50+Living MARCH 2020

Page 1

of Western NC

Luck Be a Four-leaf Clover | Big Spring Clean | Peace of Mind 50pluslivingWNC.com

March 2021

Arden 4 Long Shoals Rd. 828-333-4366 Woodfin 50 N. Merrimon Ave. 828-210-9544

Fletcher 3445 Hendersonville Rd. 828-376-3711

2 | 50+ Living | March 2021


hat better time to celebrate being a woman than March, Women’s History Month? This is the perfect time to honor all women who have accomplished large and small achievements. Unfortunately, celebrating other women’s triumphs doesn’t always happen. Often, we feel jealousy and envy at the success of others. However, turning this around and finding joy in celebrating the success of others will in turn bring that positive energy to all of us. Celebrating the triumphs of women doesn’t take away our own success, it raises the light of all women. Strong women stand together when things are rough, hold each other up when they need support, and laugh together when there’s no reason to.


Helene Lerner March 2021 | 50+ Living | 3

A Note From the Editor Several years ago, someone said to me, “Maybe you are in the middle of a miracle, and you don’t even know it.” Think about that for a minute. It’s powerful to think that our seemingly mundane life is actually a miracle in the making. So, how do we know? I think it comes down to our perspective. Our perspective, or outlook, is what changes everything about how we think and what we do. When we are “in the middle” of a situation, it can be very hard to see what’s beyond our field of vision—it can be hard to see the miracle. We may feel that we are in a rut and unable to get out. We may be so clouded by darkness we can’t see the sunshine. This is when it’s vitally important to take a step back and view the situation from a different angle—or perspective. Our attitude toward any given situation dictates our response. Only when we objectively evaluate something can we form an authentic opinion. We are watching our culture change at a significantly rapid rate—faster than any other time in history. Some changes will be perceived as positive while others will clearly reflect a gloomy future. We can’t control rising gas prices and soaring unemployment; the only control we truly have is of ourselves. We can take personal responsibility to take care of our bodies, maintain our dignity, do the right thing, and be kind and respectful. As we individually look inward for strong and moral character, we collectively achieve it. When we take a new approach and look at life with a fresh perspective, we find that there is always something to be thankful for. It’s important to remember this. You can read more about how to gain perspective in A Peaceful Perspective on page 15. I hope we all welcome spring with optimism and faith that our lives are a miracle—and worth finding happiness, peace, and perspective. Follow me on Instagram at jeananns.taylord.life

By JeanAnn Taylor

4 | 50+ Living | March 2021

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AVL Media Inc. P.O. Box 18416 Asheville, NC 28814 828.230.7537 5 0 plu s li v ing W NC . co m March 2021 | 50+ Living | 5

50+Living of Western NC

The difference between a mountain and a molehill is your perspective. ~ Al Neuharth

PUBLISHER Tammy Sheppard publisherofsofia@gmail.com EDITOR JeanAnn Taylor GRAPHIC ARTIST Joan Hutt


WEB DESIGN Alphie Hyorth

3 Celebrating Women 8 St. Patrick’s Day Magic Pie 9 Spring Clean Your Garage 10 Taylor’d with Style . . . Pantyhose Perspective 11 The Lucky Four-Leaf Clover 12 Nice Nails 13 Rosie Gets Her Reward 14 The Classy Cook . . . Shepherd’s Pie 15 A Peaceful Perspective 16 Spring is Springing 17 Aaaaa CHOO! The Delightful Daffodil

How can you tell if the shamrock is jealous? Because it’s green with envy! ~ Author unknown 6 | 50+ Living | March 2021

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES Mike Demos 828.273.0098 mikedemos@aol.com Trish Luzzi 828.423.0248 wnccreations@gmail.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gigi Steel

AVL Media Inc. P.O. Box 18416 | Asheville, NC 28814 828.230.7537 50pluslivingWNC.com All advertising published in 50+Living of Western NC is believed to be truthful and accurate. However AVL Media, Inc. assumes no responsibility and shall have no liability whatsoever for errors, including without limitation, typographical errors or omissions in 50+Living of Western NC. Any reference made to AVL Media, Inc. is not to be construed as making any representation, warranty or guarantee concerning the information on properties advertised in 50+Living of Western NC. The content of all ads contained herein are solely the responsibility of the advertiser. The opinions and statements contained in advertising or elsewhere in this publication are those of the authors of such opinions and are not necessarily those of AVL Media, Inc. AVL Media, Inc. reserves the right to edit or refuse any advertising submitted to this publication.

March 2021 | 50+ Living | 7

St. Patrick’s Day Magic Pie This tasty pie is so simple and fun to make—my favorite 4-year-old made the pie “all by herself!”

INGREDIENTS 8 ounce container of Cool Whip 3.4 ounce package of pistachio instant pudding 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple Graham cracker pie crust Drain pineapple and set aside. The magic happens when you mix the pudding and cool whip together in a large bowl and watch the cool whip turn green! Add the pineapple, stir, and fold into pie crust. Addie added a crumbled graham cracker to the top for decoration.

8 | 50+ Living | March 2021

Spring Clean Your Garage

on’t let your garage become a black hole of trash, garden tools, unused sports equipment, and Halloween decorations! When you declutter your garage, you’ll find that your mind clears out as well.


Give yourself plenty of time when you begin this hefty project. If you’ve neglected this task for long, you may need a full day to accomplish it. Choose a day when you don’t have other obligations so you don’t run out of time, give up, and throw everything back in a box to do later. Begin by going through each box that is stacked on your shelves or piled up in the corner. Sort these items into three piles. Decide whether the object in question is something you need, something you want, or something to toss—either at the dump or at a donation store. Seriously ask yourself this question: Do I need it or love it? If the answer is no, toss it. After sorting everything into the three piles, move your toss pile outside of your garage and if possible,

take it to the dump or donation center immediately. Otherwise, these items may mysteriously make it back into your garage. Get rid of them while the getting-rid-of is good! Next, take your keep pile and separate the items into appropriate categories: lawn and garden supplies, holiday decorations, childhood keepsakes, tools, pet food, and whatever other categories you need. Items that need to be stored in containers are best placed in clear, plastic tubs so that you can easily see what is inside. It will keep you from searching through grandma’s china box when you are looking for that pair of hockey skates. Keeping pet food in secure, tight cans will keep little creatures from sneaking a snack and infesting the cat food.

If you find you don’t have room for all your belongings, remember that your walls offer lots of vertical storage space. Peg-boards and hooks can hold a vast amount of garden tools and sports equipment. If you put up shelves, try to place them on raised legs so you can keep the floor clean of dirt and insects. Open shelves tend to be better than closed cabinets in your garage because you can more easily find what you are looking for. They will also encourage you to keep things tidy because you can’t close the door and hide the mess. As you begin to place your items back in the garage, consider the end use. For example, keeping your lawn mower near the garage door instead of in the back will help to keep grease and dirt close to the outside and easy to sweep out. While your garage is empty, give the floor a thorough sweeping. Go ahead and sweep the cobwebs off the walls and window sills while you have a broom in your hand. Spring brings us longer daylight hours and warmer weather. Take this opportunity to spruce up your garage before you begin summer yard work and you’ll be glad you did. March 2021 | 50+ Living | 9

Taylor’d with Style Pantyhose Perspective By JeanAnn Taylor


f you are a woman over the age of thirty, you probably grew up wearing some form of hosiery every time you wore a dress—to work, to school, to church, and to social events. They were a staple in every woman’s wardrobe. Should I wear hose today? was never a question. Wearing them was an essential element of our attire—just as important as shoes and underwear. Hosiery has been worn as far back as the 11th century. At this time, women wore full-skirted, ankle-length dresses, so it was the men who wore hose for warmth. Changes in hosiery and our perspective of what was considered appropriate and fashionable, began in the 1920s, when skirt hemlines rose from ankle-length to calf-length. Women began wearing flesh-colored stockings, made from silk or rayon, for warmth and modesty. Hosiery, at that time, was leg-length and held in place with girdles, garters, and suspension clips. In 1939, Dupont revolutionized fashion by making stockings from nylon. These new stockings were more durable, making them last longer. They were stretchier, which made them fit better. They were also more sheer, which made them more attractive. Women loved their stockings, so when America entered World War II and Dupont ceased stocking production to make materials needed for the War 10 | 50+ Living | March 2021

effort, unrest ensued. The stocking shortage led to disturbances in shops, known as “nylon riots.” Women were so desperate for an attractive leg line, they painted “seams” on the backs of their legs to create the illusion of a stocking. After the War, women rushed to replenish their supply. In 1945, Macy’s sold out of their entire stock in six hours—that was 50,000 pair! In the 1950s, hosiery was considered to be ultrafeminine, glamorous, and romantic. Stockings gave women a modest, yet alluring appeal. From pin-up girls to housewives, leaving home without wearing stockings was considered to be tacky and in poor taste. Then in 1959, our perspective began to change because miniskirts became remarkably popular. These thighhigh hemlines required a more attractive way to wear hosiery—a way that wouldn’t expose garters and suspension clips. The stocking revolution initiated with dancers who began sewing the legs of stockings to panties, leading to the birth of pantyhose. This new form of hosiery led to even higher hemlines because women could flaunt their legs without worry of showing attachments. The development of pantyhose was the perfect solution to the uncomfortably tight girdles and the metal clips that dug into thighs. I have vivid memories

of my mother wriggling into a girdle, sliding on her stockings, and snapping them onto a clip. Pantyhose could be worn with short-short skirts—some women even wore them with shorts! They made our legs look smooth and toned. They came in cute, plastic, eggshaped containers, and they were worn by nearly every woman from ten to 100-years’-old. Why then did they fall out of fashion favor? Tan-in-a-can is one reason. Self-tanning products gave women the leg-color they desired without covering them. Hose are admittedly hot in the summer. But, in the winter, the sheer fabric can keep our legs surprisingly warm. I know athletes who wear them under their uniforms for this very purpose. Pantyhose also looks hideous with open-toed shoes. Even the “allnude” variety has a stitch-line at the toe that screams, “I’m wearing pantyhose.” Another reason is our lackadaisical culture—our perspective has changed. There is often little desire to look our best—even at work, school, church, and social events. Years ago, when men wore hats, shined their shoes, and tucked their shirts in, women wore gloves and hats. Hosiery was another element of fashion used to show dignity and respect for themselves and others. Pantyhose can improve the appearance of legs. They can hide discolorations and cellulite. The key is to choose a pair that matches your skin tone—the more transparent, the better. It’s also trendy to wear patterned hosiery—in geometric or floral designs. Fishnet stockings are another modern choice. They are available in large and small weaves, and in every color from nude to black to white to pink. Sheer, support hose can help manage varicose veins by pushing the blood flow up, keeping it from puddling in the calf and ankles. Pantyhose helps to trap skin’s natural oils—keeping our skin from drying out. Care of pantyhose is simple. They can be washed out each night with soap and water, hung to dry, and ready to wear the next day. Putting pantyhose in perspective, as fashion trends come and go, our eye adjusts and what we find “fashionable” one day can change to “out-of-fashion” the next. For me, as a woman who grew up in the 60s, and as a dancer, wearing pantyhose is my comfortzone. They’ve been part of my style routine since I was ten. They keep me warm and make my legs look better. So, from my perspective, pantyhose are a style staple I don’t want to give up.

The Lucky

Four-Leaf Clover The four-leaf clover is an uncommon variation of the three-leaf clover. According to folklore, the four-leaf clover can bring good luck to the finder because this special leaf can ward off the mischievous fairies who like to play tricks on humans. The tiny, individual leaves represent: faith, hope, love, and luck. It is estimated that there is only one four-leaf clover for every 10,000 three-leaf clovers.

March 2021 | 50+ Living | 11


Nice Nails

ealthy nails are an essential element for a neat and attractive appearance. No matter what you are wearing, your nails will bring attention to your overall look. Nail care doesn’t have to be expensive, with a few good tips and habits, your nails can attract the right kind of attention.

It may sound counterproductive, but nails need moisture for strength and flexibility—which prevents breakage. After every hand-washing, use a moisturizer. In a pinch, waxy lip balm makes a nice substitute. Cuticle health is important to protect your nail bed and prevent infections. To keep your cuticles healthy, keep them moisturized and gently push them back with your towel after each hand-washing. Eat healthy foods. Our fingernails are composed of protein and therefore need protein to grow strong. Nuts, fish, and beans offer this important nutrient. Fruits and vegetables offer vitamins and minerals needed for healthy, smooth nails. Don’t bite your fingernails! This habit can allow germs to enter your body as well as create unsightly nails. Don’t use your nails as a tool to scrape, pull, or open products. This can weaken and break nails. Channel your inner June Cleaver for gardening and housework. Wearing rubber gloves will protect your hands and nails from chemicals and from drying out. For a spa-like treatment, slather a heavy moisturizer on your hands before slipping on a pair of rubber gloves. While washing dishes, the warmth of the water will allow the cream to penetrate your skin and nails. 12 | 50+ Living | March 2021

By Gigi Steel

When you remove your gloves, your hands will be soft and your nails will be nourished. To avoid risk of infection, bring your own tools to a manicure appointment—especially polish. Although the tools are sanitized after each client, slip-ups happen. Nail polish brushes are not cleanable and can transfer bacteria. File your nails in one direction to create a soft curve or a flat edge. Never “saw” back and forth. Begin at the outside edge and glide to the center. Choosing acetonefree nail polish remover will be less drying and harmful to your nails. Now you’re ready! Don’t be surprised when you start getting compliments about your pretty nails.

Rosie Gets Her Reward In 2017, one of our favorite war heroes was awarded her own special day: National Rosie the Riveter Day each March 21. This day acknowledges and celebrates the 16 million women who entered the workforce during World War II. During this era, women worked in factories building ships, airplanes, and other necessary items while the men were at war. So put on your red and white polka-dot headwrap and give a toast to Rosie! We Can Do It!

March 2021 | 50+ Living | 13

The Classy Cook This traditional Irish/English meal is made of a tasty meat mixture and mashed potatoes. Layered and topped with cheese, it’s sure to become a favorite with your family. INGREDIENTS FOR MEAT LAYER

1 pound ground beef 1 medium onion, chopped 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce 2 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons ketchup or tomato sauce 1 cup beef broth Salt and pepper to taste 10 ounces frozen peas and carrots



3 medium potatoes 1/2 stick butter 1/4 cup milk or Half & Half 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder Salt and pepper to taste 3/4 teaspoon paprika 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

TOPPING 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS Brown beef in skillet. Add onion, garlic, ketchup, flour, broth, and seasonings. Stir thoroughly. Add frozen peas and carrots. Stir and set aside. Make mashed potatoes: wash, peal, chop, and cook potatoes in a small amount of water until done. Add butter, milk, cheese, and seasonings. Whip with mixer until smooth. Spread meat mixture in bottom of 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes over meat mixture. Bake for 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. 14 | 50+ Living | March 2021

Submitted by Holly Taylor We would LOVE to hear what treats you are cooking. Please send an email to us at jeananntaylor@rewnc.com to share your ideas and recipes. You may even find your recipe featured in 50+Living Magazine!

A Peaceful Perspective

write, just sit down and let your fingers go to work. You may be surprised at what you write! Skip the junk food. Heavy, greasy foods can cause our bodies to feel heavy and greasy which creates a block to peace and balance. Go for a walk—outside. Clarity often comes from motion. It can be helpful to think about a problem or situation before you begin walking, then let it go as you stroll along. You may be surprised at the answer when you quit overthinking and give your mind freedom to breathe. Nature is a great healer. There is simply no better place to be than outside where you can breathe, touch a tree, and listen to the songbirds.


aving a sense of perspective is an important survival technique when faced with adversity and uncertainty, because how we look at situations can dramatically change how we feel about them. When we are able to keep a reasonable perspective, we often see that a particular situation isn’t as awful as we initially think. To obtain this new outlook, one must consider all sides—the whole picture—to gain an accurate and fair understanding. Gaining perspective is key to accepting change and challenges. As we go through life, change is inevitable. Since we may not initially like the change, it can be helpful to take steps to find balance—a kind of acceptance that encourages peace, health, and happiness. Finding contentment with a situation through gaining perspective can be a time to grow and explore feelings. If you are feeling lost and unsure of where to turn, follow these tips to achieve a fresh frame of mind. Spend time alone. It’s not lonely or selfish to spend a day home-alone or to take a quiet walk in the woods, or to sit at a waterfall, or go to a spa, or to spend the whole day painting trees with Bob Ross videos. Give your mind time to process and listen to your inner voice without outside interruption. Give yourself what you need. Write your thoughts. Journaling can give you clear insight on your feelings. Don’t think about what to

Change your environment. Distance yourself from the situation and broaden your experiences by doing something you’ve never done before. Go to a new town, try a different hiking trail, or learn something new. These experiences can give insights you otherwise would not have found because when we are stuck in a rut, it’s hard to see our way out. When we get out of that rut, even for a short time, we can observe the matter from a different viewpoint. Surround yourself with positive people—those who support and encourage you to follow your dreams and goals. And, while you’re at it, avoid negative self-talk. Your mind believes everything you tell it, so tell it how awesome you are. Remember to follow your own path. It doesn’t matter what anyone else has done. They are not you. Be grateful. Gratitude and appreciation help us realize what we have and how fortunate we are. Rather than focusing on the negative, cherish your gifts. When you gain perspective, you can change the message of the circumstance. You can see more clearly and then take actions that lead to acceptance. Be brave. Facing our fears and finding solutions is the most rewarding thing we can do. Whenever you feel like the worst thing has happened, take a step back; finding perspective is the way to finding peace.

March 2021 | 50+ Living | 15

Spring is


ow that spring is right around the corner, March 20, to be exact, it’s the perfect time to renew and refresh ourselves and our homes. “Decluttering” has received a lot of attention the past few years, and for good reason. When we declutter our surroundings, we can declutter our thoughts and make a welcoming space to live in. When beginning a decluttering task, it may be helpful to focus on one area at a time. Don’t let yourself become distracted by bouncing from one closet to the next or from the kitchen to the bedroom. Complete one area, embrace the satisfaction, and then move on. Accomplishing one area at a time will give you the motivation to go to the next cluttered section. One aspect of decluttering is the act of “letting go.” Toys your children no longer play with may be loved by other children, clothes you no longer wear may be worn by someone else, books you have read can be enjoyed by others; collectables you no longer collect may be cherished by others. If the object in question 16 | 50+ Living | March 2021


holds sentimental value, taking its picture may hold the memories—without taking up the space. Organizing is the act of creating space for all your belongings. When there is a place for everything and everything is in its place, your home will be more tranquil and inviting. It will also be cleaner because it’s much easier to dust and vacuum when there are not objects piled up on shelves and tables, in the corner of the room, or on the floor. When decluttering becomes routine, the task becomes less overwhelming. Take a few minutes each day to go through mail; go through your clothes at each new season; donate or discard unused holiday decorations when you unpack them rather than boxing them up only to unpack again next year; do laundry each week so that dirty clothes don’t pile up. Simple steps to declutter will give your life a calmness and free up time for more enjoyable spring activities.

The Delightful Daffodil

Aaaaa-CHOO! It’s almost spring! The flowers are beginning to bloom, the birds are singing, and soon, we’ll be sneezing! If you are one of the millions who suffer from spring allergies, here are a few tips to ease the symptoms.

• Keep the windows closed in your home and in your car

to ward off dust and pollen.

• Your pets bring pollen into your home each time they

go out and come back in. Vacuum your furniture often to keep dirt and pollen at bay.

Pollen settles on hair during the day. Washing your hair each night can wash the pollen down the drain.

• Wear a mask when mowing the yard. Mowing stirs grass

pollen up into the air and into your nose which results in sneezing and coughing.

Vacuum and dust regularly. Don’t forget the bookshelves, window ledges, and upholstered furniture.

This is the time of year when we watch our world explode in a kaleidoscope of yellow, purple, green, and pink color. One of the first flowers to bloom each spring is the beautiful daffodil. This perennial has a trumpet-shaped structure in the middle of star-shaped petals. The trumpet may be the same, or a contrasting color from the petals. Originally discovered in Spain, the daffodil is considered to be a “must-have” in the American garden. These beauties grow from bulbs in large clusters and can cover a hillside in sunshine yellow. After blooming, the foliage should be left alone until it turns brown. If you want to transplant the bulbs, they can be dug up, washed off, and hung to dry in pantyhose. Keep them in a cool place until you are ready to plant them next fall. Daffodil bulbs require rich, well-drained soil, and lots of water. Plant a few and watch in wonder as they multiply and fill your garden with colorful blossoms each spring.

March 2021 | 50+ Living | 17

March 2021


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Publisher Tammy Sheppard publisherofsofia@gmail.com

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from the staff of SOFIA! CONTENTS 6

R elieving Menstrual Pain Natasha Kubis

9 W ays to Look Flawless in Photos

10 W omen Making Music Spotlight on Mary Kay Williams Peggy Ratusz

12 W hy Sharing Stories have Measurable Health Benefits Laurie Richardone

13 C ashew Cheesecake with Cocoa Nibs Laurie Richardone

Contributing Writers Natasha Kubis Peggy Ratusz Laurie Richardone

Photographer Bren Dendy

P.O. Box 18416 Asheville, NC 28814 828-230.7537 thesofiamagazine.com

All advertising published in SOFIA is believed to be truthful and accurate. However Sofia Magazine assumes no responsibility and shall have no liability whatsoever for errors, including and without limitation, typographical errors or omissions in SOFIA. Any reference made to Sofia Magazine is not to be construed as making any representation, warranty or guarantee concerning the information advertised in SOFIA. The content of all ads contained herein are solely the responsibility of the advertiser. The opinions and statements contained in advertising or elsewhere in this publication are those of the authors of such opinions and are not necessarily those of Sofia Magazine reserves the right to edit or refuse any advertising submitted to this publication. March 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


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Menstrual Pain

By Natasha Kubis

What is dysmenorrhea? Dysmenorrhea is a medical term that means “painful periods” and unfortunately 50%-90% of menstruating women experience it every month. It’s ironic that such an important and life-giving biological function can have such an agonizing physical and emotional impact on us. There are a number of ways to decrease menstrual pain and to increase quality of life, allowing for a more amicable monthly visit from Aunt Flo.

The following are the most common symptoms of dysmenorrhea: • Cramping and pain in the lower abdomen • Low back pain • Pain radiating down the legs • Nausea • Vomiting • Diarrhea

What causes menstrual cramping?

• Fatigue

Dr. Vicky Scott is the founder of Asheville Gynecology and Wellness, an integrative GYN practice in Asheville, N.C. She is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, lifestyle medicine, as well as integrative and holistic medicine. She explains that as women get closer to their period the body starts producing prostaglandins, which are inflammatory compounds that cause the uterus to contract and release its lining. This can cause cramping. Cramps can also occur with an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone, particularly when estrogen levels are too high or progesterone levels are too low.

• Fainting


thesofiamagazine.com | March 2021

• Weakness • Headaches It is very important to see a gynecologist to address any underlying causes of dysmenorrhea. Other conditions that can cause cramping, pelvic pressure, low back pain, heavy or prolonged periods, and gastrointestinal issues include the following: Endometriosis is a condition that causes the tissue that usually lines your uterus to grow outside the uterus. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone disorder affecting approximately 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. This is when the body tends to produce higher than normal amounts of male hormones.

Symptoms include heavy periods, prolonged periods, excessive facial and body hair, weight gain, trouble losing weight, acne, thinning hair, or hair loss. Fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop inside or outside of the uterus. They range in size from as small as a seed to large masses that can cause an enlarged uterus. The symptoms vary depending on the number of fibroids, their size, and location. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a bacterial infection of the female reproductive organs. It’s usually caused by sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Symptoms include painful intercourse, bleeding during or after sex, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, burning sensation when urinating, fever, and spotting between periods. Adenomyosis is a thickening of the uterus. It occurs when the endometrial tissue that lines your uterus grows into the muscles of your uterus and can cause your uterus to grow two to three times its normal size. An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small birth control device that’s inserted into your uterus. There are different types of IUDs available, some contain-

ing hormones while others are hormone-free. They’re safe for most people, but they can occasionally cause side effects, including severe menstrual cramps, irregular periods, and heavy menstrual bleeding. How to treat painful periods Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, help reduce menstrual pain by inhibiting prostaglandin activity, and reducing inflammation. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is another option if NSAIDS fail to work, or upset the stomach. Hormone therapy such as the birth control pill, skin patches, or a Depo-Provera shot may prevent ovulation and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. They can also make periods lighter, shorter, and less painful. This is not an option for women who smoke, have a history of blood clots, high blood pressure, or cancer. Regular exercise increases endorphins which can decrease pain. A heating pad across the abdomen can help relax the abdominal muscles. Pelvic floor physical therapy can relieve pelvic floor pain associated with excessive tightening and cramping by helping shortened and contracted muscles to stretch and relax. A hot bath with aromatherapy oils such as lavender, chamomile, and sage can be soothing. Give yourself an abdominal massage by placing your hands over your navel. Begin by making small circles in a clockwise direction. This should be done slowly with moderate pressure for about a minute. Then gradually increase the size of the circling until you are rubbing the entire abdomen.

Food as Medicine Dr. Scott often recommends proper nutrition and dietary changes to sup-

port a healthy and pain free menstrual cycle. Foods eaten can either increase the estrogen effect or reduce it. There have been studies that show that women who eat a high fiber and low fat diet have less estrogen levels and less painful cycles. Here are some dietary and lifestyle recommendations from Dr. Scott: Eat whole grains such as brown rice, whole-grain bread, and oatmeal. Eat vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, and Brussels sprouts. Eat legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils. Eat fruits such as apples, mangoes, berries, and oranges. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. Avoid refined grains such as white bread, refined cereals, and pastries. Avoid fatty foods such as doughnuts, cheese, French fries, and potato chips. Reduce stress: psychological stress may increase your risk of menstrual cramps.

Western Sydney University in Australia conducted a study to compare the efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of dysmenorrhea. The researchers found that, in all cases, acupuncture led to a significant reduction in the intensity and duration of menstrual pain after three months of treatment.

Yoga as Medicine Vinita Khatavkar is a seasoned yogi who teaches in the Asheville area. She has been practicing yoga since 1989 and says that regular practice of asanas (yogic postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques) are beneficial for relieving menstrual pain. Every asana can be held for 5 to 6 deep breaths or for a longer duration if it helps with the pain. She notes that inversions such as headstands and shoulder stands, as well as deep twists and backbends, should be avoided while menstruating. See page 8 for Vinita’s recommended postures for menstrual pain relief

Drink herbal teas such as chamomile, ginger, lemon balm, fenugreek, peppermint, and cramp bark which contain anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic compounds. upplements such as vitamin E, S omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-1 (thiamine), vitamin B-6, and magnesium may effectively reduce menstrual cramps.

A Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach In Chinese medicine, the most common reason for menstrual cramping is because of the stagnation of blood circulation in the lower abdomen. Acupuncture is a safe and effective technique used to increase blood flow, relax contractions, and move stagnation. Researchers at The National Institute of Complementary Medicine at

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher. For more information, visit acuwellhealth.com

March 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


Here are Vinita’s recommended postures for menstrual pain relief:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

Apanasana (Reclining Knee to Chest Pose)

Upavistha Konasana (Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Balasana (Child’s Pose)


thesofiamagazine.com | March 2021

Ways to Look Flawless in Photos


hile it is increasingly easy to edit your own photographs to make sure you look your best, there's not much you can do to stop someone else taking an unflattering picture (short of screaming "No!" at the top of your lungs). Here are ten quick and smart tips that will help you to look gorgeous and polished in photos, saving you a lot of time you might otherwise have spent airbrushing or cringing in embarrassment. - T o make sure you don't end up with a double chin in photos, drop your shoulders to elongate your neck and try to lean your face forward by approximately half an inch. This change won't make your posture look odd in photographs, but it will make sure your face looks slimmer. - A lways be aware of nearby light sources when you're being photographed indoors. Standing below a light will cast uneven shadows on your skin, while standing in front of a bright lamp can make you look washed out. You'll look your best in shots where you are facing a window that provides soft natural light. - Leave your nude lip glosses and dark red lipsticks behind if you know you're going to be in a lot of pictures. Bright lipsticks will make your mouth look perkier and create a youthful look, while darker colors artificially age you by shrinking the lips. - It can be difficult to look happy without looking crazed when you are asked to grin on command, but there is an art to creating a perfect smile. Placing your

tongue directly behind the teeth helps to create a natural, friendly grin. - W hen it comes to other makeup, focus on your eyes. Curled eyelashes, dramatic eyeliner and effective mascara will give you a captivating and seductive look. - If one of your main issues is blinking in photographs, practice briefly closing your eyes for a second just prior to the photograph. If you slowly open your eyes just as the picture is being taken, you should be able to circumvent the blinking curse. - Make sure that the person taking the photo is shooting you from above. Photos taken from below create double chins and place the focus on cavernous nostrils, while images snapped from above tend to make the subject look slimmer and more elegant. - For a more slender body shape in photos, place your hand on your hip and angle your body so that you are slightly turned to one side. As a bonus, this pose typically provides a flattering angle on the face as well. - To combat red eye, take a quick look at a bright light before a photograph is taken. Your pupils will shrink, dramatically reducing your chances of looking demonic in the image. - Finally, try to get used to being photographed and work to build your self-confidence. A huge part of looking good in pictures is being natural, happy and proud of how you look. March 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


Women Making Music


ary Kay Williams is one motivated woman! She’s living her life so loud, that for many days after our interview, I was inspired to get some stuff done myself! Born and raised in the part of upstate New York “where they pronounce their ‘r’s’ ” she grew up in a house of technical engineers and science- minded family members in Rochester. She credits her mom, Maureen, and her side of the family for passing down the creative gene. One of the longest interviews I’ve ever conducted, we discovered we have a few things in common. She warned me up front that she is fancifully er-


thesofiamagazine.com | March 2021

Multi-Gifted and Fearless:

Spotlight on Mary Kay Williams By Peggy Ratusz

ratic; preferring to jump around and joyfully succumb to her A.D.D. We both love to talk about ourselves, and boy did we do just that! From our respective zoom call rooms, the first thing I noticed was her headwear; A darling black chapeau with gold buttons. Turns out, she made it using material that was originally meant for another item she decided to scrap and reconstruct. Not one to waste fabric, this college educated fashion illustrator repurposed herself a modern take on the kicky bucket hat! I knew I was in for an amusing sit-down!

A large chunk of her Mary Kay Arts business was formed to promote her artistry as a retail caricaturist. She manages a successful career within the festival, amusement park and cruise ship circuit. With a bubbly exuberant vivacious personality, it’s no wonder her lines are notoriously the longest.

toward inspiring and guiding others. Creative people, people who don’t think they’re creative, are the people she aspires to attract and bring together for a creative workshop weekend event. She’s proven time and time again during her self-made cosmopolitan existence, that she can do whatever she sets her mind to!

But, all this happened in what she refers to as “the before times.” Like most of us, she’s shifted and pivoted and realigned strategies to find her virtual sweet spot, taking on custom orders and the like, making her way around the financial constraints the pandemic has caused.

As we swing around to the subject of music, I learn that she played Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz in 5th grade. She slayed the part and she slayed THE song! I discovered that the stops and starts with music were for her, deliberate and necessary. Still, she can’t believe there ever was a time in her adult life that she didn’t sing.

Fortunately, her brain provides a ceaseless supply of ideas and keeps her bucket list continuously full. There’s a steady pen-stroke of items crossed out and accomplished on that list besides! Her zealous re-imagining, re-inventing and repurposing all things art, manifests through awareness and alignments with like-minded collaborators and colleagues. She has spearheaded consortiums with other artists and formed lasting partnerships. “Here’s my list, in order of how much I love doing them: Singing! Lindy Hop Dancing! Art of all kinds! Writing! Acting! I’m the sort of person who is able to see patterns; I bubble around things. I’ve created a lifestyle and a path that is multifaceted to honor all my interests and talents. As it turns out, I attract and look for people who have attention deficit! I’ve met transplant surgeons who are piano virtuosos for instance. Multi-talented people are everywhere!” Now that she’s matured into her late fifties, she feels this pull to harness and focus her “goddess powers”

In her 30’s she began to pursue music in earnest. Her Uncle Billy is a Blues singer and after they performed together at a family reunion, he encouraged her to start going to Blues and Jazz jams around Rochester. The domino effect that committing to these weekly sit-ins realized was a female music group she and her late sister, Terry, formed called “Twisted Covers.” She also met a guitarist and singer whom she would perform with as a duo for two- plus years. She found great pleasure and was darn good at arranging harmonies and what a thrill it was to perform them at coffee houses and small café’s. The Barley’s Jazz Jam is where Mary Kay and I first met in early 2020. Her reputation for having all the right vocal chops preceded her, and boy did she not disappoint! With a full house on a chilly night, the warmth from her lighthearted and goofy demeanor brought us together in laughter and sway. As she seduced us with her pitch perfect ballad, the lushness of her voice made me and everyone

present respond in kind with lauding applause and whistles. I took out my phone and set a reminder to contact her for an interview. “For at least a decade now, my absolute number one love has been music.” So now, as the pandemic gives her new time (because she doesn’t lack energy, believe me!) she is making music the centerpiece. This feature, I dare say, is just what the Minstrel Doctor ordered! Whether it’s singing or speaking or acting in front of an audience, Mary Kay is fearless and brilliant. “The feeling of singing, in and of itself, makes me yearn to do more of it.” Though there’s not much out there in TV or computer land to evidence her creamy, ample and expressive song renderings, take it from me; she’ll be producing, arranging and recording at least an LP, just in time to release in the after times! “I have a mission in life to blaze a trail and do everything! I can’t imagine that I was given this much talent if my purpose is not to use all that I was given.” www.marykayarts.com Peggy Ratusz is a vocalist, vocal coach, writer and booking manager www.reverbnation.com/peggyratusz www.loveisaroselive.com

Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach, song interpreter, and songwriter. For vocal coaching email her at peggymarie43 @gmail.com

March 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


Why Sharing Stories Have Measurable Health Benefits

By Laurie Richardone

Hello friends,


write about food… You might pose the question?, what does story sharing and the health benefits that go with it have to do with food?

stretchy dough that hangs over each pie pan, pouring in the sweetened creamy ricotta, then dropping in maraschino cherries, before gently folding over the dough. This brings me back to happy days. I can still smell the perfumed bubbling of pies in the oven, as the crust turns into a light golden hue.

For over a half million years food and the search for it have influenced both human and historical development.

It brings a feeling of connection, calm, and great pleasure.

Food has meaning for each of us. It evokes nostalgia for days gone by, and those memories can be as nourishing to our spirits as a warm cup of hot cocoa on a winter night.

Where is that happy place in time for you? We know from decades of studies, that centenarians live a long healthy life because happiness, and eating well, are at the core. If you are lucky enough to have a wise elder in your life, you know they love sharing their stories…

Food is an imperative element of human survival, and feeds our very soul. As such, anecdotes have taken their rightful place in our kitchens. We all have a memory, a story, that’s connected to food that brings a warm smile. In turn, makes us feel happy… A memory that comes to mind is making ricotta pies at Easter with my grandmother. Rolling out the sweet 12

thesofiamagazine.com | March 2021

I like to call this narrative medicine, food for the soul. To your good health…

Cashew Cheese Cake with Cocoa Nibs This vegan raw cheesecake is creamy, beyond delicious and a festive addition to any table. An added benefit, it is packed with protein from the nuts, and is dairy free. All seasons - Prep time / 25 minutes Inactive raw cook time 6-8 hours, for soaking nuts and 2-3 hours to set. Filling 2 1/2 cups cashews 1/4 cup coconut oil 1/4 cup water, filtered 1/2 cup maple syrup 1/2 cup lemon juice, fresh 1/8 tsp sea salt 1 tbsp vanilla paste 18 cup cocoa powder, optional Crust 1 cup pitted dates (medjool dates if available) 2 cups raw almonds 1/16 sea salt 1/4 tsp vanilla or almond extract 1 tbsp water Garnish 1/2 cup Cocoa nibs edible flowers, or berries Line the bottom of a 6” spring pan with parchment paper, including around the sides. This will make a taller, more dramatic cake.

Use a 9” spring pan for a shorter but larger cake. Both work well. For the filling - Soak raw cashews for 8 hours or overnight in filtered or spring water. Drain, and pat dry in a single layer. Combine all the ingredients, (except cocoa powder) in a good quality food processor and blend for 5-7 minutes. ( It takes that much time for a creamy texture. ) Do not rush this. If you have a Vitamix, it will take about 3 minutes to become creamy. If adding Cocoa powder, mix 1/8 cup of powder with enough warm water to make creamy. Then gently fold it into the cashew mixture by hand, to make swirls. Crust - Put all the ingredients, except water in a food processor and pulse several times until well blended. Add 1 tbs water and mix until fully combined.

Assembly - Place the crust ingredients in the lined pan and press down until even all around. Pour in cashew mixture and smooth with a small rubber or offset spatula. Make sure the cake is even all around. Sprinkle cake with cacao nibs in whatever decoration that pleases you. Place the cake in the freezer for at least 2-3 hours. When removed, place edible flowers, berries, or some herbs on top . Take out 15-20 minutes before serving. Freezes well for up to a month.

For scheduled Cooking Classes in Asheville, Visit: LaurieRichardone.com

March 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


made it myself! More than 10,000 bolts of quality quilting cotton!

sheville EST.



1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville ~ 828-277-4100 Check out our classes at www.ashevillecottonco.com


thesofiamagazine.com | March 2021