February-March 2013 TWM

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Save Big for the

Big Day!



celebrate women making history


Your Relationships

February | March 2013

Eunice Cofie A Fearless Beauty

YOU can be


Ready for Any

Occasion Get Crafty with EASTER EGGS A Healthy Heart is a

Happy Heart

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Y earS

Robert Ashmore, MD Founding Physician

Arthur Clements, MD, Ph.D Founding Physician

of Dedication and Care to Women’s Health

Robert Ashmore, MD A.J. Brickler, III, MD Arthur Clements, MD, Ph.D

David Dixon, DO Alex Franz, MD Andrea Friall, MD

Kenneth McAlpine, MD Vikki McKinnie, MD David O’Bryan, MD

Shannon Price, MD Lori Rosenberg, MD Christopher Sundstrom, MD


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Tallahassee Woman Magazine | February/March 2013 | TalWoman.com




6 Our Thoughts

30 Money Talks

I Love Being a Southern Woman

The Six Most Common Identity Theft Risks at Tax Time

8 Girl Talk

32 The Dish

Money Saving Tips on Tying the Knot | Five Ways to Sweeten Without Sugar | Create an Easter Egg Tree | Celebrating Women’s History Month | The Science Behind Falling in Love

How to Love (Your) Honey Six Dates That Get You in the Mood

36 Community

22 Style and Grace Simply Beautiful: Daring, Sweetheart, Timeless

Leon County Commission on the Status of Women & Girls | Girls on the Run | Advertiser Spotlight

26 Health

44 Women We Admire

Women’s Heart Health—Do You Think About Your Heart?

Karen Thurston Chavez—A Mother’s Love Helps Heal the Heart

28 Real Life

46 Funny Girl

Let Me Count the Ways—Sowing, Nurturing and Maintaining the Best Relationships

Another Lesson in Life

34 11

On the Cover Page 18 Eunice Cofie—Beauty Within the Heart Eunice Cofie has made it her mission to help women discover their unique beauty and celebrate it every day.

About the Cover Photography by Adam Cohen | Styling by Nancy Cohen | Makeup Artist: Ashley Green | Hair: Angelica McDonald, Glam Central Station Salon | Dress, earrings, bracelet, and ring, all from Narcissus. Photo on page 18 of Eunice Cofie Orange top, earrings, and bracelet all from Narcissus


Capital City Gems 14 | Around Town 40 | Women to Watch 42


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OURTHOUGHTS Living Well and Loving Life! February / March 2013 Volume 8 | Issue 1

Publisher Kim Rosier Editor Heather Thomas Advertising sales Director Lynn Solomon Advertising sales Jennifer Stinson GRAPHIC DESIGN Christy Jennings Miqueli

I Love Being a Southern Woman.


was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Yes, I’m a former Northerner, but I have lived in the South for the majority of my life. Even though there are a few Northern ways that are still part of my personality, I do consider myself a Southern woman, and I would not have it any other way.

There’s something special about living in the South. People hold open doors for you, smile and say hello. Southerners are gracious, kind, and down to earth. And then there’s sweet tea, which if you ask for up north, they will look at you a little crazy and pass you the sugar bowl. Tallahassee is especially endearing. Twenty-five years ago, my husband, two cats and I settled in Tallahassee. Since then we have made friends that are like family, established a home that we love, and raised our kids in a place that they can look back on and say what a great childhood they had. That is special. Yes, the south can be hot, and the humidity high, but I will take long talks on the front porch, the politeness of strangers, grits and sweet tea and, of course, the beauty of spring in Tallahassee any day over any other place.

Bless your heart. :)

Kim Rosier Publisher

INTERNS Mary Katherine Aaronson Analiese Aviles • Amanda Murphy Contributing photographers Adam Cohen • Christie Meresse Tallahassee Woman Magazine LLC Post Office Box 13401 Tallahassee, FL 32317-3401 Phone (850) 893-9624 Fax (850) 254­-7038 info@TalWoman.com Tallahassee Woman is published six times per year and is distributed on a complimentary basis throughout Tallahassee and the surrounding communities. Subscriptions are available for $15 for one year (six issues). 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 ads@TalWoman.com Copyright ©2013 Tallahassee Woman Magazine LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in part or in whole, without expres written consent of the Publisher is prohibited.

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Where Ordinary becomes...

a n i r d y! r o a r t x E

Money Saving Tips on Tying the Knot


Typically, “Dream Wedding” and “Budget” do not

Designer Cuts Ombre COlOr teCHnique

go hand and hand. The cost of all the glamorous


extras can add up, usually more rapidly than

Hair/makeup serviCes fOr pHOtOsHOOts & speCial events inCluDing briDal

anticipated. However, there are many ways to keep the bills low while staying centered on your first-

(off and on location)

faCial Waxing

choice ideas. Future brides-to-be, take note:

liCenseD CertifieD prOfessiOnals fOr 20 years


• When looking for a wedding dress, try to find sample sales. This could save you more than 60 percent off of the actual price. When getting the dress altered, don’t let the department store do it; this could cost hundreds extra. Instead, go to a reputable wedding gown shop in town or find a professional that has worked on gowns in the past. • Have your wedding at a park, at the beach, or at the beautiful home of a good friend. • Reuse the flowers from your rehearsal dinner for the wedding reception. They make elegant additions to the guest tables as well as garnish around the cake. • Let one vendor lead you to another. Your wedding photographer can tell you which florist’s blooms really pop, and your reception manager should know which band packs the dance floor.

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• Sometimes, last-minute planning can work in your favor. The closer to your date, the more bargaining power you have. Since most people book their wedding sites at least six months in advance, calling for open dates two months prior to your desired time can save you up to 25 percent. And, Friday and Sunday weddings should cost about 30 percent less than Saturday weddings. • The easiest way to trim your wedding budget? Cut your guest list. Remember, half of your wedding expenses go to wining and dining your guests. If it’s costing you $100 per person, eliminating one table of 10 can save you $1,000. For more tips and tricks, visit theknot.com.

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sweet tooth is easy to satisfy, but the long-term effects can be downright dangerous. The sugar we toss into so many meals throughout the day can lead to significant weight gain, premature aging and type 2 diabetes, among other health risks. Sugar is essentially just sucrose and lacks necessary nutrients to keep us healthy. It is hidden in salad dressings and fruit juices and creeps up on us in the form of corn syrup. Luckily, there is a cure for the common sweet tooth. Substitutes have been found to satisfy the sweet craving, and we have the top 5 for you to try.

Honey: Honey contains nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and

antioxidants that refined sugar lacks. Although honey has more calories than sugar (21 per teaspoon versus 16), it’s unlikely to expand your waistline. It has been proven to lower cholesterol and help with weight loss. Its flavor can be an asset to almost any food or drink. So instead of dumping that heaping teaspoon of sugar into your coffee or tea, try some honey. Just remember that it is not chemically the same as sugar, so use one-third of the amount of sugar you would normally use.

Salt: It may seem counterproductive, but adding a dash of salt to

your food or drink can actually enhance its natural sweetness. It is especially helpful with fresh fruits. So if your smoothie needs sweetening, try a dash of salt before stirring in more sugar. Remember to be moderate with salt, as high doses of sodium can harm the heart.

Beets: Much of the refined sugar you eat comes from beets

because they are one of the sweetest plants. They can be grated up and used in smoothies, cake recipes and soups. The flavor is unexpected, yet altogether satisfying to the sweet tooth.

Applesauce: Cooking with applesauce is a great way to eliminate

sugar from recipes. You can put it in pancake or muffin mix for an unexpected flavor that still satisfies the sweet craving. Be sure to buy the unsweetened kind, as the applesauce will sweeten naturally. If you want to make your own, be sure to leave the apples skins, which are full of fiber and disease-fighting nutrients.

Stevia: If these natural sweeteners don’t solve your sugar problem, you may want to try stevia, which is sold as a powder and comes from an herb. It is much sweeter than sugar and should be used in moderation. Since it has been used for centuries by natives of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and China, it is a proven healthy substitute for sweetening. —Amanda Murphy

G i r l t a l k | D e c or a t i ng

Create an Easter Egg Tree F

or a unique Easter decoration this year, try an Easter egg tree. Eggs are a symbol of life all over the world and it is an old German tradition to hang them from trees. Have the kids decorate the eggs and use string to tie them to tree branches in the front yard or on a smaller tree indoors. Neighbors and friends can donate their own eggs to your tree to enjoy a beautiful and creative Easter decoration for the whole neighborhood. For an easy and quick way to hang the eggs, you can wrap a piece of tulle over the egg and tie a ribbon around the top of the egg with a loop to hang it by. Those that are especially crafty can try decorating a real egg shell. Following are a few tips:

1. You will need a “darning” yarn needle. Use the darning

needle to carefully put a hole in the middle of the bottom of the egg.


Carefully use the needle to stir the contents of the egg to scramble the contents.

3. Use a pin to carefully put a tiny hole in the top of the egg.

The hole at the top of the egg does not have to be bigger than a pinhole.

After you have completed these steps, carefully blow from the top of the egg out of the bigger hole in the bottom of the egg to blow out the contents. Blow very slowly to ensure that you do not break the egg and blow as much as possible out of the egg. The tiny bit left on the lining of the egg will dry up or, if you prefer, you can rinse it out by blowing water through the egg. To hang the egg, carefully glue a decorative cap from a craft store and thread a small ribbon through the top of the cap. Decorate as desired. Duck, goose and farm fresh eggs are harder shells than the typical eggs from the grocery store and would be less likely to break. However, all eggs are still fragile so this will require patience and handling them carefully. These eggs can be a fun family tradition and will become treasured keepsakes for years to come. —Amanda Murphy and Jennifer Stinson t a l l a h a s s e e wo m a n

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G i r lta l k | H I S TO R Y

Women Who Have Paved the Way In honor of March being Women’s History Month, we’ve provided a listing of daring and courageous women, local and statewide, who managed to pave the way when no way was made before. Despite the obstacles, they managed to overcome and receive recognition for becoming the first at something never been done before.

Cynthia (Cindy) Dick

First Fire Chief of Tallahassee Chief Cindy Dick, a former Lincoln High School and Tallahassee Community College graduate, was named the first woman Fire Chief of Tallahassee in 2005. Climbing the ranks, Dick was promoted to lieutenant in 1992, to captain in 1997 and then to fire chief on October 1, 2005. With more than 25 years of fire service experience, Dick is one of less than a dozen women who are fire chiefs in Florida.

Joan Heggen

Leader in Tallahassee government Joan Heggen was the first female city commissioner and first female mayor of Tallahassee.

Patricia Seitz

First Woman President of the Florida Bar After serving six years on the Florida Bar’s Governing Board, Patricia Seitz was elected the first woman president of the Florida Bar Association.

Dorothy Dodd

State Archivist As an active historian and writer, Dorothy Dodd became Florida’s first State Archivist while working at the Florida State Library in Tallahassee. She later became state librarian. 12  t a l l a h a s s e e

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Betty Castor

Education Commissioner Betty Castor was the first woman to be elected to the Florida Cabinet. Castor helped form the first preschool early childhood programs. She served as Commissioner of Education from 1987 to 1994. Once she resigned she went on to become the president of the University of South Florida.

Anne Mckenzie

Leader in the Florida House of Representatives Anne Mckenzie was the first female majority leader, finance and tax chair and first rules committee at the Florida House of Representatives.

Martha Barnett

Paved the way in the legal field Martha Barnett was the first female partner at the law firm of Holland and Knight and was also a former American Bar Association President.

Jennifer Carroll

Lieutenant Governor of Florida As 18th Lieutenant Governor, Jennifer Carroll is the first female Lieutenant Governor elected in Florida. As Lt. Governor, Carroll oversees the Florida Department of Military Affairs, Florida Department of Veteran Affairs and serves as Chairperson of Space Florida as well as other duties.

—Analiese Aviles

G i r l t a l k | Know l edge

The Science Behind Falling in Love



what would you do with the extra cash?




alling in love is a beautiful thing. At one point or another, everyone finds that special someone who makes their heart beat double time. And although the thought of having a fairy tale love story sounds ideal, you must realize that almost everyone goes through a few frogs before finding their Prince Charming. When you are attracted to someone, it’s not only because of their possible good looks or intriguing personality. Science plays a key role when developing feelings for that special someone.

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Psychology plays a role, too. Our choice of a companion is partly dictated by a “love map,” an unconscious list of traits we want in an ideal partner that we construct during our childhood. We get used to our father’s sense of humor or our mother’s timid nature and use this to build our list. When meeting a potential spouse, you consciously and unconsciously determine if that person is just right. There is some truth to the whole “love at first sight” concept. According to research, what draws people to one another initially are mainly big eyes, a small nose, clear skin, and prominent features. But, a congenial personality could be the game changer for any pairing since looks can take a relationship only so far. It is to our advantage that the human body is able to decide what it wants, even if it takes a while to decide. Finding someone with compatible genes could determine a lot about your future family—it may lead your children toward a healthy lifestyle, physically and mentally. All in all, worry less about your future companion: your genes will do most of the work. Instead, worry more about what you should wear on the first date! —Mary Katherine Aaronson t a l l a h a s s e e wo m a n

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Noteworthy events that you don’t want to miss.

Baby and Family Fair 2013

Tally Top Pet Family Fun Day

February 2, 2013 Turnbull Conference Center

February 17, 2013 North Florida Fairgrounds

Come out to this event hosted from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to learn about the resources, products and services for families making decisions about pregnancy, childbirth and raising a family. Children of all ages are also invited to the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare’s (TMH) Children’s Center Superhero Soiree hosted by TMH Super Kids, with games, entertainment and activities. For more information, call (850) 431-5875.

Come out to enjoy pet-related vendors, food, drinks, crafts and live music at this year’s fundraiser for Be The Solution, Inc. Pets are welcome. Free admission, unless entering your pet in the “Top Pet” contest. Learn more at tallytoppet.com.

39th Annual Tallahassee Marathon

February 3, 2013 Gulf Winds Track Club

The 39th Annual Tallahassee Marathon and Half Marathon utilize the flat and fast St. Marks Trail. The event starts near Florida State University’s Doak Campbell Stadium and finishes at Florida State University’s Mike Long Track. An expo will be held on February 2 at the Double Tree Hotel for participants. Overall and age-group awards will be given by local artist Brian Bachmann. Current registration fees are $75 for the full marathon and $50 for the half marathon. For more information, contact (850) 264-0739 or visit tallahasseemarathon.com.

ArtiGras at Railroad Square

February 16, 2013 Railroad Square Art Park

This event has a variety of activities to get involved with from 1 to 5 p.m., including live music from local artists on stages at The Other Side Vintage, 621 Gallery, and Athena’s Garden, as well as delicious food provided by Tasty Treats Restaurant. 14  t a l l a h a s s e e

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Downtown Marketplace Every Saturday in March Downtown Tallahassee

Located at Monroe Street at Park Avenue the Downtown MarketPlace features fresh homegrown produce, fresh cut flowers and native plants. Musicians, authors and regional artists exhibit their arts and crafts. Special activities for children will be provided. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (850) 224-3252 or visit online at tallahasseedowntown.com for additional information.

“Put on Your Pink Bra” Golf Tournament March 4, 2013 Golden Eagle Country Club

The “Put on Your Pink Bra” Classic is celebrating its inaugural year in 2013. It is a golf tournament with a focus on fighting breast cancer. The event will raise money to be used for research, patient services, advocacy efforts, and education for cancer patients and survivors through the American Cancer Society. For more information, visit pinkbragolf.com.

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Red Hills Horse Trials March 8-10, 2013 Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park

Named for the sloping terrain and rich red earth known as the “red hills” of north Florida and south Georgia, the Horse Trials feature a challenging cross-country course newly updated and designed for 2013. Friday will be the dressage, Saturday will be cross-country, and Sunday is show jumping. Funds are raised to benefit nonprofit organizations with compatible educational and environmental purposes. For more information, call (850) 580-4020 or e-mail info@rhht.org.

A Chocolate Affair

March 9, 2013 Tallahassee Automobile Museum Come let your taste buds delight on Saturday, March 9 from 6 to 10 p.m. Enjoy signature desserts from area bakeries, caterers, and restaurants at this year’s “A Chocolate Affair” to benefit unfunded services provided by Covenant Hospice. Enjoy the dance floor, music, silent auction, light hors d’oeuvres and cash bar to top off your night. Tickets are $35. For more information visit eventsatcovenant.org.

Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra March 9, 2013 Ruby Diamond Concert Hall

At 8 p.m., the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra will be performing “Mutual Admiration.” This program, conducted by Jacomo Bairos, highlights the themes of love and admiration. For more information, visit tallahasseesymphony.org.

Jazz for Justice 2013

March 10, 2013 The Front Porch and The Wine Loft in Midtown Tallahassee

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Legal Services of North Florida’s (LSNF) annual benefit, Jazz for Justice, is expanding to two locations in Midtown Tallahassee. The Longineau Parsons Ensemble and the Steffi Tassos Trio are scheduled to perform, with new musical groups to be added. Dance from 4 to 7 p.m. under the oaks to great jazz and bid on hundreds of silent auction items all to support LSNF’s work in providing justice to families in our community. Tickets are $20 for general admission. For more information call (850) 701-3313 or visit jazzforjustice.org.

14th Annual Easter Walkabout March 27-30, 2013 Piedmont Park Alliance Church

The Easter Walkabout is an outdoor drama highlighting the life and ministry of Jesus Christ including his miracles, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. Your family will be blessed as you walk through the scenes from the life of Christ. Each tour takes about 30 minutes to walk through. Tours run continuously from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tours are free and everyone is welcome.

Save the Date: Springtime Tallahassee April 6, 2013 Downtown Tallahassee

Save the date and join in the fun at this year’s Springtime Tallahassee parade and festival, including fun for families and friends, with local and national entertainment acts. As always, there will also be fantastic arts and crafts, entertainment and food vendors that will offer a variety of items. For more information, including parade location and event times, visit springtimetallahassee.com.

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Beauty Within the Heart

By Heather Thomas Photography By Adam Cohen

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What makes a woman beautiful? The answers have shaped art, stories, culture and our own self-perceptions, but not always for the better. As women, we are usually quicker to point out our perceived flaws rather than acknowledge the traits that make us special. Despite this, at the core of every woman is the desire to be known, to be pursued, to be loved and, ultimately, to add to the beauty of her world. Every woman has her own unique beauty. Eunice Cofie, cosmetic chemist and founder of the cosmetics company Nuekie, has made it a mission to help women discover, celebrate and love the woman in the mirror.

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or most of her childhood and early teen years, Eunice remembers being bullied by her classmates because of her dark skin. She says, “I was bullied mercilessly, mostly by girls of similar ethnicities since my skin was darker than theirs. My self-esteem was very low and things became even harder when the bullying became physical in middle school.” However, from this adversity Eunice saw the light that led the way into the world of science, a world in which she began to discover the heart of her own beauty. Perhaps because her father and mother, both from Ghana, Africa, were in the medical field, Eunice was drawn to the sciences, and with encouragement from her parents, she won her first science fair in elementary school and then proceeded to garner more academic acclaim. She decided that “even if I wasn’t the most beautiful girl in the room, I would shine with my scientific intellect.” She redirected her focus

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from the physical to the internal and began to use her burgeoning scientific gifts to her advantage. She also handled adversity by speaking about it. As a student at Leon High School and a member of community service groups, she would reach out through public speaking engagements to other teens, young women in particular, and encourage them to become selfempowered and to support one another. It was while she was a student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) that her life was changed by two events. The first one was her AIDS/ HIV education mission trips to Ghana, Africa. Her summers were spent with a group of physicians, nurses and medical students that went out into the field to bring medical aid and awareness. She was forever changed during her first trip by an encounter with a mother of several children who was suffering from the effects of the AIDS virus. “It was the first time I had seen AIDS face to face, and I realized that if only the woman

could have been educated better about the disease, it could have possibly saved her life and her children’s. Some of the people we worked with in Ghana were afraid of the unknown, and many of those with the virus are then isolated even further.” She not only realized how important education was to eradicate stigmas but that the transfer of knowledge needs to come from the inside out. “A lot of times we go into other countries, or even our own neighborhoods, with our own ideas, not taking into consideration another culture or ideas. For a lasting difference to be made, it is important to allow people to be stakeholders in the changes—to be the change makers.” Combined with her experiences from her time in Africa, she was enlightened by a career focus and a mission for her life. Her big idea came from something tiny: melanocytes. While working with her organic lab professor, she learned that melanocytes are skin cells that produce the substance called melanin, which is

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primarily responsible for skin color. “I realized that my skin cells were divinely placed there by God and that my dark skin did not make me inferior, it made me divinely beautiful.” She also learned of the need for specialized products for ethnic skin and hair types, in particular, treatment products for those suffering from a variety of skin ailments. While working on her degree, she researched product formulations and officially started her cosmetic company, Nuekie, which is Eunice’s middle name and means “firstborn daughter and hardworking one.” After graduating with a degree in chemistry/molecular biology in 2004, she worked at the Institute for African American Health. She also spent years researching in order to create products for her company while taking business classes. In 2007, she became Miss Black Florida, with a platform of child obesity awareness and diabetes prevention. She was able to take her message of healthy living and self-empowerment statewide. In 2011, the Florida Commission on the Status of Women (FCSW) awarded her the FCSW Florida Achievement Award for her work in improving the lives of women and families in her community. Her outreach became global when she became the recipient of the prestigious World Economic Forum—Young Global Leader Award in 2012, which is an exclusive forum for emerging global leaders who interact with government and business leaders from around the world. Eunice was recently named by Forbes.com as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa.

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Taking inspiration from Eunice’s Ghana roots, Nuekie’s products are a mixture of modern-day science and botanicals native to Africa and will officially launch in March. The premise behind Nuekie is for women to realize that they are “perfect in beauty.” Eunice says, “My main mission is to help women discover their own beauty and learn that they are made in God’s image.” But she doesn’t want women to stop there. Once women go through their own self-discovery, they will learn what makes them special and then should daily affirm that these special qualities have given them “a unique, divine purpose.” All in all, Eunice stresses the need for women to make self-care a top priority. “When you take care of your body, you feel good and then you begin to exude on the outside what is within.” The ultimate goal for Eunice is for women to share the beauty of their hearts to help break down stigmas and to make positive changes in their homes and communities. Eunice is a beautiful woman, but more than that, she is a woman who is willing to model a fearless beauty in the face of a critical world that is fearful of anything different. She also understands what every woman should—that when a woman knows she is loved, her beauty is made manifest. “God has given all of us unique, internal qualities that are eternal. Those are the things most lasting at the end of a life when physical beauty fades away. What better gift can we give to women, young and old, then to tell them that they are passionately loved and wonderfully made?” For more information about Eunice and Nuekie, visit nuekie.com. t a l l a h a s s e e wo m a n

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S T Y L E & G R AC E


By Nancy Cohen Photography By Adam Cohen

There you are, staring in your closet without a clue what to wear. Every woman is confronted with this dilemma countless times in her life, especially for big events, compounding the problem with the question, “What is appropriate for the occasion?” Knowing what the occasion is will whittle away the forest of clothes in your closet, or help you to shop by eliminating the inappropriate choices. Dressing appropriately for an occasion with a clean, simple aesthetic will leave you red carpet ready wherever you go. Model: Molly Williams of Marsha Doll Models Makeup Artist: Randi Buchanan and Co. | Hair Stylist: Rachel Sebree of Fuel Salon 22  t a l l a h a s s e e

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Shimmer all over





Girls Night Out Be an individual, even though you are in a group. This is the time to play. Try something new.

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• F e b r u a r y /M a rc h 2013 23

S T Y L E & G R AC E


Sweetheart Playful

Sexy with a bit of innocence


Flirty & Fun

Be yourself. You will have a great time and he will see what you are really all about.


Depending on the weather, a

A small bag or clutch for essentials

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fitted sweater

Date Night

Your appearance tells a lot about you. Make sure you’re telling him what you want to say. Remember, this is the date, not the audition.

• F e b r u a r y /M a rc h 2013

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Wedding day

This is your big day and even though you feel like a princess, make sure the tiara is not overdone. t a l l a h a s s e e wo m a n

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Women’s Heart Health Do You Think About Your Heart?

By Michelle R. Nickens

The heart—a symbol of love, courage, passion, strength, endurance, drive and power. Our life force, our core, our body’s fuel.


ow often do you ask yourself, “How is my heart today?” Most of us don’t think about our hearts, and if we do, it’s usually not associated with heart disease. Yet heart disease is the number one killer of women. The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that every minute in the United States, a woman dies from heart disease, stroke or other form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is more deadly for women than all forms of cancer combined. In addition, more than one in three women is living with CVD. So, why aren’t we thinking about our hearts? Dr. Marilyn Cox, board-certified Electrophysiologist with the Southern Medical Group in Tallahassee, says that many women do not think they can have a heart problem. “We are not programmed that way,” she explained. “If we are feeling poorly, we think it is something else first. Women are caretakers and often place their health needs on the back burner, yet how can we be effective caretakers without a healthy heart? Women also tend to wait longer to seek help.” Although we schedule our regular mammogram, we rarely ask a doctor for an EKG or stress test. Being aware and informed of the risk factors and symptoms will help women recognize a problem, ask questions and take action. When certain health risks are present, women may have a higher tendancy to experience heart problems, such as being over 55, having diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Other risk factors include being overweight, smoking, or a family history of heart disease. In the 26  t a l l a h a s s e e

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past, heart disease was more often thought to be a man’s disease, but according to WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, more women die each year from heart disease than men. Often the symptoms typically experienced by women are different from those in men. Approximately a third of women do not have the symptoms that men experience, such as chest pain or the elephant-onthe-chest feeling. Instead, women may experience jaw pain, neck pain, arm and back pain or pressure, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, fainting, abdominal pain, cold sweats, clammy skin, extreme fatigue, or a general ill feeling. Experiencing multiple symptoms and/ or having an onset of them may further indicate a problem exists. For example, if you historically exercise regularly and show no symptoms but then get on the treadmill and symptoms occur, that may be a sign something is wrong. Ask yourself, “Could I do this six months ago?” If the answer is yes—especially if you have the risk factors—make an appointment. Dr. Cox said to consider the heart before other possibilities until proven otherwise. “When in doubt, check it out.” Talk with your doctor. Ask for an EKG or a stress test. Know and pay attention to your body. Be an advocate for your health and take proactive measures. If a woman is diagnosed with heart disease or experiences a heart attack, there are steps she can take to become healthier and stronger. For example, take medication faithfully, stop smoking, exercise after your doctor says it is okay, lose weight, maintain a low-fat/low-cholesterol diet, go to follow-up appointments and reduce

stress. When we are stressed, we eat more and gain weight, and our adrenaline and blood pressure increase. By reducing stress, we can impact overall health, specifically heart health. Equally concerning, common and bothersome to patients are heart rhythm problems. Dr. Cox specializes in rhythm problems and explained that a blocked artery is like a plumbing issue, while a rhythm problem is an electrical issue. With advanced tests, rhythm problems can now be diagnosed and addressed. One major goal is to ensure that women are aware of the risk factors, symptoms, prevention and treatments. There are a number of resources available to obtain more information, such as heart.org, womenheart.org, and goredforwomen. org. Both the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and the Capital Regional Medical Center have information and services to help educate, diagnose and treat heart-related conditions. February is American Heart Month—a perfect time to learn more about reducing your risk of heart disease, integrating healthy choices into your lifestyle and understanding the disease and its symptoms. You have only one heart. Take care of it, celebrate it, and think about it. This article is for awareness purposes only. If you believe you have the risk factors and/or have experienced symptoms addressed in this article or any other health-related problems, seek the advice of your physician. If you experience a lifethreatening situation, call 911 immediately.

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Suffering from Chronic Cough or Asthma?

A chronic cough lasting more than 3 weeks could be a symptom of something more serious and should be diagnosed by a pulmonary specialist. Tallahassee Pulmonary Clinic has two convenient locations to see patients and a physician’s referral is not necessary to make an appointment. J. Daniel Davis, MD Clifton J. Bailey, MD F. Ray Dolly, MD Carlos E. Campo, MD David Y. Huang, MD Alberto L. Fernandez MD Simha V. Jagadeesh, MD Joseph M. Gray, MD Praful B. Patel, MD Muhanad A. Hasan, MD John S. Thabes, MD


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• F e b r u a r y /M a rc h 2013 27


Sowing, nurturing, and maintaining relationships with the people you love By Summer Brooke Gómez

Spring love Springtime in Tallahassee is glorious, and whether we find ourselves on early morning walks through Maclay Gardens or enjoying a long talk over lunch outdoors in perfect weather, it is only natural that our thoughts should turn to renewal. It’s no secret that love takes work. Just like camellias, crepe myrtles, roses and dogwoods, the care required for optimal results can be universal or specific. Yet, as modern women, we often have so much going on that we tend to defer the maintenance of the very relationships that have survived in the face of our own distractions and imperfections. But what a breathtaking surprise a little extra effort can produce.

Forces of Nature Make it a personal challenge to honor the unique nature of each relationship by recognizing that some principles always apply.

Pull. Develop a sense of what pulls you to keep up a connection with each person you love. How does that translate to your other relationships? What lessons are you trying to learn? Getting to know yourself and your needs can deepen your appreciation of the special ways that the people you love are there for you and help you do a little growing of your own. Perspective. The closer you are with somebody, the easier it

is to lose sight of the fact that their experiences and yours are not the same. You may find yourself assuming that others will understand how much you care and automatically excuse you for neglecting them or being harsh with them in a bad moment.

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Remember that although people will occasionally give you a pass for bad behavior, even the most gracious and forgiving soul will eventually begin to feel that they deserve more effort from you, and understandably so.

Practice. It’s always worth it to ask yourself what you can do to make somebody you love feel safe, valued or appreciated. This type of regular practice builds trust and earns you acceptance on those inevitable days when you’re not at your best.

From Garden Parties to Moonlit Strolls As the bright spring breezes stir your senses, why not take a moment to consider the different requirements of the relationships that matter most to you?

Family. Your family tree anchors you firmly to your

past. Its branches reach skyward and offer a sun-dappled glimpse of the future. Take the time to honor traditions, celebrate milestones, or be there when somebody needs help. This models an appreciation for the value of family across generations and creates a stability and sustainability that will ultimately name you as a beneficiary.

Friends. A good friend looks at you and sees a wildflower,

never a weed. Show your gratitude. Reciprocate by seeking out ways to celebrate facets of friends’ personalities that go underappreciated in other contexts. Sharing your pictures, thoughts, and memories online can be wonderful, but the people you love deserve personal attention. What would they love? Maybe, breakfast, a phone call or a handwritten note. Make it happen.


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Romance. There is nothing so intoxicating as an exotic

flower where you least expect it, but remember that with the promise of a fresh pop of color in an otherwise familiar landscape comes a certain degree of fragility. Nurture these relationships today, and try to see the extra work as a blessing. With any luck, you will be an expert very soon.

The reflecting pool Love is work, but it is also beauty. The capacity to love our authentic selves and the proper appreciation of beauty within others are infinitely interdependent, so learn to be still too. Breathe, truly enjoy it all and know that there is no greater reward than seeing the work we put into the relationships that matter in full bloom. Summer Brooke Gómez, MS, is a doctoral candidate in Marriage and Family Therapy in at Florida State University in Tallahassee. She can be reached at (850) 421-1260.

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The six most common identity theft risks at tax time T

ax time is always tough. Whether you will owe or anticipate a refund, plan to do your own taxes or pay a professional to do them for you, preparing and filing your taxes can be a tedious task. It can also be a risky one: the information needed to prepare your taxes is a treasure trove for enterprising identity thieves. The nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) notes that for identity thieves, “tax time is a prime time of opportunity.” Forms such as W-2s and IRS tax forms usually include your Social Security number, name and address and, often, financial account information, the ITRC notes. Using that information, identity thieves can access your existing financial accounts, open new lines of credit and commit other acts of fraud. It’s important to keep identity protection front-of-mind during tax preparation season. Take steps to protect yourself against these six common identity theft risks during tax time:

Stolen tax documents Your tax forms contain a wealth

of personal information. Important documents such as W-2s and interest statements begin to arrive in the mail in January. Theft of these forms could be disastrous. If you don’t already have one, consider investing in a locking mailbox or renting a secure post office box. Avoid leaving incoming mail sitting in your mailbox for any length of time, and always take outgoing mail directly to your local post office branch.

Unsecured documents Once you’ve retrieved these documents from the mailbox, don’t let security lag. Never leave sensitive documents lying around in plain sight in your vehicle, home or workplace. Keep documents in a locked safe or file cabinet. Phishing scams Identity thieves often prey on tax-time anxiety by sending e-mails or making phone calls that purport to be from the IRS or other federal agency. These tactics are designed to bilk you out of 30  t a l l a h a s s e e

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sensitive information. It’s simple to avoid these scams: ignore all such communications. The IRS uses good old-fashioned snail mail—never e-mail, text messages or phone calls—to communicate with taxpayers. If you suspect you’re being scammed by someone posing as an IRS representative, report the incident to the IRS by forwarding suspicious e-mails to phishing@irs.gov.

Sloppy CPA You hire a tax preparer to help ensure that you get the maximum return or minimum payment and that you don’t run afoul of complex tax laws. Yet your tax preparer can cause you problems if he or she fails to properly safeguard your documents. Be cautious when hiring a tax preparer. Only work with someone you know or whose reputation you’ve investigated. Ask who will have access to your documents and how your preparer will keep your forms and information secure. Slipshod storage Everyone knows you have to hold on

to tax documents. In most cases, you should keep tax returns and supporting documents for at least three years from the date of filing. Keep forms in a secure, locked location, or store them digitally in password-protected files. When it’s time to dispose of documents, shred them with a cross-cut shredder before getting rid of them.

Failing to monitor your identity Keeping an eye

on your credit and financial accounts is the single-most proactive step you can take to protect your identity at tax time and throughout the year. Check your credit report before and after tax season and several times throughout the year. Consider enrolling in a comprehensive identity theft detection, protection and resolution product. Tax season is stressful enough without having to worry about the risk of identity theft. It’s important to take steps to minimize your risk leading up to tax day, and through the remainder of the year. (BPT)



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• F e b r u a r y /M a rc h 2013 31


How to Love Honey

By Randi Shiver

“Honey, I love you, but I really hate your honey habit!” I had to say one day a few years ago when my husband started bringing home giant jars filled with honey. His love for what is known as “liquid gold” had gotten out of hand and my pantry was beginning to look like Winnie the Pooh had plans to hibernate at our house that winter. I have never cared for the taste and texture of honey and will do whatever it takes not to taste or touch it. It’s a sticky situation. My husband has many uses for this sweet, syrupy, pungent product of nature. He drizzles honey over his morning meal of steel cut oatmeal and fresh fruit, sweetens his coffee with honey instead of sugar, dips his fried chicken and biscuits in honey, and puts honey in his homemade pancake batter. He tries hard to persuade me along the way, but my taste buds just won’t budge. The money he was spending on honey was getting out of hand, and he decided to look for a local honey house where he could buy big amounts. It was either that or bring hives of honey bees to our busy Betton Hills neighborhood. Luckily, he didn’t have to look far, as we discovered a local honey maker in Bristol, Florida. On a recent, sunny Saturday afternoon, my husband

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and I made plans to take a trip to Torreya State Park to picnic and explore the beautiful bluffs on the Apalachicola River. But first we had to stop and stock up on some honey before my husband went into withdrawal. When we arrived at the honey house, we were treated to a guided tour of the building, which was buzzing with hundreds of honeybees and producing countless gallons of thick, golden honey. This honey hater had the time of her life learning about the amazing process of how honey is made and found a new appreciation for the sticky substance that makes my husband so happy. It was an enlightening experience, and being so near to one of nature’s sweetest gifts was inspiring to us both. We left with 120 pounds of Tupelo honey and not a single bee sting!

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Even though I still can’t come to terms with consuming honey, my palate is making progress and becoming tolerant of a little honey hidden in our food. Here’s the buzz on a few ways we use honey at our hive. • Equal parts of soy sauce and honey create a sweet stir fry sauce. • Squeeze some honey into smoothies for a natural sweetener. • Add a drizzle of honey to red wine or balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh herbs for a simple salad dressing. • Make a mixture of 3 tablespoons of orange juice, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 to 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Place carrots in a foil packet, pour on the honey-citrus sauce and place a pat of butter on top. Close the foil packet, place the carrots in the oven and cook at 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until carrots are cooked. Randi Shiver is a mother of two boys and a kindergarten teacher at Gilchrist Elementary School. She is also an event coordinator with Polka Dot Parties, an event planning service offered by The Polka Dot Press on Market Street and online at thepolkadotpress.com.

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Six Dates That Get You in the Mood By Heather Thomas and Lynn Solomon


For the “Date That is Not Quite a Date”

The Wine Loft For every happy ending there is a beginning. This is the murky, in-between stage of two strangers or two friends with something more going on, indulging in alcohol and food foreplay to a possible next time. Or, it becomes an agonizing tale that you will regale your girlfriends with when you all need a good laugh. Regardless of the next step, you and your pseudo-date will both at least leave happy because the fabulous wine and the good food that The Wine Loft provides will do that for you, even if your date, that is not quite a date, doesn’t. The Wine Loft 1240 Thomasville Road, Suite 100 | (850) 222-9914 | thewinelofttallahassee.net

Food Recommendation: Pair a glass of Cambria Chardonnay with Sweet Grass Dairy Baked Brie en Croûte, topped with peach butter and pecan brittle. Delightful.

For the “I’m Sweet on You” Date


Food Glorious Food Some of the most glorious aspects of our lives and our relationships involve the ones that savor sweetness. For a way to let your date know that you mean more to him than just an appetizer there is the delicious desserts at Food Glorious Food. The dinner menu is superb, and you can start there. But if you are unsure of how to express where you want the night—or the relationship—to go next, then let your dessert do the talking. Your taste buds and your date will thank you. Food Recommendation: Whether it’s Almond Joy Tart or Turtle Truffle Torte, pastry chef Michelle K. Stout’s delicious creations will satisfy your sweet tooth.


Food Glorious Food 1950 Thomasville Road | (850) 224-2729 | foodgloriousfood.com

For the “Date That Your Mother or Your Friend Made You Go On”

Sakura Think of it as your own version of speed dating, since the bill is light, the setting is casual and the food is delicious and quickly served at Sakura. This is the proverbial blind date, but in case it does work out, you want to make an impression. In case it doesn’t, you haven’t spent much time, or money, on another date gone wrong. Who knows—since Sakura means “cherry blossom,” perhaps it is an auspicious sign that your date will grow into something more. Sakura Japanese Sushi & Grill 1318 North Monroe Street | (850) 222-9991 | sakurafl.com 34  t a l l a h a s s e e

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Food Recommendation: The menu is not a strictly sushi affair, but the sushi is some of the best in town. Try the Sweetheart Roll to get things, well, rolling off to a great start.


For the “Date That is Going Places”

The Front Porch In days gone by, the front porch was a middle ground for couples to indulge in the early aspects of courtship. In addition to a relaxed, romantic atmosphere and savory seafood dishes, The Front Porch (the restaurant) allows special moments to be extended since its locale is in close proximity to other Midtown venues. When you already know that dinner will not be enough time to spend with your date which is holding all of your attention (and even held out your chair before you sat down), you can keep the glow going at The Front Porch outdoor bar with its sparkling chandeliers. The Front Porch 1215 Thomasville Road | (850) 222-0934 | frontporchtallahassee.com

Food Recommendation: Red Snapper Rego is a whole fish served with Portugese-style rice. This dish is sure to please and is Chef Rego’s signature dish. “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

For the “This is a Really Big Deal” Date

5. Cypress

Foodies and romantics find a perfect balance at the upscale restaurant Cypress for a match made in southern cuisine and special-moment heaven. This is the place you want to drive by in your minivan one day to point out your, “and they all lived happily ever after” moment. With its award-winning, local cuisine and elegant setting, regardless of what you are celebrating or soon-to-be celebrating, Cypress is sure to help you score, in a big way. Food Recommendation: Cypress’s creative menu is ever-changing, but the ribeye is sure to beef up your romance.

Cypress Restaurant 320 East Tennessee Street | (850) 513-1100 | cypressrestaurant.com


For the “We’ve Been Together for How Long?” Date

A La Provence When you are missing the days when dining on a white tablecloth wasn’t a momentous event, then A La Provence provides the elegant atmosphere that has been absent from your fast food, crock pot-filled life. With a French cuisine menu, you’ll be happy to say “Oui!” to a bottle of wine and a delicious meal that will help the flame burn bright all night long, or at least until the kids decide to interrupt. A La Provence 1415 Timberlane Road (Market Square) | (850) 329-6870 | aprovence.com Pan-seared grouper with arugula salad and pearl cous cous is a dish that will have you saying, “Ooh La La!” t a l l a h a s s e e wo m a n

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Moving Forward:

The Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls By Kelly Otte and Robin Hassler Thompson


n 2011, the Oasis Center for Women and Girls approached the Leon County Commission about creating a countywide commission focused on the welfare and well-being of our female residents. As result, the Leon County Commission then directed the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CSWG) to create communitywide discussions about issues of parity and opportunity. The CSWG is based on the belief that the current challenges that face the female citizens of Leon County must be understood in order to best equip women with the knowledge, skills and equal access to reach for the promise of tomorrow.

Report on the Status of Women and Girls in Leon County—2012

After countless hours of research, the report was completed in the fall of last year. It reflects a wealth of work and effort, with contributions from volunteer commissioners and members of the public who attended 115 meetings and donated more than 2,200 hours in research, writing, editing and production. 36  t a l l a h a s s e e

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Significant Findings

domestic violence-related and along with rape are underreported by at least 50 percent. Women and girls, particularly women and girls of color, lack access to health care, and African-American and Hispanic girls far outnumber those of Caucasian descent in the number of dropouts and expulsions. These findings and others are at the heart of the first-ofits-kind report.

When it comes to leadership roles, Leon County has never had a woman in the job of school superintendent and only 14 women have served on that board since 1965. Since 1978, when Leon County elected the first woman to the County Commission, only 7 women have held seats. For the City Commission, the number is the same— 7, since the first woman was elected in 1972.

Next Steps

Alarmingly, 58 percent of single women with children live in poverty. Also, violence against women remains an epidemic in Leon County: according to national surveys, 36 percent of all murders are

CSWG is a catalyst—a convener and a place where the issues important to women and girls can get a full hearing. Everyone is welcome to join the efforts of CSWG to make a difference for women and girls in

Significant findings highlight strides forward and harsh inequities in the areas of women’s and girls’ treatment in the justice system, education, economic security, health and leadership. Moreover, these issue areas are interrelated and fluid. For example, a woman who does not have good health care benefits at work suffers both in terms of her health and economically.

There is much work to be done. In 2013, CSWG will focus its work on solutions to address violence against women and girls, hosting an economic security summit, helping to build a coalition of programs and support for girls, strengthening data collection on key issues and finding ways to solidify and continue its work with additional funding.

the community. As the report says: “A community that invests in women and girls ensures a more solid future for families and the community.” You can find the “Report on the Status of Women and Girls in Leon County—2012” and an executive summary online at theoasiscenter.net. Pictured: Top left to right: Hon. June McKinney, Sally Butzin, Kristine Knab, Dr. Elizabeth Goldsmith, Stephanie Land, Kelly Otte, Hanna Karimipour, Pat Smith Bottom left to right: Sarah Sturges, Denise Manning, Dr. Patty Ball Thomas, Kelly Dozier, Robin Hassler Thompson, Dr. Jeanne O’Kon, Gail Dixon, Dr. Elsie Crowell, Dr. Janelle Baker, Haley Cutler Not Pictured: Loranne Ausley, Barbara Maria Moro, Martha Olive-Hall, Kelly Otte, Dr. Ada Puryear Burnette, and Pam Ridley

All are commissioners on the Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls except Sarah Sturges (Director of Clinical and Social Services) and Haley Cutler (Executive Director of The Oasis Center for Women and Girls), who serve as staff liaisons to CSWG.

Help Bring Girls on the Run to the Big Bend By Analiese Aviles


irls on the Run (GOTR) is a transformational learning program for girls ages 8 to 13. This unique program teaches life skills through dynamic, conversation-based lessons and running games and is an organization passionate about inspiring young women. Efforts are being made to bring the program to local schools in the Big Bend area. As Ericka McKibbin, Lead Organizer, shares, it’s more than just a running program, “It’s really about girls becoming comfortable with themselves. School is already hard enough, so this program really helps young girls to become confident, strong and healthy as well as take pride and ownership of being part of a team.” The program prepares the girls physically and emotionally for a celebratory 5k running event at the end of the 10-12 week program. Pending approval, Ericka and her team are preparing to launch GOTR this fall in Leon County. They have reached out to various schools and nonprofit organizations for support and fundraising events. “It’s so important to instill values of having a strong sense of self at an early age. With the help of GOTR, girls learn healthy living habits and skillsets to become leaders in our community.” To learn more about how to support, volunteer or become a running coach for GOTR, visit facebook.com/LetsBringGotrToTheBigBend and message Ericka for more information.

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• F e b r u a r y /M a rc h 2013 37

Katherine Langston, MD

Expert physicians. Quality surgical care.

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Capital Regional Cardiology Associates Debra Coon was accustomed “You don’t have to live to leading a vigorous lifestyle. like this. I promise to Whether she was hunting, fishing or tending her garden, make you feel better.” the 54-year-old Liberty County resident was always on the go. But last year, her energy level plunged Dr. Sangosanya specializes in implanting and she felt a constant, nagging internal cardioverterdefibrillators and fatigue that grew worse with each other heart failure devices designed to day. Everyday household tasks like help treat weakened heart function vacuuming the carpet left her feeling and symptoms. He also treats worn out. When the fatigue was arrhythmias with catheter more than she could bear, Debra ablations, a treatment that heats was referred by her primary care or freezes tissue interfering with physician to Afolabi Sangosanya, MD, the heart’s electrical impulses. a clinical cardiac electrophysiologist at Capital Regional Cardiology Associates. Less Is More Using state-of-the-art technology, the Debra was in good hands. When it medical specialists at Capital Regional comes to matters of the heart, the medical team at Capital Regional Cardiology Associates offers a wide array of advanced procedures performed by highly specialized cardiologists. When Debra described her symptoms to Dr. Sangosanya, he reassured her, “You don’t have to live like this. I promise to make you feel better.” And that’s exactly what he did. Recognizing that Debra was experiencing a condition called “sick sinus syndrome,” characterized by an abnormally slow heart rate, Dr. Sangosanya implanted a permanent pacemaker to restore Debra’s heart rate to normal.

Quality of Life

“For patients with Ms. Coon’s condition, the only way to give back their functional quality of life is to have a permanent pacemaker inserted to regulate the heart’s electrical system,” says Dr. Sangosanya. “The pacemaker adapts to the individual so she can do all the things she wants to do but she won’t feel that tiredness, that fatigue.” In addition to mending the heart’s electrical system,

State-of-the-art heart specialists Afolabi Sangosanya, MD (left), and Niraj Pandit, MD (right), used the latest technology to give Debra Coon her quality of life back.

Cardiology Associates are capable of providing a wide array of minimally invasive options to diagnose and treat conditions that block blood from flowing through arteries in the heart and other vessels in the body. “The technology we use has advanced significantly over the last 5 or 10 years, and the devices are newer and better to treat heart and vascular disease,” says

Niraj Pandit, MD, FACC, FFCAI, an interventional cardiologist and cardiovascular specialist with Capital Regional Cardiology Associates. Dr. Pandit specializes in cardiac catheterization for diagnosing and removing blockage in the coronary arteries, balloon angioplasty to remove plaque that has accumulated along artery walls and the placement of stents to stabilize reopened arteries. He also specializes in peripheral arterial and vascular disease, with a strong emphasis on limb salvage. The medical team encourages patients with cardiac symptoms to make an appointment with a physician the moment symptoms arise. “We pride ourselves on getting people in as quickly as possible because we feel that cardiac problems can’t be put on hold,” says Dr. Pandit. To schedule an appointment with a physician at Capital Regional Cardiology Associates, call (850) 877-0216 or visit capitalregionalmedicalgroup.com. t a l l a h a s s e e wo m a n

• F e b r u a r y /M a rc h 2013 39

AROUNDTOWN Special Events • Speakers • Benefits • Activities




The Chelsea House hosted its annual fundraiser, The Chelsea House Christmas Banquet. Chelsea House is a transitional Christian home for homeless or struggling women. The program is designed to spiritually guide women to become independent and productive members of society. 3.


1. Willie Meggs, Beth and Glenn Burns, Les Akers 2. Robert and Lauren Hosay 3. Diane Glover, Cynthia Burton, Ruth Akers, Leona Boutwell 4. Jim Martin, Henree Martin, Beth Burns, Bob Williamson, Teresa Williamson 5. Joe and Sherry Walsh, Jennifer Gann 6. Erica Scott, Margaret Griffin, Kia Sadia 7. Valerie Simpson, Angela Wheeler 8. Brenda Vaughn, Peggy Allen, Pam Ridley, Ada Burnette, Wendy Sokolow 9. Mary Ann Lindley, Laura Rogers, Barb Bishop

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women to w a t c h


Women to Watch

is a listing of women with new jobs or promotions, business openings, and changes and awards and appointments or women who are reaching out and making a difference in our community. E-mail information for Women to Watch to listings@TalWoman.com.


Amanda Patterson is now the Vice President of Clinical Operations at Big Bend Hospice. Amanda has worked in the hospice industry for the past 12 years. She brings a broad scope of hospice knowledge from a variety of positions, including staff nurse, Patient Services Manager, and Executive Director. Demeshia Franklin, a Program Support Specialist at the Institute for Intergovernmental Research, (IIR) recently received the Award of Recognition for her service and dedication at the organization.

Amanda Patterson

Demeshia Franklin

Sarah Bascom, president and owner of Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC, was recently named to the board of the Economic Club of Florida. Bascom, who was also recently announced as a cohost of the syndicated political talk show “Usual Suspects,” runs a political public relations firm in Tallahassee representing a myriad of high-profile elected officials, Fortune 500 companies and associations across Florida and other Southeastern states. Leanne Avant has been certified by the London Image Institute as a Certified Image Consultant and Branding Specialist. As an image consultant, Leanne provides career and image skills services for both men and women.

Sarah Bascom

Leanne Avant

Christie Meresse, a Tallahassee Woman photographer, was recently awarded 3rd place for Photographer of the Year by the Tallahassee Professional Photographers Guild. Christie is also currently serving as treasurer for the guild. Caitlin Harrison was recently crowned Miss Capital City USA and will be competing for Miss Florida USA in 2014. Caitlin attends Florida A & M University, where she has been selected into the pre-pharmacy program. Nancy Stedman-Laux has been selected for the American Lung Association’s (ALA) Volunteer of the Week and Volunteer Excellence Award for her service to the ALA in connection with Gulf Winds Track Club.

Christie Meresse

Caitlin Harrison

Nancy Stedman-Laux Michelle Willson 42  t a l l a h a s s e e

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Michelle Wilson has been promoted to Vice President of Business Development by Banyan Investment Group. In her new role, Michelle is handling sales for 14 hotels, spanning across 5 hotel chains—from Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, InterContinental and Wyndham—including a soon-to-be-opened property in North Dakota. Michelle continues to be based out of Tallahassee and retains her position as president of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) Tallahassee Chapter. She is also the first female president in the Northwest Florida Region of FRLA.

The Professional Women’s Forum: CEO Series features distinguished leaders from our community and region going beyond their bios to provide attendees with tools, strategies and takeaways for their own success. Presented By

February 12, 2013 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. University Center Club Register at TalChamber.com

Myda Williams & Tracey Cohen Target Copy

“Handing My Baby To My Baby” Learn the ins and outs of business succession from two of Tallahassee’s business leaders. Mayda Williams and Tracey Cohen will discuss successful business transition from mother to daughter, the do’s and dont’s of business succession as well as partipcate in a question and answer session with attendees.

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women W e A D M I R E

Karen Thurston Chavez A Mother’s Love Helps Heal the Heart By Angela Howard

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”


his quote by author Elizabeth Stone is one that most every mother can agree with. We carry our child for nine short months and then have a front-row seat to the miracle of birth as our angel enters into the world. But what would you do if you found out your little one wasn’t perfect? That was the reality for Karen Thurston Chavez when her youngest son, William, was diagnosed with the heart-lung disease Scimitar Syndrome at just 11 months old. “We were shocked and upset to learn he had a congenital heart defect. I cried for days,” Karen said. Karen and her husband Joaquin (and their older son Martin) learned that William’s pulmonary veins had an abnormal connection to the right side of his heart and

his right lung was small and underdeveloped, but instead of letting the diagnosis and sadness take over, the Tallahassee family set out to find the best treatment possible. “We were scared and we were worried for what William’s future held, but at the same time, we were incredibly relieved to finally have an answer to why William was always, always sick,” Karen said. Within a week of William’s diagnosis, the Chavezes had appointments with a pediatric cardiologist at the University of Florida and Shands Hospital for Children in Gainesville. “We stayed in Gainesville for two days while William had EKGs to check the electrical currents in his heart, echocardiograms to look at and measure his heart, and X-rays to see his chest and vasculature. It was the first time in over a year that we felt like William would be OK,” she said. When William was two years old, he had his first openheart surgery. Soon after, he was able to play and run without getting tired. Knowing how hard it was to go through such an ordeal pushed Karen and her friend Kim Rooks to start Broken Hearts of Florida (BHF), a support group to help other families affected by congenital heart disease. “I think I’ve always been a glass-half-full kind of person, and I try to find the positive in most situations,” Karen said. “Reaching out to other families who are going through similar experiences helps a lot.” Beginning as a local support group with about 60 families, Broken Hearts has since grown into a recognized non-profit, with three chapters and about 275 families. One hundred percent of the profits go back into the organization to serve the families of BHF who, in turn, help the women who started it all. “My least stressful days over the past few months have been when I was busy helping another family in Broken Hearts.”

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Photo by Christie Meresse

We Can Help You Lose Weight in a Safe and Healthy Way

However, the past few months have been incredibly trying, as eight-year-old William re-entered the operating room just this past December for his second open-heart surgery. To get through it, Karen leaned on family and friends for support. William is recovering, and as his heart grows stronger, so too does his family. “No life, no family is perfect and we’re no exception, but we do well,” said Karen. “We are there for each other, we hold each other, we pull together and we laugh and play and have fun together.” As Helen Keller once wrote,

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”

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For more information on Broken Hearts of Florida, visit BrokenHeartsFlorida.org or e-mail info@brokenheartsflorida.org.

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F unny G i r l

Another Lesson in Life

With one stop left, I didn’t know what to expect, but when the woman opened the door she smiled and gave me a hug. Then she told me to always be proud and handed me a dollar. I’m not sure what she was thinking but I felt better. Lesson: Never feel superior to somebody who’s different or sick, you just might trip over your tongue.

By Karen M. Morris


n a perfect world, I would be married to a guy named Dick, my name would be Jane and we’d have 2.5 children and a dog called Spot. But the road of life is never that predictable. As it turned out I married Wayne, we own cats, and instead of the standard 2.5 children we have 3 because I am not good at fractions. To be honest, I’ve stumbled more than I’ve skipped down life’s pathway. But fortunately, at the end of every year, God teaches me one important lesson to help me navigate the road ahead. Why just one lesson? See previous comment about confusion over 2.5 children. A couple of years ago, I learned that silence is golden. Back then I considered myself invincible. I was never sick—even after some guy on the bus coughed phlegm balls on me for twenty minutes. In seven years, I hadn’t missed a day of work and no one was prouder of that fact than me. My downfall was caused by a highly contagious outbreak of Real Housewives of Miami. It produced symptoms of dizziness, questionable fashion choices and really bad dancing. I, naturally, remained unscathed but Sue, my neighbor, caught a severe case of Housewives and wrenched her back. Sue could barely move which was a problem because she’d volunteered to drop off cookie orders the next day. I comforted Sue by reminding her how healthy I was

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Now this year, I learned that sometimes you’re wealthier than you think .

and after bragging about my incredible immune system, I offered to deliver her cookies. The next morning I woke up and noticed something was wrong—my tongue was swollen and hanging out of my mouth. It was so bad that when I tried to speak all that came out was garble and spit. I was worse than Bus Guy. I called Wayne to see if he’d do Sue’s deliveries but he hung up on me three times thinking I was a prank caller. My only option was to deliver the cookies and drag my tongue along. At the first house the people kept peaking at me through the curtains and wouldn’t answer the door. Apparently my tongue was scaring them as I drooled on their porch like a rabid cookie monster. The lady at the next house answered the door but when I tried to say, “Mrs. Brown?” it came out “Mih-huh Bawn?” She frowned and then accused me of being intoxicated. I tried to explain but with my tongue hanging out like a St. Bernard’s, I only confirmed her suspicions.

I wanted a new car and heaven knows I deserved one. My van was so old that in two years it could legally vote. When the rear view mirror fell off, we superglued it back on. When the seat belt broke, we got a used one from the junk yard. And when the alarms malfunctioned, we just turned up the radio. It refused to keep its hubcaps on and had a serious addiction to oil. I’d already picked out my new car. It had airbags to knock me silly when I bumped into things and a little voice in the dash to tell me where to turn. And rust was its color and not its condition. I was ready to say goodbye to my old van when reality hit home. Morry needed braces and Leo’s school tuition was due, which meant that after paying for those things I wouldn’t have enough money to buy a Happy Meal. As I sat in the kitchen bemoaning what I didn’t have, the boys came in to grab some food. Leo talked about his classes and his dream to go on to law school while Morry just smiled at me with those crooked teeth. As unpredictable as life is, they were still happy and filled with dreams about tomorrow. What more could I ask for? So, for now it looks like the van and I will be receiving Medicare together, but that’s okay. I learned a priceless lesson—what’s really important can sometimes only be seen in the faces and dreams of others.


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• F e b r u a r y /M a rc h 2013 47

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(850) 210-0446

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