Sofia Magazine November 2019

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November 2019

for Today’s Woman

Darling Denim | A Lyrical Rose | Deserved Selfishness

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Letter from the Publisher Hello Friends! We are excited to bring you this issue of SOFIA. Check out the cover! It is so beautiful and artistic. Special thanks to Bren Dendy, photographer extraordinaire, and Natasha Kubis unassuming covergirl. Natasha is also a contributing writer for SOFIA. Both are accomplished, outstanding women in our community. Speaking of outstanding women in the community, have you seen our list of local inspirational writers? Take a look at their articles and reach out to them, and us. These are real people with real careers living right here in Asheville. So let’s get to know one another. Here is another opportunity to connect, inspire, and support women. Sign up now for the WomanUp Celebration & Awards Ceremony. Unleash the unlimited potential of Women in Business by attending this event on November 14th. Find your inspiration at Thank you for reading, and please remember to sign up for your free subscription of SOFIA at Happy Thanksgiving! All the best, Tammy Sheppard Publisher

Publisher Tammy Sheppard

Contributing Editor

JeanAnn Taylor

Director of Business Operations Al Sheppard

Art Director / Web Design Tina Gaafary

For Advertising Inquiries Mike Demos 828.273.0098 Trish Luzzi 828.423.0248

Contributing Writers: Natasha Kubis Jill Long Lavinia Plonka Peggy Ratusz Betty Sharpless Sandi Tomlin-Sutker Cheri Torres Julie Werner

All advertising published in SOFIA is believed to be truthful and accurate. However High Five Enterprises, Inc. 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 High Five Enterprises, Inc. 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 High Five Enterprises, Inc. High Five Enterprises, Inc. reserves the right to edit or refuse any advertising submitted to this publication.

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26 Self Care for the Season

Natasha Kubis


Sofia’s Style Jean Jacket Joy

JeanAnn Taylor


Board Games Lavinia Plonka

17 Beginning a Healthy Weight Loss Journey Julie Werner 19 Southern Gal Gardening Plant Now for Spring’s Delight Betty Sharpless 20 Alexa Rose Medicine for Living Peggy Ratusz

22 JeanAnn’s Journey–Remember

JeanAnn Taylor

28 3 Practices to Get Ahead at Work Cheri Torres

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Cover Story Natasha Kubis

Page 8

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Helping People Help Themselves By Sandi Tomlin-Sutker

been on a plane since I was two years old; I love to travel and have been all over the world: Morocco, France, Spain, Scotland, Italy, and Eastern Europe, to name a few. It has always been important to me to see how other people exist, outside the American mindset.” That love of cultural diversity was part of why she was always interested in East Asian and Indian philosophy and their ancient models of health. “I hope my next big trip will be Japan!” She chose Seattle for her college years and then moved back east for acupuncture school at the Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine in Montclair, New Jersey, about an hour outside New York City. “After college, I felt the desire to explore the mechanisms of acupuncture, since it was something that had helped me in my youth. My training was nearly 3,000 hours and I was able to acquire my Master’s Degree in Acupuncture in 2009.”


atasha Kubis came to her healing path even before she was 11 years old. “I had struggled with sleep and digestive issues. My parents had good insight and did not want to medicate me, so they searched for healthy alternatives. Complementary medicine, including acupuncture and yoga became part of my routine.” She says she was not very interested in sports as a child, so yoga offered a way to get exercise and manage stress. “Yoga has always been an important part of my physical and mental well-being; a part of my spiritual practice, the way I stay sane.” She cut a deal with her early yoga teacher to exchange classes for babysitting, so she says, “I did a lot of babysitting!” Born on a flower farm in Maui, Hawaii, Natasha grew up spending her summers on the island, and her school year in a picturesque surfer town on the Jersey Shore. “I have

“I spent my twenties living in NYC and loved that lifestyle. It’s a great place to grow and evolve. I was inspired by my surroundings. NY is a cultural smorgasbord of eight million people with their languages, customs, and religions all coexisting within a rich and colorful framework.” She also found it to be a good place to start her career. After years of living in the hustle and bustle of city life, she felt a bit depleted and began looking for a more peaceful place. “Asheville was a great remedy. There is the best of everything here: a little downtown with lots of art and music, a delightful restaurant culture, a health conscious mindset, and a breathtaking landscape. In the three years I have been here I have found peace, solace, and a warm embrace by the community.” However, she kept her practice in NYC and travels there every few weeks. “I get my “big city” fix once a month and come back to the mountains to get restored and catch up with patients here.”

November 2019 |


Why Complementary Medicine? Natasha stresses that acupuncture is not a magic bullet that allows us to take a back seat on our road to health. “Sure, most of my patients take a long restorative nap while they are on the treatment table, but I emphasize that once you leave the office, an overall healthy lifestyle is what yields sustainable results.” There are no added medications or quick fixes; the treatments aim to rewire the body to function more optimally. “Acupuncture began around 2,500 - 5,000 years ago in China. It involves the insertion of tiny, sterile needles into acupuncture points along the body. There are over 2,000 of these points located at nerve endings, so we are essentially stimulating the nervous system. It is great for a variety of health issues, and modern science has given us a glimpse into the mechanism of acupuncture, especially when it comes to pain management.” This point is particularly important during the current opioid crisis with its high addiction and mortality rates. Acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural ability to suppress pain without the over-dependence on painkillers. “Studies have found acupuncture points at sites of high-density neuro-vascular structures. When we stimulate those areas, we are promoting secretion of naturally occurring neurotransmitters like endorphins, which help minimize pain.” Acupuncture is called complementary medicine because it is often used in collaboration with conventional treatments. In addition to Natasha’s practice in East Asheville, she works with Dr. Vicky Scott at Asheville Gynecology and Wellness in South Asheville. “It is a great joy for me to share space 10 | November 2019

heard and taken care of.” She combines acupuncture with cupping, electro-acupuncture with a TENS unit, yoga, massage, and reflexology.

with an integrative practice that offers traditional GYN care as well as holistic and lifestyle medicine for women.” Acupuncture can be a wonderful option for women’s health and can be a supportive option to traditional care. Some areas on which Natasha focuses are fertility support, PMS, endometriosis, and menopause.

Focus on your immune system “We have this innate ability to heal ourselves; it is called our immune system. Some of us need a bit more support. I like to think of myself as a helper, helping people help themselves. When people come to me, I am often their last resort. They are depleted, have been dealing with pain and nothing has helped.” She asks her patients to meet her halfway. “It is a collaborative effort. I give people homework, exercises, we talk about nutrition and diet. I tell them at the beginning that this is a partnership, partnering up for their recovery. Healing takes time and effort on everyone’s part.” I like to hold space for people to relax when they are being treated. It is important to me that patients feel

“For some people, for instance with sciatic pain, I incorporate a personalized yoga protocol (a series of poses to practice) based on the patient’s therapeutic needs.” She completed her yoga teacher training in Asheville and feels some of the best teachers in the country are here. “I have a daily personal yoga practice that resets me; I would be a different person without it. It keeps me open and ready to be the best practitioner I can be.” “In our culture, we are used to throwing a medication at something, and being really passive in our healing process. Of course medicine is important, but it is also important and empowering to take an active role in your own health and wellbeing.” Natasha’s tool kit of acupuncture, cupping, and yoga gives her patients an opportunity to be fully involved as she helps them help themselves! You can contact Natasha Kubis, L.Ac. at 917.576.9198 Sandi Tomlin-Sutker is a freelance writer and editor. Contact her at sts@

Sofia Style

Jean Jacket J oy By JeanAnn Taylor


f you are looking for a lightweight, comfortable, timeless, versatile jacket that works season after season, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in a denim jean jacket. In 1880, ten years after Levi Strauss created jeans for gold miners and cowboys, he designed a “triple-pleated blouse” for the rough and tough men who needed a garment that would withstand their hard, rugged work. Now referred to as a “jean jacket,” the “blouse” evolved into western wear and later became trendy in pop-culture. With it’s “bad-boy” vibe in the 1950s, it was popular with motorcyclists, movie stars, and rock idols. Though it was originally a man-only garment, women have adopted the jacket as an integral piece of their wardrobe. The primary difference between a man and woman’s jacket is found in the buttons. Men’s buttons are on the right, women’s are on the left. There has been much debate about the “double denim” look. Some fashion experts advise to only combine light washes with dark washes; if the top is light, the bottom should be dark. Some say to keep the hues the same. Others say not to wear denim with denim at all. So, what is a fashionista to do? Wear what feels good to you! Denim with denim can work, I just think

it’s flattering to break up the blues with a bright top, scarf, or bold necklace. Jean jackets are currently available in just about every silhouette imaginable. From the original boxy design to form-fitting, from cropped to long lengths; and in colors from pastel pink to lipstick red. There are also floral and graphic prints available. Embellishments of embroidery, patches, ruffles, and flounces add to the flair of the basic jacket. While the indigo jacket works for nearly every outfit, white jackets imply a more polished, dressy look, and black gives an edgy vibe. You can continue to wear your summer frocks into autumn by slipping on a cropped jacket. Long jackets will break the chill and look best with pants. If the cotton, denim fabric isn’t enough to keep you cozy, add a scarf or lightweight sweater to wear underneath. The jean jacket can tone down a bright color or busy print. It adds an air of casual chicness and relaxed personal style. The jean jacket’s functionality and innate coolness adds to its status as an iconic element of American fashion. Style expert JeanAnn Taylor can be reached at November 2019 |



S By Lavinia Plonka

“I think we should….” “Forget it, we don’t have the money.” “What about….” “There’s no budget for that.” “We need….” “Yeah, but our financials are so bad, the members will never go for it.” “I’d like to propose…” “Go ahead. The complainers will eat you alive.” Didn’t we, why haven’t we, money, naysayers, money, no volunteers, money, money, money. No wonder we call it a non-profit!

12 | November 2019

I sit at the board meeting, squirming, checking my Facebook page, pacing the room, staring out the window, even at one point lying down on the floor, feeling like Steve McQueen as a prisoner in Papillon. Nothing helps me endure the chains of minutiae that hang on our organization. If we really wanted to torture political prisoners we could simply put them on a non-profit’s board of directors. Many years ago, before it was a status event, I went to Burning Man. It is located on a desert playa, a specific terrain that transforms radically in the event of a rare and sudden rain. As the rain came pouring down, the soil was transformed from a hard packed gray surface to a bizarre kind of clay that

attached itself to the bottom of our shoes. With every step another layer of clay attached itself, so that even if you ran, within seconds you were wearing cement platform shoes. You could no longer lift your feet and you had to stop in spite of the pouring rain to knock the clay platforms off your shoes and run again, repeating the process until you were soaked, covered in gray muck, and exhausted. The difference between this and being on the board of a non-profit is that eventually the rain did stop. I had taken to calling the board meetings “bored” meetings. The endless questions about the lost revenue, the harried executive director constantly explaining why something ended up

costing more, and the eternal discussions about policy filled me with futility. How could we possibly innovate, change, improve anything if we were trapped in an endless loop of protocol? The final straw was when a typo was found in one of the by-laws. The By-law is up on the screen as part of a Powerpoint presentation. (When Steve Jobs went to meetings, if someone began a Powerpoint presentation, he walked out.) I’m like the mime in the box, helplessly banging on the invisible wall to escape.

“This has to be changed, the name of our organization is misspelled.” “Sure,” I say, “Let’s do it.” “We have to vote on it.” “What?” “It’s a change in the by-laws. Therefore it has to be put to a vote.” “You’re joking.” They ignore me. “Anyone willing to put forth a motion that we correct the spelling in By-Law 48, section 2, sub-section A?” A hand raises from a zombified board member. “We have a motion on the floor from Cara to change the spelling in the name of our organization to reflect the actual spelling in By Law 48, Section 2, Sub-section A. Do we have a second.” I think of Kafka. The motion passes. After all that hard work, we have lunch. Cosmologists have posited that the universe is a living, breathing being and that all life is a microcosmic reflection

of the macrocosm of the universe. Each of us contains a sun, the rhythm of the moon. On a smaller scale, our blood is like the earth’s rivers, the trees our lungs. Our relationships reflect the galactic dance. I contemplate the notion that a board of directors meeting is like a black hole – you get sucked in, and nothing escapes.

Like a comet striking the earth, I have disrupted the status quo. Emotional debris is everywhere, smoldering ruins of a meeting. A collective breath and the President speaks. “I’m really glad you said that. Let’s take a risk.”

“So that went really well,” smiles the President. “We passed a motion. Let’s check in with each other shall we? How are things going for you all?” To my shock, as we go around the table, each board member offers a self congratulatory platitude. “Well, it was a tough year, but I think we’re now on the right track.” “I’m feeling very positive about the direction we are going in.” There is a rumbling inside of me. My face is getting hot. If I am a reflection of the planet I’m a volcano, if I’m a microcosm of the universe, I’m about to go supernova. I take a breath and explode. “I’m sick of us operating from fear. I can’t understand why everyone is operating from an attitude of lack. If we are all about functionality, why are we so dysfunctional? Why can’t we just try to change? So what if we make a mistake? Einstein once said, ‘Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.’” My voice is quivering. They’re going to hate me. They’re going to tell me I’m over-reacting. A little voice whispers that they are going to kick me off the board. Which actually sounds good at the moment. But no one moves. They sit, mouths open; egos singed, smoke trailing out of their ears.

Another board member speaks up. “Thank you. I feel the same way, I was just afraid to say it.” The sun begins to shine on our group. I’m a volcano. A comet. A storm. My husband calls me Kali, the Hindu Goddess associated with both destruction and empowerment (although he seems to forget the goddess part.) It’s not an easy job, but somebody’s got to do it. I think this is why I wasn’t elected prom queen.

Body language expert, Lavinia Plonka has taught The Feldenkrais Method for over 25 years. For more information, visit her at

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Beginning a Healthy Weight Loss Journey By Julie Werner


hen we have a question, we can all appreciate how easy it is to access information on any subject just by typing or saying the magic words into our phone. Sometimes however, it’s simply a frustrating, information overload. What are the facts? What are just gimmicks? Who even wrote that online article? What we really want is to simply make healthy changes. You’re saved. In a nutshell, here’s the practical “How To,” and what I tell my clients when they want me to simplify weight loss for them in a practical way.

healthful, so fill up on veggies and lean protein choices. Also be sure to choose healthy carbs such as whole, unrefined varieties packed with nutrients, not empty unwholesome calories that spike your blood sugar and leave you craving for more soon after. Maybe you know tracking alone isn’t going to hold you accountable, and you desire additional support in your weight loss endeavor. Both the American Dietetics Association and the American Council on Exercise recommend Weight Watchers as a healthy and scientifically sound program. If you need additional support or something more personal, I recommend finding an experienced trainer who holds specialty certifications in weight management and fitness nutrition, or finding a licensed dietician or nutritionist. As always, please follow the recommendations of your physician.

Step 2 - Macronutrients and Your Body Type

Step 1 - Tracking Use a tracker for logging in what you are eating. I like the myfitnesspal app. It will calculate the daily calories needed to lose an average of one to two pounds per week. It is not healthy to lose much more than this. Myfitnesspal will also track your intake of macronutrients. Macros are the three categories of food: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. After you’ve entered your data on age, height, weight, and activity levels, the app will provide your daily limit. Stay within this range. “Calories in/calories out” is still, and always will be, the science behind losing weight. Calories aren’t equally

Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Each gram of protein has four calories, each gram of carbohydrate has four calories, and each gram of fat has nine calories. These three categories are represented in percentage of total daily calories consumed. What should your personal macro balance look like? This varies in each person due to many complex factors involving your body type. The tracker will make the basic macro percentage suggestions, you can increase your protein, and decrease your carbs and fat if you see you’re not losing as much as you want. The suggested percentage of calories consumed as protein, carbs, and fat per day are just the starting points. The best way to know

the right percentage range for you, is to simply monitor your progress. If you lose more than two pounds per week, you’re losing lean muscle, not fat. Drastic measures damage the metabolism, causes energy loss, stress, and won’t last. Remember this is a healthy, day by day journey, not a race of starvation and deprivation. Almost every single Biggest Loser contestant has gained all the weight back and more.

Step 3 - Get Moving If you have an activity plan in place, keep up the good work. If you aren’t getting at least 30 minutes of exercise four or five times each week, please begin to add this to your day. The calorie deficit is just the tip of the iceberg of the rewards you’ll reap from moving more. Exercise reduces stress, strengthens your body, and literally distributes fresh new cells to the bones. The mental health rewards are unreal as well because they can reduce anxiety and depression, improve general mood and hormonal balance, and aid in sleep. If you need one more reason, I’ll give you three; YOU being at a healthy weight will cut your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke in HALF! Julie Werner, an experienced ACE Fitness Professional holds Certifications in Personal Training, Fitness Nutrition, and Weight Management. Discover her at Instagram: @WDCPersonalTraining Facebook: Wesley Personal Training

November 2019 |


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#yoga | November 2019

Southern Gal Gardening


hese days, it seems like every season comes earlier and earlier. Halloween costumes are in stores in August, and Christmas décor shows up in September. However, there’s still plenty of time to plant spring bulbs for next year’s delight. I have actually planted daffodils and tulips as late as January with excellent results. The important thing is to make sure that the bulbs are still firm when you are ready to put them in the ground. By now, many stores will have bulbs marked down for quick sale. It is perfectly acceptable to “squeeze the merchandise” to make sure you are still getting your money’s worth. If most of the bulbs in the bag are firm, go ahead and buy them. If not, feel free to haggle a little. If you have tried to plant spring bulbs only to have them eaten by voles, deer, squirrels, and chipmunks, you need to avoid these tasty bulbs. Most critters won’t eat daffodils, narcissus, woodland and grape hyacinths, or flowering garlic (alliums). I finally had to make a strategy to co-exist with my yard wildlife. I plant twice as many crocus as I hope to have--crocus are inexpensive. If I do plant tulips, I plant them in the same shades every year. For example, all shades of purple, or all shades of yellow and orange. If I plant similar shades every year, on the rare years when I have a great bloom, they all color coordinate. I also plant a lot of daffodils and narcissus, making sure to have an even mix of early, mid, and late spring blooming varieties. All of this information will be on the packaging. The depth that the bulb should be planted is three times the size of the bulb. A crocus only needs to rest three inches deep. A firecracker allium will need to be planted nine inches deep to support their three-foot tall flowers. I often suggest using the “Biltmore House” method to new gardeners--plant a lot of the exact same flowers for a really dramatic effect. Each year, you can plant a lot of different flowers to add to the drama. Then, it is just a matter of waiting for spring to spring up from the ground! I always envision the final effect when planting a bulb. I love planting surprises that will make people smile year after year.

Plant Now


Spring’s Delight By Betty Sharpless

Betty Sharpless is a professional free-lance gardener, writer, and quilter who loves firecracker alliums--magic wands in the making! Follow her on Instagram @sharplessbetty October 2019 |


Alexa Rose:

Medicine for Living By Peggy Ratusz a series of questions for this feature and she answered them in her own thoughtful words: How did you decide to become a songwriter? I never really decided. One day I just began and haven’t stopped. I wrote my first song around age 13. It probably sounded like Regina Spektor or Ingrid Michaelson, my teenage songwriter crushes who, around this time, found their way through my small town radio speakers. No one ever showed me how to write a song or suggested I try it. I’m a firm believer there is no incorrect way to write a song. Tell us about your writing process.


he grew up in Clifton Forge, VA. A small town where she says, “You can’t go to the grocery store without bumping into somebody you know.” Thankfully for us, she now calls Asheville home, and has been telling the truth in songs to a plethora of audiences, for many years. Her latest release, Medicine for Living is acclaimed and award winning! I met Alexa Rose through a mutual friend and heard her sing for the first time several years ago at an open mic. I remember turning to the person sitting next to me, and we both nodded with delight from her first turn of phrase. We’re all in for a delightful experience as we get to know better, this weaver of deep and profound lyrics; this owner of a warm and flavorful vocal timbre that begins and ends with melodies pure and true. I sent her 20 | November 2019

I love talking about process because it seems different for everyone. Sometimes I just pick up my guitar, play a chord and see what comes out of my mouth. I don’t dwell much on perfecting the lyrics in the beginning stages of the song. It’s common for the music and lyrics to find me at the same time, usually in an inconvenient place, like in the shower or on the way to work. I try to go as long as possible without writing anything down. Using the writing area of my brain tends to stunt my creative process. Do you have a favorite original song? On my new album, Medicine For Living, the title track is my favorite. I don’t really fall in love with my songs. I’m learning to be more gracious with them as it pertains to moderation. I don’t eat the same sandwich for lunch every day, and it’s the same thing with overplaying my songs. I try to give them rest and focus on new material.

What have you learned about yourself since you’ve made music your career? That I’m blessed. This job is a privilege. I want to use my power carefully to say what I mean and lift others up. I’ve learned its good practice to step outside my bubble, walk in an unfamiliar neighborhood, keep friends who are and aren’t artists. Songwriters tell the story of the world as we know it and our responsibility is to challenge our paradigms, if anything, for the sake of the songs we leave behind. Talk about your proud moments. Winning the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest this year was big for me. Making a record with Big Legal Mess was another. The act of making music my career makes me proud. We are taught to dream as children, and then later told that we shouldn’t follow it simply because it doesn’t align with capitalism. I moved to North Carolina with zero connections. I owe my zest, to aligning with the music community here. It continues to encourage me. I’m proud I found the courage to steer my life in a direction meaningful to me. Tell us about your fans. They are amazing! Once a fan drew a picture of me riding on a giant armadillo (I love armadillos). One woman drives several hours to shows anytime we play even remotely near her. I’m their fan, because they show up and make what I’m doing worthwhile. Talk about the amount of time and how you spend it, honing your craft. The process is elusive. True inspiration comes in waves. I write often because

it’s good to keep my mind in the habit of writing. A few years ago, I lived in the country with no electricity and more free time, so I tried to write a song a day. I wrote some bad songs and a few I kept that I wouldn’t have had otherwise (the final track on my latest album, “Untitled No. 47,” is a remnant of that project). Then sometimes I go six months without writing. I write best when there’s a pile of laundry on the chair and a little chaos in my life.

What is it about performing that keeps you pursuing opportunities to do so? I love the variety of audiences, the changing landscapes of America, the ebb and flow of good fortune on the road. What really keeps bringing me back is when someone comes up to me after a show and tells me how a particular song is like a part of their own story, how it moved them in some way. Hearing that is totally redeeming.

Women Making Music Calendar for November: Saturdays: Swing Step featuring Linda Shew Wolf, The Guitar Bar, 122 Riverside Dr., Asheville, NC 28801, 3:00pm 11/1:

April B. and the Cool, Connolly’s Irish Pub, 24 E. Court St., Greenville, SC 29601, 8:00pm

11/2: T he Honey Dewdrops, featuring Laura Wortman, 185 King, 185 King Street, Brevard, NC 28712, 10:00pm 11/5 & 11/19: Hope Griffin, 131 Main Restaurant, 308 Thetford St., Asheville, NC 28803, 6:00pm 11/7: Paula Hanke & In The Pocket, The Block Off Biltmore, 39 S. Market St., Asheville, NC 28801, 8:30pm 11/7: Mare Carmody, Triskelion Brewing, 340 7th Ave East, Hendersonville, NC 28792, 7:00pm 11/8: Love Letter: A Tribute to Bonnie Raitt featuring Peggy Ratusz, Ambrose West, 312 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806, 8:00pm 11/9: Bill Berg Trio featuring Julie McConnell, Blue Ridge Lounge at Connestee Falls Country Club, 33 Connestee Trail, Brevard, NC 28712, 7:00pm 11/10: Ellen Trnka, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyard, 588 Chestnut Gap Rd, Hendersonville, NC 28792 2:30pm 11/16: Sara Siskind, The DFR Room, 36 E. Main St., Brevard, NC 28712, 8:00pm 11/17: Redneck Mimosa Gospel Brunch, Southern Appalachian Brewing, 822 Locust St, Hendersonville, NC 28792, 12:00pm 11/17: Abby the Spoon Lady, The Artisan of Flat Rock, 5 Highland Park Rd., East Flat Rock, NC 28726 7:00pm 11/22: Peggy Ratusz & Duane Simpson, The Casual Pint, 1863 Hendersonville Rd., Asheville, NC 28803 8:00pm 11/23: T he Broadcast, featuring Kaitlin Krisko, The Visulite Theater, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204, 9:00pm 11/23: Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters, 185 King, 185 King Street, Brevard, NC 28712, 8:00pm 11/27: T he Lost Chord, Moody Blues Tribute band featuring Kate Kinney Barber on flute, Isis Music Hall, 743 Haywood Rd., Asheville, NC 28806, 8:30pm

Are there marked differences between what you write about and how you approach songwriting now vs. what it was, five or ten years ago? Absolutely! Songs I wrote in my twenties were about relationships and changes all specific to my own life. After all, your own story is the one you tell with the most authority. Now I feel like I’m reaching for different subjects, as an observer. It’s a challenge because in telling another’s story I feel a larger sense of responsibility. What are you working on now? I’m writing songs about what I see happening in our country, about love, about change, about my great grandparents. I’m riding my bike more, cooking meals for my friends, and cuddling with my dog. What can audiences expect to experience at one of your performances? I tell the truth. Sometimes I bump my nose on the microphone when I close my eyes. And my bandmates always wear good hats. What advice would you give your younger self? Be yourself, send postcards, keep a sense of humor, and call your friends after you move away from them. Rose is going on tour in November, but to keep up with her upcoming local performances, visit her website: Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach, song interpreter, and songwriter. For vocal coaching email her at peggymarie43

11/30: Vendetta Crème feat Kelly Barrow, Crow & Quill, 9pm November 2019 |


J eanAnn’sJ ourney


en years ago I had the amazing and very powerful experience of chaperoning World War Two Veterans to see their Memorial in Washington, D.C. We flew on an Honor Air Flight, led by Jeff Miller of Hendersonville, N.C. On the morning of the flight, I drove to the airport before dawn to check in and get my assignment for the day— which was to escort three Veterans: Max, David, and George. When the day began, I had no idea how it would impact my patriotic perspective for the rest of my life. There were over one hundred Veterans scheduled to see the Memorial of the War they fought in so many years ago. The first thing I noticed about them was their humility and sense of gratitude to be there. I also witnessed how all of the Veterans, who had never met before, had an immediate connection and bond with each other.

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The prediction of rain was replaced with sunshine as we flew into Reagan International Airport. To our surprise, we were met with water cannons, and then as we walked through the airport, we were greeted by a crowd of people cheering and waving our American Flag. The National Symphony Orchestra played as our military stood at attention to honor those who have served before them. We then boarded a bus to the Memorial. I still remember how the festive atmosphere began to shift as we got closer to the sight. The Veterans became quiet and thoughtful as memories of the War seeped in and they began to reflect on the atrocities they endured. As we walked up to the WWII Memorial, Elizabeth and Senator Robert Dole—who led the charge to create and finance the Memorial— were there to greet us. His painful and permanent war wounds remind him of the War every day of his life, yet

he stood in the sun to welcome us. He understood how important and powerful it would be for the Veterans to see their Memorial. The WWII Memorial is a breathtaking structure with fountains at the Rainbow Pool, encircled by 56 pillars representing the United States and the territories that fought together. There are two pavilions symbolizing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Freedom Wall is sculpted with 4,048 gold stars representing the more than 400,000 Americans who died for our country. Throughout the day I listened as my Veterans and others told stories about their time serving. Tears came to their eyes as they remembered, “stories too painful to talk about,” and some too gruesome to print. George was 18 when he joined the Army. He fought in France where some days were so cold his coffee would freeze before it

was finished. He was captured and nearly died of hunger in a concentration camp. He looked at me and said, “What I saw, you don’t want to know.” Max joined the Navy and was on the second wave into Normandy. “I try not to remember most of it,” he said. His twin brother, also in the Navy, was killed the day before he was supposed to come home. He was 20 years old. David joined the Navy at 17 and recalls storms so violent, they were unable to eat and had to tie themselves into their bunks. Despite the sacrifices they endured, and the horrific memories that last a lifetime, they never lost their patriotism or dignity. Other than that hot day in San Antonio, Texas, where I watched my son graduate from Air Force Basic Training, I’ve never felt more pride and sincere gratitude to live in America. We have it so easy here. Everyone who wants a job, has a job. We are free to

openly express ourselves. We have opportunities and gifts those in other countries can only dream about. The only reason we have these liberties is because our Veterans were willing to make enormous and serious sacrifices. When asked why they willingly joined the military at such a young age, my three Veterans all said, “It was the right thing to do.” When I see or hear people disrespecting our flag and country, I think it’s because they just don’t know or understand that freedom doesn’t just happen. Freedom isn’t free. We are truly, “The home of the free because of the brave.” A few weeks after our flight, I received letters from my Veterans thanking me for what I did for them that day. What I did for them? They fought for me. They, and their families, sacrificed for me. They saw their friends die for me. For us.

On November 11, we have the opportunity to pause and honor all the men and women who love our country enough to risk their lives to protect us. My son is serving in Afghanistan. I pray every day that he comes home whole and healthy. As a Military Mom and loyal American, I hope you will join me in remembering and respecting our Veterans. When you see a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine, tell them “Thank you,” for their service, for their sacrifice, and for their love of America.

Please send your thoughts and ideas to me at jeananntaylor

November 2019 |



Selfishness By Jill Long


s women, we tend to expend a lot of energy taking care of other people and things, from our homes to our children, parents, and friends. Women typically take on the care-taker role and may forget to take care of themselves. With the holidays quickly approaching, and the extra demands that go with them, it may be time to figure out where we fit in this picture. “Deserved selfishness” is not just a habit to practice this time of year, but to be practiced throughout the year. We may place ourselves last on the list and since the list is never-ending, we may never get the time we deserve. Sometimes, even if we plan time for ourselves, we may find ourselves sacrificing that time to do something someone else wants or needs us to do. It seems so easy to break a promise of time for ourselves but we would never think of missing an appointment or commitment to someone else. Why is the appoint-

24 | November 2019

ment with someone else more important than one with yourself? Maybe it’s time to take a look at where we place ourselves on the list and practice some “deserved selfishness.” We are all taught from an early age not to be selfish. We are asked to share our toys, let others’ take their turn, or share a room with a sibling. Maybe we need to take a look at our definition of “selfish”. Maybe we think that taking care of ourselves

is being selfish. The definition of selfishness is being overly concerned with self to the detriment of others. So being selfish means I shouldn’t do something for myself that can make someone else’s life harder, not that I shouldn’t sometimes put myself first. So why do we feel we are being selfish to take care of ourselves?

I think that maybe a more appropriate term for what we do is called “self-sacrificing.” Self-sacrificing is giving up oneself for the benefit of others. If we are self-sacrificing, we may tend to be angry, depressed, anxious, or tired because we are not nourishing ourselves or our souls. Furthermore, we lose sight of who we are. Ongoing self-sacrificing will make us sick, either physically, mentally, or both. There is not a medical description for this kind of sickness, but I believe that ongoing self-sacrifice manifests itself in illness. We are not nourishing our mind, body, or spirit when we give up ourselves for the benefit of others.

but if you truly look at the time you have, you can create time for “deserved selfishness.” Make an appointment with yourself, don’t allow yourself to cancel it, and don’t allow someone else to take priority over it.

“We do not have to feel guilty or bad about taking care of ourselves and should not feel selfish when we do so.”

If we have to have a term to describe putting ourselves first, can we agree to look at it not as selfishness but as “deserved selfishness?” Can we use the term “deserved selfishness” to mean taking care of oneself so that we have the physical, mental, and emotional energy to care for others? We do not have to feel guilty or bad about taking care of ourselves and should not feel selfish when we do so. Some have self-sacrificed so long, raising children or caring for elderly parents, that we do not know how to take care of ourselves in a way that replenishes us. We may be able to sleep and feel rested, but we cannot re-energize our souls solely with sleep. We need time to self-reflect, relax and take care of our body’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. What have you purposefully done for yourself lately? When was the last time you set your intention to do something that replenishes you? So many people say, “I don’t have time,”

“Deserved selfishness” is most helpful if practiced regularly. We need to give ourselves time to re-energize on a daily basis. Different types of personalities need varying amounts of time to re-energize the mind, body, and spirit. You are the best judge of how much time and how often it takes to feel more connected and refreshed. Again, this is not about sleep. So how do you figure out your own dynamic with “deserved selfishness?” Start with making a list of things you like to do. If you have a hard time thinking of these things, because it’s been so long since you took time for yourself, think of what you used to enjoy

or what you see in others’ enjoyment. Practice giving yourself the time to do these during the week. Have things on your list that only take a few minutes as well as things that take a few hours, or day. Give back to yourself according to what makes you feel better. Also start a list of things you’d like to do but haven’t tried yet. Start a new hobby, reach out and do volunteer work, or stay home and read a book. Think of what you enjoyed as a child and expand on that. I encourage you to include exercise in these lists. It doesn’t have to be the latest trend, but something you enjoy that moves your body. Exercise is a good way to create new energy and provide “deserved” time for yourself. Gentle exercise could include going outside for a brisk walk. Being in nature is a truly grounding activity, and feeling grounding is a necessary part of self-care. Whatever activity you choose, do it with purpose. Set an intention that this activity will be meaningful, fulfilling, and empowering. “Deserved selfishness” can become a way of life if you accept it as time to reflect, re-energize, refocus, and relax. In doing so we can be more present with others, feel less stressed, and be healthier.

Jill Long, M.A. Ed. Licensed Professional Counselor

November 2019 |


Self Care for the Season By Natasha Kubis


s we transition into autumn we start to observe the lush greenery of summer transform into a fiery palette of oranges, reds, and browns. The crisp, cool air encourages the trees to shed their leaves so that they may grow new buds in spring. As the seasons come and go, we too go through changes every moment of every day. We are reminded that everything around us is in a perpetual state of flux. In life, change is the only constant. The ebb and flow of nature reminds us to be grateful for the present moment, however fleeting, and to be comfortable with letting go of the past in order to move into the next cycle of life. Nurturing yourself through the seasons can help you transition with nature in a comfortable and conscientious way. Here are some activities to help you move with ease through the coming months.

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Create a daily gratitude practice

Take stock of your life through journaling

The autumn harvest is an opportunity to practice gratitude for the abundance in your life. Listing things for which you are grateful allows you to appreciate what you have in the present moment. Instead of stewing over things that you feel are lacking, try making a mental list of each and every thing that you cherish in life.

Journaling can help you assess the things in your life that need attention and focus. It is a great way to strategize and manifest your goals and objectives. What do you need to let go of in your life in order to move forward? It might include relationships that need to be re-evaluated, work projects that need to be finished, or old habits that need to be discarded. If there are major life changes that need to be addressed, enlist the support of friends, loved ones, or a professional counselor.

Minimize your stuff Removing objects in your life that no longer serve you by either donating them to charity or recycling them is an efficient way to remove clutter. Creating a healthy space that is free of physical chaos also encourages peace and clarity in the mind and allows you to make room for new possibilities and growth.

Make the most of the autumn harvest with nourishing food This time of year has an abundance of wholesome fruits and vegetables. Try to incorporate seasonal foods into your diet such as apples, pears, squash,

artichokes, arugula, spinach, beets, cabbage, and leeks. Chinese medicine recommends eating lots of soups, stews, and porridges as well as stewed fruits during colder months. Use warming spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg on top of oatmeal or in baking recipes. Drink ginger teas with fresh ginger, lemon, and honey to strengthen your immune system.

Connect with nature Nature is stunning at this time of year with its chilly air and rust colored landscape as your playground. Walking through the forest or sitting by a campfire are great ways to be present and admire nature’s beautiful transition.

Try these restorative yoga poses in the following sequence 1. L ie on your back and hug your knees into your chest. Rock from side to side. Take five deep inhales and exhales. Drop your knees to the right for a few moments and then to the left for a gentle twist. 2. F or reclined pigeon pose, cross your ankle over your opposite knee. Hold for five deep inhales and exhales, and then switch legs. This is a gentle way to release tension in the hip area.

Have a candle lit bath

3. R oll over onto your belly and come up onto your forearms for a mild back bend. Hold for a count of five deep inhales and exhales.

A warm bath feels extra wonderful when it is cold outside. Make a date with yourself and create a luxurious bath. Fill the tub with hot water, Epsom salts, and essential oils. Light some candles, settle in, and relax with your favorite music or book.

4. P ush back into a child’s pose by coming up to your hands and knees and then releasing your hips down toward your heels as you stretch your arms forward. This is a simple way to release tension from your back and hips.

Practicing gratitude, removing clutter from your physical space, taking stock of your life through self reflection, connecting with nature, and incorporating self care rituals through diet and yoga are all simple and accessible ways to help us shed the past that no longer serves us, just as nature renews itself with each season. Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher. For more information, visit

November 2019 |


3 Practices to GET AHEAD at Work By Cheri Torres


o matter where you are in your organization, you can make a difference and get noticed. If you’re in management, you can fuel productivity and meaningful engagement. If you’re on the front line, you can inspire teamwork and creativity. You can even address issues with your boss effectively. You can do all of this through conversation. We forget how powerful our conversations are. They influence our wellbeing, relationships, and ability to succeed. Become a conversation change agent and you will become a valued member of your organization. There are three simple practices that will help you catalyze conversations worth having.

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#1: Pause, Breathe, Get Curious How often do you feel defensive, annoyed, or critical of your colleagues or boss? They do something and you get triggered. This natural response to stress or threat is normal, but not helpful. This first practice is: PAUSE before reacting. Take a deep breath. And get curious: Why are you defensive? Have you made assumptions? Are you sure what you think is true? Absolutely sure? Example: you’re walking down the hallway toward your boss. As you pass by, you smile and say, “Hi!” She says nothing; she is scowling. You feel rejected, and think, “She’s arrogant.” Fear creeps: What if she didn’t like the report you just turned in. You’re starting to make up stories.

Let’s apply Practice #1. Pause. Breathe and recognize that you just got triggered. Then get curious: 1. W hat are the facts? You said “Hi!” She didn’t answer. Her face had an unhappy-kind-of-expression. She didn’t say anything. You got triggered. That’s it. Everything else is made up. 2. W hat else might explain those facts? She was lost in thought and didn’t hear you. She just heard bad news. She was headed to a meeting she was worried about. She’s not feeling well. 3. Q uestion assumptions. Has she even read your report yet? Is she an arrogant person? Just asking yourself these few ques-

tions can shift your thinking and feeling. Genuine curiosity emerges: Is she okay? Is there anything you can do to support her? You can use this practice to help you shift from self-protection to connection. You can also use it to shift meeting dynamics. Imagine your team is arguing. You might say, “Let’s pause. Can we take a moment to get the facts up on the board and begin to see what we know and don’t know?” Once that’s done, you might say, “I’m not as clear as I thought I was. What outcome are we hoping for?” Just these simple questions can shift the tone and direction of the original conversation.

e ht w ur g i m so H o w o wa rd e? et c om mo v e d o u t r de s i

#2: Ask Generative Questions Generative questions shift the way people think. In the above examples, your thinking about your boss and your team’s thinking shifted because of the nature of the questions. Generative questions also create compelling images that inspire action. Once all the facts are on the whiteboard and you have a shared understanding of the outcome, you might ask a question that creates compelling images

such as, “How might we move towards our desired outcome?” Generative questions typically result in: 1. S tronger relationships because people take time to ask one another questions that create connection, inclusion, and understanding. 2. New information and new knowledge because asking questions has surfaced facts, challenged assumptions, and brought forth collective wisdom.

sure we’re on the same page about the outcome of my work, when is the best time for me to ask?” Then engage in a conversation that ensures you are able to meet or exceed his expectations.

Wh a h a t i de a v s e be suc to h e do ce s l s f u p me l?

yo u

3. P ossibilities for solutions and actions because people ask questions that enable divergent and creative thinking. 4. Images of the future because people ask questions about desired outcomes. #3: Create a Positive Frame The last practice is to talk about what you want instead of what you don’t want. When there are problems or complaints, flip the focus to desired outcomes. For example, if your staff is complaining, instead of asking them, “What’s wrong?” Ask them, “What would you like to see change? What might we do to improve things?” If you need to address a problem with your boss, you are not likely to point out what he is doing wrong. Instead, create a positive frame for the conversation and ask generative questions. Example: Imagine you keep getting last minute assignments at the end of the day. You might frame a conversation with your boss around wanting to excel in the job. You might ask generative questions like, “What ideas do you have to help me be successful when you give me assignments?” and “If I have questions I want to ask to make

No matter what is happening in your organization or where you sit hierarchically, you can make a positive difference simply by fostering conversations worth having. And when you do, you will be noticed! Cheri Torres is Lead Catalyst for positive change and organization consultant with Collaborative by Design. Visit to download a free Conversation Toolkit, or visit

Cheri Torres is Lead Catalyst and CEO at Collaborative by Design.

November 2019 |


November 2019 Events CHRISTMAS AT BILTMORE Nov 1 – Jan 5, 2020 Biltmore House

The biggest event of the holiday season. See America’s largest home decked out in festive finery. New parking options & shuttles begin October 30, 2019

Food Truck

FOOD TRUCK & CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL Sat, Nov 2 from 12-5pm Asheville Outlets Mall Admission: $10

POLAR EXPRESS TRAIN Nov 8 – Dec 31, 2019 Departs from Bryson City Admission: From $42 for adults

Ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express Train at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to pick up Santa.


Stroll down the River Arts District near downtown Asheville to find 180+ artists at work in 25 converted industrial buildings along the river. Great deals on art!

Buy a big variety of food, along with craft ales and beers from 50 breweries. Music, lawn games and artisan market.

(88 Railroad Avenue)

Has been named one of the Southeast’s top 20 arts events for November by the Southeast Tourism Society.

A fun and creative parade that kicks off Asheville’s holiday season with marching bands, floats, dance and theater troupes, walking groups and Santa Claus himself.

MARSHALL HANDMADE MARKET Nov 23–24, 10am-5pm Marshall High Studios

GINGERBREAD HOUSE COMPETITION Nov 20 – Jan 4, 2020 Omni Grove Park Inn


ASHEVILLE HOLIDAY PARADE November 23, 2019 at 11am Downtown Asheville

See the winning national gingerbread houses and creations on display elaborately decorated for the season. Public viewing Sunday-Thursday except Christmas & Thanksgiving week.

WINTER LIGHTS AT THE NC ARBORETUM Nov 22 – Jan 4, 2020 from 6-10pm NC Arboretum You must buy tickets in advance Stroll through impressive light displays in the Arboretum gardens, especially designed to compliment the plants and trees in this beautiful setting.

The Marshall Handmade Market is held the weekend before Thanksgiving in the Marshall High Studios, a 1920s two story brick high school nestled on an island in the French Broad River. Some of the most talented makers in the region fill the spacious, sunny auditorium, and the resident artists of Marshall High spruce up the classrooms-turned-studios and open their doors to share their process and art with visitors.

Enjoy coffee and pastries from local artisan bakers and a delicious lunch from the Smashbox Kitchen food truck, as well as music and plenty of seating on the generous back deck. The idyllic island setting, charming historic high school and fantastic artists all combine to make the Marshall Handmade Market a favorite among holiday shows for locals and visitors.

Give Thanks With a Homemade Baked Pie

Bak edP ieC If you have had the opportunity om pan to taste a piece of this famous Honey Pecan pie or any of the many varieties of baked or cream pies, then you know how amazing this locally owned business is.

Two locations: 4 Long Shoals Road, Arden | 828.333.4366

50 N. Merrimon Ave (in Reynolds Village) Woodfin | 828.210.9544

Hours: Tues-Thurs 10am-8pm | Fri-Sat 10am-9pm | Sun 11am-4pm (Arden only) | Closed Mondays


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