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Dr. Michelle Mitcham Loving, Learning & Leading

Peace New Year Greet the New Year With

Ring in the in Style

Creating Modern Workspaces

Holiday Sweet Dreams

Gift Guide

Family Fun Experiences

tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 1 

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tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 3 

contents tallahassee woman magazine

december 2018 / january 2019

On the Cover


Answering the Call: Dr. Michelle Mitcham Loving, Learning and Leading By Heather Thomas

About the Cover: Photography by Kira Derryberry Makeup by Jamee Wright Makeup & Style Clothing and accessories provided by Narcissus


Our Thoughts

Happy Holidays From TWM!




Living Local





Picture-Perfect Polaroids | Five Tips for a Joyful Holiday Party | Winterize Your Skin | Faves & Raves


Organizations: STAC: Raising Awareness of Human Trafficking | Women of the Junior League Plan Sunshine State Ball With Passion and Purpose Around Town: WWMB Women on Fire Networking Luncheon | TMH Foundation Cards for a Cure Haute Happenings: Highlights of local events

Work Life: Let’s Get to “wHERk” Money Talks: Entertaining on a Budget Women to Watch: Celebrations of working women


Home: From Tree to Tree, Season to Season, Ring in the New Year with Long-Lasting Memories and Personal Style

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WE Inspire

Healthy Living: How to Greet the New Year With Peace Bodies in Motion: The 12 Days of “Fitmas”

Life: Resolve to Experience More

The Dish: Smart Cookies

#YearofWE—Women Empowered: Gifts of Grace and Gratitude

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contributors OUR


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. Meredith Bowen Hunter is a communications consultant specializing in strategy, messaging and branding. She’s a wife, mother, and a Gen Xer admittedly enamored with the efficiency of texting and intrigued by the power of social media.

Stephanie Jansen is a life-long resident of Tallahassee, a wife of 26 years, a mother of two young women, a local business owner, a community fundraiser and a constant hostess. The blogger of “Home with Sparkle,” Stephanie, better known as “Sparkle,” shares her home, holidays, and everyday lifestyle so that the worlds of others may sparkle too. Tavia Rahki is passionate about cultivating wellness through sustainable and healthful living. Tavia earned her B.S. in exercise science from Florida State University and her M.S. in neuroscience from the University of South Florida. She is currently studying chiropractic medicine and works as a yoga and meditation teacher.  

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 and boudoir and commercial photography. She books locally in Tallahassee and is available for travel worldwide. View Kira’s portfolio online at

Alicia Haskew is the owner of Alicia Haskew Photography. She is the premier senior portrait photographer in Tallahassee, being named one of the top 100 Senior Photographers by Senior Style Guide Magazine, and a winner of Seniorologie’s People’s Choice Award. She creates unique full service sessions for each client, starting with an in-depth consultation and ending with art installation. You can learn more about her services at 6  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019


December 2018 / January 2019 Volume 13 | Issue 6

PUBLISHER Michelle Mitcham PUBLISHING CONSULTANT Kim Rosier EDITOR Heather Thomas ADVERTISING SALES Jennifer Stinson, Ad Sales Manager Michelle Royster Hart, Ad Sales Associate GRAPHIC DESIGN Christy Jennings Ploch EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Hannah Miller INTERNS Stephanie Jimenez | Emily Monnier Jennifer Santana Tallahassee Woman is a publication of Mitcham Media Group LLC Post Office Box 16616 Tallahassee, FL 32317-3401 Phone (850) 893-9624 Fax (850) 254­-7038 Tallahassee Woman is published six times per year and is distributed on a complimentary basis throughout Tallahassee and the surrounding communities. 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 ©2018 Mitcham Media Group LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in part or in whole, without expressed written consent of the Publisher is prohibited.



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Happy Holidays &

Best Wishes for the New Year! All of us at Tallahassee Woman Magazine wish you joy, love, peace and happiness this holiday season. Michelle Mitcham, Heather Thomas, Jennifer Stinson, Kim Rosier, Christy Jennings Ploch, & Michelle Royster Hart 8  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

Available at:

823 Thomasville Rd, Midtown • 850-224-7467

tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 9 

s t yle • k nowle d ge • shop lo c a l


cameras have made quite a comeback. PICTURE-PERFECT Polaroid They’ve become popular for their vintage

POLAROIDS By Stephanie Jimenez

aesthetic and the ability to provide instant pictures which can be turned into crafty mementos or decorations. Of course, the camera has modernized over time. However, the thrill of seeing your photos develop right before your eyes still has the same effect. Overall, it makes taking pictures more fun, with each tangible photo being worth more than a thousand digital ones. Polaroids are quite a blast from the past as they go back all the way to 1948, when they were first sold in stores. They were created by scientist Edwin Land at the request of his young daughter who questioned why she could not see pictures he took of her. When it was first invented, the camera was a lot bigger and only printed in black and white. Now they have been made into smaller cameras that print in color and can even be changed to adapt to the lighting of which you are taking the photo. The brand of the camera isn’t limited to Polaroid anymore either. Fujifilm’s Instax Mini cameras come in many different pastel colors. Particularly for the holidays, Polaroid cameras are perfect gifts for friends and family and can bring excitement to any event. Pictures can be taped on walls, hung on clothespins among Christmas lights, or put in small frames or ornaments, so you’ll have the picture, and the special moments, with you always.

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style ||


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tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 11 

TRENDS || knowledge



oliday parties are a great opportunity to gather your friends, family and loved ones and enjoy each other’s company as we celebrate this magical time of year. These five tips will help make any holiday gathering an occasion to remember.

PLAY CHEERFUL MUSIC. Music is a very important factor in a party. Creating a playlist of Christmas themed or upbeat songs can inspire a fun, merry atmosphere. Spotify and Apple Music are two excellent resources for making playlists that will keep a party dancing all night long.

PLAN TO DECORATE WITH A CERTAIN THEME IN MIND. A party’s environment has a large effect on the crowd’s mood. Construct a classy table scape for a more sophisticated and formal approach, or hang up Christmas lights, streamers, or your favorite holiday decorations to create a festive ambiance. Picking a theme such as a nutcracker Christmas or having a fixed color scheme can give your party a unique feel.

ORGANIZE FESTIVE GAMES. Games are an excellent way to get everyone involved. If some guests aren’t familiar with many of the other partygoers, organizing fun and cheerful games can be an excellent icebreaker to introduce everyone to each other. Keep guests entertained by playing a game of holiday-themed trivia or participating in a gift swap.

SEND INVITATIONS IN ADVANCE. The holidays can be one of the busiest times of the year. That being said, having little time to plan or work a party into an already busy schedule can only add to the stress. It is recommended to send invitations at least three weeks before the event. 12  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

HAVE FUN WITH IT! Parties shouldn’t be stressful. Getting creative with decorations, treats, and games will give your party a memorable touch that will leave guests with smiles on their faces. Requiring guests to come in ugly Christmas sweaters or festive attire are great ways to create a fun environment and enjoy the delight and cheer that these wonderful holidays bring.

Winterize Your Skin


By Stephanie Jimenez

clothing • jewelry • gifts 1817 Thomasville Road (In the Whole Foods Shopping Center)


Instagram:#WalterGreenStyle Facebook: Walter Green Boutique


s cold weather begins to settle in, so does the tendency for our skin and lips to dry out. Here are five simple tips to aid you in your quest to beat the winter-skin blues.

Moisturize daily. Find a moisturizer that is rich with oils and less with water. The oils will help to protect your skin from the harsh cold. Nourish your lips with a lip balm; it should have even balance of wax and oil— too much wax will only make them more prone to dryness. Wash your face with lukewarm water. Hot water feels nice when its chilly outside, but it’s not beneficial for your skin in the long run. Hot water actually takes away the moisture from your skin. Cool to lukewarm water is much healthier for your face and the rest of your body as well. Exfoliate your skin and lips often. This helps to clear off the dead skin that is clogging up your face. Be mindful not to over-exfoliate, which can be just as damaging as not doing it at all. A few times a week is the best idea to refresh your skin, but not harm it. Use a humidifier. As winter comes in, heating systems are put to use in our homes. This heat leads to dry skin, so putting a humidifier within your household—perhaps in your bedroom while you sleep—will aid in putting moisture into the air and in preventing your skin and lips from drying out. Face masks. There are many face masks in stores, and DIY face mask tutorials available online. Try to find some that contain natural ingredients like honey, avocado, bananas, yogurt, oils, etc. Regularly applying face masks to your face will aid in keeping it healthy and hydrated.

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tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 13 

TRENDS || shop local

faves & raves

Sweet (Holiday) Dreams Are Made of This Photography by Alicia Haskew

Treat your loved ones and holiday guests to all the welcoming comfort the season can bring. These dreamy, local, items make great gifts, and will leave you, your family and friends feeling that all is calm, and all is bright.

14  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

Pillow Cases $43 Walter Green Boutique Decorative Gold Accented Pillow $194 Hearth and Soul Ugg Cozy Socks $30 Narcissus White & Warren Slippers $146 Hearth and Soul PJ Salvage Plush Black Robe $98 Narcissus

PJ Salvage Red Tank $45 Ugg Black Sleep Pants $68 Narcissus

Votivo Red Currant Candles. $18-$50 Fab'rik Silk Sleep Mask $30 Lavender Herbal Bath $20 Darphin Night Cream $158 Kanvas Beauty Plush Lavender Neck Pillow $48 Kanvas Beauty Silk-filled Cotton Queen Blanket $262 (Page 14) Hearth and Soul


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STAC: Raising Awareness and Helping Survivors of Human Trafficking By Jennifer Santana


s we ring in the new year in January with our resolutions in mind, it’s also important to remember that January marks Human Trafficking Awareness month—an issue that still plagues much of the Florida panhandle, as well as our community in Tallahassee. To shed some light on the subject, we asked Robin Hassler Thompson, the executive director of the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center, to answer a few questions about human trafficking and how our community can become more involved in the fight against modern day slavery. What is some basic information about human trafficking that you think the general public should know? Human trafficking is, literally, modern-day slavery—and it is alive and well in the Big Bend of Florida. Labor and sex trafficking happens within Tallahassee city limits as well as in our surrounding rural areas. Anyplace where there is lowwage or low-skilled labor, you will find human trafficking. In Tallahassee, the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center (STAC) is working hard to raise awareness of human trafficking and to provide vital services to assist victims, who are some of the most vulnerable people in the community. What communities and people are affected the most? Anyone who is vulnerable is a potential victim of trafficking. We have seen trends recently of traffickers targeting people with disabilities. We also see that people who are addicted to substances are targeted by traffickers. It has also been reported that traffickers have been known to attend Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings in order to prey on people who are there trying to get help with their addictions. Traffickers target people who have suffered trauma in their lives, such as children who have been physically or sexually abused. Traffickers lure people who are in financial need with promises of a good job or another benefit, only to later break those promises, threatening them or loved ones with harm if they try to escape or get help. Traffickers target immigrants and bring them into the United States because they know their immigration status makes them extremely vulnerable. Some businesses traffic these same undocumented people, exploiting their labor and

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threatening them with deportation if they don’t comply with the traffickers’ demands or try to get help. Is there any general information that not enough people are aware of? Human trafficking is more prevalent than people think and includes both sex AND labor trafficking. In fact, there likely are more people labor trafficked than sex trafficked in our area and beyond. Women and children are among those who are most often labor trafficked and sex trafficked or abused. Imagine a woman who is trafficked as a nanny or housekeeper. She may be forced to work 80 hours a week, beaten if she does not perform as expected, or sexually abused by a household member. People also think that human trafficking only happens in large, urban areas. This is also a myth—human trafficking happens in rural areas and throughout our state, not just in big cities. Boys and men can also be victims of human trafficking. Boys are sex trafficked—as are girls—and often go unseen or are not believed because of the popular press and culture that depicts children who are sex trafficked most often as young girls. People often ask—“Who is a trafficker?”—thinking they might be able to spot someone who looks shady or suspicious. They do not realize that traffickers can look like so-called “pillars of the community,” as well as organized crime figures. They can be parents who sex traffic their kids in order to support a drug habit. They can be a single individual or couple who brings a family member into the United States to work in their restaurant—only to later reveal that instead of a good job or schooling, that relative will live in the restaurant’s kitchen and work for little or no pay, binding victims to them by saying the victim owes a huge debt for transportation, food, or housing. The local banker or doctor who pays for sex with a child is a trafficker under the law. Pimps are traffickers. Domestic violence abusers who force their partners to have sex for money are traffickers. The list goes on. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. What is the importance of this—particularly for Tallahassee? It’s vitally important for everyone in the community to take time and learn how to recognize human trafficking and respond to help victims and bring traffickers to justice. Healthcare

professionals, law enforcement, social services, the faith community, judges, health and safety inspectors, the media, business owners—all of us have a role to understand human trafficking and how we might see it in our workplaces. We also need to be aware outside our workplaces, and as we go about our daily lives. For instance, if you are a parent or a neighbor, could you recognize the signs of a child who is at risk or who is being trafficked? STAC also is working to build awareness so that we as consumers can be conscious of what we buy and try to buy goods and services that are “trafficking-free.” We need to be more aware of what we can do to PREVENT human trafficking and help people who are at risktoo. Greed drives traffickers and victims are lured into trafficking because they are economically desperate. So, when people are financially secure they are at a

much lower risk of being trafficked! That means then, good jobs, affordable housing, and healthcare, and getting help to anyone who is vulnerable, whether due to poverty, living in marginalized communities, or because they have suffered trauma—this is all human trafficking prevention work. What are some ways to get involved in the fight against human trafficking? First and foremost, know that there is a national human trafficking hotline: 1-888-373-7888. This is a 24/7, multi-lingual hotline, and can help anyone who has a question about human trafficking, suspects it is happening, or is a victim and needs help. STAC regularly gets referrals from this hotline, as well as from local agencies, law enforcement, community members, the faith community, survivors and their families, and many others. We’ve helped victims get a bus ticket home, obtain food and shelter, and provided them with support as they work toward safety and a better life. STAC is here in our community as a single point of contact for ALL forms of human trafficking as well as for persons of any age, gender, immigrants as well as United States citizens, LGBTQI populations, and regardless of prior victimization or life experience. We do this work in partnership with many other agencies and community groups. STAC works hard to raise awareness of human trafficking throughout the Big Bend.

Upcoming STAC Events Perspectives: Labor Trafficking in the Big Bend and Being Conscious Consumers, FSU Radio show with Tom Flanigan, January 3, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tune in to WFSU 88.9. Human Trafficking Community Training, January 18, 2019, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., at the Kearney Center. Contact: This certificate training is free, but you must register by January 17, 2019. “Imagining Freedom: Culinary Tasting and Fundraiser,” March 28, 2019, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Turnbull Center. Contact: stac@ or call (850) 597-2080. For more information on these and other events, see STAC’s website at

tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 17 

LIVING LOCAL || organizations

Women of the Junior League Plan Sunshine State Ball With Passion and Purpose Contributed by Allison Aubuchon


he Junior League of Tallahassee is having a ball. The volunteer organization announced country music star Rodney Atkins will headline its inaugural Sunshine State Ball, scheduled to be held on January 11, 2019, during Florida’s inauguration week. That is enough to get people buzzing, but there is more to this party—there is a purpose. “The Sunshine State Ball will be a celebration of everything that makes Florida the best place to live, work and raise a family, along with the volunteer work that strengthens communities,” said Lex Phillips, President of the Junior League of Tallahassee. “The need to strengthen organizations supporting basic needs in the Big Bend is stronger than ever. This event is the next step in being the change we want to see in Tallahassee and Florida.” Every dollar from the black-tie event will help the Junior League in its work to identify unmet community needs, develop solutions and see them through to fruition. Since 1960, the organization has served as an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the

effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. In its half-century, the volunteer organization has contributed more than $2,500,000 to the Tallahassee community. Projects, fundraisers and the organization itself have changed through the years to reflect the interests and needs of its members and community. Behind the Sunshine State Ball are unstoppable volunteers and some of the hardest working women you will meet, including event co-chairs Erin Choy and Samantha Ferrin. The small but mighty committee of 14 passionate women hopes the event will make its mark on Tallahassee, inspiring and effecting lasting change on the community. “We’re grateful for the trust from our leadership to dive into this and see it through to fruition,” said Samantha Sexton, Vice President of Development for the Junior League of Tallahassee. “We are women who believe in our community and want to make it a better place, and this is a team that will find a way or make a way. The process of bringing the Sunshine State Ball to life is so rewarding, and we cannot wait to begin this tradition.” The concept for the event began with a straw ballot in the early 2000s. While the concept passed, it was not until reviewing the League’s current fundraisers and opportunities for growth that the 2017-2018 Board of Directors approved the creation of the Sunshine State Ball Committee. With a focus on the longterm health of fund development, the Sunshine State Ball replaces Whale of a Sale as the organization’s signature

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fundraiser. The timing is right, with the Junior League’s growing membership ready and able to support the planning and execution of such a large event, along with the enhanced volunteer opportunities created by the funds raised. As the Capital City League, the Junior League of Tallahassee is considered a resource and an example for finding upstream or downstream solutions for issues impacting Florida communities and addressing the root causes of problems. The organization says it hopes the Sunshine State Ball will help highlight the importance of addressing and solving long-term problems, energizing and inspiring others as an example of effective community volunteerism for leaders across the Sunshine State. “The ball will be a time of celebration and pride,” added Lex. “We love our state. And during the hardest of times, we come together and help each other. This will be a chance to give back and lift up the volunteer organizations doing so much good in our area.” To be a part of this historic evening and enjoy Rodney Atkins live in concert at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, visit online at for more information.

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The Women Who Mean Business (WWMB) community gathered for their

Women on Fire! Networking Luncheon


Business and professional women gathered to network and learn about success strategies for dealing with difficult people at work. The event was sponsored by Sachs Media Group and Royster’s Storage Trailers.


9. Pictured from left to right: 1. Gina Giacomo, Paula DeBoles-Johnson, Anquonette Irving, Patricia B. McCray 2. Renn Vickers, Mary McVicar, Katheryne Veldhouse, Bonnie Burk 3. Annie Giraldo, Amber Adair 4. Elizabeth Ekk, Julie Wolfe, Danielle Gereg 5. Michelle Royster Hart, Linda Royster, Kaila Hardee, Amber Williams 20  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

6. (Top Row) Quia Morris, Paula DeBoles-Johnson, Heather Thomas (Bottom Row) Mikaya Warren, Marsha Doll, Jane Marks, Michelle Mitcham 7. Cindy Lavoie, Delayne Griffin 8. Mary McVicar, Jeanne Allen, Renn Vickers, Dana Powell 9. Michelle Mitcham, Patricia McCray, Diane McCain, Jane Marks, Kim Rosier, Jennifer Stinson, Heather Thomas, Quia Morris, Mikaya Warren, Erica Goff, Marsha Doll


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Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Foundation’s 13th Annual Cards for a Cure event was hosted at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, and was attended by over 600 people. Benefiting the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center and cancer programs, the pink-tie optional event featured a program highlighting breast cancer survivor Betsy Burgess as this year’s honoree—as well as an evening full of great conversation, live entertainment, silent and live auctions, cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres and more.







7. Pictured from left to right: 1. Darcy Cavell, Betsy Burgess, Kathy Brooks 2. Nick Belletto, Katie Belletto, Brigit Smallridge, Eric Smallridge, Billy Steck, Melody Steck 3. Karen Russell, Donald Russell 4. Sarah Ugarte, Zach Ugarte, Gadi Silberman (Photos 1-4 by Unique Video Creations) 5. Jimmy Minor, Coleen Minor (Photo by Photo Fun Booth) 6. Bethany Mall, Danielle Spradley, Emilie Miller 7. Mayra Zimmerman, Roger Englert, Sybil Englert, Cole Zimmerman 22  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019











tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 23 




Holiday Magic

December 14–15, 2018 Ruby Diamond Auditorium Beginning at 8 p.m., witness a beautiful holiday show performed by the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. The stunning voice of Mikki Sodergren and the selection of songs played will lift your holiday spirits while providing an atmosphere of elegance and joy. Visit online to to find out more.

Holiday Show and Sale

30th Annual Camellia Christmas

Winter Festival

Tallahassee Ballet's The Nutcracker

Through December 29, 2018 Lemoyne Center for the Visual Arts The Lemoyne Center for the Visual Arts is hosting its annual holiday show and sale for its 55th year. Enjoy their sculpture garden as it glows with thousands of shining lights and peruse the decorated art gallery that radiates holiday cheer. For more information, visit online at December 1, 2018 Downtown Tallahassee Celebrate lights, music, and art at this year’s Winter Festival. From 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., enjoy numerous events such as a lighting ceremony, the annual Jingle Bell Run, and a nighttime holiday parade. There’s even a ‘Candy Cane Lane’ that is perfect for relaxing strolls and reveling in the wonders of the holidays. For more information, visit

Market Days

December 1–2, 2018 North Florida Fairgrounds Gather your family and friends and bring them over to the 53rd annual Market Days to browse the unique, handmade creations of over 300 artists. Fine arts, pottery, furniture, jewelry, clothing, and more are offered in various price ranges. For more information regarding times and admission, visit 24  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

December 7, 2018 Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., partake in an evening filled with music, cookies and hot cider. There will also be a silent auction inside the festively decorated historic Maclay House for everyone to participate in. For more information, visit online at December 8–9, 2018 Ruby Diamond Concert Hall Start the holiday season off right with Tallahassee Ballet’s The Nutcracker. With a live orchestra, detailed costumes, and an appearance from special guest artists Maizyalet Velazquez and Luca De-Poli, this cherished performance will enchant the audience as dancers twirl and leap across the stage. For more details on show times and admission prices, visit

Victorian Christmas Festival

December 13–14, 2018 Downtown Thomasville, Georgia From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., travel back in time and experience the joyful celebrations of a different period with the Victorian Christmas Festival. Enjoy the various food vendors, violinists, carolers, fire performers and many other Victorian-themed festivities. For more information, visit

The Savannah Sipping Society

January 10–27, 2019 Theatre Tallahassee Bring life, laughter, and friendship to your holidays by attending Theatre Tallahassee’s performance of the Savannah Sipping Society. Follow four southern women as they embark on the journey of escaping their boring, daily routines and trying to find the enthusiasm for life that they’ve lost over the years. To purchase tickets, visit

Sunshine State Ball

January 11, 2019 Donald L. Tucker Civic Center Who doesn’t love the beautiful, sunny state of Florida? The Sunshine State Ball is the perfect event for Florida residents to come together and celebrate everything that makes our state so great. This blacktie event will provide a delicious dinner to go along with live entertainment, and

all proceeds will go toward supporting the Junior League of Tallahassee’s mission of improving the lives of children and families. To learn more about tickets and sponsorship opportunities, visit

10th Annual Fitness & Food Festival

January 26, 2019 555 West Pensacola Street Fulfill your fitness, health and beauty resolutions at the 10th Annual Fitness & Food festival. Kick-start the new year by learning healthy recipes, browsing the latest activewear styles, and choosing between over 50 exercise classes provided by local and national vendors. For more details, visit

Marital & Family Law

Christi Gray

Attorney Certified Family Mediator Parenting Coordinator Guardian Ad Litem 2509 Barrington Circle, Suite 107 Tallahassee, Florida 32308


Join Us For Our Spring Productions

By Anne Washburn Score by Michael Friedman Lyrics by Anne Washburn “Mr. Burns, a post-electric play” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

April 5 14 Lab Theatre • 850.644.6500

Book by Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan | Music by Marc Shaiman Lyrics by Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman Based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters “HAIRSPRAY” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, 423 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019 Tel.: (212) 541-4684 Fax: (212) 397-4684 • 850.644.6500 tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 25 



Loving, Learning and Leading By Heather Thomas | Photography by Kira Derryberry

In life, especially in the editorial world, there is always a story behind the story—the backstory. In English literary terminology, it is also called the origin story. Peering closely at the different threads a narrative weaves together, for many, and for us at Tallahassee Woman Magazine (TWM), it becomes apparent that the woven particles of our lives converge at the right time bringing about change for a larger, collective purpose. We observe this through the stories we share, erasing the social divisions, boundaries and labels, cutting through all the layers to a deeper origination and the call of the heart. The new owner/publisher of TWM, Dr. Michelle Mitcham, has answered the call to be a part of a larger movement of empowering women, and she embodies the TWM mission—to inspire every woman to live purposefully in order to see, know and love themselves and others in a deeper way. This is Michelle’s story, as she embarks on a new journey, guided by her all-encompassing vision of the future, uplifting the women of Tallahassee.

26  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 27 



t was 3 years ago, before Ross Dress for Less closed for the evening that I first met Dr. Michelle Mitcham out in the parking lot, with the streetlights our only illumination. It was an unlikely time, in the most unlikely of places, but as I have found on my 12-year journey with TWM, there are no coincidences, and I don’t get to choose the origin of a story—the origin chooses me. It chose both of us that night, as we were introduced by a mutual friend and our conversation turned into an hour-long journey into the heart of a woman who against incredible odds, tragedies, and triumphs remained open-minded and compassionate, and whose life purpose became to help others find their purpose. When we first met, Michelle was scouting areas in town to live, as she was in the process of relocating to Tallahassee in order to become an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator at Florida A & M University (FAMU). Through our connection, she would later rent office space in TWM’s former building in order to see clients for her private, psychotherapy practice— Courageous Conversations, in which she provides counseling for women and married couples, and also coaching services. Because of her expertise, and passion for changing lives, Michelle became a frequent TWM contributing writer, and was a guest speaker for several of our events. I strongly felt that when the timing was right, we would share her story with our readers. Little did I know it would be in the form of presenting her as TWM’s new owner. We will start first with her story, and then transition to a “Q & A” format to best reflect her voice and vision for TWM.

Origin Story Born to an Eastern Indian mother and an African-American father whose ancestry also had American Indian and European roots, Michelle’s early life was filled with multi-racial influences and heritage. Michelle’s maternal

grandparents came from India to Jamaica as indentured servants. Her mother later immigrated to Detroit, Michigan, seeking a better life for their family. As early as Michelle came to be aware of love, her mother was the bedrock, and the beating heart of their Detroit home. “Her number one role was to be a mother. She had lost so much in life that her happiness was found in her family.” One of those dramatic losses was Michelle’s father, who was killed in a city bus accident—he was crushed

With risk and courage you can redefine the possibilities in your life. by the postal truck that he did his mail deliveries in. Michelle, the youngest of 3 children, was only 4 years old. “My mother’s resilience came from taking care of her children. It was an incredible gift of love that she taught us through her selfless actions and sacrifices. Her emotional bank account should have been empty, but it wasn’t.” When it came to the word, ‘diversity,’ Michelle says, “I never heard my mother say the word, but she would show us diversity through the East Indian/West Indian Jamaican food that she cooked, the many people of all backgrounds and races she would welcome into our home, and the different languages and accents that were spoken around us. We had relatives visiting us from Canada, Jamaica and England, so I assumed everyone had white and brown relatives—it was like the United Nations.” Michelle says she never felt

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that they were poor financially, and she knew her mother struggled to provide for them, but she didn’t speak of those hardships with her children. “She also taught me the gift of presence, which is love made manifest by the stillness of being—having her full attention and being fully known and loved just for being me.” However, tragedy was not quite done with Michelle’s family. When Michelle was 16, her oldest brother, Ossip Jr., was murdered by gun violence. “After that, my mother said to me, ‘Michelle, I’m ready to die.’ I know now, but could not understand then, that she was suffering from situational depression, triggered by grief and loss.” Michelle watched her mother’s bright light slowly sputter out as she gave up on life through unhealthy coping with alcohol abuse and unresolved emotional trauma (having lost her own parents by age 5). Three years after her brother’s death, when Michelle was 19, her mother died with she and her brother at her bedside as she took her last breath just 2 weeks before Christmas day. She and her remaining sibling, Michael, who was 21 at the time of their mother’s death, became bonded even more closely, and they found hope, love, and support from their Aunt Lou and Uncle Orin, along with other relatives, friends and caring neighbors. Tragedy struck again, when 3 years after the death of her mother, Michelle’s beloved aunt died of pancreatic cancer. Michelle relocated with her uncle to Florida, and has been in the state ever since. Through the devastating tragedies that befell her family, she remained incredibly hopeful and filled with purpose—it became clear that her path was leading her to help others through emotional, mental health, and relationship challenges. She graduated from the University of Central Florida (UCF) with a B.S. degree in psychology and then later, a master’s degree from Webster University in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. She decided to return to

“...My mother gave me the greatest gift—the gift of unconditional love. My hope, always, is to love others like she did, and to pass that along to my children.” school again at the UCF and completed her doctor of philosophy in counselor education and supervision. During this time she married, and had 3 children—Adonis (32), Tavia (27), an FSU graduate, and Briana (20), currently an FSU student. Michelle's husband, Dr. Kerry McCord, a chiropractor, international speaker and author, is her rock and inspiration, truly the man of her dreams. Together, they have 5 adult children. “I am so fortunate to have such a big family and living my dream.” Empowering women and young adults has been a steadfast drive in Michelle’s life and reflected throughout the years in her many roles, beginning as a high school counselor, mentor, family mediator, and professor. She was even a featured guest on Oprah for a show about beauty at every age. Because of her passion for empowering women and girls in the community, Michelle proudly served the last two years as a commissioner on the Tallahassee-Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and chair of the Health and Development committee. She was also appointed to the newly formed steering committee of FAMU’s Academic Council of Education Women’s Network, focused on enriching the professional experiences of all women through mentoring and empowerment. Currently, she is an entrepreneur twice-over and has recently become a Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce member. She continues in her roles of psychotherapist, consultant, and as an associate professor and accreditation liaison at FAMU. However, she says, “It’s being a M-O-M that is my most important credential. My mother gave me the greatest gift— the gift of unconditional love. My hope, always, is to love others like she did, and to pass that along to my children.” From Detroit, Michigan, to Tallahassee, Florida, Michelle dared to follow the varied callings of her heart. Michelle feels that the quote from her brother Michael best reflects the way she tries to live and model for others —“With risk and courage you can redefine the possibilities in your life.”

tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 29 



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WHY DID YOU WANT TO BECOME TWM'S PUBLISHER? “I felt called to do it, just as I felt called to Tallahassee 3 years ago to become a professor in FAMU’s Counseling Department leading the accreditation efforts. Along with being dedicated to empowering others, particularly women, I believe in servant leadership and investing in the community that I seek to help, but also to learn from. Research, teaching and service—I feel that TWM is an extension of that and complements all of my roles. I feel that all the pieces of me and my background come together as an extension of my authentic self: informing, learning, and empowering.”

WHY DO YOU THINK TWM IS A VITAL, COMMUNITY RESOURCE? “TWM shares the stories of the real women of Tallahassee. These are the grandmothers, mothers, sisters, wives, stepmothers, aunts, business owners, leaders, caregivers, and spiritual leaders—this magazine is for everyone. It shows and shares the stories of how women live, work, play, love, advocate and support their families and communities. These are the women who show how strong and resilient Tallahassee is, and how loving our city is. TWM is layered into the fabric of the community…not only is it the premier magazine for women, it is the only magazine for women, by women. There is an opportunity for every woman to be inspired and changed by the magazine—a universal message of love that shows that every story is worthy of not only an audience, but of respect. It’s a force of goodness in the community and is part of something greater than ourselves. TWM encourages every woman to share her voice.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS DIVERSITY TO THE BRAND AND MESSAGING OF TWM? “I want every woman to see themselves ‘in the picture’ so-tospeak. As a woman of mixed-race, I celebrate diversity of all kinds. I want to see TWM continue to reflect diversity and inclusion through content, advertisements, staff and messaging and it will be one of the core factors in our decision-making processes. We want to continue to embrace all multi-cultural identities. I believe TWM has the power to embrace the humanistic element of all women and to connect everyone on a deeper level. It’s magical—to ‘walk in someone’s moccasins for a mile’ and have empathy for another person’s journey. We are a mirror to reflect a woman’s authentic self.”


The Value of Quality

“If we can touch the lives, the minds, the hearts of every woman in Tallahassee and to inspire them in order to be the best version of themselves—that is my vision..." WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR TWM? “If we can touch the lives, the minds, the hearts of every woman in Tallahassee and to inspire them in order to be the best version of themselves—that is my vision, which is expanding upon the previous publisher’s pivotal vision. Our stories are not just about us—it’s bigger than one story and is a collective, like a tapestry of women from all walks of life, races, and backgrounds. I want women to know that any dream is within their reach, and that they are not alone. Women must support other women. There is a network of supportive women that believe in them. I also want women to never give up hope and faith. We want this magazine to show what can be possible in every woman’s life and with the stories and tools we share, TWM will continue to instill hope, and illuminate the path and the hearts of women.”

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Let’s Get to wHERk A

s twenty-first century professionals, working women are determined to strike a balance between their careers and personal lives. Juggling the responsibilities of being full-time professionals, the idea of working from home can seem even more daunting to most, and finding a private solace to accomplish work at home is a lot easier said than done. Luckily, there might be a solution on the horizon for all women in Tallahassee that are dreaming of just that: a collaborative, inspiring workspace away from home, made by and for working women. Striving to redefine the modern workplace and create an environment where women across Tallahassee can come together to collaborate, Verlonda Johnson and Anquilla Bellow envisioned a place where working “from home” doesn’t equate isolation. Birthed from their own struggles as working mothers, the idea of wHERk (pronounced work) is simple: to give women a dedicated work space away from home where they can work independently, but are still afforded all of the advantages of a traditional office space. In the hopes of creating 32  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

By Jennifer Santana Photo by elleBelle Photography

such a place, Verlonda and Anquilla know firsthand just how difficult being a working mother can be. “We were at our real estate brokerage office having a brainstorming session with our two little boys, who were pushing our papers and grabbing nearby cords. In that moment we said ‘Is there a place where we could get work done with these little guys nearby, especially since we are not ready for full time daycare?’ The answer was no. Then the thought came to us as quickly as we’d posed the question. Why don’t we create such a place?” Verlonda said about the inspiration for wHERk. Although the idea initially came from an idea to help working mothers, wHERk aims to be a place for all working women—no matter the age or level of experience. Hoping to create a community of like-minded professionals, wHERk will strive to provide a collaborative environment that will support and encourage women of all ages to achieve their goals.

Still in the process of finding a permanent location, wHERk currently exists as a weekly co-working pop-up, taking place in businesses all across Tallahassee. As women that have struggled to work from home in the past, Verlonda and Anquilla know just how important it is to have a dedicated work space away from any possible distractions that might cloud your thoughts. “We believe having a dedicated workspace outside of the home is key for business growth, productivity, and personal satisfaction. Working outside the home allows you to set dedicated work hours and stick to them. Having a workspace away for the home also allows you to network more often and build relationships with other professionals.”

22 Years of Helping Women To Let Their Light Shine

As for what’s on the horizon for wHERk, Verlonda and Anquilla shared their aspirations for the future of their business.


“Our vision for the future is to find our ideal location and officially open the doors to our inviting and vibrant shared workspace that will feature quality onsite childcare programs for children ages six months to five years. We will create an engaging workshop series for women geared towards business, personal, and financial growth—along with weekly fitness classes and monthly networking mixers. We also hope to implement an entrepreneur academy.” Working to build a place where women can come together to support each other, and truly “created with her in mind,” wHERk promises to be an inviting and collaborative environment that allows modern professionals to continue to pursue their ambitions, without sacrificing the benefits of working together as a community. A think tank made for the advancement of local women, wHERk is striving to prove that in the modern workplace, women no longer have to settle. For more information regarding the mission and future of wHERk, and to stay informed on the locations of their weekly co-working pop-ups, visit @wherktally on Facebook and Instagram.

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Entertaining With Simplicity By Jennifer Santana


ith the holidays and New Year coming up, there’s always a reason to come together with your loved ones and celebrate. Whether you’re toasting to your new year’s resolutions, celebrating an event, or you’re just looking for an excuse to bring everyone together, hosting a party doesn’t mean that you have to empty your bank account just to have a good time. Here are some budgetfriendly tips and ideas to help you plan a memorable evening—without breaking the bank.

Pot-Luck Dinners

If you’re planning on hosting a dinner with a large group of friends and family, consider asking your guests to bring their favorite holiday dish or drink. Having an assortment of different appetizers and dishes will give your guests a variety to choose from, and will considerably cut down the cost of your party since you won’t have to dedicate the bulk of your

budget to the food. Your guests will also have a built-in ice breaker, getting to spend the evening hearing about everyone’s signature dish.

Movie Nights

For a more casual night in, plan a movie night with your friends and family— complete with an assortment of everyone’s favorite movie snacks and desserts. Rather than having to worry about making a full-course meal for your guests, you can save some money and offer them a variety of cookies and treats instead. To make things a little more festive and cozy—without adding too many extra expenses—consider adding a hot cocoa bar to your movie night festivities. Complete with miniature marshmallows, sticks of peppermint, and whipped cream, this simple addition will add a festive touch to any gathering without breaking your budget.

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Focused Decorating

Instead of spending a large chunk of your budget decorating the whole house, try to focus on the rooms that your guests will frequent the most—like the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. There’s no need to break the bank trying to spruce up your home and get your guests into the spirit. A few larger decorations or focal points in each room, like lights strung along the walls or large centerpieces, will be more than enough to bring your theme to life. Also consider decorating with a monochromatic color scheme in mind. This will give your gathering a more unified theme—and odds are, you already have a lot of pieces in your home that you can use as part of your décor.

Stick with the Seasons

To save some money, do some research ahead of time and find out what flowers and produce are in season. These foods and décor options will be a lot cheaper

and easier to find, saving you money in the long-run, so don’t be afraid to fully embrace the season when you’re planning your party. Not only will seasonal foods and flowers be a more budgetfriendly option, they will also be fresher and can add to the overall theme of your get-together!

Brunch Gatherings

Instead of opting for the traditional dinner party, consider meeting up with your guests earlier in the day for a festive brunch. Breakfast foods tend to be less expensive than dinner foods, so you’ll have extra money in your budget for festive tableware. A brunch gathering can also be less formal than a dinner party, allowing for a more laid-back atmosphere in terms of attire and decorations. Save the money that you would use for lavish decorations and get creative with inexpensive cocktail options instead.

Game Night

Looking for a fun way to get together with your friends and family that will bring out your competitive spirit? Ask your guests to bring their favorite games over and host a low maintenance game night. Complete with an assortment of finger foods and snacks for your guests, dust off those old board games and let them be the entertainment for the night. Playing some music in the background can be a great way to add to the fun ambiance of the evening—and it will come at no extra cost to you.

dec-jan19.pdf 1 11/13/2018 3:44:03 PM












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Claudia Braswell, a licensed skincare specialist, is now certified in Elleebana Lash Lift/Perm and will offer the service to Kanvas Beauty clients. The lash lift procedure enhances the appearance of natural lashes and is a great alternative to lash extensions. Claudia has been with the Kanvas Beauty team for over six years. Autumn Calder, AICP was recently named Director for Blueprint, the Tallahassee-Leon County Intergovernmental Agency which is responsible for building projects funded by the local penny sales tax. As the director, Autumn manages a multidisciplinary staff that plans, designs and constructs infrastructure improvement projects across the community. Familiar Blueprint projects include Franklin Boulevard, Cascades Park, FAMU Way Trail and Capital Circle. Autumn brings fifteen years of experience in public infrastructure planning and development, including five years as a senior manager, to her current role as the director. A Tallahassee native, she earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Florida State University. Donia Norman has joined the Kanvas Beauty team as a licensed skincare specialist and licensed massage therapist. Donia is a Tallahassee native and the former owner of Donia’s Spa Holistic, which was located on Thomasville Road in Midtown. She is also a former educator at the Aveda Institute Tallahassee, where she taught skincare, waxing, make-up, nails and massage.

Shari Hubbard, APR, has joined the Second Harvest of the Big Bend team as the food bank’s Director of Community Relations. In this role, Shari will help Second Harvest develop and expand relationships with community leaders, organizations and media. She will also oversee the organization’s volunteer recruitment and training. The Florida Commission on the Status of Women (FCSW) recently honored Paula DeBoles-Johnson along with nine other outstanding women with the 2018 Spirit of Community Award (formerly the FCSW Achievement Award) for their work in improving the lives of women and families in their communities. The newly named Spirit of Community Award recognizes meritorious women and men who have improved the lives of women of Florida and have served as positive role models for women and girls in their community. Renee Jean-Charles has joined the Tallahassee Woman Magazine team as Community Engagement Liaison. In this role she will attend events and connect with organizations in the community who are in the business of empowering women and their communities. Renee volunteers with various nonprofit and campus-based organizations in the Tallahassee community promoting mental health awareness and empowering women, children, and college students.

Women to Watch includes announcements of promotions, awards, business openings and milestones of business and professional women in the Tallahassee community.

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38  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019




he most wonderful time of the year is here! Speaking of time, it does seems to fly by, and we are in wonderment of how fast the year has come to an end.  So, how can we find ways to make this cherished season last longer? As you unwrap your favorite holiday decorations this year, I challenge you to enjoy them for more than just these fleeting moments. Finding creative ways to transition your holiday décor seamlessly from season to season is one of the best ways to create and make long-lasting memories. Admittedly, for many years, I secretly yearned to start dismantling our Christmas tree the minute the present rush was over. Now, our family looks forward to creating our New Year’s tree. A few of the larger ornaments are removed and inserted with largescale New Year’s decorations. Family, friends and anyone that comes through our doors are asked to share their New Year’s Resolution and place it on our New Year’s Tree. To share your resolution with others is one proven key to success, but to share it amongst the twinkling lights and surrounded by the shimmer of holiday sparkle just may be the true secret to New Year resolution success!  

tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 39 

STYLE home

The grand finale for your Christmas tree to New Year’s tree is to let it be the star of the show. On the last night of the year, invite some friends over, pop some bubbly and let your guests take the New Year’s decor off the tree and decorate themselves in holiday style as they blow New Year’s horns! The regal nutcrackers may just give you a secret wink for taking the silly hat off of him…until next year. Family Ties in Holiday Décor Everyone decorates for the holidays in their own special style—rest assured there is no right or wrong 40  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

way. If you decorate with family in your heart, and share their passions in life, then you will see their joyful smiles that will make all of the time and effort worth every minute. As with so many families, our fourlegged family members are our treasures. Each year their “room” is decorated with decorations that I am sure they would pick out for themselves if they could. Stockings are hung for each pet, pictures are displayed of our beloved ones in heaven and garlands of bones top it all off. In complete disclosure, the first year I “may” have strung the tree with real bones to their great delight. No one really wants to be on Santa’s naughty list, so I suggest fake sparkly bones if you would like for your tree to remain standing upright and for all to have a good night! Have fun with your holiday decorating by choosing a theme within the magic of the holidays and let it be your focal point for decor. Surprise your family with unexpected twists and remember: not every single decoration has to make an entrance every year. This past year we relived our season from the year before when our family spent the holiday in New York City. The family tree was covered in more lights than ever, and it depicted the magical tree in Rockefeller Center. Trinkets from NYC were scattered everywhere—


Richard J-P Bastien, DMD

Broadway and Rockette tickets, ice skates, to framed family pictures of our time in NYC. A trip down memory lane is one of the greatest gifts of the holiday season. What would a family from the South representing four different colleges be without their Game Room Christmas Tree showing off all of their schools? The University of Florida, Georgia and Auburn are proudly displayed, but the Chief Decorator has the advantage of making her FSU Alma Mater the grand topper.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

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wellness healthy living


How to Greet the New Year With Peace

By Tavia Rahki


oliday cheer is depicted in scenes of candid family fun and scrumptious food in commercials and movies. The same holiday songs play on the radio, in grocery stores, and throughout shopping malls. As the New Year approaches, people are making plans to travel, visit loved ones, take on adventurous

challenges and make self-improvements. While it may seem like mostly everyone is excited for the festivities, some are just not feeling the holiday spirit. Instead, many of us are feeling overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. Feeling melancholy around this time of year is totally normal. The changing

42  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

seasons are accompanied by mood swings and dysregulation of hormones like serotonin and melatonin. These changes can impact our sense of wellbeing and feelings of satisfaction and content. Seasonal Affective Disorder or “SAD” is a type of depression that affects nearly 10 million Americans. SAD usually begins late fall and subsides

approaching spring and summer. Whether it’s a little winter blues or SAD, there are ways to overcome it.

TIPS TO BEATING THE HOLIDAY BLUES: 1. Turn Off the Television and Put Down Your Cell Phone

Television programs are saturated with the pressure of New Year’s resolutions, showing transformation stories and advertisements that can pull you into a funk of dissatisfaction. Take a break from social media and cuddle up with a good book or watch a throwback movie that makes you smile.

2. Get Out of Town

Take a day trip to do something for yourself away from home, whether it’s visiting a museum, eating at a new restaurant, taking a nature walk or having a spa day. Take an entire weekend trip to somewhere sunny and bright.

3. Hone in on a Hobby

Take on an unfinished project or start something new—a painting, a photo album, gardening, home décor, cooking, or organizing. Pick a task that can make you feel accomplished. Completing tasks and indulging in hobbies increases self-efficacy and can positively influence mood and behavior.

4. Get Some Sunlight

As the seasons change we tend to get less sunlight which has negative effects on mood. Studies show that one hour of light therapy significantly decreases depressive symptoms (Penckofer, 2010. ) You may also want to consider taking a Vitamin D supplement, but still get some fresh air and natural sunlight. Light therapy using a light box can be a helpful alternative.

5. Aromatherapy and Plant Therapy

10. Meditate.

The use of essential oils can be a powerful tool in enhancing mood. A nice uplifting combination is clary sage and bergamot. Use a diffuser or make a topical oil mixture (For topical, add 4-6 drops of essential oil to every 1 ounce of almond or coconut oil). Get indoor plants to boost your environment. Try fragrant flowers, a potted plant like the fiddle leaf fig tree or a simple handful of fresh herbs in a small vase, like peppermint, basil or eucalyptus.

6. Count Your Blessings

Channel gratitude. As often as you hear it, take time to do it—write it down or take mental note of at least 10 things you are thankful for. Say a prayer or repeat a mantra while connecting to your breath (Example: “I inhale love, I exhale love.”)

7. Exercise

Get moving! Exercise increases endorphins for a natural mood boost, increases self-esteem and can alleviate social anxiety.

8. Detox

Eliminate refined sugars, refined flours, milk, wheat, alcohol and processed junk foods from your diet for a few days. Instead, eat more fresh greens and fresh fruits. Drink herbal teas like ginseng, lemon balm, kava-kava, or passionflower.

9. Make More Meals at Home

Cook like it’s an adventure and take time to enjoy the process. Meals prepared with warming spices bring comfort and can reduce symptoms of depression. For example, herbs like cardamom, rosemary and thyme create bold flavors with healthy benefits.

Take a step away from the hustle and bustle. Find quiet spaces of solitude and just breathe deeply with intention, letting the thoughts flow by while simply observing them. Taking time to clear out mental chatter brings clarity and balance.

11. Talk it Out and Write it Down.

Talk to a trusted friend, family member or counselor. Speak your truth freely and express your feelings so that they are not holding you hostage in your own mind. Give yourself permission to rise above self-sabotaging thoughts. Grab a journal, note the date at the top, and write down where you are, how you are feeling, who you feel close to or distant from and what you need or want in that moment.

12. Music and Art

Play music that reminds you of happy times. Feel the music and let it take you to those moments. Whatever emotions arise, just let it come up and out. Also, create something. Make anything using your medium of choice (pastels, markers, paint, colored pencils, crochet, etc.) and create without worrying about the outcome. Even if it’s just pen and paper, draw whatever comes to mind. Art therapy has the potential to release emotions that are more difficult to express verbally. During this holiday season and New Year choose what truly brings you joy on your own terms. Let go of attachments to what ‘should be’ and find peace in what already is. Be sure to seek medical advice from your doctor.

tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 43 

wellness bodies in motion

The 12 Days of Fitmas

By Ali Campbell


is’ the season for holiday party extravaganza. With all of the overindulgence and less time to spend in the gym, here is a quick and festive way to get in a 20 minute workout and torch a few calories. For the full effect, wear jingle bells and sing along to the tune of the 12 days of Christmas. For added variation, set a timer to a desired time and see how many rounds you are able to complete. YouTube has many examples of each fitness move to get you motivated. Merry Sweating! 44  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

On the first day of “FITMAS” my trainer gave to me… her favorite torture the BURPEE!

On the second day of “FITMAS” my trainer gave to me… two standing tuck jumps, and her favorite torture the BURPEE! On the third day of “FITMAS” my trainer gave to me… three squat thrusters, two standing tuck jumps, and her favorite torture the BURPEE!

On the fourth day of “FITMAS” my

trainer gave to me… four diamond pushups, three squat thrusters, two standing tuck jumps and her favorite torture the BURPEE!

On the fifth day of “FITMAS” my

trainer gave to me… five lateral lunges, four diamond pushups, three squat thrusters, two standing tuck jumps, and her favorite torture the BURPEE!

On the sixth day of “FITMAS” my

thrusters, two standing tuck jumps, and her favorite torture the BURPEE!

On the eighth day of “FITMAS” my

trainer gave to me… eight tricep chair dip, seven curtsy lunges, six mountain climbers, five lateral lunges, four diamond pushups, three squat thrusters, two standing tuck jumps, and her favorite torture the BURPEE!

On the ninth day of “FITMAS” my

trainer gave to me… six mountain climbers, five lateral lunges, four diamond pushups, three squat thrusters, two standing tuck jumps, and her favorite torture the BURPEE!

trainer gave to me… nine plie squats, eight tricep chair dips, seven curtsy lunges, six mountain climbers, five lateral lunges, four diamond pushups, three squat thrusters, two standing tuck jumps, and her favorite torture the BURPEE!

On the seventh day of “FITMAS” my

On the tenth day of “FITMAS” my

trainer gave to me… seven curtsy lunges, six mountain climbers, five lateral lunges, four diamond pushups, three squat

trainer gave to me… ten bicep curls, nine plie squats, eight tricep chair dips, seven curtsy lunges, six mountain

climbers, five lateral lunges, four diamond pushups, three squat thrusters, two standing tuck jumps, and her favorite torture the BURPEE!

On the eleventh day of “FITMAS” my trainer gave to me… eleven bicycle crunches, ten bicep curls, nine plie squats, eight tricep chair dips, seven curtsy lunges, six mountain climbers, five lateral lunges, four diamond pushups, three squat thrusters, two standing tuck jumps, and her favorite torture the BURPEE! On the twelfth day of “FITMAS” my

trainer gave to me… twelve boxing punches, eleven bicycle crunches, ten bicep curls, nine plie squats, eight tricep chair dips, seven curtsy lunges, six mountain climbers, five lateral lunges, four diamond pushups, three squat thrusters, two standing tuck jumps, and her favorite torture the BURPEE!


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tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 45 

family life



hatever the age, it’s tricky to recall most of the gifts we’ve received. Certainly, there are the extra special, coveted gifts that remain in our memories, yet the “items” most vividly and fondly remembered are not items at all. It’s experiences that stay with us. Admittedly, most (let’s go with all) children, tweens and teens have gift wish lists as lengthy as the Declaration of Independence, which is approximately 1,320 words long. Rarely (probably never), do those lists have “more family time” or “less time online” in the mix or at the least in the top 999. As adults, we can be guilty of the same. Yes, the allure of something new attracts all ages. What if that something new wasn’t a thing? I’m not suggesting banning gifts from the wish list but rather upping your gifting game by including some “experience” gifts for whatever the gifting occasion—holiday, birthday, anniversary, Groundhog Day.

Experience gifts can be tailored to all interests, ages and budgets. Plus, creating positive memories and experiences is markedly better than hurriedly ordering something from Amazon. As parents, experience gifts are a sneaky way to work more family time into busy, over scheduled lives. When trying to choose an experience to gift, consider the recipient’s likes, hobbies and personality, as well as any gift items they will receive. An experience is often a wonderful complement. Say you’re giving your child a new bike, a nice experience gift to complement the bike could be a family bike ride on the St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail. Create a homemade gift certificate, crafty or basic—no one’s judging, and tie it to the bike. Most importantly, follow through on the experience—ideally sooner rather than later.

46  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

Another way to discover clever gift experiences is to explore area websites and community calendars. You will likely be pleasantly surprised, even a bit overwhelmed, at the variety of offerings and opportunities. Check out, funfor4tallykids. com and to get started. Sign up for e-mails from your favorite websites, businesses and venues as well as follow them on social media to remain in the know. The flurry of the holiday gifting season is immediately followed by the passing of another year prompting reflection on what we resolve to improve upon or do differently. Seldom do such resolutions include buy more stuff. More often they focus on quality of life and time with those we love. Experience gifts uniquely unify the spirit of both the holiday season and new year.

To get you started, here are a few experience ideas for a wide variety of ages, interests and budgets:


Cycling: St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail; Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway; Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park; Munson Hill Off-Road Bike Trailhead; Lafayette Heritage Trail Park; Jr. Alford Greenway; San Luis Mission Park; Tom Brown Park; Fred George Basin Greenway Dodge ball: Sky Zone


Cooking lessons: Kitchenable; Publix Aprons Cooking School; The Cake Shop Painting and woodwork: AR Workshop; Brush & Palette; Firefly Pottery; Painting With a Twist Tallahassee Rocks: Paint rocks to hide around Tallahassee and the surrounding area to spread joy and brighten people’s day.

Helicopter tours: Koolbreeze Helicopters, Tallahassee Helicopters


Hot air balloon rides: Soaring Sports; Tallahassee Hot Air Balloon Rides; Tracer Hot Air Balloons

Florida Historic Capitol Museum

National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Kayaking: Wakulla and Wacissa rivers —a variety of kayak rental companies for outfitting

Museum of Florida History

Rock climbing: Tallahassee Rock Gym

Tallahassee Museum

Zip lining for all ages: Tallahassee Museum’s Tree to Tree Adventures

Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratories (Panacea, FL)

Challenger Learning Center


Bowling: Capital Lanes, Seminole Bowl Cascades Park: Explore activities, dining and events. Family game night: Use new board games, dust off old ones or embrace the no frills classics like Charades, 20-Questions and Who Am I? Mason jar moments: Fill a mason jar with 12 slips of paper containing experience gifts thoughtfully created for the recipient who draws monthly from the jar. Ideas include: recipient’s choice for dinner and a movie, mother/daughter manicure/pedicure, father/son afternoon fishing, complete control of the television remote for the weekend, use of the car, or allowance boost for the week. Opening Nights: A variety of artistic performances and lectures held October through April. Reach the beach: Escape for the day or the weekend to one of the many, beautiful beaches along the forgotten coast or emerald coast. Wine and beer tastings: Deep Brewing Company, Proof Brewing Company, 319 Wine & Cheese, or The Wine Loft for the adults in the family.

tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 47 

food the dish

Smart Cookies By Stephanie Jimenez


hether it’s your grandmother’s famous gingerbread cookies, or mom’s special hot chocolate, the holidays are a perfect time for families to come together to enjoy everyone’s favorite desserts. However, eating too many high-calorie or sugary treats at this time of the year can deter one from making healthy eating choices. Most of the classic holiday cookies that we all know and love are extremely delicious, but often do not coincide with the meal plans for those seeking healthier options. Here are a few “smart” cookie recipes with ingredients that everyone in the family can fully enjoy.

Chunky Monkey Cookies Ingredients: 2 large or 4 small bananas 2 tbsp peanut butter 1 cup rolled oats 1 scoop vanilla protein powder ¼ cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs ½ cup flaked or chopped almonds Pinch of salt

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking tray with baking paper. 2. Peel the bananas, add them to a bowl, and mash them up with a fork or potato masher until smooth. 3. Mix in the peanut butter until it’s fully combined and not lumpy. Stir in the remaining ingredients. 4. Spoon roughly 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto the lined baking sheet. Repeat for the rest of the cookie batter. 5. Use the back of a spoon to shape them into little circles, decorate with a slice of banana, if desired, and then bake for 10-12 minutes. 6. Remove from the oven and let cool.

48  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

Hill Professional Services, Inc. Flourless Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients: 1 large egg 3 tbsp blackstrap molasses 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted ¼ cup + 2 tsp coconut sugar, divided 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground cinnamon, divided 1¼ cup almond flour ¼ cup coconut flour 1 tsp baking powder Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 2. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg until the yolk breaks apart. Whisk in the molasses, coconut oil, ¼ cup coconut sugar, vanilla,

Healthy Vegan Hot Chocolate

Serves: 2 Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: 2 cups unsweetened almond milk 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 3 Tbsp dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate (chips or bar-chopped) 1 Tbsp raw sugar 0.25 tsp peppermint extract (optional) Coconut whipped cream topping (optional) Directions: 1. Add almond milk to a

ginger, and ½ tsp cinnamon, mixing until smooth. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, and baking powder, mixing until well combined. 3. Add the remaining cinnamon and sugar to a small bowl. Scoop out a rounded tablespoon of dough and roll it between your hands to form a ball. Roll the cookie ball in the cinnamon sugar and place it on your prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough has been used up, and then use a jar or flatbottomed cup to gently flatten each cookie. 4. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes (7 to 8 minutes for a softer cookie). Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

large mug and microwave for 1 minute. Alternatively, add to a saucepan over medium heat. 2. Once milk is warm, add cocoa powder, chocolate and sweetener and whisk to combine. 3. Put back in microwave or continue cooking on stovetop until completely combined and has reached your preferred temperature. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed. 4. Add in peppermint extract, if desired. Stir, and top with coconut whipped cream.

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tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 49 

WE Inspire

Starting in 2019, TWM will be embarking on the #YearofWE—Women Empowered. In every issue we will feature inspiring stories of women making a difference in the lives of other women. In this section, we will include quotes, poems, reflections, or wisdom from women who inspire us all to live empowered.

Gifts of Grace and Gratitude By Dr. Michelle A. Mitcham

“…be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”


his quote by Maya Angelou resonates deeply in my heart. There will be clouds in life, as well as rainbows. Throughout my life, many strong women have inspired me, mentored me, and loved me as beautiful rainbows, through their words, examples and actions. For these inspirations, I am forever grateful. Here are a few of the women, as well as their gifts, that have colored my world beautifully through their hearts, minds and spirits. My dear mother was my first rainbow who gave me and my brothers the gift of unconditional love. Her incessant capacity to love was demonstrated by her daily hugs, kisses, cooking and showing up to volunteer each week at my elementary school. Being present in my daily life showed me that my mother believed in me, and it taught me that love is a verb. She expressed her love by patiently teaching me to cook at an early age, taking time to explain each spice, seasoning or herb and creating delicious East Indian-West Indian-Jamaican dishes. By her example, I learned to be kind to others and embrace and celebrate diversity. Even though I lost my mother at age 19, the lessons she taught me have guided me and inspired me to be my best, to reach higher, and love my children without limits. My favorite Aunt Lou blessed me with the gifts of adventure and laughter. I was inspired to travel and see the world both in person and vicariously through

—Maya Angelou

her stories and photographs. I remember my aunt’s optimistic demeanor, never worrying about anything and living her life to the fullest. She loved to entertain, laugh with friends and family, and explore the world. The gifts of faith and hope were instilled in me by my precious godmother Ann. Having a spiritual mother since birth has been a blessing for which words cannot describe. I can always count on my godmother to say something that will elevate and enlighten me, whether through words of faith or wisdom. She reminds me that, “this too shall pass” during difficult times. She inspires me to walk in faith and never stop believing. She encourages me to know my true self and be authentic. She has been my sunshine and a rainbow through all of life’s challenges. I am grateful for her endless love and presence. Sometimes in life, you are lucky enough to have a second mother, which for me is Barbara. When my mom passed, I was not only blessed to have my godmother, but my second Mother as well. This amazing woman has been there for me as a mother, friend, and positive force, as well as the best grandmother in the world to my children. We have made family memories for so many years. The love she has shown me and my family inspires me to be a loving and caring mom.

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” —Author Unknown 50  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019 51 

52  tallahassee woman • december 2018 / januar y 2019

TWM December2018/January2019  

The December 2018/January 2019 Tallahassee Woman Magazine features Dr. Michelle Mitcham, the new publisher at TWM on the cover. Read about h...

TWM December2018/January2019  

The December 2018/January 2019 Tallahassee Woman Magazine features Dr. Michelle Mitcham, the new publisher at TWM on the cover. Read about h...