50+Living and Sofia for Today's Woman DECEMBER 2021

Page 1

of Western NC

You Had Me at Meow Regifting 101

Holiday Stress Relief 50pluslivingWNC.com

December 2021


2 | 50+ Living | December 2021


What Greater Gift than the Love of a

Cat

ats provide many benefits to their humans. Caring for a cat can drastically reduce your stress and lower your blood pressure. Emotionally, cats offer loyalty and companionship. The connection between a cat and human can be extremely strong.

C

All cats have different personalities, but most cats are curious beings and get into a lot of trouble. You will never be bored with a cat in the house. You may even find yourself spending most of your time recording your cat. The internet is full of mischievous cats creating funny moments.

Cats reduce stress and anxiety. Chronic stress has been associated with depression, heart disease and cancer. The simple act of petting a cat for five minutes causes your body to produce stress-reducing hormones called oxytocin. These hormones help to lower your blood pressure and calm your body. Your body’s level of dopamine and serotonin also increase, which work to regulate mood and prevent depression.

Cats offer companionship. The more time you take to bond with your cat, the stronger that connection will be. Most cats enjoy a nice warm lap to curl up on. Once they curl up and start purring, you can instantly start to feel yourself relaxing. Cuddling up with a cat is the most relaxing feeling in the world. They often watch television with you and eat with you.

You may wonder how petting a cat can be so beneficial to your health. As you begin to pet a cat, your focus becomes the cat. You are no longer thinking about work, bills or whatever is stressing you at the time. Your sole purpose is to pet the cat. As you pet your cat, your body starts to mimic the actions of your cat. You may even notice your breathing slowing and your body calming. Another reason you need a cat in your life is pure enjoyment. Cats are fun to be around, most of the time.

In general, cats are low maintenance compared to other animals. Cats clean themselves. They use a litter box. Most do not require walking. Although, some breeds of cats do benefit from being walked on a leash. Cats require food, water and lots of love. Other than regular vet visits, cats are fairly easy to maintain. Cat ownership benefits both you and your furry companion. You reap the rewards of having a longlasting relationship with a loyal friend. Your pet has someone to love and take care of them. They also feel that bond. Both you and your cat develop a longlasting relationship built on love and trust. December 2021 | 50+ Living | 3


CONTENTS

3

What Greater Gift than the Love of a Cat

5

Rules to Regifting

8

Classic Cranberry Recipes

10

Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

12

The King of Wines

14

Navigating Alzheimer’s this Holiday Season

16

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

50+Living of Western NC

4 | 50+ Living | December 2021


Rules to Regifting

W

ant to get rid of an undesirable present? Regift. This timeless tradition is a simple way to diminish clutter and make another person happy. Your job is to know the rules when giving a used item to another person. SELECT UNOPENED ITEMS. Choose unopened bottles of wine or stored, never lit candles. Stay away from handmade or one-of-akind items. They are too easy to spot as regifts. CHECK FOR EXTERIOR SCRATCHES. Give away second-hand gifts with no exterior marks or discoloration. These two characteristics diminish its value. So, an expensive but marked basket of bubble bath would come across as cheap. NEVER REGIFT TO THE GIVER. Use your common sense. Never pass a gift back to the giver. In general, they won’t say anything in the moment, but you may hear about your misdeed in the future. How embarrassing! So, only regift items if you know who gave them to you. MATCH THE GIFT TO THE PERSON. Think before you give. Don’t make saving a buck more important than presenting a classy, desirable gift to someone. Regift the perfect match. For example, a book about dog care is excellent for a friend with three new pups.

REWRAP YOUR GIFT. Present the gift as new. Spend a few dollars on a gift bag or box. Also, add on a greeting card or tag specific to the occasion. In other words, regift as though you just bought the item from a store that day. NEVER GIVE AND TELL. Unless the receiver knows you were given the gift, never tell. Offer up the regift as new. Some people struggle with accepting anything second hand even if it’s awesome. So, keep your mouth shut and let your regift be a secret. Above are some of the rules to regifting. Use them and offer secondhand gifts to others in style. Also, keep your home clutter-free and wallet heavier.

December 2021 | 50+ Living | 5


50+Living of Western NC

PUBLISHER Tammy Sheppard publisherofsofia@gmail.com GRAPHIC ARTIST Joan Hutt WEB DESIGN Alphie Hyorth CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gina Trippi ADVERTISING INQUIRIES Mike Demos 828.273.0098 mikedemos@aol.com Bridget Hepler 828.551.9893 brh@risdondesign.com

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h 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

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Trusted Comfort. Trusted Care. When living with a serious illness, Four Seasons can help you make the most of each moment and feel better doing it.

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The Care You Trust

December 2021 | 50+ Living | 7


Classic Cranberry Recipes Holiday season is almost here, and cranberries are a classic and festive addition to holiday dinners. But if you get tired of the side of cranberries that are at almost every holiday dinner that you attend, you should take a look at some other delicious ways to incorporate cranberries into your cooking and baking that you and your family will love. Right now, you can find cranberries all over the grocery stores and maybe even in some of your local convenience stores. Now is the time to try adding cranberries to some of your favorite recipes.

Cranberry Cream Cheese

Cranberry Cheesecake

If you plan on hosting family overnight, you’ll need to offer your in-laws some breakfast, too. If you’re looking for a way to add some festive color, mix in some softened cranberries into your cream cheese. All you have to do is put fresh cranberries in the microwave for a few minutes. Then, once the cranberries have cooled, blend the cranberries in with the cream cheese using a hand mixer or just a fork.

If you’re a baking wizard, you might already know just how to make the perfect cheesecake. If that’s the case, try using cranberries in place of the cherries or blueberries that you might normally incorporate into your cheesecake. Otherwise, if the fine art of making the perfect cheesecake escapes you, you can also buy from your favorite bakery and add the cranberries to the top yourself.

8 | 50+ Living | December 2021


Cranberry Breads and Muffins

Cranberry-Topped Salad

If you love a bit of tart in your bakery items, you should put some cranberries in your favorite muffins and breads. Cranberries taste delicious in dessert breads, like zucchini bread, but they can also be a superb addition to a sandwich or buttering bread. For instance, a cranberry and rice bread recipe tastes great with some leftover turkey.

If you love having a green salad as a side to your meal, you’ll love the flavor that a handful of softened cranberries can add to many types of salads. While you can use the dried kind, fresh cranberries are moist and a bit more tart than the dried variety, so you should try them since cranberries are so easy to find right now.

White Cheddar and Cracker with Cranberries Sometimes simple is ideal, and if you want to add some zing to your basic cheese and cracker platter, put some fresh, softened cranberries on top of white cheddar and a classic Ritz-style cracker. Cheese manufacturers have been pairing white cheddar with cranberries for years, so it’s a tried-and-true combination. You’ll also love the dash of color that the cranberries add to your tasty appetizer.

December 2021 | 50+ Living | 9


Prioritize your to-do list. Looking at a long list of unfinished tasks can feel daunting to the most organized of us. Oftentimes there’s simply not enough time to do everything you’d like to. For that reason, prioritizing your top tasks for that day or week can make a world of difference. Knowing you’ve completed the most important things will give you peace of mind and make life run more smoothly. Exercise regularly and eat healthy (at least sometimes!). Like self-care, it can be hard to find the time or justify taking a break to fit in a workout. However, similar to making time for overall self-care, finding space in your schedule for exercise will benefit you more in the long run. It can help reduce stress, improve overall health, and energize you -- plus give you mental time away from everything going on. In a similar vein, prioritizing eating healthy foods when you’re able will not only ward off the holiday weight gain dreaded by so many, but improve your mood and energy, which can easily tank when you’re on a holiday diet of exclusively high-fat and high-sugar foods.

Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

A

ccording to a survey by StudyFinds, 88% of people view the holidays as the most stressful time of year. While that number might be high, it’s not surprising given the stressors that abound: constant social obligations, gatherings with family you only see once a year, and financial strain, to name a few. Here are some ways you can reduce your stress levels through the holiday season, for the benefit of both your physical and mental health. Take time for yourself. When your schedule is jampacked with family obligations, social events, and endless check boxes on your to-do list, it’s hard to justify self-care. However, fitting in time for a bath, a massage, or your favorite workout class will benefit you immensely in the long run. Not only will it rejuvenate you, but overworking yourself inevitably becomes counterproductive before long. After taking a break, you’ll come back with better energy and focus than if you’d tried to trudge through. Of course, this isn’t always logistically possible, but scheduling these time slots into your week beforehand may help you figure out when you can fit in self-care -- and give you something to look forward to! 10 | 50+ Living | December 2021

Remember that you don’t need to attend everything. It can be hard to say no to holiday events for various reasons. However, be assured that you absolutely do not need to go to everything, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Understandably, you may still feel guilty or have FOMO, but remember that rushing from one thing to another, day after day, can be exhausting and a recipe for burnout. Similar to your to-do list, prioritize the events and obligations you absolutely must go to, and remember that it’s okay to skip others if you (and your family) aren’t up to it. Try meditation and/or a gratitude practice. Meditating seems daunting enough ordinarily, and the holidays might not seem like the best time to pick up the habit. However, doing a meditation or


gratitude practice daily, even if it’s just for one minute, can benefit you immensely by reducing stress and improving overall mood and attitude. Try a meditation app or podcast if you like structure and have a little more time; otherwise, try taking ten slow deep breaths, noticing the sensations in your body and the thoughts entering your mind. You may also prefer to focus on gratitude, in which case you can take a minute to deliberately reflect on the things in your life you feel grateful for -- this is scientifically proven to improve wellness and contribute to greater joy. Embrace imperfection. Many of us head into the holiday season hoping to send out the perfect Christmas cards, buy the perfect gifts, and host the perfect gatherings -- all while looking perfect ourselves. However, while it’s great to aim high, giving yourself no wiggle room for less is a setup for failure -- not because you’re not amazing and capable, but because no one can do everything. It’s okay to be less than perfect, and it’s okay to feel frustrated with yourself when things don’t go according to plan. But it’s also more than okay to recognize that feeling and let it go, allowing yourself to be human.

Get enough sleep. While the holidays are supposed to be a time of relaxation, many late-night events and early-morning preparations can make a good night’s rest more of an afterthought. When you are busier and more stressed than usual, it’s even more important to get your rest. If this means embracing imperfection (as mentioned above) and turning in early or forgoing some tasks, that’s alright -- no one is jolly and merry when they’re exhausted! Spend time outside. The holiday season is the time people typically spend the least time outside, whether it’s due to indoor gatherings, household tasks, short daylight hours, or the cold weather. However, fresh air and exposure to natural light are immensely beneficial in regulating your body’s circadian rhythms, and a daily brisk walk or even just a few minutes of fresh air can be a great way to step away and rejuvenate yourself. You may not be able to fit all of these tips into your schedule, but even small changes can reap benefits as we approach the hectic holiday season!

December 2021 | 50+ Living | 11


The King of Wines

Barolo has been said for centuries to be the king of wines and the wine of kings. And so it is!

There is nothing that says the recipient is worthy of the best, nothing that says elegance, no wine that speaks of confidence, strength and tradition like Barolo. That is why Metro Wines has set the “Barolo Wall” for the holidays with over 20 different Barolos. You can choose your style, vintage, and the amount of age the bottle has seen. It is uncommon for any wine shop to have such an extensive collection of so fine a wine as Barolo! What is this magic? Barolo is a red wine produced in Piedmont, Italy. Made from Nebbiolo, a small, thinskinned grape, the wine is generally high in acid and tannins. To be called “Barolo” in Italy, the bottle must be 100% Nebbiolo. No exceptions. And no additives to soften the natural tannins which is why a bottle of Barolo needs age! And why you need a knowledgeable shopkeeper to guide you through selections. Of the many bottles we have on our “Barolo Wall,” one stands out, Marchesi di Barolo Cannubi 2013. To make a very long and historic story short, this winery dates back to 1806. Somewhere along the line, Cantine dei Marchesi di Barolo delivered 365 bottles of Barolo to King Charles Albert, one for each day of the year. Barolo became the official wine of the Savoy Court. Word traveled through Europe and, hence, the name the “Wine of Kings” was coined. Marchesi di Barolo Cannubi, 2013 is garnet red in the glass with striking ruby reflections. You will find aromas of intense perfume with convincing scents of roses, vanilla, licorice, spice and toasted oak with a wisp of absinthe. On the palate, the wine is full and elegant with good body, the spicy notes and oak blended in 12 | 50+ Living | December 2021

perfect harmony and the soft aromas continue becoming flavor. Cannubi is a long, gently sloping hill in the middle of Barolo protected by the surrounding hills. The By Gina Trippi soils here mix to form a blue-grey marl rich which, after contact with the air and elements, produces clays and fine sands saturated with limestone. Robert Parker of Wine Advocate scores this wine at 93 points saying: “The 2013 Barolo Cannubi is a fine and delicate expression with big floral intensity. You get dried lavender and rose hip on first nose. Below those more fragrant layers are solid aromas of wild cherry and red currant.” Wine Spectator also awarded 93 points saying this wine evokes cherry, strawberry, mineral and tobacco flavors. Best to drink between 2022-2038. Noted Australian Wine Critic James Suckling gave this wine 95 points. His review says the wine presents soft and velvety tannins, lush fruit and a dark berry character. And both Wine Enthusiast and Decanter gave this wine 90 points. Whether for your table, your cellar or as a gift, it’s time Marchesi di Barolo!

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Happy

Holidays

to You and Your Family

December 2021 | 50+ Living | 13


Navigating

Alzheimer’s this Holiday Season

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hile holidays can be a joyous time for many families, they can be challenging for families affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. COVID-19 has added even more complexities that can feel overwhelming for many families impacted by Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association is ready to serve those impacted by dementia no matter when the need may arise. “With the holidays upon us, we are raising awareness about the unique challenges caregivers face,” said Katherine L. Lambert, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association - Western Carolina Chapter. “We want to help the 358,000 family members and friends across North Carolina who are currently caring for a person living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia to navigate these challenges and provide a meaningful and enjoyable occasion for their families.”

The following are tips from the Alzheimer’s Association to help families plan appropriately for both in-person or virtual celebrations. • Celebrate smart. Celebrate safe. Consider smaller gatherings and encourage attendees to follow safety protocols during the celebration. • Take a person-centered approach. Focus on what is enjoyable for the person living with Alzheimer’s and involve them in the celebration depending on their abilities or preferences. • Keep it simple. Stick to the person’s normal routine and consider a celebration over a lunch or brunch at home or where the person is most comfortable. • Adapt gift giving. Encourage safe and useful gifts for the person living with Alzheimer’s. If an in-person visit is not an option with your loved one, connect with them virtually, as well as prepare their favorite holiday meal or dessert and drop it off or have it delivered. Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association in North Carolina is offering a free virtual educational opportunities for Asheville area residents like our “Caregiving During the Holidays” program and caregiver support groups. For a complete list of upcoming monthly programs or to access other resources available to area residents, visit alz.org/northcarolina or call 800-272-3900. Programs, research and awareness are funded by through Alzheimer’s Association events like Walk to End Alzheimer’s –Asheville. Donations are still being accepted through Dec. 31 to help the Association reach its $115,000 goal at act.alz.org/Asheville.

14 | 50+ Living | December 2021


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December 2021 | 50+ Living | 15


Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 DEFICIENCY

V

itamin B12 plays an important role in a number of processes, including the production of red blood cells. Deficiency is a common problem, particularly for vegans and those taking medications for acid reflux. Vitamin B12 deficiency is also more common in people with digestive and bowel disorders that prevent the proper absorption of nutrients. Here are five signs and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. Fatigue Fatigue is one of the first signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. If you have low levels of vitamin B12, your body is unable to make enough red blood cells to function properly, leading to anemia. Anemia can make you feel tired and lethargic. You may also feel physically weak and excessively sleepy throughout the day. Anemia can also leave you feeling light-headed and short of breath. Mood Disorders Low levels of vitamin B12 have been linked to mood disorders, depression and even dementia. In the early stages of deficiency, mood disorders and other cognitive symptoms can usually be treated successfully with supplements. However, severe or prolonged deficiency has been linked to damaged brain tissue and needs to be investigated by a doctor or specialist. Blurred Vision Prolonged vitamin B12 deficiency can damage the optic nerve, leading to blurred or distorted vision. 16 | 50+ Living | December 2021

Some people may also notice reduced color vision or changes in their field of vision, such as a blind spot. Fortunately, blurred or distorted vision can usually be corrected by taking vitamin B12 supplements. Tingling Extremities Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve damage. One of the most common symptoms of nerve damage is tingling or pins and needles in the hands and feet. If the deficiency remains untreated, it can cause serious damage to the nervous system. This damage can cause a range of physical symptoms, including difficulties with balance and coordination. Jaundice When the body is unable to make enough red blood cells, it can lead to jaundice, a condition caused by the buildup of bilirubin in the blood. Jaundice causes the skin and whites of the eyes to change color. Most commonly, the skin will appear to be a yellow color. However, for some people, the skin may have a green tinge or seem unusually pale. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a number of symptoms, including fatigue, mood disorders, blurred vision, tingling in the extremities and jaundice. Long-term deficiency can lead to serious health problems, including damage to the nervous system, so it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.


December 2021

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Ayelet Marom

Clothes Encounters

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SOFIA for Today’s Woman

We distribute up to 10,000 magazines with a targeted readership of over 31,000 per month to Buncombe, Henderson and Transylvania counties. You will find SOFIA in coffee shops, grocery stores, libraries; medical and business offices; hospitals, etc... For advertising inquiries contact: Mike Demos 828.273.0098 mikedemos@aol.com Bridget Hepler 828.551.9893 brh@risdondesign.com

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Contributing Writers

CONTENTS 6 S hopping Locally Never Looked So Good Jacqui Castle

12 Holiday Date Ideas 14 W omen Making Music

Jacqui Castle Peggy Ratusz Laurie Richardone

Contributing Photographer Kate Prince

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

Peggy Ratusz

16 A Taste for All Seasons Laurie Richardone

17 G rain-Free Gingersnap Cookies Laurie Richardone

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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.


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upply chain issues. Shipping delays. Production bottlenecks. With the myriad of issues surrounding the eCommerce industry right now, shopping locally never looked so good. The holidays are coming up quickly, and supporting WNC's consignment businesses offers a way to stretch your money further and scout out one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list, including yourself! "I think the store offers a lot of inspiration, delight, and fun for anyone who loves to treasure hunt," says Ayelet Marom, owner of Clothes Encounters on Merrimon Avenue. Clothes Encounters has been a staple in the community for decades. Since Marom took over as owner in January 2020, she has been working to put her own spin on the shop. She strives to cultivate a place where locals feel at home, and visitors feel invited to come in, browse, and get a taste of Asheville. Customers have remarked to Marom that shopping at her store feels like going to their best friend's closet. "It's a place where people come on their lunch break just to walk around and think," Marom says, expressing how honored she felt when locals choose to spend their downtime with her. Marom remembers what it was like to have young kids and have those places she would go just to get some time to herself. She loves that for some people, Clothes Encounters provides that.

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thesofiamagazine.com | December 2021

Ayelet Marom

Shopping Locally Never Looked So Good! By Jacqui Castle

Photos by Kate Prince


The connections that Marom has formed with her customers, and the interactions that come with

Customers can always expect to find fresh treasures at Clothes Encounters, with the inventory

clothing and accessories that they think would be a good fit. "I have consigners that have been around

running Clothes Encounters, have been her favorite parts of the job. "I love seeing the joy on people's faces when they find something truly special."

changing regularly. "I really take pride in fashion, and I have past experience in the fashion world as a makeup artist," Marom said. "I grew up in Toronto, and I worked with a lot of designers."

for years and years that actually send me packages from New York and Los Angeles," says Marom.

Marom has noticed that when her customers can get out and safely shop, they embrace the opportunity to do things in person again. "People are looking more to actually feel and try on clothes, as opposed to ordering online."

Marom frequently travels throughout the state to find unique items to bring to the store. Through her past experience in fashion, she will sometimes have people send her

When asked if she noticed any fashion trends in the consignment world, Marom mentioned that sequins and sparkles are big again! She also sees a lot of faux furs, vintage wool, unique jackets, and maxi dresses this time of year.

December 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com

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Holiday

DATE Ideas

C

hristmas is the perfect time for romantic dates whether they're with your long-time partner or a new beau. Love is in the air already and there are plenty of twinkly lights and seasonal attractions to explore, so what are you waiting for? Here are some ways to turn the Christmas atmosphere into a perfect date.

Ice Skate

Find the Best Hot Chocolate

Every town puts up Christmas lights in December and there might even be some residents who go all out decorating their houses. Take the chance to wander around these hometown winter wonderlands and don't forget to kiss if you find yourselves under the mistletoe.

What's better than sharing a warm mug of cocoa when it's chilly outside? Spend the afternoon searching for the best cup of hot chocolate in your town - you could even create a ranking system ("Most Chocolatey", "Best Marshmallows", and so on!).

Christmas Movie Marathon Pick some of your favorite holiday movies - Elf, Die Hard, and Home Alone are all great choices - and snuggle under a blanket together while you marathon them. This is a great excuse to cozy up to your date on chilly winter nights. 12

thesofiamagazine.com | December 2021

Ice skating is a fun, adventurous, and romantic date to enjoy when it's snowy outside. Take the chance to hold hands as you whiz around the ice rink, and don't forget to laugh at yourself if you fall over a couple of times!

Visit the Christmas Lights

Bake Christmas Treats Christmas cookies are easy to bake and delicious to eat so look up a recipe and get your hands messy decorating them with red and green icing. You could even try putting together a gingerbread house if you or your date are particularly artistic!


Wintery Walk The long winter evenings create some beautifully romantic views so invite your beau on a starlit walk. Whether it's a snowy hike or a simple wander through town, you'll find some perfect photo opportunities and have the chance to enjoy each other's company.

Christmas Caroling If you and your date are super musical or just interested in some tongue in cheek fun, Christmas caroling is a great way to spend a few hours. Find a choir that performs in your area or grab some friends to go singing with you for a unique group date.

Take A Carriage Ride Many cities offer horses and drivers to take you and your beloved on a spin around the snowy streets, so find one and give your sweetheart a rose as you enjoy a cozy ride around town. End the date with some mulled wine on a pretty street corner.

Last Minute Gift Shopping Set a mini-budget and try to find the funniest gifts that you can on a last-minute Christmas shopping spree amongst the mad consumer crowds. Your gifts could be silly or sweet but they'll certainly become treasured memories for many years to come.

Snowball Fight If you're lucky enough to live somewhere with a decent covering of snow, wrap up warm and take your date out for a snowball fight. You can run around enjoying the winter landscape before sharing a kiss in the snow when you've finished battling. The holiday season offers plenty of romantic date ideas so try some of these out and you'll be feeling merry in no time at all! December 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com

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Women Making Music A nod to the past year and a look ahead to 2022 By Peggy Ratusz

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021 has been another extraordinary year for Women Making Music in WNC. From my interview with soulful Rhythm and Blues singer/songwriter, Nicole lúnd back in January to catching up with the queen of her heathens, Ashley Heath in our November issue, it hasn’t escaped anybody in the past 22 months, just how incredibly fragile life can be. But more importantly, just how incredibly innovative, tenacious and inspiring the female and identifying female musicians in WNC are! Funk, hip-hop and soul guitarist April Bennett experienced an opportunity of a lifetime this past summer when she was cast in a dual role to be a boat crew member and a rhythm guitarist in a 4 pc band on a new reality TV show called Yacht Stops. The Amazon

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thesofiamagazine.com | December 2021

Prime network show premiered in May of 2021 and is described as a combination between “Below Deck” and “The Voice.” The premise of the series brings musicians together who’ve never played or lived or worked together before and gives viewers a chance to watch them navigate the high seas and the music business as they sail from port to port, rehearsing together and then playing shows for vacationers and locals up and down the eastern seaboard. You can see excerpts from several episodes on their facebook page here: facebook.com/ YachtStops. April's music page on facebook is here: facebook.com/ AprilBandTheCool Not only is Caitlin Krisko one of the most phenomenal vocalists among us, she’s also a third-generation tarot card reader who has,

since April of 2020, amassed over 2000 clients and acquired over 42,000 followers on social media. Caitlin's style of practice is “rooted in intuitive communication with spirit guides” through tarot. A Detroit native and WNC transplant by way of Manhattan, Krisko’s 6 piece original Rock and Blues band, The Broadcast is back to touring and releasing new music. To connect with Caitlin for a reading, visit candleinthecave.com and to keep up with her music go to thebroadcastmusic.com Caromia Humphrey unveiled 3 releases in 2020-21, 2 of them musical and one of them was just a few weeks ago when she gave birth to her beautiful baby daughter with Rock guitarist and songwriter, Ram Mandelkorn. D’Orsi Bosca Tula Lee is destined for a beautiful, harmo-


nious life with these two tuneful minstrels as parents. Check out my interview with Caromia from June where we discuss her self-produced all original EP releases, "Green" and "Sunday Land." These records are ethereal, rhythmic and healing. www.thesofiamagazine.com/spotlight-on-caromia-humphrey-andher-beautiful-and-intimate-ep-releases-green-and-sunday-land/ Self-described “Singer of stories, massager of hearts, teller of the truth in all its jagged and sparkly forms and a rabble-rousin', mountain songstress'' Jane Kramer and her husband, Ashevegas editor and founder Jason Sandford gave birth to their first child, Marigold True Kramer-Sandford (aka, Goldie) this past August. We’ll circle back around to find out how motherhood and music are going for Jane in 2022! But in the meantime, I invite you to visit her website for upcoming performance dates: janekramermusic.com/ Winner of Best vocalist in Asheville, Classic Soul, Motown, R&B singer Rhoda Weaver has been entertaining locals and tourists for over a decade. I think of her as the Queen of the Pivot. From move to move and change to change, her grace, humor and candid demeanor helps us all stay motivated when navigating our own lives. Her facebook posts read like a modern day Ann Landers column. From administrative assistant to Uber and Uber eats driver to her own taxi business, Weaver’s tenacity and heart inspires everyone she meets. A wife, mother and grandmother she walks the

talk, encouraging us to mirror her random acts of kindness. She’s one of our all around finest women making music. A true survivor is none other than Hendersonville’s sweetheart, Ellen Trnka. Before being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in the autumn of 2019, Trnka feasted our ears with Blues, Jazz, Folk and Americana classics and originals on a more regular basis. Throughout the pandemic she’s faced her treatments with the kind of courage we all hope we could muster given such shocking news. Her fans will be delighted to learn that Ellen is currently preparing material for one-set gigs. Her post diagnosis debut showcase was this past October at Southern Appalachian Brewing. I was there and to hear her sing again with such power, panache and elegance was utterly inspiring. If that sell-out crowd is any indication, her full-fledged comeback will be epic! The trio I co-founded called Love Bubble released a debut record in July and we call it "Love Revolution." The harmony driven group has a bubble gum psychedelic 60’s throwback sound and consists of Paula Hanke on vocals, flute, banjolele, and uke. Hank Bones, who plays nearly all the instruments on our debut, wrote 9 of the 13 songs on it, plays guitar and sings at our live shows. Yours truly on vocals, cajon, hand percussion and harmonica. Paula and Hank wrote a romantic poem set to the most beautiful melody called "Warm and Cozy" and Hank and I wrote a song we dedicate to everyone, titled

"Beautiful Soul." All the songs are uplifting with hook lines, verses and choruses guaranteed to turn any frown upside down. Links to all the platforms we’re on can be found here: lovebubblewnc.hearnow.com/love-revolution One of our newest transplants, is one helluva songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and singer, Abby Bryant. Fresh from her sold out record release show at Asheville Music Hall in October, this powerhouse mama with a message graces stages all over the country with her fantastic outfit, The Echos. “Not Your Little Girl” is her first full length album that dropped last month. Link here spoti.fi/2ZzEyu0 to listen on Spotify and add to your favorite playlists. Visit the band’s online store to pre-order the double vinyl album coming in early 2022: abbybryantandtheechoes.com/store Abby is just one of the many phenomenal artists I aim to interview in 2022. Alex Krug is another gifted songwriter and it will be my pleasure to feature them as well as singer Marsha Morgan, the aforementioned rock guitar goddess, April Bennett, multi-instrumentalist Melissa Hyman, saxophonist Ashley Hammer Prichard and others TBA.

Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach, song interpreter, and songwriter. For vocal coaching email her at peggymarie43 @gmail.com December 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com

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A Taste for

All Seasons by Laurie Richardone

Collectively all over the globe we start to ponder the holiday season. Should you have a moment in this hectic time, to look back a few centuries, several of the customs we've come to associate with Christmas actually evolved from pagan traditions celebrating the winter solstice. The Pagan origins come from the idea of bringing the evergreen into the house to represent fertility and new life in the darkness of winter. It borrows from the pagan holiday called Yule, which Europeans observed during the winter solstice as a way of ringing in the new year and the promise of its crops. What a beautiful acknowledgment it is to commemorate the abundance nature brings, then with the harvest of the season to our table. Whether you celebrate the winter solstice, or the birth of Christ, it is a time of re-rebirth gratitude, and celebration; What better way to salute this auspicious time than with the gift of food. There is something alluring about the universality of a language and an entire culture that comes from the belly rather than the brain. In this very literal way Christmas is about food... As families come together to exchange gifts, and gather around the table, the holidays are also a perfect time to celebrate good tidings and the many blessings of the past year. 16

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Let the stream of culinary adventures flow, with the pure love of cooking,and giving, however humble or grand. Bake some cookies, wrap them in parchment paper, tied with twine, and a twig of rosemary or pin. For this will surely bring a smile of joy. To Your Good Health A Holiday Healthy Indulgence ~ Grain-Free Gingersnap Cookies If you are a curious cook, join me on my Podcast ~ A taste for All Seasons ~ It is a cooking, cultural, and inspirational way for us to explore the world of food. And… as always, l will share a seasonal recipe, cooking tips, and kitchen essentials that will make your life easier in the kitchen. You can now listen to all the shows, @ laurierichardone.com/podcast or on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Google Podcast. We talk to local farmers, where you can learn how to cook your way through the seasons. This Podcast is in conjunction with WPVM FM 103.7 in Asheville, NC. Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach. To work with Laurie, visit LaurieRichardone.com


Grain-Free Gingersnap Cookies by Laurie Richardone

Makes 24 Festive Cookies 1 ¾ cup almond flour ½ cup arrowroot, or tapioca flour 6 tbs. coconut oil, soft room temp. ½ cup coconut sugar, extra if rolling cookie dough in sugar. 3 tbs. black molasses 1 egg, room temp. 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp fresh ground ginger, or powder ½ tsp. ground cloves 2 tsp. baking soda ¼ tsp. sea salt Fresh rosemary for garnish, optional Preheat the oven 350. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat coconut oil,

coconut sugar, and molasses, until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla, mix until smooth.

Place on a serving tray, and place bunches of fresh rosemary around the dish.

In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients, along with all the spices, and sea salt. Slowly, stir the flour into the wet ingredients, until you have a thick cookie dough. Chill for 30 minutes, so you can roll dough into small balls. If rolling in sugar, in a shallow bowl, dip the ball into the sugar, and place on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Place 2’’ apart. Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges. Let cool completely on the rack, before removing from the baking sheet.

Buon Appetito

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

December 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com

17


Relax and Pamper Yourself with Lavender Essential Oil

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Lavender is one of the most versatile essential oils. Besides its pleasant scent, it is beneficial for health and beauty. If a day at the spa is not in your schedule or your budget, pamper yourself at home with lavender essential oil. Here are a few ways to pamper yourself from head to toe.

Hair Treat your hair to deep conditioning with lavender essential oil. Add 6 to 8 drops of lavender essential oil to 2 teaspoons of carrier oil such as olive or coconut. Essential oils are concentrated and potent. It is important to dilute them with a carrier oil before use. Once you have the mixture, apply it to your hair and massage it into the scalp. You can comb it through to ensure even distribution. Leave it on for 30 minutes, then shampoo and condition as usual. Lavender oil can help repair damaged hair, leaving it soft, shiny, and pleasantly fragrant. It helps prevent dandruff too. You can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your shampoo and conditioner to make it part of your regular hair care routine.

Cleanse and Tone Your Face Lavender essential oil cleanses and tones, leaving skin feeling fresh. It locks in moisture, making it a good moisturizer for dry skin. Regular use of lavender oil reduces the appearance of fine

lines, wrinkles, and scars. You can make a facial cleanser by applying 3 to 5 drops of lavender essential oil with a teaspoon of olive oil. Massage it into your face and neck for a minute or two. Use a warm washcloth to remove any excess. Pat your face dry with a towel.

Soothe Your Feet Our hard-working feet often get neglected. However, they could use some pampering too. Not only can lavender essential oil soothe tired feet, but it also contains antifungal properties that can treat athletes' feet and toenail fungus. All you need for a relaxing foot bath is a container big enough to soak your feet comfortably. Fill it with warm water, and add 6 to 8 drops of lavender essential oil. You can also add a 1/2 cup of Epsom salts to relieve sore, achy feet. Soak your feet for approximately 20 minutes.

mixture to your bath. Soak in your lavender bath until you feel relaxed. Now that you've pampered yourself from head to toe with lavender, you can sleep soundly and peacefully.

Caution Essential oils are potent extracts that can be potentially dangerous. Never take essential oils internally. Never apply essential oils directly to the skin since irritation may occur. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying. Although lavender essential oil is considered safe, skin irritation may occur in people who are allergic. Lavender may interact with sedative medications since it can cause drowsiness. Always consult your physician before using essential oils.

De-Stress Your Body and Mind If you've had a hard day at work and your nerves are frazzled, wash away the anxiety with a lavender bath. It can help to relax stiff muscles and alleviate the pain of a tension headache. Lavender also helps relax your mind and body so that you can sleep more soundly. To prepare your lavender bath, fill the tub with warm water. Mix 8 to 10 drops of lavender essential oil with 1 ounce of coconut oil. Then add 8 to 10 drops of the

December 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com

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