Page 1



April Leonardo’s Turning Point p.8


SWAP p.34



She’s Creating Positive Change p.10


Perfect Endings PerfectEndingscathy.indd 1

11/19/15 2:37 PM

AFTER p.20


An Elegant Lunch p.28

Abigail Camarota’s Best Moment p.40



• What to Wear • How to be a Good Hostess • 10 Rules Guests Shouldn’t Break

Let’s Celebrate! I

love celebrations. They are an acknowledgement of the wonderful things happening in our lives ­— and a reminder of the happy days to come. Celebrations show others how much we value them. In this month’s issue, we’re celebrating our 24th anniversary, but the celebration is all about you. We think the stories, solutions, and ideas you’ve shared with us throughout the years are worth celebrating. Take a look at the special thanks in 24 Things (page 14) and then turn the page and start thinking about planning your own fun gathering.

DECEMBER 2015 Volume 26 8 Number 1

PUBLISHER Cathy S. Zion publisher@todayspublications.com EDITOR IN CHIEF Anita Oldham editor@todayspublications.com EDITOR Tiffany White tiffany@todayspublications.com

Try hosting a lunch party for your friends (page 28) or invite them over for cookie decorating (page 34). If you’re uncertain about your hosting skills, you’ll learn some tips about hostess etiquette that will help make your party unforgettable — in a good way. Not sure what to wear? We’ll show you how to pull together an adorable holiday outfit and give you some tips for perfecting your eye makeup. Are you ready to party? Let’s celebrate together!

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Lucy M. Pritchett CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Miranda G. Popp miranda@todayspublications.com ASSISTANT EDITOR/DESIGNER Jessica Alyea jessica@todayspublications.com OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Jillian LeMaster officeadmin@todayspublications.com

— Tiffany White

ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Susan Allen susan@todayspublications.com

ON OUR COVER Trisha Finnegan is making a big investment in her community. Find out how she’s doing it on page 10. TRISHA IS WEARING: Earrings available by Summer Eliason, $84, 3702 Lexington Rd, 502.387.9901; Jumpsuit available at Dillard’s, $155, 5000 Shelbyville Rd, 502.893.4400; Bracelets available at Colonial Designs, from $15-$30, 3712 Lexington Rd, 502.896.4461; Shoes, $32, available at Nordstrom Rack, 4600 Shelbyville Rd, 502.899.4940. Chair provided by Contemporary Galleries, 220 N. Hurstbourne Parkway, 502.426.9273. PHOTO: Melissa Donald MAKEUP/HAIR: Marie Fulkerson and Bailey Goonan STYLING: Alissa Hicks


Call 502.327.8855, ext. 10, or email us at reprints@todayspublications.com with details and specifics. For advertising information in Today’s Woman, call 502.327.8855. Today’s Woman

is published monthly by:

Zion Publications, LLC 9750 Ormsby Station Road, Suite 307, Louisville, KY 40223 Phone: 502.327.8855 • Fax: 502.327.8861 todayswomannow.com

Subscriptions are available by sending $18 to the above address for 12 monthly issues. Today’s Woman magazine is published monthly by Zion Publications LLC and distributed free to the people of metropolitan Louisville and Southern Indiana. Circulation 50,000 guaranteed. The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the position of the publisher. Today’s Woman magazine does not endorse or guarantee any advertiser’s product or service. Copyright 2015 by Zion Publications LLC with all rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content in any manner is prohibited without permission from Zion Publications LLC.

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Kaitlyn English kaitlyn@todayspublications.com Teri Hickerson teri@todayspublications.com Suzy Hillebrand suzy@todayspublications.com Joyce Inman joyce@todayspublications.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER April H. Allman april@todayspublications.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kathy Bolger kathyb@todayspublications.com PHOTOGRAPHER/FOOD WRITER Melissa Donald melissa@todayspublications.com MEDIA ASSOCIATE Alissa Hicks alissa@todayspublications.com CIRCULATION MANAGER W. Earl Zion EDITORIAL INTERN Anna Patterson







Brushing Up on Beauty by LUCY M. PRITCHETT / photos by MELISSA DONALD

What Works for Lisa Causarano, 40, president of Junior League of Louisville; energy consultant with Schneider Electric; co-owner of the newly opened Drybar blowout salon (4904 Shelbyville Road) HOMETOWN: San Diego, California NEIGHBORHOOD: Highlands HOUSEHOLD: Husband Keith Morley


isa Causarano is a woman who puts beauty, style, and comfort first! THE BUTTERCUP This bright yellow hair dryer is so cute it even has its own name. It was designed by the people at Drybar salons. It is made to do blowouts all day long. It is lightweight and fast. I have long hair and it has cut my drying time from 40 minutes to 20. It is expensive — $195 — but I have been using it for eight months, and it is worth the cost. CLARISONIC FACIAL BRUSH This is life changing! My face is 100 percent cleaner than when I used a washcloth or my hands. I have been using it for years. It is the best thing in my medicine cabinet. It has a rechargeable battery, and I can take it into the shower if I want. My husband even uses one. There are about 10 different brush heads and they can be replaced. There is one for sensitive skin, one for someone with acne, and even a brush you can use on your feet. LULULEMON Lululemon is a line of yoga and active wear. The pants and tops are stylish, and I wear them all weekend when I am running errands and trying to get stuff done that doesn’t get done during the workweek. I gravitate toward the black pants and tops but there are a bunch of different colors to mix and match. I have long and short sleeved tee shirts, jackets, and long and short pants. This is my uniform on weekends.





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Opening Hearts and Home By LUCY M. PRITCHETT Photo by MELISSA DONALD

APRIL CHARLTON LEONARDO, 36, CEO of PMR Companies, a property management firm Hometown: Louisville Neighborhood: Indian Hills Household: Husband Cory Leonardo; Children Alec Leonardo, 24; Ausdin Pender, 22; Tanner Leonardo, 19; Lauren Glover, 15; Alexandria Glover, 13; Mason Charlton, 12.




April Leonardo’s turning point actually involves a decision that was made with her entire family. This past spring, she and her husband opened their hearts and home to her 12-year-old nephew. With a blended family of five already in place, adding another person to the mix at once seemed both daunting and exciting. Of course, this decision involves more than making up an extra bed and setting another place at the dinner table. Due to a medical condition, April’s sister is unable to care for her son Mason. April and her husband got temporary custody of Mason this past summer. Although the sisters’ parents offered to take care of Mason, “I wanted our parents — Dad is 73 and Mom is 60 — to have the opportunity to enjoy being grandparents. They have already raised a family. Cory and I thought it was a better decision to have Mason live with us. “The other children have been very understanding. They know that family doesn’t turn its back on family.” April acknowledges that there has already been some major juggling of school and sport schedules. Son Tanner volunteered to give up his bedroom to Mason his final summer at home before heading off to college and slept on the couch. The two girls, Lauren and Alexandria, now share a bathroom with Mason which has taken all of them a while to get used to. And yet, the girls are always willing to help him study and do his homework, April says. The turn on this point is just beginning and who knows what challenges and opportunities will come from the decision, but April reports that the whole family maintains a positive attitude and that Mason adds humor and high spirits to their home. TODAY’S WOMAN

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Survival Skills of Trisha Finnegan



risha Finnegan, 39, is one of those Generation Xers who wants more out of her career than a paycheck. She felt something was missing in her job doing process and innovation work for corporations. “I really wanted to apply a business mindset and principle to creating social good,” says Trisha, now vice president for community leadership for the Community Foundation of Louisville — the largest charitable foundation in Kentucky. It has $430 million in assets and in 2014 distributed more than 8,000 grants for charitable purposes (cultural, educational, and humanitarian) totaling $45 million to local, national, and international nonprofits “Our job is to increase our impact in the community by understanding what our nonprofits are doing and what th community needs are,” Trisha says. “It might not be funding; it might be human capital or intellectual capital.” Trisha made her switch in stages. She first left her corporat job in San Diego, California, then joined Humana in her native Louisville, where she did innovation work on challenges such as increasing physical activity for employees. The result was Humana and Metro government working together to bring bikes to the city for Humana employees to use. But Trisha felt the urge to do more. “”I wanted to solve hunger, poverty, and lack of access to resources and health care in parts of the world where people don’t have what you and I have here,” she says. After being inspired by a speaker at the Idea Festival in September 2011, Trisha quit her job in November of that year and took eight months to plan the rest of her life. “I feel you have one life to live. How do you make the best of it?” she asked herself. “I felt I would never make the leap until I forced myself. “I created a personal manifesto. One of the main things (I heard) that really resonated with me was feeding what gives you energy. The other was being courageous and choosing to take risks. I remember feeling the risk of staying the same was greater than the risk of doing something else — whether about a job or anything.”

support comes from Trisha’s presenting solutions. tips on the grant process: 2. I strongly

1. Look for a grant

from organizations whose mission aligns with yours. Foundations and individual benefactors want to support organizations working on causes that matter to them. Your best opportunity to secure




encourage partnership and collaboration. Working with other organizations demonstrates openmindedness, smart use of resources, and the opportunity to multiply the impact of any contribution by driving support to multiple organizations.

She joined Biometrac in 2013 to run a small technology startup that focuses on increasing access to quality health care in developing countries. And in February of this year, she joined the staff of the Community Foundation after serving on a committee. “My team meets with community leaders to keep our finger o the pulse of what is going on and to discuss emerging issues and solutions,” she says. “We support organizations that are working to create positive change and connect them with others.” This year, her team awarded $965,000 in educational scholarships to individuals in the area.

3. Clarity and

brevity are the keys to a great request. Imagine you have just two minutes to speak with someone. How do you engage them in your cause and solution quickly? That is how you start your grant request. Have trusted friends or colleagues review your proposal. It needs to show how your work solves the issues.

4. Tell your

story compellingly so it stands out. Help funders see how your work will create change or solve a challenge. Also address the question, ‘Why now?’ — why your solution is a key priority at this time.

5. Leverage data

support your solution with data, especially third-party, validated data. It builds trust, increases validity, and creates confidence. I Louisville, there is tremendous data available, such as at




to make your case. Show the need and


Professional Connections

CALENDAR Athena’s Sister Every 2nd & 4th Mon. • 6-8pm 1741 Frankfort Avenue Marlene Aldrich Perry 502.322.4135 Marlene.Aldrich@Phoenix.edu BPW- Business and Professional Women- New Albany Every 3rd Mon. • 5:30pm Contact for info & reservation. Tuckers, 2441 State St. Nadine Wilkinson 502.523.1698 BPW - Business & Professional Women of River City Every 2nd Wed. • 11:30am Networking

Noon Meeting & Program The Bristol - Downtown 614 West Main Street bpwrc.org or bpwreserve@gmail.com to register Bridge the Gap Professional Women Every 5th Sun. Heyburn Building 430 W. Muhammad Ali, Suite 24A Hazel Parrish, Chapter President 502.417.2566, hazelp17@gmail.com Call to reserve. CBPW - Christian Business & Professional Women Hurstbourne Country Club 9000 Hurstbourne Club Lane Sharilyn Unthank 502.417.5481 cbpweast@gmail.com Distinctive Women, Entrepreneurial Women Making a Difference Every 1st Thurs • 6:30-8pm Email for meeting location Deleskia Butler 502.509.5521 distinctivewomen2013@gmail.com EWI - Executive Women International- Kentuckiana Every 3rd Tues. • 5:30pm Contact for information & reservation Christy Smallwood 502.595.7157 ewikentuckiana.com christy@arkhamexec.com

presented by

Networking and careerbuilding opportunities for women around town

League of Women Voters Every 3rd Mon. • 6pm Lang House, 115 S. Ewing Ave. Pat Murrell 502.895.5218 info@lwvlouisville.org Legal Secretaries of Louisville Every 3rd Tues. • 11:30am Bristol Bar & Grille 614 West Main Street Angela Gibson 502.589.5980 AGibson@bsg-law.com legalseclou-ky.org MLWPC - Metropolitan Louisville Women’s Political Caucus Every 4th Mon. • 5:30pm Olmsted Bistro at Masonic Homes 3701 Frankfort Avenue Sherry Conner 502.776.2051 mayorconner@insightbb.com NAWBO - National Association of Women Business Owners Every 3rd Tues. admin@nawbolouisville.org 502.625.0248 nawbolouisville.org National Association of Women in Construction Every 2nd Mon. • 5:30pm Call for meeting location Patty Stewart 812.288.4208 #121

Network Now Every 2nd Fri. • 11:30am Hurstbourne Country Club 9000 Hurstbourne Club Lane Lee Ann Lyle 502.836.1422 lee@lalcomputers.com

[ Great Tip Networking

Savvy Women in Business Every 1st Wed. • 6:30pm Inverness at Hurstbourne Condos 1200 Club House Drive Barbara Madore 502.377.8625 Savvywomeninbusiness.com

A great way to learn more about a networking organization at an event is to introduce yourself to the event organizer. She can then introduce you to other attendees and point you in the right direction.

Southern Indiana Women’s Networking Group Every 3rd Wed. • 11:30am Holiday Inn-Lakeview 505 Marriott Drive, Clarksville info@soindwng.org Top Ladies of Distinction Inc. Every 2nd Tues. • 6:30pm Hotel Louisville, 120 W. Broadway, Suite 930 Mamie L Maxwell 502.767.4180 ms.maxwell@twc.com WIN - Women in Networking Every 2nd Wed. • 11:15am Oxmoor Country Club 9000 Limehouse Lane Laura Ridge 502.491.7877 lridge@oxmoorcountryclub.com

WIN - Women in Networking V Every 2nd Thurs. • 11:30am Buca di Beppo 2051 S. Hurstbourne Parkway Lee Ann Lyle 502.836.1422 info@win5networking.com win5networking.com Women’s Business Center of KY funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the SBA

National Association of Women MBAs - Louisville Chapter Location & event vary. Details on website: mbawomen.org/chapter/ louisville-kentucky *MBA not required for membership National Council of Negro Women, Inc. - Louisville Section Every 4th Thurs. • 6pm Main Library, 301 York Street Cassandra Lasley 502.650.6602 lasley5514@twc.com NEW - Network of Entrepreneurial Women Every 2nd Wed. • 6-8pm Location varies. See nentw.com for details.

WIN - Women in Networking II Every 3rd Wed. • 11:30am Tumbleweed - Stoneybrook Kim Fusting 502.267.7066 kimins@bellsouth.net, gowin2.com WIN- Women in Networking III Every 2nd Tues. • 11:30am Hurstbourne Country Club 9000 Hurstbourne Country Club Ln. Patricia Butler 502.214.0397 win3louisville.com WIN- Women in Networking IV Every 3rd Tues. • 11:30am Big Springs Country Club 5901 Dutchman’s Lane Gretchen Mahaffey 502.451.0600 gmahaffey@kfg.com

Every 1st Fri. Roundtable • 8:30am Location – TBA Sharron Johnson, 502.566.6076#104 sjohnson@cvcky.org cvcky.org/womensbusiness center.html Women’s Council of Realtors Every 3rd Thurs. • 11:30am Big Spring Country Club 5901 Dutchmans lane Elizabeth Monarch 502.551.1286 Elizabeth@elizabethmonarchgroup.com

ZONTA- Advancing The Status of Women Every 1st Thurs. • 6pm Logan’s Steakhouse 5005 Shelbyville Road Joyce Seymour 502.553.9241 jespud@bellsouth.net

Listings are on per month basis. To list your meeting for free, email your meeting date, time, location, contact info and website to advertising@todayspublications.com or call 502.327.8855 ext. 14. Deadline for inclusion in next issue is 12/8.





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Marie used navy blue eyeshadow by Chanel on model Christine Cherry. The shade is versatile enough for a daytime or evening look.

The holidays are the perfect time to glam up your eyes. Makeup artist Marie Fulkerson (glammakeupbymarie@yahoo.com) shares her tips and tricks for flawlessly applying eyeshadow, as well as what’s trending this season. By ANNA PATTERSON / Photos: MELISSA DONALD

Marie’s Step-by-Step Application


Primer evens the skin tone on the lid and creates a smooth canvas for shadow application. Apply the primer from lashline to brow, making sure it’s even and smooth.

>>> USE A SMALL SHADOW BRUSH to blend the base color (a flesh

tone or neutral) starting at the eyelashes up to the brow bone (crease).


NEUTRAL SHADOW, which complements all eye colors. Use a blending brush to add color to your lid using circular motions.

>>> GO BACK WITH A SHADOW BRUSH AND HIGHLIGHT your brow with a lighter shade.

>>> OH NO, I MADE A MISTAKE... If you mess up, take a clean brush and swirl over the area. It will lighten what you’ve already done and give you a chance to start over without taking off your makeup.


Primer is worth it. It prevents eyeshadow from creasing or clumping and creates a better hold for your color so it will last longer. There are creamy primers for dry eyelids and tacky primers for oily.

What’s the Occasion?

Glitter ~ It’s difficult to master but a great effect if applied in moderation. A nice touch for New Year’s or Christmas parties. Advice ~ “Brides, stay away from glitter.”


A few of Marie’s favorite products for makeup budgets both big and small:


• Chanel eyeshadow pots, cream shadow ($40 per pot); “A staple in my makeup kit.”

• Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad ($70 a quad); “The pigments are incredible! The cream shadow glides on like silk. I’m never dissatisfied with these products.”


• Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

($8, Walmart); “This is my go-to for eyeliner. It’s a bargain, but I always keep it in my kit because I love it.”

• ColourPop “Where the Light Is” eyeshadow (4 colors for $20, online only). “This website (colourpop.com) offers application tips, tutorials, and how-tos. It’s better quality than Walmart at Walmart prices.”

OVERALL FAVORITES: • MAC shadows ($16, maccosmetics.com); “Pressed pigments, cream shadow, eyeliner — you name it! MAC shadows are where it’s at.”

Whether you want a casual look or to make a bold statement for an upcoming holiday party, Marie has advice on how to achieve the look you want.

 olor ~ Navy blue eyeshadow C is big this fall. If applied lightly, it can be worn every day. Add more pigment for a great holiday look. Metallics are also trending this winter. Advice ~ “People can really wear any color. Specific shades aren’t just for certain eye colors. Anything can work if you apply it correctly. It’s all about contrast.”

Eyeliner ~ For daily wear, simpler is better. Smudged-out black or brown liner on the water lines (the inside are closest to your eye on top and bottom) gives definition without being too harsh and opens the eye. For holiday looks, it’s go big or go home. Use a gel liner and angled brush to create the perfect winged or cat-eye look. Advice ~ “Don’t go too heavy with liner if you have hooded or small eyes.”

Mascara ~ Marie recommends Covergirl Lash Blast for everyday application. It gives lashes good definition without clumping and won’t break the bank. For a party look, Lancome Hypnose Drama Waterproof is a must. Advice ~ “It’s all about the brush and consistency. A good mascara eliminates any need for fake lashes.”


This party season take charge of the fun by hosting a party or being a great guest. Today’s Woman wishes you a Perfect Party Season, however you decide to celebrate.

Feel a little uncomfortable in a party situation? See page 24 for ideas on how to be a good guest.





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reat for those holiday parties that call for a little more flare! This blue statement coat pairs perfectly with this featherfringed little black dress. A touch of sparkle and you’re festively ready.

Coat, 149, available at Von Maur, Oxmoor Center, 7900 Shelbyville Rd, 502.425.7100; Dress, $119, available at Von Maur; Shoes, $350, available at Kate Spade, Oxmoor Center, 7900 Shelbyville Rd, 502.420.0981; Wristlet, $68, available at Kate Spade.


or a look that’s a little more casual — a touch of sparkle, like this blouse, is perfect for that holiday party or gathering. Mixing it with a touch of leather, like this skirt, strikes a cool balance. This season, deep maroon colors are a hit so add a touch of color with your accessories.

Blouse, $98, available at Von Maur, Oxmoor Center, 7900 Shelbyville Rd, 502.425.7100; Skirt, $70, available at Von Maur; Purse, $198, available at Kate Spade, Oxmoor Center, 7900 Shelbyville Rd, 502.420.0981; Necklace, $38, available at Von Maur; Bracelet, $28, available at Von Maur.





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don’t entertain often, but when I do, it usually turns out to be terrible. For example, when it is my turn to host my book club’s gathering, not only do my friends have to read whatever boring classic I’ve picked for the month, but they end up using happy birthday plates and baby shower napkins since I forget to purchase nicely coordinated ones. The beverage selection is usually pathetic because I’m too cheap to buy carbonated beverages that my family won’t ever finish off after my hostess duties are over.

I am the “Hostess with the Leastest.”




We all have busy lives, but responding promptly to an invitation is respectful of the hostess and takes a burden off your shoulders.


With holiday parties on the horizon, I sought the advice of two experts in party planning and etiquette, Peggy Noe Stevens of Peggy Noe Stevens & Associates and Sallie Plass of Etiquette Enrichment, to help me understand the finer points of being a good hostess. Use these tips to make your party an enjoyable experience for everyone.

At the very least, send a handwritten thank-you note after the party. If you wish to bring something to the party, it should be easy to open, assemble, and use immediately.


People often receive multiple holiday party invitations, but plan to stay at least one hour at each event.


Ask the hostess if taking photos is OK. If it is, snap away, but don’t post them on Facebook or Twitter.


In a buffet line, take no more than three pieces of food (meatballs, for example). Wait until you are away from the buffet line to place any food in your mouth.


If certain preferred condiments aren’t out, don’t ask for them.


If there is a planned activity, such as board games, guests should participate. Refusing to participate makes everyone feel uncomfortable.


Avoid asking other guests for free advice.


You don’t want to overstay your welcome, so be sure to monitor the party to see when things begin to wrap up. Take your cues accordingly.


Always find the hostess and thank her for inviting you to the party.





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Sallie Plass says there is a great deal of information a hostess should convey to guests on an invitation. In addition to the date, start and end time, and location with complete address, hostesses should list the dress code, the type of food to be served, games or activities planned, and how the guest should RSVP. Because the holiday season is so busy, Peggy Noe Stevens suggests party invitations be sent out four to six weeks in advance. A hostess’s goal is to set her guests at ease, and including full information on the invitation is the first step. Something as simple as forgetting the zip code on an invitation can send a guest and her GPS on a wild goose chase. Spell everything out for guests, and don’t rely on the invitation’s design to do it. (I was once the lone person at a pool party without a suit because I didn’t know that the clip art guy with a surfboard on the invitation meant, “This is a pool party”). Plass also says presentation is critical. “It shows that you care about your guests,” she says. Taking the time to have coordinated dishware (whether real or paper products) and decorations suggests you are excited and not just doing it out of obligation. (Making mental note to self for future book club events.)

WATCH OUT FOR THESE PARTY TYPES: Parties are for socializing and connecting with friends, but there’s always at least one person you wish wouldn’t have come. Don’t be a partier who ruins a good time. (ILLUSTRATIONS: SILVIA CABIB) >>>

Indulger There’s nothing wrong with having a couple of drinks — as long as you keep it in moderation. Frenemy Hugging people is fine — i they like you. Be careful about who you approach at the next gathering.


Getting a Good Start

Hostesses should know a little something about all their guests to ensure they can easily facilitate conversations. Noe Stevens recommends that when a hostess thinks of her guest list, she should consider people’s careers, hobbies, personalities, and other “common denominators of connecting.” Having these things in mind will help a hostess establish connections and break the ice between guests. There are some incidentals that really add to guests’ and the hostess’s enjoyment of a party. Plass says it is a good idea to have a friend attend to the front door, greet guests, and tell them where to place their coats and hostess gifts. Having someone handle this detail allows the hostess to offer drinks, direct guests to food, and introduce them to others in attendance. Another seemingly small consideration is food and beverage placement. “All the food doesn’t have to go in one room,” Noe Stevens says. Cocktails could be in the family room, while appetizers are in another area. Heavier food could be in yet another room of the home and will ensure that guests aren’t all packed like sardines into one space. Both Noe Stevens and Plass say it is important for a hostess to remain flexible and have a sense of humor. Even with the best planning, things sometimes go awry. “The best sign of contemporary etiquette is about making guests feel comfortable,” Noe Stevens says. And that may mean being able to roll with the party punches.





During the Party


If a guest is giving you unwanted attention, think of an excuse for quickly ending the conversation and moving away from the situation.


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Connie has seven sets of china, mostly inherited from her family. “A lot of people have china only to show and not use. I think that is a waste of something that is artistic. You can use that beautiful art as part of a table setting. It is elegant to use such beautiful pieces.”




very year, Connie Simmons hosts a lunch for six of her closest friends complete with fine china, good food, and plenty of love. “I like to make other people happy when I have these intimate lunches. It is my gift to them,” she says. Cooking and entertaining has been part of her family’s tradition — and something she looks forward to doing. For her lunch party >>> TODAY’S WOMAN

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>>> shown on these pages, Connie served tenderloin with a raspberry chutney sauce, red pepper soup, garlic mashed potatoes, homemade herb tea biscuits, herb butter, and asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Keeping your stress down, Connie says, makes planning the meal much easier. She plans ahead which gives her time to think about the menu, the type of china she will use, and centerpieces.

Creating a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for her guests is as important as serving an elegant meal. Last year, she and a friend set up seating assignments based off of commonalities between the guests.

Rather than follow recipe books, Connie injects her creativity into every meal. When fixing mashed potatoes, she might add garlic, herbs, cheese, or sour cream. Connie also uses a ricer, shown here, to give the potatoes a lighter texture.




On sunny days, Connie uses the dimmer switch for lighting instead of candles. But on cloudy days, she lights scented candles which are placed in the family room. She puts unscented candles on the fireplace mantle to create a cozy ambience for her guests.

>>> TODAYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S WOMAN

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Connie preps her beef tenderloin three days ahead. She adds plenty of salt, pepper, and herbs to the tenderloin, places it in saran wrap, then keeps it in the refrigerator overnight. To satisfy differing tastes, Connie cooks it so that both ends are medium rare and the center is rare.

Her guests donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to wait on the appetizers. Connie already has them on trays which are placed in the formal living room. She also has a bar set up in the dining room. Appetizers included sausage cheese balls made with sage and hot Italian sausage. She also served assorted cheeses with Blue Dog bread and crackers.




TODAYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S WOMAN

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n the busy month, it can seem as if each weekend is jam packed with holiday events, last minute shopping, and gatherings galore. Every year we tell ourselves that next year will be different, that we will plan ahead, shop in advance, and be fully prepared with our dishes. Yeah, right... A weeknight cookie-making party is the perfect solution. Gather at a girlfriendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home, and bake your hearts out. Each person can bring ingredients for one type of cookie, and together you can prepare all cookies for all of your holiday plans. Cookie dough freezes wonderfully, so this is perfect for those events that are weeks away. >>>




>>> Sugar Cookies


By PAIGE RHODES, MyModernCookery.com

/4 c up unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature 3 /4 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg, at room temperature 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 /4 t sp almond extract (adds incredible flavor) 21/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 /2 teaspoon baking powder 3

Bake and ice the cookies the night before you need them to allow the icing to harden before decorating.


While you are certainly welcome to bring your favorite cookie recipe, also challenge yourself to spice things up. Try decorating with edible, trendy watercolor designs. Start with gel food coloring and vodka. We used a toothpick to spoon a bit of each color you choose on a section of a plate, and use a small drop of vodka to thin out the mixture. Fill a small dish with vodka, and use that to wash out your brushes as well.

In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamed and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high until fully combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Turn the mixer to low and add about half of the flour mixture, beating until just barely combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until just combined. If the dough still seems too soft, add 1 T more of flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.


Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment to about 1 /4 -inch thickness. Stack the pieces (with parchment paper) onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Chilling is mandatory. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a cookie cutter, cut in shapes. Transfer the cut cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used.

I like to use a plastic squeeze bottle instead of a piping bag to ice my cookies. Plus, you can buy them at any grocery store for about $1.

A simple cookie >>> can be used to give thanks to our children’s teachers, to appreciate a neighbor, and to bring joy to our friends and family. This bag (found at Target for $1) is perfect for a few cookies.

Bake for 8-11 minutes, until very lightly colored on top and around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. My cookies take about 9 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Fool-proof Royal Icing 1 lb confectioners sugar 5 tbsp meringue powder warm water as needed (about 1/4 -1/2 cup)




Lauren’s blackboard wall allows her to easily adapt to seasons. Hooks and clips hold photos and scarf for Christmas. The decor is drawn on with colored chalk.



Meringue powder is available at any craft store and in the cake decorating section of your local supermarket.

Time with friends is much needed during the holidays. Make the most of it by maximizing holiday productivity while spending time with your favorite people. Shown here are Paige Rhodes (left) and Lauren Dahl (right).


In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder until combined. Add the water a little bit at a time and beat on medium to high speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form (5 to 7 minutes). If necessary to get the right consistency, add more powdered sugar or water. To cover or ‘flood’ the entire surface of the cookie with icing, the proper consistency is when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface of the icing for a few seconds before disappearing.



SmartHolidayStyles Your gift and shopping guide

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todayswomannow.com / facebook.com/todayswomanmagazine / @todayswomannow








NAME: Abigail Camarota AGE: 35 JOB: Owner, A. Camarota Designs LIVES IN: Middletown Abigail Camarota, who is the mother of three small boys, ages 1, 3, and 7, has a full plate between managing a household and working as a nurse at Good Samaritan. Snagging a few minutes of solitude can be elusive for Abigail, but in her free moments she devotes time to doing one of the things she loves most: making jewelry. “It is a chaotic balance, but making jewelry is my reward for getting through the busy peaks of my life,” she says. Three years ago, she started A. Camarota Designs where she sells her selection of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces made with silver, gold, and gemstones. The inspiration for her designs, she says, comes from the classic jewelry she’d try on as child that belonged to her mom and aunts. Abigail’s ideas also come from magazines, characters she identifies with in movies, and interactions with other inspiring people. For relaxation, she meditates at least twice a week for 15 to 20 minutes. When she can’t set aside time for meditation, she’ll listen to drum or Native American flute music


“My gold-buckled black suede boots.”

FASHION SHE’S WEARING: “I’m wearing jeans from Express, a good pair of boots, leggings, and sweaters paired with earrings and necklaces. On really cold days, I wear a soft scarf.” JEWELRY EVERY WOMAN SHOULD BE WEARING: “A good set of pearl earrings or a pearl necklace, big studs, with a focal necklace.”

Before I Go... “I make sure I look as put together as

possible, because my life is very hectic.” 40



BEAUTY PRODUCT SHE’S LOVING: “Oil of Olay facial cream. It helps keep my skin soft and smooth and Neutrogena facial tanner is my go-to for a good glow.” TODAY’S WOMAN

Profile for Today's Media

Today's Woman December 2015  

I love celebrations. They are an acknowledgement of the wonderful things happening in our lives ­— and a reminder of the happy days to come....

Today's Woman December 2015  

I love celebrations. They are an acknowledgement of the wonderful things happening in our lives ­— and a reminder of the happy days to come....