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Live, Laugh, Love

April 2021

2 | 50+ Living | April 2021

It’s the Next BIG Thing! Real Estate analysts tell us that big city dwellers areescaping the congestion and stress and heading for smaller towns. Asheville is one of the top destinations! We want new residents to know that @MetroWines you will find all the national brands that you know including Camus, Turley, Rombauer, Chateau Montelena, Silver Oak, Stag’s Leap and Frog’s Leap! But you will also find wines from North Carolina importers that you may not have seen back home. Welcome! Jay Murrie, owner of Piedmont Imports based in Durham, brings us Plantamura Primitivo. From Puglia, Italy, this wine is a lovely ruby red. You will find intense aromas and a palate of black cherry and blackberry. Certified organic, Plantamura can be cellared up to seven years. Never had primitivo? While the origin of this grape is still subject to debate, most wine scholars agree that the modern home of primitivo is southern Italy, specifically Puglia. Probably arriving from Croatia in the early 19th century, the varietal was brought to the United States under the name of Zinfandel.

By Gina Trippi Prefer red? Try Chateaumar Châteauneuf du Pape, also from JP Bourgeois. The Castel Mar dates back to the 11th century. Farming is organic. Soil is turned several times during the year and grapes are hand-harvested, selected, and sorted. Voila! A limited production blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Mourvèdre, the wine spends eight months aging in French oak then concrete tank. This more traditionally-styled Châteauneuf-du-Pape features fruit and spice aromas with hints of smoke, anise, and earth. The palate is rich with dark berry, roasted plum, hints of wild herbs, and dark chocolate. The finish presents herbs, plum, and anise, incorporating old leather, dried violets, and dry-cured olives. Find comfort in names you know and adventure in a world of new wines!

Or what about aglianico from Compania? A few months back, Eric Asimov, wine critic for New York Times, sang the praises of the grape saying: “Among its many charms, aglianico is versatile, able to make wines that are delicious when young as well as those that can benefit from years, even decades, in the cellar.” But Asimov also said that aglianico might be difficult to find. Not here! We have had Fontanavecchia Aglianico from Haw River Wine Man in Burlington, North Carolina, since we opened the doors. Ruby red in the glass with one year oak aging, this wine offers aromas of dark berry, blue flower and a whiff of char. The easy palate presents Marasca cherry, crushed raspberry and Mediterranean herbs. And it’s not just Italian wines, we can access some limited distribution French wines too. JP Bourgeois, based in Asheville, brings in wines you should try! Forbes Magazine just chose Gonc Dry Muscat 2019 from JP Bourgeois as one of the eight wines to pair with “comfort food.” JP Bourgeois says muscat’s fresh floral qualities can take you away and dry muscat’s spicy citrus and orchard fruits make this wine a perfect pairing for intense cheeses.

Metro Wines Asheville Charlotte Street! It’s the Next BIG Thing! “Big Shop Selection.  Small Shop Service”

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AV L M e dia I nc . P. O. B ox 18416 A sh e ville , NC 28814 828. 230. 7537 50plusli ving W NC . co m

4 | 50+ Living | April 2021

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

Fletcher 3445 Hendersonville Rd. 828-376-3711

April 2021 | 50+ Living | 5

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose, I would always greet it in a garden.”

~ Ruth Stout

50+Living of Western NC

PUBLISHER Tammy Sheppard publisherofsofia@gmail.com EDITOR JeanAnn Taylor


3 It’s the Next BIG Thing! 7 Floral Arranging Fun 8 Taylor’d with Style. . . April Fool’s Fashion 10 Get a Giggle 11 Encouraging Children to Read More 12 Creating Her Voice 14 The Classy Cook       Bumbershoots

15 Celebrate Yourself 16 Stretch It Out

GRAPHIC ARTIST Joan Hutt WEB DESIGN Alphie Hyorth ADVERTISING INQUIRIES Mike Demos 828.273.0098 mikedemos@aol.com Trish Luzzi 828.423.0248 wnccreations@gmail.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gigi Steel Gina Trippi

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.

6 | 50+ Living | April 2021

Floral Arranging Fun

Bringing blooming flowers from your garden into your home can create a refreshing atmosphere everyone can enjoy. There are many ways to display your flowers, here are just a few.

Square-shaped vases offer a contemporary vibe. The angles of the square contrast with the curves of a flower. The stems should be cut so that the flower is just above the edge of the opening so the flower is supported.

Placing a single blossom in a small vase can look very elegant. A grouping of several small vases with only one flower in each can make a sophisticated statement.

Flowers with practically no stem like camellias, or blossoms in which the stem has fallen off, can float in attractive bowls.

Flowers with large blossoms and long stems require a sturdy container. Sunflowers and dahlias are flowers that need a stable vase. Think outside the regular vessel. Try using a decorative water pitcher or cookie jar.

Just about any container that holds water can act as a vase. I’ve used everything from wine bottles to antique salt and pepper shakers. Look at your containers with a new eye to create floral masterpieces.

Cylinder vases are perfect for long branches and flowers with long stems. Lilac, peonies, and hydrangea need support from a vase that is smaller at the top than the bottom.

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Taylor’d with Style

April Fool’s Fashion By JeanAnn Taylor


pril Fool’s Day—what a fun day to dress foolishly or mis-matched. I once attended an “April Fools Tacky Dance” where everyone was encouraged to wear his or her tackiest outfit. I won first place with an ensemble of leopard print, hot pink lace, black fishnet hose, pink flamingo accessories, and way too much makeup. It was a night of laughter, dancing, and poking fun at our lack of fashion sense. While this night was a mockery of fashion, the truth is that taking a little care and dressing well can change your life. There are many reasons to dress well every day. People will take you more seriously—it shows that you care and respect who you are. You’ll appear more capable and trustworthy. If you look like 8 | 50+ Living | April 2021

you don’t take care of yourself, why should you be trusted to care for someone or something else? You’ll be more motivated to stay healthy and fit—so you can wear those nice clothes. Your selfconfidence will increase; you’ll stand taller and sit straighter. Your standards will rise; you’ll be more likely to keep your car and home clean. All this being said, what does “well dressed” mean? The dictionary definition is: Attired in clothing that is of good quality, is properly fitted, and is appropriate and becoming. Of course, this meaning is subjective. Being well dressed depends on society, culture, and occasion. There are, however, a few guidelines that can keep your well-dressed wishes from turning into foolish fashion faux pas.

Sleeves continue to be a popular fashion element. They add detail and interest, and they keep us warm. What I don’t understand is the long sleeve trend that hangs lower than the wrist—even past the fingers. Obviously, the sleeve would get in the way of everything you tried to do, and imagine the filth from them dragging around. Showing too much cleavage is a risky expression. The eye will always go to the spot where fabric meets skin. If that is the point where you want attention, go for it. But if not, skip the skimpy top. Too-tight button-up shirts that pull at the buttons across the chest is another distracting— and uncomfortable—fashion blunder. If your shirt doesn’t lay flat when buttoned, consider wearing a tank top under the shirt and leave it unbuttoned. Pants can look stylish and sophisticated or they can take your fashion sense down a notch or two. The worst offender: gauchos. This fashion flop is unflattering on everyone. If you are thin, they make you look frumpy. If you are large, they make you look larger. In addition, this shapeless garment falls at the widest part of your leg which emphasizes the width. Remember, the eye will always go to where fabric meets skin. On the flip side are body-hugging leggings. These “pants” have become a staple in our comfort-driven culture. One suggestion: don’t wear flesh colors or you risk looking like you forgot your pants.

up in landfills long before regular jeans. Adding insult to injury, distressed jeans have a price tag that can triple regular styles. This trend is bad for our pocketbook and our Earth. Dressing well doesn’t have to be stressful. Don’t force yourself to wear something that doesn’t fit your body or your personality. Authenticity is attractive, artificial is awkward. Pay attention to fit. Ill-fitting clothes that are too-tight or too-baggy look sloppy. Wear clean clothes that have no pills, tears, or stains. Many fabrics are wash and wear, but if your shirt needs ironing, take a few minutes for this task. Well dressed in wrinkles is an oxymoron. Choose quality over quantity. Having an excess of ill-fitting, out-dated, or low-quality clothes will not increase your sense of style. Remember, everything we wear sends a message. Every thing. Every day. Many women have lost the art of dressing well. The misconception is that what we wear doesn’t—or shouldn’t—affect how we are treated. The truth is that it does. I believe in the power of a great outfit. There is no reason to be an April, May, June, or anytime fashion fool. It’s not indulgent or self-absorbed to dress well. It affects the way we think, feel, act, and how others react to us. Dressing well shows respect for others, the event, and the day. As Coco Chanel famously said, “Being well dressed is a beautiful form of politeness.”

Another current fad is distressed jeans. As someone who loves fabric, it’s hard to wrap my mind around taking a perfectly good piece of material and destroying it. Some of these garments are more “distressed” than “jean.” The ripped and torn statement is one to consider carefully. In the animal world, a shabby coat is a sign of easy prey. On an environmental note, making slashed and worn-out jeans requires sandblasting and tons of extra water. Sturdy denim, woven to last for years, will last only one season when abused and shredded. Distressed jeans, along with the scraps that are cut out, end

April 2021 | 50+ Living | 9


Get a

By Gigi Steel

ife isn’t always funny. In fact, sometimes it’s painful, depressing, stressful, disappointing, or overwhelming. It’s easy to fall into a blackhole of hopelessness when we’re feeling down; however, filling our lives with laughter can turn our outlook on life around.


It sounds so simple: just laugh more often. Children are great at it. They laugh over two hundred times each day, adults may laugh only twenty times a day. This is in part because children find humor in things adults find upsetting. Children laugh at absurdities, ridiculousness, surprises, and unexpected messes. Step in a mud puddle? Splash! Get chocolate icing all over your face? Hilarious! Drop your crayons on the floor? Pretend you’re a bulldozer and scoop them up. There are many valid reasons to add laughter to your life. A good, solid chuckle can make us healthier by lowering our blood pressure, reducing stress hormones, and increasing the circulation of antibodies in our blood stream—helping us resist infection. The muscles in our face and body stretch, and we breathe harder, which sends more oxygen to our tissues. Laughing tightens the tummy and strengthens our heart. After a good, hard belly laugh, you may feel like you just had a good, hard workout! While both men and women benefit by laughter, there is a difference in how the sexes process funniness. I remember as children, my younger brother enjoyed watching The Three Stooges. As he sat cross-legged in front of the television, he laughed hysterically at scenes I could only roll my eyes at. I usually left the room when that show was on. I’ve found that men can find humor in knocking heads while women find it foolish. April Fool’s jokes and pranks are another example of very 10 | 50+ Living | April 2021

personal preferences. What is comical to one person may be insulting to another. To know what tickles your funny bone, you must first know yourself. Our sense of humor is as individual as our eye color, so look for people who laugh at the same things you find funny. Adulthood means we are consumed with responsibilities: work, bills, repairs, deadlines, and appointments. An unexpected and spontaneous giggle can help us to lighten up and not take ourselves so seriously. Laughter changes us. It can help turn our perspective from gloom to glee. Laughing is also contagious. When we smile at the person who is stuck in a long line with us, the acknowledgement that we are in this situation together helps ease the frustration. When faced with a large work-task, finding humor with coworkers can make a workload seem more manageable. In relationships, laughing can help alleviate an argument when a difficult situation has seemed to come to an impasse. Laughing together is a shared emotion that results in creating a bond with each other. For your health and well-being, find ways to include more laughter in your life. For me, a video of babies laughing gets me every time. Or let a seven-year-old impress you with her plethora of knock-knock jokes. Whatever it takes, try to get more giggle in your gig.


Encouraging Children to Read More

eading is a wonderful way to explore another land, fly to the moon, or inspire a dream. Sadly, too many American children are turning away from books and toward the screen. Computers hold so much information and potential for learning, but books hold magic. Scrolling down a screen can not compare to holding a book in your hand and turning the pages. Books ignite imagination. To encourage your little ones to pick a book up, try these tips. Create a book nook—this can be as elaborate as an upholstered chair with perfectly angled lighting, or a fort with blankets draped over chairs and a headlamp or flashlight. Look for activities that support and relate to the books your child is reading. Do they love science? Take them to a planetarium or aquarium. Do they love giraffes? Take them to the zoo. Read aloud so that everyone can enjoy a book at the same time. This can be a great activity on long car rides. Offer an incentive. Let your child stay up 30 minutes past bedtime if they agree to spend that time reading. A large selection of books is more inviting than a piddly choice. Fairy tales, history, mysteries, how-to,

and fun facts are all good choices. Studies show that the number of books in the home has a direct effect on a child’s desire to read. Little ones love to read the same story over and over and over. They love recognizing the pictures, turning pages at the correct time, and reciting the words they can remember. Encourage children to write their own books. This can begin as young as preschool age by letting your child draw or cut out pictures from magazines. Compile the pictures on pages and staple them together. This activity promotes a love of books, and your child will be proud of his/her creation. Reading habits start early, and you can encourage them by setting an example. When children see their parents read, they are more likely to read for themselves because they realize that reading is an important activity. Read with young children when you are out and about. Read the street signs, billboards, and names on buildings. It’s also important to show interest in what your child is reading. Ask questions about the characters and the story. This shows you care, and the result is that they will read more so they can invoke more conversations with you. April 2021 | 50+ Living | 11

Creating Her Voice By Tammy Sheppard

also a passionate dance competitor, who after being in a terrible car crash, came back the next year to place in the 2020 World’s Country Dance Championship. Her first book, The Little Girl Who Loves to Twirl reflects her love of dance. Her newest book, Mermaid Magic ~ An Enchanting Story of Secrets and Adventure was released in February. I sat down with JeanAnn to learn more about her.

What was your inspiration for Mermaid Magic?


hen you meet JeanAnn Taylor, your first impression is that of a small, quiet, neatly dressed lady. What you don’t realize until you get to know her is that under the reserved demeanor is a lady full of energy and enthusiasm for creating . . . with thread, fabric, yarn, paint, and words. And it doesn’t stop there. JeanAnn is 12 | 50+ Living | April 2021

I relate to mermaids. My daughter says it’s because I’m a Scorpio and water is my element. I don’t know if that is the actual reason, but I do have a strong desire to be near water. I guess that’s why I love rainy days. When I was a little girl, I secretly pretended to be a mermaid whenever I went swimming. Once, as a teenager, I swam alone out into the Gulf of Mexico—way, way out. I vividly remember the blissful connection between me

and the water. When I finally turned around and realized how far I had swum, I nearly panicked. I started swimming back and somehow made it to shore without being eaten by a shark. It was the year the movie Jaws came out. I never did that again.

Why did you decide to do your own illustrations for Mermaid Magic? I talked to several professional artists. One artist sent art samples of mermaids who looked devilish. Another said she didn’t like authors to dictate what she could draw. I quickly realized that with my clear vision, I had to illustrate my book myself. And it wasn’t easy. I didn’t know how to draw! I really struggled with faces—still do. But I’m thankful I made this decision. Watercolor painting has become another way to express myself.

When did you start writing? As a child, I didn’t always feel comfortable expressing my truth. So, I became pretty quiet and afraid of my feelings. This resulted in insecurity and a lot of emotional hiding. I really didn’t have a voice until I began writing for magazines. That was when I found a way to speak and be heard. Even though I have a quiet audible voice, I feel like I can be loud with my articles and books.

Who influenced you as a child? My grandmother. She was my best friend. I have many, many precious memories of her. She died in 2015 at the age of 110. She always told me, “You aren’t old until you turn a hundred.”

You also like to sew? I love to sew. I make nearly everything I wear, and I’ve made over 100 quilts and wall hangings. I also

love to crochet and embroider. I guess it’s all about being creative and staying busy—I like to have projects lined up.

Tell me about dancing. I adore ballet, but I don’t have the body for it. When I discovered ballroom dancing, a new world opened for me. Now, I’m a competitive country dancer. I call it, “ballroom in boots” because it’s very similar to ballroom dancing, but there is a lot of twirling in country . . . which I love! The competitions encourage me to get better—something to work toward.

Do you get nervous when you compete? I get terrified and wonder, Why am I doing this to myself? Then the music comes on and I start dancing and I have a blast. Eleanor Roosevelt said you should do something scary every day. I figure a dance competition qualifies for a month of scary.

What are your goals for the future? I plan to continue writing and illustrating. I feel like being published is a gift from God—especially at this point in my life. It gives me purpose. And I’ll continue to sew. I recently inherited my mother’s 1957 Singer sewing machine and it sews like a dream! I’m just very driven to create . . . I never sit still! And dance. I will always, always dance.

What do you want people to remember about you? I would hope to be remembered as someone who lived with grace and gratitude; that I was kind, honest, and creative; and that I loved God, my family, and America.

Follow JeanAnn on Instagram at jeananns.taylord.life April 2021 | 50+ Living | 13

The Classy Cook

Simple treats can be the best treats! Banana pudding is a southern staple with recipes passed down for generations. This recipe uses ingredients sure to be a hit at your next family reunion. Just ask Addie--it’s Yummy!


BUMBERSHOOTS We’ve all been caught in the rain a time or two, without an umbrella, which is often steps away . . . in the car. But do you know that this form of protection has been around for over 3,000 years? Parasols were first created in Egypt to protect royalty from the sun and to ensure that skin did not become tan. The umbrella, used to protect from rain, didn’t come out until the 11th century.

INGREDIENTS 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 large boxes instant vanilla pudding 3 cups mild 1 8-ounce container sour cream 1 large container cool whip 1 box vanilla wafers 6 bananas DIRECTIONS Mix milk, vanilla, and pudding. Fold in Cool Whip and sour cream. Mix thoroughly. Layer wafers, pudding, and bananas. We would LOVE to hear what you are cooking and baking! Please email jeananntaylor@rewnc.com to share your ideas and recipes. You may even find your recipe featured in 50+Living Magazine. 14 | 50+ Living | April 2021

The Fall of the Roman Empire brought increased crime, a crumbling economy, the lack of food, and poor personal hygiene. This all added up to end the popularity of umbrellas and parasols. They made a return to fashion after the beginning of the Renaissance Era. In the 18th century, a sturdy umbrella design was created allowing men to feel more comfortable carrying the previous female-only fashion accessory. Parasols are still considered to be a lady’s fashion accessory. They are lightweight, delicate, smaller, not water-proof, and only used to protect from the sun. The umbrella protects from rain and sun. It is waterproof, more durable, and larger. Umbrellas are used by both men and women. Parasols may be made from lace, silk, or cotton, while umbrellas are made from studier fabrics and coated with waterproof finishes. There are many types of umbrellas: automatic, high wind, bubble, and pocket. Parasols are typically traditional utilizing a runner that is moved up or down.




hen was the last time you did something only for you? While we juggle career demands, home responsibilities, and family commitments, it’s important for our health and wellbeing to find time not only to take care of ourselves, but also to celebrate, honor, and love ourselves for who we are. Celebrating oneself is not a vain or self-absorbed act. It is an essential element of self care. It is also important for the care you give your loved ones because you can’t look after anyone else if you don’t first take care of yourself. The truth is that we teach others how to treat us. If we neglect our own needs, we send the message that it’s okay for others to neglect our needs. We set the standards of how we want to be treated by how we treat ourselves. This is important because if we don’t celebrate ourselves or teach others how to celebrate us, we will eventually feel taken for granted and unappreciated. So, how do you celebrate yourself? Here are a few ways to start. Take a break. Go for a walk, go have an ice cream sundae, read a book, buy a new pair of shoes, or take

a bubble bath. Whatever you feel you need, take time and do it. Reflect on your achievements. You may want to make a list of your accomplishments. Then the next time you feel like a failure, take out the list and read it out loud to yourself.

Acknowledge what you have done—not only the big things like publishing a book or buying a house, but also the little things like mowing the yard, washing dishes, and doing the laundry. These little things keep your life in order and are important. If you don’t think so, skip these tasks for a week and see how disorderly your life becomes. You can also celebrate mental wins. If you have been working on your composure and self-control, and have found success, celebrate that! Have you started exercising regularly? There’s another celebration! Once you begin acknowledging your achievements, you’ll realize you have a lot to celebrate. Another way to honor yourself is to give to your “grown-up” self what your “child-self” needed—and didn’t get. Maybe you always wanted to take art lessons but were not allowed. Give that gift to yourself now. Maybe you wanted to wear a particular style of clothing, but were not allowed. Give yourself freedom to be who you are. Begin making yourself a priority with concerted efforts to be as kind to yourself as you are to others. Once you begin celebrating who you are and what you’ve done, you’ll be unstoppable. April 2021 | 50+ Living | 15

STRETCHING TIPS TO REMEMBER -Warm up before stretching. -A five minute walk will increase blood flow to your muscles, warm them up, and prepare them for a stretch. -Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Don’t bounce.You should feel a “stretch” but no pain. If there is pain, release the stretch.

By JeanAnn Taylor





hen I was a little girl, I spent nearly every weekend with my grandmother. She was my favorite person, and I wanted to be just like her. I was impressed with everything she did—from baking buttermilk biscuits to cutting the skin off an apple in one long strip. She loved to laugh and sing along with George Jones on her AM radio. Another memory is her dedication to keeping her body healthy and flexible. So every night before we crawled into bed, she reached down to touch her toes ten times. I was so impressed. I mean she must have been 50 years old. I thought my grandmother was the only “old lady” in the world who could do something like that!

pain free. Stretching increases our range of motion giving us freedom to move—walk, ride bikes, and dance. It increases blood flow to our muscles, which improves circulation. Improved circulation can help to reduce headaches and stress, while increasing calmness. Improved circulation also wards off diabetes, kidney dysfunction and heart disease.

Granny innately knew a lot of things, and the importance of stretching was one of them. I think touching her toes each night was like a check light to her. As long as she could touch her toes, she knew she was still in shape and aging as gracefully as possible. And she was right. Stretching is an important activity for all ages, but as we age, it becomes even more crucial to staying healthy and active.

Increased flexibility is a pivotal element of overall health. We don’t have to become stationary as we age. A few daily stretches can go a long way toward a more pliable and healthier you. Simple stretches are a great way to begin. Sit on the floor, bend forward, and reach for your toes. While sitting at your computer, reach your arms up, bend to one side, then the other. While standing, take one leg back for a gentle hamstring stretch. You can stretch while waiting for your microwave to finish heating up a cup of coffee or while watching a sitcom. There is no need for a big production, but as you progress and feel the benefits, you may find that a class offers direction and support.

Tight, un-stretched muscles, can be painful. They can also become damaged when asked to perform sudden movements as when stopping a fall or reaching awkwardly for something. Tight muscles are shorter, weaker, and unable to perform optimally. For example, tight hamstring muscles can make walking difficult. Tight back muscles make nearly every movement painful. Regular, daily stretching can keep our muscles long and flexible. Stretching promotes mobility, which secures independence. It helps us perform everyday activities effortlessly and 16 | 50+ Living | April 2021

Stretching can improve our posture. When our muscles are flexible and healthy, proper spinal alignment is attainable. When our spine is aligned, our central nervous system can perform optimally and do its job of keeping us at our healthiest state.

Once you start stretching and realize how much better you feel, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without doing it. You may even become like Granny and touch your toes ten times each night before crawling into bed.

April 2021



Tofu makes Miso Happy | Life is Better in the Garden | Play it Forward

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thesofiamagazine.com | April 2021

Hello April

Publisher Tammy Sheppard publisherofsofia@gmail.com

Art Director / Web Design Tina Gaafary

For Advertising Inquiries Mike Demos 828.273.0098 mikedemos@aol.com

from the staff of SOFIA!

Trish Luzzi 828.423.0248 wnccreations@gmail.com

Contributing Writers Natasha Kubis Peggy Ratusz Laurie Richardone


C  over Story Monica Rousseau Natasha Kubis


 he Rewards of T Mindful Cooking Laurie Richardone


 iso Baked Tofu M with Red Radishes Laurie Richardone


Women Making Music Play it Forward Peggy Ratusz

12 Healing in the Garden Natasha Kubis

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. April 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


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Dig Deep, Practice and...

Find Your V o i c e

�� Jazz �� Soul �� Rock �� Country

Blues Pop

Pre-Teens to Baby Boomers Novice to professional

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Vocal Coach 828.301.6768



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April 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


Monica Rousseau By Natasha Kubis


onica Rousseau is an innovator, a mentor, and a leader that has helped shape her community in positive ways with her optimism and forward-thinking attitude. She is a proud mama of 5 kids, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and an example of everything you can achieve when you believe in yourself.

Photos by Bren Photography


thesofiamagazine.com | April 2021

She takes great pride in her work as principal broker at Realty ONE Group Pivot, one of the fastest growing real estate firms in Western North Carolina. Monica opened the office in 2019 because she wanted to offer a different kind of firm, one that is edgy and dynamic. She says it’s more of an “UNbrokerage” firm, where brokers can grow their businesses and provide for their families in an encouraging atmosphere that is agent-centric. Her business thrives on a culture of connectivity and support. “A rising tide raises all ships”, she says, and when one of her team members is thriving, the entire team is a success. The hallmark of her company is the mentorship and coaching approach she takes with each agent, becoming a teacher, confidant, and friend. This approach truly allows the team to become ONE family. Her

brokers also utilize the most advanced technology tools to grow their businesses. For example, they were already strongly established in the online platform, so when Covid-19 hit and the industry had to make huge transitions, Realty ONE Group Pivot didn’t miss a beat and it has been business as usual throughout the pandemic. Realty ONE Group Pivot is a full-service concierge brokerage firm that works with new construction, residential, land, and commercial spaces. They do everything for their clients from cleaning out spaces, coordinating services, estate sales, and introducing them to the best local hangouts. They anticipate their clients needs and they keep the process as seamless as possible in order to remove any stress factors. Monica’s favorite part of the job is building relationships with agents, clients, and the community. Buying and selling real estate, in particular, someone’s family home, is one of the most stressful events in life. “This job allows us, as brokers, to be a part of the most intimate space in a person’s life… their home. It’s so special to be a part of that.” When this boss babe is not running her business and supporting her team of 36 brokers, you can find her advocating for her community through programs like Safelight and serving on various committees for the Asheville Chamber of Commerce. One of Monica’s proudest accomplishments was starting GAFA Studios, a non-profit dance studio in Wilmington, NC. Her daughter is an accomplished dancer and when her dance studio closed down, Monica decided to open up her own space. She has always been passionate about empowering children and is a strong advocate for their wellbeing, as well as an activist in ending child sex trafficking. The studio served as a means to accomplish that by helping boys and girls find their intrinsic worth, to know their gifts, and to feel good about themselves. “Everyone has greatness inside of them and I love to help other people find that greatness.” The most important thing to Monica is her beloved family. Her greatest joy in life is when her and her husband get to watch their 5 kids do all the things they love to do such as football, softball, dance, and track. They are a family of athletes and her eldest son loves competing with her in the Spartan race (Monica is currently training for a triathlon). She will often bring her kids with her to the office to help educate them on the

ins and outs of business operations. Monica spends her free time training for races, playing golf, swimming, surfing, and skiing. She also loves to cook and is a huge jokester. “If it’s not fun, I’m not doin’ it”, she says. She doesn’t take herself too seriously and she strives to live from a place of authenticity and vulnerability. “I have faults and I make mistakes. It’s okay to pick yourself up, dust your knees off, and keep moving forward every day”, she says. She knows that we are all still learning and becoming the best versions of ourselves. “I get up in the morning to help people reach their goals, that’s what drives me the most'', she says. MONICA ROUSSEAU Principal Broker 319 N King Street Hendersonville, NC 28792 m: 828.676.7264 o: 828.595.2494 https://linktr.ee/rousseau April 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


The Rewards of Mindful Cooking By Laurie Richardone


thesofiamagazine.com | April 2021


onkey Mind is what the buddhists call the agitated state when our thoughts restlessly dash from idea to idea. Mindfulness can help us tame that habit. Cooking offers a wonderful opportunity for us to train the mind to be present. Instead of using the breathe to anchor the mind - as you would in a meditation. The art of mindful cooking focuses our attention on the senses. Tuning them into the sights, sounds, and smells of the culinary task at hand. In applying your attention to the details of what you are doing, no matter what the task is, you will likely

discover a feeling of calm: Which will have you become a better cook, as you will start to connect to your intuition. Even if you love to cook, where is your mind while preparing the ingredients, or stirring the soup? Cooking does not have to be a rushed experience, or something we do on autopilot, without presence. My personal mantra in the kitchen is: put your mind where your hands are. I say it out loud to be sure I have heard it. This creates space for presence. Moreover, cooking is an act of self care, and reminds us we are worthy of a home cooked meal. To your good health…

Miso Baked Tofu With Red Radishes

1 package firm tofu, drained and patted dry, make 4-6 thick slices 1 bunch of small radishes 6 cloves of garlic, cut in half 1 red onion, sliced Mix 2 tablespoons of miso, mellow white or miso of choice, with 2 tablespoons warm water to make a paste Pinch of black pepper Pinch of sea salt 2 tablespoons olive oil, or coconut oil 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, or other herb

Preheat the oven to 375. Lay tofu out on a baking dish or sheet pan. Oil both sides. Add salt & pepper. Slice the radishes and mix in a bowl with oil, salt & pepper. Add sliced onions and garlic, toss again. Spread out on sheet pan with the sliced tofu. Spread the miso paste onto the tofu. Bake for 30 minutes, or until onions, and tofu are browned. To finish, squeeze lemon, or lime, and garnish with cilantro. To kick it up a notch, add a fried egg on top...

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

1/2 of a lemon, or lime, juiced April 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


Women Making Music Play it Forward

By Peggy Ratusz

Whitney Moore


or some female musicians in our area the past year has been a challenge and for others, a godsend. For many this past year has been a mix of the two. Every phone call I’ve shared and every interview I’ve conducted for the past 8 or 9 months, the pandemic dominates the conversation. How could it not? Covid-19 fatigue is a real thing. It’s a syndrome I feel and witness in others on a daily basis; even on days I don’t see anyone other than my husband and dog. I feel great relief after venting in my journal, whining each week on family zooms and posting my dismay on social media. Lock down loneliness, unemployment benefit woes, motivational teeter totters is real. Fortunately, my female musician friends lift me in real ways in real-time. For instance, there’s Kate Kinney Barber, flutist and vocalist for Moody Blues tribute band, The Lost Chord. She and


thesofiamagazine.com | April 2021

I share Covid political rants. But we pivot our conversation to calmer waters by sharing our positive anticipation of taking the stage once again!

be among other things, an avid hiker. Without our buddy system Mother Nature sojourns, I would be a vitamin D deficient basket case.

If it weren’t for Aileen Pearlman, aka “Big Al,” I wouldn’t have much of a sense of humor. The weekly open mic nights we used to host together left a huge hole in our creative process. And yet, without her editing, designing and sharing pithy tik-tok type videos and our late night tipsy texts, that hole would be a chasm.

I can’t say enough about the super-girl life saver friend I have in Paula Hanke. Partnering in music and comical crime despite the cancellation of all of our tour dates together, hasn’t dampened Paula’s goddess influenced path. And I reap the lovely benefits each and every day.

My next door neighbor, singer/songwriter, Mare Carmody and I can go days without seeing each other but it’s our driveway vodka tonic sing-alongs, coffees on the patio and checking in on one another before grocery store runs, that make my days feel less lonely. Remember Christine OnTheScene? Every local musician’s promotor/supporter and live music godmother? She’s one of my besties and she happens to

To all these women, the women I’ve interviewed, and those women I’ve only met on the internet, I extend a loud and true, thank you! I got to wondering how are other soon-to-be-working-steadily-again professional musicians doing these days. After a year of shut down, how have mask wearing, hand sanitizing, live streaming, twisting, bending, and pivoting left them?

I reached out to a few of them to ask and received back, a cornucopia of answers.

Ashley Heath facebook.com/ ashleyheathandherheathens Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve adapted by coming up with creative ways to keep my music thriving and my fan base engaged. I started a business called “Singing Grams.” These are singing telegrams where a person picks a song they’d like to dedicate to someone; it could be for a birthday, anniversary or just to set hey. Then I learn the song and call or video call the person and sing it to them! It’s a complete surprise to the person I’m calling and the responses have been awesome! It’s helped me reconnect with people I haven’t talked to in years! I’ve been writing a ton of songs, gardening, painting, getting outside, and having FaceTime with my friends! My band, Ashley Heath and Her Heathens will be recording in the fall and I’m looking forward to releasing my third album in 2022. Our full band shows are starting to come back as weather is getting nicer! Here are my next performance dates April and beyond: May 29th - Elevated Distillery Carolina Writers Series Highlands, NC, solo performance. June 10th - Pine Summer Concert Series in Wilkesboro, NC for the town of Wilkesboro featuring Ashley Heath and Her Heathens. July 23rd and 24th – IT’S FLOYD FEST near Floyd, Virginia! I am this year’s Artist on the Rise recipient and these very special performances will be with my full band - Ashley Heath and Her Heathens!

Linda Mitchell lindamitchellblues.com/ The pandemic has been hard for me

around music. I lost steady gigs and an important income stream. My motivation has dropped so low in part, because my gigs dried up. I have not been working with my music partner and in general I miss making music with all the people I used to, pre-pandemic. A silver lining to the loss has been and is the jazz jam OUTDOORS, weather permitting, at One World West Brewing on Sundays. Some weeks I sit-in which brings me a needed sense of normalcy. I have been coping by cooking a lot too; new cuisines, new recipes. Though I have “Covid Mind Days” where I lay on the couch and can’t remember what day it is, I combat it by walking a mile every day. I mask up whenever I grocery shop and lately have dined at nearly empty restaurants. The consequence of not getting sick is my stringent rule of wearing a mask! Yeah masks! Recently I was able to get both Covid shots. I live in hope for the health of my friends and family and very soon, returning to playing LIVE MUSIC again!

Whitney Moore whitneymoore.com/ I’ve been hunkered down with my family since March of last year. We have high risk family members so we’ve stayed super isolated. The last gig I played was an outdoor event at the salvage station in October - and that was the first time I’d played since March! We’re in talks with the Salvage Station about another outdoor date this summer. It was surreal to win “Best in Jazz” in a local 2020 poll, because I barely feel like I have a band anymore! We’ve managed to release a few remote recordings and music videos, but that’s about it. For me, personally it’s been a welltimed hiatus because I gave birth to my second child in June. I’ve been soaking

in the extended “babymoon” and extra time with my four year old. I’m grateful to have some voice over work to do from my home studio and our garden has never looked better!

Caromia caromiamusic.com/ For me, what 2020 lacked in social interaction, live music and entertainment, it made up for in the opportunity for time alone at home to write and record. Almost a year after releasing my last solo effort, I’ll be sending a new one off into the internet ethers, for your listening pleasure. Keep a lookout in the coming months for Sunday Land, a beachy dreamscape collection born out of the early Covid time-warp. Follow all these lovelies and support live local music as much as you can as the country and our state open up over the coming months! There is a lot of time and money needed to make up for the losses these musicians have had to endure. We play it forward to honor our family of fans!

Peggy Ratusz dates in April: Saturday April 3rd – Mills River Brewing with Duane Simpson, 2pm-5pm Friday April 9th – Isis Music Hall in-person ticketed and livestream concert with Love Bubble, 7pm Friday April 23rd – Isis Music Hall in-person ticketed and livestream concert with Peggy Ratusz & Daddy LongLegs band, 7pm

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

April 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


Healing in the

Garden By Natasha Kubis


laude Monet said, "Perhaps, I owe having become a painter to flowers." There’s nothing that feeds the senses more than basking in the richness of nature’s canvas. Tending to a garden and bearing witness to its unpredictable splendor is a captivating experience that ignites a sense of holiness and meditation. Many Artists like Monet, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Dali, and Kahlo


thesofiamagazine.com | April 2021

cultivated beautiful gardens specifically to give them a pleasing natural subject to paint. Claude Monet used his garden to aid in his recovery from a debilitating depression, and then painted it on canvases to help heal the war-torn French nation. For years, healing gardens have been found at nursing homes, hospitals, and healthcare facilities where they provide a place of refuge for patients, family, and staff. Places of

worship, college campuses, and city centers often have a central garden where people can contemplate and find solace. When I lived in NYC, I was incredibly lucky to live across the street from Central Park, and would often bring a towel, music, or a book and hide out from the chaos swarming around me. Research has shown that when you connect with nature, positive changes occur in the body that include lowering blood

pressure, decreasing heart rate, reducing stress, and improving mood. Most of us are dealing with stress in our everyday lives and could all benefit from our own healing garden. April is National Garden Month, and a good time to create a healing and inspirational garden that indulges your senses. When you create a blueprint for your garden, include a place to sit and observe the beauty of nature. This can be a simple bench, a comfy chair, or a hammock. Add a focal point for meditation and reflection such as a sculpture, interesting rocks, art, or wind chimes. The sound of water evokes a feeling of relaxation and contemplation and can include a water fountain, a pond, or a waterfall. If you plan to spend time in your sanctuary in the evening, use LED lighting to set off plants to their best advantage. Drape a string of lights over an arbor or tree. Encourage butterflies, birds, insects, and other wildlife to the garden with bird feeders, birdhouses, and plants that supply nectar and food. When deciding which plants to add to your healing garden, remember to grow what you like. Some colorful flowers that grow easily in most environments include: - Sunflowers - Coneflowers - Zinnias - Marigolds - Morning Glories - Impatiens - Pansies - Snapdragons

- Geraniums - Dahlias - Petunias - Cosmos Include some healing herbs that will be easy to dry out and make into medicinal teas: - D  andelion supports a healthy liver, kidney function, blood pressure, and encourages the healing of skin ailments like acne. - E  chinacea is used as an immune stimulant and the tea is often gargled for a sore throat.

- L  emon balm supports headache relief, encourages stress relief, and restful sleep. - T  hyme is used medicinally to support healthy lungs and corrects fungal imbalances. You can make your healing garden adaptable to any living situation, whether in your backyard or with potted plants on your balcony, or in a sunny corner of your living room. It’s a great opportunity to let your creativity flourish and nurture well-being.

- F ennel stimulates appetite and supports healthy digestion. - G  arlic aids in immune function, supports healthy blood pressure, and is traditionally used in remedies to eliminate common intestinal parasites. - L  avender is typically grown for its beautiful flowers and lovely scent. It is traditionally used to support mental wellness. It can be used for tea or in bath sachets.

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

April 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


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April 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com





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50+Living APRIL 2021  

Based in Asheville, NC 50+ Living is a lifestyle magazine for 50+ active lifestyle adults showcasing news, information, tips and tools. Whet...

50+Living APRIL 2021  

Based in Asheville, NC 50+ Living is a lifestyle magazine for 50+ active lifestyle adults showcasing news, information, tips and tools. Whet...