OTK Issue 07

Page 1


Her Words. Her Journey. Her Story.

DANIKA FRANKS Metamorphosis

Our mission is to

support empower and

women of all ages and any race through traditional

journalism, storytelling, illustrations and photography.

supports diversity, inclusion and equality for women This magazine


Our hope is that the stories in the magazine illustrate this through the telling details of our everyday women’s inspiring lives.

ONETOKNOWMAGAZINE.COM @onetoknowmagazine.com


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FROM THE OWNER Do you ever wonder if you’re fulfilling your purpose in this life through your work? Is the career you chose what you thought it would be? Many years ago I found myself at that crossroads. I was unhappy at my place of work, and believe it or not, I wasn’t sure if graphic design was meant for me. I loved design, but I wasn’t sure I was with the right company. I made the hard decision to walk away.

Empowering Women One Story at a Time


Our cover story by Shilo Urban illustrates how one woman walked away from a career in medicine, one she went to school for 12 years to obtain. Torn between her passion as a mother, as a creative and as an ER doctor, she strives to discover what she should do next, which includes wrestling with who she really is without all the prestigious titles. Aren’t we all? Because her struggle with anxiety and depression hit home for me, and I could relate to feeling like I, too, had to just deal with my problems without knowing who to reach out to for help. I hope you enjoy Danika’s powerful story. I can’t wait to see what she does next. “What’s in a Name” by Jade Emerson opened my eyes to thinking about how a last name can be very empowering. My mom has been divorced for over 20 years now, and I never really understood why she wanted to go back to her maiden name. I see now how wanting a fresh start even if it is by changing a last name could be impactful. She takes us through Kimberly Lowelle Seward’s story and explains how she ended up with a new last name that would have a special meaning to not only her, but her daughter as well. On the menu for lunch are scorpions, worms and crickets. If I can’t get my kids to eat vegetables, maybe eating yummy critters will be something worth trying. In “Critter Cuisine,” Andrea Ordonez takes a bite of this tasty protein to explore bugs as a sustainable and alternative source of protein, something our executive editor Jocelyn Tatum thought was an important topic to explore. “The edible bug industry is projected to reach a market value of $1.5 billion by 2026,” Andrea reports from Global Market Insight. When I look back at my choice to walk away from that job, I realize it helped me grow in my career choice and pushed me toward my path of combining my love for storytelling and design, and ultimately to launch this magazine, my dream job and vocation. We are happy to announce we have added a managing editor, Erin Ratigan, to our team to help us continue to achieve this dream, and she’s doing incredible work. I am grateful for my amazing team that helps me achieve this dream daily.

With gratitude,


CONTRIBUTORS What is your therapy?

A m be r Ba i l ey I L LU ST R ATO R

Ve id a D ima WRITER

M a d elyn Ed wa rd s

Ja d e E merson





My therapy is reading! I lose myself in different worlds to heal. I’ve traveled the Scottish countryside, soared through the sky on a dragon, and witnessed a blinding love blossom.

My therapy is actually therapy! I found my amazing therapist in 2018, and I’m so grateful to have someone to listen to me and give me good advice.

I never underestimate the I have two. Photography power of staring at the and dancing. Both make me sky — to feel so big and so feel entirely in the present small, breathlessly, all at moment, forget the world once… And ice cream. Lots around me, and fill me with of ice cream. joy. I chose photography for my profession.

Co nny Go nza l ez

M y r iam G o n zalez

M a r issa Heyl

Kather ine Holma n

Angie Mar ti nez






My therapy is being able to spend time exploring my creative side whenever possible. I love practicing on my art with new mediums and taking film photos.

Depending on my stress level, I teeter between a good book, meditation, or a strong glass of whiskey.

I discover daily healing through body-positive affirmations, connecting with my partner according to our shared love language and a playful attitude towards intimacy.

Andrea Ordo nez

Diane Pereira aka Red Milk Crone

E r in Ratiga n

Amb er Shuma ke



Dance — when things get cerebral, I love taking the time to drop into my body and feel the music. Freely moving reminds me of both my strength and femininity.

Doodling while having the BBC series of “Pride and Prejudice” in the background.




My therapists are my friends and family. They’re much cheaper than a psychologist, and they’re always in-network.

Therapy is my therapy. And, I shoot film, which encourages me to take aimless walks and see the divinity in every living thing, including me.

Therapy is my therapy.

My therapy is retail therapy. Church every Sunday. I know it brings a temporary It’s a place to leave my happiness, but the joy I issues and reset. Somehow experience finding that the Word always aligns perfect pair of jeans or shade perfectly with what I’m of lipstick is unmatched. going through in that moment, and it’s healing.

Shilo Urban

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I dig in the dirt searching for treasures, looking for evidence of past generations. I research the history each bit and bobble holds, then take them and create little works of art.


One to Watch

Empowering Women One Story at a Time


38 Lauren Fairchild 40 DJ K-Sprinkles Profile

42 JPS Women

of Power Renovate Health Care in Fort Worth Poetry

46 Honeymoon

One to Know

28 DANIKA franks Metamorphosis

Photo by Amber Shumake


Nominations Know a local woman or girl who is making a name for herself in the community? Maybe she’s an artist on the

rise, perhaps she’s an entrepreneur with a passion for outreach, or maybe she’s making a difference in her community. We want to hear about her! Tell us about this interesting or inspirational woman in Fort Worth, and who knows – she may be our next cover woman.

SCAN THE QR CODE to fill out and submit our form.

ONETOKNOWMAGAZINE.COM @onetoknowmagazine.com







Empowering Women One Story at a Time


SPOTLIGHT 10 SONGWRITER The Sound of Sincerity


A New Life and Macramé


Rooted to the Earth

18 TRYING Critter Cuisine

A Storyteller’s Fresh Approach to Her Wine Bar and Bottle Shop

24 NUEVO RANCHO Stomping the Yard



66 LIFE COACH Taking Back Her Energy


Most Bizarre Beauty Treatments Ever


Body Positive

The Healthy Hour



What’s in a Name?


2 Letter 3 Contributors 8 Infographic 26 Craft 80 Brain Break

SCAN THE QR CODE at the end of the article for extra video or audio content.

Sitting in a Starbucks off Rosedale Avenue, Njia grins when Nina Simone’s voice croons from the speakers overhead. The timing feels almost eerie, for Njia had just mentioned Nina as one of her favorite artists. Nina, Billie Holiday and Joanna Newsom

exemplify what she tries to show in her own work – sincerity and rawness.

- The Sound of Sincerity, by Erin Ratigan, P 10

Each knot she tied became a new page in her story.

She was ready to build a new life, an authentic life where she was true to who she was — unmedicated. - A New Life and Macramé, by Jocelyn Tatum, P 12

Publisher & Owner Adrienne Martinez Editorial Inquiries editorial@onetoknowmagazine.com Advertising sales@onetoknowmagazine.com Design Adrienne Martinez, art director Editorial Jocelyn Foster Tatum, executive editor Erin Ratigan, managing editor Contributors Editorial Veida Dima, Madelyn Edwards, Jade Emerson, Myriam Gonzalez, Marissa Heyl, Katherine Holman, Angie Martinez, Andrea Ordonez, Shilo Urban Illustrators Amber Bailey, Conny Gonzalez, Diane Pereira aka Red Milk Crone Photography Amber Shumake, Azul Sordo, MARIAFLASH Have an idea or see a mistake? Tell us about it: editorial@onetoknowmagazine.com One To Know Magazine is a bimonthly, subscription-based publication. All rights reserved. Views and comments expressed by individuals do not necessarily represent those of the publishers, and no legal responsibility can be accepted for the result of the use by readers of information or advice of whatever kind given in this publication, either in editorial or advertisements. No part of this publication may be reprinted or duplicated without the prior permission of One To Know Magazine LLC. FOLLOW AND LIKE US

@onetoknowmagazine VISIT US ONLINE onetoknowmagazine.com

Cover art by Heather Essian Opposite page from left to right: Conny Gonzalez Illustration, Farida Degani Photo, Azul Sordo Photo

edible bug industry is projected to reach a market value of $1.5 billion by 2026. But despite all this promise, whenever I told my very supportive friends I’d be scarfing down scorpions and seasoned worms for you, dear reader, I was greeted with a whole lot of cringe. - Critter Cuisine, by Andrea Ordonez, P 18

Her feet slowly backed away from her husband as she danced. She reached for the ring on her left hand and began twisting it off her finger in a seductive fashion. The ring sparkled from the reflection of the candlelit dinner tables. Not one person in the restaurant could move their eyes from the spectacle in front of them or do anything to stop it. - Honeymoon, (A Short Story) by Katherine Holman, P 46

Beauty is power. We know it, just as women throughout history have known it. But in the absence of L’Oréal and laser hair removal, our predecessors had to be a little more creative. - Crazy Historical Beauty Treatments, by Shilo Urban, P 52

is no stranger to fat shaming, the trends toward body positivity in modern culture is liberating. This representation is As someone who has studied media and

incredibly important, transformative and relatively new, challenging a deeply ingrained history that has kept women paralyzed in selfloathing and shame for generations. - Body Positive: A Joyous Rebellion, by Marissa Heyl, P 62

OneToKnowMagazine.com | ISSUE 07

According to Global Market Insight, the



Hilarious Quotes by Womankind Laughter is the best medicine — and women make amazing doctors. By Shilo Urban

Get your giggle on with witty remarks, irreverent observations and clever musings from some of the funniest females around.

Relax, It’s Just a Joke


The best way

“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.”

to get most husbands to do


something is to suggest that perhaps they’re The secret of

too old to do it.”

staying young is


to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age. – LUCILLE BALL

“Get at least eight hours of beauty sleep, nine if you’re ugly.” – BETTY WHITE

“Everybody wants

to save the earth. No


one wants to help


mom do the dishes.”

~ P. J . O ’ R O U R K E

Do we have to worry

about who’s gay

“I’m not

and who’s straight?

offended by

Can’t we just love

blonde jokes

everybody and judge them by the car they

because I know


I’m not dumb…


and I also know that I’m not blonde.” – DOLLY PARTON


I ain’t afraid to love a man. I ain’t afraid to shoot him either.


“We need a little less forever 21 and a little more – AMY POEHLER


The trouble

I haven’t seen that before. It’s like, why don’t you mind your own business? Solve world hunger. Get

with some

out of my closet.

women is they get


When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out. – ERMA BOMBECK

all excited about

I don’t

nothing — and then they marry him. – CHER

exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put


diamonds on the floor.” – JOAN RIVERS


I want a man who’s kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?


Whatever “If you take a shower with your boyfriend, I guarantee by the time you step out of that shower, your breasts will be sparkling clean.” – SARAH SILVERMAN

women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.” – CHARLOTTE WHITTON

Always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: Who cares? – TINA FEY

9 OneToKnowMagazine.com | ISSUE 07

suddenly 42.”

Can you imagine a world without men? No crime and lots of happy, fat women.

He’s always “asking: Is that new?


The Sound of Sincerity Singing the Blues

Story and photos by Erin Ratigan

Clear, Bluesy and Captivating


Sitting in a Starbucks off Rosedale Avenue, Njia grins when Nina Simone’s voice croons from the speakers overhead. The timing feels almost eerie, for Njia had just mentioned Nina as one of her favorite artists. Nina, Billie Holiday and Joanna Newsom exemplify what she tries to show in her own work — sincerity and rawness. “It takes a certain vulnerability and emotion that you have to know how to emote … Studying those two women [Nina and Billie] in particular really taught me how to share my feelings and emotions on stage,” she says. Njia is a songwriter and vocalist for synth R&B band Cotinga, a collaboration with instrumentalist Landon Cabarubio. While they usually perform at local events like Arts Goggle, their biggest gigs include playing South by Southwest last year and NPR’s Sound on Tap live music series. Njia also sings independently and was a supporting vocalist in Leon Bridges’ song “River” on his debut album “Coming Home.” Even in the background, her voice is unmistakable — clear, bluesy and captivating.

She was 8 years old when she wrote her first song — and she cringes when she talks about it. “It was called ‘Do What the Donkey Says,’” she says, laughing at the memory. She met her Cotinga bandmate, Landon, in 2016 at a bar after a mutual friend introduced them. Landon had seen Njia singing on Instagram and knew he wanted to work with her. “Her style — she had this very interesting style that I’d never heard before,” he says. He asked her to play with him multiple times, and — eventually — she agreed. They released their debut single, “Where to Start,” in March 2022. “It’s really heart-felt,” he says of her music. “Whenever she comes to me with lyrics, it’s not just rhyming to rhyme. All of her stuff, you can picture it every time.” Njia’s friend Sophia Ceballos says she was blown away when she first heard Njia sing. That was in 2020, when Continga was still a work in progress. “I remember sitting in on a recording session while they were working on the track [“Where to Start”]. The song ended up being in my dream that night and was stuck in my head for a week,” she says. “She’s got such a hauntingly beautiful range and a soft power in her music.” Music gives Njia a creative way to express emotions she otherwise struggles to convey. She’s shy and reserved and says putting her words down on paper makes them easier to share. She hopes her words speak to her listeners. “We all have gone through various things in life that music speaks to,” she says, “and it’s something that I really, really try to do, is just relate to people.”

SCAN THE QR CODE to watch Nija performing for NPR Tiny Desk.

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She’s got such a hauntingly beautiful range and a soft power in her music.” - SOPHIA CEBALLOS


Her Form of Therapy


A New Life and Macramé By Jocelyn Tatum

Photos courtesy Kristen Richard

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ust as a virus was changing the world in January 2020, macramé artist Kristen Richard was undergoing her own transformation. She was in Mount Nebo, Arkansas, camping with two friends, hiking through waterfalls, cooking over a fire and breathing the freshest air she had ever experienced when she stopped her meds for the first time since she was 15. She felt so alive, so uninhibited. “There was this sense of freedom that I’ve never felt before,” she said. That was two years ago. She was 24 and had already tried to come out when she was 12 but says she was quickly shut down. When she was 15, she was loaded up on the highest doses of ADHD meds to control the rainbow of bold thoughts and feelings she experienced daily. When she was diagnosed, the doctors said she had the more impulsive side of the diagnosis than the attention deficit part. She would feel happy and controlled just moments after swallowing the tiny pill — the way she thought she was supposed to and the way society thought she was to be. But she noticed that it also made her feel completely different as if it was dimming her inner light. “I was just a bystander in my own life,” she says. “I was literally just waking up to get through the day.”

Experiencing such freedom in the Arkansas mountains inspired her to start again, tying her life back together one knot at a time. She developed feelings for one of the girls on that trip, and they are now in a relationship. That year, she came out by February, filed for divorce from her husband by March, finalized the divorce by May and quit her job as a receptionist by June. “The flood of emotions and basically all of the events that happened after getting off my medication, I definitely believe stemmed from finally being off of my medicine. I actually felt like I could feel all of my emotions a lot stronger once I got off of my medicine,” Kristen says. By July, macramé would become a grain of hope that would grow into the pearl her life is now. In the midst of all this change, she found a new constant.


Her Form of Therapy


Kristen had seen a piece of macramé over a video conference when working virtually as a front desk receptionist. She was inexplicably drawn to it and began to teach herself through books and YouTube. She dove all the way in. “Here I am the good little wife who all of a sudden gets off her meds, ... quits her job and says, ‘Hey, I’m going to put my whole financial security into a career doing a craft I just learned on YouTube.’ I mean, it sounds nuts,” she says. She doesn’t have words for what pulled her toward the craft except that it was beautiful to her. What keeps her going is her love for what she creates and how much the process calms her. When she no longer had a pill to calm and neatly organize her thoughts and feelings as if her mind was a Container Store catalog, macramé gave her a quiet space to teach her brain to focus. “I am a very emotional being. I feel a lot, I think a lot. There is, at all times, a conversation going on upstairs for me, and especially during that time when I’m processing the guilt of leaving my marriage, the confusions of my sexuality, the uncertainty of — for the first time in my life — being financially responsible for myself,” she says. There was so much to unpack at times, so she would sit by herself in a quiet place and tie knots for hours — her form of therapy. “Every piece I would make, there was a behind-the-scenes battle that was taking place in my head as I figured out where I wanted this strand to hang or how I wanted to connect that section to the next,” Kristen says. Each knot she tied became a new page in her story. She was ready to build a new life, an authentic life where she was true to who she was — unmedicated. “Being able to be behind-the-scenes, watching her inspiration process, watch it move her, change her and transform her into one of the most fascinating humans I’ve ever met,” her girlfriend Erica Williams says.

​Top: This 200+ sq. ft residential macrame installation piece was commissioned by and installed in Fort Worth entrepeneurs Katherine and Jonathan Morris’ home.

I guess I see doorway I stepped through when I decided to be this different person.” - KRISTEN RICHARD


Instagram @kristenanne_ Website: kristenannefibers.com *She takes commissions. Left: “This season has been a constant exploration of who this version of me is willing to become. If I’ve ever felt the literal sense of adulting, it has been this period of challenges that have forced me to dig, not just into who I am, but also why, allowing me to move forward to the unlived places waiting for me.”

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macramé as that

All of her new thoughts and feelings are shared along with her creations on Instagram, and she says macramé has given her the confidence to be vulnerable and honest about what she now feels. “I was sharing some of the most intimate details about myself, and I really allowed my work to not just tap into this vulnerable place, but then to essentially broadcast it. I had never done that, so I guess I see macramé as that doorway I stepped through when I decided to be this different person,” she says. In a recent Instagram post, she shared that this new line of work is so much more than just the exchange of goods and services for her. “It is the belief that another human has in your abilities that sometimes you don’t even fully believe in, that steps you outside of your comfort zone,” she writes. From this place she begins to create and exist on a deeper level. She is now “on fire for her life,” she says emphatically in her East Texas drawl with a smile sweeter than sweet tea. “I deserve to live and to be happy,” she says. Through her work and her voice on social media, she wants everyone to know they deserve a life this beautiful too.


Rooted to the Earth A Fort Worth sustainability writer shares her favorite sustainability resources. By Erin Ratigan Illustration by Conny Gonzalez

Impact for Future Generations



hen life hands Erika Pitstick lemons, she saves the seeds. Growing up in El Salvador, she remembers picking lemons from her family’s trees to make lemonade. She says those early years taught her to value fresh produce and to not waste resources. Erika explores this philosophy in her book, Taking Roots at Home, wherein she shares recipes, tips and eco-friendly practices like upcycling (reusing items one would otherwise throw out). Her focus is on zerowaste living, which seeks to minimize the amount of trash one produces on a daily basis. “It’s a lifestyle that aims to reduce not just waste for the environment, but to also live more intentionally and frugally by adopting ways to reuse things,” she says. Household waste levels have increased over the last few years (even before the pandemic), with Americans producing 292.4 million tons each year according to 2018 Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Between 30%-40% of the food supply in America is discarded, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Erika says going green is a way to care for others while protecting the planet. “Yes, we want to create less waste and toxicity in our air, water and environment, but it’s also about thinking about the impact for future generations,” she says.


Fort Worth Botanic Garden Compost Outpost

Home to the River Legacy Foundation, the center offers composting classes and environmental education classes for children.

This self-guided display space shows visitors how composting works and what materials to use. The garden also offers composting classes.

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@sustainable_valerie on Instagram

This online retailer features personal care products, home goods and reusable kitchen sets. Erika recommends its Instagram page, @brightly.eco, which posts tips for minimizing waste and reducing energy and water consumption.

Environmental awareness never looked this aesthetically pleasing. This account features posts about reusable products, thrifting tips, recipes and more.


Sustainable and Cost-Effective


Critter Cuisine


By Andrea Ordonez

hey’re creepy, crawly, and … way healthier than a steak. Within the last decade, insect protein has slowly emerged in the food world as a more sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional sources of meat. In fact, according to Global Market Insight, the edible bug industry is projected to reach a market value of $1.5 billion by 2026. But despite all this promise, whenever I told my very supportive friends, I’d be scarfing down scorpions and seasoned worms for you, dear reader, I was greeted with a whole lot of cringe. While indulging on a plate of crickets seems more bro-y or Bear Grylls, women have actually done a lot to push the edible insects industry forward, says Simone Traverse, sales and marketing operations manager at Aspire Food Group, a business-to-business ingredient company focused on processing crickets for products suited for pets and people.

“Women have always played a role in insect agriculture, be it by gathering insects directly from the wild as is still done in many parts of the world or in innovating the next tech that will allow for optimal indoor insect growth and rearing,” Simone says. “While in the past, women’s roles may have limited them to making nutritious meals for the family, now you can find us in the boardroom, C-suite and frontlines of this rapidly developing field.” Compared to beef, pork, and even poultry, bugs possess higher percentages of vitamins and minerals and a significantly smaller environmental footprint. For those all about saving the planet but they just can’t get over the “yuck” factor of eating a crawler, industry experts say to start by throwing bug protein into things you already enjoy.

“A lot of it has to do with how you present it to people,” says Matt Beck, CEO of Hoppy Planet Foods. “The first product we ever launched was our Chocolate Chirp Cookies… If we’re gonna take a novel or different ingredient that people aren’t used to eating, that we know we can put it into something and it’ll taste delicious, what should we do? And we said, well, what’s the most common denominator? Well, a freakin’ chocolate chip cookie…” We at One To Know actually tried those freakin’ chocolate chip cookies from Hoppy Planet Foods. And while I surprisingly preferred the seasoned worms that tasted like cheese puffs, be sure to check out on TikTok what others on the team thought of this introductory product to bug protein. While these cookies and other bug proteinbased products are mainly found online, there are a few places in the area that offer chapulines (aka grasshoppers) as an add-on. The most prominent in Fort Worth is Tex-Mex hot spot Don Artemio, where you can add chapulines, that’s Spanish for grasshoppers, to an already protein-packed guac.

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SCAN THE QR CODE to watch OTK magazine contributors, friends and family eat some yummy critters.


A Storyteller’s Wine Bar One Local’s Fresh Approach By Jocelyn Tatum

The Stories Behind the Bottle


Photos by Connor Fields


publisher, a managing editor and an executive editor walk into a local wine bar. One likes white wine, one likes red wine, and one doesn’t imbibe. The Holly Natural Wine Bar’s manager, Daniela Arboleda, says no problem, she has something to offer everyone and even a story to go with each glass. Daniela first asks if we have been there before. Some of us haven’t, so she shares The Holly’s fresh approach to experiencing wine. First, they sell and pour wines that were made the way wine was thousands of years ago — all organic, small batch, no additives or preservatives, crushed by human hands and feet.

If you can’t travel, you can travel through a bottle of wine.” — LIZ MEARS

She points to the flight of red wine on the table to try. This one is Martha. This one is Gaby. These are nicknames Daniela has come up with for the wines based on the name either on the bottle or from the maker, like female winemaker Martha Stoumen or a merlot from the Chateaux Gaby in France. This type of wine makes up only 5%-10% of the wine market in the world. The result is less predictable than over-commercialized wines, and they don’t necessarily taste better than the homogenous wines we are used to drinking. These are often manipulated with chemicals to keep the flavor predictable and consistent, which is safe for the expecting palate and disillusioned human need to control all external variables. So, what’s the appeal? Founder and owner Liz Mears says it’s not for everyone, but for those who want to change things up or be surprised, there’s nothing boring about the wine experience she offers. “It’s like if you like to shop at a farmers market, farm-to-table experience; it’s wine with people behind it and not machines, corporations and investors,” she says.

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The Stories Behind the Bottle


SCAN THE QR CODE to hear The Holly owner Liz Mears take you on a journey creating small batch wines in San Luis Obispo Coast of California.

ascribe to. I spent so much time hearing that from wine makers that I was inspired, and it helped me in my journey,” Liz says. Around these stories, scenes unfold at her wine bar. Community leaders, local influencers and creatives gather around the small tables. Some meet for the first time over a glass of orange wine, which Liz educates her guests is a white grape processed as a red wine would be. Huge windows, white walls, cool concrete floors and even cooler conversations keep the inside naturally lit. “It is not just drinking for drinking sake but drinking for community. It brings all sorts of discussions to the table. Wine is a nice and easy way to have that discussion,” Liz says.

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They change the tasting menu every day. And even if a patron didn’t love the wine that day, they had a new experience and heard a new story, maybe one that they connected with. The story. It’s the stories behind the wines, the farmer and the families, the legacies, the toil, the overcoming, the resolve, the return to nature, from all over the world, bottled up and poured into a glass that drew Liz into this line of work in the first place. She connected with the stories of winemakers who left the predictable and corporate life they had before, changed their career paths and went back to the land. “It is never too late to change your life and follow your passion. That is a motto I ascribe to, and these winemakers

A LITTLE ABOUT NATURAL WINES, ACCORDING TO LIZ MEARS: Natural wines have native yeasts that are going to show different flavors, acidity and textures depending on mother nature that year — hot, cold or a rainy year. Conventional yeasts or additions of tartaric acids or tannins in conventional wines can be added to “correct” for these types of vintage conditions to maintain an established flavor profile [consistency]. Natural Wines and the philosophy of its makers is wine as an agricultural product showing the terroir, which is the complete and natural environment the wine is produced in, rather than a standardized alcoholic beverage. And of course, that philosophy goes back to farming. You can’t make a beautiful natural wine unless you are treating your soils with respect and promoting polyculture and organics that in turn allow for strong microbiology, bacteria and yeast populations that lead to spontaneous, healthy fermentations and eventually a lovely, wide range of flavor profiles.

Photo of Liz Mears courtesy of Kimberly Robles


Not Afraid to Be Different


Stomping the Yard

How a scripture-stamped boot company is bringing bold, Western flair to the Stockyards By Myriam Gonzalez

ooted in faith and bursting onto the Fort Worth Stockyards scene in 2019, Nuevo Rancho brings a mix of brightly colored designs that range from its signature insole cushioned boots to hats and apparel — a complete head-to-toe look, as owner Teresa Morales describes. After years of wearing uncomfortable boots, Teresa and her daughter, co-owner and creative director Koko Gonzalez, began discussing the creation of a fashionable boot that people can wear “without the achy feet,” Koko says. In 2014, Nuevo Rancho launched online, selling Western boots, handmade in Mexico and stamped with a scripture from Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” a phrase that Teresa says deeply resonates. “We don’t know what’s ahead of us, but the thought that God has a plan for all of us — I thought that was the perfect scripture,” Teresa says.

After all, the world is your runway — might as well wear cute cowboy boots.” After a few years of strong internet sales and a growing customer base, Teresa and her family decided to open their storefront in the heart of Fort Worth. “I love how the Stockyards stay as true as possible to how it was in the old cowboy days,” Koko says. As creative director, Koko says she finds her inspiration in day-to-day activities and incorporates them into the design of each boot. “Our boots are for those who want to stand out from the crowd and who are not afraid to be different and be seen. After all, the world is your runway — might as well wear cute cowboy boots,” she says.

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Photos courtesy Jena G Photography

[C RA F T] A C R Y L I C

Transformation By Jocelyn Tatum Illustration and photos by Heather Essian

Acrylic on Canvas


Using acrylic paint on raw canvas, cover artist Heather Essian chose a butterfly because it is the symbol of transformation. Of change. Reading Danika Franks’ story by writer Shilo Urban reminded Heather that we are always undergoing our own metamorphosis. “A butterfly comes to mind, the way it evolves and the time that it takes to get to its ultimate place of beauty and everything it represents,” Heather says. “The cover will be just half of the butterfly because she’s kind of in that waiting, not knowing what is next for her.”

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The process The art was still evolving when I first spoke to Heather for this little story on the making of our cover. “She’s a work in progress, I’m a work in progress, the art is a work in progress for the cover story. We are all in progress right now,” she says. Heather says staying in her usual creative lane, which is abstract painting, would be too safe and wanted to challenge herself. Heather does not draw or paint still life, but she depicts this image in a way that was not abstract yet true to her style. For this reason, she says it is the most challenging piece of art she has completed in her career. Heather was a full-time professional photographer before she slowed down to start a family more than 10 years ago. At that time, she changed to other creative outlets like painting and says for the first time in her creative career, the process of creating this cover merged her former life as a photographer (using Photoshop), her current life as an abstract artist, and where she is taking her art — cutting up her work and reassembling it onto canvas for intrigue, which is depicted in this butterfly. Like Danika, she challenges herself to grow but brings her life experience with her.

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Backstory Danika’s and Heather’s husbands knew each other through their work with Texas Christian University and had been out to dinner with each other several times. While they admired each other, Heather never knew the depth and power of Danika’s journey until she read the cover article. “I do relate a lot to her story, just the evolution of her interests and her profession,” Heather says. Like so many women struggling with balancing careers and being mothers present for their children, Heather related to that a lot as a former professional photographer who worked nights and weekends. Like Danika, she is always transforming, seeing balance and surrendering to the challenges in her work that inspire growth. “Just the tension of being a woman who is creative, who’s driven, who wants to do her own thing and explore what she is capable of, but who also wants to be present for her family,” she says.

Each issue we ask a local artist to design our cover, and we write about what inspired her design here in the Craft section of OTK Magazine. If you are interested in designing one of our covers, email art@onetoknowmagazine.com.

Heather’s artistic style is more abstract and comprised of muted, neutral tones and impressionistic landscapes as seen in this image she provided for this article.

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Empowering Women One Story at a Time



T H E M E TA M O R P H O S I S O F A M O DE R N R E N A I S S A N C E WO M A N By Shilo Urban Photos by Amber Shumake

Doctor. Dean. Mother of three. Superwoman Danika Franks had it all: the prestigious title, a vibrant career and rewarding work as a mentor to young minds — and then she walked away. Facing an uncertain future, she stepped off her hard-earned path to search for an unknown destination. Along the way, she is finding her truth.

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“I am making one of the most courageous jumps that I may well ever do in my life,” says Danika, the former Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Texas Christian University School of Medicine and emergency medical physician at Texas Health Resources. A modern Renaissance woman who is continually learning, her interests go far beyond medicine to encompass culture and community, design and the arts, writing and sports. Danika’s leap of faith began many years ago as a smart and feisty little girl grew into a first-generation college student and set her sights on medical school. She was soon drawn to the diverse, dynamic nature of the emergency room. Emergency medical physicians encounter every type of patient imaginable, which requires broad-based knowledge and skills. “You know how to handle the first 15 minutes of every emergency,” explains Danika. Many see the ER doctor as a “jack of all trades but a master of none,” an idea that she has both bristled at and connected with. “I am a lot of things, and I like doing a lot of things. I don’t want to be pinned down.” The grueling experience of becoming an emergency physician would transform Danika’s identity in more ways than one. “For most of my life, I identified as biracial,” she says. Her mother is a white woman from small-town South Dakota, and her father is a Black man who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s. Danika’s sense of self began to shift in her mid-20s as she progressed through medical school and residency. “That’s when I started identifying more as a Black woman. Part of the reason for that was, I realized that the world saw me as a Black woman; they did not see me as a mixed-race woman. Not that it was the chief factor. I was living my life as a Black woman.” Danika added a new layer to her identity when she married and gave birth to a son, Eli. “One day probably a little bit before he turned one, I just remember looking at him and saying: ‘Oh, my God, I am raising a Black man.’ At that moment, it hit me all at once. Suddenly I could jump into an awareness of what it might be like to walk on this earth as a Black man, because now through empathy I am looking at this through the eyes of my child.” And then came a daughter, Eden. “Birthing a girl into this world made me look at my own womanhood in a way that I had not before — and I wasn’t quite okay with that,” she admits. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put the lens up to myself and evaluate what it takes to raise a woman, a Black woman, to make sure that she feels her strength and knows her worth … I remember being completely mind-blown.”

1975, Danika’s father, James M. Taylor Jr., and her mother Sandee L. Taylor in San Antonio, TX. Photo courtesty Danika Franks

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When her second daughter, Elle, arrived, Danika had been practicing as an emergency room physician for half a decade, saving lives daily. Despite the diversity of her work, it didn’t allow her to express her whole self. It didn’t even come close. “I just kept having more and more things I was interested in,” she says, like the importance of design in health care. “I see through the lens of art and design and community and compassion.” Her broad perspective wasn’t always appreciated within the medical culture, making it difficult for Danika to fit in. “So, I would hide it and not let people know that I was all of these things.” When offered the position of Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at TCU School of Medicine in 2017, she leapt at the opportunity and joined her husband, Chauncey, (chaplain of the TCU football team) on staff. “I remember thinking: This is it. This is the thing that combines all my loves. I can be innovative, I’m at a brand-new medical school, we can do this in a way that is entirely different from the way doctors have been trained for decades … I can be creative, I can be a designer, I can help to cultivate minds and presences. This is the thing,” she says, “and for many years it was.” But as the seasons passed, Danika became increasingly aware of an imbalance in her life. “With 120, 180, 240 students that were my responsibility, and that I also had to answer to … it did not give me the capacity to be present with my children and my husband. I was operating out of ‘this much’ margin and trying to give them the best of me, but in reality, everyone else was getting the best of me. There were many times my children would come to me and want to have a moment, and I would say, ‘Okay, just hold on a second.’ Or ‘No, I can’t.’ Or I would try to be there with them, but my mind was elsewhere. I just wasn’t present.” And her children (now ages 12, 11 and 7) needed her more than ever. “I thought parenting was going to be the hardest when they were babies — getting them to sleep and napping and all of that,” she says. “But it turns out now is the hardest. What you do when they are pre-teens is going to amount to so much in terms of who they become as people. Parenting is way more vital; they need mom more now. They need the ‘me’ that will sit and process with them.” Someone else needed Danika’s love and care, too. She did. The depression and extreme anxiety she had experienced most of her life finally caught up with her. Long adept at hiding her struggles, especially from herself, she had never taken the time to deal with her slowly deteriorating mental health and the internal chaos it caused. “Because there was always something more important. Medical school was more important. Residency was more important. Birthing my children was more important.” Physicians wrestle with mental health at an incredibly high level, she says. “It’s hard work, and it’s high stakes. I learned to not attend to my needs and who I was as a person because what I was doing was so incredibly important.”

Top: 1987, Danika and her father at his promotion ceremony for USAF Tech Sergeant in Wiesbaden, Germany. Bottom: 1982, Danika and her mother in Albuquerque, NM when her father was deployed to Incirlik, Turkey. Photos courtesty Danika Franks

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It all came to a head for Danika as life flaunted its uncanny penchant for pouring down multiple challenges at once. “I was struggling. I was trying to do so many things, but I felt like I was doing nothing well. I finally was just like: What’s the point of all this? The pressure of trying to do everything was too much for me, and I was questioning my entire existence as a result. “I needed to make a big change,” she says. “It was either that, or I wasn’t going to be here.” She took a long, honest look at her career, her family life and herself — an experience she calls a reckoning. “It came with a pretty hard fall.” In order to move forward, Danika would have to be still. She needed to learn a new skill never tested in medical school: self-care. “Self-care is not a word that a child of the ’80s used,” she laughs. “You just deal with your problems. You don’t ask for help, and you certainly don’t go and get fancy help from therapists. This is all new to me.” Now working with a therapist and physician, her self-care practice includes journaling and a “significant” amount of time alone. “Being able to be in touch with your humanity, having clarity of mind, the ability to sit and be present … it’s a privilege to have that. Not every woman gets that.” Danika was finally giving herself the time that she never had before, a necessity to face the difficult decisions ahead: How do you find balance when the ground keeps moving beneath your feet? How do you prioritize when there are so many valuable things competing for your attention? “Being able to identify with your human limits is something that I think you really have to grapple with on this side of life,” she says. “You have to take the time to figure out why these things are so important to you and rank them more carefully and more seriously.” For Danika, this meant stepping down from her position at TCU and trusting herself to create a new path. She’s starting to embrace the contradictions and multitudes she contains, being a jill of all trades in a world that increasingly values specialization. “I’m learning to love that part of me. I have not always loved it. I’ve been frustrated many times because I wish that I could just be the quintessential physician or that I could just be an artist and dive deeply into those things.” Danika’s growing self-acceptance has given her the freedom to make a bold decision: “I’m going to be all of it,” she says. “I don’t know what it’s going to look like yet, but I am all of these things. And I’m going to find a way to live that out.”

Above: 1988, Visiting Danika’s cousins Ryan and Joni along with Danika’s baby sister Desire’ during their short trip back to the U.S. Right: 1988, Headed to the airport to take a flight back to the U.S. for a family funeral. Photos courtesty Danika Franks

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Health-enhancing environments, community building, philanthropy … it’s all on the table for Danika. “I want to give myself over to something that is really convoluted and a little chaotic,” she says, beginning with her long-standing desire to write a memoir. She’s three chapters in. She has also founded Community Flourish, LLC, which will partner with health care providers to design spaces that promote mental and physical well-being. And then there’s the tennis court. When Danika’s family moved into a house near TCU in 2020, the backyard was “a complete jungle.” After clearing away the overgrowth, they were surprised to discover a 6,000-square-foot tennis court. “We birthed the idea of having a nonprofit that will work with small groups of young people on our campus here, but its real roots will be reaching out into the city where they live and increasing their access to tennis in their neighborhoods.” Called The Court, the freshly launched organization will also be a place for college students. “It’s a multi-tiered effort,” she explains. “We wanted to create a space where they can come over in a bigger group and hang out, where they could have a good time on the court and have access to family while they’re away from their own.” Beyond the bouncing tennis balls, The Court will also be building a true community, something that has always been close to Danika’s heart. “When I look at the body of my work and even who I was as a child, the importance of community and being connected is what emerged. What I want to do from this point moving forward has everything to do with communities and strengthening them. That’s what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.” Danika has stepped out of the shadows to walk into her truth with intention and clarity, destination unknown. Her journey through the darkness has brought to light her greatest strength of all, which lies not in her many talents and achievements — but in her ability to inspire others with her openness and vulnerability. She has been publicly processing her raw emotions in online posts and videos, sharing her fears, her self-doubt and her grief over letting go. “It’s scary for me,” she admits. “The idea of having it all together and always seeming like you’re excellent at what you do … that’s something I have quietly coveted for a long time.” But now she’s revealing her reality: “I don’t have it all together,” she says, and the truth has set her free. “I’m hoping as it’s freeing me up, it will also free some other people up.” By accepting her shifting path and the beautiful complexity of her existence, Danika empowers us to do the same. She isn’t a fearless superwoman after all; she’s a real person swimming through the same sea of uncertainty and unexpected challenges we all are — yet she keeps moving forward. Resilience. “I’ve made some bold choices in the last few months, and I’m not sure where this is going to land,” says Danika. “But I’m learning as I go.”

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Nothing She Can’t Do



W A T C H ]

LAUREN Fairchild

By Jocelyn Tatum

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DREAMS and want to be INDEPENDENT I want to follow my

and do stuff on my own.” - LAUREN FAIRCHILD

Lauren started therapy at a speech and hearing clinic at the University of North Texas when she was 8 years old. This empowered her to learn how to read and write, something her grandmother says is a challenging skill for those with Down syndrome (DS) but one that was important to Lauren. She is determined to be a public speaker advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and to let people know that having IDD doesn’t make them less human, and not only that, but to have big plans and dreams no matter what. She works to develop speech and language where anyone could understand her, not just people with DS. Her ability to communicate to large groups was the most important goal to her, so she picked up speaking skills everywhere she would go, learning eye contact, facial expressions and hand movements, her grandmother and guardian, Cleta Fairchild, says.


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Lauren started putting those public speaking skills to work when she would visit Cook Children’s Medical Center to talk to new parents of children with DS. This was a gig with the Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas (DSPNT), where she also works as a self-advocate board member mentoring the younger members and teens with DS. Now, the nonprofit’s director Kim Rocha employs Lauren almost exclusively for public speaking. “And she loves it; she loves being on stage,” Cleta says. In high school, Lauren used to lip-synch Whitney Houston songs and select her teacher’s aides to be her backup singers, but as they approached the front of the stage when it was their turn to back up her vocals, she would “shoo” them back so as not to steal her light. It made everyone smile. Lauren recently finished a college program for adults with IDD at Texas A&M University. The students needed a 70 to get the certification. She worked hard — days, nights and weekends — earning an 86. There were times she didn’t think she was cut out for such an academically challenging program. But her grandmother hired a tutor, and Lauren never gave up. Because hospitals tend to see hiring adults with IDD as an insurance liability, it is difficult for Lauren to find work, but she loves staying busy and helping others. “I am very passionate on working with my family and my friends at Down syndrome events. It makes me happy,” she says. She is now going to the Tarrant County College STEPS program where she is getting her basics. She has always been an excellent swimmer, and she says kickboxing keeps her active. “I am not a spiritual person at all; I don’t even go to church, but I do believe God had a plan for her,” Cleta says.

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At first, the 24-year-old brunette in a maroon, lace summer dress seems reserved as she walks into the conference room. She speaks in a soft and thoughtful voice, taking her time with her words. But what Lauren Fairchild has to say is big, and she wants to make sure it is loud and clear — she has Down syndrome, and there is nothing she can’t do. “I want to follow my dreams and want to be independent and do stuff on my own,” she says. Lauren strives to learn how she can be as independent as possible. She loves it when her grandmother drops her off at social events and doesn’t come in with her.


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‘Anything Is Possible’ DJ K-Sprinkles follows her dreams to rock the world By Madelyn Edwards

Underestimated Turntablist


Photo courtesy Eye Catching Media

Kaitlyn Reyes is sometimes underestimated. The 17-year-old turntablist, better known as DJ K-Sprinkles, says because of her young age, sometimes people will hesitate to take her seriously or book her for gigs. This is a challenge that Kaitlyn brushes off her shoulders. She knows what she’s capable of, and while she doesn’t expect everyone to see her the way she hopes they would, she strives to earn acknowledgement. “I would like to say my resume speaks for itself,” Kaitlyn says. “I know I’ve done a bunch of things to earn where I am at now.” And she certainly has. Not all teenagers can say that they perform at gigs every weekend or have deejayed at the National Association of Music Merchants show. Nor can many say they have 34.7 K followers on Instagram. Kaitlyn, a Dallas resident, started deejaying at 11 years old and learned from her father, a longtime DJ. She described her whole family as having a love for music. “Music is our thing,” she says. “Can’t live without it.” Kaitlyn aims to use music at her gigs to create a joyful experience, and she says she loves to see people dancing and having a good time. “I’m glad I can bring them that happiness,” she says. Preparing for live shows includes Kaitlyn putting herself in a positive and confident mindset. In the beginning, she said she experienced heavy stage fright and has since learned to break through the fear and nervousness. Kaitlyn’s favorite part of being a turntablist is performing for children and getting to see them be happy during her shows. Kids line up to give her a hug when the performance is over. And despite her successes at such a young age, Kaitlyn stays humble. She’s thankful for her supporters and wants to continue improving her craft. She also has a goal to travel with her DJ skills, specifically around Asia, being a fan of K-pop and BTS. Kaitlyn hopes to inspire those around her, too. “I hope to have, of course, a positive impact and just to try and show people anything is possible, just achieve your dreams,” she says. “You can do it.”

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JPS Women of Power Renovate Health Care in Fort Worth The women of JPS improve the medical game for their patients and the community after the challenges of COVID-19. By Veida Dima

Leading Women at JPS Health Network



Inspiration can come from anywhere, but these five execs are just a few of many leading women at JPS Health Network in Fort Worth who have found strength within each other. These strong, determined female leaders, who strive to better the community through diversity training, improve outreach programs, and overcome the trying pandemic, are navigating a new world of health care.

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Dr. Tricia Elliott Senior Vice President, Academic and Research Affairs

Zelia Baugh Executive Vice President, Behavioral Health

Zelia is proud of how strong her behavioral health team is and how well they work together. “When we set goals, we always have Plans A, B, C, D, and E. So, if this happens, we do this. If that happens, we do that. We’re able to achieve our goals and be successful because my team is part of the larger team here. Our success is JPS’s success,” she says. Zelia’s team — being the leaders of mental health of the JPS patients and communities surrounding the hospital — not only kept outpatient mental health clinics functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also increased the number of patients seen at the clinics. “My leadership team here, our executive leadership at the main hospital, our doctors and providers, we were all in the trenches together. I mean, it was scary, but it was beautiful,” she says. Zelia and the behavioral health team at JPS plan to make two improvements to the mental health community of Fort Worth: opening a new psychiatric emergency center that is easily accessible to patients in need and a new all-encompassed medical center specifically for patients suffering from mental health ailments.

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Within her leadership role at JPS, Tricia strives to validate and affirm the needs of her team, believing that people just want to be heard. She likes to think of her team as a network of family, working together for a common goal. “I think that there’s so much we want to do,” she says. “You want to do all these things, and then realizing, yes, we can. You can have it all but not all at once. So just pace yourself.” One of many things Tricia and her team are trying to achieve is encouraging medical students and residents to take charge of the improvement of health care in the community through focusing on diversity and leadership training. “I want them to be change agents in their communities,” she says as she talks about the importance of expanding training for future medical members.

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Jill Farrell Senior Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer

Leading Women at JPS Health Network


Jill proudly represents thousands of nurses across the JPS network as the Chief Nursing Officer. She praises her nurses as she recognizes their importance within the medical community in Fort Worth: “I’m very proud of the high quality and the patient centric care that we provide our patients. Our employees and our nurses have such pride in the work that they do for the population, the community that we serve. Really, they’re the ones who inspire me.” One thing Jill and the nurses at JPS have overcome is the impact of COVID-19 in the medical community. “The pandemic has created a lot of disruption in many ways, including our workforce. Things are different, and I think we all realize and understand it’ll never be pre-COVID times again… We’re having to adjust with this new kind of landscape and this new normal,” she says. But the hurdles and changes were inevitable, considering that growth is never stagnant. Jill is reminded that “there are new technologies, there are new opportunities, there is new research, there are new things on the horizon that we learn from, and we constantly change.”

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Daphne Walker Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Counsel

Dr. Karen Duncan President and CEO

Being the first appointed woman president and CEO of JPS, Karen’s first two years in the role were controlled by the life-changing COVID-19 virus and the impact the pandemic on the medical industry. It’s her obligation to navigate JPS into the new world of health care which best suits the patients. Some challenges that Karen and the other executives at JPS are still overcoming include the skills of the new health care worker, convenient telehealth capabilities and at-home patient monitoring. “The challenge would be for us to be able to… figure out how do we continue to be responsive to [the] quick kind of changes for health care,” she says. “I think that a lot of that’s going to be challenging overall for health care but even in the position that I have [at JPS].” Karen is proud of her team members and their accomplishments as they acclimate to the new world of health care. She enjoys lifting them up and embracing their growth. “I just love being surrounded by bright individuals who are excited about what they do,” she says.

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Using her nursing background and desire to support those in the medical field, Daphne continued her education and became a lawyer. Now she is the first person to hold the new in-house position of chief legal counsel at JPS and leads a growing legal team advocating for its employees. Attesting to the repeated remarks about the close-knit staff at JPS, Daphne also acknowledges the extraordinary care the employees offer patients. “The other day I was downstairs, and there was a gentleman who appeared to be blind,” she recalls. “There were at least three people who, as soon as they could see that he was trying to get [somewhere], they were jumping in to help him immediately.” Daphne finds value behind admitting vulnerabilities to disarm the pressure to be perfect. “Recognize that anybody can make a mistake,” she says. “People will listen to you, and they’ll trust you more if they see you are a person who isn’t always right all the time. Be vulnerable.”

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Fiction Contest Winner


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HONEYMOON By Katherine Holman

Illustrations by Diane Pereira aka Red Milk Crone

The couple decided that Tuscany in June would make the perfect honeymoon destination. Italian Cypress trees and antique villas sprinkled the sprawling hills of the countryside. From the side of the road, vineyards seduced travelers to come and delight in selections of wine. A blacked-out Maserati wove past the miles of grapevines. From the backseat, a man and woman admired the landscape. Each wore shiny, new platinum rings on their left hands, hers adorned with a diamond the size of an almond

that reflected the light when it moved. They were similarly clad in white linens that had been pressed that morning. The car turned onto a road that led straight to the couple’s destination. The Villa San Michele began to emerge from the greenery as the vehicle climbed the hill. “It’s so beautiful,” the woman gasped. “It doesn’t look real.” Peering over her large black sunglasses, her eyes widened as the car parked in front of the hotel.

“Looks like the picture, that’s for sure,” the man held his phone in front of his face, double-checking the accuracy of the hotel website’s images. He waited for the driver to open the car door so he could step out. The newlyweds stood looking up at the villa, the Mrs. twisting her ring. The man towered over her; there must have been 6 inches of difference in height between the two. His salt-and-pepper hair was impeccably groomed and connected to a slight beard. The woman standing next to him

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contrasted him in almost every way: young, dark-skinned, and demure. She turned around to admire the view. Her eyes couldn’t locate the road they had been driving on, only the mirage of the vineyards that blended together to emulate a painting. The Mrs. had barely gotten her bearings when a bellhop dressed in a double-breasted red jacket escorted them to their suite. Her husband strolled into the room to evaluate the place while she reached into her purse to tip the man.

“Grazie mille,” she thanked him and closed the door after him. She stepped into the bathroom to fix her hair. It fell right above her collarbones that jutted out like blunt knives. She saw in the mirror a baby face carved out with deliberate makeup application to disguise her true age. Her small frame appeared even smaller in the reflection. She took her upper arm in one hand and pinched her flesh, frowning at the amount of fat she grabbed. “Lizzie!” her husband called from the patio.

Rebecca Balcarcel is the award-winning author of THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY. Her new release is SHINE ON, LUZ VÉLIZ! which stars a bi-cultural girl who gets into computer coding and robotics and must save the day with her computer skills when her just-arrived Guatemalan half-sister goes missing. Rebecca serves students as Associate Professor of English at Tarrant County College. About judging, she says, “It takes bravery for writers to share their work, so reading these entries was a real honor. Our community is jampacked with creativity!” She was the judge of our first short story contest and selected Honeymoon, by Katherine Holeman, as the winner.

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Fiction Contest Winner


She jumped at his voice and shuffled to join him. “Yes, dear?” “Why don’t you call for a dinner reservation. And, uh, put on something decent.” He glanced at her up and down. In his mouth was a cigar from a box in the room he had arranged to be placed upon arrival. “Oh — this isn’t decent enough for you?” she joked, looking down at her tailored linen dress. “Not for dinner, no.” She paused. “I thought this would change things,” she gestured with her wedding ring. “I guess a rock is a rock, nothing more.” “What made you think things would change?” He took the cigar from his mouth.

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“I don’t know. I want us to be okay.” “We are,” he took a drag. “Now call for dinner and get dressed so I don’t have to say it 50 more times.” “Tell me you love me.” “You’re ridiculous.” “Just say it, please.” She wrung her hands. “I love you, and I would love you even more if you went back inside.” Lizzie did as she was told, dipping back obediently into the suite to dial the lobby and arrange for dinner. The couple arrived at the hotel restaurant at peak hour. Every table but one was occupied, and the ambiance was nothing short of romantic, thanks to a small Italian man playing

mandolin. Heads turned as the two followed the maître d’ to the table marked riservato in the corner. Almost in unison, the female patrons stared at her while their male counterparts tilted their heads at the couple. Lizzie wore a crimson red dress that dusted the floor when she walked. Her husband plopped down in his chair across from her, unbuttoning his dinner jacket to let his gut hang over his belt. “It’s so beautiful,” was all she could think to say as she gazed at the sunset. “Let’s hope I’m not just paying for the view,” he huffed. “I heard the food here is hit or miss.”

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“I’ll be right back, just going to the ladies’ room,” she stood up and disappeared into the lobby. The restroom had five vacant stalls. She made her way to the furthest one and locked the door. Tying up her hair, she knelt down and lifted the seat. She began to breathe deeply as she gripped the sides of the toilet. Lifting a hand, she put two fingers to the back of her throat. This she continued as fast as she could before someone entered the bathroom. She didn’t know how much time had passed until the three courses and five glasses of wine for dinner lay regurgitated in the toilet. The door opened, and she scrambled to stand up and sit on the toilet to avoid apprehension. She peered subtly underneath the stall to see who had entered and became horrified to see a pair of men’s dress shoes. In one swift motion, she hugged her legs to her body and sat frozen. He flushed and walked to the sink before she could make her escape. The bathroom door opened once again, and with it, a familiar voice.

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“As long as I’m with you, I’m a happy girl,” she cooed, reaching for his hands. Her smile revealed new veneers, but the expression didn’t match her eyes. “I like your dress. That new?” “Yeah. You really like it?” “Mm. It’s better than the one from earlier.” “Oh, yeah, I didn’t care much for that one either,” she trailed off, pulling her hands to her lap. “What do you want to eat?” he asked with his eyes now glued to the menu. “I don’t know. What is there besides pasta?” “You know what, I’ll just order for the both of us.” After three courses and almost two bottles of wine, the man crossed his arms, satisfied. Lizzie made a show of her last bite, shoveling the risotto on her fork and into her mouth.

[ S H O R T

Fiction Contest Winner


“Howard Christie? No way,” her husband said to the other man that was in the bathroom. “As I live and breathe! What are you doing here, Doctor?” “It’s a matter of pleasure. I’m on my honeymoon, actually.” “Congratulations! They say third time’s the charm,” he slapped the Doctor’s arm. “And you?” “Retirement’s going well. I’m on day five. I’m not sure you can relate, you workaholic.” “Well, it sure feels like I’m headed there what with everything the new Mrs. demands. Piece of work, that one, but you didn’t hear it from me,” he scoffed. Lizzie had to cover her mouth with both hands to stop her outcry. “Aren’t they all?” Howard replied. “Will I see be seeing you for an appointment anytime soon? Susan never updates me about favorite patients,” her husband said as he slapped the other man’s arm as if they were football teammates hyping each other up. “Next month, I believe. Anyhow, good to see you, Doc, and congrats,” Howard emphasized as he left.

S T O R Y ]

A short pause and her husband followed suit out the door. Lizzie’s feet collapsed on the ground and, full of relief, she exhaled. She busted open her stall door and locked the door to the men’s restroom. Stumbling to the mirror, she took down her hair and shook it around. She lifted the back of her hand to her lips, smearing what was left of her lipstick and vomit across her face. She unlocked the door and sauntered back to the table to join her husband. “You were gone long,” he said, his eyes fixed to his phone screen. “Oh, just lady things. You wouldn’t know,” she joked. “They bring dessert yet?”

“I didn’t know you were so —” He looked up at the dishevelment in front of him. “What the hell is on your face?” “What are you talking about? I just reapplied my lipstick, honey.” “Wipe. Your fucking. Face,” he shoved his handkerchief into her hand. The heads of those seated near the couple turned, this time for a different reason than hours earlier. She smiled at him, wiping her cheeks and lips with the cloth. “I guess I’m just a piece of work,” she continued to smile, baiting him. Silence on his end. “Did you hear what I said?” she was holding the handkerchief to her face.

[ S H O R T

S T O R Y ]

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“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “You said it.” “Said what?” “Never mind. I want to dance.” She stood up and stumbled to the railing at the edge of the restaurant. Throwing her head back, Lizzie began to twirl. She motioned to the mandolin player to accompany her with a song. “Men grow cold as girls grow old,” she sang to the musician. “And we all lose our charms in the end!” Her husband stood up and started toward her. She continued, “But square cut or pear shaped, these rocks don’t lose their shape. Diamonds are a girls’ best friend!”

She hardly finished the verse before her husband grabbed her wrist and held it, scolding her with his eyes like bullets. “You are making a scene,” he growled at her through clenched teeth. “I don’t care. I don’t love you,” her smile turned to a tortured grimace. “How does it feel now?” “How. Does what. Feel,” he managed to say. “When someone doesn’t give a fuck about you.” Lizzie pushed him off her. Turning to the tables that had become her audience, she addressed them. “Ladies, always remember,” she panted, “he’s not worth it.”

And, cueing the stunned mandolin player, Lizzie started to wiggle as if performing an unhinged striptease. Her feet slowly backed away from her husband as she danced. She reached for the ring on her left hand and began twisting it off her finger in a seductive fashion. The ring sparkled from the reflection of the candlelit dinner tables. Not one person in the restaurant could move their eyes from the spectacle in front of them or do anything to stop it. Lizzie held the ring to her lips and kissed it. She gave it a long look and in one fluid motion, chucked it into the hills of the Tuscan countryside.

[L I F E] B E A U T Y

Most Bizarre Beauty Treatments Ever Get the look with gravy stockings, mummy powder and mice fur eyebrows.

All in the Name of Beauty


By Shilo Urban Illustrations by Amber Bailey

We’ve all suffered in the name of beauty, from puffy bangs in the ’80s to pencil-thin brows in the ’90s (and we won’t mention that dark purple lipstick). But why do we pluck, paint, wax, inject and microblade — and often pay big bucks to do so? Because beauty is power. We know it, just as women throughout history have known it. But in the absence of L’Oréal and laser hair removal, our predecessors had to be a little more creative.

Radiant Skin No matter which era you live in, beauty begins with a good skin care routine. Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra, a renowned beauty, achieved a youthful glow by rubbing donkey milk and crocodile dung all over her face. Women of the Roman Empire bought vials of sweat and dirt scraped off the skin of gladiators, a luxurious face cream that only the wealthiest could afford. In Renaissance France, King Henry II’s wife preferred pigeon poop to get that “dewy” look, while his mistress drank dissolved gold (and then died from it). Ladies coveted a pale and pasty complexion, which flaunted the fact that you didn’t have to work

in the sun. To give yourself an alluring deathly pallor, you could try a mercury facial, let leeches suck your blood, or drink a mixture of ale and lice every morning. Whatever you do: Don’t bathe. It opens your pores to the plague and is to be avoided at all costs. Got acne? Swallow a pint of milk and seawater, a panacea in 18th century Europe. Bad bruise? A balm of powdered mummy will cure what ails you. The 1900s brought a new antiaging therapy: radioactive chemicals, which would indeed stop the aging process by killing you prematurely. By World War II, suntanned skin was in. But supply shortages stopped British women from getting the nylon stockings they desperately desired. So they painted fake nylons on their legs with gravy, drawing “seams” down the back with eyeliner. It worked surprisingly well — so long as there weren’t any dogs around.

A Beautiful Smile Taking care of those pearly whites is essential. Unless you’re in Japan during the Samurai era when sexy black teeth were all the rage. Women dyed their smiles with iron filings and tea. Dark choppers were also a status symbol in the reign of England’s Queen Elizabeth, because only the richest people could buy enough sugary treats to rot their teeth. Yum! If they fell out (as Elizabeth’s did), you could buy false teeth made of wood, porcelain or hippopotamus tusks. George Washington’s dentures included donkey and horse teeth. Want the real thing? Just wait for a war. Teeth pulled from the mouths of battlefield casualties were in demand for centuries. But of course, the best way to get a beautiful smile is to take care of your teeth to begin with — by chewing on a live mouse, like the Ancient Egyptians. Vegetarians might rather try the Romans’ favorite mouthwash, Portuguese pee. Supposedly stronger than your own homebrew, it doubled as laundry detergent — and was so popular that Emperor Nero taxed it! During the American Revolution, King George’s subjects cleaned their teeth with sulphuric acid (which stripped the enamel completely), while Patriot Paul Revere offered his own toothpaste recipe: butter, sugar, breadcrumbs — and gunpowder, for that bombshell smile.

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Beauty is power. We know it, just as women throughout history have known it. But in the absence of L’Oréal and laser hair removal, our predecessors had to be a little more creative.

[L I F E] B E A U T Y

Just a Touch of Makeup

All in the Name of Beauty


Play up your features with natural cosmetics that make your eyes pop (and possibly stop working). Women throughout history have relied on soot for eye makeup and clay for blush, two options that are dirt-cheap (and just plain dirty). Ladies of the Renaissance used deadly belladonna to dilate their pupils for that seductive, doe-eyed look — along with immediate blurred vision and eventual blindness. Victorians accomplished the same effect by squirting lemon juice directly into their eyes. Lead-based kohl was the highly toxic eyeliner of choice for the ever-resourceful Egyptians, who also reddened their lips with smashed-up beetles. Over in Ancient Greece, a unibrow was the ultimate symbol of intelligence and purity. You could sketch one with pigments or apply goat hair for a more realistic effect. Greek women attained flawless complexions with white lead, a poisonous cosmetic beloved well into the 19th century. And forget concealer to cover up that acne scar: Georgians hid their blemishes (and syphilis lesions) under small patches of black velvet, often shaped like moons or stars. Can’t afford fabric? A bit of mouse skin will do nicely, and its fur is perfect for your fake eyebrows. Accentuate the veins on your chest with blue paint, and you’re ready to go. When it’s time to take it all off at the end of the day, try the makeup remover favored by Japanese geishas: nightingale droppings.

Lustrous Locks

insects and rodents, necessitating bedside mousetraps. Vermin not your thing? Opt for the traditional wedding hairstyle for Ancient Spartan women: a shaved head. Beauty standards change, but those pics of you with ’80s bangs are forever. Use your perception of what’s beautiful to free yourself, not trap yourself. And cut yourself a little slack — after all, at least you’re not smearing feces on your face.

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A full, healthy head of hair has long been a beauty standard — and in Ancient Arabia, camel urine was the go-to shampoo (shampee?) for shiny locks. Incans preferred their own wee-wee for hair washing; after a week of fermentation, it boasts impressive antiseptic properties for alleviating dandruff. Egyptians glossed their mane by wearing wax cones on their heads, which slowly melted under the desert sun. Bored with your mane’s natural color? Lighten it with crushed limestone (Celts), arsenic (Victorians) or TNT (munitions factory workers during World War II). For Medieval Europeans, hair played secondfiddle to a high, wide forehead — the sexiest feature a lady could have. Women made their foreheads appear larger by removing their eyebrows and hair along their hairlines (if it hadn’t already fallen out from all that toxic lead makeup). By the mid-1700s, all social classes and genders were wearing wigs, which were much easier to delouse than your own hair. The most elaborate wigs had a wood and wire frame stuffed with wool, straw or cotton. Highly combustible beef lard held your hairdo in place for weeks — but it also attracted

[L I F E] C U L T U R E


Connection through culture By Erin Ratigan Photos by Farida Degani

More Than Art


Without negative space, there is no design. Henna artist and owner of Stratus Boutique, Farida Degani casually makes this observation describing how the undyed skin beneath the ink allows henna’s beauty to show through. But then her words feel deeper — more poignant. “The negative space differs with different kinds of people … Without the negative space, how would the design be?” she observes rhetorically. Henna is an art form with more than 9,000 years of history. Though most Westerners probably know it as an Indian wedding tradition, henna tattoos have cultural ties to many other West Asian countries including Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan. She says some of the earliest uses for henna were dying silk and pottery. That was during the Bronze Age — approximately 3300 to 1200 BC. She says the practice of applying henna topically traces back at least to the ancient Egyptians, who dyed pharaohs’ nails with henna before burial. It is said Cleopatra also used henna to dye her nails and hair — albeit for more fashionable purposes. Henna tattoos are applied in a paste composed of crushed leaves from the henna plant Lawsonia inermis. They last up to three weeks, often darkening slightly over time. Farida says the deepening color is part of why henna is popular for weddings in India — that a bride’s changing henna is considered symbolic of her new husband’s and in-laws’ growing affection.

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“A lot of people understand henna as just a very decorative thing, but … the aesthetic part is the final rung,” Farida says. Farida has applied henna for 41 years and explains that while henna is beautiful, it also has potential health benefits like soothing eczema. In traditional medicine, henna leaves were used to heal wounds and skin irritation due to their antiinflammatory and cooling properties. Medical research has generally supported these uses, with studies from Oxford University and medical schools in Taiwan, Iran, and Cyprus finding henna’s chemical compounds can help reduce inflammation and relieve dermatitis pain. She says this cooling effect was particularly important for people living in subtropical climates and makes henna popular at summer festivals and markets. “There was a time when we did not have the creature comforts that we have now. So, it was really, really helpful with cooling down,” she says. When it comes to non-Western practices like wearing henna, some women worry about cultural appropriation. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines cultural appropriation as a phenomenon where members from a “majority group adopt cultural elements of a minority group in an exploitative, disrespectful or stereotypical way.” Farida says she doesn’t believe in gatekeeping her culture and is not offended to see Western women with henna. “I think it’s perfectly all right for people to use henna for whatever reasons they deem right. … Just because henna belongs to my culture, that doesn’t mean I have the right to it or [only] brown people have the right to it,” she says.

As a first-generation immigrant, Farida says sharing her love of henna brings her joy and new friendships. There’s a gentle intimacy that comes with holding a stranger’s hand for 10 minutes, and after all these years, Farida says she still loves those brief moments of connection. “It is part of God’s creation,” she says of her medium. “It’s available freely, and if anyone wants to try it, they should.” www.stratusboutique.com Instagram: @stratusboutique

[L I F E] S O C I E T Y

What’s in a Name? By Jade Emerson Illustrations by Conny Gonzalez

When I changed my name, A Name That Feels Like My Own


I was required to list the reason why I was requesting a name change. It was before 8 a.m. on a Wednesday. I was sitting on a bench in the back of my hometown courtroom. The room was packed. Every few minutes a loud shushing sound came from one of the clerks. But the chatter and buzz were a good distraction from my own apprehension. Once I checked in, a security guard handed me (yet another) pile of pages to fill out and read to the judge. It was in those pages, between boxes to check and blanks to initial, I found that question: Why was I doing this? I was given five lines to answer it. As I zipped through the rest of the questions (most I had answered so many times they were memorized), it kept buzzing in my mind until it was the only question left. I tried to hurry and think of something to scribble down. It had taken me enough courage to get this far, and I was scared any delays would stall me for good. I wanted to fill those five lines with how unfair I thought names were. Women in their lives are given the names of their fathers, then their husbands. They are given the names of men. But what about their own names? How different would history look if it was charted under different names?

pain. It’s a brand they didn’t ask to wear, a cut that opens every time they say it aloud. When Kimberly Lowelle Seward got married in her early 20s, she took her husband’s last name. It wasn’t something she put much thought into — it’s just what people did, she says. “I think I have some resentment now that as women, we have to do that,” Kimberly says. “I don’t know if we should have to change our names in order to create a life with somebody. Not everybody does that or not; people don’t but it is still the expectation.”

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I wanted to write about how as a writer, my name (my byline) was everything to me. I didn’t think it was too much to ask that stories, degrees and awards be under my own name instead of someone else’s. I wanted to write about how women are denied permanence in their identity. They are expected to mold and mesh to meet the expectations of tradition. A man is allowed to have one name his entire life. But girls? We grow up imagining how different last names would sound in place of ours. We grow up accepting that when it comes to how we’re known by others, change is inevitable. I wanted to fill those five lines with a new question: How can we own our accomplishments, our bodies and our voices if we can’t even choose the name they belong to? But I didn’t write any of that. I settled on something simple, yet as true as I could muster. “I want a name that feels like my own.” For a large part of history, women haven’t been given much ownership of anything. Instead, we have been owned. Our names used to signal which man we belonged to, who defined us more than we defined ourselves. And often in those names, there is beauty. I know so many women who hold pride in their names, both maiden and married. Their names carry their family, their past, their future, their heritage. Their names are filled with love. But I also know women whose names are filled with

[L I F E] S O C I E T Y

A Name That Feels Like My Own


Years later, when she got a divorce in her 40s, she knew she didn’t want her ex-husband’s last name anymore. Yet she also didn’t want to go back to her maiden name. She wanted something that was hers entirely. Something new. Something untouched. So Kimberly, her youngest daughter and her friend sat down together in her living room and decided to create a new last name. She started by taking her mother’s maiden name — Low — because she knew she wanted to feel a connection to her mom whom she lost at a young age. But she added a new ending — elle. She gave herself a last name that no one in the world had: Lowelle. “It felt very empowering, and it felt very liberating,” Kimberly says. “I felt like I was getting away with something that we don’t always get to do. I was making a choice, making the statement.” She took her divorce papers to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license. Next, she headed to Costco. Using her divorce papers and new driver’s license, she was able to update her membership card, giving her a second photo ID. Her Costco card became the key to her new identity. “I just did it. I just made the decision. And I’ve acted on it. I didn’t ask anybody’s permission.” With her two photo IDs, she was able to change her passport and social security. She carved her new name into something permanent. “For me, even the act of rebellion, of saying ‘I’m going to choose my own name, thank you very much,’ even that was a defining moment of my life story,” Kimberly says. “I am not anybody’s property.”

“I got the tattoo of my last name in 2014 when I suddenly had a fear of possibly not having the name in the future, since it’s something we sometimes shed as women once married. I didn’t have much direction in my life at the time, but I did know I wanted to keep Ayala with me wherever I went, and in turn keeping my family and its values with me always. It’s important to me today because I’ve never once second-guessed the tattoo decision and have used it in moments when I needed strength and grounding. With more direction and selfassurance in my life now, I know that I will never be without this name legally if I choose not to do so.” -

Photo Courtesty Sarah Ayala



Kimberly, now married and living in England with her husband, still uses Lowelle as a middle name. She says she doesn’t feel like there’s a right or wrong choice when it comes to taking a last name or creating a new one. Her new name, just as her last, carries its own special meaning to her. “When I got married, I needed to be related to somebody. It was a choice to marry into a family and to share my husband’s name and his life,” she says. “And that was a choice. It didn’t feel like an expectation.” For me, when the judge tapped his gavel, officially changing my name, I think I forgot to breathe. And then the breaths came easily. For perhaps the first time in my entire life, I felt like my own name truly belonged to me. I was liberated. I was light. I no longer had to carry the weight of someone else’s name. For me, choosing my own last name meant that I belonged to myself. And it’s a feeling I never want to lose.

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Kimberly’s daughter decided to take the new last name as well. “It kind of brought us together. We were making a stand that we were going on with our lives,” she says. Yet often, changing a name doesn’t come as easily as getting a Costco card. Costly court fees, time and piles of paperwork prevent many people from making a choice about changing their names. “That is where the message is being given very clearly: Your name is not yours to choose. If you didn’t have the money and you didn’t have the intellectual wherewithal to navigate that set of forms, it wouldn’t have worked. You couldn’t have done it,” Kimberly says. “That is a very strong message from our society: It’s not OK for a woman to be her own person.” Kimberly loves her new last name. She smiled and described the joy of writing it in cursive, with the motion of the letters flowing together. She says the process of picking her own last name was like naming a child. “You have to explore all the avenues and all the little corners, until you go, ‘I think this is who I am.’ This is who I am,” Kimberly says.

[BE W EL L] S E L F - L O V E

Body Positive

A Joyous Rebellion By Marissa Heyl

Illustrations by Diane Pereira aka Red Milk Crone

Appreciate and Love Your Body


A bevy of curvy women with candy-colored hair and chic cat’s-eye shades revel in the sun at a jubilant poolside soiree, skin rolls out. They’re dancing without abandon. These women are gloriously living in their bodies and enjoying life, free from judgment. It’s a scene of pure jubilation from Aidy Bryant’s “Shrill” in which her character, Annie, attends a “Fat Girl Pool Party.” Though self-conscious about wearing a swimsuit in public, she eventually accepts the invitation. We see her liberated, gleefully dancing, swimming and doing handstands in the pool as if releasing her inner child. I’ve watched this scene many times, and it always brings tears — a liberation of a group of women who, like myself, have avoided the pool since puberty.

But I did spend way too much time and money on bullshit. Hair extensions that have resembled a rodent and scared the mess out of my partner when not worn. Push-up bras that lie, thongs that dig so much they create a new crack, the list goes on. All the crazy nonsense that we women

As someone who has studied media and is no stranger to fat-shaming, the trends toward body positivity in modern culture is liberating. This representation is incredibly important, transformative and relatively new, challenging a deeply ingrained history that has kept women paralyzed in self-loathing and shame for generations.

A Curvy Casper My career, and really my entire life, has been all about women. Whether it’s advocating for human rights, supporting local artists or designing clothes made by global artisans, I relish working with women. I attribute my feminism to my boss (and sometimes bulldozer) of a mother. A high school government teacher, she embodied a nobullshit, women-can-do-anything attitude that she instilled in me from an early stage. My mom is a curvy woman who vacillates between various diets and has been known to stock up on sparsely used home workout equipment. She desperately wanted me to grow

up with an athletic practice so that I would be strong, less vulnerable to the fat-shaming she and her siblings endured. She put me in competitive gymnastics at the age of 4, a sport that comprised much of my childhood. I will say it’s better than ballet in the body-shaming arena, but I did get white-shamed (if that’s a thing) by my coach. A white guy himself, albeit one who could tan easily, he called me “Casper” and would laugh at how pale I was. It created a strange shame in me that I carried through high school when I “retired.”

100% Skin Deep That pasty skin-shame cloud lingered as a cheerleader in middle and high school, where I remember everyone wanting to go to the tanning bed before a big game. My squad was majority white, and I was by far the palest cheerleader. I was wise enough not to subject myself to cancer and premature wrinkles by tanning, but I still obsessively covered myself in the odd-smelling orangey mess that was ‘90s self-tanner. I wanted to appear less ghostly.

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spend time and money on in pursuit of being accepted.”


[BE W EL L] S E L F - L O V E

Appreciate and Love Your Body


At one pep rally, I thrust myself high in the air doing a backflip (called an “X out”). It involved me straddling my legs midair to create an explosive visual. I felt so proud with the crowd cheering me on, but in the background, I heard a guy yell, “Hey, put some damn pants on.” It struck me and created a self-consciousness in me for the rest of the rally when I should have been concentrating on our routine. To remember that so many years later shows how deep those wounds can be from one dumb-ass boy. Thankfully, I didn’t fall into destructive habits like eating disorders and body dysmorphia, which many women do. But I spent too much time and money on bullshit like hair extensions that resembled a rodent and scared the mess out

of my partner when not worn, push-up bras that lie, thongs that dig so much they create a new crack, the list goes on. All the crazy nonsense that we women spend time and money on in pursuit of acceptance. Aidy Bryant’s character calls this the “mind prison” that every woman has been programmed to believe. I’ve wasted so much time, so much energy and money…for what? I’m fat, ya know? Every magazine, commercial and weird targeted ad that wants me to burn my fat off…I could be a nutritionist by now. I’ve been training for it since the fourth grade. Most who identify as a woman have a story like this. That’s no coincidence — it’s misogyny and capitalism.

There is so much power when women connect in a group; it’s where the magic lives. When women gather, the clouds of shame lift and authentic connection flourishes.” 65 OneToKnowMagazine.com | ISSUE 07

Women have been objectified and sexualized in the media from time immemorial. While some advertisements exploit women’s sexuality to sell men’s products, others target women, telling us to buy things to make us whole. That we aren’t enough. Growing up on a steady diet of ‘90s fashion magazines, I received the same message over and over — that my value as a woman was tied up in how attractive I am to men. It is not just limiting but dehumanizing, and the scars of body shame run deep. Over the past 10 years, I’ve sold hundreds of dresses to women of all shapes and sizes from my fair-trade label Symbology. Some are full-figured and love feeling sexy in a revealing dress; others are skinny and incredibly selfconscious. It was at Etico, my sustainable collective on Magnolia Avenue (now closed), that my “aha moment” struck me. A young woman ran out of my store crying because she had gained five pounds during COVID. She was ashamed of her supposed “belly bump.” I knew that no matter how flattering the dress was, if she hated her body, we weren’t going to get anywhere. We had to get to the root of it. To appreciate and love our bodies and unlearn all the self-hating BS we’ve been taught our whole lives.


Taking Back Her Energy Story and illustration by Erin Ratigan

One’s Unique Energy to Fuel Success


As a journalist, it feels strange when someone asks me questions. But, in order

to illustrate how her Energy Takeback sessions work, leadership and life coach Nydia Cardenas had suggested she show rather than tell. Sitting in a packed coffee shop on South Main Street, we deviate from my usual interview format, and she asks me about my life experiences — times when I’ve felt disappointed by the outcome of an activity and times when I’ve felt energized. After roughly 15 minutes of taking notes and asking questions, she informs me that my “energy fuel” is my curiosity. This means I am most successful when my curiosity is nurtured organically without pressure from expectations or perfectionism. Yeah, that sounds about right. Energy Takeback is a coaching series Nydia created in 2020 that focuses on working with one’s unique energy to fuel success and alignment with one’s values. Her first sessions involve an introspective evaluation like the one she walked me through. After identifying a person’s energy fuel, participants have follow-up sessions to learn how to use that fuel to foster growth for themselves and others. Nydia’s background is in financial planning and development, particularly with nonprofits, and says over time she realized there was an abundance of discussion about financial currency, but not energy as currency. She says this focus on money over motivation leaves workers drained and overworked with nothing left to give at the end of the day. “I was surrounded by people who were also trying to do their little part to make the world better, and I just started to observe — in myself and in my friends — that we might have the time to do something but not the energy to do it,” she says.

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One’s Unique Energy to Fuel Success


She was also concerned about the potential consequences a lack of energy could have on social and political change. Because activism and creating change require resilience and long-term commitment, she says having the energy to give to a cause is crucial for its success. “I had been using it [coaching] a lot in my work, and I was kind of like, ‘This is something where coaching could actually really help people think about their energy differently and be more aligned with their values and their purpose and being more energized,’” she says. She decided to test this theory by creating and leading a practice session for her friends. By the end of the session, her friends were encouraging her to keep going. Among them was Tiffanie Harrison, a consultant and school board member for the Round Rock Independent School District. She is a regular at Energy Takeback. “We just kind of encouraged her to go for it and just do it. She’s one of those people who, when she commits to doing something, it’s going to be great,” she says.

I was surrounded by people who were also trying to do their little part to make the world better, and I just started to observe — in myself and in my friends — that we might have the time to do something but not the energy to do it.” — NYDIA CARDENAS

As a woman of color, Tiffanie says it’s also empowering to see another woman of color in an advocacy and mentoring role — particularly when it comes to taking back one’s energy as a birthright. She still gets burned out and stressed with school board responsibilities, and in those moments, she uses tools Nydia taught her — like setting boundaries and knowing when to say no. In doing so, she says she has cultivated an authentic and rewarding life for herself. “I feel like it’s made me stronger all the way around. … It’s really empowering and liberating,” she says. “It’s not a feeling that we normally get to hold.”


Story Ideas Got a tip? Tell us about it!

In a town as vibrant and bustling as Fort Worth, there’s bound to be stories we don’t know yet. If you have any in mind, send them our way! Perhaps there’s an artist whose work deserves recognition, or maybe there’s a new wellness trend going around we should look into. If you have ideas for something you’d like our team of writers and journalists to look into, let us know here.

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[FO OD] P L A N T - B A S E D

The Healthy Hour By Angie Ruiz Photos by Azul Sordo

Mind Your Garden


Agriculturalists Ursula and Steven Nuñez founded one of Fort Worth’s first urban farms after Ursula’s father suffered from heart disease and had to go in for quadruple bypass surgery. A lifechanging surgery that would save her father’s life – and hers too. Mind Your Garden is their contribution and mission to obliterate food deserts. “The doctors told me that I would be next if I didn’t change the course of my life,” Ursula says. Only 15 years prior, her grandmother, too, had a quadruple bypass surgery. “We started thinking, ‘What foods did my grandmother and father both consume that got them to this point?’ It’s the foods they taught us to eat,” she says.

As we helped my father recover from his quadruple bypass surgery, we started wondering, What got him here?” - U R S U L A N U Ñ E Z , M i n d Yo u r G a r d e n

The Nuñezes spent 38 years of their lives consuming the ever-delicious fajitas, tacos de birria, salt-rimmed margaritas and beer by the cases. These foods and beverages, although delicious and on many menus across the world, come at an unhealthy cost. When their health was served as the main dish, the Nuñezes knew they had to make a change. And while some diseases are genetic, Steven says bad habits are, too. “We needed to completely break the cycle and decided, in order to do that, we needed to go plant-based,” Ursula says.

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Left: A vibrant potato graden sits in front of the Nuñez property in Fort Worth, Texas. Right: Ursula Nuñez passes a ripe tomato to her husband, Steven Nuñez, while attempting to clear a path in the greenery.

[FO OD] P L A N T - B A S E D

Mind Your Garden


As new habits were explored, a new lifestyle emerged, but that shift came with a cost. “Our support system disappeared,” Steven says. “Most times our family and friends didn’t know what to do with us, because they didn’t know what to feed us.” Steven and Ursula discovered a void in the plant-based community: Some people do not know how to socialize outside of what they are used to, and especially, without alcohol. “That is how we were taught to socialize, over unhealthy foods and alcohol,” Steven says. “So, we thought, ‘How do we bring people together in a healthy, positive way?’”

The culture shock from this lifestyle change shifted the dynamic within their families, as well. Foods that were once considered mandatory for family gatherings quickly changed with their first plant-based Thanksgiving in 2021. “My aunt offered to bring chicken. Imagine her shock when I told her she couldn’t bring chicken,” Ursula says. The Nuñezes reassured their family members that they would be cooking in a way that would leave them satisfied and feeling

That is how we were taught to socialize, over unhealthy foods and alcohol,” Steven says. “So we thought, ‘How do we bring people together in a healthy, positive way?’” - S T E V E N N U Ñ E Z , M i n d Yo u r G a r d e n

Ursula’s daughter picks tomatoes alongside the family. In addition to helping in the garden, she enjoys reading— particularly a book about Iris Apfel.

plant-derived ingredients, a lightbulb went off in Steven’s head — how could they help others in their situation to try something new? Their answer was Healthy Hour, which is a happy hour space curated by Ursula and Steven where people can still come together, talk, joke, listen to music, dance and enjoy themselves, but with healthy options while still connecting over food. What began as a small personal garden to support their newfound lifestyle quickly turned into a 3.5-acre urban garden right in the middle of Fort Worth.

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good about themselves. They incorporated familiar recipes that had been passed down through generations with slight alterations — no chicken stock, no lard or animal products. “There’s a misconception that if you go plant-based that you’re only going to eat lettuce and carrots, but we eat a lot of hearty meals,” Steven says. Through curating their urban garden, they have found ways to recreate favorite meals such as tacos, pozole and even tamales. Through this family experiment of recreating popular Mexican dishes through

Left: The basket of tomatoes quickly begins to fill within a few minutes of veggie-picking. Right: Ursula Nuñez zip-ties tomato vines to a fence as they’ve grown unruly but abundant.


The Hidden Gem of the Northside By Jade Emerson Photos by Martina Treviño

A Place Filled With Hope and Laughter


The education director and dance instructor of Artes de la Rosa begins to count down from 10, her students rushing to their places backstage. When she reaches “one,” she reminds each child to take a deep breath together. Then, the music begins, and the lights start to shine. The students mirror Sara Herrera’s movements as she stands in front of the stage at the Rose Marine Theater, where countless Latin American artists have gathered and performed for the past 100 years. Sara describes Artes de la Rosa as a place filled with hope and laughter. It’s a place to promote past and present Latin American artists. And it’s a place where the next generation of artists is being taught in a community of support and growth. “It’s just like a safe haven. Not because of the teaching, but because of the kids that are out there. They’re making friends. They’re building that camaraderie. They’re building their own little community of creative minds,” Sara says. “It’s really beautiful to see.”

I want to use all the opportunities here to continue to do what I love. Artes is the building the future in the arts.” – REGINA RODRIGUEZ

OneToKnowMagazine.com | ISSUE 07

block for what I plan in



A Place Filled With Hope and Laughter


Sara has been a dancer almost all her life, her career taking her from her hometown of Fort Worth to the East Coast. She now uses her almost 20 years of dance teaching experience to teach children at the Artes Academy, both in their summer camps and after-school program. “Coming back here now, working with the students, working with this organization, specifically with the Latinx students, is very, very important. You represent. Representation definitely matters, no matter what,” Sara says. “It’s just been very humbling to be around them and to share my experience with them.” The nonprofit also teaches creative writing, theater, visual arts, film and animation, 3D printing, claymation and digital art to young people of any race who may otherwise not have access to such a creative outlet. And to students like 14-year-old Regina Rodriguez, the academy is home, a place where she can express herself free of judgment.

A lot of people will ask, ‘Who are your mentors?’ [They are] my students. They’ve helped shape the person that I am today because I’ve learned so much from them.” – SARA HERRERA, education director

“The community there is something you can rarely find anywhere,” Regina says. “It is a loving family willing to open their arms out to anybody new who chooses to be there.” She always looks forward to going to the academy after school, even if she has a bad day. Her first perforance was there where she overcame fears and learned that with time and practice, and the patient care of her teachers, she would get better. “I want to use all the opportunities here to continue to do what I love. Artes is the building block for what I plan in the future in the arts,” Regina says.

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Artes de la Rosa offers creative writing, theater, visual arts, and so much more to the young people in our community.


A Place Filled With Hope and Laughter


Artes de la Rosa also hosts the Artes Academy, a summer camp in the community cultural center located in the historic Northside district. The students spent one recent week learning six different dances to songs from the movie “Encanto.” At the end of the week, the students will perform in front of their friends and families taking pride in what they learned and overcame. The Artes Academy is only one element of Artes de la Rosa, formerly known as the Latin Arts Association of Fort Worth. The nonprofit also hosts festivals, film nights, live entertainment and art galleries throughout the year. Tucked on North Main Street between downtown and the Stockyards in its original location, a green marquee with the signature red rose has “Bienvenidos” — welcome in Spanish — written out. Executive director William Giron says there’s a misconception that the theater is only for the Latin American community, and everyone is welcome at Artes de la Rosa. At Artes Academy, 100% of the students receive scholarships with 98% of them receiving full scholarships. Many of the academy students come from Title I schools, single-parent homes or have parents working multiple jobs. William said that families shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table and paying tuition for art programs.

Artes de la Rosa production of Las Soldaderas and Vinyl Dreams.

William describes how Artes de la Rosa takes a holistic approach to community engagement and has worked with food banks, back-to-school drives, toy drives and federal programs to distribute protective gear throughout the pandemic. Like the domino effect, if the basic needs of the students aren’t met, they aren’t able to participate in the arts, William says. “We’re all artists because all of us have stories,” William says. “We have our own stories, and how we convey our stories is through different ways of expressing ourselves.” Sara encourages her students, whom she calls “artivists,” to use art as a means to tackle important issues, from family and culture to climate change. Recently, Artes de la Rosa teamed up with the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Each month, the academy students are taken through a different program that highlights a different artistic perspective, including Hispanic Heritage month, Black history month and women’s history month. In July, the students took a trip to the museum — many for the first time. “A lot of our students here that take classes never ever stepped foot into any of the museums. So, it’s really important that we’re able to bring that to them,” Sara says. “So we’re able to [say], “Don’t forget you belong in there as well.”

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We have our own stories, and how we convey our stories is through different ways of expressing ourselves.” – WILLIAM GIRON, executive director

Marine theater.



1 3



6 7




3 Grasshoppers


5 Kristen’s therapy 7 Sara encourages her students

to use art as a means to tackle important issues, from family and culture to climate change.

8 The practice of growing more

than one crop species in the same space.

9 Everyone wants to save the earth

but not help mom with this chore.

1 1 What Danika calls her experience.


DOWN 1 Let these predatory worms give you a mercury facial. 2 DJ K-Sprinkles 3 These strong, determined female leaders, who strive to



4 Agriculturalists who founded one of Fort Worth’s first

urban farms after her father suffered from heart disease.

SCAN THE QR CODE for answers to the crossword puzzle.

6 The trends toward body positivity in modern culture is


1 0 Lizzie chucked it into the hills of the Tuscan countryside.

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