Page 1

Brides work to get fit Quilters span generations Anne Courtney— touching lives

Morgan Abel Miss Indiana South

may 2010

Contents ON THE COVER Morgan Abel Photo by Joel Philippsen

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Buff brides


Anne Courtney

Women in fitness series, Part 1: Christal Downing

May 2010 • she magazine



editor's note

As the first official day of summer approaches (now about a month away) I have to profess that I’m really looking forward to this season. My husband and I are planning a road trip next month. My cousin, who is just a month younger than I, is getting married on Hilton Head Island in July. And Ike and I are moving along on our home remodeling projects — just finished a bathroom and next is the kitchen. It’s going to be a busy but enjoyable summer. Our plans, commitments and goals also have me feeling so fortunate for all the blessings in my life and my wonderful family and friends. In the midst of all this, I get paid to continue seeking out great personality profiles and human interest stories and compiling them each month in hopes of appealing to the readers of this magazine. I just don’t think it gets much better than this. Wherever you are and whomever you’re with, I hope you take a few minutes to recognize what’s wonderful in your own life. Now onto this month’s issue. We continue with more inspiring and interesting profiles, including one of a true community-minded spirit — Anne Courtney, who is helping those in need as volunteer coordinator for Turning Point Domestic Violence Services. You’ll also meet a group of women, spanning generations and cultures, who have found a love in quilting that brings them together. This issue also introduces a series of profiles of women in fitness. First, you’ll meet Christal Downing, a fitness instructor and mom of three pursuing her dream of bodybuilding. There’s plenty of good stuff to come in the following pages, so sit back, relax and enjoy!

she EDITOR Kelsey DeClue COPY EDITOR Katharine Smith GRAPHIC DESIGNER Stephanie Otte WRITERS Therese Copeland Kami Ervin Jalene Hahn Crystal Henry Karla Hodge Shannon Palmer Jennifer Willhite photographerS April Knox Joel Philippsen Stock Images Provided by Thinkstock May 19, 2010 She ©2010 All rights reserved. Published monthly by The Republic.

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Achievements Morgan Abel poised amid pomp and pageantry By Shannon Palmer photo by joel philippsen Smart, poised, funny and articulate describe 20-year-old pageant princess Morgan Abel. Not to mention modest. Although currently holding the title for Miss Indiana South, which is a preliminary pageant that could lead her to the Miss America competition, Abel insists she is just your average small-town girl who sets her goals and strives to make them come true. She began competing in pageants when she was 15, after being encouraged by her mother to enter the National American Miss contest. Hesitant to participate, but drawn by the talent portion that meant an opportunity to sing onstage, Abel decided to go for it. She finished eighth out of 100 contestants.


SHE m a g a z i n e • a p r i l 2 0 1 0

april 2010 • she magazine


“I wasn’t into dressing up and makeup because I was and still am a tomboy, but it had singing in it so I thought I’d go for it,” she said. In the past five years Abel has competed in several pageants, holding an array of titles such as Miss Kentuckiana Teen 2005, National American Miss Junior Teen 2005, Miss Indiana Coed 2006, Miss Indiana Teen USA 2008 and most recently winning the Miss Indiana South 2010, which leads to Miss Indiana America. “People tend to think that it’s about getting the crown to sit on your mantel or shelf, when actually it is an opportunity to meet a lot of really good people and getting the chance to give back to the community,” she said. The daughter of Pete and Sarah Abel of North Vernon, she attributes a lot of her success to her solid family foundation. Her mother has been by her side throughout the whole pageant affair. While some contestants will train with coaches, Abel insists that she and her mother are a great team, and they also have a lot of fun together.


SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

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­— Morgan Abel

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“It’s always been me and my mom. I’ve never needed a coach, as my mom and I work well together,” she said. “There is such a buildup of people thinking it’s just a beauty pageant. That’s why there is an interview portion so the judges can get to see your personality. You do have to be yourself, because ultimately your true self comes out,” Abel said. More comfortable highlighting her current status as a college student and her volunteer involvement, she tends to shy away from any bragging rights for her pageant accomplishments and keeps focused on her future instead. “I’m currently in college full time and plan on attending medical school. I’m going to be in school forever,” Abel jokes. She works part time and studies during the week and spends her weekends volunteering or doing promotional work. The outdoors calls to her, whether it’s hiking, walking her new puppy, camping or swimming. She enjoys auto racing and likes listening to country music. She also says singing is her passion, which ultimately is why her mother encouraged her to compete on the pageant circuit in the first place. “She used to be so shy she would have to sing behind car doors or make sure she was out of the audience’s sight before singing,” her mother Sarah said. Now Abel says she comes alive when she is on stage and feels right at home. As a five-year veteran of the pageant system, Miss Indiana South enjoys competing and fine-tuning her stand on the issues she promotes. She speaks at schools and stresses the dangers of drinking and drugs. She also talks about the implications of teen pregnancy. Abel said the National American Miss contest is a good starter pageant that has a Christian-based program. “They really want the girl next door,” she said “I just want to stress that anybody can do these pageants. It’s not so much about what one looks like. It’s about what’s in your head, in your heart and in your person,” Sarah Abel said. “It’s more about how you present yourself.”


In love an Future brides say

Brides, from left, Rikki Laudick, Aleesa Hege and Bridget Diedrich work out with trainer and Zen Fitness owner Kate Conner.

Page 10

SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

d in shape ‘I can’ before ‘I do’

By Kelsey DeClue Photos by April Knox They’re lean, they’re mean and they’re ready to tie the knot. Columbus bride Bridget Diedrich and brides-to-be Rikki Laudick and Aleesa Hege joined forces more than five months ago on a quest to get healthy before their big days. Diedrich, formerly a Dailey, married on May 15, Hege’s ceremony is May 22 and Laudick is scheduled to say “I do” on Aug. 21. “We all wanted to lose weight,” Diedrich said. “I’ve tried diets before, and they never work. Rikki and Aleesa were going to sign up for a class, and I said, ‘Count me in.’”

Conner takes the brides through circuit training.

The women have been friends for several years, and all lived within a mile of each other growing up. Hege is marrying Laudick’s brother. The women made it something of a New Year’s resolution to get in shape before their weddings. In January, they signed up for classes and personal training at Zen Fitness, led by owner Kate Conner. Page 12

“I just wanted to be in the best shape ever on my wedding day,” Hege said. “It’s been more about being in shape than losing weight, but the weight comes with it, and that’s great.” As of early April, Hege had lost 16 pounds since she started the program. Diedrich had lost 20, and Laudick, 12. Conner ran the gals through circuit

exercises that worked multiple muscle groups and kept their heart rates up. They had one group exercise session and one individual session each week. They also kept food and personal exercise logs to track their progress. “It’s more to help them recognize patterns over a period of time than it was about me yelling at them for their choices,” Conner said. “It heightens awareness and helps them make changes.” The road wasn’t easy. Diedrich, 22, Laudick, 26, and Hege, 23, were all active in high school sports but lost their willpower during college and the current rigors of the real world. During an April session, the women reflected on their commitment. “The worst part is my schedule,” Diedrich said. “I’m part-time student teaching, planning a wedding and trying to get fit, without getting discouraged.” “I think the hardest part is the food temptations,” Hege said. “You have to have people behind you.” “I couldn’t do this by myself,” added Laudick. “I like to do this a whole lot better than getting on a treadmill.” However, the payoff has been more than worth it. “I put on a bathing suit that I had in high school the other day,” Diedrich said. “I’m excited to buy summer clothes.” SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

She dropped four dress sizes, and the shop where she purchased her wedding gown allowed her simply to exchange for a smaller size, instead of attempting alterations. While executing an abdominal strengthening exercise, Hege summed up one of the biggest, and perhaps most unforeseen, perks of their quest. “We couldn’t have done this three weeks ago, you guys,” she said. “We’ve come a long way.” Hege’s realization is one of the many reasons Conner got into personal training and ultimately opened her own business. “I get excited when they have success,” Conner said. “Not only is it a testament to me and my ability as an instructor, but that’s what it’s all about — helping someone realize they can do something that they never thought they could.” Conner has been a fitness instructor for more than 20 years but opened Zen Fitness last August. A former Columbus Regional Hospital Wellness instructor, she was let go after the June 2007 flood devastated the property. For a year she rented space around town for specific classes or conducted sessions in clients’ homes. “I’d had enough and last summer I took a big leap of faith, and it has paid off,” she said.

May 2010 • she magazine

“We couldn’t have done this three weeks ago, you guys. We’ve come a long way.”

— Aleesa Hege

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page 13

An uncommon woman Anne Courtney has made a career of helping others By Crystal Henry photos by april knox

ou won’t see her name on a building or her picture on a billboard, but there aren’t too many places or lives in Bartholomew County that Anne Courtney hasn’t touched. Her list of community involvement and volunteer activities spans the decades, and her work has affected those just beginning their lives and those at the end. Courtney looks at each new opportunity as a way to give back while learning at the same time. “She’s a great person to work with,” said Jessica Sillenworth, her supervisor and director of residential services for Turning Point Domestic Violence Services in Columbus. Courtney works as the volunteer coordinator at the shelter. Her position was created three years ago when Turning Point obtained a grant from the Heritage Fund. Prior to her arrival, Turning Point had many volunteers but no one on staff to organize them. “She’s probably one of the most organized people at the shelter,” Sillenworth said. Courtney said one day a friend told her about a listing in the newspaper for the part-time job at Turning Point. She was interested, but after hearing how this friend, who is a strong and successful woman, had experienced domestic violence in her first marriage, she knew she needed to pursue the job. Coincidentally, the next day a Turning Point board member called to see if she might join the board. She told them she was really interested in the part-time job, and she went for the interview. Courtney said she was hired to develop a volunteer program with policies, procedures, tasks, training and retention efforts. But her first job was to clarify from the staff what they needed help with. She discovered that they spent a good amount of their time sorting through donations. So Courtney rounded up volunteers to sort and organize those donations for them. Sillenworth said this has been a tremendous help, and now the staff can spend time with the clients at the shelter. Willing to work She said Courtney doesn’t just set up a project and hope for the best. Instead she rolls up her sleeves and is ready to work right along with the volunteers. “It’s just a part-time role,” Sillenworth said. “But you wouldn’t know that.”

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However, Courtney gives all the credit to the volunteers. “We have been so fortunate to have a bunch of people who help in an ongoing way,” she said. She said two volunteer handymen, Dale Pasley and Lloyd Feldman, keep the shelter up and running. Because Turning Point is housed in an old building, Courtney has a long maintenance list for these men, and she could not be more appreciative of the help. She said there are two kinds of volunteers that she coordinates — ongoing and project. Ongoing volunteers like the handymen or office workers dedicate several hours each week, and they save the staff a lot of time, Courtney said. Project volunteers tend to help for one day or on smaller projects. She said some project volunteers are students who help for a class or church groups. When a fire consumed the United Way building that housed the Turning Point administrative offices, Courtney sent out an e-mail asking for the help of about 15 volunteers to salvage what they could from the charred remains. Within just a few hours, she was flooded with e-mails from Cummins employees asking what they could do to help. She said she feels lucky to get such great feedback from the community. Top: Anne Courtney and her husband, Jim Stribling. Page 16

SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

“I love hospice. It’s because Crediting others Two ongoing volunteers who go above and beyond are Susan DeWan and Judy Smith. Smith organizes the supply room at the shelter with linens and toiletries so clients and their children can easily find the supplies they need. Courtney said Smith has been known to take things home to clean them if she thinks they need it, and she puts together welcome bags for the clients. DeWan often takes over entertaining the children while their parent fills out paperwork when they first come to the shelter. “They’re genuine and down-to-earth, kindhearted people who are trying to do good things,” Courtney said of DeWan and Smith. “I think, ‘You’re doing this, and I’m getting paid.’” But Sillenworth said Courtney pulls more than her share. Turning Point serves a 12-county area with staff in six of those counties, and Courtney’s job is to support the work of those staff members. Raising funds And this isn’t the first time Courtney has stepped into uncharted territory and set the bar for a new position. In 1990, the Columbus Regional Hospital Foundation was establishing a small paid staff, and she became the executive director responsible for planning and evaluating fund development activities. During her time as director, Courtney researched and began preparations for the capital campaign for Hospice of South Central Indiana, another organization that holds a special place in her heart. “I love hospice,” she said. “It’s because of so many authentic and kind people that want to give back.” She said she decided to work for hospice because she wanted to learn to be more peaceful and accepting of death, and she also wanted to learn how to help those who were facing it. “It’s sort of odd that we have this fear of death and the dying process,” she said. “But that’s how it works. We’re born. We live. We die.” She said people tend to shun that part of life. But instead of writing off a terminally ill patient, she thinks about what she can do to make them physically, emotionally and spiritually more comfortable.

May 2010 • she magazine

of so many authentic and kind people that want to give back.” — Anne Courtney

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page 17

“She’s a very independent

woman, and she needs to be out

among people helping and caring for them.” — Jim Stribling

“I’ve learned so much through involvement with hospice through the years,” she said. Courtney said part of her compassion comes from observing her mother, who is now 87. “She is the kindest, most gentle person with big blue eyes and a wonderful smile,” she said. “She is such a great model of so many things.” Family is very important to Courtney. Her husband, Jim Stribling, has four grown children who have given them five grandchildren. They love to travel. Stribling has his pilot’s license and is an aviation fanatic. He restored a biplane, built a two-passenger plane and sold it, and is currently building a fourpassenger plane. “He’s amazing,” Courtney said. “He really is.” The couple met at an arts council open house. Stribling saw her from across the room, and they were introduced. He said it was her smile that first attracted him, and it was love at first sight. Page 18

“She’s just what I needed,” he said. He asked her out on their first date, and instead of dinner and dancing he challenged her to a tennis match. They continued to play tennis for years, and Stribling jokes that he quit playing once her skills exceeded his. The two were married in 1979. Stribling said his favorite thing about his wife is her character. “I mean she doesn’t lie, and she’s kind to everyone,” he said. “She’s just full of fun.” They spend time visiting friends, traveling, going out to dinner, reading and generally enjoying life. But at the top of Courtney’s to-do list is helping others. Although she could not pinpoint exactly why she gravitates toward roles in the community, Stribling said it’s just in her nature. “She’s the most caring person I’ve ever met,” he said. “She’s a very independent woman, and she needs to be out among people helping and caring for them.” And that’s just what she does. SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

She Reader COMMENTS Have Your Say The following are a few comments from She readers either sent directly to the editor or posted on the She fan page on Facebook.

Want to express your opinion about She? Contact Kelsey at or 379-5691 or post on the She fan page wall at

In April, we asked members of the She magazine Facebook fan page who the No. 1 woman was in their lives, and here are the responses: “Without a question, my mom is my number one! There are so many reasons, but Washington Irving said it so much better than I ever could: “‘A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.’” — Paige Harden


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“My sister for sure. Our personalities clashed a lot when we were younger, but we’ve grown to really appreciate all of our similarities and rely on each other to balance out our own weaknesses. “There is a strong bond from our shared genetics and life experiences, but I really couldn’t have designed a better best friend than the one I already have in her. “We have so much fun together, and we always say that we feel most like ourselves when we are together. I feel really lucky every day that she’s my sister!” — Kelly Showalter

“My mother for sure. She is my best friend and my confidante. No one can ever top her in my eyes!” — Heather Walker Caudill


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on home parties Hosts, customers benefit from casual atmosphere, unique products By Jennifer Willhite photos by joel philippsen

Home parties have been around for years and are as diverse as the products the various companies offer. From kitchen items to cosmetics and jewelry, home parties have entered a new age of popularity, offering unique opportunities for socializing and fun. In this renaissance of direct sales, home parties aren’t always confined to being hosted in the home. Parties may be given for a variety of events and in diverse venues. Myndi Geissendoerfer, a consultant with Cookie Lee Jewelry, says that events may be hosted for office parties, church fundraisers, girls nights out and just about any other occasion. Consultant Susan Stier has been with Pampered Chef since 2005 and has hosted parties for bridal showers and charity events. “I have hosted many fundraisers where Pampered Chef donates up to 15 percent of the products’ sales to the cause,” said Stier. Lynn Essex, founding leader and national ambassador for the jewelry company Butterfly Worldwide, says that the number of parties held is totally up to the host. She says there are many women with whom she works who may host three or four parties each year. “They want to be the first to see the new line,” said Essex. “And since fashion accessories change with the seasons, there is always something new that they want to see and get for free or discounted.” So what goes into planning and hosting a home party? The process is much simpler than most realize. The only difficult decisions involve deciding when and where the party will be held, and the kinds of products that will be offered. Hosts create the guest list and pass it on to the consultant. From start to finish, it is important for the host and consultant to work together to make the party successful.

Lynn Essex and an assortment of products she offers through Butterfly Worldwide. May 2010 • she magazine

Please join us … The guest list is generally composed of neighbors, friends, family and co-workers. It is completely up to the host as to how many people are invited. Most consultants will make sure everyone on the list is contacted at least two weeks prior to the event. As a personal touch, it is recommended that the host make follow-up calls to the guests a few days before the party. Essex says that many of the hostesses with whom she works love that contact with potential guests is made the “old-fashioned” way. “Our hostesses love the fact that we send out the invitations, including paying for the postage,” she said. “I also send out email invitations, too. But even though our world does so much online now, I still like to send something in the mail. There is something about putting an invite on the refrigerator.” There are two suggestions about which nearly all consultants agree. When compiling a guest list, always over-invite and do not prejudge who will attend the event. Think outside the box when composing a guest list. Send invitations to individuals outside your immediate circle of friends and family. A common guideline is to expect one-third of the guest list to attend. According to Essex, prejudging is an alltoo common occurrence and should be avoided. Just send out your invitations and allow those who receive them to decide whether or not they will attend. Make sure to include an RSVP and don’t get too anxious if someone cancels. “Last-minute cancellations are normal,” Essex said. “Things come up with our friends and family. That is why it is so important to always over-invite.” “Keep it simple, sweetie” is the method that works best for Jafra Cosmetics consultant Deanna Glick and many others. According to Glick, hosts should keep the refreshments they offer light and easy. Aside from drinks, items such as chips, veggie trays and cookies work well.

page 21

Jafra consultant Deanna Glick hosts a party at her residence.

“Most people don’t care if the host house is spotless; they just want a little food, fun and fellowship.” — Susan Stier

Page 22

SHE m a g a z i n e • a p r i l 2 0 1 0

No worries Though it is helpful to clear a space where the consultant can set up, a major rearranging of furniture and whiteglove test are not necessary. Stier says that hosts shouldn’t stress about housecleaning prior to the event. “Most people don’t care if the host house is spotless; they just want a little food, fun and fellowship,” she said. Home parties often offer unique products that draw guests. Cathy DeBord has attended home parties and enjoys the rare finds that such events offer. Most recently she attended a jewelry event where the handmade pieces were of distinctive design and set with unique stones. “You find a lot of different things when you go to parties like that,” DeBord said. There are always perks associated with home parties. Companies frequently offer free and discounted items to individuals who host a party. Geissendoerfer says companies will often offer half-price items and additional discounts based on the amount of sales the party generates. “A good consultant will always give the hostess a free gift,” she said. The new age of home parties has spawned a renewed interest in direct sales, and many women are choosing to

work as consultants for a variety of reasons. According to Essex, women have turned to in-home sales to supplement their families’ incomes or as a new business venture. Glick, who works full time for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., says that her part-time work with Jafra fits nicely with her busy schedule and affords her the opportunity to meet many interesting people. “I have always thought of myself as a helper, and I get to help women look and feel better about themselves,” she said. “I can remember as a teenager wanting to know all of the beauty tips and secrets to good, healthy skin. Now I know them, and I love sharing them with others.” There many benefits associated with working as a direct sales consultant. For most consultants, the commission, frequent rewards (such as the potential to earn cruises), flexible hours and seminars add to the appeal. But of the numerous benefits for those who host parties, the time and freedom to socialize and shop in a relaxed atmosphere in the company of friends and family are priceless. “Because women are busier than ever, and rarely do things for themselves, home parties can be just about the only time women get to be with friends, relax and have fun,” Essex said.

in on the competition

Trainer Christal Downing builds clients’ fitness and her own physique

Submitted photo

By Kami Ervin Photos by April Knox

Downing before her quest to get healthy.

Christal Downing says she was the ultimate wallflower in high school. Yet this Columbus North graduate is shaking things up as a local fitness trainer and champion bodybuilder while still finding the perfect balance of time with her family. The daughter of a Marine, Downing was born in Hawaii and was a young teenager before her parents returned to Columbus. She didn’t get involved in school activities, but her love of dancing started at an early age. “I was really shy in school, a wallflower. I was even afraid to ask for ketchup at McDonald’s,” she said. “At home, I was a closet dancer. I always wanted to be a dancer or an artist, and I loved dressing up.” She attended Ivy Tech to study graphic design but then set aside her education to devote herself to raising her three children. After her youngest child was in school, Downing decided that it was time to do something for herself. “At one point, I weighed over 200 pounds. I suffered from anxiety, depression, and I had other health issues,” she said. “I got serious about eating right and working out.” With the help of personal trainer Dale White, Downing gained more confidence and started teaching aerobics at Total Fitness in Columbus early in 2009. She has become popular there because she is so upbeat, positive and encouraging. “What I love about her classes is that there is so much variety,” Total Fitness member Cassondra Wilson said. “She works our tail off, but it’s so much fun.” Wilson, who has lost more than 30 pounds since starting aerobics a little over a year ago, currently takes Downing’s Turbo Kick class, which combines a series of kicks, punches and aerobic movements with upbeat music. “I always keep paper with me so if I hear a song that I think would work, I can write it down,” Downing said. “Sometimes my kids get mad when I’m practicing in the yard when their bus pulls up.”

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series about women in fitness. May 2010 • she magazine

page 27

“She works you very hard when she trains you, and she pushes you to your fullest.”

— Amy Fisher

Colorful personality She enjoys wearing bright colors and neon earrings to class, a trait carried over from her high school days of dressing up and dancing. “People notice my outfits, which is good,” she said. “When you see me, I want you to remember me.” Downing is also a personal trainer, helping clients find the right workouts to meet their long-term fitness goals. “Christal is a great person, and she is upfront with you,” said close friend and client Amy Fisher. “She is another Jillian Michaels. She works you very hard when she trains you, and she pushes you to your fullest.” The owner of Total Fitness appreciates Downing’s charisma. “She has been a wonderful addition to Total Fitness, and our members really enjoy her classes,” Amanda Perry said. “Christal is super motivating and fun to be around, and we’re glad she’s here.” Good beginning One of Downing’s proudest accomplishments since beginning her training is her first-place finish in her first competition. At the 2009 NPC Indianapolis Bodybuilding and Figure Championships, she competed in the Women’s Bodybuilding Heavyweight Division. “Pre-judging began at 7 a.m., followed by lots of working out to stay pumped, spray tanning, oiling and bikini sticking (to prevent it from slipping),” Downing said, describing how the competition works. “I did my posing routine to the Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Boom Boom Pow,’ which I made up off the top of my head because I didn’t have a routine prepared.” She also recognizes fellow bodybuilder Michelle Jeffries as an inspiration and support system during her training for the competition. “I couldn’t have done it without Michelle,” Downing said. “She is very competitive too, and in times when one of us wanted to quit, we were there for each other.” Page 28

SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

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page 29

“I know she enjoys it, and I hear people talk about her all the time. They love her attitude.” – Ben Downing “I like to help people. I want to show everyone that working out doesn’t have to be a chore. It should be fun.”

– Christal Downing

“She walks her talk, and she is an excellent example of what she teaches”

– JeAnna Harmon

Downing at home with her family, from left, Andrew, Tatum, Isaac and husband, Ben.

On the day of the competition Downing’s husband and children were surprised by her transformation into a bodybuilder. “She was orange, and we laughed at her,” said 8-year-old Tatum, while 6-year-old Isaac echoed that seeing his mom with a fake tan was a little funny. All laughter aside, Downing’s children, including 13-year-old Andrew, agree they are proud of her accomplishments. Since her husband, Ben, travels a great deal for work, he is proud of how his wife has become a successful trainer and instructor while raising their three children. “To be able to do what she has done as a mom by herself is challenging. I’m a weekend dad most of the time,” he said. “But I know she enjoys it, and I hear people talk about her all the time. They love her attitude.” Downing’s mother-in-law, Jeanne Harmon, who is a former instructor herself, is impressed by her motivation. May 2010 • she magazine

“Christal has worked hard to achieve where she is today and has had the support of her family all the way,” she said. “She walks her talk, and she is an excellent example of what she teaches.” Although her children spend some time at Total Fitness while she teaches, Downing tries to schedule her training and classes around quality time with them at home. “I’m a jack-of-all-trades,” she said. “I decorate cakes, do crafts, make gifts, and the kids really enjoy it.” Downing hopes to compete once a year in bodybuilding, not only to maintain training and a competitive edge but also to set a good example for her clients. “I like to help people,” she said. “I want to show everyone that working out doesn’t have to be a chore. It should be fun.” Look for a profile of fellow bodybuilding competitor Michelle Jeffries in the June issue of She.

page 31

Sowing friendship Quilters piece together stories

of their lives and community

Tomoko Kato, left, works with Elizabeth Miles.

Kato and Theresa Ross survey a nearly finished quilt.

By Therese Copeland photos by april knox

Quilting has roots that extend deep in the heart of American history. Like a magic carpet transporting people between the past and the present, the craft also brings together families, communities and friends. Every quilt tells a story that reaches across age, culture and language barriers and pieces the quilters together in friendship. These artists believe that the language of quilting is truly international, and they have taken on the task of proving it. The senior center in Columbus hosts a lively group of women that meets every Monday morning for four hours creating hand-stitched quilts for clients. They complete a project in about five months. The current members are Theresa Ross, Alice Brandt, Elizabeth Miles, Nancy Baker, Andy Robertson and Jane Kirk. Ross took over the group from its founder, Emma Baute. The women have a wide range of quilting talent. Brandt has dabbled in quilt making for years. Miles started her first quilt in high school and just recently finished it. Baker’s greatgrandmother got her interested in quilts when she bestowed appliquéd butterfly blocks to her many years ago. She said that her great-grandmother sold quilts all over the United States to support her family. These quilters promote cooperation, exchange ideas, encourage and maintain high standards of design and technique, and instruct and inspire those interested and engaged in all forms of quilting. With that in mind, the group has recently added a new volunteer member who has brought a unique dynamic to the mix. Tomoko Kato wanted to volunteer and to learn English along with American culture and customs after arriving in Columbus in April 2008 when her husband, Kazunori, was transferred from Japan. When her 4-year-old daughter, Anna, started preschool, she felt drawn to the senior center because of its members’ wisdom and experience.

Ross and Nancy Baker discuss design.

May 2010 • she magazine

p a g e 33

Sew and learn The coming together of this cross-cultural and cross-generational group has opened minds and provided special opportunities for everyone involved. Not only are the older women imparting their quilting talents to Kato, they are sharing their lives. “I wanted to step into the lives of local people, and these ladies have accepted me warmly and taught me many things I never could have gotten from a book,” Kato said. As the group members stretch a quilt onto a frame, they share homemade treats and discuss traveling, cooking, religious views and each other’s culture and lives. “It is great making a work of art, but the most important part of our group is the friendship that is created,” Miles said. During the Christmas holiday, the women treated Kato to Zaharakos with its old-fashioned American cuisine. She returned the favor by hosting the group and providing authentic Japanese fare such as sushi, yakisoba noodles and sesame spinach. The Americans agreed the chopsticks were a challenge, but they truly enjoyed the experience. Baker is a retired educator who taught high school German. She enjoys telling Kato about American history. Baker bought her a book about the Underground Railroad, after a previous meeting when they discussed how quilts were used on the Underground Railroad. “She is so a part of the group that we sometimes forget that she doesn’t understand everything we talk about,” Baker said. “Tomoko is a fast learner and brings such joy and energy to the group,” said Ross, who joined eight years ago.

From left with their finished quilt, Alice Brandt, Tomoko Kato, Elizabeth Miles, Theresa Ross, Nancy Baker and Andy Robertson. P a g e 34

SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

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Different methods Kato noted that Japanese quilting is done in a different fashion from American. Instead of using a thimble to push the needle through the material, Japanese quilters utilize a metal ring to protect their fingers. While she has noticed many other differences between the two cultures, she has been impressed with how friendly the people of Columbus are. She said Americans make eye contact, smile and speak to strangers. This is not customary in Japan, where people are polite but not overtly friendly to strangers. “It is such a simple way to make a person happy so easily and freely,” Kato said. She also was surprised at the size of American shops, vehicles and apartments. “The shopping carts are twice as big as in Japan,” she said with a laugh. She was amazed when she moved into her apartment and found high ceilings and a playground in the backyard. The diversity of Columbus is unique for Kato, and she appreciates the opportunity to learn from others. The quilting women are looking toward the future and are excited about the Japanese cooking lessons Kato is


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planning. She has also recruited a Japanese friend, Tomoko Kojima, from Hamamato City to join the quilting group. Kato would like to expand her volunteer work to young children and give them some insight into a cross-cultural experience. “This experience has opened my view of the world, and I would like to share that with others,” she said.

“This experience has opened my view of the world. ”

— Tomoko Kato



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SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0



ready to roll

By Kelsey DeClue Due to the overwhelming response to last year’s inaugural event, local cyclists are organizing yet another bike ride just for women. The Girlfriend Ride returns to Columbus and the surrounding area on June 19. Registration is required and is available for $25 until June 1. Registration is also available at a higher price from 8 to 10 a.m. on the day of the ride. Last year, more than 400 riders participated, and more than $6,000 was raised for Turning Point Domestic Violence Services. The Girlfriend Ride offers 10K, 25K and 50K routes through the streets of Columbus and Bartholomew County countryside. Along the routes, sponsors provide pit stops for participants, offering services ranging from massages to shopping opportunities to food and beverage samples. Information: or Debbie Smith at 546-4916.

Denim looks to wear today, tomorrow and together

P a g e 38

SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

NEW YORK — Denim never goes out of style, but there are seasons when your old, reliable five-pocket jeans simply aren’t enough. This is one of those seasons. The jeans legging — aka jegging — is still going strong, and denim designers are also talking up the chambray shirt, asymmetrical motocross jackets, cutoff shorts and, still, the boyfriend pant. There are trouser styles and waistcoats for work, and “rip-and-repair” jeans are a must for weekends. Ralph Lauren had overalls on the runway and showed jeans under an evening gown. Even babies are getting premium denim. And a denim-on-denim outfit, sometimes considered a fashion faux pas in the past, is a bona fide trend. “The American denim look is everywhere — it’s in the air, it’s all over the world,” says Patrick Robinson, creative director at Gap. “The workwear feel is hot, especially for guys, and there’s a sexy look for women. ... It’s about cool Americans and how they live, and we’re trying to export that around the world.” Denim is proving a strong springtime seller in stores, says Stephanie Solomon, vice president of fashion direction at Bloomingdale’s. She is particularly fond of the shorts and leggings paired with striped T-shirts. “It probably has never had a larger impact on what we wear every day,” agrees Durand Guion, men’s fashion director for Macy’s. “We had gotten just about as casual as we can get without getting in our pajamas, so we’re looking to incorporate denim into our lives at least five days a week, but not just Saturdays. We’re looking to step it up. You can wear a button-down denim shirt with a tie.”

By Samantha Critchell AP Fashion Writer associated press photos

Nicole Colovos, Helmut Lang cocreative director, thinks people like that they can put their own spin on denim. And no pair of jeans looks the same on two different people. “It’s so individual, from how you wear it in, how you style it. The fit is molded to your shape,” Colovos says. “You don’t want someone else wearing your jeans.” Wearing favorites Finding the best fit is trial and error, she adds, but once consumers find a denim label they like, they tend to be loyal. Denim leggings aren’t saggy and baggy, and that flattering, lasting shape is part of their appeal, says You Nguyen, Levi’s senior vice president of women’s merchandising and design. He says he can’t overemphasize the importance of the legging right now. It further evolves the skinny jean, which has moved from trendy to staple status, and it complements the tunic top and the slouchy blazer that are being touted for spring.

On the flip side, the boyfriend skinny jean — with a looser waist and hip but a narrower leg — remains popular. “I don’t believe that denim has ever really left the fashion trend, but what we’re seeing now is that for a few seasons, denim was influencing sportswear, making sportswear more casual. Now sportswear is influencing denim,” Nguyen says. Look for lighter shades of denim as the weather warms, and a lot of distressed finishes, too, sometimes with purposeful patches. Helmut Lang offers some denim items that have had the color stripped away and then added back for an irregular, imperfect look. “Three seasons ago, we were in the cycle of very dark denim,” observes Nguyen. “Now we’re going back to true nature of denim, which is denim aging down. You love a pair of jeans so much that you refuse to let it be worn out.”

“The American denim look is everywhere — it’s in the air, it’s all over the world.”

— Patrick Robinson May 2010 • she magazine

page 39

Never enough If you go for the all-over denim look, you’ll need to wear a variety of weights and washes, and try a polished bottom with a relaxed top or vice versa, advises Gap’s Robinson. It could be different shades of blue, blue with black — or white. For those reluctant to go head-to-toe, accents on bags, hats and sneakers allow for a more subtle secondary denim piece. Personally, Robinson says, he’s really into the look of a chambray Western shirt with slim-leg jeans. “The attitude is happy and cool. I also love this time of year when you wear the denim jacket.” And it is about “the” denim jacket, not one of many. Denim, by its very nature as a rugged cotton twill, is strong, building for many years as it becomes weathered — sometimes even a little tattered — but very rarely truly worn out. “Denim tells a story,” says Colovos. “You know where you got that rip or grass stain. Denim lasts for a long time, and sometimes it’s better with age.”

Page 40

SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

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she Cuisine

Perfect combination of fresh flavors yields succulent dessert

Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie With Fresh Strawberries Associated Press

Rhubarb and strawberries are two of the first crops to ripen locally. Take advantage of the timing and try this early summer treat.

Start to finish: 2 hours (45 minutes active)

Servings: 10

For the filling: • 1 pie crust, baked in a deep 9-inch pie pan, cooled • ½ cup sugar • 1 tablespoon cornstarch • 1½ pounds rhubarb, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 4 cups or 1 pound prepped) For the custard: • 1½ cups (12 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature • ½ cup sugar • 2 eggs • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1/8 teaspoon salt To

serve: • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar • Heat the oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the rhubarb and toss until evenly coated. Spoon the rhubarb mixture into the baked pie crust. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the pie from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Meanwhile, make the custard. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium to beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Stir in the vanilla and salt, then pour the custard into the pie and spread it evenly and smoothly over the rhubarb. Return the pie to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the custard puffs up around the edges but is still slightly wobbly at the center. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. May 2010 • she magazine

Just before serving, heap the strawberries over the pie and dust with powdered sugar. Alternatively, the berries can be served alongside individual slices of pie. The pie can be made a day in advance. If so, refrigerate it and top with the strawberries just before serving. Covered with plastic wrap, leftovers can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days. (Recipe from Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson’s “Rustic Fruit Desserts,” Ten Speed Press, 2009) Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 307 calories; 166 calories from fat; 18 g fat (10 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 77 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 1 g fiber; 225 mg sodium.

p a g e 43

she health

Medicine safety:

It takes a team P a g e 44

SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

ask. ask. ask. By Karla Hodge Medicine safety in our community is a team effort that includes the patient, family, physician and pharmacist. Individuals and their caregivers must take an active role in making sure they and their loved ones get the right medication, at the right time. I am a nurse at Columbus Regional Hospital and have the privilege of serving with other dedicated nurses, physicians and pharmacists to continually look at ways to improve medicine safety for patients. The potential for taking medicines at home incorrectly or suffering ill effects of medicine has increased. Some contributing factors are having more than one prescribing physician, using more than one pharmacy and the confusion when the same medicine is called by two different names. For example, a popular water pill has a brand name Lasix and a generic name furosemide. I recall a patient who came into the hospital very sick, dehydrated and with a life-threatening irregular heartbeat. It was discovered that she was taking a Lasix pill and a furosemide pill two times a day. She did not understand they were the same medicine and she should only be taking one of them. Because of the effects of the medicine, the potassium in her blood dropped to a life-threatening low level. Her adult children had no idea their mother was confused about her medicine. Other possible reasons people don’t take their medicines as the doctor ordered include lack of communication among caregivers, cost and lack of transportation to get medicines. When we can make improvements in a person’s medicine safety, the chances of their going to the emergency department, needing hospitalization or having ill side effects go down. That’s where you come in.

May 2010 • she magazine

Studies show, women still shoulder the major responsibilities of care. A gift we can give our loved ones and our neighbors is to offer our assistance in making sure they obtain and take their medicines as the physician prescribes and follow these safety tips: • Ask, ask, ask! Before you stop, change or even crush a medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist about it. Throw away every outof-date medicine. • Order your medicine refills well in advance; don’t wait until your last dose. • Organize every medicine using a medicine container system like a daily pill box. • Keep a list of every medicine you take, for example: prescription, over the counter, herbal and supplement. • Take your medicine list to every medical visit, including doctors, hospitals, dentist and clinics • To help prevent problems with medicine interactions, make sure your primary doctor knows every medicine you take and every pharmacy you use. • Change your medicine list every time your medicine changes. • Name one person besides yourself who will stay up-to-date on every one of your medicines and medicine list. • Be able to answer these questions about every one of your medicines: 1. What is the name of my medicine? 2. Why am I taking this medicine? 3. How do I take this medicine? Following these medication safety tips can make a life-saving difference. Karla Hodge is a registered nurse at Columbus Regional Hospital.

p a g e 45

Do I really know what I own? By Jalene Hahn

Quick quiz

— do you know what model of TV you have? How about its serial number? How many shoes are in your closet and how much are they worth? What’s in your junk drawer? It’s hard to think of all the things you own and what they are worth. Now try to imagine doing that when you have experienced a disaster and are under stress. An inventory of all your personal property comes in handy for a number of reasons. The most common is recovering from some sort of loss. Other instances when an inventory is needed: • Financial planning and estate settlement. • Loss or damage from moving or storage. • Divorce and prenuptial agreements. • Sale, purchase or dissolution of a business or partnership. I recently attended a presentation by Cindy Hartman of Hartman Inventory about the importance of having a home inventory. “Having an insurance policy on your home and/or business personal property gives a false sense of security. We believe we will be taken care of in the event of the unexpected burglary, fire or natural disaster,” she said. “The truth is, if you can’t prove what you owned and when you bought it, you will in all likelihood fail to be adequately compensated for your loss. You need proof.” She indicated that people without a home inventory generally recover 30 percent to 50 percent of what they lost, and it may take as long as a year to settle a claim. Many people don’t know what personal property is and how much insurance coverage they should have. Hartman explained that to understand what personal property is, “Imagine taking off the roof of your house and tipping it upside down. Everything that falls out is personal property.”

P a g e 46

Personal property is insured separately from the structure of your house or apartment. There are two types of coverage: actual cash value and replacement value. So what’s the difference and why does it matter? Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to a home and its contents after depreciation. In essence you don’t get much. The couch you purchased 10 years ago is now worth nothing. Remember that expensive TV you bought? If you have a loss after a few years, you won’t be able to replace it. Replacement cost is the amount it would take to replace or rebuild a home or repair damages with materials of similar kind and quality, without deducting for depreciation. With replacement cost you can purchase a comparable item. You can’t replace a 24-inch TV with a 52-inch HD plasma screen, but you will be back to where you were. An inventory will document how much coverage you need and if you need to add additional coverage for special items. Insurance policies place special limits on valuable personal property, such as jewelry, silverware, artwork, tools, special collections like stamps and coins, and firearms. If you own these items, check the limits in your policy. If they're not high enough, you may need to purchase a scheduled personal property endorsement. While you are reviewing your insurance coverage, find out if your policy covers additional living expenses for a temporary residence if you are unable to live in your home due to damage from a disaster. An additional item to check is if you have special coverage for situations not covered by standard insurance, such as earthquake, flood and water or sewer line breaks. As you prepare your inventory, add a bequest column. Let your children and grandchildren pick what they value. An inventory can also be beneficial when couples remarry later in life and combine households and children. — Jalene Hahn is a certified financial planner with Warren Ward and Associates.

SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

How to take an inventory • Create a spreadsheet or list to track all of your items. Big ticket items should include a description, quantity, model/serial number, year purchased, place purchased and cost. Make sure all valuable items have backup such as receipts, appraisals or serial numbers for electronics and appliances. Keep sales receipts and/or canceled checks. • Take digital photographs of the items on your list and store them with your checklist or computer file. Hartman recommends starting with the outside and documenting tools, furniture and contents of storage sheds. Then move into the garage and finally into the house. She usually takes approximately 75 pictures per 1,000 square feet. • Include overview shots of each room and closeups of any big-ticket items. • For smaller items you can list by category or room. For many items like books, CDs, bed sheets or pots and pans, you can make a general estimate of how many you have.

Hartman also recommends documenting contents of your cabinets, drawers and closets. Take overview shots of the bookcase, pantry and linen closets. If you have higher-end items, for example, Cross pens and expensive calculators or tools, empty your toolbox or drawer and take one photo of its contents. • For clothing, count the items you own by category — pants, coats, shoes, for example — making notes about those that are especially valuable. Put a representative outfit together and take a picture. • Remember to include in your home inventory those items you rarely use (e.g., holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools, etc.). • For more valuable items — jewelry, family heirlooms, antiques, art — consider purchasing an additional floater or rider to your policy. These items may also need an appraisal. Sources: National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Hartman Inventory and


May 2010 • she magazine

p a g e 47

just a

Minute Out and about Neighborfest kicks off for the season from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 3 downtown on Washington Street.

Food, drinks and live entertainment are available. — Columbus Area Arts Council

Recommended reading “This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection,” by Carol Burnett. 267 pages. $25. In engaging anecdotes, Burnett discusses her remarkable friendships with stars such as Jimmy Stewart, Lucille Ball, Cary Grant and Julie Andrews, and the background behind famous scenes, like the moment she swept down the stairs in her curtain-rod dress in the legendary “Went With the Wild” skit. She talks about things that would happen only to her — the prank with Julie Andrews

that went wrong in front of the first lady, the famous Tarzan yell that saved her during a mugging and the time she faked a wooden leg to get served in a famous ice cream emporium. This look back allows us to cry with the actress during her sorrows, rejoice in her successes and finally, always, to laugh. “This Time Together” is 100 percent Burnett — funny, irreverent, honest, poignant and irresistible. —Viewpoint Books

Landscape logic Starting with healthy and disease-free plants is the best insurance for a great garden. Check the entire plant, including foliage, stems and roots. Foliage should have good color. Avoid plants that have symptoms of leaf spotting, mottling and yellowing or scorching. Look closely into the foliage and flowers for the presence of insects such as aphids or thrips.

It is OK to pop a plant out of the pot and check the roots. Healthy plants should have lots of fuzzy roots. One last tip is to look for uniformity. If you buy transplants in four- or six-packs, a sign of plant health and vigor is uniformity in emergence, height and color. — Mike Ferree, extension educator

Healthy habits Allergies? Help create a pollen-free atmosphere by keeping your home and car windows closed to minimize the chance of pollen getting inside.

Pollen sticks easily to clothes and hair and can irritate long after you go inside. — Columbus Regional Hospital

Leave your air conditioning on to re-circulate the air and keep it clean and dry. After spending time outdoors, take a shower, wash your clothes and wipe your glasses. P a g e 48

SHE m a g a z i n e • M a y 2 0 1 0

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