Page 1



Formal Fashion Takes Flight!

APRIL / MAY 2017


The Journey of a Butterfly



Sharing the Gift of Life

A Blue & White Easter

Laugh Your Way

to Better Relationships

tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 1 

You’re here. We’re here. #FORYOURHEART

THERE’S NO NEED TO GO ANYWHERE ELSE FOR ADVANCED HEART CARE Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, recognized as one of the top complex heart and vascular programs in the Southeast, is here. Where the world’s smallest pacemaker is implanted through a simple cath procedure. And 4 of only 75 physicians in the country, trained in this technology, practice exclusively with us. How old is your heart? Take a few minutes to find out your risk of heart disease by taking our online heart risk assessment test.

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tallahassee woman magazine | april/may 2017

contents 8 Our Thoughts The Power of the Share

10 Trending

Three Denim Trends to Try Right Now | Book Nook: 2016’s Most Shared Library Books | Laughing Your Way to Stronger Relationships | Second Skin Sheet Masks | Makeup Expert Shares Top Tips | Getting Crafty for Easter | Social Media: Timing Is Everything | Faves and Raves: Shopping for Mother’s Day

22 Style and Grace


40 Women Who Mean Business (WWMB) Women to Watch: News, Awards and Milestones

42 Business and Career

Jump! Formal Fashion Takes Flight

26 Healthy Living

The Power of Abundance Philosophy

Sharing the Truth About HPV

44 Money Talks

28 Bodies in Motion

The Sharing Economy—How It’s Changing the Way We Live

The Long Run

46 Our Community

30 Real Life

Moving Food Forward With the Leon Fruit and Nut Exchange | Guardian Ad Litem Volunteers—Teachers Continuing to Make a Difference | HerStory—Bridget Chandler’s Charmed Life | Women We Admire—Leah Paske: The Story Behind the Social Share | Haute Happenings | Around Town

Daily Math Lessons

38 Special Feature

The Greatest Gift Is to Save a Life

60 Best Bites

Blu Halo’s Heavenly Bites

62 Home and Garden

A Blue and White Easter With Chic Chinoiserie

64 The Dish

Blooming Salads for Spring

66 Funny Girl

It’s Not Easy Being Green


32 On the Cover

The Journey of a Butterfly—Patricia McCray By Heather Thomas

About the Cover: Photography by Kira Derryberry | Hair and makeup provided by Soleil 7 Salon • Spa | Styling by Terra Palmer | Clothes and accessories provided by Narcissus

4  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017


you otter visit. Come visit the Tallahassee Museum’s Spring Guest Animal Exhibit featuring six Asian Small-Clawed Otters, the world’s smallest species of otters.

3945 Museum Drive | (850) 575-8684 |

tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 5 

TWM | april / may 2017

View Tallahassee Woman


April / May 2017 Volume 12 | Issue 2




Pick up a copy around town.

EDITOR Heather Thomas COM PLIM


APRI L / MAY 2017




PATRICIA M CCRAY The Journey of a Butterfly

Formal Fashion Takes Flight!

The digital version of the magazine is posted online on our website,



Sharing the Gift of Life

A Blue & White Easter


Your Way to Be r Relationshtte ips

tallah assee

wom an • april / may 2017 1

Virtual Reality... Watch the pages come to life USING YOUR SMARTPHONE OR TABLET! Scan the page wherever you see this TWM icon using the LAYAR APP. Watch videos, view slide shows, connect to websites, blogs, social media sites and much more. (Data charges may apply.)


STYLE EDITOR Terra Palmer ADVERTISING SALES Jennifer Stinson, Ad Sales Manager Michelle Royster Hart, Ad Sales Associate GRAPHIC DESIGN Christy Jennings BUSINESS OPERATIONS Jane Royster Munroe, CFO INTERNS Janecia Britt • Rachel Corry Maria Elena Margarella Sydney Schaefer • Emily Wells Tallahassee Woman Magazine LLC Post Office Box 13401 Tallahassee, FL 32317-3401 Phone (850) 893-9624 Fax (850) 254­-7038 Tallahassee Woman is published six times per year and is distributed on a complimentary basis throughout Tallahassee and the surrounding communities. The information in this publication is presented in good faith. The publisher does not guarantee accuracy or assume responsibility for errors or omissions.


For more information on advertising, call (850) 893-9624 or e-mail Copyright ©2017 Tallahassee Woman Magazine LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in part or in whole, without expressed written consent of the Publisher is prohibited.

OUR CONTRIBUTORS EDITORIAL CONTENT Terra Palmer is not only our Style Editor but she also has a luxury design firm with a passion for quality interiors. She designs interiors all over the United States and has been featured in multiple publications. Terra is also an accomplished artist. Her paintings can be found in art galleries across the Southeast. You can see her work at or follow her on Instagram @terrapalmerdesigns and @terrapalmerart.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Deborah DeSilets, Florida artist, architect and author is preparing her latest book, Florida’s Dixie Highway where she will feature the state historic marker made for the Gilbert S. Chandler Sr. Tourist Camp in Tallahassee. She is co-hosting a conference on the Old Spanish Trail, Dixie Beeline and Dixie Highways May 18-20, 2017. You can contact her at

Dr. Michelle Mitcham LMHC, NCC, CFM, a professor, life coach,author, psychotherapist and family mediator, founded CourageousConversations, LLC. She regularly presents and speaks at regional, national and international conferences when not teaching at FAMU, where she is the Program Coordinator for Counseling.

Heather Fuselier is an author, WellCoaches Certified Wellness Coach, Weight Management Specialist, and Tobacco Treatment Specialist who works with individuals and organizations to create healthier environments. Heather, a wife and mother of two boys, is also an avid weight lifter, an endurance runner in the marathon and ultra-marathon distances and a triathlete.

Michelle Nickens is a vice president at the Institute for Intergovernmental Research, a graduate of Leadership Tallahassee, a local actor, blogger and author of the novel, Precious Little Secrets. She is currently participating in Leadership Florida Class XXXIV.

Jeanette Katicich is a New Orleans, Louisiana, native and mother of four boys, who received a degree in English at USM before moving to Tallahassee with her sons and two dogs in 2016. She is a training consultant for the Florida Department of Health. Jeannette frequently writes about life as a single mother of boys with its ups, downs and in-betweens—sharing the lessons she learns in the process.

Lynn Solomon spent ten years selling advertising with Tallahassee Woman. A selfdescribed “foodie,” she helped create the Best Bites column for which she continues to contribute content. Lynn is officially retired from a long career in sales and marketing; however she dabbles in writing and other special assignments. She is currently preparing for a career in home staging.

Richard J-P Bastien, DMD

Giving Tallahassee a Reason to Smile

Family and Cosmetic Dentistry Same Day Crowns

PHOTOGRAPHERS Lydia Bell, owner of elleBelle Photography, is a member of COCA, PPA, Tallahassee Professional Photographers Guild, FPP, PPA Charities, NPPA, NAPCP, ASMP, APA Atlanta Chapter, IFPO, and Fotolanthropy. She has been commissioned by many local and national publications, organizations, businesses and events. You can find an online portfolio of elleBelle’s portraits online at

Latest Technology Professional and Caring Team

Kira Derryberry is a Tallahassee-based portrait photographer specializing in families, headshots, boudoir and commercial photography. She books locally in Tallahassee and is available for travel world wide. View her portfolio at

2621 Mitcham Drive,Tallahassee, Fl 32308 Stacy Rehberg is a professional portrait and wedding photographer based in Tallahassee. She is a member of Professional Photographers of America, and the Tallahassee Professional Photographers Guild. View her portfolio at

850-425-1300 Hours: Open M-Th: 8am – 4:30pm, phones closed (12-12:30 pm), Friday: Closed

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The Power of the Share “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou


his issue, we are exploring “The Power of the Share,” and how the impact of a shared story in our community or in social media can shape our city, our world and our lives in small (and sometimes in profound) ways. For the past eleven years Tallahassee Woman has been sharing the stories of local women, and we have seen the significant, positive impact of what that can do in our lives—the shared reciprocity between the teller and the listener, the writer and the reader, the giver and the receiver. There is transformative power in the sharing of a story—it can be a key that can unlock what is hidden away, and be a source of liberation, or release someone from a bondage that they weren’t aware of, or spark a healing that gives perspective from the past and hope for the future. This issue’s cover woman, Patricia McCray, is bravely sharing her story with a desire to help others break free from painful prisons, and to emerge transformed with the beauty and freedom of a butterfly. However, as her story illustrates, the metamorphosis of our lives is often not what we envisioned while in the caterpillar stage, and we become self-conscious, feel unworthy and sometimes even ashamed about our life choices or the circumstances that have been chosen for us. We’ll even judge others based upon our own life experiences, never knowing what the pages of another’s story might tell, and that if we only knew of their journey, then perhaps it might bring us closer to one another. Ultimately, when we share our true selves and open up the cocoons we wrap around our hearts, we give one

8  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

of the most important gifts we can give to another person—a reassurance that they are not alone, and that their life—their story—has tremendous worth. When it comes to social media, what we sometimes share isn’t always who we really are, but perhaps who we would like to be. Even with all of its drawbacks, social media gives us a priceless opportunity. Wouldn’t it be transformative if we all took the time to not just “like” a post, but to share one positive comment a day with another woman, in order to uplift her on social media and in our real-time lives? What a difference we could all make in the lives of others, and in our own, bringing us closer to becoming the type of women that we would like to see more of in the world. In the spirit of sharing stories, I invite you to check out the new “Editor’s Blog” page at There, I’ll be relating my own personal stories, along with life lessons learned from the incredible women who have filled our pages over the years and a behind-the-scenes (often hilarious) look at our #TWMlife. Be sure to like and follow our TWM Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and Twitter and yes, our butterflies would adore a positive comment or two :). Until the next story,

Heather Thomas, Editor

I was really impressed with the service provided by Prime Meridian Bank. It was a delight working with their mortgage team. Everything flowed very smoothly, from loan application to closing!

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TRENDING owled fashion • ent ert ain ment • kn



To Try Right Now By Janecia Britt


he love for denim is shared by many. The distinctly American, multigenerational appeal of denim is easily adaptable to any age, body type, style and season. During spring, update your style status with the newest denim trends.

Embroidered Flowers

Embroidery is making its way back into the mainstream and it is leaving nothing untouched. Go for colorful, such as deep red roses or bright sunflowers to update your classic blues. If you’re crafty, get out your needle and thread and embroider your denim pieces yourself—it’ll be worth it.

Frayed Hems

You don’t need to spend anything to get this off-the-runway trend. Take an old pair of skinny or straight-leg jeans and cut them right at the ankle. Take a razor and fray them so that the threads hang over your ankle. No time for DIY projects? You can easily buy a pair at your favorite boutique or retailer.

Denim Jackets

Denim jackets aren’t just for the kids— they can instantly rework a professional outfit to a more casual look. Add personality to yours by adding on witty patches, or purchase one with patchwork details, rips or even an acid-wash finish. Layer it over a button-down shirt; add accessories and you’ve got yourself an outfit that will get you noticed no matter where you go. 10  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

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trending | entertainment


2016’s Most Shared Library Books By Sydney Schaefer


oday we share everything–from Facebook posts with our closest friends and family to Uber rides with complete strangers. However, the concept of a sharing economy isn’t completely new; libraries formed the earliest model of the sharing economy and provided people with the original sharing depot. So if you’re currently in the market for a new read, check out some of the books that were most checked out of libraries in 2016!

The Girl on the Train / Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller that tells the story of Rachel Watson, a bitter alcoholic who fantasizes about the life of a young couple she sees on her daily train commute. This fantasy is shattered when the young woman goes missing, and Rachel must scrabble for the truth as the case becomes increasingly intertwined with her own dark past. This novel also inspired the 2016 film of the same name starring Emily Blunt.

Between the World and Me / Ta-Nehisi Coates

Written as a series of open letters to Coates’ teenage son, Between the World and Me details what it means to be a black man in the United States today. This Pulitzer Prize finalist provides an unflinching, necessary look at race relations in America today from both personal and historical perspectives. Find out for yourself why Toni Morrison (Beloved) maintains that this book should be “required reading.”

Look up and Live! Spiritual inspirational messages on the power of God’s love for you through your life journey. To purchase Look Up and Live, contact


or visit and search “Look Up and Live” Author KarGrecia Robinson began writing when she was 16, a sophomore in high school who had trouble explaining her emotions but found release and relief when she put pen to paper. An only child, she was born in 1988 in Quincy, Florida, where she was raised by her beloved grandmother, Shelly Robinson Clay, and graduated with honors from East Gadsden High School. Dedicated to her grandmother, this book reflects KarGrecia’s commitment to God, a personal love she wants to share with others to encourage them on their own life’s path.

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When Breath Becomes Air / Paul Kalanithi

Make sure to have a box of tissues nearby when you read this heartbreaking and profound memoir by a young neurosurgeon diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the peak of his career. When Breath Becomes Air confronts the tragedy of a promising life cut short, but perhaps more importantly, it explores what makes life worth living in the first place.



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The Nightingale / Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale tells the moving story of two sisters’ lives during World War II in Nazi-occupied France. Their parallel journeys are as different as their personalities as they both learn about love, loss and survival. It’s a moving portrait of the effects of wartime on the daughters, sisters, wives and mothers left behind. This is a great book to start with if you’re new to the historical fiction genre.

Truly Madly Guilty / Liane Moriarty From the bestselling author of What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies comes another novel steeped in suspense. Truly Madly Guilty centers around a fateful event at a casual neighborhood barbecue and its lasting impact on everyone involved. This multi-family drama doles out details in small, tantalizing pieces, but as longtime Moriarty fans can tell you, the plot twists are well worth the wait.

All the Light We Cannot See / Anthony Doerr

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is well-deserving of all the praise and popularity that it’s received. All the Light We Cannot See tells the story of a blind French girl protecting an invaluable treasure and an orphaned German boy recruited into the Hitler Youth. Their paths collide in Nazi-occupied France as they both try to survive the horror and devastation of World War II. You won’t be able to put this book down thanks to its unique story combined with Doerr’s beautiful, compelling writing style.

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trending | knowledge


3 Reasons Why a Shared Sense of Humor Is Important By Sydney Schaefer


n online survey conducted by found that 58 percent of women consider a similar sense of humor to be a “must have” in a partner. However, humor compatibility is important in all relationships, not just romantic ones. Here are 3 reasons why a shared sense of humor can be the cement that holds a relationship together.


Knowing that your thoughts and feelings are understood and accepted by others is an invaluable part of all relationships. What you find funny reflects your values, and a shared sense of humor can indicate a more meaningful shared understanding and outlook of the world. Humor is often linked to shared experience, and being able to share that with someone can give you the feeling that that person just “gets you.” A similar sense of humor can reassure us that we’re not alone in how we think and feel.


Having a similar sense of humor can also help diffuse the tension that is eventually bound to arise in your relationship–as long as you aren’t making light of a serious situation. A well-timed joke can lighten up tense situations and ultimately help resolve disagreements. During a difficult period in your relationship, humor can often bridge the gap and restore a lost sense of connection.

14  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017


We don’t all agree on what’s funny or appropriate to joke about. Sometimes humor can be offensive, and if offensive jokes are a constant in your relationship, it can exhibit a lack of shared values and make you feel as if your emotions and opinions aren’t important to the other person. Conversely, it can feel restrictive to be in a relationship with someone when you feel like you have to constantly censor yourself to avoid offense.





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trending | knowledge

Second Skin Sheet Masks


A Beauty Trend Making International Waves By Sydney Schaefer


he Korean beauty craze burst onto the American scene a few years ago with the introduction of BB and CC creams, which are now a staple in many American women’s beauty routines. Korean beauty products have existed for decades in their home country but are now making waves in America, thanks to their high quality and relatively low price points as compared to their American skincare counterparts. Korean skincare products are shaping up to be a trend with staying power, proving that you can feel luxurious and pampered without breaking the bank. The latest Korean beauty product sweeping the nation and populating your social media feeds is the facial sheet mask. These masks have become so popular so

quickly because of their ease of application, variety and inexpensive prices. Sheet masks take the hassle out of traditional face masks, which always seem to make their way onto your clothing or towels no matter how carefully you apply them. You simply remove the mask from its packaging and press it onto your face; holes for your eyes, nose and mouth are already cut out. Leave the mask on for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on your mask’s instructions, and then peel it off to reveal fresh, baby-soft skin. Like American face masks, sheet masks also come in a vast array of formulas so you can tailor your experience to your specific skincare needs, whether that be hydration, acne clearing, anti-aging or other common skin-related issues.


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These masks can be found practically everywhere today, but prices don’t necessarily reflect quality. A $4 mask from Target may benefit your skin just as much as a $15 mask from Sephora; it all just depends on personal preference. The only problem is that there are hundreds of masks to try and we only have one face!

Makeup Expert Shares Top Tips By Maria Elena Margarella


pring has sprung! Flowers are bloomin’ with beauty, and so should you. To keep up with our buds, TWM chatted with premier makeup artist and Tallahassee local Melissa Peters. Check out her beauty advice below: Master the Basics: If makeup seems like mayhem, don’t jump right into smoky eyes and winged liners. Focus on the fundamentals, such as your daily foundation, says Melissa. Learn at your own pace through helpful articles and YouTube videos. Harsh lines can be hard to handle—avoid them by using angled brushes and dark shadows to create smoother, more subtle looks. Know Your Skin Tone: Because not knowing is one of the most common beauty blunders. Melissa describes your perfect foundation as “applying the right colors to your face.” Think of it like buying shoes—it all needs to fit! If you’re having trouble matching tones, any beauty counter can help you find your hue. Two-Faced: Foundation isn’t just about colors—it’s also about care. Find makeup that meets your skin’s needs. If your skin is oily, look for non-oil-based products. If your skin is dry, think hydrating. Everybody’s different! Just be sure to take care of the skin you’re in. Extra expert tip: If you have full coverage foundation and want to make it lighter, add a pump of moisturizer for more of a BB cream texture. Your Spring Lip Tip: Bright, bold and beautiful! The bold lip should be in every woman’s beauty toolbox because it’s simple and stylish. “You can do a lot with your lips,” Melissa says. “If you don’t do a lot with your face, you can put on a bold lip and get a lot of bang for your buck that way.” She’s been seeing many matte lips sporting this trend. Chin up, ladies! It’s the season to be bold. tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 17 

trending | knowledge

Getting Crafty

Social Media

FOR EASTER By Emily Wells

By Rachel Corry


ocial media is key for companies seeking to attract customers, for businesses aiming to bring attention to specific matters, and for normal users trying to stay connected to friends and their community. With so many social networking sites and busy schedules, it can be challenging to decide when to post to receive the most attention on your post as possible. These guidelines offer the best and worst times to share your message on certain social media sites:


hile children expect eggs and candy on Easter, cute decorations and crafts are sure to surprise and delight them, as well as make the holiday more memorable. Here are some easy crafts that both you and your child can have fun making together.

Easter Bunny Vases

FACEBOOK Best: Later in the week and weekends from 1 to 4 p.m, especially Thursday and Friday (according to CoSchedule). Worst: Monday from 12 to 8 a.m.


Take an empty, clean jar and simply paint it white. After that has dried, paint a rabbit by taking some black and pink paint to create its eyes, pink nose, whiskers and smile. This activity is simple and easy and will let your kids show off their artistic talent.

Best: Monday through Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. and at 5 p.m., especially on Wednesday. Worst: 8 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Easter Bunny Bags

Best: Tuesday through Thursday at noon or 5 to 6 p.m. (as found by PR Daily) Worst: Monday or the weekends from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Using a paper bag and some scissors, you can create “bunny ears” by cutting a V shape at the top of the bag. Glue a pom-pom to the bottom of the bag for its tail and tie the ears together with twine or string to finish off an adorable bunny bag. This bag is a great alternative for Easter eggs if you’re unable to hide them, and you can fill them with more than just candy. You can even personalize them by putting a tag with your child’s name on it.

Button Easter Egg

Draw or trace an egg shape onto a wooden plaque or another hard surface, and then apply glue within the lines. Place buttons all over the glue and let it dry to create a beautiful button egg. This fun activity is great to keep children entertained and is also a clever way to get rid of any spare or leftover sewing buttons you have no use for anymore. 18  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017


INSTAGRAM Best: Monday through Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. Worst: Any day from 3 to 4 p.m., especially Sunday.

PINTEREST Best: Friday through Sunday from 8 to 11 p.m., peaking on Saturday. Worst: During work hours and from 5 to 7 p.m.

TUMBLR Best: Sunday through Tuesday, and Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. Worst: 12 a.m. through 12 p.m.


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s e v a F s e v a &R trending | shopping

Mother’s Day is May 14! Share how much you love your mom, your mom friends, or treat yourself with TWM’s favorite recommendations from local stores. #TWMLovesMom



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Chrysalis Decorative Butterfly Pillows $90 Narcissus Denim Rebecca Minkoff Satchel Tote $295 Tory Burch Suede Sandals $350 Hearth & Soul NYC Bond no. 9 High Line Perfume $200 Sparkle by Madison Pineapple Monogram Door Hanger $35 Espositos Michoacana Pottery $45 Tallahassee Nurseries Outdoor Wooden Dragon Fly Art $53 Elle Market Classic Flare Leg Denim by Ali $199 and Roxanne ankle White Denim $169 Walter Green “Hello Gorgeous” Mug $14 Prayer Journal $20 365 Bible Verses Book $10 36 Bible Verses to Live By Book $14 Kanvas “La Bouquetiere” Rice Body Powder, Moisturizing Body Lotion, Prices range from $45-$75 Shine Boutique Semi-Precious Stone Wrap Necklaces $36

Call Now To Schedule An Appointment For Your Initial Exam And X-Rays. Beachton Denture Clinic 2515 US-319 Thomasville, GA 31792 229-233-0249 • tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 21 


style & grace

Formal fashion Takes Flight By Maria Elena Margarella Styling by Terra Palmer Photography by Stacy Rehberg All dresses are Sherri Hill from Narcissus

22  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

Don’t be afraid to jump right into spring fashion






Sherri Hill as your parachute. With her new 2017 collection of formal dresses, you won’t fall or make a fashion faux pas. As the leader of the formal dress industry, Sherri Hill is here to catch you. Her 2017 spring line takes off this year, and each dress inspires elegance no matter the occasion. This #1 formal dress designer dedicates women,



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dresses and floral prints, every girl is bound to find something to soar with.

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style & grace


24  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017



Hair and makeup by Reta Hodges and Bethany Taylor from Belles Femmes Models provided by Marsha Doll Models Parachutes provided by Jack Wynn, skydiving instructor at North Florida Skydiving Inhalation fan provided by Luke Van Camp Floors and More, Inc. tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 25 

healthy living


By Janecia Britt



ou’ve probably heard of HPV— medically known as the Human Papillomavirus—and the risks associated with the infection. You may even have HPV and feel stigmatized due to false representations of the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 79 million Americans are infected with HPV and “nearly all sexually active women and men get the virus at some point in their lives.” The stigma attached to sexually transmitted infections makes it hard for both teens and adults to seek medical consult out of fear, embarrassment or shame. A good portion of men and women who have HPV never show symptoms, which can make it even more difficult to be informed about it. HPV shouldn’t be a frightening or shameful 26  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

topic to discuss. In fact, most people don’t develop health problems from an HPV infection. However, with 14 million new infections occurring each year, it’s more important than ever to share the truth about HPV. As stated by the CDC, HPV is contracted by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the virus. Infections can be subclinical, meaning the virus lives in the skin without causing symptoms. This is why many people with HPV do not know that they have it or that they can spread it. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms. Furthermore, anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person. You can also develop symptoms years after you have intercourse with someone who is infected, making it hard to know when you first contracted the virus.

If you do contract HPV, “it generally goes away on its own and does not cause any major health problems.” But when HPV does not go away, it can cause issues such as genital warts and can even cause cancer in a small percentage of women and men. Genital warts usually appear as a bump or groups of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat or shaped like a cauliflower. A health care provider can usually diagnose warts by looking at the genital area. If you notice any bumps or warts of any kind, visit a medical professional immediately. Do not try to self-diagnose, as that can prolong any treatment you may need. Each year, 17,600 women and 9,300 men are affected by cancers caused by HPV. However, not all strains of HPV cause cancer. The HPV vaccine can protect males and females against diseases (including cancers) caused by

An estimated 79 million Americans are infected with HPV and “nearly all sexually active women and men get the virus at some point in their lives.” –The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

To view our Physician Network of Care, visit CapitalRegionalMedicalCenter. com/physicians/ Accepting appointments at all locations.

proper protection while engaging in sexual intercourse is not just crucial, but mandatory in helping protect you from contracting some forms of HPV and other STDs. Latex condoms can reduce— but not totally eliminate—the risk of HPV transmission. It’s important that you talk openly with your friends, family and teens about sexual health by sharing the truth about HPV. This will help to eradicate myths, erase the stigmas and help you and others live healthy lives. *For more information about HPV, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

In addition to being screened and seeking out medical guidance, using

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Another crucial step a woman can take for prevention of HPV-caused cancers

is regular screening, which will detect virtually all precancerous changes and cervical cancers. You can be screened for cervical cancer with a Pap test and/or an HPV test. Certain high-risk strains of HPV cause cervical lesions that, over a period of time, can develop into cancer if they remain untreated. Cervical cancer is completely preventable if precancerous cell changes are detected and treated early, before cervical cancer develops. At this time, there are no FDA-approved tests to screen for HPV in men. Although health care professionals can treat precancerous lesions and genital warts that are caused by HPV infections, there’s no treatment for the virus itself.

e all have an idea of what the perfect healthcare experience should e. Responsive yet friendly. Technologically advanced yet ompassionate. At Capital Regional, our physicians strive to be the ery best every day. And we think it shows.


HPV when given in the recommended age groups. Although Gardasil, an HPV vaccine, prevents the bulk of HPV strains, it doesn’t protect against all of them, so the Food and Drug Administration recommends it in tangent to Pap tests. Furthermore, the vaccine does not work if a woman is already infected with one of these HPV types. It has to be given before the infection is contracted. The CDC recommends that 11- to 12-year-old girls and boys get 2 doses of the HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV. Catch-up vaccines are recommended for males through age 21 and for females through age 26 if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.

CHATTAHOOCHEE Brian Ham, ARNP Terence Murphy, MD 409 High Street Chattahoochee, FL 32324 850.663.4643

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tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 27 

bodies in motion

THE LONG RUN By Heather Fuselier


have a shirt that says “Running is cheaper than therapy.” After a quick inventory of my running shoe collection, medals from out-of-town races and drawers stuffed with active wear, my husband may argue to the contrary. But ask any woman canvassing the streets of Tallahassee with her tribe of running friends, and you may decide that running may very well be a good substitute for it. The power of women in groups is not up for debate—legions of history buffs will attest to that. And when you take the power of women and add endorphins released from running, you might want to run for cover. Maybe that is why the culture of running groups in Tallahassee is growing, and more and more women are showing up at local races in matching shirts with team names as a force to be reckoned with. I have a great running group made up of mismatched women who may not have connected as friends if it had not been for the shared experience of running together. Running friends see each other at their worst—hot, sweaty, with bedhead, struggling over a Tallahassee hill on a humid summer morning—and

28  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

rally together to overcome the physical challenge that running can be as a sport. And as we persevere and encourage each other, we also overcome the emotional challenges that we share as mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and more. That high from group running is a real thing. It is a combination of dopamine, the chemical that makes us feel good; serotonin, which makes us feel significant and important in groups; and oxytocin, the so-called “cuddle hormone,” which helps us feel loved and safe. When women run together and this recipe begins to mix, we get real. We talk about our kids and the struggles we have as parents. We talk about work and the drama we’re navigating at the office. We talk about our relationships. We joke that “what is shared on the long run stays on the long run.” But it doesn’t. It stays with us and it bonds us together. On one long run a few years ago, everyone seemed to have a burden on her shoulders. A daughter was leaving for the Army soon, her path unknown. A marriage was ending. A child was struggling in school. I was stuck in a career rut. We were weighed down and

distracted and needed to break through to a more positive place. As I drove home after our run, these burdens nagged at me, and I knew our therapy session for that day was not over. So I encouraged everyone to write down her struggle on a piece of paper and carry it during our next long run. As we gathered in the parking lot before our run, our scraps of paper tucked into our hands, I told them my plan: that when we ran through the I-10 overpass, we would consider it a gateway to a new day, one where we can handle anything, and we would toss our cares into the wind and let them fly away. They smiled at each other, used to my Pollyanna approach to problem-solving. But, silly or not, as we approached the bridge, we all released our worries and emerged on the other side ready to face our struggles with fresh energy. Of course, we still had problems in our lives. We still do! Running may not completely substitute therapy, but it can be a recipe for emotional connectedness. Listen, talk and share in that endorphin-rich sisterhood. You are on the long run.




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tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 29 

real life

h t L a e M s s y o l i n a s D By Jeannette Katicich

4 = 1 + 3


H -SxS=W I

n school, math was always my worst subject. I struggled with seeing patterns and following the rules. As an adult, I now realize I should have paid more attention in math class. This year, I am minus a husband, minus the home I knew and minus the stability of having help raising 4 boys. This has added a lot of worry, multiplied by stress, which equals feeling as if my world is falling apart. However, as a mother, you can’t let the negatives affect you. This morning I wake up, fumble to shut off my alarm (and the 7 others I have

30  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

for backup), and take a deep breath. I can do this. I can do this. First, though, I must get 3 boys ready for school. The oldest of my 4 boys is currently away at college, coming home only on breaks to raid the refrigerator and terrorize his brothers. I see my 15-year-old, already dressed and coming to tell me good-bye. He wears joggers and a T-shirt advertising his latest music obsession. His hair, dyed bright red, is curly and wild, causing him to look even taller than his gangly 5’10”. We fist-bump (because, “Hugs are for little kids, Mom”) and he is off, earbuds in place. Now to wake my 8-

+ and 4-year-old sons, referred to as “The Littles.” The 8-year-old bounces out of bed, as he does every morning, with the exuberance of a cheerleader on game day. He runs to brush his teeth, leaving a “Good morning, Mommy” in his wake. His younger brother, whom we call Tubs, cracks open one eye, sighing like a 4-year-old going on 40, and asks, “Mommy, how many more days until the weekend when I can sleep in?” He groans and rolls out of bed, off to bully his older brother into leaving the bathroom—even if he isn’t yet ready.

This done, I begin getting ready for work. Having recently moved to Tallahassee, I still don’t feel quite settled. I find myself wondering for the hundredth time how long you have to live somewhere before it feels like you truly live there—before you feel a part of it. Maybe this is because I am not used to being on my own, or maybe it’s because I am not used to feeling that being alone is an acceptable normal. I stand in my closet, sorting through the clothes I won’t wear because they no longer fit the person I am here. My size hasn’t changed, but who I am today is vastly different from the woman who last put them on. Wiser, but exhausted. Excited, but terrified. Happy, but slightly nauseous. Choosing a hanger, I remind myself that always wearing black is not a reflection of inner turmoil but a means to making outfit selections oh-so-much-easier. I throw my hair up into a “messy bun,” which I recently learned to do by watching countless hours of YouTube tutorials—all to look as though I put in no effort whatsoever. Tubs is back, arms folded and tapping his foot. “Mommy, so…like…yesterday you didn’t bring my blanket to Pre-K. Do you know what that means? All I had was a nap mat and it was very uncomfortable.” I curse internally for forgetting but promise him aloud that I will remember it today. Giving me a curt nod, his work here now done, Tubs leaves.

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Running late as usual, I check the mirror one last time, always expecting to see that girl who struggled with math in the reflection. Instead, there stands a woman who has learned that following the rules and going along with life’s patterns doesn’t always make you whole. The Littles run in just then, bickering with one another. I think about my children who have the ability to make me laugh, while simultaneously wanting to scream, and I smile. No matter how many of life’s factors veer me toward the negative column, they will always be the additions that keep me on the plus side. Besides— that “messy bun” is on point. tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 31 

on the cover

32  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

TheJourney of a

Butterfly By Heather Thomas Photography by Kira Derryberry

Many Kinds of Prisons It was a humid, Tallahassee summer day in 1994, when Patricia McCray, a single mother of 3 children who had no prior convictions, was told by a judge that she would be spending 36 months in federal prison for bank fraud. Her attorney had reassured her that she would face only probation, but that was before she had any idea that her employer was also being charged with fraud for separate crimes and therefore her sentence would be compounded. The first time Patricia felt cold, metal handcuffs on her wrists she was shaking so hard that the baliff had difficulty putting them on. “I couldn’t breathe. I expected to wake up from a nightmare and go to my children [2 sons, ages 17 and 14] and a daughter, age 16) and reassure them that everything would be all right.” Everything wasn’t all right, and it wouldn’t be until 3 years later that she would see all of her children again.

tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 33 

on the cover

“I was brought to a place within myself that I had never been—so low. I was so low that you can’t lift your head and you feel dead, and you’ve been broken to the point that you feel there is no more to be broken.” From the courthouse, she was taken to the Leon County Jail. She was made to strip out of all of her clothes, forced into an open shower stall and sprayed with ice-cold water by a female deputy. While she stood in the spray, it was as if she was being taken apart from the inside out and the layers of her life were being washed down the drain. “I was brought to a place within myself that I had never been—so low. I was so low, that you can’t lift your head and you feel dead and you’ve been broken to the point that you feel there is no more to be broken.” Pausing in the interview, Patricia sits calmly in her professional attire, hands gently clasped at her waist, belying the turmoil within her that comes with remembering the hopelessness she felt in those moments. As she frequently does when she has come to a point in the telling that is hard to push through, she stops talking, straightens her spine, takes a deep breath, breathes out, and says, “And…so.” With her position as the assistant to the City Manager, you’d never imagine that she had been a federal prisoner. “I’ve been told many times that I don’t look like I have been to prison. I still don’t know what the ‘look’ is, but I relate it to this— butterflies don’t look like caterpillars.” There are many kinds of prisons—prisons of the body, mind and spirit. Patricia would learn, change and transform over time, undergoing painful trials, in order to achieve freedom from the bonds that had held her trapped for so many years, becoming the butterfly that she was always meant to be. And…so. 34  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

The Caterpillar Born in the small town of Meigs, Georgia, near Thomasville, Patricia’s first prisonlike environment was one she lived in after her parents died in close succession of each other when she was only 11 years old. She and her 8-year-old brother were taken to live with an aunt and uncle in Washington, DC. When they arrived at their new 3-story home, which she thought “was a castle,” her bloom of joy was quickly crushed when her uncle told them that their room was in the attic. He gave them a key to unlock an old door, which opened to a dark and dusty space that held only 2 metal beds and a broken-down dresser. A cord without a lightbulb hanging from the ceiling would be their only source of light. “We just broke down and cried, but I hugged my brother and said, ‘It’s going to be all right.’” From that moment on, Patricia’s priority was to take care of her brother and get a good education. For Patricia, life in those years was dark, with only a few beams of light peeking through the bars. At her new school, she was ridiculed for her Southern accent, so she remained quiet, afraid to speak; when she would talk, it would be whisper-soft, a habit that she still finds hard to break. She was given very little to buy food and clothing, and her 2 adult brothers told her that they had been sending money that she had never received. Her aunt had been taking it as “food and rent money.” While in the sixth grade, Mrs. Wilson, her typing teacher, intervened for Patricia.

“She nurtured the potential in me and taught me what it means to be a woman.” Patricia was able to use Mrs. Wilson’s address for the money her brothers sent, and Mrs. Wilson gave Patricia a job doing chores around her home and taught Patricia how to shop wisely and budget money. Throughout her school years, Patricia knew that getting good grades was the key to unlocking the door to a better future. She graduated at the top of her class in high school and received a scholarship to Florida A&M University in 1976. “I felt that I had finally broken free.” However, the butterfly would stumble before ever achieving flight.

The Cocoon

During her first year in college, Patricia excelled in her classes, worked at a parttime job and sent money to her brother in DC. She started dating a man and for reasons of her own, dropped out of college and married him. Her 12-year marriage would become her second prison. “I convinced myself that I loved him and that he loved me.” Fatefully, Patricia’s husband took her back to Meigs to live with him at a house which had no indoor plumbing. The verbal and physical abuse started almost immediately. “I had broken arms and concussions, and was even in a coma.” He would lock her in a closet, sometimes for hours at a time. He had multiple affairs with other women and engaged in alcohol and drug abuse. Despite all of this, Patricia stayed with him, even after she started having children who were exposed to his abuse. “I was imprisoned in my mind and spirit. I remember him yelling, over and over again, ‘I own you! I tell you when you can get up and when you can lay down.’” During these years, she commuted to Tallahassee for her job as a typist in a dilapidated car with broken windows that her husband had bashed in during an angry tirade. He would demand the majority of her paycheck at the end of the month, giving her very little to buy

“I made some of the best friends of my life. They were women from all spectrums— professionals, prostitutes, drug addicts…some were mothers like me. They shared their stories which gave me hope to keep moving forward.” position. “I would find myself writing checks for groceries or the utility bill, and I justified it by not wanting my children to suffer from me choosing the wrong man. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I vowed to pay back the money when I could. It was a landslide of lies that started piling up.”

food and other essentials. There was a coworker whom Patricia had confided in who told her that when she was ready to leave him, she would help her and the children find safety. Patricia finally reached her limit when her husband used his belt—the buckle-end— to hit their daughter in the face. The blow could have blinded her. She secretly started packing, and planned with her coworker to move out to a prearranged rental townhome when her husband was gone on a two-day drunken binge. In their first year in Tallahassee, Patricia filed for divorce and custody of the children, and they barred the front door with the couch every night. Professionally, Patricia was experiencing success, but the good things became like sand through her fingers, and finding financial independence was a struggle. She had to sell her house and rent a home. Her children began going to schools that exposed them to some of the finer things in life, and she wanted to give them those things too. She took a job with a new private company as the bookkeeper, and the fraud began soon after starting her

When the knock came at her door by a police officer, Patricia knew that the time had come to be held accountable. She was required to report to jail, where she would be booked and released, and then she would attend a court hearing to be sentenced. She located an attorney and hoped she would be able to shield her children from the events that were spinning out of her control. “I never got to explain what was happening, nor to say goodbye to them before being taken to jail… it still haunts me, along with what they went through living with their father and aunts while I was in prison.”

Federal Prison

Patricia spent 3 months in the Leon County Jail before being moved to a federal prison in Marianna, Florida. In jail and in prison, Patricia says, “I made some of the best friends of my life. They were women from all spectrums— professionals, prostitutes, drug addicts… Some were mothers like me. They shared their stories, which gave me hope to keep moving forward.” Every day, Patricia would write a letter to her children, but she never got one back. She would find out later that her ex-husband intercepted

the mail and they saw only a few of the letters she had written. In the federal women’s prison in Marianna, she became a number and was referred to by her last name. The loss of freedom and identity can “make you lose your mind if you let it.” Everyone has a job to earn money to purchase things at the prison’s store. Being a typist became invaluable, and she earned money typing documents for federal patents. She spent a year and a half there before voluntarily moving to the former federal correctional institution (FCI) for men in Tallahassee in 1996. She was in the very first group of women to go, hoping that if she was closer to Thomasville, she would be more likely to have a visit from her children. However, her daughter came only once and vowed never to come back, having been too upset by the experience. When the 40 women were brought to unit “B,” a ward that had been closed for some time, they were tasked with cleaning everything before inspection at 3:30 p.m. There were spiders, rats, roaches and mattresses and rags stained with bodily fluids piled in every corner, but they made the deadline. For many months, they even had to wear the men’s uniforms as they went about their daily jobs. Patricia worked mainly as a typist in a warehouse that made furniture for federal offices and also took turns making and moving furniture. She became heavily involved in the prison ministry, and her faith became a guiding force in her life, helping to set her spirit free.

tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 35 

on the cover On August 15, 1997, Patricia’s prison release day came, and she was sent to a halfway house in Pensacola, Florida, for 4 months. Her children came to visit her there. It was the first time Patricia had seen her sons in 3 years. “We were all crying and hugging each other….” She pauses, “It’s still hard to talk about it.” Once back in Tallahassee, Patricia got a job with a printing company and then moved on to a position at the City of Tallahassee. She moved into a 2-bedroom apartment and her daughter and youngest son came to live with her full-time. But then, Patricia started to get sick.

Second Chances

Before going to prison, Patricia had been diagnosed with diabetes. In 1998, her kidneys started to fail and she was placed on dialysis. For the next 5 years, she went for treatment for 3 hours every

Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening. Over the years, she took medications and had surgeries to install grafts in the veins of her right arm. In 2003, she went to see a doctor about being put on the organ donation list at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and was told she might have to wait anywhere from 1 day to 10 years. Amazingly, 6 months later, a match came up. She went to Jacksonville, Florida, and was told that she would be getting a kidney and a pancreas. The healing process was slow, but once fully recovered, she was able to continue at her job with the City, moving up the ranks and getting a second chance at life and a professional career. In 2008, Patricia met Dr. Mark McCray, and they were married a year later. Patricia felt that she was getting a second chance at love. Soon thereafter, her newfound joy was threatened when her donated kidney began to fail in early 2011 and she was forced to go back on dialysis. She was

put on the donor waiting list at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, and again, in record time, received a call in October of 2011, that she was a match for a kidney. Recovery this time was much more intense, along with Mark having to stay home to take care of her, and she worried that her marriage would suffer and they would lose their jobs. “He told me, ‘I’m not going anywhere and I can get another job. I’m in this for the long run, not just for the good times.’” It was a love I had never felt before, and it has helped heal me.” Her new kidney from 2011, and the pancreas from 2003 are functioning well, and with healthy eating and exercise she no longer has diabetes. “I’ve communicated with both donor families, thanking them for their sacrifice. I’m alive today because of the generous gift of others sharing their love for life with me.”

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“In all the journeys the butterfly takes, it is moving forward toward its mission. No matter what each journey requires, it stays the course and fulfills its life purpose.”

The Butterfly

Life Journeys, a ministry she started to help women at any stage in their butterfly development.

women, we need to have courage and reach out to one another, building bridges with our stories.”

With her metamorphosis ongoing, Patricia has earned numerous awards and community leadership positions, among those being a Leadership Tallahassee alumnus, a commissioner on the Tallahassee-Leon Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, the Oasis Center for Women and Girls Women’s History Month 2017 Trailblazer honoree, a 2017 “25 Women You Need to Know” honoree and a 2017 Cohort of Just Leadership USA. For the past 5 years, she has been CEO of Butterfly

Every Tuesday, as a certified life coach and a teacher for Threshold, a Federal Bureau of Prisons program, she goes back to the penitentiary in which she was incarcerated, giving hope and strength to the women whom she calls her “sisters,” helping them to plan and envision a future beyond prison walls. “People think if you share your story, it will diminish you somehow or make you feel less than worthy in their eyes, when really the opposite is true. There is freedom in the sharing and it removes the mask. As

The journey from a caterpillar to a butterfly is painfully beautiful. “In all the journeys the butterfly takes, it is moving forward toward its mission. No matter what each journey requires, it stays the course and fulfills its life purpose.” Now a grandmother to 4 granddaughters, by bravely sharing her story, Patricia’s legacy of courage, faith and love continues to fly forward as she fulfills her life’s purpose of giving others the key to help set their own butterfly free.

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The Greatest Gift Is to Save a Life By Michelle R. Nickens | Photo by elleBelle Photography

Alva Swafford Striplin is the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters and a Leon County School Board member. She was also a former teacher at Deerlake Middle School. Something you may not know about Alva is that she is also an organ donor. Alva donated her kidney to her ex-brother-in-law in 2009. He suffered from degenerative kidney disease. “Everyone, including his children and siblings and my husband at the time, was tested. But no one was a match,” Alva explained. “How could I live with myself not coming forward? I had seen how his quality of life had diminished. It was hard to watch. I decided to get tested, to see whether I was a match. The results revealed that I was a 95 percent match. It was definitely a message that I was the one.” So far in 2017, there have been 2,801 organ transplants performed and 1,323 donors. Alva Swafford Striplin


t doesn’t feel that long ago when my mother and I were at a hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana, anxiously awaiting the call that a donor had been located. My father was at Ochsner Medical Center, just a day or two away from leaving us, when a liver was located. The operation was scheduled for 10 p.m. that night, and it would be hours later before we found out that not only did he survive the operation but that the entire transplant would be a success. I remember the doctor telling us that he had a 50/50 chance. There were four patients awaiting a liver transplant in ICU when we were there, including my father. Two survived. Two did not.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, on average, 22 people die each day waiting for a transplant. The Network also reports that there are more than 118,000 individuals in need of a lifesaving organ transplant, and every ten minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list. As a family member whose loved one received a transplant, I had diverse and confusing thoughts and emotions—from being thankful to guilty and relieved to sad—all at the same time. So, it was enlightening and inspiring to hear from one of Tallahassee’s most respected women about her journey as an organ donor. 38  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

A kidney transplant is a dangerous surgery for the recipient and the donor. Often, family members of the donor are worried and scared and try to dissuade the donor. “When I told my family,” Alva said, “I could tell my dad wanted to talk me out of it. It’s understandable—you are putting your life on the line. You, a perfectly healthy person, are electing to do the surgery. If it were one of my children, I would be taken aback too. But, my father raised me to be a generous person. He has always been unselfish, and I want to be just like him. He would be the first one to step up.”

Although there have been advancements in medicine and increased awareness in organ donation, there is still a shortage of donors. Alva explained that giving her kidney was an honor. “After the surgery, it was the first time in 10 years that he felt good and could enjoy life.” Recovery after an operation such as a kidney transplant can take months and be painful. “We waited until school was out for the summer. The surgery was done at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. The recovery process was difficult, but by fall, it felt like it had never happened. Our anniversary is June 8, and he texts me every year and says ‘I’m here because of you.’” Alva indicated that she was fortunate to have a job at the time that allowed her time off to go through the surgery and recovery. “Others do not have that,” she explained, “and more work is needed to advocate for leave and support, like maternity leave, for organ donation cases.” If you are considering organ donation, do your research, talk to others who have donated or been organ recipients and consult with family. “God gave me two kidneys—and I only need one,” Alva said. “Having lived through it—there is nothing like it. I have no regrets. Your life will go on and will be even better.” One organ donor can save 8 lives. Looking back on those early morning hours worried about my father’s survival, I am so grateful to have had those extra years with him. During organ donation awareness month in April, sign up to be a donor. It is the greatest gift you can give. For more information about organ donation, visit

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tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 39 


Women Who Mean Business WOMEN TO WATCH

W S | A W A R D S | M I L E S


As part of a community of business-minded women, Tallahassee Woman celebrates, recognizes and honors the achievements made by women in the workplace and in the community. In doing so, we are connecting women, empowering one another and celebrating our successes that are making a difference for everyone.

Chantal Dawsey recently opened In Style Designer Consignment Boutique. Her boutique features authentic designer brands like Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, just to name a few. The boutique also includes a fashion lounge for women to gather where they can encourage and empower each other to be the best they can be, do the best they can do and look their best. Carla Brown Lucas, president of Brown Lucas Consulting, recently announced the launch of the company’s operations in Tallahassee. Specializing in the areas of media relations, public affairs, social media, advertising and collateral development, Carla has worked with a variety of clients, including ones in the government, education, health care, nonprofit and land development sectors. Halley M. Stephens recently opened her own law firm, Stephens Law, LLC. Halley specializes in civil litigation matters including marital and family law, insurance defense, professional and medical malpractice defense, health care law and personal injury. She also represents clients seeking injunctions or restraining orders for protection against violence or harassment. For almost 20 years, Halley has represented clients throughout the Panhandle in legal and administrative matters, including jury trials in complex medical malpractice cases. 40  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

Gigi Rollini, a shareholder and attorney at Messer Caparello, P.A., has been named one of Florida’s “Top 50 Women Super Lawyers” of 2016 by Super Lawyers magazine. Gigi is a member of Messer Caparello’s Litigation & Appellate Team. Her practice focuses on Florida appeals, civil and administrative litigation and all aspects of Florida administrative law. Anna Alexopoulos of On 3 Public Relations, a woman-owned and certified firm, has been promoted to Vice President of Accounts. She previously served with the company as an account manager and was promoted after 2 years with the company. Alix Miller, Ph.D. has recently joined the On3PR team as a Vice President of Accounts, bringing with her over 15 years of experience working in education, nonprofit organizations and corporations. She previously served as Press Secretary and a speech writer at the Florida Department of Education and worked in Legislative Affairs at the Department of Children and Families.

M I L E S T O N E S Florida Impact President and CEO Debra Susie, Ph.D., has retired after 30 years of dedicated service toward reducing hunger and poverty in communities across the state. Under her direction, the nonprofit provided strategic program outreach and technical assistance to communitybased nonprofits that serve at-risk children. Her passionate leadership helped connect hundreds of thousands of kids facing hunger to the nutritious meals they need throughout the day to live healthy, productive lives and ultimately become contributing adult members of society. During her years of service, Debra led groundbreaking initiatives that helped establish, transform or improve school breakfast, after-school meals and summer food service programs. For example, Debra used a private grant to rebrand and launch innovative marketing strategies for the Federal Summer Food Service Program, now known statewide as “Summer BreakSpot”—a program that provides free, nutritious meals to kids and teens during summer break. Now under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, more than 40 percent more meals are served at 3,800 Summer BreakSpot locations statewide.

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Although retired, Debra will continue to serve as advocate for children and families. Before stepping down, she was an advisor to new Florida Impact CEO Trudy Novicki. Dorothy Binger, or “Ms. Dot,” was recently awarded the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service award by Governor Rick Scott. Dorothy, a retired educator and staunch child advocate, has been a Guardian ad Litem volunteer for over 27 years. As a Guardian ad Litem, she has advocated for over 60 abused or neglected children, helping them receive the services they need and find a permanent, safe home. Dorothy is also involved with other organizations throughout Tallahassee, including Tallahassee Community College, which has a scholarship in her name.

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tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 41 

business & career

The Power of Abundance Philosophy:

Cultivating Possibilities in the Workplace By Dr. Michelle A. Mitcham, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC, CFM


hy is a business or personal philosophy so important? Are you living your philosophy and walking the talk? Well, as you know, the way we think—our philosophy of life and the world—guides our actions, motivations, beliefs, business plans, workplace productivity, interpersonal relationships, service and even our hearts. How can an individual or a business increase the bottom line? The current organizational leadership research commonly focuses on the triple bottom line, the more comprehensive, abundance-philosophy term, to include people, profit and the planet. There are a plethora of resources available once the mind-set or paradigm shift is focused on abundance. Conversely, scarcity philosophy focuses on what is missing, what we don’t have or what the business is lacking— comparing ourselves and businesses to others, focusing on deficits and limitations. The philosophy of scarcity will paralyze a business, an individual or a relationship. Expanding our thinking and removing limits, barriers and unreasonable expectations are great first steps to embracing the philosophy of the abundance thinker and taking things to the next positive level.

U – Unconditional positive regard for others—employees, colleagues, family and business partners. Exemplifying unconditional positive regard for our team members and associates communicates care and respect. This professional disposition and attitude contribute to an atmosphere conducive to possibility and embracing new ideas.

An abundance thinker focuses on possibilities, faith and optimism, while the scarcity thinker focuses on limitations and pessimism. The following quote captures the focus of the philosophy of abundance and the message of this article:

A – Assert yourself and your ideas. Always use your voice. It takes effective communication and courageous conversations. Develop a philosophy of abundance. The difficult dialogue will occur when you decide to change your way of doing or being in any situation. Others may be uncomfortable, but your display of assertiveness in a positive way may very well lead and pave the way for others to walk the talk and be more assertive.

“Plant the seeds of abundance and water the garden of your mind.”

–Tavia Rahki Smith, BS, MS, MS, RYT

Strategies for Cultivating Abundance Thinking and Possibilities: A – Adapt to change and be open to possibilities. Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, a regimented or strict way of doing things. Not being adaptable contributes to limiting the possibilities in our lives and businesses. Talk to a friend, colleague or personal coach to develop strategies for trying new ways of doing things. B – Be a visionary and dream beyond limits. See the possibilities and know that dreaming doesn’t cost a penny and that you should never be afraid to dream. Sometimes we surround ourselves with scarcity-mind-set people who cannot see our dreams; be careful of this. 42  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

N – Never be overly attached to one idea. Use the creative brainstorming strategy of SCAMPER to think outside of the box for abundant possibilities. To SCAMPER an idea means to Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to other uses, Eliminate or Reverse the idea. This tool opens up possibility thinking. D – Develop yourself and others. Investing in yourself is critical to your success, retooling, both personally and professionally. Professional and personal development renews our thinking, ideas, self-awareness, goals, motivation, talent, skill sets, relationships and communication skills. Investing in your talent development, as well as others, increases the possibilities for success.

N – Negotiate. Do you look at what’s in the best interest of the team, the business, the family or the relationship? Practicing interest-based negotiation empowers all to focus on win-win outcomes for everyone. Looking at all perspectives opens and expands the possibilities. True interest-based negotiation does not allow for anyone to be stuck in their position. C – Collaborate and communicate. Working with others and recognizing their talents and contributions are key to any successful personal or professional relationship. Authentic communication and collaboration contribute to innovative ideas and a new vision. E – Expand your thinking, circle of influence, activities, mindfulness, vision and operational definitions regarding expectations and possibilities. Expand your heart and mind to welcome all the blessings of the philosophy of abundance.


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money talks



How It’s Changing The Way We Live By Maria Elena Margarella


rom swapping recipes to sharing stories, no wonder the power of the share has found its way into our economy. And this power is only expanding. If you haven’t heard of the sharing economy, TWM is here to give you a rundown:

Shareconomy 101 In the Digital Age, everyone’s connected more than ever. The Internet of Everything ensures that we can find anything we need at the touch of a button (er, touchscreen?). But with this new techy terrain, a new approach to business emerges. Technology reduces transaction 44  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

costs, which makes sharing assets cheaper, easier and more widely accessible. Physical assets can now be bought and sold as services, and the means of doing so are at our fingertips. Thus, a new economic model rises alongside the Internet, and the sharing economy is born. We share, sell, swap and so on—all connected through cyberspace.

Save Time, Make Money No doubt technology has made our relationship with the economy more active. The Internet holds a marketplace within itself and has only increased

in accessibility since its invention— engagement is everything! If you have an asset just sitting around, why not make use of it and make some money? The sharing economy allows you to share the asset and its potential value with other people, so research the best platforms to sell your item or service. Not only will you profit from the asset’s active use, but you’ll also be helping out someone who needs what you’re selling. You’ll be sharing within a community.

Names You (Should) Know You’ve probably heard of Uber. In 2009, the online transportation company began as an alternative to taxicab frustrations; it is estimated that it is now worth over $66 billion. People can sign up as an Uber driver and earn money to drive others around; anyone who needs a ride can “order” an Uber through the app. Like an Uber of hospitality, Airbnb lets people rent out their homes. Whether it’s an apartment, a house, or a penthouse suite, you can click on it. Valued at $30 million, Airbnb is serving over 3 million listings in more than 65,000 cities across 200 countries. (And yes, Tallahassee is on that list.)

It’s All About You With the distinction between Internet users and target consumers blurring, the race to run the World Wide Web is steep. But don’t worry—nobody can really win, because YOU have the real power. You’re the user and the consumer. Indeed, the companies are focused on the full user experience, on how best to make your buying and selling experience the best it can possibly be—so you’ll come back and do it all again. Expect these socially networked companies, like Uber and Airbnb, to think and act more humanly. Transactions rely on close cooperation on both sides, so the user experience becomes essential. Whether it’s saving you time, giving you more options or having the cooler Instagram account, they want to make you happy. They want to see you share.





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tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 45 

OUR COMMUNITY A look at the events, organizations, businesses and people that make Tallahassee a great place to live—and love.



Tabitha Frazier

illions of Americans– including one in four children–don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Tabitha Frazier is working to combat the problem of food insecurity in our own Tallahassee community with the launch of her urban gleaning program called the Leon Fruit and Nut Exchange.

The goal of this program is twofold: to reduce food waste locally and to provide fresh produce to those without access to it. The 46  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

Exchange works as follows: homeowners with fruit and nut trees or vegetable plants that are producing more than they can consume register online, and from there they have two options: self-harvesting or assisted harvesting. Self-harvesters have a harvest crate delivered to their home, and they fill it with their registered tree’s crops. They can then exchange their filled crate for a new one at the French Town Heritage Hub (524 North Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard), or they can contact the program to arrange for a volunteer to pick up their crate. With the assisted harvest option, a volunteer gleaning team will come out and harvest the trees at the homeowner’s convenience.

The harvested fruit is then delivered to local food pantries, such as those run by the Joe Louis Tenements Association and Food Outreach Ministries, Inc. These food banks distribute food directly to individuals, families and children struggling with food insecurity. Since the majority of foods donated to food banks are nonperishable items, it can be difficult for people who rely on food assistance programs to get fresh produce. The Exchange’s goal is to help fill that deficit. The Exchange is the first urban gleaning program in the state of Florida, and after just a few months of operation, its success has led officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to reach out to Tabitha for advice on how to replicate her program in other counties across the state. What Tabitha wants more than anything, though, is for more people to get involved right here in Tallahassee. “At this point, it’s just spreading the word. The more people that know about this, the more people will sign up and the more food we can move forward.” To find out more about the Leon Fruit and Nut Exchange, including instructions on registering your own trees or joining a gleaning team, go to their website,

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our community


Teachers Continuing to Make a Difference By Sara Blumenthal


universal truth about teachers is that they make a difference. Therefore, it’s not surprising that when some teachers leave the classroom, they choose to continue to make a difference by becoming a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) volunteer child advocate. “The part I love about teaching, that all teachers love, is making a difference and providing support that allows a child to succeed. I get to do that here every day,” said retired educator and GAL advocate Carolyn Spooner. Carolyn worked over 40 years in the Leon County School system as a teacher and administrator before joining the GAL program last year. The GAL program is a volunteer-based organization that advocates for abused and neglected children in the court and community. GAL volunteer advocates ensure that these children’s interests are heard and served and that they find a permanent, safe home as soon as possible. “I love that I can communicate what a child’s needs are,” said Mattie Johnson. Mattie was a teacher for over 34 years and joined the GAL program after retiring. She has been a GAL advocate for over 10 years. Janice Little, another retired educator who has been a GAL advocate for 5 years, says she was drawn to the program because she knew she wanted to continued to work with the youth population. “I had been interacting with older students and teaching parenting skills, so this was my niche. I could use what I knew to continue to make a difference,” said 48  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

From left to right: Mattie Johnson, Carolyn Spooner and Janice Little Janice, who spent 28 years teaching early childhood education to high school students. As educators, Carolyn, Mattie and Janice shared a common goal—to help the youth succeed. They still share the same goal. “You show children what compassion and support really look like, what a family and love look like. That can make all the difference between succeeding and faltering,” said Carolyn. Through the GAL program, they are able to help the children they are assigned to find a better future. The GAL advocate works with GAL staff, including an advocacy manager and an attorney, to ensure children receive the services they need. This includes educational services. “I am comfortable going into the school and working within the school system. I know how to do it,” said Janice. “In the end, it’s about working with people to make sure the children and families get what they need.” The women say the skills they developed as educators make them staunch advocates. As teachers, they have learned that with children, sometimes it is not always what they say. “Teachers possess an intuitiveness. You learn to observe everything and react accordingly,” said

Carolyn. “Advocacy is a natural part of the job.” Each woman says she has seen the difference the GAL program makes, whether it is in supporting a family who is reunited, helping a teenager find hope and a goal to strive for or helping 4 siblings find a new forever home and family. Children who have a GAL advocate are half as likely to re-enter the child welfare system and are twice as likely to find an adoptive family. Carolyn, Mattie and Janice have always been child advocates, first in the classroom and now for those who need it the most. Retirement for them didn’t mean abandoning the skills and knowledge they gained throughout their lives and careers. They found a new way to use them while continuing to make a difference in the community. “They say a mind is a terrible thing to waste. So is knowledge,” said Mattie. “I am not going to waste mine. I have a passion for kids, especially those that may be struggling—always have and always will.” For more information on the Guardian ad Litem program and how you can make a difference, please visit online at or call (850) 606-1213.

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Shadow Days by Appointment by Calling 850.893.2138 • • tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 49 

our community | her story


Memories of Tallahassee By Deborah Desilets

Bridget Chandler’s “Charmed Life” B

ridget Chandler wanted me to make sure everyone knows she has her vegetable garden in her front yard, and that the fig tree in the yard is a “turkey fig,” the very ones that for years she has made fig preserves from. Once Bridget supplied her pharmacist with “a case of fig preserves in exchange for all the pharmaceutical advice” her family needed. Sweetly, she handed me a jar of preserves when I left.

Her Story

Whether bartering or basking in the Florida sun, Miss Beulah Virginia McPherson learned “attitude, attitude, attitude” was what made life sweeter. At five years old, she told her mother, “I can’t go to school. I don’t have any new dresses!” Her mother supplied a pile of fresh homespun dresses full of sugar and spice and everything nice that cloth could hold (both her mother and grandmother knew all the arts of being handy with thread). Beulah took them all in her little arms and exclaimed, “Well, if I grow up to be spoiled, it’s your fault!” Beulah enrolled at Florida State College for Women (FSCW, before it became Florida State University or FSU) and soon became Bridget, christened by her roommate as such because “I just didn’t look like a Beulah to her!” In her years at FSCW, and she would be called “one of his girls” by Doak Campbell. To this 50  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

day, whether it is baseball, basketball or football, she remains true to the Garnet and Gold. It was her college roommate that introduced her to Gilbert “Gibby” Chandler on a double date. She says, “I had to go on this date so that my roommate would not tease me for the rest of the year.” That date soon turned into a whirlwind courtship. Gibby, a G.I. back from WWII, was working for his father at the Tallahassee Motor Hotel, and she was just a sophomore. Her mother forbade the marriage until after she graduated as a teacher and had taught for one year. So it would be that their courtship began with her spending weekends at her very own cottage on Lake Ella. Dating, visiting and living with the Chandler family, Bridget learned firsthand about the business—from the office to the rooms, to directing customer service to roadside advertising. She had the right attitude for all of it. For eight years, she worked side-by-side with her father-inlaw and heard his stories of the long road home to Minnesota and how he “was an asparagus farmer tired of the cold.” In 1925, leaving Minnesota, he traveled through California and across the Old Spanish Trail heading for Florida. It was in Tallahassee that he, his wife and four children settled to make a fortune in these golden fields.

Bridget learned a lot in those eight years working at the motel, but mostly, it all came down to “location, location, location.” Once the children came, Bridget made sure that her son and daughter never wanted for the love and attention that this school teacher could provide. As Bridget “just loved everything about home-making.” She made Gibby’s lunch every day and laundered the Motor Court’s bedspreads, all while teaching, running numerous women’s organizations or just being at home, “playing dolls” and sewing clothes for her daughter. Since she was with her children so much during the summers, she says, “I dreaded when summer would end and they would have to go back to school. So, Gibby would buy me chocolate-covered peanuts and hide them in the house for me to hunt for,” which helped sweeten the back-toschool schedule. The Florida Historical Marker placed at the New Capital Cascades Crossing Bridge off Adams Street and FAMU Way marks where Gilbert S. Chandler, Sr., made his first auto-camp. Bridget, as the matriarch of the Chandler family, held a christening event at the marker and invited all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces and cousins to come and celebrate with her. And standing near the marker, she looked up as said, “Wow, this is a great location for Gilbert’s marker!” On December 5, 2016, Bridget celebrated her 90th birthday, yet so much life radiates through her presence. Whether speaking of lifelong friends who gifted her a beloved FSU heart pendant that is now ensconced in glass with lace, her family, her former students who have kept up with her; or just the stream of wonderful memories of her time spent with Gibby and his family in the Chandler’s assorted motel businesses, Bridget remembers that her charmingly simple life has stemmed from her deep-rooted values, Southern culture and the love that was always spoken.


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our community



By Maria Elena Margarella

of 3. He attended class, taught by specially-trained teachers, alongside other kids with autism.

elleBelle Photography


orn in Buffalo, New York, Leah Paske was destined to champion the power of relationships. She’s one of 7 children—the youngest girl. Her family moved around until finally landing in Tallahassee, where she grew up and graduated from Lincoln High School. She started off as a police dispatcher and then transitioned into retail to eventually run her own Victoria’s Secret at Governor’s Square. While working, Leah discovered she was pregnant with her son Bo. “I panicked,” she says. “I wasn’t sure what to do. My job was my life.” Leah’s sister, who had had a baby 3 months prior, and Leah’s mother both lived in Gainesville, Florida, so she decided to leave Tallahassee to be closer to family. She worked and raised Bo as a single mother. When he reached the year-and-a-half mark, she sensed something was wrong. “He still wasn’t talking,” she recalls. By then, Leah’s sister was moving to Jacksonville, Florida, and asked Leah to join her so the families could stay together. In their new city, Bo received his autism diagnosis. Leah praises Jacksonville’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) program, and through intensive therapies and at-home visits, Bo began to speak. One of the CARD programs also prepared him to attend a regular school by the age

52  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

Because of the progress he made in Jacksonville, he was able to start kindergarten in a regular classroom when Leah moved back to Tallahassee in 2010. “He has challenges that typical kids don’t, so to see that was just miraculous,” she says. As the mother-son duo got used to their new life in the classroom, Leah found herself searching for another miracle. “I kept looking for something that he could excel at—something he’d be great at,” she says. This journey led them through sports, music lessons and various other extracurricular activities. When overwhelmed with disappointment, Leah decided to talk to her pastor. “I realized I needed him to excel at something. And I needed to think about why.” For Bo, it was about making his mother proud. For Leah, it was the fear of what’s next. “As a mother, you worry about your child’s future,” she says. “I had a fear that if he didn’t excel, what was going to be next for him?” Less than 48 hours after reconciling her thoughts, Florida State University Seminoles wide receiver Travis Rudolph sat down with Bo at lunch. Leah shared a picture on Facebook, and their lives haven’t been the same since. Leah remembers it as a blessing at a time when her family most needed it. That was August 2016, and the viral

post and its ripple effect still live on. People reach out to Leah from across the world—thanking her for raising autism awareness, for speaking up about bullying, for sharing her anxieties as a parent. “In a time where there’s so much hate, I think people want to hear the good stuff,” she says of the power of the share. “It didn’t matter why you were being left out or bullied, this was a story of hope…your child isn’t alone.” The biggest change has been in her perspective. Before Travis, Leah felt she was living in constant worry. Now, she knows that life is a matter of deciding every day that Bo’s going to be okay and that if he is to excel at anything, then excelling at kindness is the best motivator. She keeps learning, and she trusts in her relationships with loved ones and God. Her hopes for the future lie in “kindness making a comeback,” her son’s happiness and the blessings around the corner.

TALLAHASSEE 2017 | TENNIS CHALLENGER USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge

SEE A TENNIS RACQUET HELP SAVE A LIFE See professional tennis up close and personal as players ranked in the top 200s in the world compete for the $75,000 purse and ATP points. Benefiting Tallahassee Memorial, the 18th Annual Tallahassee Tennis Challenger sponsorships will directly enhance patient care at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH)—Vogter Neuro Intensive Care Unit and home to the region’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center.


April 22 – 29, 2017

Forestmeadows Tennis Center, 4750 North Meridian Rd. For a complete schedule of events, please visit


tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 53 

our community

haute HAPPENINGS LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival

April 15–16, 2017, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Chain of Parks, Downtown Tallahassee LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, April 15 and 16. With no admission fee, visitors can view and purchase one-of-a-kind works by artists from all over America while enjoying delicious food and entertainment. Children can enjoy an Easter egg hunt and other activities. For more information, call (850) 222-8800 or visit online at

Springtime Tallahassee

April 1, 2017 Downtown Tallahassee Join the fun this spring for Tallahassee’s annual springtime festival. Jubilee in the Park, starting at 9 a.m., will include music, street vendors and plenty of local food. The Grand Parade, starting at 10:30 a.m. on Monroe Street, will feature floats, marching bands and dance groups as it weaves its way through downtown Tallahassee. For more information, visit

Word of South Festival

April 7–9, 2017 Cascades Park This two-day festival explores and celebrates the relationship between art and writing by featuring unique writers and musicians. Experience the Southern charm of North Florida by seeing special performances from local and national artists. It includes musical performances, literary discussions, interviews and children’s programming. For more information, visit online at 54  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

Jewish Food Festival

March for Babies

Flying High Circus

Tallahassee Jazz and Blues Festival & Pioneer Breakfast

April 9, 2017, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Temple Israel Experience and celebrate Jewish culture through delicious food and crafts from local artisans. This event can be fun for the whole family and has a special area filled with booths and activities just for kids. On the Temple’s outside stage, entertainment such as Israeli dance and contemporary and traditional Jewish music will be performed all day. There is no admission fee. For more information, visit online at under events. March 31 through April 22, 2017 varying show times Haskin Circus Complex, FSU A unique tradition at FSU since 1947, the Flying High Circus offers a stunning series of routines in air and on the ground. The annual spring showcase is based around a new theme each year, although classics such as trapeze, juggling and quartet adagio front and center are always featured. For details, visit online at or call (850) 644-4874.

April 22, 2017, 10 a.m. Tom Brown Park This event is centered on the goal of improving the health of babies. Family teams, company teams, friends and individuals can register to walk, knowing they are helping real families. Join in the event to help raise money for babies in the community while participating in the 5k walk around the entire park or going on the 1-mile family walk around Lake Leon. For details and registration, visit online at

April 22–23, 2017, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tallahassee Museum This two-day jazz, swing, rhythm and blues music festival offers the perfect chance to sit back and enjoy the music, get up and join the dancing or participate in family activities on the Big Bend Farm. You can also power up for the fun by eating a hearty meal of fresh sausage, scrambled eggs, pancakes and Bradley’s Country Store grits at the Pioneer Breakfast served from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Lucky Me

April 27 through May 14, 2017 | Theatre Tallahassee Come to Theatre Tallahassee’s Coffeehouse Theatre to see Robert Caisley’s “Lucky Me,” a whimsical comedy about aging, love, bad luck and airport security. The main character, Sara, discovers her streak of bad luck has followed her for 22 years. For more information, visit online at

Little Gardners Grow Club

April 29, 2017 | Tallahassee Nurseries Tallahassee Nurseries would like to invite your child to participate in our Little Gardeners Grow Club. This club is for children between the ages of 4 and 12. This event will feature the theme of miniature gardening. For more information and to register, visit online at

Southern Shakespeare Festival

May 12–14, 2017 | Cascades Park The Southern Shakespeare Company will put on a series of entertaining performances at Cascades Park. The festival will feature Sonnet Man delivering Shakespearean sonnets to a hip-hop beat, performances by afterschool programs, an encore performance of Zombie Shakespeare, author Lois Burdette presenting and signing books, a children’s area and more. For details and times, visit online at

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AROUNDTOWN Events • Benefits • Activities

JFLW Living Fashionably Well

On a sunny Valentine’s Day, people came out to support the Joanna Francis Living Well Foundation at Goodwood Museum and Gardens. JFLW hosted its annual fashion show, “Living Fashionably Well,” in which breast cancer survivors and their loved ones modeled clothes from local stores. The show’s theme this year was “Love Stories.” Also included in the day were a silent art auction and a professional photo booth.










1. Briley Taylor, Jen Taylor 2. Dianne Douglas, Cherie Hodge 3. Crystal Clay, Kristin Chew, Anne Shroeder, Missy Whiddon

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4. Dr. Maribel Lockwood, Danielle Kleckner, RoxAnne Workman, Kristi Pfund, Gina Rhodes, Diane Kaji 5. Allen DeGraw, Elin DeGraw 6, Chris Cowgill, Jen Taylor, Marcia Thornberry, Kevin Collins

7. Donna Dubey, D-Ann Gassett 8. Liz Hirst, Juli Downs, Stephanie Jansen, Jane Marks, Marsha Doll 9. Michelle Hart, Christy Daly, Jennifer Stinson, Heather Thomas, Terra Palmer

Nothing can match a life-changing smile As Kaitlyn peered into the mirror she felt she was living a terrible nightmare. The reflection revealed broken and chipped front teeth! Who could she trust to restore her smile? For Kaitlyn, Dr. Oppenheim was the clear choice! Was it Before

Dr. Oppenheim’s ten gold medals in international cosmetic dentistry competitions, or that he is one of only 63 dentists worldwide to have achieved the elite status of Accredited Fellow, or that his patients have appeared on the cover of The Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry eight times? - Kaitlyn says, “Yes, it was!”


CALL US TODAY: (229) 226-1631 tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 57 

our community | around town

Fast Cars and Mason Jars 1. Tree House hosted the annual Fast Cars and Mason Jars fundraiser at Phipps Farm. The event featured live music, baskets and tickets for auction, food, networking, and cars for sale. Proceeds from the event and donations from community members are dedicated to fulfulling the Tree House mission to help establish home-like places for children in need.








1. Michelle Wilson, Katie Shiver, Shan Thomson, Joana Villeneuve, Natalie Lozano 2. Rian Meadows, Marie Coften 3. Meg Summerford, John Welden 58  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017


4. Jessica Reidling, Lauren Snyder, Caroline Lux, Signè Thomas 5. Candide Mullin, Jennifer Lawson 6. Jaimie Sherraden, Brittany Lauer, Jamie Yarbrough

7. David Paske, Linley Paske 8. Ashley Chaney, Chris Chaney, Sara Bayliss, Slater Bayliss 9. Parker Sullivan, Allie VanLandingham, Fran Preston

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The American Advertising Awards The American Advertising Federation hosted the American Advertising (ADDY) Awards. The goal of the ADDY Awards is to cultivate the highest creative standards and reward excellence in the industry. Two student scholarships were also awarded.


Talk installation Talktotous usabout about our our expert installation ononboth solutions. bothindoor indoor && outdoor outdoor solutions. Serving Tallahassee & Surrounding Areas

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1. Gil Ziffer, Gail Stansberry-Ziffer 2. Carmen Clemente, Giavona “G” Williams, Nipa Eason, Whitney Nunn 3. Giavona “G” Williams, Jaymee Smith (Student Scholarship Recipient from Florida A&M University)

(850) 533 3327 1 3 5 0 M A R K E T S T, S U I T E 1 0 4 S H O P E L L E M A R K E T. C O M

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The Blu Halo’s Heavenly Bites By Lynn Solomon | Photography by elleBelle Photography


he angels smiled on Tallahassee’s restaurant scene last year with the opening of The Blu Halo in the new Bannerman Crossing Shopping Center. Known for heavenly entrée creations, dreamy décor and an ultra-chic bar scene replete with smoking nitro cocktails and a full metal curtain, The Blu Halo is fast becoming Tallahassee’s premier fine dining establishment.

Executive Chef Tyler McMahon has created a tasty “Progressive Americana” menu with price points to attract diners from all reaches of Tallahassee. Having refined his cooking skills in locations from Napa, California, to Destin, Florida, Chef McMahon and Sous Chef Paul Hamm require that everything be made from scratch, even the steak sauces, and the produce be locally sourced from area farms.

Originally, co-owner Keith Paniucki envisioned an elegant martini bar in the round. Joined by investors Jimmy and Lisa Graganella and Rick Kearney, he was persuaded to take the idea to the next level. Fellow Florida State University (FSU) grads and golfing buddies, they had their eyes on the same goal—to introduce Tallahassee to dryaged steaks, luscious towers of fresh seafood, exemplary service and posh surroundings, the likes of which could only be found in larger cities like Miami and New York.

For starters, the Ahi Tuna Poke features cubed sushi-grade tuna tossed in a sesame ginger ponzu sauce, which is then molded atop guacamole. This popular dish is artfully presented with a garnish of micro greens and served with crispy wontons. BBQ chicken lollipops with peach glaze, West Indies-style lump crabmeat and fried oysters are also a great way to kick off the evening or to nosh at the bar.

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Prefer to start with a salad? The 850 Salad is reminiscent of the Columbia Restaurant’s famous 1905 salad. Chock-full of ham,

demi or even a lobster tail. There’s a long-bone pork chop dressed to kill with a perfectly balanced sweet/savory combo of blueberry compote, goat cheese and pistachios, also $24. Fish is also on the menu. Many come in for the Chilean Sea Bass, purportedly the best in town, thereby qualifying as a Best Bite. Pan-seared, it’s served with a vanilla bean cream sauce, white asparagus puree (in Tallahassee?) and wilted spinach. Fishtrax allows a QR code to reveal which boat captain caught your fish and where. For dessert, s’mores are deconstructed and the house-made marshmallow is set afire in its own campfire on a plate.

Swiss cheese and olives and topped with a garlicky dressing, it’s a meal for two. The grilled Caesar was a hit and declared a “Best Bite” by our dining companions. For dinner, dry- and wet-aged beef are the big players at The Blu Halo. A steak oven that heats meat to 1,700 degrees sears in juices, resulting in a steak experience that’s a call to glory for carnivores. The prices are surprisingly affordable, given the over-the-top pecky cypress, glow-in-the-dark, blue resin inlaid tables and the most comfortable dining chairs in town, not to mention the food quality and service. A melt-in-your-mouth 6-ounce beef tenderloin filet is a reasonable $24. At the high end, weighing in at a whopping 40 ounces, “The Boss” serves two and then some with two sides for $110 and reigns as the most expensive dining option. Sauces and toppings for this and larger cuts, including “The Chief,” a 22-ounce bone-in, dry-aged ribeye, are available for an upcharge and include lump crabmeat, blue cheese, red wine

Seating is available for 210, plus an outside patio and a private room with Wi-Fi and a screen. Manager Andy Donato, a graduate of the Dedman School of Hospitality at FSU and a 30-year restaurant veteran, deftly glides guests through each service. His staff is well-trained and efficient, most having been there since the opening. Patrons are encouraged to come as they are, dressed up or down. Regulars may rent personalized wine lockers for $300 per year, allowing them access to discounted wine.

Reservations are a must on weekend nights, and the swelling popularity of Saturday and Sunday brunch, replete with a Bloody Mary bar, keeps the restaurant humming 7 days a week. Next time a juicy steak and a smoking blue martini call, The Blu Halo answers with the Best Bites on the Menu.

If you are a restaurant owner who would like to be featured in “The Best Bites on the Menu,” please contact us at

Brunch with us! Saturday & Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

850-999-1696 Bannerman Crossing Shopping Center 3431 Bannerman Rd #2 Tallahassee, FL 32312

tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 61 

home and garden

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By Maria Elena Margarella

This spring, add elegance to your Easter traditions. Chinoiserie (pronounced shen-wahz-er-ree) will turn any table-scape into holiday royalty. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website ( the blue-and-white repetitions reflect a Western aesthetic inspired by Eastern designs. Historically, the style rose to popularity in the 18th century due to trade. This holiday, trade in for a lush, fresh centerpiece to liven the table, and matching paper-machéd eggs will offer an extra touch of Easter spirit. A timeless Grace Kelly-like fashion and hairstyle lend themselves to a hostess who will entertain with ease and beauty. Easter is for everyone; so whether or not you’re feeling blue (and white) this year, enjoy gathering around the dinner table with food and family. Styling and makeup by Terra Palmer | Photography by Stacy Rehberg Model provided by Marsha Doll Models | Table setting provided by My Favorite Things Dress and shoes provided by Narcissus | Hair styling provided by Colleen Morgan at Ardens Salon Centerpieces provided by The Highland Gardner | Easter eggs and Easter basket by Terra Palmer tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 63 

the dish

Blooming Salads for Spring By Janecia Britt


hen the flowers of spring start to blossom, it’s our natural inclination to clear out clutter and repurpose or reinvent the things we own. Spring is about more than just cleaning out your closet—it’s a great time to reconnect with your environment, your community and your palate. Shopping for locally grown food, being more conscious about food waste and recycling are all ways to rejuvenate your life and the lives of those around you. There are many ways to change your eating habits to reflect the brightness and freshness of a new season, but simply updating the meals we eat every day will make them more enjoyable to eat and to look at. While the salad is the tried-and-true lunch of spring, it doesn’t have to be boring. Ditch your Cobb and Caesar salads for a bright plate with fresh corn and mango with a hint of feta or a colorful take on the Caprese salad that will make your taste buds bloom.

Fresh Sweet Corn and Mango Salad

5-Minute Caprese Salad

Ingredients: 3 cups of cooked bi-color corn 1 ½ cups of chopped mango ½ cup of halved cherry tomatoes ¼ cup of feta cheese 1 teaspoon of cilantro 1 teaspoon of salt 1 teaspoon of cracked pepper Optional: chopped red onion or jalapeno

Ingredients: Tomatoes: 2 red, 2 green, 2 yellow ½ cup of balled mozzarella 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon of salt 1 teaspoon of cracked pepper ¼ cup of chopped basil

Directions: Shuck or peel corn and boil for five minutes or until cooked through. Cut the corn vertically away from the core and season with salt and pepper. Combine corn, mango, tomatoes and, if desired, red onion. Mix all ingredients until evenly distributed and top with feta and cilantro. You can also add in a fresh chopped jalapeno for heat. 64  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

Directions: Rinse and quarter each tomato (you can cut them into smaller pieces if that suits you better). Season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Add mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with basil and enjoy!

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y favorite Muppet, Kermit, said it best: “It’s not easy being green.” Like any good mom, I try to lead my family down the do-the-rightthing path as we go about our suburban lives. This includes adopting environmentally-friendly habits as I try to instill a leave-no-trace mentality in my family. Let’s just say they’re about ready to stuff me into the recycling bin with my attempts to “green up” our lives. “Listen, Mother Earth, you need to chill,” my husband Kevin says to me on a regular basis as I try to shove my save-the-planet philosophy down my family’s throat. I admit that I sometimes go a little overboard in my efforts. I also admit that I sometimes fail miserably at my own green habits due to inconvenience or the reality of living with teen boys. For example, I’ve drilled my kids on the importance of the three big “R’s”: reduce, reuse and recycle. Yet, despite my best efforts, we often fall short. Reduce: The Good: To cut down on all the harmful chemicals and reduce the influx of disposable containers in our home, I sometimes make my own nontoxic cleaning products with simple ingredients like water, vinegar and lemon juice. The Bad: While this DIY approach works as effectively as most cleaners, I’m banned from using them when my family is at home because they claim it makes the house smell like pungent salad dressing —which it does, but only for ten minutes.

by Lisa A. Beach

The Ugly: With two teen boys in the house, I’m not against breaking out the Lysol as needed. I’m all for “going green,” but teen messes and smelly soccer cleats demand the toxic big guns, like bleach, alkyl, dimethyl benzyl and other ingredients I can’t pronounce. Ozone layer, air quality and clean water be damned! I’m trying to survive two teenagers. Reuse: The Good: We own at least a dozen refillable water bottles, which we regularly take to school, work, soccer games, etc. One drink at a time, we’re not adding to the county landfill. Yay, us! The Bad: While we’ve slowly upgraded most of our water bottles to stainless steel or BPA-free plastic over the years, a few “bad plastics” still lurk in our cupboards. For unknown reasons, we’re still holding onto a few toxic, BPA-laden freebies emblazoned with our local radio station’s logo. The Ugly: At this very moment, we’ve got a case of disposable water bottles sitting on our back porch. Despite our best efforts to bring reusable containers everywhere, we’ve just committed the pinnacle of atrocious eco-crimes. Not only did we buy disposable water bottles, but we bought them in bulk. What kind of monsters are we? Recycle: The Good: My family has dubbed me the Recycling Nazi for my zealot-level intensity of recycling. Each week, our recycling bins overflow with aluminum cans, plastic bottles, newspapers and empty cereal boxes. I’m thrilled that we’ve reduced our carbon footprint. The Bad: Sometimes my overly-aggressive efforts tick off my husband, like when he hasn’t yet read the Sunday newspaper, and I’ve already tossed it into the recycling bin

NEXT TIME IN TALLAHASSEE WOMAN MAGAZINE 66  tallahassee woman • april / may 2017

It’s Not Easy Being Green by 10 a.m. that morning. (This is where he starts, “Listen, Mother Earth….”) The Ugly: Like George Costanza picking a Twinkie out of the trash in a classic Seinfeld episode, I’ve been known to pluck a perfectly good empty toilet paper roll out of the bathroom waste can and put it in the recycling bin. My husband thinks I’ve sunk to a new low. But do you know how many trees I’ve saved over the years? While I’ve got the best of intentions, I struggle with trying to set a good example and then consistently live up to it. For example, rather than waste gallons of water while brushing my teeth, I turn the faucet off until I’m ready to “rinse and spit.” Sometimes my husband or the boys will leave the faucet running full blast while brushing their teeth. “My God, you can bathe a toddler with all the water you’re wasting!” I chastise over the gushing stream. The problem? My hypocrisy comes back to haunt me when they point out that I take longer showers than a construction worker after a long, hot day on the job. Damn, they’re right. Yet, despite my eco-fails, I keep trying to live the green life. In fact, I’ve seriously asked for a compost bin for Mother’s Day for the last five years. So far, no one’s running to Home Depot to fulfill my wish. Instead, I usually receive flowers on Mother’s Day. Of course, when they die, I could have tossed them into the compost bin IF I HAD ONE. The struggle is real, people. I agree with Kermit. It’s not easy being green. Lisa Beach is a freelance journalist, copywriter and humor blogger. Check out her website at and visit her humor blog at

New Frontiers—People, places and things that are making the impossible possible, and helping us to be pioneers in our own lives. Plus: How to have a sensational summer lifestyle!

1 MASTER PLAN FROM THE MASTERS OF OUTDOOR LIVING! Arbors, patios, fireplaces, furniture, retaining walls, landscaping and outdoor kitchens 850-386-2114 tallahassee woman • april / may 2017 67 

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April/May 2017 Tallahassee Woman  
April/May 2017 Tallahassee Woman  

In this issue we explore “The Power of the Share,” and how the impact of a shared story in our community or in social media can shape our ci...