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of Western NC

Do You Talk Too Much? Fabulous Fall Recipes It’s A Family Tradition 50pluslivingWNC.com

November 2021


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Is Your HVAC System Ready for

Cool Weather?

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s you enjoy mild autumn weather, take time to ensure your home is equipped to handle the chilly months ahead. Following these steps will mean a more comfortable, energy-efficient winter: • Clean your air filters monthly. Dirty filters make HVAC equipment work harder and cause more wear and tear on your system. They also increase your energy bill and reduce indoor air quality. • Compare the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency of your heating system with newer models. If it’s below 13, you may want to consider a new, more efficient system. Remember, the higher the rating, the less wasted energy for a reduced carbon footprint. Be sure to choose equipment bearing the ENERGY STAR logo. High-efficiency systems reduce your impact on the environment and can also save you money. You may also be eligible for a Federal Tax Credit if you select a qualifying model. • Use a humidifier during colder months. It not only adds moisture to your home, it can actually make it feel warmer. In turn, you’ll be more apt to lower your thermostat, saving money and consuming less energy. • Check and maintain your insulation. Improperly insulated walls, floors, attics, basements and crawl spaces drain away heat and can also lead to moisture imbalance. Adding weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors can also go a long way to improving your home’s insulation. • Turn down your thermostat. Keeping your thermostat five degrees cooler can lower your heating bills without affecting your home’s comfort. Install a programmable thermostat to regulate temperatures.

• Clean the furnace area. Don’t keep chemicals or cleaning products near your heater, and don’t store anything next to it that could impede ventilation. Keep vents and returns free of obstructions. Don’t lay carpet over vents, place furniture over or in front of them, or obstruct the flow of air. • Have a technician give your HVAC system a preseason tune-up so that everything is running efficiently before temperatures plummet. Even the most efficient system can suffer if it’s not properly maintained. Just be sure your HVAC equipment is installed and serviced by a North American Technician Excellence (NATE)-certified HVAC technician, as they have demonstrated their knowledge of today’s increasingly sophisticated heating and cooling systems by passing a nationally recognized test developed and supported by all segments of the industry. Working with a NATEcertified technician translates to a longer life for your HVAC equipment, increased energy efficiency and fewer callbacks and warranty returns. To find a NATE-certified contractor in your area and for more HVAC tips and insights, visit: https://www.natex.org With a few simple considerations in fall, you can reduce your home energy bill and improve your home’s comfort all winter. StatePoint November 2021 | 50+ Living | 3


CONTENTS

3

Is Your HVAC System Ready for Cool Weather?

5

Smart Flu Prevention Tips for Workplaces

8

What Is Prediabetes?

10

Simple Recipes to Enjoy This Fall

12

Do You Over Vent Problems?

14

Unique Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas

50+Living of Western NC

4 | 50+ Living | November 2021


Smart Flu Prevention Tips

for Workplaces

I

t’s estimated that influenza sent up to 400,000 people to the hospital with flu complications and caused an estimated 22,000 deaths in the United States in the 2019-2020 flu season. As more Americans return to their workplaces, employers can play an important role in flu prevention. While experts aren’t exactly sure what the upcoming flu season will look like, relaxed COVID-19 preventative measures such as physical distancing, reduced travel, staying home and strict mask-wearing policies, will likely result in the return of seasonal flu. And because of a mild 2020-2021 influenza season, the 2021-2022 flu season may begin early and could be severe. “All employers should actively promote healthy habits to help prevent the spread of flu, address barriers, and make it easier for employees to get vaccinated at their earliest opportunity,” says Albert Rizzo, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. “Keeping staff healthy benefits not only individual workers, but employers too, making flu prevention not only an obligation, but a smart business strategy.” As part of its Fend Off Flu campaign, the American Lung Association in partnership with Anthem Foundation is offering these tips to help businesses and organizations prevent the spread of flu and other illnesses in the workplace:

• Offer flexible paid sick leave policies to encourage employees who fall ill to recover without fear of lost wages. • Offer telework policies that allow employees to stay home and care for sick family members. • Advise employees to stay home if they feel ill. Individuals with the flu should stay home for at least four to five days after symptoms begin. • Ask unwell employees to go home. Employees who appear to have flu symptoms at the workplace should be promptly separated from others and asked to recover at home.

• Provide facial tissue, no-touch trash cans, handwashing stations, as well as alcohol-based hand sanitizer to promote preventive actions. • Provide signage, such as posters and flyers, that explains healthy habits and employee policies. • Help promote flu vaccination among your staff. Vaccination is the best way to help protect against the flu and over the course of over 50 years, hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received routine flu shots. Build vaccine confidence by addressing employees’ questions and concerns and by sharing accurate scientific information and facts. Offer vaccination opportunities in the workplace or nearby in the community, as well as paid time off for vaccine appointments and recovery from illness. For more workplace flu prevention tips and insights, visit: lung.org/fend-off-flu.com Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization, severe complications and death. Because people spend so much of their time in the workplace, employers have a special obligation and opportunity to help reduce employees’ risk of contracting flu.

StatePoint November 2021 | 50+ Living | 5


50+Living of Western NC

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

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November 2021 | 50+ Living | 7


WHAT IS PREDIABETES and Why Should You Worry About It?

is considered prediabetic. Below that is considered normal, and above that, it’s diabetes. To get an accurate measurement, you’ll have to fast for 8 to 12 hours before the test. However, a random fasting blood sugar level isn’t the best test for detecting prediabetes. A better measurement is a hemoglobin A1C level. (HgbA1C) This test gives you an estimate of your blood sugar control over the past 3 months. It tells you more, since you aren’t measuring glucose at a single point in time. It’s also a simple blood test your doctor can perform when they do a blood draw every 6 months or so.

ou’ve probably heard of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and the havoc these conditions can wreak. But do you know what prediabetes is? If not, it’s time to find out, since the incidence of this health problem is rising. Prediabetes is a silent disease that affects up to 30% of the population, and many people don’t know they have it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not damaging your body and increasing your risk of future health problems. It is!

Y

What is Prediabetes? Prediabetes is a condition marked by glucose intolerance - a condition that occurs when your bloodstream glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be recognized as full-blown type 2 diabetes. It’s a state of high blood sugar that occurs when your body isn’t using insulin efficiently. If it’s not type 2 diabetes, why should you worry about it? Prediabetes raises your risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes over time. Also, scientists now know that prediabetes can cause health issues even before it becomes type 2 diabetes. Some damage may occur at those “in-between” blood sugar levels where blood glucose is higher than it should be, but not at diabetic levels.

How Do You Know If You Have Prediabetes? If you get a fasting blood glucose level, as many doctors recommend you get every six months or so, it can give you some indication of whether you’re prediabetic. A fasting blood glucose level of between 100 and 125 8 | 50+ Living | November 2021

An even better test considered the “gold standard” for detecting prediabetes or diabetes is an oral two-hour glucose tolerance test. To do this test, you drink a glucose solution, and technicians measure your blood glucose level at intervals after you drink it. It’s not feasible to perform because of time factors, so doctors don’t do it as often as they once did, but it can provide valuable information. However, you don’t need it to make a diagnosis of prediabetes. Doctors can do it based on the results of HgbA1C testing.

What to Do if You Have Prediabetes? The good news is you can reverse prediabetes through lifestyle if you take action early. According to Johns Hopkins, losing around 10% of body weight six months after a diagnosis of prediabetes lowers the risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes. When you lose weight, your cells become more responsive to insulin, and your blood sugars fall. Your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke drops too. Prediabetes is especially harmful if you have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease or stroke, like high blood pressure and abnormal blood lipids. Other factors that increase the risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes include: • Obesity • Being over the age of 45 • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes • Not getting the recommended amount of exercise • Being in certain ethnic groups. American Indians, Asian Americans, African Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic and Latinos are at higher risk. • Having a history of gestational diabetes


What Happens if You Ignore Prediabetes? When you have prediabetes, you’re at a higher risk of developing a heart attack, even if you don’t have full-blown diabetes. Around 30% of people with prediabetes will also progress to type 2 diabetes, unless they make changes that lower blood sugar and improve how cells respond to insulin. Losing weight will help prevent the complications associated with prediabetes. Staying physically active, modifying your diet, getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night, and managing stress can also bring down your blood sugars into a healthier range. From a dietary perspective, cut the sugar, refined carbs, and junk food. Some studies show a traditional Mediterranean diet is effective for lowering blood sugar and reducing progression to type 2 diabetes. This eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fish.

The Bottom Line Prediabetes is a condition you can treat and reverse through lifestyle. It’s worth the effort, since it can have longer-term consequences for your health and progress to type 2 diabetes. Take it seriously.

References: “People With Pre-Diabetes Who Drop Substantial Weight May ....” 16 Jul. 2013, .hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/people_with_pre_diabetes_who_ drop_substantial_weight_may_ward_off_type_2_diabetes. “The Surprising Truth About Prediabetes | CDC.” .cdc.gov/diabetes/library/ features/truth-about-prediabetes.html. Milenkovic T, Bozhinovska N, Macut D, Bjekic-Macut J, Rahelic D, Velija Asimi Z, Burekovic A. Mediterranean Diet and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Perpetual Inspiration for the Scientific World. A Review. Nutrients. 2021 Apr 15;13(4):1307. doi: 10.3390/nu13041307. PMID: 33920947; PMCID: PMC8071242.

November 2021 | 50+ Living | 9


SIMPLE RECIPES TO ENJOY THIS FALL There are many things to enjoy about autumn, from the most celebrated holidays to the beautiful scenery offered by nature. But one of the things that people look most forward to when it comes to this season is the food they get to enjoy while being curled up inside away from the chilling weather. Whether you’re looking for recipes for baked goods or dinner dishes that contain some of the vegetables that are in season, read on to find out about four unique recipes that you can try and share with your loved ones this fall.

CHICKEN WITH CAULIFLOWER RICE For a healthy and nutritious choice, you can opt for this quick yet delicious recipe, for which you will need the following ingredients: • 1 and 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into pieces • 1 cup diced onion • 1/2 cup heavy cream • 1/2 cup chicken broth • 16oz cauliflower rice • 2 teaspoons of preferred seasoning • 3 cloves of garlic • 4 tablespoons of butter To prepare, you will need to melt the butter and then add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, then season the chicken and add to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, add the garlic, cauliflower rice, chicken broth, and cream, and stir for 10 minutes until serving. There is nothing like warm food on a cold autumn day, and that is why these recipes are not to be missed if you would like to make the most out of this season and enjoy all that it has to offer.

10 | 50+ Living | November 2021

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN COOKIES The necessary ingredients for this healthy recipe: • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree • 1/3 cup maple syrup • 1/2 cup almond oat milk • 2 tablespoons of oil • 1 and 1/2 cup oat flour • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice • 1 tablespoon of baking powder • pinch of salt • dark chocolate chips All you need to do to create this dish is to mix all of the wet ingredients together first, then add the flour, powder, pumpkin spice, and chocolate chips together. Form it into cookies on an oven tray and bake at 350F for about 16 to 18 minutes.


APPLE AND BLACKBERRY PUDDING

BROCCOLI MAC AND CHEESE

First off, if you need a quick fix for your sweet tooth this autumn, then this recipe can take care of that. The ingredients that you are going to need for this recipe are the following: • 3 peeled apples • 9oz blackberries • the juice of one lemon • 7oz granulated sugar • 4oz flour • 3oz margarine • 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder • 2 eggs • 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract

If you’re looking for a full dish that you can serve at lunch or dinner, then broccoli mac and cheese is the perfect combination to make you feel the autumn spirit.

The first step is to preheat the oven to 330F/ ventilator or to 300F/gas. Then place the lemon juice and the apples, blackberries, and around 3oz of sugar in a 2 and 1/2 pint baking platter. You can start to create the topping while the mixture bakes in the oven for 5 minutes. For the topping, sift in a bowl and add sugar, margarine, eggs, lemon juice, baking powder, and salt. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes with a wooden spoon until it gets velvety and smooth. Draw the dish from the oven and spoon over the fruit evenly. Go back to the oven and cook for 40-45 minutes until it becomes a golden shade of brown.

Start by melting the butter first, adding flour, and then whisking in the milk, then adding the shredded cheese to that to make the sauce. Stir in any seasoning you prefer, and then add the cooked pasta over the cheese sauce. After stirring, add the cooked broccoli on top and stir in for an extra minute.

The ingredients you need are as follows: • 8oz cooked pasta • 2 tablespoons of butter • 6oz shredded cheese • 1 and 1/3 cups milk • 2 tablespoons of flour • 1 tablespoon of preferred seasoning • 3 cups of cooked chopped broccoli

November 2021 | 50+ Living | 11


Do You Over Vent Problems?

F

riends may encourage you to express yourself. They send the message that talking about problems signals mental balance, and that it is positive to air your views--but only to an extent. You can cross the line into negativity if you aren’t careful. Here’s how over-venting holds back progress, and what to do instead. IT DOESN’T ALWAYS HELP TO VENT PROBLEMS Venting to a friend or therapist can help you release emotions rather than bottle them. Repressed emotions are destructive for health and well-being. But expressing yourself need not mean you talk about every little unsettling event. Nor need it entail talking to gain agreement to justify negative views. When you over vent, you go around in circles. You repeat why you’re upset and your thoughts about what happened. This repetitive negative talk deepens your current emotions. It creates negative thought patterns too. Ideally, you want to swap negativity for positivity, so you feel better. 12 | 50+ Living | November 2021

It’s positive to have friends who listen and offer support when you want to talk about a problem. But if difficulties get worse because you talk with somebody, you get nowhere. You’re stuck in a negativity loop reinforced by someone letting you vent. Talking about problems might give you a buzz if your primary aim is to elicit agreement. When people agree with you, you feel good. Your bright mood is shortlived, though. You need to talk about another problem to receive another mental boost. Reporting problems then becomes an addiction. FIND ANSWERS IN SILENCE Wisdom flows in silence. When your mind is still, you tap into your sage-like, higher self. You retrieve vital knowledge about how to proceed and find solutions. Inner calm lets you recognize whether you’ve overreacted. You might note certain events trigger anger or sadness and look at how to alter the way you respond to them. While you are reflective, you can consider the stories you’ve told yourself about events too. Have


you exaggerated? Not taken people’s views into consideration? Missed important details that explain what occurred? Maybe you see situations negatively when there’s a silver lining? HOW TO CALM YOUR MIND Access a calm, wise frame of mind by meditating. Meditation can help you find a space in your thoughts and take a break from anxiety. In that space, you can connect with solutions and solve problems. Even if answers aren’t forthcoming, you’ll experience inner calm and improve your mindset. To meditate, sit in a quiet place where no one will disturb you. Or lie down on your bed or on the ground. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Follow each breath as it travels in and out of your body to the count of six. Rest your tongue on the bottom of your mouth and breathe through your nose. Imagine every breath goes in and out of your heart, and relax. If intrusive thoughts arise, don’t fight them. Acknowledge them and return your focus to breathing.

Your parasympathetic system, responsible for aiding calm, will respond, and you will enjoy deep relaxation. The more you practice, the easier it will be to meditate. People new to meditation often find a few minutes is enough at first. They work up to longer periods as meditating becomes more familiar. If the type of traditional meditation described doesn’t appeal to you, try mindfulness. Take a stroll among nature and focus on breathing as you walk. Or become engrossed in the details of the natural world. Examine a leaf and smell the flowers. Watch bumble bees or listen to birdsong. Fill your mind with nature and there will be no room for worry. What’s more, your problems are likely to feel smaller when you achieve a calm mindset. Turn to meditation and mindfulness when you feel overwhelmed and restore a sense of calm. Remember, friendships can thrive on sharing. And talking through problems can help. But you’ll gain more insights from friends who show you fresh ways to view events compared to those who let you over vent. Most importantly, not venting too much, and seeking inner answers will lead to peace and personal development.

November 2021 | 50+ Living | 13


Unique Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas For Your Family and Friends

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raditions are the glue that hold family and friends together, particularly at the holidays. They provide comfort and something to look forward to. If you are looking for some new traditions to try with your family and friends this Thanksgiving, here are some suggestions for ways to make your holiday special. Be Thankful For Others At Thanksgiving, it is common for everyone to go around and say what they are grateful for. This Thanksgiving, try having each person say what they are thankful for about a specific family member or friend. To make it equal, give each family member a turn to be the person spoken about and then trade off. You’ll be surprised how this little alteration can bring your loved ones closer together.

14 | 50+ Living | November 2021

Give Back A new tradition your family can try for Thanksgiving is to find ways to volunteer. You can visit a local soup kitchen and help serve food to those less fortunate. You can also go through the clothes, books, or other items you are ready to let go of and find a place to donate them. Giving to those in need will remind you of the things for which you are most grateful and will spread some much-needed comfort to others. Take a Hike Depending on the weather where you live, going for a hike or nature walk with your family and friends could be the perfect way to spend your holiday. It will provide some gentle exercise and plenty of opportunity to catch up with the people in your life.


Make Some Art For a special bonding activity, try creating some art with your family and friends. You could each create your own art piece, or all contribute to making one piece of art. The theme for your art can be thankfulness. The experience will bring you closer and you will have some beautiful art as a reminder of your gratitude and your time spent together. Baking

even a brand new topic they decide to research, and share what they know at your Thanksgiving gathering. It will give everyone an opportunity to learn more about the world and about each other. Try some of these ideas with your friends and family this Thanksgiving to see if they work for you. You may create some special traditions for years to come.

A lovely tradition to instill with the people in your life at Thanksgiving is some holiday baking. To spread the warmth, consider making baked goods for your friends and neighbors as well. It’ll be a fun bonding activity and will leave you with tasty treats for the holiday. Teach and Learn A fun tradition to try can be giving the gift of education to the people in your life. Your family and friends can each pick a topic they know a lot about, or

November 2021 | 50+ Living | 15


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November 2021

thesofiamagazine.com

You Had Me At Hello

Women

MAKING MUSIC

No Butter No Nuts Just Squash


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Publisher Tammy Sheppard publisherofsofia@gmail.com

Art Director / Web Design Tina Gaafary

from the staff of SOFIA!

For Advertising Inquiries Mike Demos 828.273.0098 mikedemos@aol.com Bridget Hepler 828.551.9893 brh@risdondesign.com

CONTENTS 5 T raditional Chinese Medicine for a Healthy Autumn Season

Contributing Writers Natasha Kubis Susan Clark Muntean Peggy Ratusz Laurie Richardone

Natasha Kubis

6 F ive Things to Do at the Beginning of a New Relationship 8

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

Women Making Music Peggy Ratusz

10 T op 10 Recommendations for Women Business Owners Susan Clark Muntean

12 A Squash in the Kitchen Laurie Richardone

13 Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Laurie Richardone

15 Unique Topical Uses of Olive Oil

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.

November 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com

3


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Traditional Chinese Medicine for a Healthy

Autumn Season By Natasha Kubis

I

n the traditional Chinese medicine five element theory, autumn is associated with the metal element. On an energetic level, the metal element represents organization, boundary setting, and communication. It is a good time of year to decide what you want to prioritize in your life and what you want to let go of. As the trees shed their leaves to make room for new buds in the springtime, our bodies also go through similar changes. It's the transitional period into the most yin time of year as we go more inward. The lungs and the large intestine are the organs associated with the metal element and they assist in the elimination and cleansing of the body. Autumn is the time for nourishing and strengthening these organs on a physical and energetic level to help us let go of that which no longer serves us. The lungs are called the “tender organ” because they are susceptible to the wind and cold. During the change to cooler temperatures, it’s important to dress properly and wear scarves and sweaters to cover the neck and throat. Fall weather tends to be very dry, and this dryness can damage the lungs. It’s especially important to stay

hydrated throughout autumn to help the lungs stay healthy. Drink hot teas with ginger and honey to keep the throat moistened. This time of year has an abundance of wholesome fruits and vegetables. Try to incorporate seasonal foods into your diet such as squash, artichokes, arugula, spinach, beets, cabbage, and leeks. Chinese medicine recommends eating lots of soups and stews. Transition away from the cold, raw, crisp foods of summer and begin to eat warm, cooked foods. Switch out cold cereal with hot oatmeal, iced tea with warm tea, and raw salads with oven-roasted root veggies. Add in pungent foods to your cooking that benefits the lungs, such as onions, ginger, garlic, or mustard. If you want something sweet, stew seasonal fruits like apples, pears, figs, and persimmons. Ginger Poached Pears 1 cup sweet dessert wine One 1" piece fresh ginger 1 cinnamon stick 1/2 cup of maple syrup or honey 4-6 ripe pears, peeled 1/3 cup slivered almonds

Directions In a saute pan over medium heat, add 2 cups water, dessert wine, fresh ginger, cinnamon stick, maple syrup, or honey. Bring to a simmer and stir to combine. Add the pears, turning occasionally to cook evenly. Allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the pears are tender through. Then remove the pears to a serving plate. Continue to cook the liquid for another 15 minutes, or until it has thickened to a sauce-like consistency and reduced to half. Top the pears with the sweet poaching sauce and, if you’d like, top with nuts and raisins.

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

1/3 cup chopped walnuts 1/3 cup raisins November 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com

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Five Things to Do at the Beginning of a New Relationship

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ntering a new relationship is a fun and exciting experience. This phase consists of discovering each other's interests, laughter, and late night conversations that you spend the next day thinking about. The world is filled with endless possibilities. It's electric, and so far everything is as close to perfect as it can be. But it's important not to get too swept away during this time. As your emotions surge, it will be harder to keep a level head and set necessary boundaries, but if you want your new relationship to truly blossom, to mature and grow in a healthy way that's exactly what you need to do. Below, you'll find a few tips to help as you navigate your new relationship.

Be Yourself It's no secret that everyone wants to appear appealing and put together to their new partner. While you certainly don't want to dump all your childhood trauma on them right out the gate, you shouldn't lie about who you are either. You don't have to put on a show to make someone like you. An ideal partner is someone who will love you for who truly you are, but 6

thesofiamagazine.com | November 2021

in order for that to happen, they have to know who you are. Building a relationship based on lies is a foolproof way to create drama and trust issues down the line. Be yourself. Don't change for anyone. Be honest about your hobbies and your likes and dislikes. Be your goofy or clumsy self. Tell them your favorite movies, even if they don't appreciate the genre. Don't tell them you love the outdoors if the idea of spending the day hiking sounds like your own personal hell. Obviously, you can learn to love and appreciate new things in the relationship, and you can certainly try out things they enjoy simply because you want to be around them, but don't lie about who you are and what you like. Be your beautiful self, and let that be enough.

Don't Give up Control Relationships aren't a game. They shouldn't be a power play or a battle of any kind, but that being said, you can still lose the power in the relationship by constantly deferring to the other person. If you find yourself asking questions like, "When can we take this step?" "When can I say this without scaring them?" "I want to spend


more time together, but should I tell them that?" then you are giving control of the relationship's speed and direction to the other person. One thing a lot of people forget but should remember is that you are equal partners in the relationship. It's your relationship too; it belongs to both of you. You have an equal say in things. Your voice matters. Your needs should be met just as much as theirs. Don't lose your voice, and don't leave all the important decisions up to someone else.

Set Boundaries When you're swept up in someone new, it's easy to let other aspects of your life fall to the side. You start seeing your friends less because you're spending all your time with your new partner. You don't put in as much effort at work because you're too busy thinking about your possible future together. You don't spend time alone because you'd rather be with them. And while there's nothing wrong with being excited about a new relationship, it shouldn't consume your life and make you put everything else on hold. You are still important, and spending time away from your partner is healthy for your mental health and your identity. Your friends are still important; these are relationships you've spent time cultivating and people who've been by your side through thick and thin, and they deserve your attention too. Your career is still important. Your goals and hard work shouldn't fade into the background just because you're falling in love. Putting boundaries

in place, like not seeing each other every night and making time for other aspects of your individual lives, is crucial in the beginning of the relationship. It'll help prevent you from 'losing yourself' within the relationship and neglecting the people and things that matter to you because you're enchanted with the light of new love.

Be Honest About What You Want If you want a long term relationship, don't act like you're okay with something casual and temporary. If you don't want kids, don't say that you can see yourself starting a family. If you love where you live and never plan to move, make that known to your partner. Everyone has to make small compromises in relationships, like eating at a restaurant you aren't fond of because it's your partner's favorite, but no one should have to compromise on the big issues. You need to remember that this is your life; it should look the way you want it to. You should never rearrange your biggest dreams, goals, or desires in order to be with someone. Some lines should be drawn and never crossed, and you should do it early.

current one will. Just because your last partner was controlling and manipulative doesn't mean your current one will be. Certainly keep an eye out for red flags, but don't project other people's behaviors onto your new significant other. It's unfair and will only cause doubt and drama to fester in the relationship. Communication and vulnerability are crucial in order to succeed in leaving the past behind you. Talk about your insecurities without accusing anyone of anything. Have a mature and open discussion, and do your best to trust your significant other unless they personally give you reason not to. Relationships are hard enough to navigate without the ghosts of past partners lingering around to mess things up. If you recently entered into a new relationship, or you think you might start one soon, use this list as a guideline to help you enjoy the happiness new love brings while also making smart decisions for you and your future. It's not always easy setting boundaries or being open and honest, especially when you want your partner to see you as 'perfect,' but it's crucial if you want your relationship to mature win a healthy way.

Don't Bring Past Trauma into Your New Relationship Obviously, you won't magically heal from all your past pain the moment you get into a new relationship. That would be great, but it's simply not realistic. Still, you need to keep your past and present separate in your mind. Just because your last partner cheated on you, doesn't mean your November 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com

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Women Making Music Spotlight on Ashley Heath;

harnessing the power of connection... By Peggy Ratusz

S

potlight on Ashley Heath; harnessing the power of connection…

Awards, accolades and high profile bookings only bolster Ashley Heath’s purposeful journey to cultivate deeper connections. She tunes into a feeling, allows it to emerge in lyrics, melody, chords and strumming styles. She surrenders all, to engage and inspire potential listeners. Along with her current band members, “Her Heathens” Ryan Crabtree on bass and Paul Gladstone on drums, playing to live audiences allows her that cyclical connection she’s so fine at maintaining long after the doors to the music hall are closed and locked up for the night. When her love light shines, you feel it all the way in the back of the room and all 8

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the way home in your car. The path from open mics to Tennessee’s infamous Bonnaroo Festival has been steady, deliberate and well planned. Band mates, mentors, booking managers, venue owners all say the same things about Heath; she’s the real deal who’s got something important to sing; unpretentious and full of wit and spunk; evokes goose bumps with her captivating voice; one of the best laughs they’ve ever heard and the hardest working musician in town. Here’s just a few of the scores of fan-reviews I found online: “Sweet, sultry, bluesy musician, Ashley Heath is as authentic as they come.” “Her performances will rock and soothe your weary soul.”

“…an excellent guitarist, who writes songs that speak to my soul…a genuine human being.” “….one of the most talented singer/ songwriters ever. Her energy is pure and tangible.” “Her band is mad-talented! Ashley can sing like nobody I’ve ever heard!” “Heath’s Heathens provide the right tones and beats that serve the lyrics and Ashley’s soaring voice.” An excerpt from my June 2016 interview: “With a blend of Soul, Blues and Americana sounds, Ashley Heath is rising as one of Asheville's finest and uniquely gifted musicians with her velvety vocals and bluesy guitar style. Her bravery for pursuing aspects of herself through music is limitless.”


The actual question/answer part of our phone interview a few weeks ago was all of maybe 15 minutes long. The entire conversation was over 70 minutes! Nerding out talking about music is one of my favorite things to do too so when she started talking about chord structures and where to put a whole note and when to play a quarter note to give the phrase some space, I listened intently and just kept saying “yeeees.” We vented about our shared experiences with the proverbial unsolicited critic or two at every show; the ones who aren’t the slightest bit careful of our feelings when they approach us, spewing banter about what we should do more and what we should do less. We talked fondly of the fans that support and dig what we put out and how some have become friends. She’s grateful for the friends she’s made music with outside her own project that empower and teach her. For example the performances she enjoyed at Archetype Brewing, pre-pandemic, where she played regular Sundays for several years with an impressive and popular quartet. That group consisted of the incendiary guitarist and phenomenal singer, Patrick Dodd (who she still performs with there), the formidable harmonica player and mellifluous vocalist Joshua Singleton and the eminent and selfless saxophonist and Asheville matriarch Ruby Mayfield who sadly passed away in April. The implication of what this global pandemic has brought to the forefront for artists has been profound. Ashley’s first experiences playing out again have happened at prominent outdoor festivals. Catching the Tedeschi Trucks band’s set at Merlefest where Ashley and Her Heathens also performed, she expresses it this way, “I felt like I was in the Olympics. It was huge and overwhelming,

inspiring and emotional.” “The mindset I’m trying to change is the one where I think, if I can do this one thing then I can do this other thing that I really want. Then if I do that thing, I’ll get to yet another thing that I really want. So I refuse to go back into that mindset, now that I’m back out in the world and doing some touring. That’s the clarity I found spending almost 2 years of my life home alone.” What she was doing before the lockdown, was working at a breakneck pace soliciting and getting gig after gig on the local scene. “It wasn’t really working because even though I wasn’t showing it, I wasn’t happy going at that pace. I don’t know what my future holds exactly, but I do know that I’m not going to take 20 gigs a month if I’m not happy doing them. I can create the same monumentally satisfying experiences I have doing the bigger stages, for my smaller audiences too. That connection can be made no matter how many gigs I accept, no matter how many people I’m playing for or how big the room is.” We talk about the community driven polls where winners in categories are announced after allowing fans and peers the chance to vote for their favorites online. “I take the standings and my wins in any given category as testimony to the hard work I’ve done to create a fan base.” She poignantly equates creating music to a painter’s blank canvas. “We interpret through color choices and brush strokes, how many colors and where we place the colors and how the colors blend, and establish the sonic outcome of the song.” By early 2022, Ashley hopes that she’ll release her third collection of “paintings” via a 6 song EP. The songs have been written and the basic tracks

are recorded. The most intimate parts are still left to do, like final vocal tracks, solos and order. She’s excited to work with engineer Clay Miller over at Crossroads Studios in Arden. After listening to a 3-song sampler from one of her recent shows, I heard a song I hadn’t yet called “Something to Believe.” Ashley assures me it will be on the next EP. The chorus lyrics: “Are we done with the hard times, are they over? Let me in or let me out, give me answers, tell me somehow. Are we’re gonna end this, end this and work it out? The push and shove is killing me, there’s no end in sight you see. Give me, give me something to believe…” “Ashley Heath is an open songbook who embraces vulnerabilities.” Links to stream and purchase Heath’s records and to keep up with her schedule: pbs.org/video/ashley-heath-and-herheathens-11kmeo/ facebook.com/AshleyHeathMusic facebook.com/ ashleyheathandherheathens amazon.com/Where-Never-AshleyHeath-Heathens/dp/B07BW319P3 amazon.com/Different-StreamAshley-Heath/dp/B01FJ3UQ1A open.spotify.com/artist/ 37y8xDxW9JSGer0J9fd843 open.spotify.com/artist/ 1FlOl4q9T6MqCBJsGGVSOp

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

9


Top 10 Recommendations

for Women Business Owners By Susan Clark Muntean

A

s a consultant, mentor, and advisor to entrepreneurs over the past two decades, I have identified patterns, principles, and paths for entrepreneurs to follow. My passion is to support women as entrepreneurs and my expertise is in how to connect women with the resources they need to succeed. These are my top ten pieces of advice and words of wisdom to support you on your journey. You’ve got this!

Seek Mentorship Seek out inspirational role models and establish a mentoring relationship with them. Establish yourself with mentors who will be honest with you and who will respect you. Seek well-connected members of your community to advocate on your behalf and who will offer to connect you with important stakeholders. Don’t forget to seek mentors of the opposite sex as well.

Find Your Tribe Find a supportive community that will nurture your soul, feed your ambitions, sell your expertise and creative genius, and help you to market yourself and your 10

thesofiamagazine.com | November 2021

business. Leverage both formal and informal networks to spread the word about you and your business. Connect and support others and pay it forward.

Secure Sensible Funding Seek low interest loans, SBA loan guarantees, forgivable and/or flexible low interest loans, and government or non-profit sources of funds for launching and growing your business. In addition, consider equity investment, especially among family and friends as well as crowdfunding campaigns. Avoid high interest credit card debt at all costs.

Listen to Your Customers Design your product or service around the needs and wants of your target market. Solicit frequent and honest feedback. Get a minimally viable product into their hands early on and use the beta version of what you offer to improve what you produce. The customer is queen and should be an integral part of the development of your business model, product lines, service delivery and customer relationship management strategies.


Use Weak Ties Research shows that women tend to rely on close connections, family members and close friends when networking to generate new business and when seeking financing, partnerships, and support while men tend to use distant connections and engage in transactional networking using so-called “weak ties”. In the business world weak ties—those expansive loose connections of friends of friends who know people—are critical to scaling your business and selling more products and services. Get on LinkedIn and connect with second and third level weak ties.

Find Support Organizations Entrepreneurship is a significant driver of economic development and local, regional, state, and federal governments allocate taxpayer dollars to supporting inclusive entrepreneurship as a means to economic growth. There are so many free and low-cost resources to take advantage of as an emerging entrepreneur or as an established business owner. Seek out the assistance of small business centers, women’s business centers and networking groups, business incubators, accelerator programs, community colleges that offer instructional programming for entrepreneurs, and shared co-working spaces that support entrepreneurs.

Manage Bias Gender bias is a well-documented allto-common experience that women face, especially when seeking equity financing and the support of resources critical for success. Don’t gaslight yourself if you experience very subtle

self-improvement. Dedicate time to developing your entrepreneurial mindset daily.

Orient Yourself Towards the Future

forms of discrimination or exclusion or if the services you are receiving feel in any way disrespectful. Manage systemic bias by preparing responses to it in advance. You are not alone on your journey, and you are inherently powerful, capable, intelligent, and worthy of support and the respect you deserve. Don’t forget it!

Differentiate Yourself Small business owners need to compete on specialization, uniqueness, customization, and delightful experiences that customers rave about relative to existing offerings. How are you better than the competition? Why are you special? Communicate how you are above and beyond the rest with crystal clarity. Own and exude your unique, amazing brand and be consistently clear in communicating that to your target market.

Expand Your Entrepreneurial Mindset Work on your capacities to identify opportunities, take calculated risks, empathize with your customers, and execute on your ideas. Successful entrepreneurs have a future focus, are optimistic, persistent, and self-confident. Activate your passion and apply your ambition towards continuous

Too many small business owners are trapped in the cycle of putting out fires and reacting to the immediate, daily, urgent needs of the business. Take time and space away from the daily grind to put your feelers out to the external environment. What is the competition doing? What are shifts in the regulatory environment? How are customer tastes changing? What are groundbreaking emergent technologies and how will they impact your business model? Today’s marketplace requires constant innovation and that requires understanding changes impacting your business model as well as creating future opportunities. By orienting yourself towards the future, you position yourself to take advantage of emerging opportunities that can secure your success over the long haul.

Susan Clark Muntean is an Associate Professor of Management at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. In addition to being an author of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: A Gender Perspective published by Cambridge University Press, she serves as an advisor, mentor, board member and advocate supporting women entrepreneurs in Western North Carolina. November 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com

11


A Squash in the Kitchen by Laurie Richardone

To have an understanding, and the quiet confidence, that creating a meal means creating your own reality.

You don't get much more classically "fall" than squash soup.

Do you really need a recipe? No. Does it have to be more complicated than knowing how to choose an ingredient, what to look for? It does not.

This unique and exciting version gives it an infusion of new life, with the tartness of granny smith apples, tanginess of sheep yogurt, and crunch of toasted walnuts.

What you do need to know is the seasons of the garden. Butternut Squash is grown in summer, however, for peak flavor it takes 3-4 months to mature. As the weather gets cooler, squash gets sweeter. It is now a blank canvas for you to express your own culinary creativity.

Remember... You do not have to cook complicated elaborate masterpieces.

“Let’s all play with our food, I say, in doing so let us advance the state of the art together” Julia Child

If you are a curious cook, join me on my Podcast ~ “A taste for All Seasons”

A Few words about Squash…

It is a cooking, cultural, and inspirational way for us to explore the world of food. And… as always, l will share cooking tips, seasonal shortcuts and kitchen essentials that will make your life easier in the kitchen.

Squashes are one of the oldest known crops –10,000 years by some estimates of sites in Mexico. Squash has an abundant amount of powerful antioxidants, including vitamin C. Antioxidants help prevent or slow cellular damage and reduce inflammation. There's a whole world of squash varieties, from starchy kabocha to versatile delicata, and everything in between. I will offer creative ways to cook them so you won't find yourself bored of gourds by November. Thanksgiving is around the corner. The ubiquitous sweet potatoes, and I dare say, the bland butternut squash soup arrive at the table. 12

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Just cook good food, from fresh local seasonal ingredients. To your good health ~ Laurie Richardone

You can now listen to all the shows, on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Google Podcast. We talk to local farmers, where you can learn how to cook your way through the seasons. Visit: A Taste for All Seasons Show Page @ WPVMFM. ORG. This Podcast is in conjunction with WPVM FM 103.7 in Asheville, NC. Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach. To work with Laurie, visit LaurieRichardone.com


Serves 6 2 large butternut squash 2 tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp. sea salt, or to taste 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper 2 sprigs thyme tucked into squash when roasting 1/2 cup carrots, small chop 1/2 cup celery, small chop 1/2 cup onions, small chop 2 garlic cloves, smashed 2 tbsp.raw honey 6 cups vegetable stock, or Pacific organic vegetable stock 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, optional 1/4 cup plain yogurt 1/8 tsp.freshly grated nutmeg 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted 1 granny smith apple, cut into small cubes A squeeze of fresh lemon

half and scoop out and discard seeds. Brush each half inside with about 1 tsp. of the oil. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper and tuck a sprig of thyme into each. Place cut-sidedown on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove and let cool, then scoop out and reserve the flesh. Put the remaining oil in a stockpot over low-medium heat. Add the carrots, celery and onions and cook, stirring often, for 6 minutes. Add the cooked squash, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook gently for 3 minutes. Stir in the honey and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Squash can be roasted a day ahead, to cut down on cook time.

Remove from the heat and discard the thyme. Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches, and puree. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning.

Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut both ends of the squash off. Cut squash in

Let the soup cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve. Stores up to 4 days.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup by Laurie Richardone Gently reheat the soup until just hot. If it is too thick, add more stock, or water. Heat a skillet over high heat. If using, when the pan is hot, add the butter. Rotate the skillet over the heat as necessary to brown the butter evenly. As soon as the butter is a hazelnut brown, pour it into the pot of soup, and stir. To Finish, ladle the soup into six serving bowls. Top each with a dollop of yogurt, cubes of granny smith apple, and toasted walnuts. Grate nutmeg on top, with a drizzle of fresh lemon.

Buon Appetito

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

November 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com

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Unique Topical Uses of Olive Oil

O

live oil is a staple in cooking and in many dishes and marinades. And for good reason! In recent years, more and more research has demonstrated the health benefits of olive oil. But what about using it in ways that don't involve cooking and eating? Here are 7 unique -- but very effective -- ways to use olive oil on your body.

(or a lot) frizzier than you'd like. A little olive oil over your ends and throughout your hair will help de-frizz and give it a healthy gloss.

As a moisturizer. Whether you're prone to dry skin year round or the weather has you reaching for an extra-strength moisturizer, olive oil can help. Just a small amount on your dry areas (and even in your nail beds!) will act as a deep moisturizer.

As a shaving cream substitute. Not only does olive oil double as a chemical-free shaving cream, it will also moisturize your skin and allow for a close, precise shave.

To reduce frizziness and split ends. We've all had those days: you're put together in every other way, but the weather or a busy schedule rendered your hair a little

As chapstick. To make a soothing lip balm, simply mix olive oil with a little sugar. Olive oil is hydrating -- and it might not taste like the artificial candy chapsticks you can buy in stores, but it doesn't taste bad, either!

something like chewing gum or paint in your hair, massage the area with olive oil, wait a few minutes, and then gently remove the substance. As a face or hair mask. Goodbye, expensive treatments! You can easily make face or hair masks at home, using olive oil and other ingredients you probably already have on hand! Not only are these easy on the wallet, they're also hydrating and cleansing, without all the weird ingredients you can't pronounce.

As a makeup remover. Out of makeup remover? No problem. Use a cotton pad dipped in olive oil to remove your eye and face makeup. To remove chewing gum or paint from hair. Don't chop off your beautiful locks just yet! If you got November 2021 | thesofiamagazine.com

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