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Your Special Wedding Issue

Emily Jones Powers It’s All Part of the Plan


wedding issue








The New You for the New Year Have you ever looked in the mirror and pulled back a little on your cheeks or pulled up on your eyelids and think, “I never thought I would be into plastic surgery, but I just wish I could have things back where they were? I know so many people who have done it. Maybe it will help me look how I feel again.” You might be concerned about ‘jowls’ or sagging facial skin. When you pull the skin of the face towards the ears, you like what you see. These are the reasons that Dr. Damon Anagnos at Blue Ridge Plastic Surgery Group offers a focused and directed approach to your concerns. Comparing pictures of yourself from 20 years ago to today can be a rather shocking experience. You don’t really feel older, but the differences showing on your face can be rather disappointing. Should you address these concerns now? Many people express the feeling that failing to address a concern is time lost. Fortunately, Dr. Anagnos has helped countless people (women and men) regain a more youthful look without spending the months or years wondering about it. For instance, if your complaint is “I’ve lost my jaw line.” Liposuction of the cheeks



Similarly if a ‘turkey waddle’ is what bothers you most, removal of the fatty tissue and muscle repair under the chin is often the best treatment. The best part is that dramatic BEFORE AFTER improvement can be had with or without adding the facelift, depending on your anatomy. Shape of the jaw and face can be just as important as reduction of a wrinkle. Dr. Anagnos believes that the key to a happy patient is to identify and address what bothers you most, nothing more or less. Another option is a “Quick-Recovery lift,” a less invasive procedure. Still the best result is customized to your face and neck. People are the happiest when they know the problem areas that bother them and a procedure can be designed to address precisely those areas. When you come in for your consultation, Dr. Anagnos spends time with you addressing what you want your outcome to be and discusses approaches that will BEFORE AFTER bring you back to looking like you again. Others have found this a relaxing discussion to see what suits their needs. This unrushed approach pays dividends in a smaller procedure and quicker recovery. Maybe there are other areas that are bothering you. You’re not looking for anything drastic; maybe you would just like to address the tired appearance to your eyes, the downturning, sad-mouth shape, the wrinkles at the corners of your mouth or maybe the sagging skin under your chin. Dr. Anagnos the exact area of the complaint with less risk and recovery. A combination of treatments often leaves the best result. Some people express worries about plastic surgery. One stigma has been that you will come out with your skin looking so tight that you look constantly surprised, or that you just don’t look natural. Another is that you will be receiving the same procedure that everyone you see advertised on ule a consultation. It is always better to know the options rather than to wonder about what could be. Everyone has concerns about aging. It is worth the discussion to see what you can do about it.

Meet the Doctor general surgery, and hand and microsurgery. Dr. Anagnos is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Anagnos is a member of the American College of Surgeons, American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Board of Plastic Surgery in Subspecialty of the Hand, American Board of Surgery, NC Medical Society, and NC Society of Plastic Surgeons. Before moving his practice to Boone, he practiced in the UNC Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and taught at the UNC School of Medicine. Dr. Damon Philip Anagnos is formerly the Interim Chief of the UNC Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Director of the Center for Hand Surgery for seven years. As a member of the UNC Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Anagnos taught hundreds

Damon P. Anagnos, MD FACS

Dr. Anagnos earned a BS in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1984. He earned his Medical Degree at Wake Forest University Bowman Gray School of Medicine in 1988. Dr. Anagnos began his extensive residency at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia for a Surgical Internship. Then he completed his General Surgery Residency at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He completed his Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Residency at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Finally, Dr. Anagnos was accepted as a fellow to the prestigious Kleinert Institute for Hand and Micro Surgery. Dr. Anagnos has three children who are his greatest blessings. He is an avid outdoorsman and an amateur photographer, and he loves being in the High Country with his family. Dr. Anagnos is dedicated to providing the highest standard of patient care and surgical excellence.

publisher Gene Fowler

executive editor Tom Mayer

editor Sherrie Norris 828.264.3612, ext. 251

writers Genevieve Austin Sherry Boone Heather Brandon Danielle Bussone Sharon Carlton Bonnie Church Yozettte Yogi Collins Kelly Penick Raney Rogers Sue Spirit

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Photo by Cade Bowman Photography of Charlotte

advertising Radd Nesbit 828.264.6397, ext. 271

cover photo by Cade Bowman Photography of Charlotte

Any reproduction of news articles, photographs or advertising artwork is strictly prohibited without permission from management. ŠCopyright 2012 A Mountain Times Publication

contents news bits snow memories carrie phillips nancy nguyen an artist’s reflections by the book mom’s world young at heart pets gifts from the heart valentine’s day trivia

emily jones powers







planning the perfect wedding

wedding trends

weddings for less

destination weddings

jo ann hallmark


22 mary

gown-ready in seven days



32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 49

24 toasting traditions



emily jones powers

proper skin care

feature bride



editor’s note Throughout this January/ February combined issue of All

Reflections, Resolutions and Romance



About Women magazine, we hope you enjoy our efforts to share personal reflections, a few ideas that could easily be incorporated into resolutions for the new year, and last, but certainly not least, a little bit about romance. As the New Year arrived, quicker than ever before, it seemed, I was in my usual — and annual — reflective state of mind. I thought about many things I should’ve, could’ve and would’ve done had I had the time, taken the time, or been given the opportunity. More energy consuming, perhaps, was recalling those things I did or said that I should never have done or said. Needless to say, I ended 2012 with more than a few regrets. But, what a blessing to know that a calendar filled with all those misgivings could easily be tossed into the trash, but not the recycle bin. How dare we take a chance on bringing those performances back for an encore? No way, not for this old girl. Once was enough. Replacing that coffee-stained, worn, tattered and marked-up day-planner with a brand new one with absolutely nothing written in those stark, white, clean pages, was such a comfort for me this year. A new beginning. A fresh start. Isn’t that something for which we all yearn and deserve? We know you will love the story of a new bride and how she found her way on a completely different path than what she had planned for herself. Funny, isn’t it, how that happens to us? We think we have it all figured out and then, bam, reality strikes. I recently read something about the best way to test God’s sense of humor was to make a plan. Enough said. Here’s hoping that 2013 will be your year to shine — your year to experience life as you’ve never known it before and to make the most of every step along the way. Reflecting on the past, resolving to do better — and yes, with a little bit of romance and adventure added in for good measure,

newsbits&clips Avery’s Beverly named Student of the Year At Tennessee Technology Center Katelyn Beverly of Avery County, who is majoring in practical nursing, has been named 2012-13 Student of the Year at the “I always wanted to work in the healthcare field and the nursing program at TTC-Elizabethton only required 12 months to complete. Another factor was TTC-Elizabethton does not charge an outof-state tuition fee,” Beverly said. Prior to graduating from Avery County High School in the top 10 percent of her class, Beverly completed dual enrollment courses at Mayland Community College and the University of Greensboro. Beverly received academic scholar-

Virginia Foxx sworn in for fifth term

House Speaker John Boehner administers the Oath of Office to Rep. Virginia Foxx. Photo submitted.

Rep. Virginia Foxx of Banner Elk was sworn in on Thurs., Jan. 3, for her fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republican Congresswoman was re-elected in November by a wide margin over Democratic challenger Elisabeth Motsinger. She now represents North Carolina's fifth district, which includes the counties of Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Davie, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin, plus portions of Catawba, Davidson, Forsyth, Iredell and Rowan. During the 113th Congress, Foxx will continue serving on the Rules Committee and the Education & the Workforce Committee. On the Rules Committee, Foxx will serve as vice chairwoman of the full committee. For the Education & the Workforce Committee, the career educator at both state and community colleges in North Carolina will again lead the Subcommittee on Higher Education. In addition to those committee posts, Foxx was elected by her colleagues to serve as GOP Conference Secretary. Foxx committed using her time in Congress to work toward fiscally responsi-

ships from Cannon Memorial Hospital, Avery Community Foundation and Mountain Electric Cooperative. She was employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Life Care Center of Banner Elk prior to enrolling at TTC-Elizabethton. In Student of the Year statewide competition, sponsored by the Tennessee Board of Regents, a student is chosen to represent each of the 27 technology centers. Students deliver a speech before a panel of judges describing how the Tennessee Technology Center improved their life and career goals. (Courtesy of The Avery Journal)

ble solutions to America's debt crisis that pave the way for economic growth and private sector job creation. "Confronting America’s debt crisis head-on is the responsibility of this Congress," Foxx said. "Millions of Americans are still out of work, small businesses are struggling to create jobs and big government tax-and-spend policies aren't helping." "This is an historic moment for our country," Foxx continued. "It is my hope that together the members of this Congress will seize the opportunity to accomplish bold, comprehensive tax and spending reforms that correct our debt mess and restore prosperity to this, the greatest nation on Earth." "It is humbling to have been again entrusted by North Carolinians with the responsibility of representing them in Congress," Foxx said. "Not a day goes by when I am not thankful for the opportunity to serve local families and do my best to shape a more efficient, effective government on their behalf. The oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States is not one I take lightly." JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2013 | AAWMAG.COM


Shelly Robinson will serve as interim executive director at Mountain Alliance, while Todd Nolt is on sabbatical, beginning in the spring 2013 semester. Robinson, an Appalachian State graduate in recreation management, began volunteering with Mountain Alliance in 2007 soon was leading the Rolling Academy, a two-week summer leadership expedition. “After the Rolling Academy, I was hooked,” Robinson says. Robinson’s most recent role has been the Mountain Alliance’s program coordinator where she has worked for the last three years, planning the student calendar, leading trips and mentoring staff and students. “I am excited to take on this new role and serve the students of Watauga County in a different capacity,” she says. “Through working for The Mountain Alliance, I have learned that we have an expansive network of support that I know will help and support the Mountain Alliance through this transition. My goal is to continue to promote and expand Mountain Alliance as a learning environment, where all students feel welcome and are free to be themselves. We are gearing up

Robinson Takes the Lead at Mountain Alliance

for the spring semester and are proud to offer a brand new calendar of exciting trips including alternative spring breaks, Youth Service Day and many outdoor adventures.” Mountain Alliance is preparing for its spring semester of outdoor adventure and community service programs, to be guid-

ed by a new interim executive director. The nonprofit organization has provided programs for high school students for 22 years. Last fall, Mountain Alliance organized 53 outings with 107 student members. The after school and weekend trips are divided between outdoor adventures and community service outings including backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, caving, preparing meals at the Hospitality House, trail building and more. Mountain Alliance staff and members are looking forward to building on the momentum from the fall with a new calendar of exciting opportunities for young people to get outside and explore the world around them while building a positive community of peers and mentors. The Mountain Alliance spring kick-off will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Watauga High School media center. Students will be provided with the spring calendar of events, permission slips and details for upcoming trips. Mountain Alliance is open to all high school-age youth in Watauga County, and all programs are free to students. To learn more or to contribute and get involved, visit

Watauga teacher introduceS McCrory at ball by Kellen Moore Darcy Grimes,

a third-grade teacher at Bethel Elementary and North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year, was chosen to introduce Gov. Pat McCrory at his Inaugural Ball on Fri., Jan 11. Grimes said she was contacted several weeks ago by the Junior League of Raleigh, which hosts the Inaugural Ball, and has been working with the league to craft her speech. “I’ve actually been very impressed and very excited how much input I do have on it,” she said. Grimes, who has met McCrory once

already at an ASU football game, said it’s her understanding that this will be the first time an educator has introduced the governor at this event. “I think it says a lot that they want to have a teacher be the one introducing him,” Grimes said. The festivities began with the gala presentation at 8 p.m. Friday, which features music from The Avett Brothers and other North Carolina acts, at the Raleigh Convention Center. Grimes introduced McCrory at the end of the gala, which cued the start of the Inaugural Ball.

Calling All Brides The annual High Country Wedding Expo will be held 1-4 p.m. March 3, 2013 at the Summit Trail Solarium on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone. For more information, call (828) 919-6750 or visit



Lt. Gov. office hires Watauga native by Anna Oakes

Kelsey Crum, left, poses with Tagg Romney, son of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, at a campaign event in Boone in September 2012. Crum has been hired to work in the office of Lt. Photo by Anna Oakes

Foscoe native and recent Appalachian State University graduate Kelsey Crum has been hired as the director of constituent services for the office of Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Forest. In her new position, Crum, 25, will be responsible for constituent services and community outreach, Forest's office stated. "This is huge news for me," Crum said. "I'm just so happy to be able to get my dream starting job." At ASU, Crum recently served as chairwoman of the College Republicans and chairwoman of the ASU chapter of Young Americans for Romney. Crum coordinated a campaign visit by presidential candidate Mitt Romney's son Tagg to Boone's Dan'l Boone Inn in September 2012. Crum graduated in December from ASU, where she majored in English and minored in political science. She received an associate's degree from Caldwell Community College before transferring to ASU. A native of Foscoe, Crum is a 2006 graduate of Watauga High School and the recipient of the Foscoe Christian Church

Scholarship, according to Watauga Democrat archives. Crum served as the Watauga County campaign chair for the Forest campaign, working on the May primary, July primary runoff and November general election. Crum said she admired the "positive" campaign of the Forest camp and tried to encourage positive campaigning amongst the College Republicans. "I just really liked the atmosphere of the campaign," she said. Crum said her position will involve routine secretarial work while the office gets up and running, but her role will expand as she helps direct constituents with problems or concerns to the proper government agencies and services. In addition, she will help facilitate public tours of the lieutenant governor's house in Raleigh. "We want to have a great hospitable atmosphere for the people who come in and visit with Dan Forest," she said.

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Planning the Perfect Wedding



Planning the perfect wedding usually does not mean waiting until the month before the ceremony to jump into action. Important decisions must be made well in advance. Dozens of people will become involved in the planning — family, friends, church staff, florist, photographer and caterer — and it is vital that everyone knows just exactly what to expect from each other. Many wedding experts — including former brides who know — recommend that wedding plans, especially those for large events, begin a full year ahead of time. Below is a recommended step-by-step timetable, particularly for the bride planning a large wedding, to insure that all goes well on her big day.

Nine - Twelve Months Prior to the Wedding: ƒ Formally announce engagement ƒ Determine wedding date ƒ Discuss budget ƒ Choose bridal party ƒ Determine style/formality ƒ Begin to compile guest list ƒ Reserve site(s) for ceremony and reception ƒ Meet with clergy or officiant ƒ Begin looking at rings

Six - Nine Months Prior: ƒ Plan ceremony details ƒ Decide color scheme ƒ Choose bridal gown and attendants’ attire ƒ Choose caterer; plan reception ƒ Choose florist; discuss bouquets/arrangements ƒ Select bakery for cake and discuss preferences (flavors, tiers, designs) ƒ Line up musicians, photographers, and printers for invitations, etc.. ƒ Make honeymoon plans, consulting travel agent if necessary

Four - Six Months Prior: ƒ Finalize guest lists with both families ƒ Order all invitations, RSVP cards, imprinted napkins, wedding favors, etc. ƒ Pay deposits as requested ƒ Shop for mothers’ dresses ƒ Buy wedding rings ƒ Schedule fittings for all wedding attire

Two - Four Months Prior: ƒ Address invitations ƒ Plan rehearsal dinner with groom’s parents ƒ Plan bridesmaids’ luncheon ƒ Review all details with wedding director and/or consultant ƒ Review ceremony schedule with church staff/clergy ƒ Purchase gifts for bridal party

Four - Six Weeks Prior: ƒ Mail invitations ƒ Finalize arrangements for flowers, reception, photography and limousine service, if applicable ƒ Confirm honeymoon/travel plans ƒ Make appointments for health and beauty needs, i.e. physical examination, manicure, hairstyle, etc. ƒ Obtain wedding announcement form from hometown newspaper ƒ Order tuxedoes for groom and male attendants

One - Two Weeks Prior: ƒ Review all details with entire wedding party and those assisting you ƒ Confirm all wedding events and services: rehearsal dinner, church availability, receptionist caterer, florist, photographers, etc. ƒ Delegate last-minute details to trustworthy friend or relative ƒ Pack for honeymoon ƒ Host party for bridesmaids

One Day Before the Wedding ƒ Spend uninterrupted time with your fiancé, mother, father and maid of honor (best friend), separately ƒ Visit briefly with out-of-town guests ƒ Arrange gown, veil, shoes, etc., checking to make sure hosiery and necessary cosmetics/accessories are easily accessible. ƒ Enjoy the rehearsal/dinner as the guest of honor that you are. Bask in your moment in the spotlight and remember, this should be the most magical time of your entire life. ƒ Go to bed as early as possible and get a good night’s sleep. **Remember, this is just a basic outline to help in the planning process. There will be other areas that will require your attention, as well, based upon individual needs, desires, type of ceremony, etc.



Wedding Trends for 2013 Colors, Décor, Theme

According to experts in the wedding industry, 2013 will see some interesting trends — from style to decorations, colors, themes and reception menus. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for this year’s bride:

Vintage Vintage is often used in weddings, as our cover bride chose in 2012, but this year, we are told it is going to reign not only in the styles of wedding dresses, but it is also expected to become a popular theme, in general. Don’t be surprised to see 1930s and 40s-inspired themes, along with a touch of the 20s.

Covered in Mint Considered to be “the hottest trend” during last year’s spring and summer weddings, mint green will continue to be the color rage this year, as well. Besides looking fresh and chic, mint has a retro feel to which many brides are attracted.



Covered centerpieces

Rainbow Hues

Have it your way

For those brides who want to branch out of the one-color dress for her attendants, this is the year to follow the rainbow. Whether she chooses bold or subdued shades, it’s going to be “in” for the 2013 bride to have her attendants wearing the colors of the rainbow.

In 2013, floral designs and other planted centerpieces are promised to be covered up and caged. Terrarium centerpieces made from bell jars or glass vases add the contemporary feel to the floral centerpieces.

For The Birds

Mini menus

Commonly referred to as “lovebirds,” these feathered friends have a long association with romance and love, so it’s no surprise, really, that they are finding their way back into wedding themes and will be noticed in everything from decorations and invitations to cake toppers and centerpieces.

Consider having miniature-sized appetizers and desserts around the room at various serving stations. The same principle works for the cakes, as many brides are choosing cupcake trees in place of the traditional multi-layered cake for each of serving, while offering a wider variety of flavors.

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Among the most quickly growing trend in the wedding sphere is that of couples thinking and acting outside the box to personalize their ceremonies in an effort to fit their lifestyles and budgets. Many contemporary couples are skipping the ancient traditions like the ceremony at the church, the white wedding gown and a dozen attendants. Alternatives seem to favor destination outdoor weddings on the mountaintops or at the beach, various colors and styles of more casual attire and smaller wedding parties with only closets friends and families in attendance. Source: Wedding Elation

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Cutting Corners Where You Can

Despite the fact that today’s formal weddings are ringing in at an average of $20,000 each, there are ways to trim the costs. It’s all in knowing what corners to cut and how to do it. • When looking for the perfect wedding dress, choose a simpler style with less beading, lace and intricate detail. If you really want fancy beads and sequins, they can always be added later by a family seamstress you trust. • After choosing “the” dress, order it in your current size. Resist ordering a smaller size with the hope of losing weight before your big day. It is always easier and less expensive to have a dress taken in that to have it “let out.” • If you are buying your dress and those of your attendants, do so from the same bridal shop. You will often be given a discount on the entire purchase, as well as free alterations. • If your bridesmaids’ dresses are not bought at the same place as your gown, try looking in department stores, where they are typically less expensive than those found in bridal shops and have a better chance of being worn again. • To save money on mothers’ dresses, shop also in the department stores rather than the bridal shop. • Some bridesmaids’ dresses can really be expensive. If you find a specific style that you just can’t live without, show it to a reputable seamstress. Many times the same style can be made for half price or less. • Rather than buy dyed shoes, which are worn only once and then become dust collectors in the closet, have your bridesmaids wear matching pastel shoes, white



or cream color, depending on dress color. • You may also find a good deal in the classified ads or on the Internet for used wedding gowns. Most of these are in good shape and will cost much less than buying brand new. With a trip to the cleaners, it will look just as good. • Renting is also a cost-effective option for all wedding attire, if you’re not big on sentiment, and can’t see storing your gown in the back of your closet, never to be seen or worn again. • Save money by not purchasing a specific going-away outfit. If you are buying your gown, you might as well enjoy every minute of it—forget changing after the reception and let your new husband whisk you away in your wedding dress. • Focus your dollars where they will receive the most attention, i.e: when choosing flowers for the ceremony, concentrate on the altar, because that is where your guests will be focusing their attention. • There is no need to decorate every pew in the church. Why not decorate every other one, or every third one? You can use ribbon and bows mixed with inexpensive greenery, also. Or, skip the pews altogether. • Use tall candelabras, which the church may already have and will allow you to use. These look beautiful when simply decorated with greenery and ribbon. • Don’t get carried away with the flower arrangements. Large ferns are inexpensive and have a lovely affect when grouped together. • Many brides today are choosing smaller bouquets for themselves and their bridesmaids. Depending on size, style and

choice of flowers, a bouquet can be quite expensive. A few white roses tied with ribbon make lovely bouquets for the bridesmaids. And if you really want to save money, make them yourself. Local craft stores have beautiful silk and dried flowers that can be easily transformed into keepsake bouquets, and will last longer than fresh flowers do. • Save money on your reception, also, by asking the caterer about specific package deals to fit your budget. • You may also ask a caterer to fix the main dishes for a dinner-type reception, and have family and friends contribute side dishes, desserts, etc. • If you’re trying to keep costs at a minimum, forget the shrimp and lobster. Many caterers can easily prepare a selection of hors d’oeuvres that are simple, yet appear elegant, at the same time. Often, presentation makes the biggest impression. • Make sure you and your caterer understand each other and agree on a menu and price that you can afford, long before your big day. • Seek experienced photographers from within the family-friend circle for your pictures, as well as a videographer. Professional photos can run into big bucks, but keep in mind, you usually get what you pay for. • Don’t skimp just for the sake of skimping. Make sure it’s a corner you can cut comfortably, so you will have no regrets later. Don’t overspend, either, if it’s something you cannot afford to do. Being in serious debt for a wedding is not a good way to begin a marriage.

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Nearly One in Four Couples Choosing

Destination Weddings



Destination weddings are growing among brides, say wedding experts, who estimate that nearly one in four couples are taking the path to-outof-town ceremonies. “It goes hand in hand with the fact that most people no longer live where they grew up,” says Carley Roney, co-founder of XO Group Inc. a global media and technology leader and creator of the top two wedding websites, and “When family is spread all over the country, a destination wedding is the perfect way to bring everyone together,” Carley says.

2012 Destination Weddings Statistics: 350,000 destination weddings take place annually, representing 24 percent of all weddings. The average destination bride is 30 years old Destination weddings have an average of 86 guests 4.70 percent of destination weddings take place in the continental U.S. Florida, California and Nevada are the Top 3 destination wedding locations in the U.S. 6.30 percent of destination weddings take place outside the U.S. The Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii are the most popular wedding locations outside the continental U.S. 9.69 percent of destination weddings are held outdoors. 10.86 percent of couples still plan to take a honeymoon after their destination wedding.

Key Trends Destination weddings are growing in popularity. In 2011, nearly one in four (24 percent) couples had a destination wedding; this has grown from 20 percent in 2009. 66 percent of international destination wedding brides and 45 percent of domes-

tic destination wedding brides opted for a destination wedding because they wanted a special, fun or exotic locale. The second most popular reason why international brides chose a destination wedding was to host a more intimate affair with fewer guests (65 percent), while domestic brides wanted a destination that was special to them as a couple (44 percent). Domestic destination weddings are more popular than international destination wedding locations. In 2011, 70 percent of couples chose a continental U.S. destination for their wedding, up from the 60 percent who opted for stateside nuptials in 2009. Conversely, 30 percent of couples married in an international destination, down from 40 percent who traveled internationally in 2009. The top five domestic destination wedding locations include: Florida (18 percent), California (13 percent), Nevada (9 percent), North Carolina (5 percent) and South Carolina (4 percent). The top five international destination wedding spots include: Caribbean (39 percent), Mexico (24 percent), Hawaii (20 percent), Central/South America (7 percent) and Europe (6 percent). The number of destination wedding guests is on the rise. In 2011, destination wedding couples hosted more guests, with an average of 86 guests per wedding. In 2009, there was an average of just 77 guests per destination wedding. Domestic destination weddings are larger, hosting an average of 96 guests (compared with an average of 62 guests for the international group). Most destination weddings last three or more days. Destination wedding events are longer than the average wedding, with most (60 percent) lasting three or more days. International destination weddings are even more likely to span several days and they’re getting longer. Nearly seven in 10 international weddings last three or more days, and nearly half (47 percent) last

four or more days, compared with just 38 percent in 2009. Destination wedding couples keep guests in mind. Destination wedding couples are spending more on a per guest basis than their more traditional wedding counterparts. The median destination wedding cost is $404 per guest internationally, and $225 per guest domestically, compared with the national wedding average of just $137 per guest. The average total destination wedding spend is $20,890 (not including honeymoon, engagement ring or travel expenses). Aside from the traditional rehearsal dinner, after-party and next-day breakfast, one in three (32 percent) destination wedding couples plan a group activity like a sightseeing tour for their guests. Of the couples who plan a group activity, more than half (53 percent) cover the cost for at least some of their guests. For those couples who contribute to the cost, they spend an average of $2,598 internationally and $2,280 domestically planning these group events. Couples are also considering their guests’ expenses, with two in five (39 percent) paying for travel/accommodations for at least some of their guests. The party continues even after the wedding. More than four in five international destination wedding couples and guests stay at the wedding destination beyond the wedding date, while more than half of their domestic counterparts do the same. Nearly nine in 10 couples still plan to take a honeymoon after the wedding, with seven in 10 of them honeymooning in their wedding locale – either for part of the honeymoon or the whole trip. In addition, nearly three in 10 will have another party when they get home. Information for this article was taken from an annual survey administered by Digital Research Inc. on behalf of The Knot Market Intelligence Group. SOURCE: XO Group Inc.



Local cake decorator extraordinaire, Jo Ann Hallmark of Blowing Rock, is known for her creativity and welcomes the challenge of any cake design a client dreams up. Photos by Yozette ‘Yogi’ Collins

Jo Ann Hallmark Layers of Talent 18


Jo Ann Hallmark hadn’t planned on designing and building cakes for a living. In fact, the Wake Forest University economics major co-owned a clothing store and realty company, but cake was nowhere on the career menu. When a friend called Jo Ann 15 years ago needing help, however, a new career door opened. “It was quite an accidental thing,” Jo Ann says. “A friend, who owns a local inn, called me and said, ‘I need a wedding cake.’ I still, to this day, don’t know why she called me, but that was the first one I ever made.” Jo Ann and her three sisters, two of which also live in the High Country, are all known for their various creative talents, which is likely the reason Jo Ann’s friend called — and why calls for more cake orders quickly followed. Meanwhile, Jo Ann discovered making cakes was a great career fit for her. “I always enjoyed cooking, and I’m crafty,” she says. “I like to make things, so I guess it’s sort of a natural progression, because wedding cakes really require some construction. And it satisfies my crafting mojo.” “I’ll try anything,” she says. “If someone shows me something that I really don’t think I can do, I’ll tell them, but that hasn’t happened. I’ll try anything as long as I have enough time to practice.” And, that doesn’t just go for the look of a cake. Jo Ann relishes generating unconventional, flavorful, and memorable cake flavors, as well. “When I got married it was all white cakes and Crisco frosting,” she says. “My wedding cake was awful. So, I give my clients the job of looking for pictures of cakes they love and deciding that if they could have anything sweet in the world, what would it be?” Jo Ann worked with one bride who loved spumoni ice cream. “I researched it online, pulled the flavors out of it and built it into a cake,” she says. “Another bride loved Ben & Jerry’s Maple Blondie ice cream, so I made blondies and put them into her cake.” It’s these variations — and the freedom — from the typical wedding or birthday cake fare that impresses Hallmark Cakes’

customers, even as clients become accustomed to incredibly complex cakes featured on TV reality shows. “Yes, TV shows have made a huge difference,” Jo Ann says. “People expect a lot. They see how it’s done and nobody wants plain anymore. That makes it more interesting for me.”

Jo Ann’s cake creations speak to her amazing artistic vision and abilities, and the fact that she welcomes the challenge of any cake design a client dreams up, highlights her sense of adventure.

The bottom line? Jo Ann wants her cakes to express what is important to her clients. “Everything is going to be very personal with me,” she says. “I want to help my clients plan exactly what they want, and if they are not sure exactly what they want, I want to try and help them find what it is. I just want to be welcoming and helpful and creative — and figure out a way to make something special for them.” To see more of Jo Ann Hallmark’s cake creations, visit or Hallmark Cakes on Facebook. You may also contact Jo Ann at (828) 295-3738.

Yozette ‘Yogi’ Collins Mom, television producer/writer, and obsessive internet researcher. Though her name suggests otherwise, she is not (yet) an actual yogi.

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Gownready in Seven Days



The big day is on its way and soon, you will be walking down the aisle thronged by loved ones. All brides want to look gorgeous in their wedding gowns and many start thinking about losing a few pounds. With the day fast approaching, it can be tempting to do something extreme. Resist the temptation. Starvation dieting, eliminating whole food groups — as in zero carbs or zero fat — and popping diet pills, are not the answers. These extreme measures can slow your metabolism and cannibalize your muscle. They can also zap your energy, dull your mind and put you in a bad mood. And, you won’t be more beautiful. Actually, if you lose lean muscle, you will melt your biceps. Not a very pretty picture. Worse yet, you will start “yo-yoing” back with the first bite of that wedding cake. The best way to slim down and tone up is simply eat well and add exercise. Everyone from Dr. Oz to great-grandma agrees on that. When you do it right, you should feel satisfied. Yes, you might still have cravings driven by bad habits and emotions, but you won’t be starving.   Following is a simple, seven-day plan with science-based suggestions for “clean and lean” eating, sensible supplementation and fine-tuned fitness. Barring underlying factors, you will be less bloated and leaner with mental focus and energy so you can enjoy your journey to the altar. The more time committed, the better your results, so get started now.   CLEAN AND LEAN EATING • Do not skip meals or snacks. Eat three main meals and two snacks a day. • Eliminate grains, dairy, sweetened drinks — even diet soda and fruit juice. • Eat lean protein and vegetables at each meal. A protein and fiber shake each day, with no sugar added, is an acceptable alternative for a meal. • Eyeball your nine-inch dinner plate: The meal should include ¼ lean protein and ¾ non-starchy vegetables.  You can increase these proportions slightly if you

are feeling you need a bit more. But, do wait 10 minutes and drink some water before your second helping to allow your brain to register your ‘fullness.” • Limit fruit to two ½-cup servings a day; split the servings between snacks. • Limit starchy vegetables — potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash — to two ½-cup servings a day. Split the servings into ½ cup for lunch and ½ cup for dinner. • Indulge in these metabolism-stoking foods: peppers, garlic, ginger, parsley, berries, cabbage,  Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, green tea,  apple cider vinegar, lemon, mustard, (no sugar added) and cinnamon. • Use extra virgin olive oil (2 Tbsp. a day). Spritz, don’t soak food. • Drink at least two quarts of water a day. Unsweetened herbal teas are great, as well. SAMPLE MENUS • Breakfast: A three-egg white vegetable omelet. • Mid-morning snack: Two Tbs. of seeds/nuts with four raisins. • Lunch: Grilled salmon salad with lots of leafy greens; spritz lightly with salad dressing. • Mid-afternoon snack: ½ apple with a thin layer of almond butter. • Dinner: Lightly stir-fried veggies and tempeh. SENSIBLE SUPPLEMENTATION • A multi-vitamin to support efficient metabolism; • a micro-distilled fish oil to optimize fat-burning, and mood; • calcium,  optimally with vitamin D3 and magnesium. • Optional, but helpful: Glucomannon - a type of fiber that supports blood sugar balance. Good to use if you slip from “lean and clean” to “down and dirty” eating for a meal.  It does some damage control and it also helps you feel full.   FINE-TUNED FITNESS This is a good time to sign up for a fitness class or even to hire a personal train-

er. If your schedule is tight and your funds are limited, here is a simple exercise plan that requires no money, no equipment and can be done in 16 minutes a day. Ideally, this will be a habit for a lifetime: 15 Minutes of Burst-Walking: Burst training, also known as high-intensity interval training, stokes your fat-burning fires and keeps them burning for several hours. Research shows you burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a 15-minute burst training work-out  than you do after, say, a steady-pace run. • Run as fast as you can for one minute and then walk for two minutes. • Repeat that three-minute interval for 15-minutes.  • Option: If you can’t run for one minute, walk fast as long you can. When you get out of breath, slow walk until you recover and do it again for 15 minutes. One Plank, three times a day: The plank is the premier overall body toner. The exercise is so named because, when done properly, you straighten your entire body, just like a plank of wood. • Lie on a level surface, belly down with your hands on the floor beside your head. • Position your feet so that your toes touch the floor. • Slowly and gently, lift your torso and your legs off of the floor, putting all of your weight on your toes and your forearms and elbows. • Keep your body still and straight, imagining it as a rigid plank. • Hold the position for as long as you can, breathing steadily throughout. • When you complete the position, gently bring your torso back to the ground. For a seven-day menu plan and fitness instructions, email: If you are being treated for a medical condition, please consult with your physician before making any diet and lifestyle changes.

bonnie church Certified Life and Wellness Coach Author/ columist, motivational speaker Certified Trainer for TLS Weight Loss Solution



All You Need is

(Self-) Love Since this issue of All About Women encompasses the promises of a new year, as well as the romantic promises of Valentine’s Day and wedding celebrations, my plan was to pick the brain of Mary McKinney, a licensed marriage and family therapist, about relationships, both new and ongoing. However, a different topic repeatedly emerged as we spoke: self–love. What does loving yourself have to do with your romantic relationships? It’s vital, says Mary. “A lot of marriage issues stem from a lack of self-love. Both people —in any relationship — need to be able to hold onto who they are as they look at their issues,” she says. “The self-awareness and selfexamination to make things better means you must care about yourself and think you’re worth it and, of course, think the other person is worth it.” Admittedly, “self” can be a hard word for women to embrace. Whether we were raised to believe putting other’s needs ahead of our own was the right thing to do, or that loving yourself is somehow prideful or egotistical, choosing to believe your opinions matter and sticking to them In talking about relationships, Mary McKinney, a licensed marriage and family therapist, says that selflove is vital to success. Photo by Yozette “Yogi” Collins



doesn’t always come easily. And, it often just feels selfish, which doesn’t sit well with Mary. “The great myth,” says Mary, a counselor for 20-plus years, “is that taking care of yourself and choosing your worth is selfish. But, selfish is doing something that’s going to take something from someone else. Taking care of yourself doesn’t take from someone else — it actually builds up the people around you.” Mary isn’t suggesting we focus on ourselves to the detriment of others; she just wants us to recognize that our feelings may be skewed. “When it feels selfish, remember that feelings are not facts,” Mary says. “Certainly lots of southern, Christian women have been taught that we are to be selfless. I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t do self-less things. We all benefit from doing things for other people. But, the business of ‘I’m not supposed to take care of myself’ is garbage.” The problem is that if claiming and holding on to your worth and choices are difficult for you, Mary says, the resulting

feelings of inadequacy can cause issues in marriages. “Pre-marital or marriage counseling, however, gives couples tools to deal with the inevitable issues when they arise,” she says. “When people are in love and are getting married, they are basically seeing the good in one another,” Mary says. “That’s fantastic, but anybody that’s been married knows it’s not all good. We have grumpy days, disagreements and places where we don’t want the same thing. We have to figure out ways to talk those things through, and we have to figure out problem-solving skills and how to negotiate and compromise.” To be able to do that in a purposeful way, Mary says, can forestall a lot of problems down the road. “That’s something I think all couples can benefit from,” she adds. Of course, counseling is beneficial for couples in crisis as well as couples who want to improve their communication and enhance their marriage connection. Mary does that, too, and was just certified in the scientifically certified Prepare/Enrich

program which assesses your relationship and tailors an approach from where you currently stand as a couple. Though it’s old news, healthy, mutually-fulfilling relationships take work. “Yes, they are hard work if you’re doing them right,” Mary says. “And if you’re doing them right, they can really cause us to grow as humans, and that’s pretty cool.” Mary McKinney, MA, LMFT, is available for counseling by appointment. Please call McKinney & Associates (www. at (828) 268-0155 or contact her at mary@

Yozette ‘Yogi’ Collins Mom, television producer/writer, and obsessive internet researcher. Though her name suggests otherwise, she is not (yet) an actual yogi.


Toasting Traditions

In settings both elegant and casual, the tradition of “toasting” has been used to express goodwill and honor since ancient times. Evolving through the centuries, the ritual of raising a glass of beverage with accompanying words of tribute or well-wishes has been influenced and adapted by cultures around the world.



‘May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. And soft rain upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.’ -Traditional Irish toast

TRADITIONS Indeed the very name “toast,” by which the simple practice became known in the 17th century, finds its origins in the ancient Roman custom of placing a piece of burnt bread in their less stellar wines to reduce acidity and remove contaminants. In today’s Western culture the purpose of a toast is to pay tribute to the subject of

the toast while offering goodwill. For times of celebration or commemoration as diverse as weddings, graduations, births, new jobs, certain holidays, housewarmings, retirement parties and celebrations of life, an appropriate toast can be a memorable, benevolent gesture. The emotions of a toast may range from solemn to sentimental to humorous to “less-than-refined,” depending on the occasion and setting.

In addition to the purpose of tribute, a toast should provide information and entertainment. When the toast involves a story, the anecdote should be brief, easily followed and void of embarrassing scenarios.

WEDDING TOASTS Ripe with celebration and expressions of goodwill, weddings are ideal settings for toasts. Traditional wedding toast protocol involves a first toast offered by the father of the bride. As host of the wedding reception, his toast may include graciously acknowledging the attendance of the guests, then sharing brief stories from the bride’s younger years that offer tribute to the person she has become. The toast should climax by wishing the newlyweds a wonderful future. The best man follows with a congratulatory toast that should entertain with tasteful, sometimes humorous, anecdotes about the groom before sincerely complimenting both the groom and his bride. His toast should also build to wishing them a healthy and happy life together. The maid of honor may offer the next toast, crafting her comments as a salute to the bride. In closing the formal toasting, the groom has occasion to thank guests, families and the wedding party before he proposes a final toast honoring the wedding party.

TIPS Whether spouting a spontaneous tribute, delivering a carefully honed salute, or reciting a traditional toast of sentiments, the person proposing the toast should strive to include everyone in the party in the celebratory toasting moment. Generally toasts are offered from a standing position, unless the setting is small and informal. Standing tall and straight while addressing the audience enhances voice quality. Enunciating slowly and clearly with the right volume for the setting will engage all listeners. Making eye contact with the person to whom one is offering the toast, as well as the audience, further connects everyone in the moment. Prior preparation and practice benefits the delivery of the special gift of congratu-

latory words and can ease those not accustomed to speaking to groups. Toasts should be short and simple, always kind and gracious, and should honor the subject in a uniquely personal and appropriate manner. The person proposing the toast may ask others to raise their glasses in a physical gesture of tribute. At the end of the toast, glasses may be “clinked” before everyone drinks “to” the toast. Endorsing the sentiments of the toast by saying “cheers” or “hear, hear” is a traditional custom in English-speaking countries. Although tapping a glass with silverware to signal one’s intention to speak or to propose a toast is common, the practice is considered rude by some people. Both setting one’s glass down during a toast, or merely holding one’s glass and not drinking to the toast are definitively considered impolite gestures. While toasting is traditionally associated with alcoholic beverages, participating in toasts with nonalcoholic beverages — even water — is viewed by most as acceptable behavior for nondrinkers. Likewise, toasting with an empty glass may be considered unlucky or rude, but is also appropriate for nondrinkers. In a situation where a series of toasts are likely, guests should reserve ample beverage to participate in multiple toasts. When honored by a toast, an individual should not drink to oneself, but should briefly rise in acknowledgement, respectfully thanking the person who proposed the toast. The ages–old tradition of toasting provides an opportunity to show appreciation, to pay respect, and to celebrate with others in a kind and gracious manner. Such displays of gratitude, benevolence and respect are always in style.

I’d rather have a root canal... ...than miss out on hot chocolate ...lose a tooth ...or live with pain

Homa Azargoon, D.D.S. Sharon Carlton Sharon Carlton, High Country Courtesies ©2012 As founder of High Country Courtesies, Sharon Carlton writes and speaks on modern etiquette and life skill topics. She is Director of High Country Cotillion, a social education program for youth and conducts High Country Courtesies customer service workshops. Contact her at

Board Certified Root Canal Specialist & Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics

895 State Farm Road • Suite 204 • Boone 110-A Wilkesboro Ave. • North Wilkesboro 828 386 1144 • JAN-FEB 2013 | AAWMAG.COM


When Emily Jones of Boone began working at Samaritan’s Purse in 2009, she had no idea that Mark Powers, the brother of a coworker, would become her husband, less than two years later. “Mark and I actually met through his sister’s cell phone,” Emily says. “We started a casual conversation via text, which grew to phone conversations and then he drove from Washington D.C. to meet me, in September 2010.” Mark already had plans to move back to North Carolina, Emily says, “but our new friendship helped solidify his plans.” A year later, the couple became engaged during a romantic Christmas-time trip to the Biltmore House in Asheville, Emily says. “The plan was to have dinner at the inn and then to enjoy a tour of the main house together, for the first time. Mark was “adamant about having a photo taken at the enormous tree with thousands of lights in the front lawn,” Emily says. “After taking my time, basking in the house and all its decorations, we finally went out to the tree,” she says. “In the darkness, while approaching the tree, Mark told me how I would always be his princess, but that he could never provide a house like that.” Emily says she was “somewhat distracted” by her surroundings, until Mark asked her to look his way for a second. “When I looked over at him, he was on his knee by the tree with his arm extended toward me and a ring between his fingers. He simply asked, ‘Will you marry me?’” Emily was speechless at first, she says, “But eventually, I said yes.” It was “ in that moment,” she says, that it seemed as if her entire childhood flashed before her eyes. “As girls, in our childhood, we always wonder what that moment will be like,” she says, “It’s hard to try to imagine it, before it actually happens, what it will really be like, but I felt complete excitement, joy, a little anxiety, and a mix of all kinds of other emotions.”

Where It All Began As a Boone native, Emily’s roots run deep in these mountains. “I was born and raised here, as were my parents and my grandparents and most of my extended family,” she says. As the only child of Mike and Cheryl Jones, she is “very proud,” she says, “that Boone will always be home.” Emily enjoyed a typical childhood, in which she “grew up” with her Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbie’s, “and playing store and school.” But, she says, she loved being outside too, “running

It’s All Part o

Photos by Cade Bowman Photography of Charlotte

t of the Plan

around getting my hands dirty from building little houses for the caterpillars and snails that I found,” she says. With many cousins always around to play with, she never felt like an only child. “Growing up, I had dreams of becoming a lot of things, but I never really wanted to grow up,” she says. Her “childhood dreams” included becoming a teacher, a surgeon, a pulmonologist, a doctor, a wedding planner, and last but not least, a country music singer —“even though I can’t sing a tune,” she says. Emily attended Watauga High School and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications and advertising from Appalachian State University in 2006. As a Kappa Delta Sorority alumna, she is thankful for all that she learned through her college experiences. Throughout college, she worked in the golf shop at Diamond Creek Golf Course in Banner Elk and made contacts with people who literally changed the course of her life, she says. “Becoming friends with members and staff, while approaching graduation, I was

asked multiple times what my plans were after I graduated,” she says. “I always responded that I didn’t really want to work in an advertising firm, but that it had always been a dream to be a wedding planner.” One day, a member told her, “You need to go work where they have the best weddings. You need to work at The Breakers Resort in Palm Beach.” So, she did. After graduation, she says, she was “fortunate” to have an opportunity to move to Florida, where she initially worked at The Floridian Golf Club in Palm City, Fla. “I made more contacts there that led me to an interview at The Breakers,” she says. “I was hired as a conference concierge in the conference services department, where I learned all about (special) events.” Her attention to detail “and all aspects of an event” were tested and tuned during that time, she says. “My eyes were trained to look at every inch of an event space, look for any error and correct it.” She is “forever grateful,” she says, for the training and knowledge she gained

while at the Breakers.” By “shadowing” a few of the wedding planners there, Emily made a life choice. “I saw the life they lived — working nights, weekends, and holidays,” she says. “Deep down, more than anything that south Florida could offer me, I knew in my heart, that I wanted to be a wife and a mother. I realized that my life wasn’t going in the direction that I wanted it to go. I didn’t want to raise children in South Florida, and I wasn’t having much luck finding a husband, which meant I had to give up the life that I had created for myself.” At that point, Emily says, she “really started to pray” about her future. “It was made very clear to me. A little whisper called me back to Boone. My time was up in Florida,” she says. “I had learned all that I needed to learn there.” Within two weeks, she moved back to Boone — after being away for nearly three years. “My amazing parents were right there for me when I told them I was ready to come home,” she says. “I didn’t have a job and I didn’t have hope.” Eventually, she says, she “slowly

opened up again to find peace and joy.” She applied for several jobs and “luckily,” she says, the next chapter of her life began to unfold when she accepted employment with Samaritan’s Purse in 2009 as the donor events coordinator. “After feeling that I would never be involved in events again, I felt like this was just for me – a part of the whole plan,” she says. A plan, she soon realized, that took her one step closer to realizing her ultimate dream. Cheryl Jones, mother of the bride, right, was by her daughter’s side throughout the entire planning process leading up to the big day.

The Planning Begins Like most potential brides, Emily says, once she and Mark declared their engagement, she immediately began to imagine the perfect wedding dress, as well as her color schemes and decorations. “As the bride,” Emily says, “you have to plan first things first, so, shopping for your dress tops the list.” The one she finally chose was “completely different,” she says, than what she had earlier envisioned. “Of course I tried on all the ones I thought I wanted, but as it turned out, that particular style just did not look right on me,” she says. “I always heard that I’d know it when I saw it, and that’s so true. As soon as I put on the dress I ended up buying, I kept saying, ‘I really like this one, I do, I really like this one,” and I kept spinning around to see what it looked like.” She already knew she wanted a unique wedding. “I like things that are rare or that no one else has – I like to be different,” she says. “I did not want the typical wedding, but, I did want our ceremony to be sentimental and sacred.” Emily and Mark were able to fulfill their “dream wedding” as closely as possible. “Our pastor helped us demonstrate a Biblical position for our vows,” she says. “Our music choices were sentimental, with, ‘How Great Thou Art’ played on a saxophone to start the ceremony — and we

One last kiss as daddy’s girl.

even used ‘Amazing Grace,’ as we shared communion.” Her favorite “and most unique musical choice,” she says, was to have a hammered dulcimer as the focal instrument. “The sound is so angelic and dainty, perfect for a wedding — and for one in the mountains.” Over the years, Emily had developed a love for vintage things — whether for antiques, jewelry or home décor. Both desiring to have their wedding in the mountains, she and Mark agreed that a vintage theme “would be a good fit,”

she says. “The bridesmaids wore vintage lavender dresses and the men wore black suits with ties to match the dresses.” Having “always known” that she wanted her attendants to be in purple-hued attire, Emily says, she chose “a very light coral rose” as a complementary flower, which, “also had a beautiful vintage look — and rustic — with their stems wrapped in burlap.” The reception was held at the Apple Barn in Valle Crucis, on what, she describes, “seemed to be the hottest day of the century.”

With the help of close friends and family, the couple decorated the barn’s interior, Emily says, “to make it look like a fairytale with white Christmas lights heavily wrapped around the beams.” The tablecloths were made from burlap. “And we ate delicious bar-b-que,” she says. For a touch of antiquity, vintage cake stands with cupcakes served as centerpieces for each table. “The cupcake icing matched the rose bouquets,” she says, “and my mother hand-made purple cakepops as party favors, displayed in mini bud vases containing coffee beans and highlighted with a small ribbon.” “I wanted each guest to get a sense of who Mark and I are as individuals and as a couple, so I tried to incorporate some of our personality into those little details,” she says. Being married is truly a special gift, Emily says. “I treasure it every day. I love Mark more as each day passes.” Emily and Mark currently live in Huntersville. Emily works at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as the executive assistant to the chief of staff. “After feeling that I would never be involved in events again, I felt like this was just for me – a part of the whole plan.”

Advice for the bride to be Emily Jones Powers knows a thing or two about planning a wedding. Not only did she dream of becoming a wedding planner, and trained for the job, she also planned her own wedding, down to the last detail. For those brides-to-be who are wondering where to start, Emily offers the following suggestions: Try on every dress that you like, even just a little bit, and even some that you don’t like, at all. I didn’t like flowers. I wanted lace and cap sleeves. My dress had flowers, no lace, and no straps. Try on different styles and lengths of veils with dresses. They all look different hanging up — just like the dresses — and they all look different after you put them on, especially with a dress. Make planning fun. Get crafty and make some things that you want to use. I made my favors and a few things to put on the tables. Let your theme be an expression of who you are, who your husband is, and who you are together. Mark and I both



love tradition and antiques. Our theme reflected our southern heritage and our love for these things. Listen to other people’s suggestions, but allow yourself to make the final decision in everything. Some people have some great ideas, but listen first, and most importantly, listen to yourself. If you like it, do it. If you don’t, then don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Do your research on which vendors you use. Boone has a lot of great resources. Plan ahead. The more you can do in advance, the less stressed you will be as your wedding day approaches. Have a stress-reliever. Wedding planning is stressful, we know that. Make time for yourself. Go to the gym or take a walk outside. Get a pedicure. It helps and gives you time to think. Let your mom help you with some things. She wants to be a part of it, too, and she really wants it to be the most special day of your life. It will help create some great memories for you as mother

and daughter. Ask for your fiancés opinion before making final decisions. It helps him to feel like he’s a part, too, and contributing to the special day. Write thank-you notes after each shower. I kept up with them, so when I got back from the honeymoon, I didn’t have so much to do. Waiting until after the honeymoon to open wedding gifts. It gives you something to look forward to when you return from your honeymoon. When we did that, we were able to spend a day just relaxing, taking our time to enjoy each gift. Last and certainly not least, I encourage you to have premarital counseling, as a couple, with someone you respect and who will be encouraging and supportive as you start this next chapter. sherrie norris Editor, All About Women

Proper Skin Care For the Glowing Bride When prepping her skin for that special day, a bride knows the importance of making sure that her face is well hydrated and glowing, but what about the delicate décolleté/neckline area that also includes her shoulders? That area is home to some of the body’s most fragile skin and will begin to show signs of aging faster that others, due to such elements as sun exposure and diet. The type of dress a bride chooses to wear on her wedding day can also emphasize this particular area of the body. It only makes sense that she take the appropriate steps to preserve and prepare the décolleté in order to look radiant on her big day. As she applies creams and moisturizers to her face, a bride — or any woman at any other time of her life — should take care not to neglect the décolleté area, which needs hydration and some exfoliation just like the facial area. However, should a bride wish to try peels on this area, it is advisable for her to seek professional guidance. Too much aggravation and stress to this skin can have its drawbacks and result in premature aging. Any woman who uses topical solutions on her face — such as serums and masks — would be wise to also ask for a professional recommendation to make sure she is using the right type of topicals, as well as how they can be incorporated into her skin care regimen. The extra care and attention provided to a woman’s skin, especially during the weeks, and even months, leading up to her wedding day, will most likely result in a confident, glowing bride.

kelly penick Licensed aesthetician 828.773.3587



A Sweet Snow Memory When I think back over the winters I’ve lived in the High Country and remember the exciting snow falls, of course, the ‘93 blizzard comes to mind. But, after that one, there was another and although I can’t remember the exact year, I do remember the excitement it brought to me. My late husband, Sam, was “the hardware man” and couldn’t bear the thought of closing the store, even after the power had been out for a day and night. I thought it was romantic when we ate by candlelight had time to enjoy the peace and quiet — and just be alone. I was quite happy. That is until the second morning when the power came back on. Sam was rushing through the house, getting ready for his walk down the driveway to work.  The snow was very deep. I felt it my duty to do what I always did, which was to go with him to open the store and stay there until he closed, especially when the weather was bad. “Give me time to get ready, Sam, and I’ll go with you,” I said. “Hurry,” he responded, “Somebody might be down at the store this very minute, waiting for us to open.” Putting on snow boots while being rushed was not easy. “ Here’s your coat,” he said. “I need my gloves,” I told him, to which he responded, “Just keep your hands in 32


your pockets.” When I looked out and saw how deep the snow was, and still falling, I hurried so that I could walk with my husband. I knew I could hold his hand and safely get down to the store to the many customers that he thought, or hoped, were waiting for him, lined up in freezing weather in knee-deep snow. He did help me down the steps of the porch, bless his heart, but then, I was on my own. I couldn’t keep up with him, so I said, “I’ll walk in your tracks. Go ahead.” This was not a good idea.   His steps were much bigger than mine and our driveway is on a slope that made it impossible for me to follow in his tracks. He was in such a rush that I thought he had forgotten I was behind him.   As I tried to step in one of his tracks, I slid down in what could only be described as a gymnastic split and I could not get up. In trying to do so, I flipped on my stomach and since my hands were in my pockets, I could not push myself up.

When I realized that Sam was oblivious to my predicament, I screamed out, “Will you wait a “bloomin’ minute and help me up?” He turned around and said, “What in the world are you doing down there?” “What does it look like I’m doing? Trying to make a snow angel?” I usually keep my “cool,” but not when I’m freezing cold with snow over my shoulders and in my face. He hurried back to help me and, of course, I just had to say, “If you had taken smaller steps, this would not have happened. I can’t believe we’re going to work in weather like this, anyway. Who else would come out on a morning like this when they could be at home warm as toast sipping coffee or hot chocolate?” “Calm down, Mama,” he said, as he tried not to laugh. He tried hard to pull me up, but all I could do was wallow around in the snow. By then, I was sitting on my leg and he was pulling like crazy when I thought my arm was about to pop out of its sock-

et! He almost fell, too, as he said, “Don’t drag me down with you.” He finally got me on my feet and we laughed all the way to the store.  As I reflect on that eventful morning, I am still wishing that we could still go to that store that brought us so much joy and that we worked so hard to have for our community. Sam Boone was a great man who loved our hardware business and enjoyed assisting our customers who needed his help and advice. I wish he was here and that we were still in “the store that friendship built,” as it was known.

sherry boone Local writer who shares her personal stories with others in hopes that they, too, will be comforted by some of life’s sweet memories.

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It’s a ‘Pampered,’ But Busy Life For Carrie Phillips

Boone native Carrie Phillips is an energetic, multitalented wife and mother of two who is especially familiar to the patrons of Boone Drugs, where she has been employed for more than 10 years. For the last five years, she has served as the drug company’s marketing and advertising coordinator. But, that’s just one facet of her life. She is also a college student, an independent part-time businesswoman and models wedding dresses on the side. Currently studying communications as Appalachian State University, Carrie attended Green Valley Elementary and graduated from Watauga High School in



1998. In 2011, she received her associate in arts degree from Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. She gained valuable customer service experience during high school and her freshmen year in college, she says, while working for Donna Cook at her downtown store, Did Someone Say Party. “I modeled in wedding shows for her and still do when she needs me,” she says. In July 2011, Carrie discovered another niche as a Pampered Chef consultant and in “exactly one year,” she says, she was promoted to a director of the in-home party business. It all started, when she finally agreed

to attend one of the many Pampered Chef parties to which she had been invited. “Having never gone to one before, I didn’t know what kind of fun I had been missing out on,” she says. “When one of my friends finally got me to go to one, I had so much fun that I booked a party for myself.” After her party sold more than $800, she says, she decided that if the product was “that good,” she needed to start selling it, herself. “I called Amy Shook, a local Pampered Chef representative, and told her I wanted to join her team, so she got me in touch with her Director Kim Gantt from Hickory and I was soon on my way.”

Her opportunity “snowballed” from the start, Carrie says. “And, now, I average six to eight shows a month. The girls I now have on my team are awesome and Kim, as my director, is incredible. I would not be where I am today without her help.” During a recent trip to Denver, Colo., for the company’s “Sizzle” event, Carrie says, she was treated like royalty while being meeting the company’s president, vice-president and receiving recognition as a new director. “It was so much fun and I was able to bring back a lot of great information to share,” she says. “I started out wanting it to be a fun way to earn some extra money before our family went on our first cruise. I never thought that it was going to turn into a small business.” Carrie says she has been “so blessed” by the opportunity and one that goes beyond the typical in-home party. “We love doing special event parties, such as wedding and housewarming showers, fundraisers, tradeshows, and catalog shows,” she says. “People love to come to the parties, because they love the product, they love to eat and we all have a good time together.” Carrie and her husband, Todd, enjoyed a trip to Nashville in September,which she earned through Pampered Chef —“and I am very close to winning the trip to Las Vegas in March,” she says. “It is very exciting and more importantly, I enjoy making life easier in the kitchen for others. My husband jokes and says that before I started selling Pampered Chef I didn’t know how to cook, and now he gets some really good meals.” Above all, she says, family is most important to her. Carrie and Todd, who has been employed with the Watauga County Sheriff ’s office for 18 years, are the parents of “two wonderful boys,” she says. “Chase is 11 and Chance is 7. They are students at Parkway Elementary and are such an important part of my life.” She is the daughter of Larry and Vivian Richards, sister of Travis Richards and granddaughter of George Baker, a well known retired state trooper, and his wife, Virginia. “I have great family and friends who are so supportive of me,” she says. “I love spending time with all of them.”

Carrie Phillips with her sons, Chase and Chance, and husband, Todd. Photos submitted

She and her family love to play together and travel together and with two growing boys, a Golden retriever and a Yorkie, she says, there is never a dull moment. The boys are involved year-round sports, including football, basketball and baseball — and she’s always there for them. In addition to preparing food at her parties, Carrie says, she really does love to cook for her family. She also loves to read and shop and is very active, with her family, in their church at Greenway Baptist, where she is an assistant Sunday school teacher in the children’s department, a Girls in Action leader, a member of the decorating and promotions committees and has directed the children’s Christmas play for the past three years. Carrie has served on the Downtown Boone Development Association committee for three years, she has been a committee member and supporter of the local March of Dimes fundraising events and has also served on the Blue Ridge Com-

munity Theatre board of directors. When asked about how she does it all, her response was simple, “I try to live by God’s word and putt him first. Then, my family and business come next,” she says. “I work hard to make sure to keep these as priorities in my life.” Her goals in life include completing her degree, building on her business and raising her children, she says, “to be successful and happy in life.” To learn more about Carrie, visit her website at

sherrie norris Editor, All About Women



Nancy Nguyen has discovered the American Dream in Banner Elk. Photos by Sue Spirit

Nancy Nguyen A Love Affair With Vietnamese Food And The High Country “I could hear people telling my mother to push me overboard, because I was just like a dead person,” Nancy Nguyen remembers of her family’s boat trip from Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam to Hong Kong in 1980, at the end of the Vietnam War. One of the “boat people,” Nancy would have died if her mother had not fed her drops of water laced with lemon and sugar. She was 17-years-old and weighed 80 pounds. Today at age 49, Nancy is the sparkling, serene owner, hostess, and chef of the Banner Elk restaurant Tokyo Express, soon to be called Cam Ranh Bay — after her Vietnamese home town. Hers has been a love affair with the High Country and its people for 11 years. And, the people of the High Country, in turn, love Nancy. Her enthusiasm for her country’s cuisine is contagious. Nancy has nothing but praise for her United States friends. “Everyone is so nice,” she says. “Everyone supports me. They are my family.” In Vietnam, Nancy’s father worked with the U.S. military base at Cam Ranh



Bay and her mother ran a cafeteria, where she prepared Vietnamese food. Nancy grew up with seven brothers and sisters. “We went to school, at first, and were well-treated,” she says. “Then, after 1975 when the Communists came, we had to work on a rice farm and were not so welltreated.” Nancy’s long-ago journey took her to Hong Kong for eight months, then on to Boston, where her family was sponsored by a church. She studied English and started a Vietnamese restaurant with her mother and sisters. She also learned Japanese cuisine by working at a Japanese restaurant. Nancy’s mother, 82, still lives in Boston, as do two of Nancy’s three children and her grandchildren. Nancy’s daughter, Thi, lives in Banner Elk and works with her at the restaurant. During a recent stop with a friend at Tokyo Express for a bowl of soup and to chat with Nancy, we ended up having an amazing Vietnamese lunch. First came hot jasmine tea, then goi cuon, lettuce wraps with hoisin sauce (see sidebar). Arriving next were spring rolls

with a sweet orange/tomato sauce. Then, tempura tofu was served. Finally came canh chua, a hot sweet and sour soup in a culao, a chafing dish. This is Vietnam’s everyday soup, served when the workday is over. It is filled with pho (noodles) or rice, celery, mushrooms, bean sprouts, pineapple, tofu, tomato, lemon grass and a very special ingredient — tamarind — with an incredible taste. Nancy uses tamarind powder, but recalls that her grandmother pounded and pulverized the tamarind leaves, also putting the whole tamarind fruit into the soup for a short time, then discarding skin and seed, using only the pulp and juice. This gives the soup its sweet-sour taste, she says. Nancy proclaims her Vietnamese food to be healthy, easy to make, delicious and vegan. This proved a winning combination for the “Veg Boone” vegetarian organization, which asked Nancy recently to prepare a vegan Vietnamese-ChineseJapanese-Thai banquet, for more than 50 members. Nancy loves nothing more than to cater such special-occasion banquets. After Hurricane Katrina hit the south-

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GOI CUON, VIETNAMESE LETTUCE WRAPS Dip rice papers in water briefly, and put in a strip of cooked vermicelli, tofu bits, mung beans, shredded carrot, ground peanuts, lettuce, and a little chopped mint, and wrap, tucking in the ends as you go. Stir-fry chopped garlic with a little oil and add hoisin sauce, a little peanut butter, and some chopped peanuts. Use as a dip for the lettuce wraps.

east, Nancy declared a day at Tokyo Express to raise money for its victims, donating half her profits to the cause. Last November, Nancy hosted a fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Sandy and $500 was given to the American Red Cross. This tradition is Nancy’s way of saying “Thank you,” for all the help she received in her journey to the USA — and in her new life. Similarly, in Vietnam, whenever there is a crisis or natural disaster, Nancy’s family members have the habit of buying rice and distributing it to the victims. In what little spare time Nancy has, she enjoys reading, scrapbooking, writing her memories — and singing karaoke. Her dreams are to extend her catering, host more parties, make new foods, and, most of all, make people happy. Happiness is “a given” for Nancy, she says, and if you want to meet happiness face-to-face, she’s a great source.

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sue spirit Writes poetry and essays about nature, spirituality, writing, and travel. She has a little cabin in the mountains.




Artist’s Reflections An

During this past year I have been blessed in so many ways, including the opportunity to write about other women artists in our area who are all talented, beautiful people coming from all walks of life, each with her own unique message for the world through her work. I have found that, much like when I teach art, writing about these amazing women teaches me so much about myself. The solitude of being a creative individual is a beautiful bubble in which to work, but the gregarious side of me has long desired for intertwining my thoughts with those of others sharing my “malady,” as a sort of homing mechanism for what is right and good in this world. Writing these articles has done that for me — and much more. As 2012 ended, I felt that the need to share my own reflection, as it has evolved from the influence of those women I have come to know, and how knowing them has enriched my soul, my opinions and my art. It is no surprise that I revere and hold dear to me the women who are brave enough to put their hearts “out there” and tell their stories, each of which is different, heartfelt and colorful.



Every time that I go to visit one of these artists, I leave with a renewed sense of purpose. There is no doubt that we have all been touched with a sense of spirit that is unique and authentic to the core. One cannot do what we do without having that sense of knowing and direction, even though many times the women tell me that they have no idea what the finished piece of work will look like, only that they are driven to create it. Most of us artists are also wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, part-time employees, cooks, waiters and homemakers. To find time to create art with so many other factors chipping away at our being is no simple feat. In fact, it demands a determination and spirit far more challenging than most any other journey a woman could choose to follow. To hold onto that dream of unleashing the emotions and intentions which are seeded in our core is the true stuff of authenticity and truth to who we are. I have discovered that many of these women have a strong conviction in their

faith and hold onto it dearly, as it never seems to waiver in times of great stress or need. Their art shines brightly through disappointment and failure, stretches far and wide from happiness and grief. It has been said that some of the world’s greatest art is born from desperate times — when there is no choice but to face what is coming head-on and resist the temptation to run and let someone else pick up the pieces. Women bear the children, much of the workload and the will to survive in spite of all odds, and those who are creators of art grasp the brush with great gusto and spread color and form from all corners, then pull it all together in the end. Their finished pieces tell a rich and varied story, a tiny space in the tapestry of life with a fine gold thread of constancy mingling throughout its entirety. I am so proud to be among these women artists — to even dare consider myself one. Yet, when my life becomes so muddled that I cannot find time to face my easel, or when the interruptions of a day

are nonstop and I must float from the reality of “our” world to that of the “mundane,” that is when I know that to “make art” is the only choice I have. Not to do so would be devastating to my spirit. And, in knowing so — and in spite of all odds — making that leap of faith every day into the world of creation is not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do. My hope for 2013 is that we will continue to grow in number, spirit and conviction of purpose, so that our legacies will saturate the planet with a beautiful blanket of feminine energy that will lend comfort, peace and joy to all - a tapestry unfolding in all hues and shapes to tell our own special story. Our stories that will never cease unfolding onto canvas, paper, clay or whatever medium best reveals our voices. raney rogers Well-known artist, art instructor and owner of Acorn Gallery in West Jefferson.

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The Red Leather Chair by Ingrid Kraus

The act of betrayal washes over a family like a tsunami and transforms everyone within its destructive wake. Whether each individual family member is able to sink or swim will define their future selves. What will they become after the tide has receded and all that remains are the wrecked pieces of their lives? How do you go on when everything you believed to be true of your world in an instant is no longer real? Was it ever real? Was any of it real? What is one to believe, what can one value when it can all be lost so easily? The betrayer, riding the crest of the wave in a thoughtless moment of selfindulgence, comes crashing to the shore with the sudden realization of what he has done, having committed an act of unthinkable cruelty and selfishness of which he never believed himself capable. Can he ever be forgiven? Can he forgive himself? Was it really an act of betrayal or was it an act of survival, a life-rope being thrown to him by an unlikely savior dragging his barely conscious psyche back into the world of the living? Had he been operating on autopilot for so long he had forgotten how to feel? These are only some of the issues explored in Ingrid Kraus’s compelling first novel, “The Red Leather Chair.” A highly emotional novel, it is told from the personal perspectives of each family member. 40


“The Red Leather Chair” reveals the history, motivations and individual thought-processes of its characters. Kraus describes the family dynamic in a real, in-your-face way, which draws you inextricably into the lives of these people and keeps the reader turning the pages. It is a very human story with which we can all identify. We squirm with the knowledge we have all acted out some of these roles in one form or another. We are looking into the window of this family and we are disconcerted to see ourselves. As a psychologist and a former reporter, Kraus is uniquely qualified to delve into these issues. A falling-out with a dear friend of 35 years led her to explore the issue of betrayal and it’s effect on the persons betrayed. She says, “Obviously, the parallels are not complete to this story nor did I consciously try to describe what happened to me. I just sat down to write and every day I wrote. I just let the book develop as it wanted to.” There are many layers to this novel. There is the theme of betrayal, of course, in many different ways. There is also the notion that there is a consequence for not tending to one’s marriage and to other important relationships. “It is also about human frailty,” says Kraus, “ and everybody having scars and potential for growth. In one writing group I attend, one of the women had a very bad marriage and she just hated the father


It is a very human story with which we can all identify. We squirm with the knowledge we have all acted out some of these roles in one form or another. We are looking into the window of this family and we are disconcerted to see ourselves.

character. It made her so mad to read it. I can understand that reaction.” At the same time, Kraus says, “What comes out to me is how very human he is and that all of us under sufficient stress act out in ways that are destructive to ourselves and to the people that we love. If we dare to face ourselves, we can grow and overcome adversity and emerge with a richer sense of ourselves and a greater capacity to love. It seems to me to be a hopeful book as well as a realistic book.” In their own way, each character in “The Red Leather Chair,” except for the character who dies, is forced to come to terms with his or her self. They must acknowledge what Kraus refers to as “their less than stellar qualities” and learn to

grow beyond these flawed parts of themselves or become reconciled to them. This novel is about dysfunction, human frailty and discovering a sense of self during the worst that life can throw at you. It is about the grace of learning to forgive and to be forgiven. Most importantly, “The Red Leather Chair,” is an absorbing tale of a family emerging from the murky waters of hopelessness to discover the immutable power of love.

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Danielle Bussone Danielle Bussone is a writer, an artist and a wellness coach. Visit her blog at

About the Author Ingrid Kraus is a writer and psychologist who lives with her husband, Jeff Tiller, in these North Carolina mountains. She has two grown children. Ingrid has been writing all her life and worked as a newspaper reporter for five years. “The Red Leather Chair” is her first novel. One of her short stories, “Fishing with Bob,” can be found in the anthology, “Drowning Allison and Other Stories.” Both can be purchased at

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Tooth Fairy

Payouts and Other Responsibilities 42


As the New Year was edging its way in, I found myself contemplating the various hats that I plan to wear — and those that I may stick on the hat stand for a while. As mothers, we shape-shift into many different roles in the course of a day, week and year. We are professionals, soccer moms, scout den leaders, housekeepers, homemakers, bottom-wipers, churchgoers, yoga-enthusiasts, runners, baby-catchers, missionaries, spouses, mothers, sisters and friends. There are times when these roles make our life full. There are times when these roles make our life crazy. Ultimately, it is our task to recognize the distinction and determine if the fullness is overwhelmed by the craziness or not. When I have a day that is unscheduled and breathe a deep sigh of relief, I take pause at my 9-year-old son’s question of “What are we going to do today?” since it is likely my tendency to book and overbook our lives that has lead to the daily assumption that there must be something planned. Having no plans is not only uncharacteristic but unbearably boring, in his mind. When I shirk on my utmost motherly duties, such as ensuring the Tooth Fairy payouts, I know the hectic pace of life has gotten to be too much. As we all know, moms have a direct line to all things fantasy and fantastic — from Santa Claus to the Tooth Fairy, from the Easter Bunny to the Secret Valentine. When Ben, my youngest son, recently had to have two baby teeth extracted because they had “made friends” with his big (permanent) teeth and wouldn’t come out on their own, he was ecstatic. Not only does he love going to his pediatric dentist, he had already figured out that he would get tokens for a prize after the visit and that he would have two teeth to leave out for the Tooth Fairy. At bedtime, the night of the extractions, he was in bed and then remembered that he had not left the teeth out. I was exhausted and told him to leave the teeth in their small green plastic treasure chest on the table and that I would go down and put the teeth out for the Tooth Fairy. As was tradition at my house as I was growing up, I would typically have my sons put their teeth in a small glass of water. In the morning, instead of a tooth,

there would be a shiny quarter (when I was young) or a silver dollar or even dollar bill left in the glass (minus the water) for my own children. At exactly 6:50 a.m. the next morning, Ben bounded into my room and exclaimed, “She didn’t come – the Tooth Fairy didn’t come! My teeth are still there.” My heart sunk, but maternal ingenuity emerged and without missing a beat, I replied, “Oh, I’m sorry, buddy. I forgot to put them in the water. Of course she didn’t come, she didn’t know they were in the treasure chest.” Ben accepted the reality without consequence, interrupting me to say, “Well, and even if she knew they were there, the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t be able to open the treasure chest, Momma.” Dutifully, the next night, the two small baby teeth were in the glass of water. The next morning came and Ben bounded into my bedroom again, excitement in his voice. “Momma, guess what? I got two $1 bills from the Tooth Fairy last night. They were in the glass and my teeth were gone.” Thank goodness, all was right with the universe. Of all my duties and responsibilities, it is perhaps that universe that is the one I place the utmost priority on maintaining. Believing that magical and wonderful things can and do happen is fundamental to a child daring to dream, even when circumstances are not going their way. A child’s eye of wonder on the world brings life and levity. I wouldn’t trade the excitement in Ben’s voice when he opens a stocking, discovers Tooth Fairy dividends, or searches for his Easter basket, for anything. This year, I hope that I can keep my lines of communication open with that other universe, pick up a wand or sleigh bell, and trade in the hats that bring more stress than joy.

heather jordan, CNM, MSN Comments or questions? 828.737.7711, ext. 253


Dancing Queen

One of my proudest moments was when a Latina friend with some serious dance skills told me, “You sure can dance!” When I am home alone — and often even when I am not alone — I sometimes break into a little jig when a dance song comes up on the iPod rotation. Do I agree that I am a good dancer? I can follow basic choreography, nothing involving back-flips or anything resembling contortion, and have pretty good rhythm. Sometimes, I may be slightly spastic, but dancing brings me joy and for that, I refuse to apologize. My dance “career” began with short-lived, childhood ballet lessons. I enjoyed pirouetting around the room but not the matchy-matchy



sailor costumes. My mother’s Jazzercise® classes were more to my liking – where 1980’s music filled the room and the ladies dressed like extras from Flashdance in leotards, leg warmers and slouchy sweatshirts. I often tagged along and improvised my own routines at the back of the room. At that age, I was blissfully unaware of what others may have thought of my dance abilities. Somewhere along the way, as young ladies are prone to do, I became painfully aware. I still enjoyed dancing, but now felt my peers watching, waiting to laugh and criticize. Fortunately, high school introduced me to musical theater, with its costumes and big production numbers, and I had the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone by performing on the stage. Dance auditions were difficult. I desperately wanted to do well —to dance well — but, afraid of making a fool of myself, I frequently allowed my nerves to get the better of me. Although I never had a starring role, I relished being part of the shows.

In college, I discovered dance clubs. For a girl who grew up in Boone, dance clubs were at first an overwhelming experience. The loud music, the pulsing lights, the crowds of people gyrating to the thumping beats — it was hypnotic. I learned to love it. Dancing in the dark, surrounded by strangers, it was easy to lose myself in the music, for a few hours. It was a release — a way to leave behind the stress of the week. Furthermore, the anonymity of the clubs freed me from my dancing inhibitions. Did I look silly? Sometimes, absolutely. Did I care if anyone thought so? Not at all. After returning to land of no dance clubs, i.e. Boone, I missed shaking my groove-thing each Friday night. In retrospect, what I likely missed most was the endorphin release from the hours of exercise I was getting — exercise disguised as fun. Around the time that I was desperately seeking a substitute for my dance club excursions, Zumba® came on the scene. Zumba® is part aerobics, part dance and part booty-shaking fun, disguised as exer-

cise. I thought that it seemed like the perfect solution. I attended my first class at the Wellness Center in Boone, very conscious of the fact that we were right out in the open on the aerobics floor. I felt very exposed. I got over it. After a couple of classes, I stopped looking over my shoulder to see who might be watching (and/or pointing and laughing). I was able to let go — to again lose myself in the music and just have fun. I now attend Zumba®, once or twice a week. Last week, in the locker room after class, a fellow Zumba® enthusiast stopped me as I was pulling on my coat. “You’re a really good dancer, “she said. “I watch you when I can’t see the instructor.” “Thanks,” I responded, smiling brightly. And, I left the gym thinking, “I sure can dance.”

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Lady Gecko Needs A Home 46


You will not see her in a classified ad. You will not meet her in a class, your church or on the street. Yet, this friend awaits you. Beautiful young lady gecko seeks you. With attentive iridescent engaging eyes, this social creature requires little more from you than one’s average reptile: a trustworthy soul, consistent heat, greenery in which she can explore, fresh food, supplemented by a cricket or two a week, fresh water and your friendship. Though her name might be helpful, when asked, pet store employees endearingly call her, “For Sale.” Her caretakers at The Pet Place do not name the pets that are for sale for multiple reasons, including the need to minimize confusion for the pet and because future masters will attribute best suited names to each pet. One employee has nicknamed many of them. But, this sweet gecko, like a Cherokee Indian seeks her name as she awaits her forever home. She waits for an endearment beyond “For Sale.” This crested Gecko came to The Pet Place because she and her siblings were bred by a young boy whose family moved to Belize. Since they were crossing international borders, his beloved reptilian friends were not allowed to leave the United States. She came in with siblings who all possessed tails. Her ‘tailed’ siblings have all found their forever homes. Yet, this beautiful golden tan crested gecko remains. She is without tail and will not grow another. The crested gecko is of the few gecko species that do not re-

generate their tails when lost. In the wild, most adult crested geckos are tailless, but pet owners seem to expect a ‘tailed’ gecko as the norm. Though no one can say what draws a pet owner from one to another among geckos, one belief is that because she is tailless, she may not hold the same appeal as her tailed gecko friends and family. However, this beauty is fine without one. The crested gecko was once believed to be extinct, but the domesticated species has multiplied and increased in popularity. In fact, after the leopard gecko, crested geckos are the most popular gecko pets. While she is a combination of tan, brown and golden hue, geckos coloring varies. Geckos can be solid in color, striped or spotted, and can range from brown, yellow, red, white and green. Up to eight inches in length, their lifespans can range up to 15 years, or more. “For Sale” is young (about a year and a half) and her best years are ahead. Her eyes really are a bit mesmerizing and unique; like their colorful bodies, gecko eyes vary in design and dramatic coloration. She’s charming, beautiful and loved by The Pet Place employees. Stop by The Pet Place in Boone to get acquainted.

Genevieve Austin Genevieve Austin is a mother of one and received her teaching certificate from ASU. She is a writer who is working on her first book, ‘The Toy Box,’ and is also a radio personality, artist, singer and animal advocate.



Gifts from the Heart

make the difference

Valentine’s Day is huge in the retail world with sales from food, candy, flowers and other heart/romance related gifts making it one of the top producing celebrations of the year. But something I’ve learned — it’s not always the money we spend on others that make the difference. It’s usually the gifts from the heart that have the greatest impact — and a few treats from the kitchen never hurt. Here’s wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day spent with those you love the most.

Chocolate Heart Peanut Butter Cookies 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated) ¾ cup peanut butter 2 cups Bisquick 1 tsp. vanilla Sugar About 36 heart-shaped milk chocolate candies Heat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, stir milk and peanut butter until smooth. Stir in Bisquick and vanilla. Shape dough into 1¼ -inch balls; roll tops in sugar. Place sugar-side up 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms of cookies just begin to brown. Immediately press chocolate heart into top of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to cool.

Did You Know... History tells us that in 1537, St. Valentine’s Day was declared an official holiday by England’s King Henry VIII. That’s just one of many interesting “facts” and remnants of folklore associated with this day — and one that has become one of America’s top celebrated occasions. Read on for a few interesting pieces of related data that we’ve discovered. According to legend, Valentine served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius, who had Valentine jailed.

During Medieval times, girls ate unusual foods on St. Valentine’s Day to have a dream of their future husband.

Apparently St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, marked “From your Valentine.”

In the middle Ages, people believed that the first unmarried person of the opposite sex you met on the morning of St. Valentine’s Day, would become your spouse.

Valentine’s Day is said to have started


in the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14 was a holiday to honor Juno, Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans regarded her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day began the festival of Lupercalia, in honor of Lupercus, at which time young men held a lottery to decide which girl would be theirs.


Valentine’s Day Dessert 1 (18 oz.) pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie dough 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese 1cup powdered sugar 1 (21 oz.) can cherry or strawberry pie filling 1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed Preheat oven to 350. Roll cookie dough to ¼-inch thickness, form into a heart shape and place on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until cookie is lightly browned. In large mixing bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar. Spread mixture on cooled cookie. Cover with pie filling and whipped topping.

Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent on the telephone, on Valentine’s Day, 1876. Some people believed that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine’s Day, it meant she would marry a sailor; if she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a very rich person. The Taj Mahal at Agra, India is perhaps the most splendid gift of love. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in memory of his beautiful wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Work on the famous landmark began in 1634 and continued for almost 22 years. It took the labor of 20,000 workers from all over India and Central Asia.

Crispy Chocolate Heart Cookies 1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces ¼ cup light-colored corn syrup 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine 3 cups crisp rice cereal Frosting (optional) ½ tsp. butter or margarine Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper greased with ½ tsp. butter or margarine. Set aside. Mix chocolate, corn syrup, and 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine in a heavy medium saucepan, cooking over low heat and stirring constantly until melted. Or, place chocolate pieces, corn syrup, and butter or margarine in a 1½ -quart microwave-safe casserole. Microwave, uncovered on high for 1 minute or until chocolate and butter are melted, stirring once. Add cereal to chocolate mixture, stir until evenly coated. Pat cereal onto prepared cookie sheet. Chill about 20 minutes or until slightly firm then cut mixture with heart-shaped cookie cutter. Decorate with frosting, if you like. Chill until firm; wrap each heart in plastic wrap. Return to fridge until serving time. Makes 8 or 9 three-inch hearts.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries 1 (12 oz.) pkg. milk chocolate chips 2 Tbs. shortening 1 lb. fresh strawberries with leaves Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries. In a double-boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding strawberries with toothpicks through stem area, dip a little more than halfway into the chocolate mixture, letting extra chocolate drip back into pan before placing berries on waxed paper to set. For a fancier look, drizzle a little melted white chocolate over the milk chocolate covered berries.

Brownie Heart Prepare a brownie mix or homemade brownie recipe. Pour into a greased heartshaped pan. Bake and allow to cool. With whipped cream, spray an outline of a heart in the middle of the brownie. Place cherries or chopped strawberries inside the heart.

Valentine Pretzel Rods White chocolate chips Whole pretzel rods Red, white and/or pink sprinkles Melt chocolate according to package directions. Dip pretzel rods in the chocolate and place on the wax paper. After the chocolate has hardened, dip them again and then roll them in the sprinkles. Place them on a new sheet of wax paper to harden.

Red Krispie Treats Prepare Rice Krispies treats from recipe on cereal box and add red food coloring. Spread into a 13 x 9-inch pan and cool. With a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut hearts from Rice Krispies. This is a simple and easy “kid’s recipe” they can make for their family and friends.

sherrie norris Editor, All About Women

Valentines Day Trivia In England, the Romans, who had taken over the country, had introduced a pagan fertility festival held every February 14. After the Romans left England, Pope Gelsius, who established St. Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love in 496 A.D., abolished the pagan ritual. Cupid, the winged and mischievous little angel that pierces the hearts of his victims with his bows and arrows, was called Eros by the Greeks, whereas to the Romans, he was known by the name of Cupid, the son of Venus. Cupid is thought to be responsible for people falling in love. Roses have always been the subject of great importance and a certain hit with the lovers all around the world. Roses symbolize love, compassion,

peace, friendship and romance. They are available in various colors, each in turn signifying a different thing: red for passion, yellow for friendship and white represents true love and devotion. Ribbons and trappings have almost always been synonymous with love and romance. They were given to the kings and knights by their beloved ones when they went to battles. Even to this day, ribbons play an important part of special occasions, such as weddings and parties. Nothing symbolizes love more completely as does the heart symbol. Significant to life, if you “give your heart” to someone, it means to hand over to her or him one’s existence. Heart

pierced with arrow forms the most important symbol of Valentines Day. The belief that birds find their mates on this special day still continues. The blue-colored birds best signify this belief. It is said that lovebirds can’t think of life without their mates. Doves, on the other hand, signify purity, humbleness and wholesomeness. The fashion of sending love knots is traced backed to the Arabic traditions, where young Muslim women in traditional and orthodox households expressed their love and affection via the medium of love knots. These women sent messages of love woven in the knots of a carpet. Compiled by Sherrie Norris



Grow old with me! The best is yet to be. - Robert Browning



All About Women January/February 2013  

All about women of the high country.

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