Page 1






A Taste of Fall Fashion Discover



Thankful TABLE

A Message on Breast

Cancer Awareness

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 1 

STROKE CAN LEAVE A VOID — a lack of independence, mobility or communication — if not treated in time. Because when a stroke happens, time is not on your side. How quickly and where you receive care matters. Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare is the only hospital in North Florida designated as a comprehensive stroke center, offering minimally invasive treatments. Your hospital for stroke is your hospital for life. Learn the signs of stroke, or see if you are at risk: TMH.ORG/Stroke

2  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

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tallahassee woman magazine | october/november 2017

On the Cover 32

Behind the Mask—Laura W. Johnson By Heather Thomas About the Cover: Photography by Kira Derryberry | Hair styling provided by Allie Byrd with Salon IQ | Black dress on page 36 provided by Narcissus




Our Thoughts



The Hidden Heart

A Taste of Fall Fashion | Below the Surface: GlobalXplorer° | Hidden Meanings of Dreams | Fruit Label Stickers: The Hidden Meaning Behind the Numbers | Mysterious Fall Reads


Style and Grace


Healthy Living


Bodies in Motion

Setting a Thankful Table



Our Community


Home and Garden

Is It Multitasking or Is It a Distraction? Hidden Time Stealers


The Dish

Money Talks


Funny Girl

Endorphins: The Hidden Superpower You Didn’t Know You Had

Real Life





The Healing Power of Friendship




Across Party Lines

Tina Reason and Sacred Soil for Veterans: The Right Kind of Welcome Home

Business & Career

Hidden Cash Around Your Home

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Taking the Helm: The Women of Theatre Tallahassee | Special Sponsor Section: What Women Should Know | Women Who Mean Business (WWMB): Women to Watch | Haute Happenings | Around Town

The Hidden Wonders of Fairy and Miniature Gardens

The Hidden Value of Vegetables

Lord Help Me, I’m on Twitter

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tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 7 

TWM | october / november 2017

View Tallahassee Woman


October/November 2017 Volume 12 | Issue 5




Pick up a copy around town.




ER 2017




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

A Taste of Fall Fashion





A Message on Breas

t Cancer Awarenes s tallah assee

wom an • octob er/no vemb

er 2017 1

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


ADVERTISING SALES Jennifer Stinson, Ad Sales Manager Michelle Royster Hart, Ad Sales Associate GRAPHIC DESIGN Christy Jennings INTERNS Michelle Abraira | Abby Cloud Emma Peterson | Rebecca Pringle Geneva Rodriguez BUSINESS OPERATIONS Jane Royster Munroe CFO| Josh Foerst Tallahassee Woman Magazine LLC Post Office Box 13401 Tallahassee, FL 32317-3401 Phone (850) 893-9624 Fax (850) 254­-7038 Tallahassee Woman is published six times per year and is distributed on a complimentary basis throughout Tallahassee and the surrounding communities. The information in this publication is presented in good faith. The publisher does not guarantee accuracy or assume responsibility for errors or omissions.


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

OUR CONTRIBUTORS CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ali Campbell is a Florida State graduate and certified fitness professional who divides her time between personal training clients and coaching group fitness classes at Premier Health & Fitness Center. With a genuine passion, love and enthusiasm for all things fitness, Ali strives to motivate her classes and clients by engaging them with her excitement inspiring them to be the BEST that they can be.

Jenny Cherry is a native Floridian, full-time professional and single mom. She is a writer and public speaker, and holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature with a minor in communications.

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

Tavia Rahki Smith is a yoga teacher, blogger and holistic health advocate pursuing a career in alternative medicine. She is a Florida State University and University of South Florida alumna with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a master's degree in aging and neuroscience.

Hillary Ring is a graduate of Florida State University and Valdosta State University. She is an essayist and humor writer who currently teaches writing at Tallahassee Community College and Valdosta State University. Her work has been regularly featured in The Funny Times, and she authors the blog Happiness and Its Constituents. She is a Tallahassee native who recently found her way back home.

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

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 Kira’s portfolio online at

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 9 


thoughts The Hidden Heart

“The human heart has hidden treasures, in secret kept, in silence sealed.” —Charlotte Brontë


his issue’s theme is The Hidden World—Finding meaning and mystery in the undiscovered. Our beloved Tallahassee—a beautiful city with its Southern charm and ambiance—boasts many hidden treasures in nature, activities and resources. But truly, the unique treasure of our community is its people—current residents and souls from the past who have brought Tallahassee to where it is now, who followed their heart’s passion to make our city better. The human heart will always be the source of remarkable dreams, inspirations and endeavors, if we choose to act on them and bring them to fruition. This issue’s cover woman, Laura W. Johnson, had the dream in her heart to bring back to Tallahassee the timeless art of Shakespeare. As Executive Director of the Southern Shakespeare Company, now in its third year, Laura has spearheaded the coordination of the Shakespeare in the Park performances and events at Cascades Park. Acting both in an administrative role and as a thespian, Laura is fulfilling her heart’s passion, which has benefited our arts community and now brings Shakespeare to life for a new generation.

Also in this issue we highlight Tina Reason, whose efforts are worthy of note any time of the year, but especially as we celebrate Veterans Day in November. Tina’s organization, Sacred Soil for Veterans, has been helping countless veterans get the resources they need, often filling the gaps that other organizations miss. Her story will inspire you to give back to all veterans and their families who have pledged the ultimate sacrifice so that we can continue to enjoy the freedom in this country that we are blessed to have today. As we head into November, it will be time to plan Thanksgiving celebrations. Our thanks to Stephanie Jansen, who opened her home to reveal her table-setting and holiday decorating secrets in the Style and Grace feature. These ideas will help you set your own thankful table, make your guests feel welcome and your décor more festive. And while we are all gathered with family and friends, it will be the perfect time to reveal the love in our hearts and give thanks to all those special people who have made life beautiful. Many blessings to you this Thanksgiving.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and, together, Joy Love Hester and Lydia Bell show how the friendship of two women has become a crusading force for cancer awareness. Kim Rosier Their story of facing this health issue head on and arm in arm is Publisher making an impact in the lives of women in our community. *Editor's Note: Be sure to look for the “hidden” October/November magazine cover in one of the articles this issue. E-mail us at to let us know which page it is on and your name will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a gift card to a local boutique. 10  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017



Tallahassee Woman Magazine and the Women Who Mean Business Community present WWMB Work + Play Conference



“Women Have Drive!”

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 | 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


(Registration check-in begins at 8 a.m. Event begins at 9:00 a.m.) Location: Tallahassee Community College Center for Workforce Development 444 Appleyard Drive, Tallahassee, FL


This one day event is open to all professional women in the Tallahassee community with sensational and inspiring speakers presenting throughout the day on business topics, as well as inspirational and lifestyle topics for the well-rounded businesswoman. You will leave this conference inspired and empowered with information to drive you to success!


Your ticket entitles you to a day of: Dynamic Speakers on Business Topics & Lifestyle Topics Valuable Networking Vendor Exhibits Giveaways Catered Lunch and more!

Scheduled to speak:

Michelle Ubben Sachs Media Group

Terrie Ard Moore Communications Group

Dr. Michelle Mitcham Courageous Conversations Consulting, Coaching Counseling

Keynote Speaker Laura Johnson Founder, Coton Colors

Dena H. Sokolow Attorney/Shareholder Baker Donelson

Patricia McCray Butterfly Life Journeys, Inc.

Heidi Otway SalterMitchell

Marsha Doll Marsha Doll Models

Colene Rogers Speaker, Leadership Coach and HR Consultant

Dr. Asha Brewer Speaker, Author, Radio Personality

Prissy Elrod Author Far Outside the Ordinary

Judy Micale Judy Micale & Associates

Kimberly A. Moore Workforce Innovation TCC

Heather Fuselier Wellness Coach and Author


For information and tickets visit Tallahassee Woman Magazine • • (850-893-9624) • e-mail:

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 11 


• wellness • books style • technology • knowled ge


By Geneva M. Rodriguez


he alluring scent of pumpkin fills the air as the fresh fall breeze cools down the summer steam. The colors on the leaves transform the atmosphere with lively hues of auburn, yellow and chestnut. Along with the change of the season comes a change in fashion trends and aesthetics. Whether it’s for work or play, these 2017 fall fashion tips will help you vibe with the season in style. COZY COLORS The color red was all over the Fall Fashion runways so don’t hesitate to add this hot color to your cool fall wardrobe. But don’t stop there—explore your mysterious side and get innovative with rich shades of purple, orange, yellow and brown. PLAID Checkmate! The checkered print is back and ready to add playful touches to any outfit. The pattern looks best paired with solid colors. VELVET & CORDUROY Don't let the funky texture fool you. These unique styles look great in dark colors and fabulous with black boots.


LEATHER The breezy weather is the perfect opportunity to get in the rock 'n' roll mood. Spunk up an outfit with a leather jacket, skirt or pants. You’ll thank us later.

12  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

FRINGE & FLORAL Shorts, skirts, tops and jackets—fringe and floral are in for the season! Wear them any way you’d like—you’ll look your best for fall.

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 13 

trending | technology

Below the Surface

By Alexandra Pushkin


n her TED Talk, Dr. Sarah Parcak, 2016 TED Prize winner and National Geographic Fellow, tells the story of Hiram Bingham, the explorer who discovered Machu Picchu in 1911 while exploring Peru. Dr. Parcak continued by inviting the audience and all listeners to join her in her dream to open up and help modernize the world of archeology like Bingham did 100 years earlier.

GlobalXplorer° is an online platform that aims to do just that—bring archeology to more than just archeologists. Using satellite images, GlobalXplorer° helps users locate what is just below the surface, along with help from National Geographic, which provides content, archival imagery and documentary footage for further help with discovery. Ultimately, the goal of Dr. Parcak and her team’s goal is to create a global network of citizen explorers, utilizing users from all corners of the world to modernize and captivate audiences with the world of archeology. So far, Dr. Parcak’s idea has helped to locate 17 potential pyramids, 3,100 potential forgotten settlements and 1,000 potential lost tombs in Egypt and various significant discoveries about the Viking and Roman Empire histories. To venture further into preservation, Dr. Parcak hopes to open field schools, develop an archeological institute and launch a satellite designed for archeological purposes. For more information visit

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Hidden Meanings of Dreams By Katia Fernandez


ome mornings you can’t help but sit and wonder what could’ve led to last night’s odd dream sequence. Whether it’s the classic dream of teeth falling out or something even more obscure, you’d be surprised how much you can learn about yourself through dreams. The truth is that they hold endless implications tying back to your subconscious, and with technology, tracking these dreams and exploring their hidden meanings is more fascinating than ever.

SLEEP ISSUES? We can help


This free app works to both organize and decipher dreams. After creating an account with a personal code, you can track dreams, analyze them and even set alarms. You have an option to rate your dreams according to mood, type, and emotion, along with your personal narrative. You can also analyze them based off of keywords.

Way of Dreams

Working as a dream interpretation tool, this app features a dream dictionary built from practices with dreamwork to help work through any symbols that may appear. The first step is to describe the dream, and then the app will use your own words to explore possible meanings. Though it is all relative to personal experience, this app can help provide an understanding. Similar to the first app, this one has multiple options for deciding how exactly you want to analyze and record your dreams.

Beachton Denture Center’s vision is not only to increase awareness of the inherent dangers of undiagnosed and untreated Sleep Disorder Breathing but also to improve the quality of Life in people with Sleep Disorder Breathing and Respiratory Disorders.

Dr. Dozier & Dr. McFatter

Beachton Denture Clinic 2515 US-319 Thomasville, GA 31792 229-233-0249 • tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 17 

trending | wellness

FRUIT LABEL STICKERS The Hidden Meaning Behind the Numbers By Michelle Abraira


asily overlooked as the little sticker on our produce, fruit labels are more important than we think. Sure, we’re used to seeing that little Chiquita label on our bananas and maybe thinking that it’s just for branding purposes. But these PLU codes, otherwise known as their price look-up number, tell you a lot more about the food you’re buying than adding to the physical appearance of the fruit. Here’s what you need to know about these fruit sticker labels next time you’re shopping at your local supermarket. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CODES. Typically, codes starting with 3 or 4 indicate that the fruit has been conventionally grown. Of the 5-digit codes, fresh, organically grown fruits

begin with 9 and those grown with GMOs (genetically modified organisms) begin with 8. The codes mean the same coast to coast. No matter where you go, the meaning of the labels stay the same, whether you’re shopping in a supermarket on the East Coast or the West Coast. THEY’RE EDIBLE. Although it is recommended that you wash your produce and remove these labels before cooking, no harm will be done if this minor detail slips your mind. The FDA warns consumers of the dangers of accidentally choking on the labels, but they’re made from paper and stick to the fruit with glue that is safe for us to ingest.


NEW TECHNOLOGY IS PAVING THE WAY FOR NEW ADVANCEMENTS. Multitasking stickers and lasers will soon be transforming the way PLUs are made. Multitasking stickers will not only dissolve when we wash them but have soap to help us clean our fruit better. A Florida native has also found a way to engrave PLU codes onto our produce through lasers. However, citrus fruits are the only food that has been approved to go through this process.




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BOOK NOOK Mysterious Fall Reads By Emma Peterson


all is here and with Halloween around the corner, you may be drawn to crime novels or creepy mysteries that will take the chill out of the air and send it down your spine. Or, you may want to open an investigation into your own self-discovery as the final fourth of the year begins. No matter which category you fall into, you will find something you like in this cornucopia of mystery books. A is for Alibi… Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton From A is for Alibi, which was released in 1982, to Y is for Yesterday, which was released in August 2017, this series follows Kinsey Millhone, a 30-year-old private detective who lives in Santa Theresa, California. Throughout the series, the detective is called to investigate a series of murders. Grafton only has one more book before she completes the entire alphabet. These books are full of twists and turns and surprise endings, which are sure to get you into the spooky spirit of Halloween. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie The famous Orient Express was traveling as usual when a winter storm and an abrupt stop end in the murder of a millionaire. Locked doors and stab wounds point to the killer being one of the passengers on the train—all of whom were enemies of the victim. Detective Poirot must follow each clue to find out who the killer is, before he or she strikes again. This classic mystery novel has been made into a film to be released this November. Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller Ingrid Coleman wanted to leave her husband Gil. She didn’t know how to explain why, so she wrote letters to him and hid them in thousands of books that he had collected. After writing her final letter, she left her family and never returned. When her daughter Flora grew up, she never believed the story her father had told her—that her mother drowned and died. Flora decides to figure out what happened to her mother, and the answer was hidden in the books all around her.

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style & grace



20  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017


etting a “thankful table” is one of the most heartwarming tables that you can create for your family. I have always dearly loved this time of year that we all come together to simply be thankful. In this crazy busy world we live in it is truly a gift to ourselves to gather together and share how grateful and blessed we are to be in one another’s lives. This gift of time deserves the most spectacular table you can imagine, so I say to you—dust off your china, make your crystal sparkly and find hidden treasures that will bring beautiful smiles to your family’s hearts. Thanksgiving’s magic is so steeped in family tradition and I encourage you to go over the top in every way!

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 21 

style & grace

Once you have added memory lane to your table, next incorporate novelties that are unique to your family style. Let your table be your family stage. If your family is a lover of outdoors then cover your table in in leaves, pine cones, rocks from your travels and any other gifts from Mother Nature. After you have decided your theme and added your family mementos, it is always fun to add a bit of whimsy that will make them smile. This year, I have hidden squirrels amongst my decorations and I am convinced there is not on a soul on earth that will not smile when they see a golden turkey at their placesetting or a gilded squirrel peeking out at them!

22  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

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style & grace

For over twenty years my family and I have written what we are thankful for on our cherished tablecloth each Thanksgiving Day. This cloth is almost covered now and it truly one of my greatest treasures. Here you will find my children’s thoughts when they were just beginning to conquer their writing skills as wee little girls. Now in college, their penmanship has improved but their thankfulness for family, friends and, of course, their pets has remained steadfast over the years.

Last but not least, do take a photo of your masterpiece before dinner is served. When the gorgeous turkey is brought to the table, I have no doubt the glitter pumpkins and squirrels will go flying off the table to make way for the star of the show! May your “Thankful Table” be one that fills your heart. Would you like to discover more inspiration to “sparkle” your home, holidays and day-to-day lifestyle? Visit Stephanie Jansen’s blog online at 24  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

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healthy living

26  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

The Healing Power of Friendship By Tavia Rahki Smith | Photography by elleBelle Photography


very year, over 12 million people discover they have cancer. This lifechanging disease comes in all shapes and sizes and affects every person differently. While one can’t control cancer alone, it is possible to gain strength, resilience, and hope while standing arm-in-arm with other women. The inspiring story of Joy Love Hester and Lydia Bell shows how the friendship of two women has become a crusading force for cancer awareness and an important aspect to their own healing process. When it comes to a cancer diagnosis, the way women have processed and dealt with the disease has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. Joy was 19 years old when her mother, Jane Blue Love, was first diagnosed with breast cancer. She battled breast cancer again later in life, eventually dying from metastasis to her liver and lungs at 75. Joy remembers unpleasant visits to the hospital and recalls that her mother rarely spoke about the cancer openly. Although Joy knew her family history of cancer, she didn’t like going to the doctor and avoided getting a mammogram. It wasn’t until she developed a cyst above her left breast that she sought medical advice. Luckily, her cancer was discovered while still in its early stages. Instead of radiation therapy, she immediately told the doctor she wanted both breasts removed. Joy found strength in the memory of her mother and in her love for her son, Austin, refusing to let anything stand in the way of being there for him. So, December 1, 2009, on her 48th birthday, Joy had a double mastectomy. Today, Joy is thankful to be a safe space and mentor for cancer patients, especially people whose diagnosis is recent. Joy believes that it is important to talk about your cancer journey and says, “Things

but Lydia has battled many of her own health challenges. Lydia speaks humbly about this part of her journey, saying that it was minimal in comparison to the cancer battles of people she has seen and worked with. “I don’t want to take away any badges from anyone else.”

are different nowadays. Back when my mother was diagnosed, women didn’t talk about cancer.” Women are becoming more proactive about their health and taking steps towards prevention. Some, like Joy, have become advocates so that others can learn from their stories. Because of Joy’s positive attitude and passion for life, she is a light in the lives of many. One person who couldn’t agree more is Lydia Bell, a fun-loving, down-to-earth mother of 3, with a unique spirit and creative mind. Joy and Lydia met 20 years ago at Tallahassee Community College and have been there for each other ever since. Lydia exudes genuine adoration for her dear friend and emphasizes how much Joy has been her inspiration in transforming her photography business, elleBelle Photography, into a nonprofit organization that raises money to support cancer warriors and other deserving organizations in times of need. Lydia holds a very special place in her heart for those whose lives have been affected by cancer. Many do not know it,

But where did this outreach idea begin? In 2010, Joy came to Lydia with the idea of making a calendar to highlight breast cancer survivors. They both started discussing the idea with more people and the response was heartening. There were so many survivors wanting to tell their stories that Lydia started collecting these touching testimonies. From then on, her efforts have blossomed into something truly beautiful as Lydia continues to raise money by donating proceeds from professional portraits to support cancer survivors, troubled youth, mental health awareness, children with deformities and other local and national organizations. “When it comes to a community’s health, we are all connected and need to do our part. It helps women to know what others are going through and that they are not alone in their struggle.” These women are beautifully brazen, from battling cancer with grit to building a non profit organization with girl-boss guts. Joy’s message to everyone is to be proactive about your health, especially if you have a family history of cancer. “Be diligent about getting mammograms— don’t wait.” Lydia believes in the power of the mind when faced with a health battle. “Don’t stay in the victim mind-set; be a warrior.” Above all, the women want to inspire others to reach out to each other for encouragement. These wonder-women plan to continue participating and leading in cancer outreach and awareness events, inspiring the community and sharing the healing power of friendship.

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 27 

bodies in motion


The Hidden Superpower You Didn’t Know You Had By Ali Campbell


ou’ve probably heard of a “runner’s high” or seen the Nike advertisement “In it for the endorphins.” Maybe you’ve "Pinned" the fitness quote “You are only one workout away from a good mood” or simply felt better after a hard day by sweating it out in a spin class, dancing your cares away in Zumba, or meeting your friends at the “barre.” If the feeling you get following a run or a post sweat sesh leaves you uplifted, energized or even euphoric, then you’ve unleashed, or tapped into, your happy chemicals also known as endorphins. What are endorphins and why do we want them? When your body comes under stress or experiences discomfort (think long runs or high-intensity interval training), neurochemicals called endorphins are produced in the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary gland. They function to act as your body’s own morphine-like pain killers by activating opioid receptors to help minimize discomfort. In short, endorphins are like your body’s own natural antidepressant! These natural painkillers are most commonly associated with exercise because during exercise your brain increases the production of neurotransmitters, sending messages to your nervous system telling it how awesome this feels. The “high,”or mental feel-good, that occurs from exercise connects physical and emotional health causing us to feel happier and less stressed.

abilities). Coincidence? Or could that be courtesy of endorphins? Marina Lickson, owner and president of Honeytree Natural Foods, exercises most days of the week not just for her health but for her sanity. “As a Type-A person, I need that endorphin release to function at the high level I do on a daily basis. If for some reason two days go by without it (exercise), I don’t sleep, I’m cranky and feel miserable overall.” Most recently, exercise helped her navigate the loss of her mother, the diagnosis and treatment of her husband’s stage 4 throat cancer and the daily grind of being a small business owner. “Exercise takes me to a peaceful, energetic place. Energy creates energy! That’s my mantra and I crave that feeling daily.” Another example of someone that uses exercise and endorphins to cultivate energy and creativity is 33-year-old Langley Clark. Langley is an intellectual property attorney, a photographer, a mother, a wife and co-owner of an orthodontist practice. Between mothering

As a fitness professional, I come into contact with many people who come to the gym for diverse reasons. While aesthetics tops the reason why people typically start going, people who keep going tend to do so for a general improvement of overall health (including improved moods, sleep and cognitive 28  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

two under the age of six, helping run her husband’s busy orthodontics practice and juggling two additional careers of her own, Langley uses exercise as time for herself to think, relax and work through problems. “For me, running and working out are so much more than just doing something good for my body. Whenever my husband and I are feeling stressed we tell each other, “Go for a run.” It’s like meditation. What I’ve realized is that working out actually improves my mental clarity as much as, if not more than, my physical health. It (exercise) affords me an outlet to test my limits, fight through pain, pound out big emotions and discover how far I can push myself.” If endorphins can give us the superpower to fight stress, deal with unpleasant circumstances and better equip us to navigate this hectic, fast-paced world that we live in, then let’s unleash the power from within. Put on your cape, lace up your tennies and go get SWEATY!

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 29 

real life



ast spring, I went on a date with someone I met online. It was Bumble, the supposedly feminist dating app, which is different because men can’t message a woman unless she messages him first, so basically women are stuck with more of the work. I have been on many online dates since my divorce four years ago, and this one didn’t necessarily start out any different. But we had chemistry, and I was fairly confident we would see each other again. I wasn’t sure what would happen beyond that because we were somewhat different. We didn’t talk about it, but there were signs. These days it often seems like we can determine a person’s politics before we even leave the parking lot. If we had met a few years ago, I may not have gone out with him again. I might have crafted a T-chart, with things like “wears cowboy boots” on one side and “makes me happy” on the other, as if those were equivalent in importance. Luckily, I had experience dating post-divorce, and after many breakups and some good therapy sessions, I learned that I should not

plan my entire future with or without someone on the first date. Instead, I should just have fun and see what happens, which feels like driving down a dark canopy road with no headlights. I like to plan ahead, and I crave feedback. I want my dating endeavors to be like doing taxes with Turbotax— “You are now 75 percent done!” With this particular person, I climbed up into his front seat and just went along for the ride. During the first several weeks, I was having too much fun to perform any kind of assessment, and I never felt insecure enough to freak out because he was different from most of the other guys I had dated, meaning that he was not a jerk, married or dead inside. We did not discuss our political opinions at the beginning, and sometimes that was a bit of a cloud, leaving me wondering if it would eventually rain on our love parade. One night, leaning against a railing staring at the Gulf of Mexico, we bridged the subject. He said he did not want to be with someone who was his mirror

30  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

image. I agreed. With that moment, I metaphorically inched a little closer to him in the cab of his truck. Now, I have space in a closet he cleared out for me at his house. He moved some suits that he never wears and a few jackets to make room but left a half-dozen shotguns. Every time I slide open the closet door, I see them lined up between my row of strappy sandals and the ruffled hems of my sundresses. They are a reminder that life is most interesting when it offers up the unexpected. When an issue does come up, I am usually able to at least understand why he would feel that way. What I have realized is that I love him more than I love being right, and I am not sure I could have felt that way in a relationship before my 40th decade. We probably won’t ever celebrate 50 years together, unless both of us make some serious lifestyle changes, like cryogenics, but I am thankful every day that I did not meet him a moment sooner.

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32  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…” – FROM SHAKESPEARE’S AS YOU LIKE IT


s the Executive Director of Southern Shakespeare Company, Laura W. Johnson is passionate about Shakespearean theatre and helping others delve into the hidden meanings the ageless stories reveal. Although she’s played different characters over the years on stage, in film and television, her passion for arts and culture is not an act. In her role as an advocate for the arts, Laura is stepping out from behind the masks of her various roles to share her own story in order to help define the importance of creative expression and why all of Tallahassee should be supporters of the arts.

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 33 

on the cover


“We know what we are, but not what we may be.” From Shakespeare’s Hamlet

It’s hard to equate the woman who has been acting on stage film and television for over a decade and whose part-time gig is the on-air host with the Multistate Powerball as “shy.” But for most of Laura W. Johnson’s formative years, that’s exactly what she was. She tried out acting at her high school in South Florida in order to build confidence. She says, “I immediately connected not just to the plays but to the people—I had found my home.” However, it seems like Laura needed this truth confirmed as she drifted from acting while in college and majored in nutrition, eventually getting a master’s in nutrition at Florida State University. Although, if our lives are to be looked at as different acts in a play, then perhaps Laura’s concentration on the connections of the human body is its own poetic parallel—as seemingly separate as her time studying and working in the field of science and medicine may be to theatre, it is a part of an integral piece of the whole in order for her life to function and to thrive. “As a child, my favorite thing to do was to buy models of the human body and paint them and put them together. I was fascinated by anatomy, as it was one of those things that made sense—each organ contributing to the larger systems, but still contained its own mysteries as to how it all worked.” She married her husband Jonathan and

Scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream with Laura W. Johnson and Jake Armstrong Photo by Bob O'Lary

started her own business doing private nutrition counseling, focusing on pediatric care. “I was a mom to three children, and this allowed me to be flexible. As I learned the art of being a businesswoman, I was learning the art of being a mother.”


“We are such stuff…as dreams are made on.” From Shakespeare’s The Tempest

After ten years as a business owner, Laura started to feel the pull back to theatre. “I needed the creative outlet, and I know now that creative expression is such an essential element of my life.” Laura sought out Theatre Tallahassee (formerly Tallahassee Little Theatre) to help her heed the casting call to go back to acting. “They are a welcoming community theatre, and they opened their arms to me. They are like family now.” Laura followed with more theatrical training and studied with acting coaches in both the film and television industries. “When I made the decision to do professional acting, I didn’t just dip my toes in the water, I dove in.” Four years ago, she began working as the on-air host for the Florida Lottery and later joined the Multi-state National Powerball. She gained recent national fame during September’s $750 million Powerball, calling out the winning numbers. “There’s extraordinary energy with live television, and the excitement that is evident with all of the drawings, knowing that in some small way I play a part in the story of the individuals whose lives are forever changed by winning the jackpot."

Scene from As You Like It with Laura W. Johnson and Anthony Cooms Photo by Bob O'Lary

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In 2012, after a meeting with Drs. Brent Griffin and Kevin Carr, she became a part of the story to revive the dormant Southern Shakespeare Festival. After conversations with some of the original members and stakeholders, such as Janet Hinkle, Coman Leonard, Dean Minardi, Cuneo Creative and Hopping Green & Sams, work began to bring the Southern Shakespeare Festival back to Tallahassee. With invaluable grant support from Visit Tallahassee and the City of Tallahassee, and coinciding with the opening of the award-winning Cascades Park in 2015, the newly named and branded Southern Shakespeare Company (SSC) heralded a new era of theatre and events with free Shakespeare in the park performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Lanny Thomas and set during the “summer of love” in 1967. As the SSC’s mission progressed, Laura and the other directors and staff of the SSC became more focused on helping to advocate and strengthen the cause and validity of arts and culture as a whole and its importance to the overall well-being of the city. This ultimately branched out into a year-round education program, led by Phillip Croton, and a key partnership with the Foundation for Leon County Schools and Leon County Schools (LCS) teachers to bring SSC into the classrooms. Moreover, the City has supported SSC’s vision to serve the underrepresented members of the community by bringing SSC drama workshops to the Southside community centers’ afterschool programs, led by SSC member, actor and educator, Robin Jackson. “Shakespeare can be daunting on the outset, but the plays were never meant as standalone reading. Rather, the plays come to life when they are acted out or read aloud. We teach students, young artists and educators how to “unmask” Shakespeare, demonstrating how relevant his words and his themes are to their own lives. At the core of his plays—and what makes them so timeless—is that the ideas contained within them connect all of us. In all of our experiences with


“This above all: to thine own self be true.” From Shakespeare’s Hamlet

So, how can Shakespeare help unite us? Because every classic play’s structure should have a monologue, Laura explains how unmasking Shakespeare is still vital, and what it can teach us about our lives today.

Scene from As You Like It with Laura W. Johnson and Anthony Cooms Photo by Bob O'Lary

our students, artists, and members of our junior acting company, The Bardlings (co-directed by Bianca Montague and Robin Jackson), we’ve seen students and young artists transported as they connect to the words, to each other and, ultimately, to their community." In the upcoming 2017/2018 season, SSC expands its Free Shakespeare in the Park performance to four days in May (10-13), with Romeo and Juliet in its traditional Elizabethan-era production, along with its first Renaissance Fair at Cascades Park. New this year is an original production called A Town Divided: Shakespeare, Race, and Our City, which uses the story of Romeo and Juliet as the framework, along with local interviews, stories and Tallahassee’s history. “I believe in the possibilities of theater as a vehicle for social awareness and change. With the invaluable support of COCA (Council on Culture & Arts) and Florida’s Division of Cultural Affairs, as well as SSC’s partnerships with the Village Square, Tallahassee Community College, LCS and the John G. Riley Center and Museum, we will be able to allow audiences to more closely examine the things that divide us as a way to unite us.”

“There are up to 7,000 words that Shakespeare introduced to our language, yet in many ways we feel disconnected from the text because of how language has evolved over time. When readers, audiences and students are shown the connection of what is going on in the plays to their own lives and our current society, they have a recognition and can see themselves in the story. This is why Shakespeare is still incredibly relevant—it’s the timeless themes interwoven throughout all of his work, such as love, loss, jealousy, contempt, courage and wonder. Shakespeare raises questions about morality, politics, war, social inequality, racial divides, and the difficult choices and questions between right and wrong. And while you don’t always get a happy ending in his plays, you get what it means to be human. Life is messy. People are complicated. And we are all made up of many conflicting and unknown parts. What Shakespeare does is hold up a mirror to our humanity and reveal truths that are sometimes hard to grasp but ultimately can guide us in becoming better versions of ourselves.”


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“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves...” From Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

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recent hurricane season, a herculean effort to make sure the city is meeting the basic needs of its people. So with all of that, why should we care about arts and culture? For Laura, advocating for Shakespeare and the arts goes back to the whole health concept for the body—in the same way, arts and culture is an integral piece to the overall health of a community as it contributes to literacy, growth in self-confidence, increased empathy and tolerance for others. The ancient Greeks, who are considered the creators of modern Western theatre, put high emphasis on creative expression. When writing, acting or watching a play, it is the act of catharsis, or the releasing of emotions, that the Greeks believed would renew the mind, body and spirit. Thus, the dual “masks” of a smile and a frown that have come to symbolize theatre. “We bottle so much inside, so we need creative expression as an outlet. It absolutely enhances our quality of life.” When looking at the “stages” of Laura’s life and how what was once only an outlet is now a mission, her advocacy for Tallahassee’s well-being, particularly for its youth, is its own spotlight. “Theatre fits into the anatomy of my life and emphasizes how important it is to identify what you can do to empower the community. I encourage everyone to tap into their own creative potential. When you reveal what’s behind the mask, you honor the inner voice inside of you and become the authentic self of your own life’s stage.” For more information visit

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By Michelle R. Nickens Photography by elleBelle Photography

“Respecting our veterans includes providing them the ways and means they so desperately need to reintegrate into our lives and serve us again as productive members of our civilian community.” –­­ Charles B. Rangel


ust imagine…you raise your hand, take an oath and sign your name to defend our country. You put your life on the line to fight for people, people you don’t know. But, when you return after enduring the unimaginable, you can’t find a job, your support system has disappeared, depression sets in and hope is lost. Is that the homecoming we want for our veterans? 38  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

“My goal is to identify what’s going on that is impeding their ability to succeed and help them get the support they need, whether it’s housing, food, furniture, clothing, gas cards, legal assistance—there is nothing I won’t do that is within my power to help.” Tina Reason believes these men and women deserve respect and attention so they can succeed after their military life ends. She has dedicated her life to helping veterans through her work with Sacred Soil for Veterans, coordinating their community service hours and liaising with partner organizations. Tina’s passion for veterans is inspiring. “Veterans have always had a huge place in my heart,” Tina explained. “My dad, two uncles and an aunt served in the Navy. My son is also a sergeant in the Marine Corps.” But it was 9/11 that brought it home for Tina. “Like many, I remember exactly where I was and how I felt. It was traumatic and chaotic and revealed our vulnerability. It made me want to make a difference. Our military and first responders should receive the same level of commitment from us as they gave to our nation.” Tina started working with veterans nine years ago. “My goal is to identify what’s going on that is impeding their ability to succeed and help them get the support they need, whether it’s housing, food, furniture, clothing, gas cards, legal assistance—there is nothing I won’t do that is within my power to help.” I understand Tina’s respect and worry for veterans. My father served 26 years in the Army with three tours in Vietnam. Military life is unique, not just for the service man or woman but also for their families. Reentering civilian life can be difficult. “They have two weeks to transition,” Tina explained. “Twenty veterans commit suicide every day. We want them to know that someone cares and that they are not alone. We don’t want to lose a veteran to suicide. Our efforts aim to prevent this and help veterans get back on their feet.” There are resources available for veterans, but often gaps in the system or other challenges prevent them from accessing

what they need. The system can be complicated to navigate. Veterans need advocates like Tina to help. Tina shared stories of veterans returning home who have no one to call upon. Some find their spouse and children gone. They have no home, belongings, transportation or money for gas. Others walk to work or are unable to get to medical appointments. Even those with jobs often don’t have needed resources. When you add PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression, addiction and isolation, they can quickly find little to look forward to and feel alone. No age is immune—Tina has worked with veterans ranging from 21 to 82. Sacred Soil for Veterans is a 501(c)3 volunteer-based organization. Since its inception, it has stopped 11 suicides, moved 21 people into permanent housing and fed hundreds of people. The group works with 2-1-1 Big Bend, Second Harvest, Farm Share and other groups. It organizes special tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 39 


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events and fundraisers. “Our September event is under way, and we will be turning our attention to the holidays. This is one of the toughest times for our veterans.” Tallahassee has developed a reputation for supporting veterans and persons experiencing homelessness. Veterans from all over come to Tallahassee seeking assistance. Although limited, Tallahassee’s transitional housing includes 52 beds—48 for men and 4 for women—and 2 agencies that help veterans get into apartments. Tina is no stranger to volunteering. It’s become a generational trait. Tina watched her mother’s selfless dedication supporting parents who lost murdered children, fighting for mental health and standing up for victims’ rights. Tina has instilled the same level of passion and concern in her children, who are both giving back. Her hope in moving forward is to have a true veteran resource and referrals services with a food pantry, legal clinic, mentorships or an adoption program. “I haven’t had contact with my son for quite a while due to his current assignment. And I can’t wait to lay eyes on him and wrap my arms around him. Think about if it was your child, coming home from sacrificing so much, to have little or nothing when he or she returns.” Take time to thank a veteran, welcome them with open arms and, if you’re able, give your support to help them have meaningful lives back home. To learn more about the organization and ways you can help, e-mail Tina Reason at and follow the project on Facebook @sacredsoilforveterans.

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business and career

Is It Multitasking or Is It a Distraction? Hidden Time Stealers © CanStock Photo / rocketclips

By Jenny Cherry


t’s nearly 5 o’clock and you’ve been busy all day, but you just realized you have not started on the tasks you intended to complete for the day! What happened? If this has ever happened to you, you are not alone. The modern working woman has a lot going on. She is often doing more than one job, learning new skills, juggling deadlines, running to meetings, skipping lunch and putting in overtime. This can leave her feeling overwhelmed and exhausted and can lead to burn out.   Myth—Productivity = working harder and longer, often disguised as multitasking. Truth—Productivity = accomplishing more in less time, by strategic planning. Three things you can do today to increase your productivity include managing distractions, prioritizing your tasks and seeking out timeless resources.


Forbes identifies many common distractions that disrupt productivity. Here are suggestions for minimizing the effects of the top five workplace distractions when working on timesensitive deadlines: 1. Audible e-mail alerts—When you have an audible e-mail alert that “bings” loudly, you may feel compelled to respond at once. Turn the volume down—or off—and decide whether the e-mail is important and urgent; if not, respond later. 2. Phone calls—Use caller ID to determine whether the call may be important and urgent. If you have to answer the phone, ask if you can call them back at a scheduled time that works best for you. Use your cell phone for all personal calls. 3. Pop-ins by coworkers—Request a scheduled time to meet later or plan a lunch to continue the conversation. The reverse 42  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

is true for popping-in on managers: schedule a time to bring your list and discuss items all at one time. 4. Surrounding noises—These include other people’s conversations, noisy printers and copy machines, nearby ringing phones and bathroom and elevator doors. If you are working in a cubicle floor plan and near community areas, these constant noises makes it difficult to focus. If you do not get used to these distractions, try earplugs or request a transfer to a quieter setting. 5. Personal cell phone—Our private lives are also running at full speed. Between personal commitments and social media alerts, your cell phone can derail your momentum. Reserve responding to personal texts, e-mails and calls until lunch or after work.


“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” —U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower When faced with time-sensitive projects, you can refer to the Eisenhower box, which can help evaluate urgency and importance. Try this technique for prioritizing activities into four categories. 1. Tasks that are urgent and important are done immediately and personally. 2. Tasks that are important but not urgent are given a deadline and are done personally. 3. Tasks that are unimportant but urgent are delegated. 4. Tasks that are not important and not urgent are dropped.  


Discover a new perspective or revisit a classic—download an audio book and let the experts weigh in on your workload. Here is a short list to get you started: The One-Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard clarifies whether the task or interruption requires immediate attention, can be done at a later time or can be delegated to another person altogether. First Things First by Steven Covey is a time management approach encouraging effective habits by aligning oneself with first things. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy is an answer to conquering procrastination and accomplishing more.   Work smarter, save time, and increase your productivity by keeping distractions to a minimum, organizing your urgent tasks and seeking timeless resources with proven results. 

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money talks

Hidden CA$H Around Your Home By Emma Peterson


n today’s day and age, we are all looking for opportunities to save money. But what many people do not realize is the amount of money that could be hidden where you least expect it—in a drawer, your closet or the bottom of the toy box.

Selling Old Cell Phones

It seems like every time we blink there is a newer, better cell phone on the market. And when each new phone is released, we tuck our old ones in a drawer or box, never to be seen again. But those old phones are a good way to earn some extra cash. Experimac (located on Magnolia Drive here in Tallahassee) will buy your old iPhone, refurbish it and sell it at their store, reducing the clutter in your home and putting some extra cash in your pocket!

Gift Card Exchange

Tallahassee Online Yard Sale

When all else fails, gift cards are the perfect gift. But there are times you may receive a gift card to a store that isn’t your favorite or you need some cash instead. Receive cash for your unwanted or unneeded gift cards at Once they confirm the value of the card, they will send you money via PayPal.

Tallahassee Online Yard Sale is a Facebook page where Tallahassee residents post items they are selling, putting a twist on the conventional yard sale. These items range from furniture to designer goods. Once you join the page, you can post your items. With more than 17,000 members, this online yard sale is sure to have more visitors than any sale you could have in your front yard.

Toys Sale Websites

Google Chrome Extensions

Kids’ toys can take up a lot of space. As the piles of kid clutter grow larger, you may decide you want to get rid of some of the toys that no longer get played with. Amazon, Craigslist and eBay are always good sites to sell used items. is a more hands-off approach to selling old toys. All you do is ship your toys to them and Swap will inspect, appraise, photograph and sell them. 44  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

Online shopping experts know to search for discount codes before checking out. Finding the right code can be tricky, but a downloadable extension from Google Chrome called “Honey” makes this search easy. Now when you are shopping on one of its supported sites, all you need to do is click the Honey button, and it will show you all of the available discounts and coupons—no searching needed!







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

TAKING THE HELM The Women of Theatre Tallahassee By Michelle R. Nickens | Photography by Emma Peterson


heatre has been part of my life since kindergarten, when my first “role” was Goldilocks. I’ve come a long way since then—the locks are gone but the love for the stage is stronger than ever. This season at Theatre Tallahassee, I decided to challenge myself and submitted a proposal to direct. To my surprise, I was selected to direct Barefoot in the Park. This will be my directorial debut, but I am not alone. Theatre Tallahassee is welcoming Debbie Frost as well, who will be directing Singin’ in the Rain. Debbie brings years of acting and musical theatre experience but has not had the opportunity to direct. “I’m excited but terrified,” Debbie said. “It is a great honor to bring this show to our community.”

Theatre Tallahassee produces five shows on its Mainstage and three in its Studio Theatre each season. Theresa Davis, the theatre’s Executive Director, said, “It’s exciting to see so many new directors this season, with the majority of Mainstage directors being women. In addition to Michelle and Debbie, Melissa Findley, who is no stranger to directing, will lead the production of Steel Magnolias.” To round out the Mainstage season, Theatre Tallahassee’s opener was 9 to 5 The Musical, directed by Keith Mecca. It’s Only A Play, directed by Matthew Watson, opens November 2. In the Studio, the theatre will be producing Constellations (Brian Davis), Glass Menagerie (Nathan Williamson) and Act of God (Kristof Kage).

46  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

“Singin’ in the Rain is iconic,” Debbie explained. “The songs are classics. The dancing is amazing. It brings a different type of style to the stage. It was one of my mom’s favorites. I want to pay homage to it. Being part of Tallahassee’s theatre community is very important to me. We are a family, and together we produce meaningful and quality shows that inspire and entertain.” “I enjoy working on shows that are about women and the connection between women,” Melissa said. “I work to bring fresh new ways to tell a story while staying true to the script. The women of Steel Magnolias are based on real people. One of my goals in directing this show is for the audience to feel the connection among and to these women.”

I was drawn to Barefoot in the Park by its focus on love, marriage, family dynamics, the women’s revolution and empowerment and overcoming emotional hurdles. In some ways, it reminds me of my parents and the stories they told about how they first met, fell in love and began their life together—filled with excitement but also challenges. “Going to the theatre is different than going to the movies,” Melissa said. “Every night is a new experience.” “Community theatre is often viewed as amateur,” Debbie explained, “but in Theatre Tallahassee’s case, it has raised the bar. It produces high-quality productions with talented designers and actors.”


“I am starting my seventh season as the Executive Director at the theatre,” Theresa explained, “and I continue to be amazed at the magic our actors and production teams create on stage. If you haven’t been to Theatre Tallahassee in a while or if you’ve never been, there have been many changes. I encourage you to see a show.” For more information about Theatre Tallahassee, its productions, tickets and how to get involved, visit

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our community | what women should know

Your Age Can Let You Know When to Get Screened for Disease


he sooner a disease is discovered and diagnosed, the more likely it can be successfully cured or managed. The risk for breast cancer increases as you age, and women aged 50 to 70 are more likely to benefit from mammograms than those in their 40s. Women should start having Pap tests for HPV and cervical cancer at age 21 and repeat every three to five years—but if the results are abnormal, sooner followups may be warranted. The HPV test is checked every five years. For a Pap test, women ages 30–64 should be checked every five years if they have had normal testing in the past. Women age 65 and older don’t need screenings for cervical cancer if there is no new bleeding or pain and they have had no new partners. If you fit the criteria for a screening or are having symptoms that require screening, please contact your doctor and utilize the tests that are available to you. Early detection is for your protection! Additional resources are available from Capital Health Plan’s Healthwise Knowledgebase at

Amy Neal, M.D., is a Family Medicine physician and is President of the Physician Group of Capital Health Plan.

Celebrating 35 Years! We’ve grown from 5,000 members to over 135,000 - with an extensive physician network and two exclusive CHP health centers that provide preventive, primary and specialty care services. We’re proud to be your local, trusted health plan for the past 35 years and we look forward to our future together. SM

An Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Capital Health Plan complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-877-247-6512 (TTY: 1-877-870-8943). ATANSYON: Si w pale Kreyòl Ayisyen, gen sèvis èd pou lang ki disponib gratis pou ou. Rele 1-877-247-6512 (TTY: 1-877-870-8943). 2017.08.012

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tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 49 


Women Who Mean Business WOMEN TO WATCH

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


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

Jessica Duncan, owner of Fun 4 Tally Kids, announced that the business headquarters, located in Railroad Square Art Park, is part of the brand-new House of Plywood as of September. You can visit the location during Railroad Square Art Park First Fridays for fun family events hosted by Fun 4 Tally Kids, which is a resource for parents to find things to do for and with their kids around Tallahassee. Steffanie W. Rasmussen was recently promoted to the position of Vice President of Sales at Municipal Code Corporation (MCC). In this role, Steffanie will be leading her team in service of MCC’s 4,000 municipal customers. She will also be responsible for shaping the strategic vision for MCC as it continues its evolution as a leader in the civic tech space. Steffanie is a graduate of Florida State University undergrad, including a certificate in performance management and has a master’s of science degree in business psychology from Kansas State University. Steffanie also helps organize local blood drives and collects books for donations to local libraries. Tassy Spinks was recently promoted to the position of Vice President at Municipal Code Corporation. In this role, Tassy will lead MCC’s largest team and will be responsible for its continued growth and profitability. Tassy 50  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

graduated magna cum laude from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and studied at both the University of Reading in Reading, England, and Green College at Oxford University, Oxford, England. Tassy is active with fundraising for the Joanna Francis Living Well Foundation, a group that provides support and financial assistance for breast cancer patients. Veronica Wold, the owner of Effortless Travel, recently launched Effortless Honeymoons. Veronica is an Accredited Cruise Counselor and a Certified Travel Agent with many years of experience in the travel industry. Through training, research and firsthand experience, Veronica strives to cultivate the perfect travel plans for couples to take the stress away from the honeymoon planning process. Denise A.B. Smith, M.D., PhD, RPVI, recently joined the health care team at Vascular Surgery Associates. Dr. Smith is trained and boardcertified in vascular and endovascular surgery. After earning her Doctorate of Medicine degree from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio and completing her residency in vascular and endovascular surgery at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Dr. Smith practiced in California as a community vascular surgeon and wound care physician.

Stephanie Lee, M.D., FACOG, recently opened a gynecology practice named Elite Women’s Health. Dr. Lee received her medical degree from the Florida State University College of Medicine in 2006. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. She has received awards for accomplishments in academics, teaching and research. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and is an assistant clinical professor at the Florida State University College of Medicine. Dr. Lee has been caring for women in the Tallahassee area since 2012 and has a passion for providing quality health care. Kaitlyn Pesquera has recently opened Pastel’s Bakery and Café, located on North Monroe. Freshly made offerings includes cheesecake, cakes and Kaitlyn’s extremely popular signature treat—“the Brookie,” —a delicious cookie/brownie combination. They also offer lunch and will soon be offering brunch. Kaitlyn has several years of experience as a baker and cake decorator before she decided to venture out and open her own establishment.

Submit your items for the WWMB Community Women to Watch to



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tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 51 

our community

haute HAPPENINGS Wish Upon a Star

October 20, 2017 | Goodwood Museum and Gardens The 7th annual Wish Upon a Star event, “Jazz Under the Oaks,” will feature live jazz musicians; bourbon, oyster, and dessert bars; custom cuisine stations; and can’t-miss silent and live auctions. This event benefits Children’s Home Society of Florida, helping thousands of children affected by abuse, neglect and abandonment in our community. Eat, drink, mingle, dance and bid to win some fantastic items! For more information and for purchasing tickets, visit online at

NorthTown Getdowns

Festival. Enjoy folk dancing, food and music from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For additional information, visit

Music, food, drink, shopping and kids activities. Fun for the whole family. 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. For details of an evening’s event visit Facebook@ bannermancrossings or online at

Havana Pumpkin Festival

Friday evenings before home FSU games Bannerman Crossings 6668 Thomasville Road

Friday Night Block Party

Friday before every home FSU game Collegetown | Madison Street (Downtown) Celebrate your Seminole pride than with your fellow fans at a Friday Night Block Party. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. you can enjoy live music from local artists, local vendors and more. For more information, visit online at

Greek Food Festival October 6–7, 2017 Greek Orthodox Church Holy Mother of God

Experience a weekend of traditional Greek culture at the annual Greek Food

October 14, 2017 Downtown Havana, Florida

What better way to celebrate the beginning of fall than at the Havana Pumpkin Festival? Local residents display their excitement of the crisp fall season through pumpkin decorating, familyfriendly activities and costume contests at this all-day event. Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for children. For more information visit pumpkin-festival.

French Country Flea Market October 13–14, 2017 6007 Veterans Memorial Drive

For the fifth consecutive year, Sweet South Cottage hosts the top vendors of the Southeast for a weekend showcasing handmade jewelry, vintageinspired home decor and local art. A special appearance by Annie Sloan, a recognized artist, will be made, and there is even an opportunity to

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take a class taught by her. For more information on admission prices, visit

Guys and Dolls

October 20–28, 2017 | Fallon Theatre Florida State University’s theatre department will take on the classic Broadway tale of Guys and Dolls, an entertaining musical that tells the stories of some odd romantic pairings through witty dialogue and catchy tunes. To find information about tickets and performance times, visit online at

Halloween Howl October 27–28, 2017 Tallahassee Museum

From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., come participate in the Tallahassee Museum’s Halloween Howl. This event hosts numerous family-friendly activities, such as trick-ortreating, carnival games and a costume contest. Local bands will provide the spooky soundtrack for the night, while Trail Break Café provides some tasty food options. For more information, visit or contact Averi Deering at (850) 575-8684.

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 53 

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our community | haute happenings


Women Have Drive! 2017 WWMB Work+Play Conference

October 11, 2017 | 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Tallahassee Community College Center for Workforce Development Tallahassee Woman magazine and the Women Who Mean Business Community presents Women Have Drive! 2017 WWMB Work+Play Conference. This one day event is open to all women in the Tallahassee community. Come to network, have fun and be inspired by some Tallahassee’s most successful businesswomen and motivational speakers, who will present throughout the day on business topics, as well as inspirational and lifestyle topics. Purchase your ticket for just $129, which

provides access to events throughout the day, catered lunch, breaks, vendors access, raffle giveaways and more. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit online at or @tallahasseewoman on Facebook.

Foundation for Leon County Schools 9th Annual Soiree October 12, 2017 Goodwood Carriage House

S.O.S.! Support Our Schools! That’s the theme for this year’s Foundation for Leon County Schools Annual Soirée, held from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. This fundraising event will benefit Leon County School students and teachers, by providing classroom grants for innovative projects. Come mix and mingle with school board members, educators and business community members who are passionate about the public school system. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit online at

Florida Jazz & Blues Festival October 28-29, 2017 Cascades Park

Come out to experience the soulful sounds of some great blues and jazz musicians at the Florida Jazz & Blues Festival. Headliners include Carmen Bradford with Scotty Barnhart in a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald; Mr. Sipp “The Mississippi Blues Child;” New Orleans Suspects; and more. For tickets, times and additional information, visit online at

r u o g n i c n u o Ann n o s a e S 8 1 / 7 1 u l tickets.fsu.ed 850.644.6500

A Day in the Deathof

Joe Egg

By Peter Nichols October 6 - 15, 2017 in the Lab Theatre

Based on the book by Dr. Seuss November 16 - 19, 2017 in the Fallon Theatre

Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser October 20 - 29, 2017 in the Fallon Theatre

Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa February 16 - March 4, 2018 in the Fallon Theatre

Rosencrantz and

Guildenstern Are Dead

By Tom Stoppard November 3 - 12, 2017 in the Lab Theatre



by Moliére Translated by Richard Wilbur March 30 - April 8, 2018 in the Lab Theatre

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 55 

our community | haute happenings

Moon Over Maclay Jazz Concert November 5, 2017 Maclay Gardens State Park

Maclay Gardens is excited to hold the Eighth Annual Moon Over Maclay jazz concert this fall. Grab some company, a picnic, blankets or chairs and come take pleasure in the live performances by jazz artists in front of the historic Maclay House. For more information on this event, visit online at

Forget Me Not Walk for Caregivers November 5, 2017 | Cascades Park

This walk is a fundraiser to benefit the Alzheimer’s Project, Inc., and support caregivers of those affected by Alzheimer’s. The walk will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Cascades Park. For additional information, visit online at

21st Annual Artisans in the Garden

November 11, 2017 | Tallahassee Nurseries Tallahassee Nurseries will have over 50 local artists, food and music. Come see beautiful, unique art situated in our relaxed fall garden setting, listen to good music while tasting delicious goodies and get some Christmas shopping done, all at the same time! Call Sharon DeJonge at (850) 385-2162 for more information.

Disney's The Little Mermaid November 3-12, 2017 Young Actors Theatre Young Actors Theatre takes on the animated Disney classic, The Little Mermaid early in their 20172018 performance season. In this musical,

Ariel, a beautiful young mermaid, wishes to leave her home below the sea for a chance to experience life above water. Through captivating songs and lyrics, this is a show you will not want to miss. For more information about tickets and show times, visit

Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle Women of Distinction Awards

November 9, 2017 | FSU Alumni Center Nominees for this award will be honored at the Women of Distinction Gala at 5:30 p.m. Come show your support for our local women leaders and role models and for the Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle. To purchase tickets visit


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festival are free. For more information, visit

Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat

November 16–18, 2017 | Fallon Theatre Based on the ever-so-popular children’s book, the theatre department at Florida State brings Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat to life. Grab your family to come watch a performance you surely won’t want to miss. For more information and tickets visit

Bradley's Country Store Old Fashioned Fun Day

The Nutcracker

November 24 and 26, 2017 Lee Hall, Florida A&M University The Tallahassee Pas de Vie Ballet will perform the winter classic The Nutcracker, at Florida A&M University. Performances are limited to 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Friday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. For more information and tickets, visit

November 18, 2017 10655 Centerville Road

Held annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, this festival is one enjoyed by many. The event began in the 1970s and consists of live music, various dance performances, local vendors and numerous activities for children and adults alike. Parking and admission to the

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AROUNDTOWN Events • Benefits • Activities

TWM Cover Party Celebrating with her family, friends and business associates, Jami Coleman, August-September 2017 cover woman, hosted a thank you reception. The event was held at VENVI ART Gallery.



5. 3.






1. William Coleman, Mia Banks, Ariel Coleman, Jami Coleman, Jeudi Coleman, James Coleman Sr. 2. Benjamin Crump, Barbara J. Walker, Jami Coleman, Tiffany Mount, Adner Marcelin 3. Stefanie Osborn, Deb Huveldt, Kimberly Menchion 4. Marlie Blaise, Dominique Mortimer, TKeyah Gadson 5. Nicole Everett, Alicia Tookes, Gerald Tookes 6. Lindsay Thompson, Jackie Calloway, Christic Henry 7. Frantzley Moise, Jami Coleman, Gwen Marshall, Misha Brooks, Marvin Boatman 8. Cynthia Carter, Ashley Hartsfield, Kaiya Akintonde, Cheryl Jones 9. Karon Reeves, Jami Coleman, Colony Reeves, Mia Banks TWM Team: Michelle Hart, Jennifer Stinson, Jami Coleman, Heather Thomas, Kim Rosier, Kira Derryberry 10. Meghan Everett, Judge Stephen Everett, Clint Alexander 11. Brinda Pamulapati, Kira Derryberry, Amber Hughes



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tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 59 

home and garden

The Hidden Wonders of Fairy and Miniature Gardens By Marina Linck of Tallahassee Nurseries


Photo by Marina Linck

airy and miniature gardens have sky-rocketed in popularity in the last few years, most likely due to the fun, creative nature of these easy- to-care-for garden creations. These little gardens allow gardeners to combine their creativity and love of gardening in a unique way.

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The first step to creating your own miniature or fairy garden is deciding on the theme and style you want to portray, as the plants and miniature garden pieces you select will depend dramatically on this decision. For example, a mystical realm filled with fairies will be filled with different miniature garden pieces than a miniature garden with a realistic picnicin-the-park theme. The next steps are to choose the right container for your miniature garden, depending on what size you want your creation to be, and then select the plants and miniature garden pieces you want in your garden. Plant your chosen plants, surround them with natural elements such as driftwood and moss to fill the space and then use your imagination to design and place your miniature garden pieces to finish off your garden creation.

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 61 

the dish

Sharon Ames-Dennard is Chef and owner at Nefetari's Fine Cuisine & Spirits in downtown Tallahassee. 62  tallahassee woman • october/november 2017

The Hidden Value of Vegetables By Sharon Ames-Dennard | Photography By Emma Peterson


ama used to say, “Eat all your vegetables—green food is brain food!” Who knew she was right? I’m so glad I followed her advice. Like most Americans, I grew up eating meat at every meal. Traditional holiday feasts were a smorgasbord of meat entrées and a spackling of vegetables seasoned with meat. This habitual palate was permanently altered when my college roommate, a vegetarian, introduced me to meatless meals. No one, me included, would have predicted my transition from omnivore to vegetarian to present-day vegan. There are so many tasty options vying for a place at your table, but I’d like to recommend a Thanksgiving feast that embraces the hidden value of vegetables. And just in case you might need a little convincing, I have created two dynamic dishes that are certain to be crowd pleasers among family and friends. The “Dr. Bettye Salad” is affectionately named after my favorite physician and also pays homage to Hippocrates’ most famous quote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.” It is loaded with kale, broccoli, arugula, spinach, carrots, beets, mushrooms, tri-color peppers, sprouts, tomatos, squash, nuts, raisins, avocados and more. It’s truly the cornucopia of salads! This raw dish is topped with a spicy balsamic vinaigrette dressing that easily dubs as an appetizer or main entrée. My second offering is the “We are one” entrée. It symbolizes all the beauty and goodness that permeates our diverse planet. This rice-based dish has something for everyone. There are classic Thanksgiving staples, such as peas, corn, green beans, sweet potatos, white potatos, red potatos, cauliflower, cabbage and nuts, all stir-fried and seasoned with spices from around the world. Both dishes are aesthetically pleasing and nutrient-rich and will leave you energized and ready to tackle your favorite after-dinner fun activity. Enjoy!

tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 63 

the dish

Dr. Bettye Salad (Serves 6)


3 cups organic spring mix 3 cups chopped organic kale 4 slices cucumber, halved 4 slices squash, halved 4 slices of zucchini, halved 2 tbsp shredded raw beets 2 tbsp sliced carrots 4 broccoli florets, halved ¼ cup red and green cabbage, chopped 5 cherry tomatoes, halved ¼ cup green apple slices ¼ cup sliced white and Portobello mushrooms 1 slice of red onion ½ avocado sliced 1 tbsp almonds 1 tbsp cashews 1 tbsp pecans ½ tbsp raisins ½ tbsp cranraisins Dash of yellow curry


Toss spring mix with chopped kale and place on a plate. Assemble the remaining vegetables however you like. Allow your creative juices to guide you. Then top with nuts and raisins. Next, place cut avocado slices in the center. Prior to serving, add balsamic dressing.

Balsamic Dressing

(Stir all ingredients)

3 tbsp of light olive oil 1½ tbsp of balsamic vinegar 1 tsp of sriracha

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We Are One Entrée (Serves 6)


2 cups uncooked white basmati rice 1 cup uncooked black rice 1 cup combination of white, red and sweet potatos (cubed) 1 cup each of raw broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, organic mixed vegetables (corn/carrot/peas/green bean blend) ½ cup each of squash, zucchini, sliced white mushrooms ¼ cup sliced white onion ¼ cup of raisin and craisins 1 tbsp of cashews and almonds 3 tbsp light olive oil ½ tsp of sea salt ½ tsp yellow curry ½ tsp of granulated garlic ½ tsp of fresh rosemary Dash of black pepper Dash of cayenne pepper

Bert Morales, M.D.

Our Team Will Help You Succeed With Healthy Weight Loss Goals


Boil 2 cups of white basmati rice until tender (approximately 10 minutes). Drain and set aside. Boil 1 cup of black rice until tender (approximately 20 minutes). Drain and set aside. Boil 1 cup of cubed white, red and sweet potatos until tender (approximately 10 minutes). Drain and set aside. Using a large nonstick skillet, add olive oil and heat with medium flame. Once hot, add all vegetables, raisin/cranraisin blend and nuts. Toss in spices. Pan sear for 3 minutes. Integrate rice and potatos. Once dish is hot, assemble on a plate and serve. Bon Appetit!




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tallahassee woman • october/november 2017 65 



Lord Help Me, I’m on Twitter By Lisa A. Beach


finally took the plunge. I dragged myself kicking and screaming into the Twitterverse. I get Facebook (mostly). I love the visual appeal of Pinterest. And I wonder if anyone over the age of 40 actually uses Google Plus, Reddit, Tumblr or other social media du jour. But Twitter? I’m feeling like a Twidiot. I might as well be learning to speak Mandarin, that’s how foreign Twitter feels to me. From Hashtags and Retweets to Direct Messages and Mentions, I’m walking around in a social media haze. As I learn more about blogging and social media and try to get back on track with my freelance writing, I feel pressured to be on Twitter, if nothing else than to boost my marketing efforts, follow editors for the inside scoop on their editorial needs and read funny Tweets from Ellen. But I’ve been avoiding Twitter like a flu shot. It might be good for me, but I just keep putting it off. Finally, after one too many deer-in-theheadlights looks when asked if I’m on Twitter, I caved and joined “the voice of the world.” But to me, Twitter is just one more piece of technology to stumble through. On Facebook, it took me weeks to figure out how to upload photos and how to not only “like” a page but also “follow” and “get notifications,” because apparently, they’re all somehow just a little different. And before I understood

private messaging, I shared way too many personal comments on friends’ Facebook pages, like, “How’s that weird rash of yours? Is the ointment helping?” On Pinterest, I’m trying to figure out how to add “rich pins,” write SEO-friendly captions, include pin-worthy images and create secret boards for things I might not want to share with everyone, like wine porn and celebrity crushes. And now, I’ve got to get myself up to social media speed on Twitter. So I’m pouring through the FAQs in the Twitter Help Center, Googling “Twitter for Dummies” and scanning Twitter cheat sheets. And yet, despite all this help, I think I just Tweeted myself. Oh my. My first mistake? Thinking I had 140 words to share in my Tweets. That I could handle. But 140 characters? That’s barely even a run-on sentence. As a writer, it will take me 10 minutes just to compose, revise, edit, rewrite, proofread, re-edit and re-proofread every Tweet. It might be possible to edit a Tweet once you post it, but I don’t know how. And with my giant gorilla thumbs constantly hitting wrong letters (and typing things like “titter” instead of “Twitter”), I don’t want to hit the Tweet button a moment too soon. Plus, like any social media platform, there are Twitter rules, tips and etiquette to follow. As a writer, I’m not liking some of them. According to Twitter for Dummies, rules of grammar and punctuation fly out the window when you send a Tweet.

I’m such a grammar nerd that I literally speak punctuation marks into my iPhone when I’m creating a voice-to-text message (which I use because of my gorilla thumbs problem). How am I going to impress an editor on Twitter with bad grammar and abbreviations? (#writerproblems) A few of my favorite rules so far: • Don’t pull a Twitter one-night stand, where you follow someone and then dump her as soon as she follows you. (Twitter sluts are a thing?) • Don’t Tweet that you are bored. Now I am too. (Ha-ha! Love this one.) • Strike a balance between lurker and spammer. So, I don’t want to be shy girl in the Twitter corner, but I don’t want to deluge followers with my every thought. Got it—no need to overshare. • Capitalization makes all the difference, as duly noted by Susan Boyle’s PR team when she released her new album with this Tweet: #susanalbumparty. So, if you want to follow me on Twitter, my handle is @LisaBeachWrites. (Please forgive me if I commit a Twitter faux pas.) And. if the world adds even one more damn social media platform, then I AM DONE! Lisa Beach is a freelance journalist, content marketing specialist and copywriter. She’s been published in Parents, The Week, USA Today Back to School, Edible Orlando, Woman’s World and dozens of publications and websites. Find her at

NEXT TIME IN TALLAHASSEE WOMAN MAGAZINE Treasure Hunters—Learn and share valuable lessons from a jeweled life. Plus—Women Who Mean Business and celebrating all that glitters this season and the New Year, along with our annual holiday gift guide.

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October/November 2017 TWM  

The October/November 2017 issue of Tallahassee Woman features Laura W. Johnson of the Southern Shakespeare Company (SSC). Read her inspiring...