questions that need to be answered. Choosing the best Realtor to market and sell your home can make all the difference, turning an otherwise difficult, stressful process into a comfortable, informed experience that you are in control of. The Greater Rochester, New York real estate market is very stable. Even during the real estate crisis in the late 2000’s, the Greater Rochester area didn’t experience a huge decrease in property values or the number of homes being sold. With that said, homes are going fast. If you’re planning to sell your home, now is the time. If you’re trying to buy a home, you’ve got to act fast.


The town of Webster, NY is one of quickestdeveloping communities in Greater Rochester. It’s located to the east in relation to Downtown Rochester and has a population of about 42,000 people. The Webster real estate market is currently experiencing a large growth. The town has seen a huge increase in not only the number of new homes, but also the number of new commercial buildings.


Inventory is low so if you’re a buyer you have to be ready, willing and able to go see a home right away. Many buyers are experiencing the inability to make an offer on a home because someone else beat them to the table. Don’t let that happen to you.

The Town of Pittsford, NY is one of the most well-known suburbs of Rochester, NY. Pittsford has won numerous awards over the years, including one of the top 100 places to live in the United States.

Let’s look at some of the areas:

The Town of Irondequoit, NY is another popular suburb of the Greater Rochester, NY area. It’s unique in the fact that it’s surrounded by water on three sides—Lake Ontario to the north, the Genesee River to the west, and Irondequoit Bay to the east. Irondequoit is one of the largest suburbs of Rochester with a population exceeding 50,000 people.


The town of Brighton, NY is a bedroom community of the Greater Rochester area. It’s located to the immediate south in relation to Downtown Rochester and has a population of roughly 35,000 people. 178

The Brighton real estate market is currently one of the “hottest” real estate markets in the Greater Rochester area. The housing inventory is extremely low. As of September 2015, the market absorption rate was 2.5. The market currently favors sellers, which is great for Brighton homeowners.




Could Spencerport, NY be your next home? The Village of Spencerport is within the Town of Ogden and is a village on the Erie Canal. Spencerport has much to offer. The canal provides the community with endless walking/ biking ability, as well as boating. The village provides shops/restaurants and entertainment. Do you want to save money – Village Electric is the way to go.


The large suburban Town of Greece is more than forty square miles. As of 2014, Greece’s population was approximately 96,000.) Canal Park offers unique access to the Erie Canal, and Greece Community Center features a large gym and a very active senior program along with fitness areas and walking tracks. Communities within the town borders range from areas where you’ll find modest, well-kept homes with strong neighborhood profiles to waterfront properties boasting some of the finest views in Monroe County. I only mentioned a few towns to paint a picture of the diversity and similarities of the communities. Housing trends vary significantly from one town to another. Ultimately you decide which community best fits your needs. These needs may be based on proximity to work, school, size and style of home. Lots of factors go into selecting a home. It’s a personal decision that only you can make. My name is Rita Pettinaro. I am a Real Estate agent, who focuses on understanding your needs and then finding that ultimate dream home for you.










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As parents, we develop life plans for our children long before they can do so for themselves; plans for caretaking in our absence, their educations and even their activities for leisure. As a result of the supportive planning we do for our children, we begin to see the development of their own individual life plans. Autonomy in pursuance of their own hobbies, activities, friends and career goals become more apparent. Recognizing these life plans can be filled with individual nuances as our children progress through their own phases. Take a moment to reflect on your own development of a life plan, or that of your children ‘ What do you see unfolding? Is is fairly predictable? I can say for most of us, including myself - the answer is a resounding yes!


Life’s plan - Two words that mean different things for everyone The concept of a life plan suggests that during our lives, there is a script or a series of phases we should expect to go through that will result in success, fulfillment and satisfaction. Consider the definition of each: LIFE: the period of time for which we are alive

PLAN: an intention or decision about what one is going to do.

I must give credit to my parents for contributing to my life plan. Without their insight, nurturing and support, I would not have been prepared for what my life would bring. One defining lesson I learned from my parents was to alway remain in a position to support myself. To never allow my situation or circumstances to determine my current or future position. With this foundation, my first significant decisions were to join the workforce and earned 3 college degrees. Soon after, I met a man who I married with the most optimistic of plans. As things began to change in our marriage, I found myself having confidence to make decisions I never thought I would have to. Ultimately, the marriage came to halt, and I found myself starting over. This experience, like the others, shaped my choices and life plans for my next steps. I took this opportunity to focus on developing my career, in which I experienced great success and fulfillment. This successful path has led me to multiple relocations, and the opportunity to meet and marry my beloved. As we started our new life together, which included starting a family, I continued to advance in my career. I consider myself to be blessed to have had the opportunity to pursue many of my life’s plans, while my husband sacrificed his own career to stay home with our boys. My professional success led to personal satisfaction and financial stability, which was what I had originally set as my goal when considering my life plan. But, to my surprise, I began to wonder, “was this what I really wanted?” This question, along with others surrounding my core values were up for constant consideration; why and for what was I sacrificing for this stability?

I began rationalizing and reevaluating my life plan, as no longer did it involve only me. I considered what I had missed in the lives of my boys or my marriage, and what could be missed if I continued with this plan. I began to seriously consider the “what if’s” of my life, and the answers I was coming up with were unsettling to me. I experienced continued conflict with my life plan, and eventually sought supervision at work in an attempt to resolve it. I began to explore other options within my company that would allow me to modify my life plan so that I could continue to provide for my family while focusing on my values. While in this process, I believe that “fate” stepped in and made a decision for me. I fell at work and injured my leg, which led to a doctor making a life-saving diagnosis. In retrospect, I believe that I manifested this. To manifest: display or show (a quality or feeling) by one’s acts or appearance. When I received the diagnosis of bone cancer - more specifically, Osteosarcoma - all of my “what if’s” became a reality. I had to consider the real possibility that I would not be around to tuck my children in or be there when they grew up? What if I would not be there to grow old with my husband? It seemed everyone I talked to about my concerns were encouraging me to not worry, but how could I not? I vividly recall a conversation with a friend whose partner had recently conquered breast cancer. She told me that I must “acknowledge and realize” that I cannot do this alone, and that I must be open to the support and energy from my friends and family as it comes. I walked away motivated to understand what she meant by the “energy”. Things moved quickly after my diagnosis. My treatment plan was defined and commenced. WIth the support of my family, parents and close friends, on March 24th, 2009 I took my first step towards conquering this disease and traveled to the University of Pennsylvania and had my first and only surgery. What followed was both the most challenging and clarifying 3 months of my life. While my body responded well to treatment my heart and spirit did as well, resulting in great clarity on what I knew I needed to do. This gift I had been given, cancer, that helped me embrace that while I had achieved success that many would desire, I now desired an alternate life plan. Each day that passed I became more resolute in my decision. As I grew stronger and was able to return to work, I again sought out the support from my supervisor and shared my intentions. As we navigated thru the conversations, I shared my position confidently, but I was ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH 2017


{ WHAT IF } uncertain as to what the outcome would be. With great relief, a mutually beneficial career change was presented and I began a new chapter in my career that was aligned to my values, my desires and my new plan. I recall so clearly my supervisor asking me: Are you happy? He had previously asked me this question prior to my diagnosis, to which I had responded - YES OF COURSE. This time, my response had changed. No, I am not happy, but I am clear on how I can be! I know in my heart that had fate not stepped 6 months prior and presented me with what some may have consider unfair, I would not have had the clarity and courage to answer that question honestly and differently. As I began my renewed life, I often found myself overwhelmed with meaningful moments. To this day, I find that I am far more reflective and touched by events, conversations and observations that ever before. I pause and strive to consume every feeling, thought and meaning of experiences I onced sadly didn’t even recognize. Some of my most meaningful moments come when I am enjoying belly laughing with my children, enjoying the touch of my husband’s hand or seeing nature around me while running. Moments do not occur without meaning, and to honor each moment in life and elevates your spirit and sense of being alive to an unexpected levels. As I learned how to live within this new plan, I also found myself compelled to learn more about how to live a lifestyle that would allow me to live a long and abundant life with my family, husband and friends. I knew I had to be sure not only take care of my spirit but also my body! Ultimately, I found myself reflecting on the conversation I had with my friend after my diagnosis - “ to accepting the support and energy from my family and friends.” What was this energy she was referring to? Little did I realize that this statement would lead me to a new way of developing the rest of my life plan. Thru research, conversations and self reflection, I began to understand the power that we as humans all have to manifest our own destiny. As I learned more about setting intentions and manifesting, I quickly realized that as I began questioning my life plan prior to my diagnosis, I was in fact manifesting my destiny. A destiny that could have resulted in my not being here to live this life that I was blessed with. Each and every thought I had was framed as a question: “What if I……”, and each event that had transpired over the previous 6 months was a response to my questions. 184



As humans, the power of our thoughts and intentions must not be underestimate. We all possess a tremendous amount of energy that constantly emits vibrations. These vibrations have varying frequencies based on our thoughts, beliefs, words and actions; and, the determining factor in the frequency of these vibrations is our state. A positive, hopeful, confident and open state will emit significantly different vibrations than that of a negative, concerned or worried state. Consider the feelings that you have in speaking or feeling the following thoughts: What if I don’t’ get this job? What if we can’t sell our house? What if our car breaks down again? What if my son/daughter doesn’t get into the school they want? What if I can’t pay this month’s bills? What if we get sick before vacation? What if I don’t get this promotion? Now consider the feelings that you have in speaking or feeling these thoughts: What if we find our dream house within our budget? What if we can pay off our debt over the next 2 years? What if our car lasts until we can save up enough for a down payment on a new one? What if I my child get the teacher that is best for them? As you read and speak the above statements, feel the difference! They both bring about physical and emotional responses and emit vibrations that seek an equal response. It is not possible to have an emotional response to something without an equal physical response. As your state is either lifted to an optimistic level or taken down to one of worry and concern your body and eventually the universe will respond accordingly. Recall my story I shared, as I began feel conflicted with how my life had materialize to what I desired and qualified any change as a consequence. I asked what if’s that made me feel concerned and fearful about the consequences and this eventually manifested physically as cancer. As I have embarked on this everlasting journey, an important distinction I have made is the difference between positive thinking and manifesting, or asking the correct what if’s. I identify positive thinking as open ended and at times an incomplete desire, whereas, I

identify manifesting as a elevation of intentions and desires to a tangible and achievable level. Life does not happen by mere luck, wish or chance. Setting your intention is the basis of any successful WHAT IF. As you begin to use the what if, the universe will align with you. It will receive your energy and strive to match it. Napoleon Hill states: The starting point of all achievement is desire. Below are some both small and significant examples of our what if’s..... That may help differentiate manifesting versus positive thinking. What if I do delivering this presentation with confidently? What if i try volleyball and love it? (my son)? What if find a new-used car that is perfect for our family, in great shape and affordable? What if I I ask for additional hours at work? What if we could live closer to our family and friends? What if we lived in a neighborhood just like the one I grew up in - close friends, lots of kids, supportive and secure for our kids? What if there was a way aside from just eating healthy for my family and I to better ensure our health? What if I ran a marathon ? What if I went thru menopause naturally, not HRT? What if there I worked from home and still supported my family? What if I retired by 50? As you read thru these what if statements, you should notice that there is no criteria for an effective what if. Fundamentally it must be an outcome that you desire and deeply believe in. Then, thru constant repetition and the release your vibrations, the universe will respond with abundant blessings. Napoleon HIlls also teaches: Any ideas, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought. The rest of my story About a 2 years ago my husband was invited to a high school friends home, a reunion of sorts. Immediately upon his return home, he shared with me that his friends wife was part of something I would find very intriguing. Without even the briefest mention of his reunion, he enthusiastically shared ghd universe’s response to what I had manifesting. As he began to explain his experience, I vividly


recall that the excitement and support he suggested. It is also worth noting that as he explained the option to me, it was partnered with a sense of: “I really have no clue what this is all about but I just know you have to be part of it.” It was a message unlike any other he had communicated before. You see my husband is typically an individual that researches and qualifies something as valid prior to any emotion buy in. But this was different! He has since shared with me that this he has never had such a strong pull toward something that he knew nothing about, an undeniable, natural connection. What did he share? It was her use and commitment to therapeutic grade essential oils. Similar to my husband, I had never even heard of essential oils, but I knew with every piece of my being this was a crucible moment in my life. I immediately connected with her and on May 5, 2105 we introduced Young Living Essential Oils into our lives. Since this date, our family has accepted so many blessings and remain open to accepting so many more.


Our first and most impactful blessing has been our consistent health!! For me, I remain

cancer free. I feel stronger, more vibrant and more connect to my body than ever before. As a conqueror, each and every day I choose to recognize the blessed moments in my life. I challenge my body to be its strongest and most importantly remain thankful for my diagnosis that changed my life! As I mature and progress thru perimenopause, I am free of any synthetic hormone replacement supplements and support what my body needs thru essential oils and supplement with oils. This is part of my deliberate choice to live a lifestyle that is toxin free and natural. For my children, they have enjoyed a similar changes in their health. Previously, 2 young boys that once lived on nebulizers and prone to missing countless days from school have only missed 3 days of school in the last 2 years. For my husband and I, a deeper emotional relationship. For all of us, we have found essential oils tremendously impactful in balancing our emotions, and offering us a more grounded and balanced spirit. Another blessing are the new friendships that have developed from my connections in the essential oils community. The focus on personal development and acceptance is the foundation of this community. Not only have these connections become friends, but they are also business partners. This is what leads me to another blessing, thru sharing the benefits

of essential oils, we have enjoyed new level of financial security for our family. While I am so very proud of my career or JOB, to have an opportunity to realize additional income thru helping others, which is incredibly rewarding. It has changed our lives and set the stage for so many of our other what ifs to become a reality. For now our story is still unfolding. We will continue to identify our what if’s and set our gaze forward and thru the power of what if’s, manifest our future. Know that It is easy to look forward with what if’s that will protect from disappoint, but it is far more empowering and rewarding to take control of your life. Begin your journey today! Similar to the ay my husband came home from his friends house and shared what he had learned, this could be your day! It is no mistake I was asked to share my story with you, it is no mistake you are reading this article. My challenge to you: ask yourself WHAT IF? And be ready for the journey of your life. Feel free to connect with me to connect personally about your or my journey. Debbie McCue - 716870-0234 Recommended Reading: Napoleon Hill: Think and Grow Rich





Leticia Ferrer-Rivera can be described in one word: “saucy!” She is the choreographer and producer of An Island in the Desert, an upcoming show at the Memorial Art Gallery on March 18th. Diva 1 has been extended an awesome opportunity to take part in a “behind the scenes” access to the production. Leticia, who is also known in the community as the “Bomba Queen,” was born in Manhattan.



Her parents returned to their native island of Puerto Rico when she was 5 months old. After graduating from the School of Sports, her father was offered a once-in-alife-time opportunity to study fencing in Paris. Leticia became a world-traveler and now speaks 5 languages, including Spanish, English, Italian, Korean and French. Seeing the world, allowed Leticia to dream big. When she divorced, she returned to the island and its beloved culture in order to become a folklorist.

Western New York. Her productions include “Bomba Queen Latin-Belly Dance Fusion Show”, “Mariandá the Cultural Clown”, “Bomba Spa” and “Ka-ribbean Fitness”. Leticia’s husband MC Javier Rivera is also in the industry as a DJ.


Leticia also obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. She continued her studies, majoring in Dance, at the Universidad del Turabo. She enjoyed studying her culture and preserving the folklore associated with it. Leticia was fascinated with the entertainment industry. This passion surfaced from watching her cousin who was a famous comedian, Jose Miguel Agrelot. Leticia appeared on his television show “Festivalito”. Beginning her modeling career at the age of 16, Leticia attended Fontecha Modeling School (professional and post-graduate) and began working as an Independent Model. She auditioned with the Global Diffusion Modeling Agency for a Fashion Show for L’Oreal du Paris in Venice, Italy.

Bomba is the only survival African Heritage form of music and dance from Puerto Rico. The music developed in the 17th century originating out of slavery in the sugar plantations. The music became a way to express anger, resistance and helplessness for the living conditions but also was a form of recreation and art. “Bailes de Bombas” was a tradition included in baptisms and marriages but also when planning rebellions on the plantations. The right to celebrate was restricted by plantation owners and was only permitted on Sundays and Feasts. Barriles (rum barrels) were crafted into drums as the instruments used to play the music. There are two types of drums used: (The Primo) Drum which always follows the dancer. There is only one in the group. Or the ( Buleador) which only follows the same rhythm; all the time (from any of the many regional rhythms that can be played during a song).

In 1999, after watching a Bomba class, Leticia knew she would enjoy learning the dance aspect of performing arts. By 2002, she was also Professional Ballroom Dance Instructor for the renowned Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Leticia competed in many dance competitions and appeared on “Raíces” and “Sábado Gigante”. By 2007, Leticia left Puerto Rico to live in the United States. She is known for bringing Bomba to

From the Bula or Buleador, the group can have one drum or as many as they want because they all play simultaneously. The vocals are always verses and chorus (male singers sing the first verse stating the rhythm to be played and the chorus and then the chorus follows). There is not specific attire for enjoying this music and dance genre but some traditional groups use folkloric dresses to represent the 1700’s when the


Bomba! An Island in the Desert




ladies used long flowing skirts. The ladies used to adorn their under-skirts with bows. Part of the movement in the dance involves lifting the skirts while dancing. Competitions arose between the dancers regarding their under-skirts.


Watching the camaraderie amongst the performers was by far the most interesting part of being allowed behind the scenes. Rehearsal took place in the basement area of one of the drummer’s homes. The décor including 45’s on the wall gave the room a unique feel. The atmosphere was confortable and inviting. The group seemed more like a family and they truly loved and enjoyed performing, sharing their culture and explaining everything to 188


me as they went along. By the end of the day, I almost felt like I was one of the group as I was welcomed by all. The show “An Island in the Desert” will be held March 18, 2017, doors opening at 1:00 pm at the Memorial Art Gallery. This will be an enjoyable day where a variety of cultures from the Caribbean and the Mediterranean will be shared, including music and dance. The performers for the show are Leticia Ferrer-Rivera who is the producer, main choreographer and is doing a variety of solos including Belly Dance and some Latin Rhythms. She is also the Director of the group BombaRoc which is also participating in one part of the show composed by the two lead singers Krystal Noriega and Edgardo Martínez (also a percussionist). José Mora and

Enrique Escalera are percussionists. Daniel de Jesús is performing singing the chorus and the Cuás. Nanni Negrón participates in the chorus and playing the Maraca. There is a Special Guest Katrina Scott (Kalilah) who is doing a more folkloric style of Belly Dance as well as playing the Darbouka Drum. Ron Boxx and Tajmel Browne are also part of the dancing crew and partly choreographed some of the Jamaican Dance Hall steps included in one of the pieces of the show. Last but not least, Javier Rivera will be the MC and DJ of this unique presentation. Tickets are only available online.

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