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THRASHER Faith, Family, Love First Lady of FSU



Destin Beach Getaway Embracing & Celebrating Diversity

tallahassee woman | 1 | august • september 2019


is your


HOSPITAL FOR THE FUTURE. FOR OVER 70 YEARS, WE’VE BEEN RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. From humble wooden barracks in 1948 to the modern state-of-the-art expansion of the M.T. Mustian Center, Tallahassee Memorial has evolved during the most extraordinary times in our nation's history. From polio eradication to the first man on the Moon, we've been right there with you, striving towards incredible advancements. TMH was born from a passion to continually build the highest level of healthcare for our community, never forgetting our promise to always be Your Hospital for Life.

TMH.ORG/Future tallahassee woman | 2 | august • september 2019

tallahassee woman | 3 | august • september 2019





10. Our Thoughts

Letter from the Publisher | Letter from the Executive Editor

14. Trends

Fall Fashion: Spice up your closet Books: Inspiring Reads Tech: DIY Home Security Home: Home Sweet Home

44. Wellness

22. Living Local

Mental Health & Mindfulness Matters: A College Student’s Mental Health Journey

WE Elevate: —Keeping Tradition Alive Sweet Home Tallahassee: FAMU’s Graduate Feeder Scholars Program Around Town: ALL in for the Patrol Stroll Haute Happenings: Highlights of Local Events

46. Family

Life: How to Help Your Child Embrace Diversity

30. On the Cover

48. Food

The Dish: The Dish: Just Wingin’ It

50. WE Inspire

Blossom into a Bold, Beautiful and Brilliant New You Cards for a Cure


Jean Thrasher: Faith, Family, Love− First Lady of FSU

34. Business

Work Life: Leverging LinkedIn for Professional Success Money Talk: Don’t Get Short-Changed By Life’s Ups and Downs Women to Watch: Promotions, awards and other notable achievements of local women.

42. Feature Travel

Madame Xhales in Destin, Florida

32. about the cover woman: Jean Thrasher: Faith, Family, Love− First Lady of FSU By Heather Thomas

photography: Kira Derryberry | makeup: Jamee Wright Makeup & Style | clothing and accessories: Narcissus Mrs. Jean Thrasher wears wrap shawl from her private collection. tallahassee woman | 4 | august • september 2019


(850)877-2126 TLHPLASTICSURGERY.COM tallahassee woman | 5 | august • september 2019


WOM Amagazine N August/ September 2019 • Volume 15 • Issue 4

PUBLISHER Dr. Michelle Mitcham







INTERNS Serene Blair Kennedy Guidry Carelys Trujillo Brianna Warren

DIRECTOR OF LUXURY TRAVEL Regina Lynch Hudson ADVERTISING For information on advertising, visit, call (850) 893-9624, or e-mail

TALLAHASSEE WOMAN is a publication of Mitcham Media Group LLC Post Office Box 16616 | 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.

TALWOMAN.COM The information in this publication is presented in good faith. The publisher does not guarantee accuracy or assume responsibility for errors or omissions. Copyright © 2019 Mitcham Media Group LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in part or in whole, without expressed written consent of the Publisher is prohibited.

tallahassee woman | 6 | august • september 2019




Best Rate. First Time.

(Left to right) Laura Jo Hewitt (NMLS # 775253); Adrienne Granger (NMLS # 451760); Christie Powis (NMLS # 658187); April Brueckheimer Dean (NMLS# 1303118); Sheila B. Rogers (NMLS # 499896) NMLS# 393620

Tallahassee | Crawfordville | Lakeland | | (850) 907-2300 tallahassee woman | 7 | august • september 2019

C O N T R I BU T O R S MEREDITH BOWEN HUNTER WRITER Meredith Bowen Hunter is a communications consultant specializing in strategy, messaging and branding. She's a wife, mother, and a Gen Xer admittedly enamored with the efficiency of texting and intrigued by the power of social media.

JENNIFER SANTANA WRITER Jennifer Santana is a recent graduate of Florida State University, where she majored in Editing, Writing, and Media and minored in Spanish. She is an emerging writer in the Tallahassee area who is passionate about fine arts and the publishing industry. Jennifer has previously worked as a reporting intern for the Gadsden County Times during her undergraduate studies.

KIRA DERRYBERRY PHOTOGR APHER 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 worldwide. View her portfolio at

REGINA LYNCH-HUDSON WRITER Veteran publicist and luxury lifestyle experience-aholic, Regina Lynch-Hudson, pens MadameXhales, slated towards the vintage of woman that according to studies: enjoys more time to travel, indulges in longer trips, and selects more extravagant travel accommodations. The exacting taste of MadameXhales finds her exploring destinations, cruises, resorts, spas, and extracurricular activities—where like-minded Xhalers have experienced inner-exhilaration. Contact MadameXhales: KRISTIE KENNEDY WRITER Kristie Kennedy TEDxMatlock Road Speaker on Living Audaciously Authentic is the owner of Queenfidence Image Consulting and is a certified executive coach, licensed image consultant and certified personal trainer who provides motivational inspiration on courageous leadership. She continues to demonstrate by example that you can shift from mediocrity to magnificence one bold action step at a time. Visit to get connected. ANDREA JONES PHOTOGR APHER I love portrait photography because of the honest (even if brief ) connection that occurs between the subject and the photographer. I feel fortunate being able to take the time to focus on the strength, beauty and wisdom of each individual I photograph. As a relative newcomer to portrait photography I am honored to be mentored by my wonderfully talented nieces and nephews.

tallahassee woman | 8 | august • september 2019


Our Value Proposition: What You Get as a Taxpayer and a Stakeholder in our Community Leon County Government leverages partnerships, embraces efficiency and innovation, and demands performance to the benefit of our taxpayers. We actively engage our citizens, not only as taxpayers, but as stakeholders and co-creators of our community – providing meaningful opportunities to capitalize on their talents in making important decisions and shaping our community for future generations.

Stay connected during a disaster with LEON COUNTY CITIZENS CONNECT APP Get your copy Plan now. of the 2019 Disaster Survival When disaster Guide at any Leon County strikes, it’s too library branch or community late to prepare. center

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(850) 606-5300 |

Connect On Social Media

PEOPLE FOCUSED. PERFORMANCE DRIVEN. tallahassee woman | 9 | august • september 2019



Dr. Michelle Mitcham



hat inspires you? What is that magical, spiritual phenomenon that causes you to passionately initiate a creative idea or motivate you into action? I was led by my love and passion of helping, educating and empowering women, along with my constant prayer for purpose, that inspired me to purchase TWM in Fall of 2018. God answered my prayers.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. -HELEN KELLER

Inspiration can take your breath away, touch your heart with excitement and leave your mind wandering about the incessant possibilities of life. Bursts and fleeting moments of inspiration may cause you to lose track of time and propel you to new creative heights and yet to be realized potential. Women that are empowered inspire other women and that inspiration spreads like wildfire. I will never forget the amazing moment when I met Oprah Winfrey in 2002 when I was a featured guest on her show. She exuded optimism, passion and confidence and being in her presence was an inspiration that left an indelible impression on me. I learned that anything is possible and I am thankful that I had that moment in time with such a truly phenomenal woman. I continue to be inspired by Oprah. Tallahassee is filled with phenomenal, inspiring women who are making a difference in our


community and the lives of women, families and children everyday. I am thankful to have so many sources of inspiration: my loving husband, family, friends, faith, community, and people from all walks of life.

Inspire comes from the Latin root word, Inspirare, meaning “to breathe into.” In this issue we take a closer look at diverse women who breathe and pour into us, inspiring us to continue to create meaning in our lives and others. On the cover, the beautiful First Lady of FSU, Jean Thrasher shares her story of faith, family and love. You experience her inspiration even when in her presence for only a short while. I am inspired by her authenticity, kindness and loving spirit. When we came to her home to conduct the interview within, Mrs. Thrasher graciously extended the warmest hospitality to the TWM staff and interns, treating us as if we were family. I know you will be inspired by her story of faith, family and love. Tallahassee has so many outstanding women who inspire us. In WE Elevate, Krishna Patel, a woman of faith, business owner, leader, wife and mother, shares how she connects community through culture. In line with our values of embracing and celebrating diversity, TWM is thrilled to have had Krishna share her story of rich Indian culture and her Hindu faith. She inspires us with her commitment to share the Indian culture and traditions throughout Tallahassee, raising awareness and connecting community. Krishna

graciously invited TWM to her beautiful home, which is featured in this editions “Home Sweet Home.” In addition, “Sweet Home Tallahassee” features Taylor Darks, an outstanding graduate of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University who is continuing to blaze a trail of excellence and accomplishment pursuing a doctorate degree at Florida State University. We are inspired by these women and our WE Inspire contributor, the dynamic Kristie Kennedy, another phenomenal woman in our community. Don’t miss her inspirational words of wisdom to keep you motivated and uplifted. If we can touch the lives, minds and hearts of every woman in Tallahassee and inspire them to live authentically and be the best version of themselves, our collective story, a tapestry of lived experiences, talent, worldliness, and wisdom derived from women of all ages and backgrounds and all walks of life, connects us and inspires. Any dream is within reach and together, we continue to make Tallahassee a unique community that cultivates and nurtures professional development, love, trust, hope, possibilities and incredible inspiration for all women.

Dr. Michelle Mitcham

tallahassee woman | 10 | august • september 2019

TWM presents the Tallahassee RED Gala

Celebrating women who are Resilient, Empowered, and Determined 11.14.19 | University Center Club tallahassee woman | 11 | august • september 2019



Heather Thomas




n order to be truly inspired, all I need is to go outside—to witness the dance of the pine trees in the breeze, the dripping moss-draped majesty of Tallahassee’s oaks, and to listen to the music of the birds who remind me of the importance of song. As I walk down a quiet street, I see the butterflies dancing on the petal of a flower, while that flower remains still in its Being, knowing that in every season there is a dance, a dream of becoming and the constant winds of change. For over 25 years, I’ve been deeply rooted in the Red Hills clay of this region—I’ve traversed the hallways of its schools, both district and FSU; I’ve been employed in its workforce, participated in numerous leadership capacities and met hundreds of people (maybe even more than that?), and raising two children in my long tenure as a resident. In all the challenges, joys and changes, it is the uniqueness of our city that continues to ground and uplift me. When I’m down, I look up, and when I’m joyful I give thanks to the continued presence of my surroundings and the love for my community. It is when I delve into the heart of what makes Tallahassee unique that I come back up to the surface embracing the treasures of the deep—faith, love, hope and the people who are committed to creating a place of equality, diversity, protecting its natural resources, and inspiring all of us to join together as a family in order to help solve the issues and challenges facing us.

The more we can see and understand how connected we all are, the more we can help each other grow and evolve into the human beings, and the community, we are meant to be.

“To walk into nature is to witness a thousand miracles.” –MARY DAVIS

This issue presents many people and ways to be inspired, to celebrate diversity and to honor family. I hope you will take the time to look up, to look around, and to reach out to someone or something different from you in order to learn from them and to share what you have been given—everyday miracles of awakening that bring us all just a little bit more together.

Naturally yours, Heather

We are a part of nature, an echo of its immortal visage and as inseparable as a flower, tree or bird, yet we often make ourselves believe we are separate from its canvas and from one another. tallahassee woman | 12 | august • september 2019




at Florida State University Every year, thousands of FSU students dance their way to raising a significant amount of money – more than $2.2 million this year alone – to support research and specialized medical care for children. These funds have provided lifesaving treatment and equipment at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) through the FSU College of Medicine’s Pediatric Outreach Programs. Natalie Marcelo, 22, from West Palm Beach, and Parker Wilson, 20, from Tallahassee, served on the 2019 Dance Marathon Executive Board as Partnership Chair and Partnership Coordinator.

How does Dance Marathon benefit the local community? NATALIE: Many of people aren’t aware that half of the funds stay here in the Tallahassee region. Half go to Shands Children’s Hospital, our closest Children’s Miracle Network hospital, and half go to the FSU College of Medicine to be distributed among organizations that serve children with medical needs and their families.

How can people in Tallahassee participate? NATALIE: We welcome everyone. What’s unique about Dance Marathon is that we have events and fundraisers throughout the year that culminate with the marathon. Anyone who’s interested should visit our website: www. PARKER: Dance Marathon isn’t just an FSU organization; we are a Tallahassee institution. We appreciate everything the community has done for us and look forward to seeing those relationships continue.

What has Dance Marathon taught you? NATALIE: I’ve learned the joy of giving back, and I know that I will continue to give back throughout my life. We put in so many hours that Dance Marathon becomes like a full or parttime job, but it’s very rewarding. PARKER: It has encouraged me to think about what I can do right now to make a difference. You really get a sense of empowerment, that you can take control of a situation, lead a group of people and inspire a movement.

PARKER: It’s an amazing feeling to tour Shands and TMH and to see equipment with a label that says, “Purchased with money raised at Dance Marathon at FSU!”

It’s inspiring to see the goodness of other “ people and to be surrounded by people who

have equal, if not more, passion than you do.



| fashion • books • tech • home


is the season for change, which means this is a perfect time to spice up your closet! This fall FHereallexpect to see moodier neutrals, throwbacks from the ‘70s, and coats “borrowed from the boys.” is a taste of what to anticipate this season.


Coats for this season range from glam to effortless. These coats make being cozy fashionable and they’re good if you’re on a budget. You can find them at stores like H&M or Nordstrom. To really make a statement, try out a menswear-inspired double-breasted coat. To take the look up a notch, try a checked or plaid version.


One of our favorite pieces from the ‘70s have officially made a comeback. Here’s how to make this style feel more current. Try out a high-waisted fit and a great heel—this added height is essential to balance out the jeans volume. However if you’re more inclined to wearing flats, opt for a pair of cropped flare jeans instead.


As far as accessories go, belt bags could possibly be in the running for accessory of the year. This fashionable fanny pack can be worn across the body or as a belt. Thanks to essentially every notable brand designing its own version, this accessory is more accessible than ever.

tallahassee woman | 14 | august • september 2019

Here are some colors to look out for this fall... MERLOT



HAZEL BUTTERSCOTCH Merlot­­—This is a deep red with a hint of brown. Merlot and wine tones similar to it are great for adding depth. This color can be worn over black boots or used as a statement jacket over white outfits. Hazel—This is a mellow brown with a hint of a peach tint. This works great when combined with darker browns or lighter beiges. Butterscotch—This color is a creamy golden shade with a rich depth perfect for fall. Butterscotch be a vibrant accent color and will go great with black, tan and chocolate brown.

September 8 through September 14 Join us at HarborChase as we celebrate National Assisted Living Week with a weeklong series of fun special events. Kicking off with National Grandparents Day, each day will feature an event that celebrates and spotlights the amazing residents we are honored to care for each and every day. We hope that this year’s theme, “A Spark of Creativity,” inspires residents and their loved ones to embrace their creativity!

Tallahassee 100 John Knox Road | Tallahassee, FL 32303 tallahassee woman | 15 | august • september 2019

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Space is limited. For a full schedule of events or to RSVP, call (850) 502-8986.


Inspiring Reads | books



oung adult literature is often mistaken for being written only for angsty teens and tweens to enjoy. Thankfully, that’s not the case, and thankfully, the stories transcend age, making them enjoyable for almost everyone! Often the most inspiring women start off as inspiring girls –here are some books to curl up with this upcoming fall.

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy The story of Anne of Green Gables has been read and well-loved for generations, telling the story of a red-haired orphan girl who comes to Green Gables and turns her caregivers and the entire town upside down with her big heart and knack for getting into scrapes. Sarah McCoy tells the prequel to that story, taking place in the early nineteenth century, featuring Marilla, the headstrong girl who lived, loved and lost before Anne Shirley came into her life.

Renegades by Marissa Meyers The first of a trilogy, Renegades puts a fantastical spin on the superhero genre, taking you into a world of humans with extraordinary powers, known as prodigies. While the Renegades appear to be the beacon of hope in a world post-chaos caused by the Anarchists, good and evil aren’t as black and white as they appear to be.

A Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

An #ownvoics novel based on aspects of Tahereh Mafi’s own life, A Large Expanse of Sea tells the story of a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl, Shirin, who faces a post-2001 America, where every stare and insult cuts deep to the core. Although she has her parents and brother, she’s lonely and angry. The narrative tackles subjects dealing with tolerance, young love and racism. A Large Expanse is a sincere, deep, and thought provoking read, still topical in today’s social climate.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young A Viking tale, Sky in the Deep focuses on warrior Eelyn who fights with her people, the Aska, in a rivalry against the Riki that’s as old as either clan. Seeing her brother who died just five years prior on the battlefield, Eelyn’s quest for answers leaves her trapped in the enemy’s land, forced to bide her time as she plots her escape. However, hate turns into understanding as she realizes that maybe the Aska and Riki aren’t as different as they appear.

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney McKinney weaves the worlds of Alice in Wonderland meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this high-paced fantasy retelling. Alice juggles the world of being a regular teen in Atlanta while fighting nightmares back in Wonderland. This a perfect read for fans of literary childhood remixes done in a fresh way.

tallahassee woman | 16 | august • september 2019

Yoga (Hot + Not!) At Hot Yoga Tallahassee we are committed to providing safe, high quality yoga classes allowing you the space to cultivate health, wellness & balance.


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tallahassee woman | 17 | august • september 2019


| tech



ecently, DIY home security installation has increased substantially in popularity as a standard home accessory. Buying and installing your own security system is now more affordable and easy than hiring a company to do it, not to mention that there are no long-term contracts tagging along. A security system is important to have, considering how frequent burglaries and break-ins have become, along with theft of mail and packages. FBI studies show that every 13 seconds a burglary takes place and that one in three homes without home security surveillance will experience one. Having home surveillance enables you to be able to check up on your home 24/7, which can prevent not only break-ins but also fires. Some home security systems even offer carbon monoxide detectors to detect this harmful odorless, colorless and sometimes fatal gas

that is unknowingly released in some homes. Considering all the frequent dangers presented to our homes, investing in a home security installation is worth looking into. There are several DIY installations that are inexpensive and easy to manage, and we’ve compiled a few popular options: SimpliSafe offers dual cellular and Wi-Fi connections (so that the system doesn’t go out during a power outage), smoke detectors, motion sensors and continuous monitoring – the ultimate package to guarantee full surveillance. Net Secure is another option that is simple and easy to understand. It provides state-of-the-art devices that can connect to your phone, allowing you to receive notifications and further manage the system whenever it deems necessary to you.

Abode is similar to the other systems, except that it allows you to integrate it with older devices as well. Other ones usually are compatible only with more modern devices. It also can connect to Alexa and Google Assistant for voice commands. Ooma is a great affordable option for apartments or smaller homes. It includes a Telo Hub and a motion sensor that provide easy access to call 9-1-1 from your phone if something seems wrong, along with free monitoring. Arlo offers wireless, weatherresistant Wi-Fi cameras that can be placed inside or outside of the house. These cameras are easy to use and have been noted to have impressive capabilities.

tallahassee woman | 18 | august • september 2019

We believe small businesses deserve big benefits. The challenges of managing a small business today are anything but small. That’s why at Synovus we offer a complete range of products and services specifically designed to address your unique needs. Unlike some banks, small is large in our book. Find out how we can help you. 1-888-SYNOVUS |

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tallahassee woman | 19 | august • september 2019


| home sweet home



Home—Where Identity, Culture and Family Intertwine BY SERENE BLAIR | PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREA JONES


ust as there are many kinds of people and experiences under the sun, there are just as many places that we’ve all come to call “home.” This four-letter word evokes a sense of peace and belonging when reflected upon fondly. Most noteworthy in Krishna Patel’s home is the painting also known as the Geeta Saar. It offers advice or a holy suggestion from the Bhgwat Geeta, which she explains as “similar to the scriptures in the Bible”. It’s treated as a universal mantra, recited to achieve spiritual freedom from samsara (which is also known as the recurring cycle of death and reincarnation); however, it’s also sometimes recited for its auditory benefit and sound vibrations. Translated into English, it says: Whatever has happened, has happened for good. Whatever is happening, is happening for good. Whatever will happen, shall also happen for good. What have you lost, that you cry for? What did you bring, that you lost? What did you create, that was destroyed? You came empty-handed, and will go empty-handed. Whatever is yours today was somebody else’s yesterday and will be somebody else’s tomorrow. In Indian culture, home is said to be like a temple—as in a place of importance and meaning—hence it should be kept clean and be respected. God is seen in everything, so one should put this into practice, for example, not putting feet on things such as books or papers or wearing shoes inside the home (most adapt this practice, but not everyone, and it’s dependent upon individual beliefs). Not only just a place of refuge, a home is also a place to recharge and rest, both physically and emotionally. For her, home is a space where she can spend time with her children and family members. As Krishna says, “A house is a home when it’s a place where people can gather together.” tallahassee woman | 20 | august • september 2019

CO O K I N ’



Rediscover outdoor cooking with a natural gas grill or purchase an Energy STAR appliance, such as a pool pump, and get up to $300 in rebates. Offset your summer air conditioning cost by enhancing your outdoor living. To learn more about rebates and other ways to save energy, water and money, visit or call 891-4968.


tallahassee woman | 21 | august • september 2019


WE Elevate WE elevate

Keeping Tradition Alive


the performances and music for their events.


lthough Tallahassee is an ever-growing city full of rich history and cultural diversity, it can be easy to overlook the wide range of diversity in our community when we’re not exposed to it regularly. Set in our individual routines and constantly surrounded by the communities we identify with, it’s very easy to miss the dozens of other communities that make our city so vibrant. Born in Kenya to Indian parents and raised in London, Krishna Patel has always valued her Indian roots, even as she grew up heavily influenced by British culture. A Tallahassee resident since 1988, Krishna has spent the last 30 years actively involved in the local Indian community at the Hindu Gujarati Samaj, determined to make her roots a fabric of her daily life and to pass her culture’s traditions on to a new generation. She has coordinated numerous events for more than 20 years—from teaching the youth their Samaj dances, decorating the hall, and organizing

Being so heavily involved in her community over the years she’s lived in Tallahassee, Krishna has witnessed the firsthand importance of embracing her culture and how the traditions in her community have also shaped the lives of the children she taught. “As years gone by, the kids I have taught years ago have kids of their own now and ask me to teach them dances and to continue the tradition of passing on our culture from one generation to another.” When asked about the importance of maintaining a connection to her roots, Krishna said, “Cultural diversity is so important to me and my community here in Tallahassee because our town is so small—it is easy for our children to only know what they see. It is important for us as parents to introduce our children and the youth to our culture, as well as embracing the American culture they are growing up in. We don’t want traditions to be lost in the generations to come.” Although it has always been important to Krishna to educate and

pass down tradition to the members of her community, she also hopes to promote cultural diversity to the rest of Tallahassee as well through the local outreach and events that she participates in. “We are involved in many community events, such as Asia Fest where we have our own tent showcasing the Indian culture. We sell Indian outfits, jewelry, and do henna tattoos. All the money we make goes back into our youth programs. We also supported Florida State University’s Indian Students’ Association in helping with fundraising and sponsoring events. We try to promote and encourage our cultural diversity here in the Tallahassee community as much as possible.”

"I think the youth is the key in making sure traditions and cultures are passed down." Reflecting over the years that she has spent keeping the traditions of her community alive in Tallahassee, Krishna offered the following advice to other communities searching for visibility: involve the youth. Urging

tallahassee woman | 22 | august • september 2019

the importance of celebrating their cultures and passing down traditions through the children of these communities, she stressed the importance of teaching others. “With every holiday, we try to have an event where we can have our youth involved and know where their families come from. I think the youth is the key in making sure traditions and cultures are passed down. It is the duty of the adults to be involved and take lead when able.” Most importantly, Krishna urges the rest of the Tallahassee community to explore cultures and communities beyond their own, highlighting the importance of coming together to share in new experiences. “I hope to bring awareness to the Hindu culture more. I want to highlight the many traditions and events we hold here in Tallahassee. Everyone is welcomed to experience the events we hold, and I want to bring more awareness to that. For instance—one holiday called Navratri, which is celebrated every autumn through nine days of dancing and fasting. Our community gets together, wearing their best Indian outfits and dancing the night away to a live musical band. We encourage other communities to come enjoy these nine days of celebration. These nights bring on a tremendous amount of fun, laughter and memories that I think anyone would enjoy. Bringing awareness to cultural events as these will really bring the Hindu culture to light.”

Laser Hair Removal now available at Healthy Solutions. Leave Waxing to the Museum.

Bert Morales, M.D. Phone: 850.309.0356 Text: 850.629.0345 2003 Miccosukee Rd.

tallahassee woman | 23 | august • september 2019


| sweet home tallahassee

FAMU’s Graduate Feeder Scholars Program



Taylor Darks

1433 East Piedmont Drive | Tallahassee, FL 32308



ccording to Forbes, women make up more than 56 percent of college students nationwide. Despite the educational gains that women have achieved, men still earn higher wages. Today, women earn 80 cents on the dollar. For instance, today a woman with a bachelor’s degree earns roughly the same as a man with an associate’s degree. For this reason, women have internalized that higher education pays.

Julio A. Sixto, DMD and Richard J-P Bastien, DMD

Giving Tallahassee a Reason to Smile

This is a lesson that Taylor Darks has grasped. Taylor Darks, a former FAMU women's basketball player, is a spring 2019 graduate. She has earned the FAMU Feeder Fellowship to attend Florida State University to pursue a doctorate in sociology. FAMU’s Graduate Feeder Scholars Program is one of the hidden gems on FAMU’s campus. It has created graduate and postgraduate opportunities for students through partnerships with nearly 40 research universities. Q: How did you learn about the FAMU Graduate Feeder Scholars Program?

Family and Cosmetic Dentistry Same Day Crowns Latest Technology Professional and Caring Team

1433 East Piedmont Drive | Tallahassee, FL 32308


A: I heard about the FAMU Feeder program by word of mouth. Here at FAMU, everyone is so helpful and informative.

A: Florida State has one of the top sociology programs in the country. Not only that, FAMU is very close to my heart as well as Tallahassee. I wanted to have a chance to stay connected to FAMU and FSU and make an impact in both communities.

Q: What advantages have you had through this program that you wouldn’t have had otherwise?

Q: What are your thoughts on the program, and would you recommend it to other graduates?

A: One of my main advantages was networking and having a better understanding of the graduate school application process as a whole. The workshops were very important in how I approached the application and how I prepared for the GRE.

A: I constantly recommend the graduate feeder program to all incoming and current students. It is an opportunity you can’t pass up, and it can open doors for those who may not have been considering grad school, as well as for those who had been planning to go.

Q: What was your reaction to earning the FAMU Feeder Fellowship?

Q: How do you think this program has enhanced FAMU?

A: I was speechless. I never thought a simple conversation could turn into a fully funded opportunity to earn my doctoral degree and the knowledge that comes with it.

A: This program has given many opportunities to FAMU students. It has also provided a step-by-step guide to the students from families who may not have gone to grad school or who haven't gone through the process of applying to grad school, just like me.

Q: Out of the 40 universities partnered with FAMU, what influenced you to choose Florida State to pursue your doctorate in sociology?

Hours: Open M-Th: 8am – 5pm, phones closed (12-12:30 pm), Friday: 9am-2pm tallahassee woman | 24 | august • september 2019



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(first left past Fleischmann)



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Greenhouse tallahassee woman | 25 | august • september 2019


| around town

ALL in for the Patrol Stroll BY SHONDA KNIGHT


major street in CollegeTown is blocked off, and dozens of law enforcement officers swarm the scene. As bystanders and the media wait with bated breath, the two TV and radio announcers step up to the podium and announce, “It’s time for the Patrol Stroll: ALLin for a Cure!” It’s an epic law enforcement fashion show, benefitting Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. This October will mark the third Patrol Stroll event hosted by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. The show has featured sworn law enforcement members from local agencies, including Sheriff Walt McNeil and FSU Police Chief David Perry. The local heroes are dressed by area formal wear shops and boutiques. “It’s not often we get to take off the uniform, let our hair down and be the center of attention. What makes it even better is, it’s all for a good cause. It’s now my favorite community event of the year,” said LCSO Sergeant Teresa Howard. The fashion show runway is literally Madison Street, right in the middle of College Town. LCSO transforms the double yellow line in the middle of the street to fluorescent pink stripes, lines the roadway with ribbon-tied, fabric-covered chairs for VIP guests and has special seating at the end of the runway for breast cancer survivors. “My favorite part was making it to the end of the runway and looking into the eyes of the survivors. You can see how much they enjoy the show and that makes the experience that much more rewarding,” said LCSO Detective Shade McMillian. Detective McMillian was the top fundraiser for the “RompHim” competition leading up to the 2017 show. The public was encouraged to vote for the deputy they’d like to see wear the one-piece jumper, and McMillian came out on top. The second year featured a competition between LCSO’s K9 teams, and year three will feature a contest amongst the lady cops to discover who will wear the custom-made “showstopper” gown. The show itself is free and open to the public, and event sponsors get front-row seats to the action. Altogether in the first year, LCSO raised more than $22,000 for the cause, making the agency the top local Making Strides fundraiser and in the top 25 nationwide. The agency won the Florida Public Relations Association’s top Community Relations Award statewide for the fashion show. The Patrol Stroll concept came about when Sheriff McNeil was tapped as one of the local “Real Men Wear Pink” ambassadors. Each of the community leaders was asked to compete to raise funds and awareness for the Making Strides campaign. LCSO’s Community Relations team began devising a plan, and thus the Patrol Stroll was born. The first show was such a success, Sheriff McNeil declared it an annual event. “We love serving our community, and this event is no exception. The only distinction is, we’re having a whole lot of fun doing it.” This year’s event will be in October on a yet to-be-determined date and time. For more information about the upcoming event, visit or call (850) 606-3270. tallahassee woman | 26 | august • september 2019






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haute happenings

PAW PATROL LIVE! “RACE TO THE RESCUE” August 1 to September 1, 2019 Civic Center

It’s the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race between Adventure Bay’s own Mayor Goodway and Foggy Bottom’s dastardly Mayor Humdinger, but Mayor Goodway is missing. Ryder assembles the PAW Patrol to run the race and save the day! A time event for all ages, the show is 75 minutes long with one 15-minute intermission. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


August 4, 2019 | 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Capital Lanes Bowling This family friendly event is a great way to spend the afternoon and support the homeless pets in the care of Tallahassee. There will be adoptable dogs from Tallahassee Animal Services attending to greet and meet you. Make sure to register at


August 12, 2019 | 12 p.m. - 12:45 p.m. Goodwood Museum & Gardens The Florida Animation Festival showcases animated films, a filmmaking workshop, keynote speakers, and a kickoff party that shines a spotlight on FSU’s College of Motion Picture Arts' current students. This multiday event celebrates both regional and global animation talent and creates an immersive This free class is designed for beginners. Students will practice postures and breathing exercises. This yoga session includes benefits such as increased strength, flexibility, and range of motion as well as improved balance and focus. Summer chair yoga classes will

be held in Goodwood’s Carriage House. For more information please call 850-877-4202 or email

SUNDOWN CONCERT SERIES August 17, 2019 Cascades Park

Tallahassee Downtown is host to the free 2019 Sundown Concert Series at the Capital City Amphitheater. Bring friends and family to listen to local and regional artists at this fun event. Local food trucks and craft beverages will be available on-site. Bring your blankets, grab a cooler, pack your favorite beverages and enjoy music from opener Revival and headliner Drivin’ n Cryin’. The event is free and open to all ages, and no tickets or advance registration are required. For more information, visit visittallahassee. com.


August 17, 2019 | 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Tallahassee Museum Join the Tallahassee Museum to get to know Tallahassee’s nighttime animals. Experience a tour of night life at the Tallahassee Museum as your guide points out many of the nocturnal animals who call the museum home. Tickets must be purchased in advanced through

2019 SUNDOWN CONCERT SERIES AT CASCADES PARK PRESENTS DRIVIN N CRYIN W/ REVIVAL August 17, 2019 | 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. 6361 Mahan Drive

This event is a part of the Sundown Concert Series and is free and open to all ages. Attendees are welcomed to bring their own food and beverages. There will also be local nonprofits and food trucks on site with food and craft beverages available for purchase. Nonprofit partners for this series are Big Bend Homeless Coalition, CESC, INC.,

CCYS. 100 percent of alcohol sales at the event go to support local nonprofits.


August 24, 2019 | 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. 6361 Mahan Drive The 19th Annual Grape Harvest Festival will be held at the FAMU Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research. Come out and celebrate family, food, fun, and agricultural discovery in recognition of FAMU's role as a national leader in viticulture research. Activities include a grape stomping contest, a kids petting zoo, water slides, a grape throwing competition, a grape, and wine sampling, and much more. For more information go to http://www.famunews. com/event/grape-harvest-festival-2019/.

SECOND HARVEST “FOOD FOR THOUGHT” TOUR August 28, 2019 | 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Second Harvest of the Big Bend

Second Harvest's one-hour Food for Thought tours includes an information session to learn more about who is hungry in our community, a walking tour of the food bank, and a complimentary lunch provided by Chicken Salad Chick. Interested groups and individuals should RSVP to to confirm participation.

2019 READ A BOOK DAY 1 MILE, 5K, 10K, 13.1, 26.2 September 6 through September 30, 2019 National Read A Book Day is observed on September 6th, and Moon Joggers presents their second annual 1 Mile, 5K,10K, 13.1 or 26.2 virtual run (or walk) to encourage others to get out there and read! A virtual race is a race that can be run (or walked) from any location you choose. You can run, jog, or walk on the road, on the trail, on the treadmill, at the gym or on the

tallahassee woman | 28 | august • september 2019

track (or even at another race). Choose the distance you want to complete any time in the month of September. The price is $20 and that includes your medal, bib, and shipping. Plus, at least 15% of every entry will be donated to the Operation Lunchbox. For more information and to register, visit


Saturday, September 7, 2019 | 10 a.m. Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee The Downtown Digital Dome Theatre and Planetarium will have a free planetarium shown on the first Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. Monthly Skies Over Tallahassee is a live show presented by the Tallahassee Astronomical Society and will review prominent constellations, stars and planet positions.

visit www.


September 13 – 15 from | 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. The Pavilion at The Centre of Tallahassee

32nd Annual

This event is bringing the culture of the Islands to Tallahassee with food, vendors, parades and live performances. For more information, call (850)251-2482 or go to the-2nd-annual-tallahassee-caribbeancarnival/.


September 20, 2019 | 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. John G. Riley Museum and Center


September 14, 2019 | 7 a.m. - 12 p.m. Southwood Town Center This event features a scenic 5k, familyfriendly activities, and live entertainment. The St. Jude Walk/Run Tallahassee is held during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital continue to find cures and save the lives of children battling cancer and other lifethreatening diseases. For more information or to register, make a donation, or volunteer,

The John Gilmore Riley Center & Museum exhibit, “Uncrowned Queens: Matriarchs of Courage,” highlights women who contributed to the growth, stability and development of Tallahassee and Leon County. ese women were pioneers due in part to their ability to demonstrate courage and inspire generations in the face of opposition, inequality and oppression. e exhibit features photographic images of women who lived within the City of Tallahassee and in surrounding legacy communities such as Lake Hall, Miccosukee, Lake Jackson and Lake McBride during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

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tallahassee woman | 29 | august • september 2019

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t the beginning of our interview, Jean Thrasher, First Lady of Florida State University, received a text from her husband, Florida State University President John Thrasher. The text read, “I just want you to know I’m thinking about you.” Jean smiled when she showed it to me, and with a sparkle in her vivid blue eyes, she says, “He checks in with me throughout the day, and I do the same. No matter how busy he gets, he always makes time to let me know he loves me.” Jean described another recent example that came from former FSU President Sandy D’Alemberte’s memorial service, where John gave an eloquent tribute for his former friend and mentor. “He searched for me immediately after the service had ended, and among all the hundreds of people there, he found me and kissed me and we hugged. It was unspoken reassurance as we mourned a friend; it was thankfulness and encouragement — it was a moment that said we get through it all together.” These poignant moments, among many others, illustrate the resilience, faith and love that make up Jean Thrasher’s life, a life that has had many chapters—it spans over 55 years of marriage, being a military spouse, raising three children, supporting John with his local and state government leadership roles, advocating for community organizations and being the First Lady of FSU, where at the FSU President’s Home they welcome their family, students, alumni and the community of FSU and Tallahassee. “I’ve had a wonderful, blessed life.” Her story began in Calhoun, Georgia, and then Florida, when at the age of 8, and as the youngest of three sisters, Jean and her family moved to Jacksonville to start a dry-cleaning business. Her early memories of those days include being teased by other school children for her Southern accent (you can still hear a slight twang) and how hardworking her parents

were, who taught their children the values of Christianity and the importance of family bonds. Jean’s mother was an empowering influence. “She really did it all — she worked full-time helping to run the family business, but she was always there for us and was very involved in civic activities as well.” These roots were intertwined with an intrinsic Southern affinity for hospitality — everyone who encounters Jean is enveloped in her warmth and light. Perhaps this is what John felt upon first meeting her during the summer between her freshman and sophomore years of college. They had gone to the same high school but had never met until a night out with mutual friends brought them together. Just two weeks later and comparable to a fairy tale, they professed their love after running down a stretch of beach at sunset. Jean remembers John saying, “I’m going to love you more than anyone else ever could.” This devotion would sustain them through many challenges, and as Jean jokes, “In the early days we literally lived on love.” She describes, a time after

makeup: Jamee Wright Makeup & Style | clothing and accessories: Narcissus

tallahassee woman | 30 | august • september 2019

tallahassee woman | 31 | august • september 2019

O N T H E C OV E R they were newly married, when they both worked at FSU while John finished his business degree. They had rented a small apartment that poetically, was just down the road from the current FSU President’s House. “We didn’t have debt, but we didn’t have much money. If we had $10 for the week to spend on food, then that is what we worked with.” After John graduated in 1965, they moved back to Jacksonville for John’s job, and soon after, he received a military draft notice. He applied for a commission and in 1966 they moved to Germany, where they would live for 3 years and have their first child, Jennifer. After the 3-year commission was over, John expressed his desire to continue to serve his country by going to Vietnam to help in the war effort. Jean says, “We had saved money for John to go to law school after our time in Germany was done, and I was worried about what could happen to him. Even though this was not our original plan, I knew it was a call laid upon his heart. How could I tell him no?” While John was in Vietnam, Jean was back in Jacksonville, where she gave birth to their second child, Jon. She had to juggle raising a toddler and an infant on her own, while keeping hope alive that John would not become a casualty of war. “It was a tough time, but I prayed and was sustained by my faith in God.” She was also learning how to handle hardships with strength and grace. “For anything you face in life, if you can approach it with a positive attitude and find things to be thankful for, you will grow and thrive and use what you’ve gained to help others.” In 1970, John did return home after being awarded two bronze stars. John and Jean moved to Tallahassee, where John attended and then graduated from FSU Law School in 1972. After a brief move to Ormond Beach, they moved back to Tallahassee where their third child, Julie, was born. Eventually, they settled in Orange Park, Florida, there John practiced law and began his political career by running for the Clay County School Board, in large part because of Jean’s urging. “I told John, ‘We need your voice and leadership for our public-school families. You should run for office.’”

After serving on the school board, John would go on to run for the Florida House of Representatives, where he served from 1992 to 2000, and then the Florida Senate from 2009 to 2014 and was the Chair of the FSU Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2005. During this time, Jean was John’s support base. “When you have a spouse in public service, you do whatever needs to be done to help them. When John was running for office, I was head of everything he needed me for — cold calling, walking neighborhoods, heading up campaign headquarters, setting up a cookout for 500 people, and sending mailouts to 25,000 people.” She says for any marriage to be successful, “there is a give a take, and you have to respect and appreciate one another. Our faith is at the center of our lives, and it brings us together. We try to reflect who we are wherever we are.” Over the years, she has remained active in philanthropic endeavors that have included serving as a Girl Scout leader, home room mother, a Sunday School teacher for 10 years, a member of the Garden Club and a member of the neighborhood association board and volunteering with the Salvation Army. She served for 12 years on the Board of Lighthouse Learning Center, a preschool for special needs children, and took an active role in a campaign to create a Domestic Violence Center in Clay County. “No matter what stage of life we’re in, we try to pull the community together — we are a family that cares.” When John became FSU’s 15th president in 2014, they became the heads of a very large family. In fact, when she meets students for the first time, she tells them, “Just call me Gigi,” which is what her grandchildren call her. This exemplifies Jean’s vision as First Lady, which has centered around creating familial bonds. “I want students to feel like FSU is their home away from home, and it’s one reason why I love to share the beauty of the President’s House. It is such an honor to live here while John is president. We always tell visitors, ‘This is your home; we’re just the tenants!’” In fact, every year, Jean helps to host more than 130 events at the President’s House. “We enjoy honoring our incredible faculty and staff and interacting with alumni and members

of the community.” One of the first events Jean hosted was the now-annual First Lady’s Tea on the lawn of the President’s House. “It’s a wonderful way to meet and connect with women in the greater Tallahassee area.” She also attends as many university events as possible—from New Student Convocation to graduation and everything in-between. “I want to support students in whatever they are doing, whether it’s the arts, academics service to the community or athletics, and recognize their inspirational achievements.” Since the theme of this issue is WE Inspire, Jean reflected on what else gives inspiration and meaning to her life. “My first inspiration comes from my faith. John’s enthusiasm for his job and being married for 55 years are gifts that inspire me to be the best wife, mother and friend I can be. Our three grown children inspire me, as well as their families and our eight grandchildren. I’m also blessed with wonderful friends who love me and support me — it’s important to have girlfriends who keep you grounded and laughing along life’s ups and downs.” When it comes to nurturing those relationships and inspiring others to live with intention, Jean says, “We can empower one another by being good listeners, demonstrating real interest and encouraging each other. We can love with purpose by being positive, patient, kind and supportive to others we connect with.” Connecting in order to give these gifts is Jean’s specialty, and no one knows this better than John Thrasher. Whenever people ask him to whom or what he attributes all his achievements, he answers, “God, Jean and FSU.” In church, at an FSU event or during a quiet moment on the porch at the President’s House, you will find Jean and John holding hands, a beautiful picture of Jean’s own definition of success. “If you have loved the people in your life and they have loved you … that is how I would describe the secret to true meaning and purpose. The love I share for John, our family, FSU and the community reflects my faith and the love God has for all of us. If that’s to be my legacy, then nothing would give me greater joy.”

tallahassee woman | 32 | august • september 2019

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

tallahassee woman | 33 | august • september 2019


| work life


here are many apps, tools, and resources available to aid in the digital workforce world, whether you are beginning your job search, switching careers or looking to network or move up within your current field. Optimizing your use of LinkedIn, a professional networking site that functions as an online resume as well, can open doors and lead to new opportunities. Here are a few ways to make LinkedIn work for you.

Choose an Appropriate Profile Photo When you encounter someone through their profile, their photo is often the first thing seen. Adding a professional photograph to your profile not only increases the number of people who view your account but makes the right impression; thus, it makes you more approachable. Keep it simple! Your profile picture should be of you alone with a plain background, and a current, accurate depiction of you in an appropriate manner for your occupation.

tallahassee woman | 34 | august • september 2019


List Everything! Don’t Sell Yourself Short When it comes to the typical resume, you are often limited to a one-page summary of your work experience, and many details that outline your previous jobs often don’t make the cut. LinkedIn doesn’t have a space limit, and this allows the freedom to expand upon recent and earlier positions, as well as specify or explain the things you may have excluded on the resume for the sake of saving space.

Share Your Accomplishments and Accolades One of the main purposes of LinkedIn is to help increase your chances of finding success in the professional sphere, whether that’s through finding employment or finding someone else who can lead you in that direction. It’s much easier for potential employers to reach out to you if your achievements and awards are clearly listed in your profile.


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Get Recommendations and Endorsements for Skills You can find an entire section that’s dedicated to listing any hard and soft skills you possess that can help differentiate you from other profiles. LinkedIn allows you to add a maximum of 50 skills, with the first 3 visible to the viewer. After you’ve added your skills, ask some current or former colleagues and coworkers to endorse you. This both adds credibility and helps your profile stand out as well. You can also return the favor by endorsing your colleagues in skills they’ve listed. Recommendations are also a great way to demonstrate your abilities and competence to future employers. They will be better convinced that you live up to who and what you say you are on your profile and in your resume. Recommendations can be from peers, other professionals or anyone whom you’ve made a good impression on.

To advertise with Tallahasse Woman Magazine email us at

Connect With Companies and Organizations That Interest You Not only can you follow and connect with other people, but LinkedIn also allows you to follow brands, corporations and organizations. It also shows you who works for certain companies, giving you the opportunity to connect with those people and learn more about the culture and possible growth companies that available to employees.

tallahassee woman | 35 | august • september 2019


| money talk

Don’t Get ShortChanged by Life’s Ups and Downs When circumstances change, it’s time to change your money mindset. BY BRIANNA WARREN


ue to life’s ups and downs, women all over are spending too much of their time stressing about their financial situation, when they could be spending that time rewriting their own stories. An inspiring story from Alexa Mason of Single Moms Income discusses money issues and how our assumptions of people based on economic status aren't always accurate. Alexa’s real story discusses the issues of stereotypes that put women in a box. She says, “Breaking out of that box and not feeling like you need to meet societal expectations is one of the most difficult, yet most powerful things you can do for yourself, especially when it comes to your financial life.” Alexa’s unique story of becoming a single parent highlights the importance of swallowing your pride and doing what’s best for you. After her divorce, she refused to purchase a trailer because she was embarrassed. Then she was denied offers on two houses that she didn’t even like. She then listened to her father’s advice and went back to square one. Her success story is one that women need to hear because she took back her own power! By goal setting and changing her mindset, she made huge progress breaking free from societal expectations. Alexa shares a retirement study that showed that women, on average, set lower financial goals than men. Her five pieces of advice can help anyone feeling

trapped by their circumstances know that there is a way out.

Keep creating new goals so you always have something to push towards.

Ignore Expectations

Earn More Money

In order to improve your financial situation, find out what you need to do and ignore what you may not want to do. You might need to downgrade your house or use food stamps/ coupons. Regardless of what others are thinking, these changes could drastically change your life, and when you throw society’s expectations out the window, you’re opening yourself up to a new kind of freedom.

Stay Away from Debt

Alexa advises staying away from debt as much as possible. The less you use your credit card to pay for things you cannot afford, the more you'll thank yourself later in this process of building yourself up.

Alexa explains that the hardest mindset shift was wrapping her head around the fact that her income could be whatever she wanted it to be. She explains that going back to school, starting a business, or even finding a job online can be a great way to earn more. Get creative and find out what’s right for you!

Be Proud of Your Capabilities

The ultimate message is that you are capable of carving your own path to success. Have confidence in yourself and BE PROUD of what you have accomplished. Don’t give money all the power-- take back the power and use it to make the changes that you want for your life.

Make Strong Goals

This is a favorite of ours yet still an obstacle for many. LADIES, YOU CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING YOU WANT. Find your dream and say it out loud! Then go beyond that because it’s possible! If you have a goal to pay off your debt, save money or even buy a house, you need to start somewhere. Write down your goals and maybe follow a new budget plan. Reduce the number of times you eat out per week and work at it little by little. tallahassee woman | 36 | august • september 2019

"You are capable of carving your own path to success."


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| women to watch

Women to Watch N E W S | A W A R D S | M I L E S T O N E S

Carrie Leitner

Carrie Leitner joins Elder Care Services as the Director of Human Resources. With a B.S. in business management from Florida State University, Carrie’s background in hospitality and insurance provides a rich perspective to the responsibilities of employee and agency relations. In her leadership role, Carrie brings a positive, professional, approachable attitude to all challenges and looks forward to the opportunity to help seniors in the Tallahassee community.

Ramona Brookins

Ramona Brookins, M.B.A. recently joined Elder Care Services, bringing over 20 years of accounting experience in both the public and private sectors. As Assistant Finance Director, Ramona utilizes her talents and training to move the fiscal department forward with innovative and efficient strategies to assist in serving the most vulnerable in our community—the elderly. Her passion for helping others and her strong skill set make Ramona an invaluable asset to the Elder Care team.

Nancy Daniels

Nancy Daniels was the recipient of the 2019 Martha Barnett Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. The 2019 award was presented at the TBA’s June 4, 2019, membership meeting, a lunch event celebrating the area’s legal support staff. The award has been established to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of women lawyers from Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit. Each year, this award honors an outstanding woman lawyer who has achieved professional excellence and who has been an advocate or mentor for the advancement of other women lawyers.

Dr. Pooja Patel

Dr. Pooja Patel is a practicing rheumatologist with Tallahassee Primary Care Associates. With over eight years of experience in rheumatology diagnosing and treating autoimmune diseases, arthritic conditions, and much more, Dr. Patel utilizes a holistic approach to medicine that suggests dietary and exercise modifications, not solely relying on medication. Dr. Patel enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband Nil and two daughters, Diya and Trisha.

Elizabeth Ricci

Elizabeth Ricci, a Tallahassee-based immigration attorney concentrating on complex legal issues, was selected to receive the Tallahassee Women Lawyers Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Award. The award, which was created in 2016, recognizes individuals, businesses, government entities and professional associations who display leadership in fostering diversity in their workplaces or industries and the surrounding community. The award is intended to highlight the contributions of those who advance the cause of justice and equality in the community and society through diversity and inclusion.

Tamara Tedder

Tamara Tedder is a licensed CRA Mortgage Loan Originator for Synovus Bank and has over 16 years of experience in the Mortgage Finance and Real Estate Industries. Tamara is currently the board chair for the Housing Counseling Network, a State appointed nonprofit that oversees 113 HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agencies throughout the state of Florida.

Kathleen Spehar

The Board of Directors of the Council on Culture & Arts (COCA) is pleased to announce that Kathleen Spehar will serve as the new Executive Director, effective August 2019. Kathleen comes to COCA after serving as the Director of The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She brings to the position extensive leadership experience in arts nonprofits and a strong background in arts education and advocacy. She will be responsible for continuing to serve and support the cultural community in our region. Women to Watch includes announcements of promotions, awards, business openings and milestones of business and professional women in the Tallahassee community. Submit your announcements for Women to Watch to

tallahassee woman | 38 | august • september 2019

Work. Life. Balance. Summer Brooke Gomez, PhD


Professional Identity Workplace Social Strategies Ambitious Couples Exceptional Adolescents Creativity & Spirituality FSU MSW & PhD in

Marriage & Family Therapy

Individuals Couples & Families

There is incredible wisdom within you. Awaken it. FL LCSW 12608

MIDTOWN CHARMER 1126 Carriage Road Listed at $995,000 4 Bedrooms | 2 Full Baths | 2 Half Baths | 5,256 Sq Ft Beautiful custom brick home in the heart of town on quiet cul-de-sac! Appointed with antique wide-plank heart pine floors, 9-foot ceilings with triple crown molding, extensive millwork, plantation shutters and 2 gas fireplaces. Gorgeous foyer leads to study and formal dining. Expansive living and family room offers wet bar and wall of tall windows. Eat-in kitchen with integrated Sub-Zero refrigerator, double Wolf ovens, Thermador gas cook top and Bosch dishwasher. Master on main floor features a fully remodeled bath. Theatre room with 90” projection screen opens to covered patio overlooking a pergola and slate surround immersion pool in a beautifully landscaped, private back yard.

H e t t i e S p o o n e r | 8 5 0. 5 0 9.4 3 37 | h i l l s p o o n e m tallahassee woman | 39 | august • september 2019


IN DESTIN, FLORIDA by regina lynch-hudson photography by courtland bivens iii

Look no further than Destin, Florida’s Henderson Park Inn for your perfect exodus to romance. This postcard perfect bed and breakfast is Destin’s only all-inclusive, adults-only property and offers the ideal blend of coastal charm and serene seclusion! Located at the edge of Scenic Highway 98 and nestled against Henderson State Park, Henderson Park Inn unfolds more than a mile of the world’s most stunning, unobstructed beach access─my personal seaside sanctuary for 19-plus years of anniversaries, birthdays and essential exhales!

Henderson Park Inn’s status as an alluring member of the distinguished Southern Living’s Hotel Collection assures you that comfort is not only a privilege but a priority at Henderson Park Inn. Upon entering the rustically elegant inn, you’ll be swept away by the calming aura. Not only does this quaint bed and breakfast exude solitude, but Henderson Park Inn has built a reputation of exceptional customer service! Accommodating agents cater to every imaginable whim during your stay, no questions asked.

Every morning, a chef-prepared breakfast buffet lured us into the inn’s restaurant. We opted for breezy alfresco veranda seating, where we feasted on fruit, pastries and luscious customized omelets, among a variety of delectable options. Lunch is a beautifully prepared oldfashioned picnic-style box of made- to-order sandwiches, salads and soups, served in a bag—enabling you to carry your midday meal down to the beach or out on the deck by the tiki bar. The inn boasts its very own fine-dining restaurant onsite for dinner (the only meal not included in your stay). Beach Walk Café (www. features a more intimate casual ambiance with dining available inside and on the open-air veranda─ flaunting panoramic Gulf views. With a farm-to-table philosophy, Beach Walk Café’s menu items include locally sourced cuisine, with the chef’s tempting fresh catch of the day. Grouper Vince (gloriously pecancrusted) quickly scored as my favorite culinary pleasure. For an amorous evening, opt for their rose-petaled, “Toes in the Sand” experience, where you dine barefoot with your love at sunset.

During my umpteenth visit, I chillaxed with my hubby in an executive suite, one of the inn’s more preferred quarters. Our tastefully appointed suite featured a plush king-sized bed, an en-suite bathroom with a whirlpool bathtub, and a convenient kitchenette—opening up to a soaring private balcony with expansive Gulf views! It was an idyllic setting to sip morning tea while watching dolphins bob in the emerald green water—before strolling the shoreline and erecting sandcastles. Beach Walk Café tallahassee woman | 40 | august • september 2019

Destin, Florida’s Henderson Park Inn

Thrill seekers, like me, will savor the diversion of a slower pace at Henderson Park Inn. Lazy days will be spent lounging on the beach in complimentary beach chairs or sipping libations at happy hour! A picturesque bike outing down Scenic 98, through the pristine Crystal Beach neighborhood, is perfect for those looking to explore nearby environs. The relaxing adventure doesn’t have to halt at Henderson Park Inn. Guests need only stroll across the street to partake in more resort-style amenities offered at sister-property The Henderson. Relax around the adults-only pool, glide down the winding river watercourse or maintain your workout routine at The Henderson’s state-of-the-art fitness center.

Veranda Beach Walk Cafe

tallahassee woman | 41 | august • september 2019


tallahassee woman | 42 | august • september 2019


Salamander Spa, located inside The Henderson, focuses on the art of healing and pampering, oozing 10,000-plus square feet of retreat space! The spa features over eleven private treatment rooms, a couple’s suite, an experiential shower, and full-service salon. The 80-minute Urban Longevity Facial is customized to revamp the skin. Anticipate a revamp of your soul!

not actual patients


where expertise matters Southeastern Plastic Surgery, P.A. is a trusted destination for cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Discover the beauty of a strong, positive self-image with the help of our board-certified plastic surgeons.

Salamander Spa

Dubbed the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin is home to the nation’s largest commercial fishing fleet. Hop on a charter boat with one of many skilled anglers, golf at championship courses, or indulge in area cuisine and low-key nightlife! Destin has become synonymous as the South’s most heavenly little beach hideaway! Veteran publicist and luxury lifestyle experience-aholic Regina LynchHudson pens MadameXhales, slated towards the vintage of women, that according to studies, enjoys more time to travel, indulges in longer trips and selects more extravagant travel accommodations. The exacting taste of MadameXhales finds her exploring destinations, cruises, resorts, spas and extracurricular activities where like-minded Xhalers have experienced inner-exhilaration! ©

With unique complementary expertise, board-certified physicians Ben J. Kirbo, M.D., Laurence Z. Rosenberg, M.D. and Chris DeRosier, M.D. are compassionate and committed to providing outstanding patient care. They stay current with technological advancements that enhance your experience for exceptional and natural results. ~ ~ ~ ~

Services include: Breast Enhancement ~ Body Contouring Facelift ~ Tummy Tuck Liposuction ~ Nasal Reshaping Hair Transplants ~ Chemical Peels VIEW SPECIALS & VIDEO TESTIMONIALS AT

Ben J. Kirbo, M.D. ~ Laurence Z. Rosenberg, M.D. Chris DeRosier, M.D. CERTIFIED BY THE AMERICAN BOARD OF PLASTIC SURGERY

Contact MadameXhales:


2030 Fleischmann Rd. ~ Tallahassee, FL tallahassee woman | 43 | august • september 2019



2018 World Health Organization survey of 14,000 students across the globe found that one in three college freshmen reported dealing with mental health disorders in the years leading up to college. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of students visiting counseling centers surged by about 30 percent on average, while academic enrollment grew by less than 5 percent deeming the student mental health epidemic a crisis. I am one of these students. Coming into my freshman year of college, the pressures of being in a completely new environment on my own for the first time amplified my fear of not being good enough. I felt uneasy in social situations, and as a notorious straight-A student, I grew even more self-conscious as my grades started to slip. Some days I would skip class all together and stay home feeling like I couldn’t face the day. The simplest of tasks, such as getting out of bed in the morning or cleaning my room, seemed momentous, and as my freshman year progressed, I found myself becoming extremely disconnected from my friends, who were seemingly excelling as I dragged behind. It wasn’t until I received a letter from the university stating if I didn’t raise my grades within the next semester, I would be dismissed from school that I had my real wake-up call. The hard truth I had to swallow was that it is okay to not be okay, and that I needed help from a professional. After visiting my doctor and gaining more information about the oncampus mental health services available to me, I began regularly attending counseling sessions, which truly was the tool I needed to help me get back to the happy, optimistic version of myself I missed so much. Current college students utilize campus mental health services more than any generation before them, showing that students are taking charge of their mental health and that colleges have services in place to help. Numerous accommodations are available specifically to help students with psychiatric disabilities navigate their course load and achieve success. Schools like our local colleges and universities provide in-depth

information on what’s available, such as on-campus counseling services covered by student fees so there are no out-of-pocket expenses. College is a large transitional period in our lives, and like many other times of transformation it is normal to feel blue because of the change. However, it is even more important to understand when it’s time to seek out help from professionals. Florida State University Counseling Center (850) 644-8255 The Counseling Center at TCC (850) 201-7726 tcc.f FAMU Office of Counseling Services (850) 599-3145 National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

tallahassee woman | 44 | august • september 2019

Dr. Kerry McCord has practiced “the best of natural medicine” since 1973. He is a renowned clinician, author and educator, internationally known for his contributions to the practice of applied kinesiology. He uniquely serves those whose life has been disrupted by persistent and seemingly unresolvable health challenges. What Women Are Saying: “After years of pain in my right arm, legs and back, I was resigned to the fact that I would have to live like this for the rest of my life. Every morning I awakened with varying degrees of discomfort, especially aggravated when I tried to walk.

Kerry McCord, DC, DIBAK HAVEN SPA/Capital Circle NE


Thank God, I was referred to Dr. McCord. He has a warm and comforting manner, is brilliant and engaging. None of his treatment involved medication or shots. Best of all, after my first visit, my once chronic pain was gone and has not returned.” Mrs. Patricia Proctor, Tallahassee, FL Whatever your problem may be… there is hope!

tallahassee woman | 45 | august • september 2019


| life

HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD EMBRACE DIVERSITY Tips for Celebrating and Embracing Diversity


ere’s to raising nonaccepting, selfabsorbed kids…said no parent ever. Yet, prejudiced behaviors still exist. How do parents best foster a kind curiosity in their children towards those that are different from them that both recognizes the oneness of humanity while celebrating its diversity? Read on… MODEL ACCEPTANCE Before you can nurture acceptance, you must first examine any biases you hold. Reflect on your upbringing and your parents’ prejudices. Might any bias remain with you that you’re unwittingly projecting to your child? Make it a priority to address any such biases so they do not prejudice your child. Understand that you are your child’s most powerful role model. Never forget that at every age your child is watching and learning. “Kids learn by example, so I always try to model respect and understanding of different cultures, races, ethnicities and religions through my words and actions,” shared Kelly Hutchinson, Tallahassee mother of three. “Try to show them that every person has value.” NOTE INFLUENCERS Although parents are most often the dominant influence in their child’s life, they are far from the only influence. It’s important to know your child’s friends and their families, what your kids are watching (TV, movies), what games they are playing (device, social media, live gaming), who they are following on social media, what they are reading (bloggers, magazines, e-books), what they are listening to (music, podcasts), as any outside influencers

by meredith hunter

can impact your child for better or worse. DIFFERENCES DO EXIST Children are born curious. They ask, often loudly and at inopportune times, questions about skin color, size, gender, clothing, abilities, age and on and on. They’re not trying to be rude or hurtful—it’s their sense of curiosity. Although such questions can create cringeworthy moments, view them as organic opportunities to acknowledge differences with positive language. Of course, we never want our children’s comments or questions to make someone feel badly or uncomfortable. Young children are not aware of social norms, so sometimes it’s necessary to reinforce good manners. Do circle back later with your child about their question(s) and consider age-appropriate ways to better his or her ability to understand, respect and celebrate differences. For example, books, toys, TV shows and movies can all be fun and effective ways to help your child embrace differences. START EARLY AND KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING With some topics (sex, drugs, bullying), parents may wait for signals that their child is ready to learn more; however, this strategy doesn’t work for teaching tolerance. “You don't tell kids in a direct way to be accepting—that's an 'eat your vegetables' kind of approach. Instead, give them the tools to understand the complicated social world and the confidence to ask questions when they are confused," said Michael D. Baran, Ph.D., cognitive psychologist. Start the acceptance conversation

when your child is young and continue the conversation as your child matures by using current events and real-world situations as springboards for discussing empathy and kindness, as they go hand in hand with tolerance. BE WORLD EXPLORERS Spark interest, acceptance and understanding by traveling to other countires and experiencing different cultures. Such trips can be life altering for both parent and child. “Trying to communicate with people that speak different languages and look different from them helped my children experience what it’s like to be a minority in another country,” said Hutchinson. “They learned they could find things to appreciate and respect about every culture and country. Visiting places that were different helped widen my children’s perspectives about their own place in this world.” Keep in mind that a plane ticket isn’t always necessary. Schedules and budgets shouldn’t limit your imagination. Pick something foreign to your family (country, culture, religion) and then find fun facts, movies, food, games and traditions about your selection and enjoy learning together. HIGHLIGHT SIMILARITIES Increase your child’s awareness of our universally shared human condition by asking them in what ways we are more alike than different in order to increase awareness of our similarities. As Maya Angelou wisely wrote, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”

tallahassee woman | 46 | august • september 2019








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tallahassee woman | 47 | august • september 2019

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the dish



Crowd Pleasing Buffalo and Island Wing Recipes

re you looking for something to wow your tailgate? Wings are just the thing to treat your hungry sports fans with football season around the corner. Need a quick fix to satisfy the kids after a long day at school? We have the perfect quick and easy recipes. Buffalo wings if you like it hot and Island wings if you like it sweet with a kick.

Island Wings in Honey

INGREDIENTS 3 pounds chicken wings 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic 1-2 teaspoons red curry paste 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 3/4 cup honey 2 Jalapeno peppers, finely chopped 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves 1/2 cup chopped green onion 1/4 cup chopped peanuts (optional) DIRECTIONS

1. Cut wings at each joint to separate; throw away flat tip or save for soup. Combine remaining chicken wing pieces with oil, garlic, red curry paste, 1 tsp salt and black pepper; marinate in refrigerator overnight. 2. Heat honey, jalapeno peppers and brown sugar in small saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and salt. 3. Place wings either on grill or under broiler for 8-10 minutes, turning to cook both sides until done. 4. Pour the hot honey sauce over the wings in a large open bowled serving platter; toss to coat wings. Sprinkle with cilantro, green onion and peanuts if using. tallahassee woman | 48 | august • september 2019

Buffalo Wings INGREDIENTS 36 chicken wing segments 4 tsp vegetable oil 1 tsp salt ¾ cup flour 8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter 4 tsp cider vinegar ¼ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste ⅛ tsp garlic powder 4 to 8 Tbsp hot sauce, or to taste (Frank’s is the brand used in Buffalo) celery sticks blue cheese dressing DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 425°F. 2. In a large bowl, toss wings with vegetable oil and salt. Sprinkle flour and toss until wings are evenly covered. Spread out on baking pans lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn wings and bake 20 minutes more or until golden brown. 3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine butter, vinegar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and hot sauce. Bring to simmer over medium. Remove from heat. 4. When wings are done, transfer them to a large serving bowl and pour hot sauce mixture over them. Toss wings to coat thoroughly with sauce. 5. Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing… and plenty of napkins. Serves 6-8.

tallahassee woman | 49 | august • september 2019

W E Inspire

Blossom into a Bold, Beautiful and Brilliant New You BY KRISTIE KENNEDY


ow is the perfect time to change unhealthy habits, unproductive daily routines and undermining thought patterns. Galactic goals require invincible intention, massive mindset mastery and fanatical focus to produce radical results.

comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” —Dr. Steve Maraboli

Have you ever considered that you possess the precise attributes necessary to become a history maker? To leave a lasting mark that cannot be erased? How different would life be if you woke up one morning and decided to only live powerfully, by design and not default?

Your beauty is beyond skin deep.

The same qualities we often admire in others reside within us. An impactful leader is driven by purpose, passion and principles while refusing to allow their progress to be impeded by negative problems, unsupportive people or painstaking pressure. “There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself,

Pause for a moment and marvel in the radiance of your own effervescent essence.

You are most beautiful when you choose to rise again after you've exhausted all natural resources and are exasperated from the fight to win. You are most beautiful when you share the naked truth, unashamed to guide someone else through their dark night of pain. You are most beautiful when you passionately create something out of nothing. You are most beautiful in your unflinching courage to leap over brass walls of opposition and resistance.

Seven Mindset Mastery Keys to Succeed 1) Dare to speak your truth. A voiceless woman is a powerless woman. Your perspective matters. 2) Break the imaginary box of limitation that is holding your brilliance hostage and resist the temptation to hide like an ostrich. 3) Take time to redefine, realign and redesign your life. Play by the rules you write. 4) The power to be is in the courage to do! The power to do is in the courage to be! 5) Refuse to allow the external world to dictate your internal worth. No one is you and that is your power. 6) Never relinquish your joy because it gives you the strength to win every invisible war. 7) Tread through trouble, inner turmoil and unplanned transition until you rise triumphantly. "She needed a hero and she met one when she looked herself in the mirror."—Swati Suman Difficult times will define, develop or diminish you. Don't stop until you see externally what you’ve envisioned internally. Celebrate the freedom of starting again and give yourself the gift of believing you can accomplish anything. . tallahassee woman | 50 | august • september 2019

EVERY DAY, I GET TO WORK IN A PLACE THAT SAVED MY LIFE. I don’t just empathize with our patients at the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center; I have walked in their shoes. I know the fear of death and the fear that you’re not going to watch your kids graduate from high school or get married.

• A PET scan, for example, which alerts doctors to areas of abnormal cell growth in the body, costs more than $1,800. Your sponsorship helps to ease the extreme stress and financial challenges of cancer. My prognosis was very poor when I • Some patients must travel long was diagnosed with Stage 3 invasive distances to Tallahassee for ductal carcinoma in 2006. The chemotherapy and radiation. chances of me surviving five years You help provide gas cards, car were about 40 percent. I was just 32 rides, and lodging for patients years old and pregnant with my third and their caregivers. child. My son, Parker, is now 13, and • Your gifts help pay for I am cancer free! professional development and educational opportunities for Every bit of my treatment came from our staff to stay on top of the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare most advanced treatment, Cards for a Cure demonstrates what’s possible when we (TMH) where I now work as service technology, and research. come together and change our community for the better. line administrator for the Cancer • Thanks to you, any patient who Center. I am responsible for our would like a wig can receive strategic planning and operations, and it’s my dream job. I’m also honored one for free. to be the chairman of Cards for a Cure, an annual fundraiser that takes Every year, I stand on the stage at Cards for a Cure and I see you – the place this year on Oct. 19 at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. people who were there for me when I had cancer – and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I know you “get it,” and I know that I can count on you to You’ve raised over $1.25 million for direct patient service through Cards continue to be there for patients and families when they need us most. for a Cure. Thank you! I couldn’t wait to write you this letter because every year brings new opportunities to assist patients and families in Thank you in advance for your generosity! our region. Sincerely, The Cancer Center diagnoses and treats over 1,650 new cancer cases annually, and breast cancer is our number-one diagnosis. Your support helps to provide a place right here in our community that offers the most advanced, life-saving treatment possible. In 2006, there was no Cancer Center. I received chemotherapy in an office with a few infusion chairs. TMH now has a world-class cancer treatment facility, international clinical research and trials, and a team of the best specialists in their field. Medical experts, as well as social workers, dieticians, and navigators, support patients through every step of their treatment. Your support of Cards for a Cure always makes a difference! Cards for a Cure demonstrates what’s possible when we come together and truly change our community for the better. Here are a few ways you make a difference:

Kathy Brooks Oncology Service Line Administrator Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Chairman, Cards for a Cure P.S. As I walk the halls of the Cancer Center, I see the patients and families who benefit from your generosity. They appreciate you so much, and you are truly making a difference in their lives. Let’s keep the support coming for these families and make 2019 the best Cards for a Cure yet!

Your support of Cards for a Cure always makes a difference. Please join us in partnering as a sponsor for the 14th Annual Cards for a Cure. Visit TMH.ORG/CardsForACure to choose your level of support.

tallahassee woman | 51 | august • september 2019

Lynn Jr., Tallahassee, FL

Care that’s a world apart, but just down the road. When your child needs expert medical care, you’re looking for more than a specialist. Luckily, you don’t have to look far to find some of the country’s best pediatric doctors and nurses. Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville gives kids nationally ranked care in a caring tallahassee woman | 52 | august • september 2019 environment. Learn more at

Profile for Tallahassee Woman Magazine

Tallahassee Woman Magazine August/September 2019  

Tallahassee Woman Magazine’s August-September 2019 WE INSPIRE Issue features as the cover woman, the elegant and beautiful Jean Thrasher, Fi...

Tallahassee Woman Magazine August/September 2019  

Tallahassee Woman Magazine’s August-September 2019 WE INSPIRE Issue features as the cover woman, the elegant and beautiful Jean Thrasher, Fi...