Nikkita Gordon She's Cute and Cocky
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Nikkita Gordon's firearm retention system products aim to help women defend themselves. Page 10.
Whatâ€™s inside ... 10
Cute and Cocky
Food That's Good for Your Heart
The Art of Being Kind to One Another
Most Common Relationship Problems Solved Solved!!
Learning to Love Yourself
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Nikkita Gordon She's Cute and Cocky
Five Most Common Relationship Problems Solved!
Food That's Good for Your Heart 1
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Love Yourself February is officially the month of love. What are you doing to show yourself some muchneeded love and care? You can only be your best for your family and friends when you take some time out to care for yourself. Taking time for you is not selfish. It's important to remember that there is only one "you," so be sure to take care of her physically, emotionally and spiritually. You deserve it! In This Issue Our cover feature this month is 23-yearold University of West Georgia alumna and entrepreneur Nikkita Gordon. If you looked up the words "enthusiasm" and "drive" in the dictionary, you might find Nikkita's name under there! At only 4 feet 11 inches tall, Nikkita makes up for her short stature with a giant-sized drive to succeed. Learn more about this cute and cocky young woman and how she aims to help women defend themselves with her concealed carry products on page 10. Have you and your partner gotten into a rut in your relationship? Is it difficult to see the good qualities in him anymore? Learn ways that both of you can practice the art of kindness to improve your relationship on page 21. Nearly 48 million women in the U.S. are either Photo by Zachary Dailey living with heart disease or are at risk, according to WomenHeart, a national coalition for women with heart disease. Did you know that your diet plays a large role in your heart health? There are foods that can affect your triglycerides, blood pressure, inflammation and cholesterol levels, and all of these can place you at risk for heart disease. Learn what foods are good for your heart on page 33. If you're in a relationship, you probably have had some serious discussions surrounding money, use of technology, sex, housework and work stress. We explore these most common relationship problems and share tips on how to solve them on page 40. Love is in the air this month, and we will be publishing our annual bridal guide in print and digital format on March 1. Pick up your copy of the West Georgia Woman bridal guide in retail stores and medical locations beginning March 1, or visit us on publish day online at www.westgeorgiawoman.com to view the free digital issue. While you're there, sign up and receive your free copy in your inbox each month. Thank you for reading! Please do business with our valuable community partners included in this publication, and please be sure to tell them you saw their advertisements in West Georgia Woman magazine. Much love,
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Cute and Cocky
By Janet Flanigan 10 Photos by Zachary Dailey
Nikkita Gordon is Shooting for the Stars with Her Concealed Carry Products
ometimes, we encounter people who are bursting with enthusiasm and creative energy with a personal drive to succeed. While most young women her age are thinking about parties and hanging out with friends, 23-year-old University of West Georgia Alumna Nikkita Gordon, demonstrates a strong entrepreneurial spirit and is bursting with ideas and goals for the future. Her line of products to help women carry concealed weapons fashionably is gaining momentum, but her drive and ambition began at home.
Family Ties “I grew up in Albany, Ga., with three older sisters and one younger brother,” she says. “I come from a family of achievers, and I always wanted to be unique in my family and make my own mark.” Family ties and love serve as motivation for Nikkita’s desire to succeed. Her entire family encourages one another, and the ambition to help her family – especially her mother – is part of what propels her. Her mother, Sabrina, has been a steady and strong influence in her life, and she encouraged
Family ties and love serve as motivation for her desire to succeed.
all of her children to set goals for themselves. Nikkita's oldest sister, Shandreel, lives in San Antonio and works in the oil industry; her second sister, Latoya, is a supervisor for a call center in Jacksonville, Fla.; Jasmine, her third sister, works as a supervisor at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in their hometown of Albany; and her younger brother, Roger Jr., is a forklift operator at Carrollton’s Pilgrim’s Pride and is working toward obtaining his forklift instructor’s license. “My mom and brother both live in Carrollton now, and it’s so good having my family close by,” she says. In recent years, Nikkita has also been able to develop a closer relationship with her father. “My dad, Waylon Jackson, lives in Albany, and he is very supportive of me and my goals," she explains. "He was unable to be active in my life when I was younger because he was incarcerated for a few years. But within the last five years, he has supported me tremendously.” Her dad now operates his own landscaping company and mobile barber shop.
A Change in Direction “When I was in high school, my goals were more
about athletics,” she recalls. She says that as an adolescent, she was the fastest runner in her neighborhood. Nikkita is only 4 feet, 11 inches tall, but what she lacked in height, she made up for in speed. “I could run faster than the adults and all of the kids, including the boys,” she exclaims. In the seventh grade, Nikkita decided to put her natural gifts for running to work, and she joined her middle school track team. By the time she was a student at Albany High School, Nikkita found she had ability in both the shorter, faster races, such as the 100-meter, 200-meter and the 4 X 100-meter relays, and in the endurance events. She often competed in the 4 X 400-meter relay, the 800-meter, the long jump and cross country. A born leader, Nikkita was named captain of her track and crosscountry teams. “In high school, I always loved art and made my highest grades in art classes," she says. "I wanted to study art in college. I thought track would be what got me into college, but my classes would focus on art.” She originally considered attending SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design, but the high tuition prices of a private college would have meant she would have much higher student loans. “I have always worked to support myself," she says. "In Albany, I was a waitress and a cook at a local restaurant, so I could save money for school." After researching the Georgia university system, various track prospects and approximate tuition requirements, Nikkita fell in love with the opportunities offered at the University of West Georgia (UWG). Sometimes, when life doesn’t go exactly according to plan, it is often how the experience is dealt with that matters. “I originally came to UWG with the goal of being on the track team and maybe getting a scholarship,” she explains. “But when I tried out for track my freshman year, I was told I did not make the team. I couldn’t believe I didn’t make the cut. But after that happened, I decided to really focus my time and energy on my education and to create some goals for the future. I also decided to study business rather than art.” Determined to keep on running, Nikkita made the track team as a walk-on her sophomore year and completed a season running in the West Georgia Wolves uniform. But during that time, a passion for academics was ignited. “After I had decided on working toward a general business degree, my sister, Shandreel, told me I should get a solid, targeted degree." Nikkita ultimately received an undergraduate
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degree in marketing, with a certificate in advertising from UWG. She also received a certificate in entrepreneurship from the UGA Small Business Development Center (SBDC). With classroom experiences highlighting entrepreneurial and business endeavors, Nikkita began to develop a personal drive for starting a business of her own.
A Frightening Experience “I had enjoyed working at a local chain restaurant when our family lived in Albany so, to continue making money to pay for school, I got hired on at one of their sister stores in Carrollton,” she says. She generally worked the 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, and one morning, something happened to her that eventually led to a business idea. After her shift, Nikkita got ready to leave and noticed a lone man, smoking a cigarette, standing right outside the restaurant door. Earlier, he had been inside the restaurant for several hours. While it wasn't unusual for people to stay inside the restaurant for long stretches at a time, something about this man made Nikkita pay closer attention. “After I clocked out, I walked by him as I left work and kind of looked at him from the side of my eye,"
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When a strange man tried to follow her home after work one morning, Nikkita became inspired to develop a product to help women defend themselves.
she relates. "I knew he was watching me. I thought to myself, 'If he starts hurrying after me when I cross the street, I’ll need to do something.'" Sure enough, as she crossed the street, the man began walking quickly to catch up to her. “I knew then that I had to do something, so I suddenly turned around and confronted him,” she says. “I said to him ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ And he said, ‘I’m trying to walk you home.’” Nikkita knew she had to convey a confidence and strength she wasn't feeling and told the man she didn't need anyone to walk her home. "I felt nervous,” she shares. Fortunately, her fellow employees had been keeping an eye on the situation. When they saw her confront the man, they came outside to check on her, accompanied by a police officer who had been eating inside the restaurant. The officer instructed the man to leave her alone and a co-worker offered Nikkita a ride home. While the experience had a favorable outcome, it left a big impression on her. She became inspired by the idea to help women defend themselves. “Because of my business, entrepreneurship and marketing classes, I had already been thinking about different entrepreneurial ideas,” she says. “I started right then to think about creating self-defense products for women.”
Cute and Cocky At the time of the incident, Nikkita had never held a firearm or even been exposed to guns. She became convinced that women who have the desire should be able to confidently handle a personal firearm and be able to easily access it if a threat arises. Thus, an idea was born that would combine a women’s self-defense system with an entrepreneurial enterprise: Cute & Cocky Firearm Accessories and
Apparel. “When I was growing up, I always had a very fit and muscular body type. I would get teased a lot about my muscles, and people would call me names," she shares. "When I was younger, this teasing made me feel bad about myself. But, as I got older, I became proud of what my body and mind can do. I always liked to say, ‘I am cute and I am cocky!'" Nikkita chose to name her business “Cute & Cocky,” and because the word “cocky” can also be associated with firearms, as you cock a gun before firing, she loved the idea of the double meaning. Nikkita's initial idea for the product development focused on finding a way for women to smoothly conceal a firearm under clothing. The product design would incorporate the idea that women want to look good while feeling safe, so she started thinking of ways to create a prototype. As a student entrepreneur representing the University of West Georgia, she had an opportunity to pitch her idea at the 6th annual TiE Atlanta Pitch Competition on Feb. 23, 2019. TiE Atlanta is a nonprofit that invests in entrepreneurs through education, funding, mentoring and networking. TYE (TiE Young Entrepreneurs) is their signature youth entrepreneurship program. Twenty-three university teams from Georgia composed of undergraduates, graduates and Ph.D. candidates pitched their business idea to a group of judges at Georgia State University’s Buckhead campus with hopes of advancing to the TYE finals.
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“Mr. Rick served as my consultant on starting a small business, and he really helped me get off to a good start,” she says. When Sigman took a position as a lecturer within the UWG system, Todd Anduze took over as her SBDC consultant. “Todd has been so helpful with explaining finances and has helped me set up that side of my business,” she explains. “He has given me lots of personal, one-on-one help, and I really appreciate it.” Nikkita officially launched her business on Feb. 26, 2019 at The Burson Center in Carrollton. The Burson Center is a system of services designed to help facilitate innovation, entrepreneurship and stage I and II business development in the Carroll County and West Georgia area. The small business incubator helps entrepreneurs build a solid foundation that will improve long-term success and fosters an environment for organizing, planning and expanding a business. The Burson Center has incubated 84 businesses, creating 789 jobs and over $69 million in capital investment since opening in 2006, according to The Burson Center website. "There, early in the stages of growth, I was personally advised on my business strategy by Lauren Holverson, previous manager of the center, and Daniel Jackson, president of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and Carroll Tomorrow,"
Reaching Out for Help An effective part of entrepreneurship is having the confidence to ask for help and realize that no single person can do it all. “I was really lucky because during my sophomore year, Mr. Rick Sigman was a consultant with the UGA Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and one of its offices is located on the UWG campus," she says. The SBDC, with 17 locations across the state of Georgia, provides the tools, resources and training to help small businesses start, grow and become successful. The SBDC also offers targeted help to minority business owners through its Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD). The OMBD is a special initiative created to provide attention to the needs of minority entrepreneurs by identifying procurement opportunities, locating sources of capital and supporting outreach efforts of minority business people around the state, according to the UGA SBDC center.
Nikkita models her invention, the FRS-1.
design for a firearm retention system (FRS). The invention, called the FRS-1, is a sewn-in firearm apparel holster. “The FRS-1 can be sewn to the inner lining of an outerwear garment for concealed-carry and can be positioned for easy topleft- or right-hand draw,” she explains. “The holster body is made from industrial Velcro® with extended 3and 1-inch bands to help it mate closely to the upper Created with conservative gun owners in mind who carry concealed for selfprotection, these custom, made-to-order fleece hoodies have a built-in (FRS-1) torso, which maintains firearm retention system. The FRS-1 gives gun owners easy access to their maximum retention, firearm, the holster inside can be positioned for left- or right-hand draw and is compatible with most small compact and sub-compact handguns with a 1-inch discretion and comfort. The barrel width. Retention system ($39.99); Additional attachments ($12.99); and FRS-1 fits small compact the FRS-Hoodie ($75). Available for sale at www.ccfirearmapparel.com. and subcompact handguns she explains. "They really helped give me access to with a 1-inch barrel width.” manufacturing knowledge and professional space to Nikkita offers additional attachments for purchase conduct my business activities." so the same retention holster can be utilized After researching female safety, firearms, firearm underneath multiple outfits. apparel and more, Nikkita created a patent pending “I have also recently introduced the first item in
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You would never know this cutie is packing heat under that denim jacket.
my apparel line,” she says. Named the FRS-Hoodie, it looks like a traditional hoodie, but the same patent pending firearm retention system is pre-sewn right into the pocket of the hoodie. Nikkita says it is virtually impossible to distinguish if a firearm is holstered in the pocket, but a quick flip of the top of the pocket and the firearm can be quickly and safely accessed. Currently, Nikkita hand-stiches each FRS product, but her goal is to license her design to an outside manufacturer and retailer. Eventually, she would like to add additional products to her line but wants to make careful decisions. She is researching other products in the concealed carry industry areas to avoid market segments that are currently saturated, such as concealed carry handbags. “I am currently thinking about developing a prototype for a comfortable ankle holster that will conceal a handgun underneath a woman’s pants,” she says.
Networking is Key As part of her research, Nikkita has enjoyed meeting with other industry professionals, and in particular, tries to seek out female mentors and professionals. She sees law enforcement as a potentially large market for the FRS-1 and has found that developing a variety of contacts and friendships in many areas of business has helped her grow the Cute & Cocky brand. She has received support and advice through contacts made with the Women- and Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE and MBE), and she is particularly proud of her collaboration with a criminal investigator with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Investigator Ashley Hulsey. “Investigator Hulsey wears the FRS-1 to safely conceal her firearm under her clothes or uniform," she says. "I am very proud that she wears the Cute & Cocky FRS-1 in the
courtroom!” Another mentor to Nikkita has been John Paulk, owner of a local gun range. “In January 2019, Mr. Paulk sponsored me to attend the "Shot Show" in Las Vegas and even helped me get an interview with a senior editor for Shooting Industry magazine," she relates. The Shot Show is a trade show held annually in Las Vegas featuring tools, firearms, shooting and protective equipment, tools and tactical accessories. She is proud to share that her FRS-1 holster was included in the new products section of Shooting Industry magazine's first ever issue for women in May 2019. Nikkita is also grateful for the help given to her by patent attorneys from an international law firm. “The firm's attorneys occasionally do pro bono patent work for beginning entrepreneurs, and I was very lucky to work with them," she shares. "I talked on the phone with lawyers in their Philadelphia office and then met with one of their employees in Atlanta
who helped me with the patent application and approval process." While many organizations and individuals have helped guide Nikkita, she realizes success will ultimately lie within herself. “My family is supportive of my business ideas, but can’t help out financially while I’m getting started," she shares. "So, if I am going to be successful, I know it is all up to me. But I am fully committed to investing time and energy into my dreams."
A Common Misconception As a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment, Nikkita can often be found at the range, honing her shooting skills. She received firearms training in Atlanta with Marchelle Washington, a U.S. Army National Guard veteran who is a pistol instructor and teaches handgun safety courses for women. “There seems to be a misconception that black people do not enjoy sport shooting, but that is not so," she relates. "I have seen many active firearms enthusiasts of all races, genders and ages." Thirty-nine percent of men say they personally own a gun, compared with 22 percent of women, according to a 2017 Pew Research study. And while
36 percent of whites report they are gun owners, about 24 percent of blacks and 15 percent of Hispanics say they own a gun. Over 6 million women participated in target shooting in 2016, and females who participated in hunting increased 104 percent from 2001 to 2016, a total of 1.1 million women, according to a 2016 Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation National Survey. These trends indicate that women are becoming a much larger part of the hunting and recreational shooting industries. Manufacturers and retailers are beginning to recognize the impact of women in the industry and are realizing that more needs to be done to market their products and services to this vital demographic.
Work and Play Her business may be starting to get off the ground, but like everyone else, Nikkita still has monthly bills to pay. In addition to working some hours at the restaurant, she cuts men’s hair and is sharpening her skills through an apprenticeship at TrendSetters Barbershop in Carrollton. She does have interests outside of her
Joseph Long, AKA Joe Fade, manager of TrendSetters Barbershop in Carrollton, supervises Nikkita as she styles Quantavious Whitt's hair. Nikkita is currently an apprentice at TrendSetters where she cuts all types of men's hair.
entrepreneurial efforts. Even though she decided to pursue her studies in business, she has maintained a passion for art. “I particularly like to do mosaics and watercolors,” she says. “For me, creating art keeps me balanced, and it helps me be more patient with life and its obstacles.” She continues to add various pieces to her home collection and often utilizes themes in her work, including female empowerment, prevention of drug addiction in minors and resistance to the oppression of colored Americans. Nikkita still enjoys running as well. “I still like to run and try to do anywhere from two to five miles a day,” she says. “I love running, and it helps to heighten my competitive drive.” She also loves to travel. While she was a student at UWG, she says she was fortunate to participate in a two-week study abroad program in Berlin and the Czech Republic. “I hope to visit lots of different countries someday," she shares. "I am very interested in Dubai and China." She has also enjoyed trips within the U.S., such as attending the NRA Personal Protection
If I am going to be successful, I know it is all up to me. But I am fully committed to investing time and energy into my dreams.
Expo as an exhibitor in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Shooting for the Stars
Nikkita says the ultimate reason for her drive and determination all leads back to her desire to help her family. “My mother worked so hard to take care of all of us,” she shares. “I would like to be able to help her and have a homeplace where we can all live together.” Her ultimate dream is to buy some land where, in addition to a family home or homes, they could work together growing healthy organic foods, becoming mostly self-sufficient and enjoying an outdoor lifestyle – with their own shooting range, of course. Her goals this year for Cute & Cocky include having a launch and crowdfunding campaign for the FRS-Hoodie, a local women's holster fashion show and serving new dealer locations in the Southeast. As the core motto for her Cute & Cocky business, Nikkita decided on the phrase, “Never Be Compromised." This motto certainly illustrates her drive for her own personal success, and it seems she won't compromise when it comes to making her dreams become a reality. WGW
To learn more about Nikkita Gordon and Cute & Cocky Firearm Accessories and Apparel, call 404.707.6406, email her at email@example.com, or visit the website at www.ccfirearmapparel.com Follow her on Facebook @CuteandCockyLLC, Instagram @cute.cockyfirearmapparel and Twitter @CuteCocky 20
The Art of Being Kind to One Another
t the beginning of a relationship, there is usually moonlight and roses, romantic dinners by candlelight and lots of love and laughter. Doing nice things for each other was so effortless, easy and enjoyable. Fast forward a few years, and the relationship looks nothing like the idyllic utopia it once was. Take a moment to think about the really sweet and selfless gestures you both offered up to each other when you were dating and even when you were first married. Do you remember what it was like to think of your partner with a smile instead of a grimace? You thrived on giving him one of your amazing back rubs. He would put little notes in your lunch telling you how much he loved you. You both wanted to do everything in your power to make the other feel loved and wanted. What makes those behaviors fall by the wayside after several years in a committed relationship? The truth is that over time, people fall into the bad habit of neglecting the relationship and their partner. This is usually not due to malicious intentions, but they stop doing those thoughtful and kind gestures for each other because of a
Sometimes the simplest of gestures will be more appreciated than anything that money can buy. 22
mistaken belief that they don't have to work hard for the relationship anymore. Some people believe that love will just magically happen and won't require any effort on their part. In fact, love requires the fine-tuning of basic relationship skills on a daily basis, such as conflict resolution without criticism, listening to your partner with an attempt at understanding their point of view and sharing your feelings with kindness. Early on, these relationship refining skills are used freely, abundantly and enthusiastically, without resentment. But over time, people stop giving what they once gave so generously and begin to rely more and more on hoping they will get what they want from their partner, usually with increased resentment when their significant other doesn't measure up or follow through. One way to bring kindness back into your relationship is to create a list of loving behaviors or tasks that you could do for one another. These behaviors don't have to be elaborate and they can cost little or nothing. Sometimes the simplest of gestures will be more appreciated than anything that money can buy. Have a heart-to-heart with
your partner and ask him if he would be willing to commit to doing at least one thing on the list each day, and assure him that you will make the commitment as well. If your significant other is on board and you do decide to commit to this exercise each day, try to be low-key about it and don't make a big production out of the things you do for each other. It is, however, important to pay attention and show appreciation. By doing this, you are training yourselves to look for the positive things your partner does, instead of focusing on the negative behaviors.
Kind and Caring Behaviors
Spontaneous displays of affection can do wonders for your relationship.
• Warm his bath towel in the dryer while he's taking a shower. A simple gesture like this can make his whole workday seem brighter. • Complete a household chore he has been putting off or a task that he hates to do. If his toolshed or car needs a good cleaning, get out the rubber gloves. If he's been meaning to take those donations to Goodwill but just hasn't gotten around to it yet, load them in your car and take them to the donation center
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for him. If he normally does the yardwork, hire a young teen from your neighborhood who could use a little extra pocket money to do the work for him once a month. Treat him to one of your famous back rubs. Bring back fond memories of when you were first dating and give him a relaxing back rub with massage oil, candlelight and soft music. Create a special place that is just for him. Most everyone enjoys spending quality time on hobbies they are passionate about. If he enjoys putting together model airplanes and cars, or if he likes to paint on canvas, find a space in your home where he can allow his creativity to flow. Give him some spontaneous affection. Surprise him with a kiss or a hug. Instead of the same old platonic and boring kiss on the cheek you normally give him, kiss him on the back of his neck, on his forehead or give him a passionate kiss on the lips. Take a walk together. Taking time out of your day to just walk and talk with each other can really help you connect on a deeper level. Tuck your partner into bed at night. If he has to get up earlier than you for work and you're not tired when he goes to bed, go to the bedroom with him and tuck him into bed. Lay out his pajamas for him, fluff up his pillow, smooth his hair and give him a goodnight kiss.
No matter what you include on your lists, it truly is the kindness behind the gesture that counts. Devloping the habit of showing kindness to your partner on a daily basis and making a concentrated effort to bring these loving behaviors into your everyday lives will make a big difference in the way you view each other and your relationship. WGW
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Daily Fare With
e s o R f e Ch
Photos by Zachary Dailey
Chef Rose Isaacs is a native of Carroll County and lives in Carrollton with her husband Shawn and their son, Sebastian. She graduated from West Georgia Technical College in 2013 with a degree in Culinary Arts. After graduation, she began her career as a chef at the Carrollton Kroger Marketplace where she works in the bistro.
â€? This fondue is great for a party or a romantic date night. â€?
Date Night Fondue Ingredients
1/3 pound gruyere or other alpine style cheese grated
1/3 pound fontina grated 1/3 pound Gouda grated
2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 cup dry white wine 1 clove garlic minced
1 tablespoon brandy (optional) 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg Assorted dippers: Broccoli
Cubed sourdough or french bread Granny Smith apples
Fully cooked smoked sausage
Combine all grated cheese in a medium bowl. Toss with cornstarch to coat thoroughly. In a heavy saucepan, bring wine, garlic and lemon juice to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the cheese 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well to completely melt cheese before adding next addition. Once all cheese has been added and is completely smooth, stir in brandy, mustard and nutmeg. Arrange assorted dippers on a platter. Serve in a fondue pot or a small slow cooker over low heat. Serves 4 to 6. 27
â€? Surprise your loved one with an easy and delicious chocolate mousse for the perfect Valentine's Day dessert. â€?
Chocolate Mousse Ingredients
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 cup whole milk 1 cup heavy whipping cream 3 tablespoons powdered sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preparation Mix chocolate and salt together in a medium bowl. Heat milk until steaming and pour 28
over chocolate mixture. Let sit for 1 to 2 minutes then stir until completely smooth. Allow to cool completely. In another medium bowl, whip heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Gently fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Pour into 4 small ramekins or other small tumblers and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Serves 4. WGW
West Georgia TM
2020 Bridal Guide
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Available in Print and Digital Format March 1
Learning to Yourself
e are approaching the day when everyone wonders if they matter enough to be someoneâ€™s Valentine. Some people may be asked out on dates, others may be given flowers and candy and others may simply be reminded that they matter through some other type of loving gesture. Then, there are those who struggle with the thought of not being given any of these things. Should they? What should truly matter is oneâ€™s own perspective of self. Not "who" will give me what I need to feel good, but how I feel about myself, first.
The Desire for Acceptance In the world of selfies, slofies, photo editing, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, we strive to show the world the best of us, though
inside we may be feeling nothing but the opposite. On any given platform, there are more than 10 photo editing applications available for download. There is a demand for this as individuals desire to redesign their identities to feel as if they belong and to be accepted and affirmed. Responses to the photo editing trend suggest that individuals believe something is inherently wrong with them. Cosmetic surgeons are seeing a rise in individuals who desire a better looking version of themselves. In fact, invasive cosmetic procedures tripled between 2000 and 2018, according to Psychology Today. Is this what our new normal has become? Are we no longer okay with the wonderfully and fearfully created masterpieces that we have matured into from birth? Granted, there are necessary cosmetic surgeries that have given people back their lives and helped them regain a confidence lost. However, there are countless articles about cosmetic surgeries gone wrong as individuals tamper with and attempt to remodel their features. Yet, the trend continues. This trend causes me to question the underlying emotion leading to this need to be transformed. Many who desire to change their image, whether through surgery or electronic touch-ups, may experience some form of psychological impact. A study published in the April 2004 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that cosmetic
In the world of selfies, slofies, photo editing, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, we strive to show the world the best of us, though inside we may be feeling nothing but the opposite.
procedures could have a negative outcome for the patient. Difficulties included depression, problems adjusting after the procedure, requesting repeated procedures, dysfunction within the family, social isolation, behaving in self-destructive ways and becoming angry with the surgeon and her staff. These problems seemed to occur more in people who were young, those who had a history of personality disorders, anxiety and depression and people who had unrealistic expectations of surgical results, among others.
The Psychological Impact Feelings of inadequacy contribute to psychological impact coupled with the underlying problem of lack of self-love. When we begin comparing ourselves with others, there is often some form of anxiety present. Increased anxiety about how we look and feel often trigger symptoms of low self-esteem. Low self-esteem often leads to social anxiety, which prevents us from authentically engaging directly with others. It keeps us focused on being stuck, ruminating about what we should have done or on the “what ifs,” all the while second guessing our presentation and performance.
When we are not comfortable with who we are and desire to have others affirm whether we matter by changing our body image, we are expressing that we have insecurities. These insecurities oftentimes correlate to poor boundary setting and may eventually contribute to being abused. When we are not able to be ourselves, or do not feel comfortable with our original masterpiece, we create a clone of ourselves to hide behind so we can feel safe and significant. To realize that you are and will be okay whether or not you are acknowledged on Valentine’s Day, it is important to reduce the anxiety surrounding how you view yourself. If anxiety and emotional pain were always visible we would be gentler, more concerned and less judgmental toward ourselves and others. Treating this issue would be a huge emotional and psychological return on our investment in ourselves.
Achieving Self-love Achieving acceptance and self-love to reduce anxiety can be developed in a variety of ways. • First and foremost, be realistic. If you are
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not getting the outcome you desire, is it a body image problem, or a character deficit? Those perfect images and relationships we see as we move through life are not entirely a true picture. Think about social media and what you posted last. The best of everything, correct? Character deficits can be improved if you are willing. There are self-help and support groups as well as psychotherapy to support you with improving your unmet emotional needs. • Instead of waiting for someone to affirm you, be your biggest cheerleader. How we view ourselves in general stems from what we say to ourselves consistently. There are unhelpful behaviors and thought patterns that plague each of us. Identify those unhelpful thought patterns that prevent you from feeling your best and decide to set them aside. If these thoughts are not helpful to you, there is no reason to give them space in your head. An easy way to affirm yourself is to use sticky notes to write down what you want to hear about yourself from others and stick them all over your mirror. Each morning repeat each phrase on the notes out loud. For example, “I am beautiful just the way I am;" "I am intelligent;" "I am a talented artist;" "I am a good mother;" or “I matter.” Be intentional about reframing the way you view yourself. • Emphasize your strengths. What is it that you do well? Does it fuel your passion? Find it and spend time doing it. Identify your biggest assets and seek out opportunities to amplify them. In doing these things, what affirms you will be derived from within yourself. You will not feel as if you have to depend on external forces to affirm you, nor will you need to compare yourself to others to feel empowered. By focusing on your strengths,
you are building your self-esteem. • Be gentle with yourself. Based on past negative experiences, we develop narratives in our head that shame and belittle us. It is important to be careful of our negative self-talk as we do listen and create scenarios that are likely to harm us by being self-critical. Replace criticism by focusing and incorporating gentle, helpful adjectives about yourself. Doing this will help you nurture who you are inside and out. When negative thoughts begin to creep in, acknowledge them and set them aside. Then, replace those with positive thoughts about yourself. • Take a fast from social media. Taking a social media fast is of great benefit and will help you increase self-control. Not only will you have less people to compare with yourself, you will also experience decreased stress and anxiety. You may also notice that you sleep better and have the state of mind to focus on the present. Incorporating these suggested strategies should help ease the emotional pain derived from feeling rejected or alone on Valentine's Day. The desire to change who you are to fit a certain profile and be accepted by others, and the psychological impact created from the increased anxiety should be significantly reduced. Learning to love and accept yourself aren't always easy things to do. If you find that you continue to have increased stress or anxiety surrounding your body image or self-esteem, or if your anxiety worsens or becomes out of control, it is important to seek out a licensed professional counselor to help you work through these feelings. You matter, and you can learn to become your biggest fan. WGW Cheryl A. Francis, Licensed Professional Counselor, is the owner of The Heart Matters Wellness Services LLC, a full-service counseling agency. She is certified as a Mental Health First Aid Adult trainer and regularly provides seminars and trainings to the community on various mental health issues. She has partnered with the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy to train individuals in the prevention of childhood sexual abuse. Visit heartmatterswellness.com for more information about Cheryl and her work.
Food That's Good for Your Heart N
early 48 million women in the U.S. are either living with heart disease or are at risk, according to WomenHeart, a national coalition for women with heart disease. With work, kids, spouse and other obligations, it can be difficult to eat and prepare foods that are good for us and our families. Your diet plays a large role in your heart health. There are foods that can affect your triglycerides, blood pressure, inflammation and cholesterol levels, and all of these can place you at risk for heart disease. February is heart health awareness month, and with one in four women dying from heart disease each year, you don't want to add additional risks to your heart health by not eating the right foods. Read below to learn about foods you should be eating right now to help take care of your heart. • Berries. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are full of important nutrients, and studies have shown that eating lots of berries can reduce risk factors for heart disease. • Walnuts. Walnuts have wonderful micronutrients such as copper, manganese and magnesium, as well as being high in fiber. • Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can help your heart, and many studies have indicated that eating
chocolate may lower the risk of heart disease. • Beans. Beans have resistant starch that may lower cholesterol and triglycerides. • Tomatoes. Tomatoes are full of the antioxidant lycopene. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals that can be harmful to your health. • Green tea. This has been associated with numerous health benefits, such as improving insulin sensitivity and increased fat burning. Brimming with catechins and polyphenols, these can reduce inflammation, prevent cell damage and protect your heart. • Olive oil. Also full of antioxidants, olive oil can decrease the risk of chronic disease and inflammation. In one research study, people who consumed a higher intake of olive oil had a 48 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease. Remember that how much you eat is just as important as the foods that you eat. Going back for seconds, putting too much food on your plate and eating until you feel really full can cause you to eat more calories than you should be eating for a healthy body weight. Always consult with your primary care physician before beginning any diet program. She will work with you to develop a plan that is tailored to your individual needs. WGW
Inspiring quotes by extraordinary women “For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” – Judy Garland
“I’m not the silly romantic you think. I don’t want the heavens or the shooting stars. I don’t want gemstones or gold. I have those things already. I want … a steady hand. A kind soul. I want to fall asleep, and wake, knowing my heart is safe. I want to love, and be loved.” – Shana Abe
“The world needs strong women. Women who will lift and build others, who will love and be loved. Women who live bravely, both tender and fierce. Women of indomitable will.” – Amy Tenney
“The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.”
– Mohadesa Najumi
“Love is a partnership of two unique people who bring out the very best in each other, and who know that even though they are wonderful as individuals, they are even better together.” – Barbara Cage
West Georgia Mental Health Professionals Wellness Meetup Group
This group meets the last Saturday of every month in Douglasville or Austell. For more information, contact Cheryl at email@example.com or 678.754.5840. Learn more at www.heartmatterswellness.com.
Hope For The Journey This group meets the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the board room at the Tracy Stallings Community Center at 118 South White St. in Carrollton. These events are free to breast cancer survivors or those currently battling breast cancer. Learn more at www.hopeforthejourneywestga.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770.214.1491.
Rare Pearls Mentoring and Leadership Program
Rare Pearls mission is to enrich and empower the lives of young girls and women. This group meets the third Saturday of each month at Heritage Baptist Church in Douglasville, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. This program is open to all girls ages 7 to 17. For more information, call 770.947.8210, email email@example.com or visit the website at www.rarepearlsmentoringandleadership.org.
Nursing From The Heart Breastfeeding Support Group This group meets the third Monday of each month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 500 Old Bremen Road in Carrollton. These events are free to pregnant women and moms looking for breastfeeding support. Free
weight checks for your baby will be available. Come and share your breastfeeding journey with us. Please check our website for meeting and event updates at www.nursingfromtheheart.com.
Gertrude's House Breast Cancer Support Group This group meets the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at Lithia Springs Family Chiropractic at 1758 Lee Rd in Lithia Springs. This group is open to all survivors, caregivers, supporters, friends, family and those fighting breast cancer. Visit their Facebook page @GertrudesHouse or email them at GertrudesHouse@yahoo.com.
Cancer Support Group at Tabernacle Baptist Church Has your life been impacted by cancer – whether your own or someone you know? Tabernacle Baptist Church hosts a faith-based cancer support group providing spiritual and emotional support to those diagnosed, currently undergoing treatment, those in remission and caregivers. Meetings run from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month. Meetings are held at 150 Tabernacle Drive, Carrollton, Ga. For more information, call 770.832.7063 or visit the website at tabernacle.org.
Carroll EMC Accepting Student Scholarship Applications The Carroll Electric Membership Cooperative is accepting applications from area high school and undergraduate students to compete for a selection of scholarships. Eligible students may apply for an all-expense paid spot on the 2020 Washington Youth Tour (WYT) as well as for the Walter Harrison, Lerlie and Millard Copeland and Lineman School scholarships. The WYT is an inspiring, week-long leadership trip that offers participants the chance to experience U.S. government and U.S. history firsthand while having
fun, making new friends and developing leadership skills. Carroll EMC selects three high school student delegates at least 16 years old to represent the cooperative alongside 116 teens from other EMCs across Georgia. To be considered for next year’s WYT, which will take place June 18-25, applications must be submitted by Feb. 14, 2020. “The WYT allowed me to bond with others who wanted to pursue the same career path,” said last year’s delegate, Drew Mulcay. “It gave me confidence in who I want to become knowing there are others around me trying to achieve similar goals.” Graduating high school seniors or undergraduate students have the opportunity to compete for one of 12 $1,000 Walter Harrison scholarships. Carroll EMC selects one semi-finalist from its service area to compete at the state level where applications are judged on financial need and academic ability. This scholarship may be used at any two- or four-year university or technical school. The deadline to apply is Feb. 3, 2020. Students attending the University of West Georgia may submit an application for the Lerlie and Millard Copeland Scholarship. This $800 scholarship is awarded to a full-time student who is a Carroll EMC Member or Member’s child. To apply, students must submit a general scholarship application through the UWG’s Financial Aid website. For more information on this award, visit westga.edu/scholarships. Carroll EMC supports the future of the cooperative by offering the Lineman School Scholarship. Recipients of the scholarship receive funding to pay for the cost of tuition, textbooks and other related fees for their chosen lineman school. Eligible individuals must submit an online application by March 2, 2020. “Our concern for the community goes beyond simply providing reliable service to our Members,” said Taylor Key, Community Relations Specialist for Carroll EMC. “We are invested in the continued growth of our communities by offering students the chance to mature into the leaders they are destined to become.” The cooperative is reminded of the bright future ahead as ambitious students across its service area take advantage of these scholarship opportunities. For more information regarding eligibility, applications or deadlines, please visit carrollemc. com or contact Taylor Key at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-830-5736.
Carroll EMC is a Member-owned cooperative providing electricity to approximately 50,000 homes and businesses.
The co-op serves Members in Carroll, Haralson, Heard, Paulding, Polk and Troup counties. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For more information visit the cooperative’s website at carrollemc.com or follow Carroll EMC on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. Carroll EMC: Community Built. Community Builder.
Carroll EMC 2019 WYT delegates (left to right) Isabella Marlow, Drew Mulcay and Amelia Ayers. Photo by Georgia EMC.
Night to Shine Prom for Special Needs Age 14+
Night To Shine is a prom for those with special needs who are 14 years old and up hosted by Southern Hills at City Station on Feb. 7, from 5 to 9 p.m. Night to Shine is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. Spots are limited. Register now at www.sohillscc.com/aed_night-to-shine
Sisters in Christ Conference A day of Fun, Fellowship and Sharing and it’s Free! This event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mount Holly Church, 4685 N. Hwy. 27, Carrollton. For more information and to register, visit www.SistersInChrist.com
Ladies Night Out Spring Fashion Show Ladies Night Out is a spring fashion show benefiting Partners Advancing Student Success (PASS) supporting at-risk students in Carrollton and Carroll County. This ladies-only event will be held on Friday, March 6 at 6 p.m. at The Bradley Street Train Depot, 455 Bradley St. in Carrollton.
The event will feature boutiques from all over Carroll County, a pre-show cocktail hour, complimentary drinks and food, a red carpet photo opportunity, tuxedo clad servers and more with a "Sip and Shop" before and after the fashion show. General admission tickets are $100, VIP Admission tickets (includes commemoratve wine glass, a "Ladies Night Out" swag bag and a VIP after show, "Silent Disco.") are $125. Must be 21 years or older to attend. Sponsorships are also available. For more information visit www.passwestga.org/ladies-night-out or email email@example.com.
Women of West Central Georgia Luncheon Celebrating Women in Business Resource Exchange Consulting Group is presenting this luncheon to honor West Central Georgia female business owners. This event will be held on Thursday, March 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Del'avant Event Center, 141 Main St., LaGrange. Keynote speaker will be Corrine Hodges, CEO of the Association of Women's Business Centers in Washington, D.C. This program will celebrate the successes of women who currently own businesses and seek to inspire other passionate women to open businesses. Educational resources will be provided for aspiring business owners with the support of LiftFund, USDA, SBA, SCORE and ACE. These organizations will provide information and meet with attendees on a one-on-one basis. The cost is $45 to attend. Follow Resource Exchange Consulting Group on Facebook for more information or call 706.573.6826. Visit www.eventbrite.com to purchase tickets.
IF:CarrollCounty Hosted by Radiant Women’s Ministry at SoHills. This event will be held on Saturday, March 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. City Station, 2115 Maple Street, Carrollton. The cost is $5 to attend. Register by March 22 at sohillscc.com/ifgathering
to donate to the WGTC Foundation because of students like me who need that extra help to finish what we started.” The Manufacturer Education Foundation has been a steadfast supporter of WGTC and its students, WGTC Foundation Executive Director Kelsey Jones said. “The Georgia Association of Manufacturers and its Manufacturers Education Foundation are honored to be a part of what West Georgia Technical College WGTC alumnus Russell Yeatman is sharing his industry experiis doing – supporting students like Russell Yeatman ence with students as a part-time precision manufacturing and and developing the talent that manufacturers maintenance instructor. like GAM member Pratt & Whitney need to be successful. Congratulations to all involved in this effort,” G.L. Bowen III, President of the Georgia Association of Manufacturers, said. Since graduating, Yeatman’s story has come full One West Georgia Technical College alumnus has circle. In addition to his job at Pratt & Whitney, he turned his degree into a way to give back both as an has joined WGTC as a part-time instructor in the instructor and a supporter of the WGTC Foundation. Precision Manufacturing and Maintenance program. “I could teach full-time if I wanted, but I really Russell Yeatman started welding classes in 2010 but took a break for a while when life got in the way. like working in the field, too,” Yeatman said. “The In 2016, while working for a manufacturing company, industry changes so much, and I can use my personal work experience to give students real life scenarios Yeatman was encouraged by his then employer to in the lab so they’re better prepared when they leave go back to school and take a few classes to further his training. He enjoyed the classes so much that he here.” With 10 years of industry experience to share, made the decision to continue his education, and Yeatman now has the opportunity to give back to in 2018, Yeatman graduated from WGTC with an students who were in the same shoes he was in. Associate Degree in Precision Manufacturing and “Not every student walks in here and immediately Maintenance. loves this program, but when you see a student Yeatman credits his instructors – Jim Biagi, John finally get interested in what you’re teaching and it Callaway, Kel Anderson and Richard Hickman – for clicks, it’s an amazing feeling.” his success. West Georgia Technical College, with campuses in “Being a full-time student was a struggle at Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson and Troup counties times,” Yeatman said. “I was taking five or six classes and class sites in Heard and Meriwether counties, offers each semester while still working, my wife was more than 120 associate degree, diploma and technical working, and we had two kids, so trying to balance certificate programs of study. A unit of the Technical everything was definitely challenging, but I had so College System of Georgia, West Georgia Tech is one of much support from my instructors the entire time. the largest of the state’s 22 technical colleges. For more They were willing to do whatever they could to help information, please visit westgatech.edu. me succeed. ‘Can’t’ is a word that is not allowed at West Georgia Tech.” As an alumnus of WGTC, Yeatman is adamant about giving back to his alma mater by donating to the WGTC Foundation. In his last semester, Yeatman realized he was unable to receive the HOPE Grant any longer. He found WGTC Foundation scholarships, applied, and received the Manufacturers Education Foundation Scholarship which helped cover his tuition and books. “I wasn’t prepared to cover all of the cost of my last semester so it was a big relief to get that scholarship,” Yeatman said. “It’s so important
WGTC Alumnus Giving Back in The Classroom
Five Most Common Relationship Problems Solved!
sk any couple what they argue about most, and you will most likely hear the same topics over and over again. Money, household chores, work stress, technology and sex are some of the most common relationship problems. These issues can be so damaging to relationships that, if not dealt with properly, they could result in divorce at worst, and at best, create very angry and bitter partners. Every couple goes through difficult times and, believe it or not, these hot button issues can be resolved quite easily, but not without effort from both parties.
Money One of the most common arguments in a relationship is about money. From how to save to how it should be spent, you probably have very different views on this subject. Aside from infidelity, arguing about money is the second leading cause of divorce, according to a research study conducted by Ramsey Solutions. The important thing to remember when dealing with money is that you both should agree on what to do with it as a united team. You are a partnership, after all. This means not hiding large expenditures from your spouse; the primary breadwinner not holding money over the other partner's head; not spending more than your income can support; and being honest and open with each other from the get-go regarding your expectations. Take a hard look at what money actually means to both of you Womenâ€™s Auto Clinic. (you may be surprised Womenâ€™s Concierge Service. at your different thought processes), put all prior grievances aside and start fresh by having a 770.832.9465 constructive discussion to work through any 134 Bankhead Ave., Carrollton financial impasses that come up. www.lamberttirecompany.com Once you work
through those issues, create a budget that you can both stick to without resentment. Create a concrete financial action plan for your future as well. List your long-term goals such as saving money for the kids' college, saving for your own retirements and paying off your home early. List your short-term goals as well, such as having a savings account with six months salary in case of a job loss or medical emergency, going on that vacation you've always wanted or buying a new car.
Housework The division of household chores is one of the biggest causes of resentment in a relationship. When one partner does more than the other, this can negatively impact all aspects of the relationship. Typically, women are the ones who shoulder most of the housework and childcare, and studies have shown that men often overestimate their contributions to the household. If you're the one shouldering most of the work and suffering in silence (or doing the opposite, nagging), it's time to have a talk with your partner. Explain to him that the current situation is not working for you, and enlist his input in creating a plan that divides the chores more evenly. List everything from the dishes to yardwork to childcare and home projects. If you both take an active role in dividing up the work on paper, then you are more apt to honor the agreement. The important thing is to make the division of work fair for both of you. Place the list in a prominent area in your home so it is visible and can't be forgotten easily by either party. Try to get out of the habit of asking him for "help." This places you in the role of the "taskmaster," and places him in the role of "helper." No, no, no, a thousand times, no. Do not do this to yourself. You are both equal partners in the relationship. Treat him like a partner and not a helper.
Work Stress In our culture, it seems as if we can never get away from work, and the boundaries between work and home have become more and more muddled. We live in a society where many workplaces demand longer hours and constant connectivity, and the stresses from work follow us home more often than not. For example, you may have a misogynistic,
February Is Heart Health Awareness Month Women Experience Almost Half Of All Heart Attack Deaths Know the symptoms and don’t wait to call 911 Shortness of breath Cold Sweats Lightheadedness Nausea, sweating, weakness or unexplained fatigue Chest discomfort – including pressure, pain, squeezing or fullness in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes Discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, stomach or one or both arms
Dedicated Healthcare When You Need It Most • 770.832.9689 micromanaging boss; he may have a really large project due that, if all goes well, may culminate into a well-deserved promotion. The amount of work stress you have coupled with all of your other obligations is enough to put a strain on the healthiest of relationships. If you or your partner find it hard to let go of work when you're at home, there are some solutions that may help. Exercising at least 30 minutes a day can help relieve stress and anxiety, and exercise also releases powerful endorphins that help boost your mood. Socializing with family and friends and making time for affection and touch can help you feel less connected to work and more connected to those you love. Relaxing in the evenings by listening to music you enjoy, unplugging from your electronic devices or working on a hobby you love will reduce your overall stress. Learning to detach yourself from your work is the best thing you can do for your sanity and your relationship. People who are able to forget about their work when they get home are more present with loved ones, feel less stressed and show more affection to their partners.
Technology Emotional connection and intimacy is almost impossible to achieve this day and age with the prevalence of social media and the internet. There are literally millions of distractions that can be found online with just the touch of a button. One research study on young couples showed the average amount of time spent in face-to-face conversation was a mere 35 minutes a week, and most of that time was spent discussing participation in household chores, according to the Gottman Institute. If you or your partner is complaining that one of you is too plugged into technology and not present enough in your relationship, then you should take steps to address this problem immediately, even if one of you doesn't agree. The easiest solution is for both of you to sit down together and create a mutually agreed upon and fair, technology agreement. Discussions may center around not checking emails, responding to texts or scrolling through social media during certain times such as at mealtimes, date nights, your child's sporting events, when either one of you needs to talk or during family gatherings.
Sex This is always a hot topic between couples. There is usually one partner who wants more sex than the other. One partner may feel like they are the one constantly pursuing sex, and the other always feels as if they are the one who is constantly fending off the pursuit. Other common arguments surrounding sex include having unfair expectations, such as expecting your partner to have an orgasm during every sexual encounter, disagreements over trying new things and one partner feeling as if they are the one doing all of the work during the act itself. For those of you who feel as if you don't have sex enough, try these solutions: • Woo your partner. Put more energy into making your partner feel loved and cherished. Listen to them with your full attention outside of the bedroom so they know you care about who they are as a person; turn off the TV, put the phone down and concentrate on being present with your partner; be vulnerable and tell your significant other how sexy or attractive they are to you; enjoy fun activities together as a couple (not just the things you enjoy!); and
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contribute your share of the housework and childcare so your partner will be less tired. • Don't criticize your partner. The quickest way to turn your partner off from wanting to have sex with you in the future is to critique their performance, lack of desire or their body. Everyone has an "off" day once in a while when they don't perform as well as they normally would, so don't make it a big deal. Try not to take your partner's rejection of your advances personally, and understand that sometimes your partner only has sex with you out of love for you and your needs. Some people just don't need, or want, sex as often as others. And when it comes to your partner's body image, they already know they are lacking in certain areas – they don't need you to reinforce the bad feelings about their body that they may already have about themselves. For those of you who distance yourelves from sex, try these solutions: • Balance your intimacy with your to-do list. Pay someone to do at least some of the household chores, such as your laundry, so you'll have extra time and energy. If you excercise 8 hours a week, save one hour for sex (that's still excercise!). If you work 50 hours a week, leave work an hour early one day each week and reserve that hour for sex. • Initiate sex. This advice may seem crazy since you aren't the one who wants to have sex that much anyway. However, if you initiate sex, then you have control over how, when and where you have sex. You'll be more into it when you initiate, and your partner will love it that he isn't chasing you for a change. • Understand your partner's needs. If he wishes you had sex six times a week, and you only do it twice a week, try to meet him halfway. If he wants to try something new and it is not hurtful to you or against your personal morals, try it at least once. Making a sincere attempt to meet your partner's sexual needs at least some of the time will help your relationship in the long run.
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All of these common issues can be resolved if both parties are willing to put in the work. Working together with grace, understanding, patience and caring is usually all you need to achieve peace and happiness in your relationship. WGW
By Charlene Brooks Photos by Zachary Dailey
Beautiful Butterfly Valentine Treat Sacks
hese Valentine treat sacks are a sweet gift for friends and teachers alike. Even the smallest children can create their own because they are so easy to make. These candy dipped Valentine's Day chocolate sandwich cookies are a delicious and super easy treat to make on a day when the kids have to stay indoors due to the weather.
Paint or markers Paintbrush if using paint Pipe cleaner Googly eyes Glue Instructions
Materials Chocolate coated Valentine's Day candy Zipper-seal snack-size plastic bags Clothes pins
Paint or color the clothes pin and allow to dry. Glue googly eyes to top of clothes pin. Fill half of the zipper seal bag with candy and seal. Tuck zipper part under the bag. Secure the bag in the center with the clothes pin. Place the clothes pin in the middle of the pipe stem and pinch to close, securing the pipestem. Adjust pipe stem to create the butterfly's antennae.
Candy Dipped Valentine's Day Sandwich Cookies Materials Thin chocolate sandwich cookies White candy melts Red food coloring Assorted Valentine's Day candy sprinkles Parchment paper Instructions In a medium-sized bowl, melt the candy melts in the microwave according to the package directions. Add food coloring to the melted candy Stir until the mixture has reached the desired color. Dip half of the chocolate sandwich cookie in the melted candy. Place the dipped cookie on the parchment paper. Decorate the still wet cookies using the assorted candy sprinkles. Allow the melted candy to harden. WGW
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