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of Western NC

Born to Salsa | Threads of Hope | Mind your Manners 50pluslivingWNC.com

May 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

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May 2021 | 50+ Living | 3

Draw Your Feelings Journaling is a great way to express ourselves because writing helps organize and process our thoughts. Keeping a journal can also reduce stress by releasing emotions. However, if you are having trouble finding the right words to say, you may benefit from drawing your feelings. Hiding depressed, sad, and disappointed feelings can lead to physical illness. It’s important to accept and never apologize for how you feel. Your feelings are your feelings—they are not right nor wrong. If you are unable to convey your thoughts in words, try drawing them instead. Drawing can help you to express and manage difficult emotions. You don’t need to be a trained artist or have an easel and drawing paper, just grab a sheet of paper and a pencil and start doodling. Before you begin, take a deep breath and try to identify what you are feeling. You may start by drawing a circle and adding facial features. You can essentially draw how you feel with smiles or frowns, squinty or bright eyes. Eyebrows will express true emotions. Your art journal can be as complicated or as simple as you like. You may choose to set up an area with paper, pens, pencils, and paints or you may just keep scratch paper available for a quick sketch of emotion. These pictures can tell you a lot about yourself. If you don’t like what you see, maybe changes are in order. 4 | 50+ Living | May 2021

Easy-Peasy Ways to Update Your

Spring Decorating Ambitions

Purchase a new shower curtain. Your shower curtain can update and change the look of your whole bathroom. This is a room where you can easily express your true self, so go ahead and buy that whimsical lime green and hot pink curtain! String twinkle lights across the railing of your porch. As the weather warms and we’re spending more time outside, these little lights can add a festive ambiance to your outdoor space.

ow that we’ve said “see you later” to winter, it’s time to refresh our homes with a few springtime changes. Here are several ways to freshen and brighten up our living space.


Do you love the look of wallpaper but feel that wallpapering an entire room is just too much? Try wallpapering only the interior or backboard of a bookshelf. This idea can give a pop of color and interest without being overbearing.

Replace a discolored or outdated lampshade with a new one. Choose a shade that allows light to shine and brighten your room. Throw pillows are simple additions that can add lots of color and personality. Although you may not need a heavy afghan in the months ahead, a lightweight blanket thrown across your sofa will add a pop of color and will feel cozy on rainy afternoons.

Spring into Style with PRETTY PRINTS Polka-dots are a spring staple. These little colored circles can be found in basic black and white as well as hot pink and tangerine orange. The nautical stripe is another constant in spring fashion. Narrow and wide stripes are trending in both shirts and skirts. Florals are always welcome this season. Big, bold flowers and delicate blooms in bright and pastel colors are sure to brighten your wardrobe.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with new looks each season. From ruffled shirts to peasant skirts, clothing stores are displaying fresh fashions. After a cold winter, pretty prints are a welcome return to the fashion world in spring.

The colors of this colorful season are predicted to be mellow yellow, bubblegum pink, tiger tangerine, lemon-lime green, and ocean blue. The most important spring style element is the same for all seasons—confidence. When you are confident in your clothes, you can wear almost anything. May 2021 | 50+ Living | 5

To the world, you are a Mother, but to our family, you are the World. We Love you Mom.

50+Living of Western NC

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


4 5  

Draw Your Feelings Easy-Peasy Spring into Style




Celebrate with a Salsa Dance

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Taylor’d with Style . . . Threads of Hope


Simply Charming


Feed Your Skin


Butterfly Beauties


The Classy Cook

Table Manners Matter Fancy Footwork

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

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.

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

Fletcher 3445 Hendersonville Rd. 828-376-3711

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Aromas Take a breath and feel energized, or inhale deeply and feel relaxed. Various aromas produce different effects on our minds and bodies. Essential oils may enter our body by being absorbed, inhaled, or ingested. Orange Blossom is a citrusy and sweet scent. It will help you feel refreshed and relaxed. It has antidepressant qualities and has even been used as an antiseptic. Lavender is a popular scent used for calming and relaxing. Lavender oil is found in many lotions and potions, especially those used for bathing and nighttime treatments. Peony oil is often used for its antioxidant properties. It can also help to protect from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Rosemary has a camphor-like fragrance that helps to energize, provide mental clarity, and even helps to relieve headaches. Chamomile is another soothing scent. When used in an oil, the chamomile blossom can help release tension, and sleeplessness. Vanilla is a sweet and comforting scent. It is said to be an aphrodisiac while also calming the soul. Eucalyptus is a fresh, clean scent that energies and improves our mood. Jasmine offers a confident and optimistic feeling.

Celebrate with a


Are you looking for a food that is delicious, nutritious, and fun to eat? Salsa has it all and there is no better time than National Salsa Month to add this colorful and zingy food to your meal! This variation starts with black beans and gets spicy from there. To really celebrate salsa month, dance in your kitchen or invite friends over and ask everyone to bring their own special salsa recipe. You may be surprised at how many versions of salsa there are—and a kitchen dance is always a good idea.

Black Bean & Pineapple Salsa Ingredients 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed 2 cups pineapple tidbits, drained, reserve 1/4 cup juice. 1 cup diced red bell pepper 6 green onions, thinly sliced 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 seeded jalapeno pepper, minced Simply combine all ingredients and place in the refrigerator. Make this salsa a day ahead of serving so the flavors can mingle. May 2021 | 50+ Living | 9

Taylor’d with Style

Threads of Hope By JeanAnn Taylor

off to other hobbies—cross-stitch, quilting, and then dressmaking. During the past year, I rediscovered this type of “thread art” and I feel like a new world of creativity has opened for me. Embroidery is essentially decorative stitches sewn onto a material—it’s the art of using a needle and thread to embellish clothing, accessories, and home decor. The choice of material can be anything you can stick a needle through. The common materials are linen and cotton, but I’ve seen embroidery work on lace, terry cloth, and even screen doors.

Current embroidery trends are to cover large areas with thread design. Full nature scenes may be embroidered on the back of a jacket. The sides of jeans may have a design all the way from the hip to the ankle. The “fuzzy” look is another trend. This means that threads are tied and secured, then cut off with an inch or more hanging loose. Beads, sequins, and pearls are often used to embellish the embellishment. Embroidery is found on denim jackets and jeans—of course—but also on sandals, sneakers, headbands, and purses. Embroidery has also become popular in home decor. Flowers, birds, Follow JeanAnn on Instagram @jeananns.taylord.life and greenery can be found in large designs—not here is a trend in the fashion world making only on the typical throw pillow, but also on chairs, sofas, and ottomans. a strong comeback—embroidery. The reason is attributed to the fact that we’ve I personally love hand embroidery and don’t want been forced to stay home for over a year and we to lose the art of that skill, so it’s not for me, but are desperately searching for ways to fill the void machine embroidery is an easy-peasy and fast way in our lives. Embroidery was once considered a to get the look you want. With new embroidery boring hobby of ladies who had nothing better to machines you can download patterns, punch a few do with their time. There was not much individual buttons, walk away, and let the machine do the work expression as the cookie-cutter patterns were for you. With hand embroidery, you can start with preprinted and followed exactly as directed—in the basics: chain, daisy, and back stitch. My newest stitch and in color. However, new concepts of form of creative expression is to draw a picture on embroidery are taking this old art form to a more a piece of fabric, then stitch over the lines, filling in artistic level. The hobby industry is well aware that embroidery has become a booming pastime and craft wherever I like. You’ll be surprised at how creative you can be with just a few simple stitches. stores are stocking up on needles, floss, and hoops.


The act of embroidering is in itself a nurturing action. It’s a peaceful, meditative hobby. It requires concentration, which is a great distraction from the chaos and uncertainty around us. It’s a restful and satisfying way to express ourselves. My first embroidery experience was as a teenager. I embroidered a butterfly on a pair of cut-off jeans. This led to flowers and leaves embroidered on denim shirts, which then led to making embroidered patches I gave to friends. After a while, I wandered 10 | 50+ Living | May 2021

As you can see from the photo, I survived the past year by holding onto hope with my needle and thread. Having a project to focus on gives me something to think about and look forward to. Embroidery adds beauty, color, and individualism to your garments and home. You can let your imagination go and express yourself with thread. A single thread of hope is still a very powerful thing. ~Lorri Faye

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Peggy Ratusz

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reverbnation.com/peggyratusz May 2021 | 50+ Living | 11

Table Manners Matter By Gigi Steel


ne of the first lessons we get from our mothers is how to behave at the table. We learn to sit up in our chair, to not spit out our food, and how to use a spoon. These early lessons are the cornerstone for a lifetime of civil graces. In 1886, proper etiquette required that a gentleman must help a lady, whom he escorted to the table, to all she wishes . . .” What a difference from then to now! While today’s etiquette demands have changed, proper manners remain important. In our casual and busy culture, many of us find ourselves eating our meals in the car—on the way to soccer practice or between appointments. We often eat as we sit in front of the television while we watch a sitcom or in front of the computer while we check our messages. It often seems that table manners have gone the way of dinosaurs and cavemen—no longer important in our society. 12 | 50+ Living | May 2021

However, table manners are a basic element of civilization—a significant factor of human development and progress. Without table manners, we are no different than a pack of wolves who eat aggressively—without thought of anything other than hunger—eating fast before other animals steal their food. Table manners are the fundamental element of politeness and civility. As our culture continues to spiral toward a more and more lackadaisical way of life, it’s important to hold on to a few elemental meal practices. There are basic table manners we all should know: don’t chew with your mouth open; don’t talk with food in your mouth; don’t put your elbows on the table; don’t cough into your hand; don’t slurp, smack, or belch at the table. Here are answers to a few more essential factors of good table manners.

Where do I put my napkin? As soon as you sit down, place the napkin in your lap. If you must get up during the meal, place it on your chair. It is considered ill-mannered to place a soiled napkin on the table during a meal. When you are finished eating, gently fold your napkin and place it on the left side of your plate. It should never be waded up into a ball and thrown on top of your plate.

Where do I put my utensils during the meal and when I’m finished eating? Never let your used utensils touch the linens on the table. After using, they should be placed only on your plate. When you have finished your meal, place them across the plate with the handle toward the right. The tines of the fork should be turned down. This is the signal that you have finished your meal.

When can I begin eating? The host or hostess has spent time preparing a meal for you; therefore it is considered rude to begin eating before he or she has sat down at the table. Only after he/she is seated and gives a signal, usually by serving his/herself or someone else, may you begin filling your plate and eating.

When is it okay to leave the table? When everyone is finished eating. As you get up from the table, don’t place your hands on the table to push yourself off. Use your leg muscles to lift your body up and move to the next place.

Some of these rules were designed for an orderly meal—passing food to the right. Others were Can I cut up all my food at the beginning of designed for health—not eating too fast. Others my meal? were designed for pleasantry—don’t chew with No. Cut one bite at a time. your mouth open. When you think about it, table manners are really all about common sense and How fast can I eat? consideration of others. No one wants to see food in It’s best to eat intentionally and slowly. Take a bite, your mouth—so chew with your mouth closed. No then swallow before opening your mouth to take one wants their table linens soiled—so place your another bite. No one wants to see half-chewed up used utensils on your plate, not the tablecloth. No food in your mouth when you open it to take another one wants to cook for someone and then eat alone— bite. The same is true for drinking. Swallow your so wait until everyone is seated before you begin. food before taking a drink. Be sure you put your No one wants to watch someone eat so fast they utensil down before picking up your glass for a can’t have a conversation—so slow down to enjoy drink. Never hold your fork in one hand and your your meal and company. No one wants to look at glass in the other. Replace your glass to the upper a dirty napkin while they finish their meal—so right corner of your place setting—never on the don’t place one on the table. No one wants to clean edge of the table. It’s also important that you sit up up after a messy eater—so take care that you don’t straight and bring your food to your mouth, not your leave a mess! mouth down to your food. These habits will not only make dining with you more pleasing, it will slow Our personal table etiquette is a reflection of who you down so that you don’t eat too fast.. we are, and how we behave at the table will leave a lasting impression. Good table manners matter Where do I put my hands? because we are healthier and happier when we eat Your left hand goes in your lap. Never rest your arm with purpose and share our meals with family and on the table. friends. Good manners encourage self-respect and confidence. Whether we are at a family dinner or What if I have to cough or sneeze during formal function, our manners determine our legacy the meal? and whether we get an invitation back—or not. We Use your napkin to cover your nose and mouth. can thank our mothers for these early lessons. Never cough or sneeze into your hand. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Which way should food be passed around a table? Food is always passed to the right. May 2021 | 50+ Living | 13

Fancy Footwork We use our feet to walk, run, jump, skip, and dance! Now that summer is just around the corner, they will also be subject to heat, sweat, and open-toe shoes. So shouldn’t we give them the care and respect they deserve? First and most importantly, wash your feet every day. If you take showers in the morning and not at night, be sure to wash your feet before you crawl into bed. This habit will also keep your sheets clean. When you are in the bath or shower, use a pumice stone to exfoliate dead skin cells. Use a foot moisturizer daily. Dry, hard calluses are painful and unsightly. Soft feet are healthier and more attractive. Be sure your feet are dry before you put on shoes to avoid athlete’s foot and other foot fungus. Wear flip flops whenever you shower in a public locker room or shared space. Protect your feet with appropriate shoes and keep them clean. Dirty, sweaty shoes can become germy and smell bad. Take care of toenails. Trim them straight across, then use a nail file to smooth the edges.

SIMPLY CHARMING There are a few people who innately have a sort of presence . . . or charm. You can feel it immediately, and it’s not about how they look or how they are dressed, or how much money they have. This feeling is illusive, yet real. The charming characteristics vary from person to person, but they do have a few universal traits. They make us laugh. A sense of humor is the primary characteristic of a charmer. Laughter helps us bond with each other. And it’s fun. When we laugh, we feel a connection that is contagious, and we want to do it again. They bring energy and excitement to a large party or oneon-one conversation. They are often insightful and feel passionate about certain topics. They are graceful. They can handle awkward situations with ease. They also exude confidence, which people respect and admire. They listen. When you talk to a charmer, you know he or she hears you. They ask questions and offer insight. They genuinely care and have the unique ability to make others feel comfortable and appreciated. They seek adventure. It may be a trip to another country or just a new type of salad dressing, but charming people like new experiences. They are curious and want to explore and see the world from different perspectives. Charm is an unmistakable characteristic. If you want to become more charming, try the tips above and watch your charming personality bloom.

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Butterfly Beauties

Feed Your Skin Skin is your largest organ and requires nutritious food to keep it radiant and healthy. Try eating these foods for skin that glows: Low-fat yogurt is high in vitamin A and “live” bacteria. These two ingredients have a positive effect on our skin. Nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help in the body’s creation of natural oils. These oils absorb water from the air and aid in preventing dry skin. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols and antioxidants which protect against the free radicals that damage the collagen in skin. Strawberries and blueberries are packed with vitamin C—another great antioxidant for our skin. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A which supports skin health.

The only thing prettier than a garden full of beautiful blooms is a garden full of beautiful blooms and butterflies flitting from flower to flower. Fortunately, inviting these beauties to your garden requires very little . . . primarily food and water. Butterflies navigate toward water that is shallow and that makes a dripping sound. To accomplish this, you may need to simply hang a bottle upside-down so that it slowly drips into a bird bath or other shallow container, making a gentle splash. If you have a water fountain or feature, take care to clean it regularly. Butterflies search for vibrant colors. Bright red, pink, and purple flowers are sure to bring butterflies to your garden. The types of blooms that come in clusters are especially attractive to the little flutterby. They allow the butterfly to walk around from tiny flower to tiny flower while he snacks on the rich nectar. The butterfly’s “mouth” is a long straw-like tube with which he can sip nectar from the flower. Blooms with tubes accommodate the butterfly’s anatomy. Butterflies also require warmth. They look for sunny spots where they are protected from wind. They also navigate toward flat rocks that absorb warmth from the sun. There are many flowers that will attract butterflies: lilac, verbena, cosmos, lantana, zinnias, bee balm, and lilies are just a few. Give butterflies what they need and they are sure to grace your garden. May 2021 | 50+ Living | 15

The Classy Cook STRAWBERRY PIZZA May is National Strawberry Month! What better way to celebrate than with a Strawberry Pizza? This delicious pizza is perfect for a family reunion, picnic, office party, and any other gathering this spring.              Submitted by Linda Everidge Thomas

CRUST 1 1/2 Cup Flour 1 Cup Butter 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar 1/2 Cup Pecans Mix together and press in a greased pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. 1ST LAYER 8 Ounces Cream Cheese 9 Ounces Whipping Cream 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar Whip Cream Cheese, Sugar, and Whipping Cream. Spread over cooled crust.

2ND LAYER 3 Ounce Package of Strawberry Gelatin 1 Cup Strawberry Juice 4 Cups Strawberries 4 Tablespoons Cornstarch 1/2 Cup Sugar Mix gelatin, sugar, 1/2 cup of strawberry juice. Dissolve cornstarch and the other half of strawberry juice. Stir together and cook until thickened. Spoon over cream cheese. Spread Cool Whip over top layer and place sliced strawberries over topping. Chill well. 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. 16 | 50+ Living | May 2021

May 2021



Eat Good Feel Good | Home is Where the Harp is | You're the Berry Best


thesofiamagazine.com | May 2021

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 F  or the Love of Raspberries Natasha Kubis


 Tips to Spring Clean your Body

Trish Luzzi 828.423.0248 wnccreations@gmail.com

Contributing Writers Natasha Kubis Peggy Ratusz Veena Rhodes Laurie Richardone Julie Rorie

Photographer Bren Dendy

Veena Rhodes

9 'Tis the Raspberry Season Natasha Kubis

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

10 W  omen Making Music Singer Melody Cooper Peggy Ratusz

12 The Essence of Spring Laurie Richardone


 sparagus & A Sorrel Soup Laurie Richardone

15 H  ow to Avoid Common Interior Design Mistakes in Your Home Julie Rorie

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. May 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


Acupuncture Cupping & Yoga Please enjoy

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For the Love of Raspberries By Natasha Kubis

Although being in the garden has always been one of Stacy’s passions, she wasn’t always in the business of raspberries. Both she and her husband, Chris Fields, had been in the construction industry for many years, but during the financial crisis of 2008 to 2009, their sector had been hit hard. As a result, they decided it would be wise to diversify their streams of income and explore the farming industry. In 2015 they purchased 10.5 acres of land in Good Luck, N.C. (15 minutes from Asheville), and sowed nearly 3,000 raspberry plants, and thus, Raspberry Fields was born. They pride themselves on their organic and sustainable farming practices, as well as their beloved variety of Autumn Bliss raspberries. This bright red berry has a superior flavor profile, a long growing season, and endless health benefits.

Photo by Bren Photography


or Stacy Fields, life is all about family, faith, and raspberries. Her Hendersonville based farm, Raspberry Fields, is in its fifth growing season. It provides organic and fresh raspberries, fruit preserves, raspberry vinegar, and delicious baked goods to tailgate market shoppers, local CSA's, wholesalers, restaurants, cafes, beer and cider brewers, bakeries, and other local merchants in Henderson and Bun6

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large gardens that provided nourishment for the entire family. Being in nature and having a green thumb has always been a part of Stacy’s identity. In fact, her most loved activity is growing flowers and hiking through the wondrous Appalachian Mountains.

combe Counties. Their offerings typically include pies, cobblers, muffins, sourdough bread, spiced pumpkin cheesecake, pinwheels, cookies, and pastries galore. They even cater to vegan and gluten-free diets! Stacy’s agricultural roots began in Crumpler, N.C., where as a child she tended to her grandmothers’ raspberry patches. Her family also grew Christmas trees, tobacco, and had

Raspberry Fields operates all year long. They start harvesting their berries in mid to late June, and the growing season lasts all the way through October. When their fresh berry season is over, they continue selling all of their preserves, vinegars, and baked goods at the holiday markets from October through December. January is typically the month to catch up on paperwork and taxes. February, March, and April are all about the pre-season

work ensuring a healthy harvest for the rest of the year. This includes cutting the briars back down while they are dormant, replacing water lines, weeding beds, adding mulch, maintaining irrigation systems, and conducting soil testing. This Wonder Woman wears many hats. In addition to tending to her raspberries, you can also find her selling specialty windows and doors for Morrison Millwork by day, and baking pies and hand-crafted goodies for the farmer's markets on evenings and weekends. Her most beloved job of all is being a fulltime wife to Chris, and a mom to a big family of 4 children; Ashley, Jacob, Lydia, and David. One of the most pivotal moments of Stacy’s life was when she and Chris had experienced the same dream. “We both had a dream that we were going to give birth to our son, and his name was going to be David.” The dream was a profound experience for them both because at that time they had already had children who were in their teens and twenties. “We thought that we were passed that stage of our lives”, she said. Little did they know that it would take them 3 years until their dream of baby David would come to fruition. Stacy had struggled with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which had made it difficult to conceive, and after lots of heartache and struggle, they finally found a supportive and compassionate team of healthcare practitioners at Carolina Fertility and Asheville Integrative Acupuncture. Stacy was finally able to become pregnant with the son

Photo by Juls Buckman that she had dreamed of, literally! David is now two months old, and her journey to get him here has given her the insight that everything happens exactly when it’s meant to happen. “I’ve learned that timing is everything and it always works out the way it’s meant to. If we had gotten pregnant with David right away, we wouldn’t have had the time to build this network of love and support that we have today. It would have been much more difficult to do everything that we do on a day-today basis, without the friendships we have built over the past few years.” Stacy’s favorite bible verse, one that she refers to often, is Isaiah 40:31, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” “Our family trusts in the gospel, that Jesus came to pay the debt we could not, and all the promises of God. We attend Biltmore Church and attempt each day to live in a way that brings honor to the Lord”, Stacy said.

You can find the Raspberry Fields bounty at the Hendersonville Farmers Market on Saturdays, the Etowah Farmers Market on Wednesdays, and the Flat Rock Farmers Market on Thursdays. Be sure to savor the taste of the fresh raspberries, jams, vinegars, breads, muffins, cobblers, and cheesecakes. Stacy’s berries are also included in the CSA for TRACTOR, a nonprofit food hub in Burnsville. You can also pick up some products at Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery, a sustainable grocery store in Greenville, S.C. Raspberry Fields has big plans for the future and they hope to open up their farm for events, which will be perfect for all the destination weddings in the Asheville area.

Raspberry Fields localraspberries@gmail.com raspberryfieldswnc.com Facebook and Instagram @raspberryfieldswnc

May 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com



Spring Clean your body By Veena Rhodes


e as a family are embarking on a big adventure (an international move) this summer and have been in the midst of some major spring cleaning. Everything from selling the “can’t live without” Honda Odyssey to pulling weeds in the backyard to make room from fresh growth. As a Lifestyle Medicine physician and holistic nutrition coach, I find myself having the conversation of “spring cleaning” often. In light of an ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, and the ramifications of it that we have seen particularly in the US, I know we have some work to do to improve the wellness of our overall population. According to the CDC, almost half of our population is obese, and as we well know, obesity alone increases the risk of the top causes of preventable death – heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke. Those with obesity have also been the hardest hit with the virus, whether in post-COVID syndrome or increased hospitalizations and death. But why aren’t we talking more about rehauling our food and health8

thesofiamagazine.com | May 2021

care system and not just about the short term importance of mask wearing and handwashing? Why are physicians still reimbursed on the number of patient visits and medications prescribed? Why are public schools still serving antiquated GMO-laden lunches where high fructose syrup ketchup is counted as a vegetable? That is likely worth another article altogether, but of course it comes down to politics and money. My passion in medicine has been to help transition people to become more empowered with their own health, to peel off prescription medications and to mostly avoid needing conventional “sick care” clinics altogether. Now as we start to open back up to get back to “normal” post-pandemic, I urge you to step back and take a birds eye view of your overall health.

health. Make it pretty and eat the rainbow! Remember, small steps lead to big steps. Pick one and stick with it for a week, then move on. And don’t beat yourself up. After a few months, you will start to see bigger changes that you never thought were possible. You will improve your energy, increase the quality of your sleep, enhance your mood, and just have more “spring” in your step. If you are on medication maybe you see them fall away. I am always excited to chat with motivated people about next steps, if you want to chat about your health journey and if you are ready to start the path to feeling your best. You’ve got this!

Here are 4 nutrition tips you can institute today to start to spring clean your body: Hydrate Aim for 0.5-1 ounce of water per your weight in pounds. Ideally on first awakening, drink 1-2 glasses of room temperature water with lemon for an alkaline detox. Eat slowly This is a lost art but so important for proper digestion, better nutrient absorption and less overeating. Take a 5-10 minute pause in between servings to allow yourself time to feel satiated. Remove processed foods If it has more than 5 ingredients in it, or ingredients that you can’t pronounce, don’t eat it. Eat as much as you can from food without labels or packaging at all. Eat more plants Every “diet” in the world agrees that eating more plants will improve brain, bone and overall

“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity." -Hippocrates

Veena Somani MD, ABIHM, ABLM Integrative Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach veenasomanimd.com Email: drveena @veenasomanimd.com Instagram: @veenasomanimd Facebook: Veena Somani MD

Healthy Raspberry Muffins

'Tis the Raspberry

1 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup 2 eggs

By Natasha Kubis

1 cup plain Greek yogurt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Zest of 1 medium lemon 1 1/2 cups of raspberries


ot only do sweet and tart raspberries offer an interesting flavor profile for your palate, but they also have some amazing health benefits for your body. You can enjoy this delicious berry all year long, whether fresh, frozen, or preserved. The season for fresh raspberries begins in May, and depending on the variety, can last through October. Pick them straight off the bush in the summer and freeze them for baking throughout the winter. Raspberries are one of the healthiest fruits found in nature’s bounty. They provide potassium, which is essential to heart function, and they also keep your blood pressure in check. The omega-3 fatty acids in raspberries can prevent stroke and heart disease. They also contain vitamin K and a mineral called manganese, which are both necessary for healthy bones and skin. One cup of raspberries provides over 50% of the minimum daily target for vitamin C, which supports immune function and boosts collagen production for

healthy skin. Raspberries also can help to regulate blood sugar, and supply smaller amounts of E and B vitamins, copper, and iron. Try these yummy recipes to get your daily dose of raspberry’s health benefits.

Refreshing Raspberry Smoothie

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. In a large mixing bowl, combine and whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oil, and honey or maple syrup, and beat together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then add the yogurt, vanilla, and lemon zest. Mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a big spoon, just until combined. Gently fold the raspberries into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Bake the muffins for 22 to 24 minutes, or until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries 3-6 fresh mint leaves 1 cup pomegranate juice 1 banana 1 tablespoon protein powder Add all the ingredients to a blender and puree for about 30 seconds. Add more liquid as needed.

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

May 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


Women Making Music

By Peggy Ratusz

Spotlight on Harpist, Jazz Pianist, Singer Melody Cooper

Photos by Ralph De Palma


elody’s talking voice is rich and warm. As we commiserate on the day I interviewed her, we begin by talking about what’s on the docket for her upcoming weekend of playing harp at weddings in Tennessee. I am soothed by her calm and inviting persona. Funny, because she was born in Brooklyn and moved to Long Island when she was twelve. While we’re conversing I think about all the people I know from that area and most of them are not as calm and cool as Cooper. “The short version of my story is that I moved out when I was seventeen,” and then she pauses and asks “How do I tell a short version of my life?” We laugh and I assure her that she can give me the long one. “My family was lovely, but Long Island and I were not a good fit. I moved out when I was seventeen and in with my boyfriend at the time.” That boyfriend had marriage and kids in his future plans while Melody’s path was one of adventure, travel and music. So it was goodbye and so long as she headed


thesofiamagazine.com | May 2021

to Toronto to visit a friend named Marguerite. Now, Marguerite is important to this story because she’s my connection to Melody Cooper. Marguerite and her husband Joe and I became good friends after they moved here from New York many years ago. I’ve been hearing about Melody Cooper for at least the past 10 years! Car trouble was the reason a fateful trip with friends that was originally scheduled to end up in NOLA for Mardi Gras, ended up instead, in Key West Florida in 1972. As Melody stepped out of the broken-down van, she meets a woman named “Sunshine” whose spirit so captivates and aligns with Melody’s spirit that Sunshine offers up her newly vacated apartment and invites her to move into it! When the other friends move on, Melody stays on. That pivotal time marked the beginning of what would end up being a 15 year run where Cooper migrated back and forth between her apartment in Florida and her apartment in New York before settling in Key West. And all the

while, she immersed herself in a variety of music configurations. Where she found time to run a restaurant, I have no idea, but she did that too! Formed in 1998 and still Melody going, Cooper Paradise Big Band out of Key West was the name of the orchestra Miss Melody sang and played piano for during that time. She was part of a chamber music ensemble called Bach to Bossa Nova, and an all-girl fronted Motown revue called The Fabulous Spectrelles that toured London and had a #1 record! Trained in Classical piano from age seven, the inspiration for learning about, singing and playing jazz music started with a radio station in NYC that played entire discographies of selected Jazz artists. “I fell in love with Jazz when I was 13. I had a transistor radio and in the middle of the night I listened to a radio program that played entire libraries of artists like John Coltrane and Sarah Vaughn.” “I was just so shy and quiet that it wasn’t until my mid-twenties, that I started singing. I was really interested in singing jazz, but for a long time I

was playing Jazz piano and singing solo soprano opera!” “Extreme shyness” is an affliction she overcomes out of pure desire and passion for playing and singing to live audiences. “I forced myself to take chances. Moving out on my own, traveling alone, solo gigs and pushing myself, eventually helped me get over my extreme shyness. I started thinking about what it would take to trust myself. I convinced myself that once I put my hands on an instrument or opened my mouth to sing, I wasn’t going to suck. That’s when the true magic and connection to the music happened.” Most of her musical training comes from the tutelage of notable private instructors. “Instead of going through a university, studying from someone who has the book, I took private classes from the person who wrote the book.” She studied with Barry Harris, Alberto Socarras and Franko Richmond. For voice she learned directly from Emily Boyd-Lowe and Patricia Caceido. She and her common law husband, Dan Simpson, met thirty-five years ago. “He’s a brilliant engineer, bassist, guitarist, composer and instrument builder.” In the 70’s and 80’s Jazz, Latin, Motown and Funk dance bands were coming out of Key West. “Dan and I were in a band called Bill Blue and the Nervous Guys. But I started to feel overwhelmed about spending so much of my time in bars. So I began looking for other ways to make a living as a musician. I started teaching voice and I became the music director at a Unity Church in Key West.” Simpson and Cooper have been coming through Asheville for many years on their way to and from 150 acres that Simpson owns in Palestine, West Virginia. After some bad hurricanes they started rethinking living in Key West. “So we decided to build a cabin on the property. We actually hand built it with

2 other friends.” For a while, they split their time between the cabin in WV and their place in Key West while deciding when to move out of Florida entirely. “We had the high end trailer with a studio and an upper deck in Stock Island, FL and then this cabin in the middle of the woods in WV. We called it the Holiday Hillbilly package!” The couple remains partners in a recording studio in Key West called Private Ear Recording and Sound. In its heyday, they ran the entire operation. It was the go-to studio in the area for singer songwriters and bands putting out CD’s, theaters that needed sound effects for books on tape and more. As the internet age gave way to musicians building home studios and with the increasing cost of living and the increasing intensity of hurricanes and storms in the Keys, they felt like they were spinning wheels. Before she and Dan left Key West to settle here, she was working 4 or 5 jobs and swore she’d never put herself through that stress and fast pace again. “We chose Asheville because I knew it was a destination place.” When it became obvious to her, in her mid-fifties, that hiring a piano player for weddings wasn’t as popular as hiring a harpist, she bought one and taught herself how to play it! Within 6 months she was playing weddings regularly and has been ever since. Melody has become one of the premier harpist’s in WNC and has performed at all the significant wedding venues in the area. She’s written a catalog of original songs for popular and inspirational music. And if that wasn’t enough she is also an accomplished public speaker and yoga instructor! From her website: “All of this background has given me a varied repertoire, and a love for all types of music, roots to modern.”

Dig Deep, Practice and...

Find Your V o i c e

�� Jazz �� Soul �� Rock �� Country

Blues Pop

Pre-Teens to Baby Boomers Novice to professional

Peggy Ratusz

Vocal Coach 828.301.6768


reverbnation.com/peggyratusz Peggy Ratusz is a vocalist, songwriter and vocal coach peggymarie43@gmail.com reverbnation.com/peggyratusz loveisaroselive.com Peggy’s May performance dates: Friday, May 14th, Catawba South Slope, 7pm-10pm Sunday, May 16th, Southern Appalachian Brewery, 3pm-5pm

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

melodycooper.com May 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com


The Essence of



s it just me or do you think everyone feels the transformation of energy that the spring brings?

Speaking of energy, Yin yang energy is split into what the Chinese call the Five Elements. They represent the 5 phases of ‘Qi’ (chi) which flows through nature and in our bodies. The springtime is the season of the Wood Element, a time of big change, forceful and upward energy that holds purpose and structure.

By Laurie Richardone

In nature’s wisdom the color of the Wood element is green, like unripe fruit. This season brings the first sight of the daffodil shoots bursting out of the ground, fruit trees starting to flower, and Asparagus shoots start to make their debut. These are the signs of new birth, How do we connect to this natural birthing of spring? What do we need to shift in this magical time of the year.? For me, as a seasonal chef, and health coach, It begins with food. I start to crave lighter ingredients, like the tenderness of spring vegetables, and sweet young greens. Our body with its infinite intelligence will have us lean into this opportune season. Here is my favorite new recipe, that conjures the essence of spring. Happy Cooking…


thesofiamagazine.com | May 2021

Asparagus & Sorrel Soup by Laurie Richardone

Serves 4 2 Bunches Asparagus 1 large bunch of sorrel 1/2 cup goat yogurt, or other 1/2 lemon, juiced 1 tbsp. brown butter 1 tbsp. sea salt, to salt water for asparagus fresh herbs, like dill, or parsley, for garnish, optional Trim asparagus spears, leaving the tips and about 2 inches. In a shallow large pan filled with water, and sea salt, bring to a gentle boil. Place asparagus in the water, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Have an ice water bath ready, to submerge the asparagus in after cooking. This step will keep the color vibrant.

Keep out a few asparagus spears to garnish the soup. Lay in the center of the bowl. Keep the salted water you cooked asparagus aside. Some of the water will go into the blender with other ingredients to make the soup.

Sprinkle with herbs if using. Cooks note: If sorrel isn’t available use watercress or arugula leaves. Keep raw. Buon Appetito

Take the vein out of sorrel leaves, and set aside. The leaves will be kept raw, to blend with blanched asparagus. In a small pan on medium heat, brown the butter until a golden color. Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add 1 cup of asparagus water to start. Blend until combined and the consistency you like. Taste for seasoning.

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

Serve in shallow white bowls. May 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com



thesofiamagazine.com | May 2021

How To Avoid Common Interior Design Mistakes In Your Home By Julie Rorie


etween selecting furniture, experimenting with paint samples or hanging art, there are hundreds of small decisions that go into styling the perfect space. Even the slightest error in judgement can have a detrimental effect on a room. Use these insider tips to prevent a design faux pas in your home.

Be Careful Not to Hang Art Too High

plethora of light sources to create various ambiances.

Finding the perfect piece of art for your home is only half the challenge. The mistake happens when art is hung too high or in an inappropriate spot.

Have lights on dimmers and from multiple sources at different heights, such as floor lamps and table lamps. Always choose soft white bulbs as harsh fluorescent or white lights make a space feel stark and uninviting. Warm lighting not only sets the mood, but also makes a room feel intimate and inviting.

Buy Furniture that Varies in Height

Try Placing Furniture Off the Wall

Scale and proportion are the holy grail of design. If all of your furniture is the same size, your room will feel uninviting, and uninteresting.

People often fall into the simple styling trap of this linear arrangement which is not cozy or inviting and can discourage conversation. In the end, it doesn’t save or create more space.

Think of your room as a cityscape and fill it with a combination of heights, widths, and depths. Rooms need a stimulating mix of scale and shapes to make them feel right.

Choose the Right Rug Rugs can completely transform a room and create a focal point of interest, but it can be hard to judge the correct size for your home. A rug should ground the space and encompass all seating around it. An appropriately sized rug tells everyone “this is the conversation area”. Living rooms almost always need a rug that’s at least 8x10 ft. to 9x12 ft. A 4x6 ft. rug is fine next to a bed, or in a kitchen/foyer, but will most likely not work in a living room. Area rugs should ideally be big enough to fit at least the front legs of all chairs/sofas on them.

Hang art so that the center is at eye-level. If the art is to hang above a piece of furniture, hang it so that the bottom of the frame hits 3-4 inches above it.

Layer your Lighting Lighting decisions might seem like a practical part of the design process, but it’s an aspect people often misjudge. Lighting is incredibly important to any space. When lighting is washed over you from above, it can be unflattering and harsh. The best spaces have a

Try conversational furniture placement, which focuses on grouping accents. Pull pieces toward one another and off the walls to create more intimate, useful seating. If you’re unsure, play with different groupings. The most common layout is facing a sofa opposite two arm chairs with a coffee table in the middle.

Julie Rorie

Interior Decorator, Closet Organizer Facebook Simply Posh Asheville Instagram @simplyposhasheville Email: simplyposhasheville @gmail.com May 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com





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

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