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of Western NC

Just Peachy | Splashing in Style | Life is a picnic 50pluslivingWNC.com

June 2021

Get protected for yourself, your family, and your community with the

COVID-19 VACCINE! Vaccinating 18+ at all Ingles Pharmacy locations and 12+ at select locations.


Or make an appointment online at www.ingles-markets.com/vaccinations 2 | 50+ Living | June 2021

When living with a serious illness, Four Seasons can help you make the most of each moment and feel better doing it. Care Navigation Home Care Palliative Care Hospice Care Grief Services Research & Innovation Foundation

(828) 692.6178 FourSeasonsCFL.org

June 2021 | 50+ Living | 3

4 | 50+ Living | June 2021

FIND YOUR WAY TO FLAVOR!® Herbs & Spices • Spice Blends • Exotic Teas Gourmet Sea Salts • Sugars • Gifts THE SPICE & TEA EXCHANGE® OF ASHEVILLE 46 Haywood Street, #101 | Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 505-7348 spiceandtea.com/tste-asheville

June 2021 | 50+ Living | 5

50+Living of Western NC

PUBLISHER Tammy Sheppard publisherofsofia@gmail.com

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain

EDITOR JeanAnn Taylor GRAPHIC ARTIST Joan Hutt WEB DESIGN Alphie Hyorth


7 Floral Decor 8 Taylor’d with Style 9 Pink Flamingos Forever 11 All for One and One for All 13 Summertime Smart Packing Help Wanted

14 15

The Classy Cook Pretty as a Picture National Fruit and Vegetable Month


It’s Time for a Picnic Perfect Picnic Pasta Salad

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 | June 2021

Floral Decor


he art of floral decor can be a delicate matter. Too much and your room may look like an overgrown garden, too little means you missed the point all together. Floral patterns can go anywhere. They are appropriate on sofas, rugs, table linens, throw pillows, bed spreads, shower curtains, and even lamp shades. You name it and you can find a floral print on any home decor item. An important consideration when choosing a floral is the size of the flower. Large flowers give a more modern feel, while tiny prints conjure up a vintage vibe. Large prints are often bold and bright while tiny flowers appear dainty and feminine. To offset an overly floral, girly look, try adding geometric prints. A floral sofa paired with a checked rug will definitely give the overall look an electric vibe rather than a feminine one. This is a great way to express your personality. Mixing florals is a pretty way to add flowers to your decor that last all year. The trick here is to keep the colors complementary and the intensity similar. However you decide to decorate, always do what is right for you, so that your house feels like your home.

June 2021 | 50+ Living | 7

Taylor’d with Style


in Style By JeanAnn Taylor


t’s that time of the year again—swimsuit shopping time. And the thought of it can send us into a tizzy. There are so many decisions to make about the suit itself, not to mention the intimidation of standing nearly naked in front of a full length mirror. With all the different styles and colors available, the process of finding a new bathing suit can feel like an overwhelming task. The most important aspect of choosing a flattering swimsuit is not following the latest trend. It is to pick out an age appropriate suit that fits well and best flatters your figure and skin tone. Before walking into a shop, give thought to what you are looking for. Color and design can be your best friend . . . or worst enemy. The right color will brighten your eyes and complement your complexion. The wrong color will wash out your skin tone giving you a sullen appearance. The design of the suit includes the print and the silhouette. The trick is to know which design features work for you . . . and which don’t. The goal is to draw the eye to the most flattering areas of your body and distract from the least. 8 | 50+ Living | June 2021

Follow JeanAnn on Instagram @jeananns.taylord.life

When selecting a color, choose one that isn’t too close to your skin tone. The contrast will be more flattering and prevent you from looking as if you are not wearing a swimsuit at all. Also remember that white, as well as other very pale or pastel colors, can become translucent when wet. Your everyday wardrobe is a good indicator of styles you enjoy and feel most confident wearing. For example, if you tend to dress conservatively, you will most likely feel more at ease in a modest bathing suit. If you are accustomed to wearing an underwire bra, buy a suit with this feature. Many suits now come with built-in shapewear. If this makes you feel more comfortable, choose a suit with this in mind. If you prefer solid colors, settle on a solid color suit rather than taking yourself out of your comfort zone with a wild zebra print. Balance is a key to happiness in many areas of our lives, and it is also the key to finding the most flattering swimsuit. If your bottom half is heavier than your top, you can balance your look by emphasizing your top line. A bright color at the top will attract attention away from hips,

and also flatter your face. Ruffles, flounces, and other embellishments will draw the eye upward. Likewise, if you are full-busted, avoid this extra volume. A halter-top is flattering for the full-busted woman. This style gives support, while the side fabric offers coverage. Ruching is a woman’s best fashion secret. This gathering-technique visually creates a slimming silhouette. Diagonal lines and belted suits can define your waist and be very slimming. As I’ve said many times, the eye will always go to the spot where fabric meets skin because our eyes naturally go to exposed skin. This spot is a focal point. For this reason, take care that your suit covers any place you don’t want emphasized. Floaty overlays, attached swim skirts, and swim dresses are all attractive and feminine. These design features cover, conceal, and camouflage in modestly sexy ways. When purchasing a swimsuit, quality is important. Check the fabric label for a high content of lycra. This fabric blend will mold to your body offering a better fit. Lined suits will hold their shape and offer the most protection from becoming see-through when wet. To know how a suit is going to look and react to your body, you must try it on and move about. Sit down, wiggle, wriggle, bend over, and move your arms as if you were swimming. This is the only way to know how the suit will move when you do. A simple trick to looking your best when trying on swimsuits is to wear the right undergarments. It’s impossible to get an accurate assessment of how you look when your undies are hanging below the bottom of the suit. Bring a pair of sandals to wear while trying on the suit. It’s also hard to visualize walking along the beach if you are wearing a pair of dark colored boots. Lastly, put on a bright shade of lipstick. Lipstick will brighten your face and give you a boost of confidence. Remember, nobody is perfect. Find the best swimsuit for you and splash!

Pink Flamingos Forever By Gigi Steel

June 23 is National PINK Day! So what better time to learn about the molded-plastic bird that has graced countless yards for over 60 years? In 1957, Artist Don Featherstone designed the yard ornament for Union Products. These elegant, long-legged birds added a festive, tropical, and whimsical ambiance to suburban yards. The popularity of plastic pink flamingos rose when they were seen in films and television shows. The pink-feathered birds became the subject of pranks when they were removed from one yard and placed in another. They have been used as fund-raisers where hundreds of pink flamingos appear in your front yard and you must pay the charity to have them picked up. The plastic pink flamingo is now an American icon. In 2006, Union Products closed, but fortunately for all pink flamingo lovers, the molds and copyrights were sold so that the iconic bird production could continue. Approximately 1,000 plastic pink flamingos are produced each day. The question is: why the pink flamingo? In the 1950s, the color pink was all the rage. There were pink appliances in kitchens, living rooms were decorated with a pink color scheme, bathrooms had pink sinks and tubs, and women wore pink as a way to reclaim their femininity after the War ended. Pink was the it color. Even today, the color pink continues to make a statement, attract attention, and opinion like no other color. I don’t think any other bird would have caused the commotion or have had the lasting effect on our culture than the pretty, pink flamingo. If you are looking to add a little kitsch to your life or front yard, look no further than our pink-feathered friend. June 2021 | 50+ Living | 9

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

Fletcher 3445 Hendersonville Rd. 828-376-3711

10 | 50+ Living | June 2021

All for one and one for all! That is what Asheville is all about. Community. With the onslaught of COVID, many restaurants were compelled to close. The domino effect of these closures was that wholesalers lost business selling food and wine to these establishments and, consequently, had warehouses full of products. At Metro North in Reynolds Village, we are working to help the wholesalers while also providing great wines at reduced prices to our customers. Many wines destined for restaurants are available to you at 20% to 60% off what would be the standard retail shelf price. We also offer discontinued wines. You might ask why a wine is discontinued. Lots of reasons, none of which have to do with the quality. A winery might change the label and want to avoid customer confusion with two labels on a shelf. A winemaker might change the blend and with it, the name. Perhaps the new vintage has already arrived making it difficult to sell the previous vintage. Or international issues including tariffs and political embargos. A great example of our selection at Metro North is the 2016 Henry Lagarde Chardonnay, which garnered an average of 89 points by internet critics, offered at $8.99, a 47% discount off the standard retail price. This is a fresh, unoaked Chardonnay from Argentina reminiscent of the crisp style of Sauvignon Blanc. Pair Lagarde with fish, white meat, creamy sauces or mushrooms. Wine Enthusiast gave our Netzl Chardonnay from Austria 90 Points! Presenting an intriguing aroma of dried hayflower with a waft of lemon with a soft and rounded palate of mellow pear fruit. Pair with low acid foods including poultry, lobster, risotto, roasted vegetables, or cream sauce. That’s a lot for $13.99, a 36% discount!

By Gina Trippi You want red wine? Maybe Italian? Try our 2018 La Maialina Chianti for $9.49, a 37% discount. La Maialina isClassic Chianti style with a little more fruit, red cherries and strawberries plus hints of sweet spices wrapped in a soft finish. This is your go-to weeknight wine! And for summer, you just can’t beat our 2019 MAGNUM of Hogwash Rosé for $19.99, a 50% discount. Hogwash is the creation of Tuck Beckstoffer, one of Napa’s most renowned winemakers. Lively with a beautiful texture, Hogwash is a fun yet serious rosé with notes of sunny wildflowers, citrus, peach, pear, rose, lemon zest and ocean air, leading to a clean and precise finish. Hogwash has been a customer favorite! And from the home of Ferrari, we present Azienda Agricola Pezzuoli Lambrusco! Sustainably farmed estate fruit from Modena, this is one of the best bottles of Lambrusco we have tasted. This fun red is fresh, balanced, and lively with a bit of spritz presenting a beautiful fragrance of red fruit layered with floral notes. It’s crisp and lightly off dry palate works from aperitif to picnics. Rarely seen in the USA, our price is $10.99, a 39% discount. Shop bargains at Metro North in Reynolds Village!

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

828-575-9525 | metrowinesasheville.com June 2021 | 50+ Living | 11

Calling All Twirl Girls Read the story of Lily in

The Little Girl Who Loves to Twirl

as she turns from trouble to twirling.

Available at gratefulsteps.org Follow jeananns.taylord.life on Instagram 12 | 50+ Living | June 2021

Summertime Smart Packing It’s time to escape to . . . somewhere. Anywhere. It’s just time to get away. Maybe you are only going for a weekend at a nearby cabin, or maybe you are going to a resort across the ocean. Whatever and wherever you go, take these tips with you for a worry-free vacay.


Try to pack clothes in the same color family. This makes mixing and matching easier and you will need to pack fewer items. Rather than folding neatly, try rolling your clothes. You’ll find that they wrinkle less and you can usually fit more items in your bag. Place heavy or stiff clothes on the bottom and lighter-weight clothes on top. If you are packing breakable items, place them into a pair of socks. The thickness of the sock will protect the item and not take up extra room. Place breakables in the center of your bag surrounded by other clothing for protection. Try to choose clothing that can all be worn with one or two pairs of shoes, as this item takes up a lot of space. To keep your clothing clean, be sure to place your shoes in a plastic bag. To avoid letting any space go to waste, you can put your cell phone charger or other small items inside your shoe.

Every parent has had the same push and pull experience: how to get children to participate in household chores. Chores are an important aspect of growing up. They teach children responsibility and accountability. They build character and when accomplished, they give your children a reason to feel pride. However, there are often times when it seems easier to just do the chore yourself. To avoid a struggle, here are four tips to get your children involved with daily tasks. Let them know what you expect. When children know exactly what you expect of them, they are more likely to do it. Children want to please their parents. They simply need guidance and encouragement to stay on task. Set deadlines. Giving children a timeline for when to accomplish specific tasks will help them learn to allocate time. Have consequences. Children need to learn that all actions have consequences. If your child neglects a task, teaching her this lesson as an eight-yearold will be much less dramatic than when she is eighteen. In reverse, when your children do as you have asked, reward them with something meaningful. Be respectful. It’s important that you are mindful of the abilities of your children and their other commitments. If your child is playing sports on a certain day after school, try not to load him down with chores on that day. June 2021 | 50+ Living | 13

The Classy Cook PEACH COBBLER Family gatherings are the glue that holds us together, and there is nothing like a delicious peach cobbler to bring everyone home. Serve this tasty dish with a topping of ice cream and you’ll have everyone home for dinner.

Submitted by Linda Everidge Thomas           

1 stick of butter 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup self-rising flour 1 tablespoon vanilla 3/4 cup whole milk 3 cups peaches, fresh or canned

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place stick of butter in deep baking dish and melt. Mix sugar, flour, milk, and vanilla. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Place peaches on top. Do not stir. Batter will rise when cooking. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until golden brown.

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 | June 2021

Pretty as a



t seems that with cell phones, everyone has become a photographer these days. It’s now so easy to snap a high quality photo. Even so, there are still a few ways to make your photos better. Angles can make or break your photo. For the safest angle, get on the same level as your subject. Be aware of the background. Busy backgrounds can look cluttered and take away from your main subject.

To avoid this distraction, try to find a solid wall or row of green bushes. Using a flash, even on a sunny day, can take away shadows on the face. Consider using the background as part of the focus. If you have a blooming shrub, have the subjects stand on the side so you can take the photo with both people and flowers.

Plan your meal around a vegetable instead of a meat. Stir-fry peppers and mushrooms to serve in a spinach wrap. Add meat only as a side dish. Shred carrots or zucchini into homemade breads and casseroles. This will add moisture and flavor, but will not be recognized as a healthy vegetable.


Everyone knows that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is important. They are naturally low in fat and calories, have no cholesterol, and provide our bodies with many essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. If you are having trouble incorporating these power foods into your diet, try these tips:

Take veggies to the grill on a skewer. Mushrooms, tomatoes, squash, onions, and peppers make a tasty kabob. Fruit kabobs of pineapple and peaches make for a nice dessert. Add fruit to your breakfast. Bananas, strawberries, and blueberries are great on cereal or added to top off pancakes or waffles.

A fruit salad is a delicious way to add a touch of sweet to your meal without loading up on sugar.

June 2021 | 50+ Living | 15

It’s Time for a Picnic!


ow that summer is here, it’s time to go outside, spread a blanket on the ground, and have a picnic! You can go all out with fancy linens and flatware, or you can keep it casual with paper napkins and plates. You can take simple sandwiches, or elaborate plates of charcuterie. Whichever you choose, don’t forget these essentials:

• • • •

Plates, glasses, utensils, and serving spoons A blanket for sitting on the ground Napkins, paper towels, or sanitizer wipes Ice and a bag for all trash

PERFECT PICNIC PASTA SALAD INGREDIENTS 8 ounces Whole-Wheat Pasta 4 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar 8 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt 1 Large Red Pepper, Diced 1 Large Orange Pepper, Diced 2 (15.5 oz.) Cans Chickpeas, Drained and Rinsed 1 (16 oz) Can Black Olives, Drained and Sliced Shredded Cheddar Cheese for Topping

16 | 50+ Living | June 2021

DIRECTIONS Cook pasta, following directions on box. Make a vinaigrette by whisking vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt together until emulsified. Add drained pasta to vinaigrette. Add peppers, chickpeas, and olives. Toss well to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. To serve, top with shredded cheddar.

June 2021


Linne Warner B.E.S.T. Biltmore Executive Support Team

Love The Skin You're In

Berry Special Strawberry Shortcake

Let The Music Move You


thesofiamagazine.com | June 2021

Welcome to June

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! CONTENTS 6 W  hen only the Best will Do Natasha Kubis

8 H  ow to Flourish in the Kitchen this Summer Laurie Richardone


 trawberry Shortcake S with Coconut Cream

Trish Luzzi 828.423.0248 wnccreations@gmail.com

Contributing Writers Jennifer Bandy Natasha Kubis Peggy Ratusz Laurie Richardone

Cover Photo Jon Shaner

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

Laurie Richardone

10 N  atural Care for Skin and Hair Natasha Kubis

12 W  omen Making Music Singer Caromia Humphrey Peggy Ratusz

14 W  alk with me while I tell you a story Jennifer Bandy

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. June 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


Acupuncture Cupping & Yoga Please enjoy

$20 off your first session with this ad

Natasha Kubis, L.Ac. 917.576.9198 acuwellhealth@gmail.com



thesofiamagazine.com | June 2021

Dig Deep, Practice and...

Find Your V o i c e

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Pre-Teens to Baby Boomers Novice to professional

Peggy Ratusz

Vocal Coach 828.301.6768



Asheville’s One-Stop Shop for ALL your Beauty Needs Eyebrow Tinting | Eyelash Extension Waxing | Massage Therapy Skincare | Hydrafacials

"A Horse doesn't care how much you



know, until he knows how much you care." - Pat Parelli 117 Sweeten Creek Rd, Asheville

June 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


When Only the Best will do


iltmore Executive Support Team (B.E.S.T) is a dream come true for entrepreneurs, high-level executives, affluent individuals, as well as big and small businesses alike. More than just your average professional organizer, B.E.S.T is your proud partner in business management, bookkeeping, professional organization, and customized business support services. They help your business thrive in the most efficient way possible to “get you where you need to grow!” Their team of professional organizers is specialized in office systems and design and they collaborate with their clients to create a highly functional and peaceful work environment. They are Asheville’s only professional organizers who are certified by the American Society of Professional Organizers AND specialize in accounting. B.E.S.T is certified in QuickBooks and payroll, and they offer professional bookkeeping through their sister company Accounting Office Management, Inc. Not only do they help you organize and declutter your physical environment, but they also help create functional paper management, organize emails and digital files, and maintain bookkeeping systems. They do every tedious and overwhelming task that you can think of such as organizing medical records, financial statements, and setting up bill payment schedules. Even CPAs love B.E.S.T because they streamline end-of-the-year tax preparation, saving time for accountants, and reducing hefty fees for clients. They also help executives who are relocating or downsizing by acting as compassionate coaches in the purging and decluttering process. Linne Warner has always had a clear passion for business and a thirst for creativity, which makes her a hugely successful boss-babe and the multi-talented founder of B.E.S.T. Her story began on a ranch in Chino, CA where she was riding horses before she even learned to walk. 6

thesofiamagazine.com | June 2021

Photos by Jon Shaner This perhaps, is what helped spark her love of adventure in life and business, and her entrepreneurial spirit. Linne began working at the Coca-Cola Company in her early twenties, where she first became acquainted with the corporate world. Armed with a more refined sense of business, she left the company at age 22 (during the later stages of her first pregnancy) and started her first small business called, Linne’s of Palm Springs, in Santa Barbara, CA, where she produced and sold her own line of hand-painted clothing. Linne diversified her education by completing her studies in multimedia arts and technology, which allowed her to have a focus on graphic design and marketing. Linne juggled a great deal while accomplishing her educational goals, raising two small children, having her own businesses, including maintaining the accounting and administrative needs of her family's electrical contracting business, and eventually working full time as a marketing director for a national wholesale floral

producer. Her 10-year experience as a director helped her analytical skills and creativity flourish. It also tapped into her adventurous spirit and allowed her to travel to Hong Kong and China several times a year.

Feng Shui! Linne also does her best to support the local economy by using and recommending businesses here in town. Even her own office is outfitted in art and décor from local shops.

The next door on her career path opened while traveling home from one of these business trips. A man sitting next to her on the flight observed her as she worked and was impressed by her keen focus and drive. He recruited her to work at Select Staffing, where she excelled as the Santa Barbara branch manager. She became educated on staff and client management, accounting, and was a devoted student of Steven Covey (author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).

Linne says, “We don't need to bring others down to succeed! There is enough to go around in this life. God gives us everything we need, including ALL the gifts and blessings that should be used to assist and elevate others whenever possible!”

The next stop along her career path was working as the Vice President of Marketing for the Third Age Foundation. This non-profit organization was developed to help elders in the third stage of life to have longer, happier, and more fulfilled lives. Linne loves helping disadvantaged people find their direction by supporting their personal development. This is why B.E.S.T loves working with elderly executives that need help getting organized, especially if there is any cognitive decline or chronic illness. Linne is also fierce when it comes to empowering her team members. Because of her staffing experience, she has learned to look beyond the face value of the resume and encourages people to exceed all expectations. Her team is the foundation of her business and she loves to showcase their many talents. Her executive assistant, Olivia, is even certified in

Linne has two amazing children. Her daughter, Lindsay Rae, is a successful hair and makeup artist, who has worked in Beverly Hills for the past 12 years. Her son, Lucas, will be taking over the family electrical contracting business in C.A. She gets to see her children often because B.E.S.T also caters to clients in the Beverly Hills and Santa Barbara areas.

In Linne’s spare time, she loves to ride her horse and is an annual pass equestrian member at the Biltmore Estate and Asheville’s Adult Riding Club. Linne says her source for everything is her faith in God. She is an ordained minister, an Officer of the Court of the Catholic Daughters of America, and a child and hospitality minister for St. Joan of Arc Church in Candler.

B.E.S.T Biltmore Executive Support Team asheville-oms.com/best 828-785-2695 79 Woodfin Place, Suite 205A Asheville, NC 28801 Special thanks to Jim & Barbara Whitmer, Owners of Encore Stables, for graciously granting us access to their farm, encorestablesinc.com

Linne married the love of her life, Chris Warner, in 2011. The two are wildly adventurous and madly in love. “He supports me 120% in every crazy idea I have or adventure I suggest. I am so grateful that he has been blessed with some sort of divine resilience, and an extraordinary amount of patience, to put up with my never-ending flow of wild ideas!” The two love to explore together, which is how they ended up in Asheville. They sold all of their belongings and hopped into their RV for a 10-month long road trip from C.A. to N.C. They purchased 17.5 acres of land in Candler, N.C., and built their dream home where they’ve had a horse, a pig, goats, chickens, two tortoises, two dogs, and a cat! June 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


How to


in the Kitchen this Summer By Laurie Richardone


hen creating a dish, ask yourself what is my objective in the kitchen today? Is it to learn a new healthy recipe for my family? Is it thinking outside my routine of cooking? Or, is it to wow my guests for an upcoming gathering? When we know what we are aiming for, it’s easier to execute. Some ingredients require a bit more care than others. So if your goal is to make a simple dish, think of fresh seasonal ingredients that don’t require a lot of time, and patience to prepare. It’s pre-tomato season in June, but the first green beans, tender baby carrots, French radishes, and tiny new potatoes, set the stage for simple summer recipes. They fit quite nicely laid over gem lettuces, bunches of herbs, drizzled with a warm mint vinaigrette. For maximum flavor add the 8

thesofiamagazine.com | June 2021

dressing over warm vegetables like green beans, new potatoes or steamed baby carrots. No matter what combination you come up with, cooking with the summer’s bounty will paint a colorful table for the eye. Speaking of color, strawberries are in season, but not for long. If you want to experience a juicy sweet strawberry picked at its peak, head over to the market for a basket of organically grown strawberries. Add them to a savory salad to balance out the flavor profile. Can you see where I’m going with this? Get that large Italian platter ready, and invite some friends over for a simple garden party… It’s a wonderful opportunity for a memorable gathering in the garden. We called it the backyard, in Brooklyn. Don’t miss the chance to try the multitude of local seasonal ingredients that are spotlighted during

the summer months at our farmers markets here in Asheville.. If you are a curious cook, and love to eat, join me on my new Radio Show, “A Taste for All Seasons” where we explore the world of food, with the philosophy of eating with the seasons. And… as always I will be sharing some Cooking Tips, Seasonal Shortcuts and Kitchen Essentials, that will make your life easier in the kitchen. It airs on the last Saturday of every month at 11 am, on WPVM FM 103.7 in Asheville, NC. If you miss it: Visit WPVMFM.ORG for all shows, as we cook our way through the seasons. To your continued good health Laurie Richardone A Taste for All Seasons LaurieRichardone.com

Strawberry Shortcake with Coconut Cream by Laurie Richardone Cake ingredients ~ Serves 8-10

To remove the coconut from the can,

on the rack. Release it from the pan and

1 1/2 cups Bobs all purpose gluten free

carefully scoop out only the solid parts.

let cool completely before icing.

flour (or other all purpose flour)

Place in a bowl with vanilla, maple

After the cake has cooled, cut it into 2

1 1/2 tsp psyllium husk, ground

syrup, or confectioners sugar, and whip

round pieces. If you would like a taller

on high speed until fluffy.

cake, make two 9'' cakes. Spread cream

Place rack in center position and heat

on bottom cake. Place sliced strawberries

to 325 F.

on top of cream. Place the other round on

1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp fine sea salt 3 large eggs

Lightly oil a 9-10 inch springform pan.

top. Continue to spread coconut cream to cover the cake. Place strawberries around

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour,

1 cup coconut sugar,

the cake in any pattern you like. Garnish

baking powder, baking soda, psyllium

or pure cane sugar

with fresh thyme, mint or basil.

husk, and salt.

3/4 cup whole milk yogurt (or goat)

With an electric mixer, beat eggs and

dairy, you can make this with organic

Finely grated zest of 3 lemons

sugar in a large bowl for 5 minutes.

whipping cream. Follow the same recipe


Or until pale and thick.

for coconut cream. Bobs Gluten-Free

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil,

Add yogurt and zest, beat to combine.

flour has a blend that includes Xanthan

a fruitier oil preferably

With the mixer on medium speed, add

Gum. If using it, eliminate psyllium husk.

oil in a quick steady stream. Reduce

Buon Appetito

2 pints ripe organic strawberries, sliced, and sprinkled with 1 tsp each,. of sugar & fresh lemon, to macerate.

speed to low and gradually add in flour mixture just to combine. Whisk batter by hand to make sure everything is

Coconut Cream Frosting


2 cans cold unsweetened coconut

Pour batter into pan. Bake, rotating pan

milk (see cooks note)

once, until cake is golden and the center

1 tsp. vanilla

springs back to the touch, and edges pull

2 tbsp. maple syrup, or confectioners sugar

Cooks Note: If you don't mind the extra

away from the pan (about 40-45 min-

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

utes). Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes June 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


Natural Care

for Skin and


By Natasha Kubis


he beauty industry is quick to point out what's new, innovative, and "guaranteed" to make us more gorgeous. But before there were modern-day emulsifiers, preservatives, thickeners, artificial colors, and fragrances, there were ancient practices used by indigenous people from all around the globe that utilized nature in its simplest form to enhance their beauty and self-care rituals. Passed from generation to generation, these practices have withstood the test of time, and involve simple, healthy ingredients that can be found in your kitchen cupboard or your garden. Here are some of my favorite beauty rituals from around the world, and the best part is, they don’t break the bank and they’re free of chemicals.

Facial Treatments Ayurveda is an ancient lifestyle medicine from India and its mantra is that "beauty comes from within." These 5,000-year-old self-care practices are designed to support the healthy functioning of your 10

thesofiamagazine.com | June 2021

body. When you honor yourself and your body in this way, it is said that vitality will illuminate through you like Lakshmi herself, the goddess of beauty. Some common facial treatments in Ayurvedic medicine include the following: Rosewater comes from rose petals that have been steeped in distilled water, and when used as a facial toner, it has strong anti-inflammatory and hydrating benefits. You can spray rosewater on your face throughout the day to keep it refreshed. The scent of rose also elevates the mind and spirit. Neem oil can be used as a spot treatment for acne or discoloration. Use a cotton swab to apply it directly to pimples or spots of minor inflammation and leave it overnight. Aloe Vera isn't just for sunburns. It makes the skin smooth, supple, and toned. It can be applied topically, like a toner or serum, underneath a moisturizer.

Dry Brushing for Body Care Dry Brushing is another Ayurvedic practice that uses a natural bristle dry brush on your body. The mechanical action of dry brushing is excellent for exfoliating dry winter skin. It also helps detoxify your skin by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph drainage. It has the additional benefit of stimulating your nervous system, which has an invigorating effect. Starting with your feet, brush in gentle, upward, circular motions toward the heart. Make your way to your legs, torso, and arms. Then rinse off in the shower. Dry off and do some self-massage with your favorite oil, such as olive, avocado, coconut, almond, or sesame oil. Do not use dry brushing directly on skin that’s broken, which includes cuts, scrapes, lesions, sores, eczema, psoriasis, or burned skin. Stop the practice if the skin becomes irritated or inflamed.


Hair Oiling The history of hair oiling can be traced back to many parts of the world. Research on mummies shows that ancient Egyptians used plant and animal fats on their hair, and in ancient Greece, women relied on olive oil to condition their luscious locks. The Berber women of Morocco have been using Argan oil in their beauty rituals for thousands of years by applying it to their hair, as well as their face, nails, and entire body. Not only does Argan oil have a wonderful scent, but it is also loaded with rich antioxidants, vitamin E, and fatty acids. It can help make the hair shine, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, treat scars, acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Ayurvedic medicine has a ritual known as Murdha Taila, which translates to "anointing the scalp with oil.” Indian women take great pride in their crowning glory, and for thousands of years, they have kept their tresses lovely with nourishing scalp oils made from coconuts, herbs, flowers, and spices. Some common ingredients include tulsi (Indian holy basil), hibiscus flowers, curry leaves, and fenugreek seeds. Hair oiling and scalp massage promote thick, lustrous, healthy hair. Beyond the hair-fortifying aspect of it, this calming and relaxing practice is very grounding due to the many nerve endings on your scalp. Massaging the scalp can improve circulation and slough off dead skin cells, which is said to help hair growth. Apply coconut or sesame oil to

the crown of your head, working downward and outward with your fingertips. Massage your scalp using a pinching motion, bringing the fingertips and thumbs together, then releasing. Move hands forward and back, then side to side, covering the entire head. After the massage, comb the oil through your hair and leave it on for 30 minutes as you relax. For deeper conditioning, cover with a shower cap and leave it overnight. Gently rinse with a sulfite-free shampoo and finish with your typical hair care routine.

Soak it Away It is said that Cleopatra's most sacred beauty ritual was taking a bath with dead sea salt, aromatic flowers, olive oil, and milk. Bath soaks have been soothing muscle aches,

destressing the mind, softening the skin, and lightening the mood for millennia. I have adopted my own Cleopatra bath ritual and no bath is complete without olive, almond, sesame, lavender, ylang-ylang, or eucalyptus oils, as well as Epsom or Himalayan salts. I still haven’t been courageous enough to pour milk in the tub, as Cleopatra did, but maybe one day.

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

June 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


Women Making Music Spotlight on Caromia Humphrey and her beautiful and intimate EP releases: "Green" and "Sunday Land" By Peggy Ratusz

Melody Cooper

ine years ago I was doing my usual surfing on YouTube for local female singers and stumbled upon a video that moved me to my core: Caromia’s rendition of Patsy Cline’s, ‘Crazy.’


I’ve been in love with her all this time and it was my honor to speak with her about her two most recent EP releases, “Green” from 2019 and “Sunday Land” from 2020. Here are highlights from our exchange!

At the time I was hosting a singer-songwriter in the round, so I reached out to her and booked her within a month. Soon after, I asked her to play for the Female Artist Spotlight nights I was hosting twice per month. I was also fortunate to have shared the stage with her in 2016 for the Downtown After Five All-Star jam!

Peggy: You said at the time you released the EP “Green” that it was anticlimactic. How has Green moved in the ethos since its release?


thesofiamagazine.com | June 2021

Caromia: It was a combination of the lockdown, and what felt like a tectonic shift in the mainstream narrative of our country.

It felt silly to try to call attention to myself, and ask people to listen to these intimate songs amidst a revolutionary moment. For both of the albums, the purpose and totality of my ambition was in the creative process of writing and recording them. Peggy: How are you doing now that both releases are out there? Caromia: I’m in a good place! It’s interesting to look back to where I was when I wrote them. I wrote and recorded Green fall/ winter of 2019, Sunday Land in spring/ summer of 2020. I’m just realizing this now, but they absolutely reflect the physical seasons they came from. In Green, I was turned inward, navigating a dark time, processing grief, heart-

break, moving through pain, holding the weight, trying to accept I had to let go. When I started writing Sunday Land, I was ready to feel hopeful again…I was falling in love, I was feeling lighter again, reconnecting with joy. It was Spring after a long Winter. Peggy: Musically speaking, what is your intention? Caromia: My intention is to create. I start writing, and the meaning comes after the song is written. I write and record in my bedroom “studio”, which is really just a microphone, Apollo Twin interface, some guitars, keyboards and a computer. I never write with the intention of releasing or even sharing the songs. Most of what I write and record never gets heard by anyone, which allows me to move more freely than if I was writing with the audience in mind? Peggy: This paradigm shift we’ve experienced is aptly reflected in your song from Sunday Land, “Shifting Shapes”. Was there a shift in your own thinking that prompted you to write it? Caromia: Yeah, there were some major shifts happening for me. The song is a meditation on the energetic reincarnation that happens in life; how we think we know what we want, how things “should" be, and get attached to the idea of certain fixed realities, “make believe that we see finish lines”… We often struggle with graceful acceptance of natural changes, and end up mourning them as a death of sorts, when it’s really just an energetic reincarnation. Peggy: On “Pedals,” I am thrilled to hear your voice take off, soar and land and play with the horns and vamps. How fun was that section of the song to experiment with?

Caromia: That’s one of my favorite sections of the album! It was just playful experimentation that I allowed to develop naturally. Adam Dotson wrote the horn arrangement around the vocals, and I had a huge smile on my face when I listened back to what he came up with. Peggy: On “I Was a Sailboat,” there’s a juxtaposition of it in relation to “Pedals.” “Pedals” is sparse lyrically and rich with meditative space with tickles and playful prods of horn riffs and vocalese. On ‘Sailboat,’ there’s a development of feelings and narrative. I am drawn to the song for what I personally get from it. Caromia: I did write it about a specific storyline that was unfolding in my life, but I think it’s better to leave listeners relating it to their own stories. I love that you have your own story with it:) Peggy: I picture you in your studio producing the synths and sounds that meander in this one; I’m curious about the depth of exploration to produce it. Caromia: I probably spent the most time doing just that on this one. In general, I spend a lot of time experimenting with approaches, sounds, effects, exploring my instruments (vocals included) and softwares. Peggy: “To Do But Float” is the epitome of a letting-go song. I love it so much! Caromia: Thanks! Years ago, I was especially stressed out and needed an escape from where I was in that moment. I imagined diving into deep, cool, dark water floating weightlessly. The ‘weightless' imagery has been sprinkled through my songs for years. Peggy: “Something Old Something New” reminds me of a 50’s tune brought into

the now; which is cool, given the title. What was going on when you wrote it? Caromia: I have no idea! Definitely one of those songs where I just write and eventually the meaning jumps out. It’s about the futility of trying to control everything, recognizing the parallel truths being simultaneously meaningful and inconsequential, of letting go, and allowing for joy. Peggy: I love the cover of Sunday Land. Did you design it? Caromia: My mom drew it! I think of it as a beachy dream wave, and she came up with this based on that concept. I love it too. Peggy: What’s on your horizon musically and personally? Caromia: Lots of shifting shapes; literally and metaphorically. I’m growing a human for the first time, so my focus and energy is going into that right now. Who knows? Maybe my next album will be lullabies! Whatever this magnificent artist decides to focus on musically, take it from me, it’s worth your investment. Please visit her lovely website: caromiamusic.com to listen, purchase and attend an upcoming show.

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

June 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


“Walk with me

while I tell you a story” By Jennifer Bandy


hen he first came to the barn he had survived years of abuse. He had been kicked, hit, bruised, branded, and scarred. And after years the feelings of shame, fear, pain, and loneliness turned to anger, and eventually he grew tired of being hurt, so He pushed back. Then he was labeled. Aggressive. Violent. Unmanageable. And those who were supposed to have nurtured him finally abandoned him. But his story didn’t end there… Today he is safe. Happy. He has found compassion, acceptance, and purpose. And now that you have heard a small piece of his story, can you tell me…is he a horse, or human?


thesofiamagazine.com | June 2021

Walk With Me is a non-profit organization in Conover, NC. Our Mission is to create a program that focuses on the healing steps for the ones that have been mistreated, abused, and forgotten. Our vision is to provide hope and healing for all those who need it and can not afford it.

At Walk With Me we provide our community the opportunity to heal with Equine Assisted Psychotherapy/Learning/Life Coach. While at the barn, our clients will work in a variety of outdoor settings through their journey. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is an experiential (hands-on) form of therapy which teams with the therapist, equine specialist, client, and the horse to strive for happiness in life. During sessions, our clients build a relationship with one of the many therapy horses at the barn. While building the relationship with the horse, the client is able to process the present emotions and obstacles in their lives. As the obstacles occur in sessions our Equine Specialist assists the client in understanding the communication between them and the horse. Horses are prey animals that react in the present moment. They communicate with body language. These interactions are beneficial for clients who have difficulty

in communication, depression, anxiety, self esteem, healthy relationships, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Walk With Me offers our community, families, and individuals a few different programs to include individual sessions and/or ten week group sessions. Operation Battle Horse is a program geared for Veterans who feel like they have lost their identity and purpose after active duty. We understand how difficult the transition from military life to civilian life can be. By providing support and guidance we can help in that transition to make it as smooth as possible. Our Youth Program works with your youth and family to help improve communication within the family, build confidence, increase self-esteem, and find happiness in their lives. The Women's Trauma Program guides women to find the strength that may have been lost. The goal is

to support women in a safe place, with the focus on allowing the safety for positive steps forward. “I lost who I was, I was only the victim of a traumatic experience; the hardest part of the journey was to discover that it was safe to find me.”--Signed Unknown Jennifer Bandy, ESMHL, NLC-EP, NC Certified Peer Support (Trauma Recovery), Life Coach Website: walkwithmehealingsteps.com Email Us: walkwithmeswf@gmail.com Our Location: 4170 LB Propst DR Conover, NC, USA Contact Us: 828-471-7969 828-838-0726

June 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com





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