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February/March 2012



Healing hearts and changing lives




of Mercy Medical Center



2 • February/March 2012


Matters of the

By Erin Frost, Staff Writer, Senior Editor


eart disease is the number one cause of death in men and women in the United States and is responsible for more than 12 million deaths per year. Cardiovascular disease includes coronary artery disease, heart failure, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy and a host of other heart related illnesses. In order for people to take preventative measures and ensure good heart health, it is imperative that they understand how the heart works. The human heart is a muscle and has an insurmountable amount of responsibility. About the size of a fist, the heart has the sole obligation of pumping blood throughout the body; the oxygen and nutrients humans need to survive are carried within that blood flow. Blood travels to the right side of the human heart and is then pumped into the lungs; conversely, the left side of the heart takes in the blood from the lungs and pumps it to other parts of the body simul-

Heart taneously. Each time one feels a heartbeat, it is filling up with blood; the muscle then contracts and releases that blood to various body regions. Four chambers make up the human heart; two chambers called the atria reside on each side of the heart and they receive blood from our bodies. The remaining two chambers known as ventricles are located at the bottom of the heart and it is their job to pump the blood stored within the atria to our body regions. The septum is a solid muscle in the middle of the heart separating both sides. The heart relies on four valves known as mitral, tricuspid, aortic and pulmonary to control the flow of the blood. Think of these valves as little doors, constantly opening and closing, allowing blood to flow forward. Then a series of arteries and veins attached to the heart carry and circulate the blood supply throughout. Each of these parts plays

a vital role in keeping our bodies alive. Stress and damage to any of these parts, intentional or not, can wreak havoc on our health and be fatal. Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore is a highly respected medical facility that has been named one of the Top 100 hospitals and one of the top 10 Best Women’s Centers in the nation. It is on this campus that The Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine is located, and where Dr. Monica Aggarwal, the center’s only female cardiologist, spends countless hours educating and tirelessly treating her beloved patients. Originally a religion major, Dr. Aggarwal observed her sister, then a medical student, and was inspired by the relationships that flourished between her and her patients. “The medical field brings you into people’s lives in a way that no other field allows,” said Aggarwal. Historically, cardiology has been dominated by men, thus, it is most remarkable to observe women making great strides and contributions in this particular field of medicine. Consequently, women often shy away from choosing cardiology as a specialty due to the high pressures and time requirements. Dr. Aggaarwal couldn’t agree more. “There is such a demand in this high paced field,” she said, recognizing the challenges. “But for me there is nothing more exciting and gratifying than seeing someone who is so sick and being able to recover them

Dr. Monica Aggarwal, the only female cardiologist at Mercy Medical Center so quickly.” For her, the rewards of long days and long overdue vacations come from watching someone suffer an acute heart attack, helping them treat the heart attack immediately and watching them recover, sometimes within an hour’s time. “Very few fields in medicine allow a doctor to do that,” Aggarwal quips. See Heart Health, Page 4 COVER Photo by Ric Guy, Staff Photographer

ra c h ael a el gro te • owne owner/des r/d es i gner ra c h ael a el @h armo a rm on nii ze zeddes dd es i gn. co m 4 10.96 410. 967. 7. 9 073 07 3

February/March 2012 •

From The Publisher’s Desk… By Janet Davis-Leak, Publisher/Editor-in-chief The New Year's started and we here at WomanScope, are excited about what lies ahead in 2012! During our first six months of publishing, we’ve had the good fortune to bring on fantastic staff members, service a wonderful readership demographic and have begun to attract those always needed (and important) donors and quality advertisers. We’ve endeavored to present a full and varied editorial menu to our readership and have been rewarded with an avalanche of positive (and mostly constructive) feedback. There have also been some hiccups along the way which is, of course, par for the course. We are learning and growing from these experiences. Thank you, everyone, for your continued support in allowing us to give “voice” to issues affecting women and girls here in the Baltimore region, the nation and even globally! We are committed to continue working on, improving and growing the WomanScope brand! February is Heart Health Month and of course we’re encouraging women to get their hearts checked regularly. Heart attacks (not cancer) are the number one leading cause of death with the likelihood of women, more than men, to die from them. If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to schedule an appointment to see your doctor. Let’s all commit to good health in 2012! Our cover story this issue gives a nod to this month’s special observance by spotlighting the work of Dr. Monica Aggarwal, lone female cardiologist at Mercy Medical Center and written by staffer Erin Frost with photos by staff photographer, Ric Guy. Dr. Aggarwal’s story and the services being delivered through Mercy’s Center for Women’s Health and Medicine are truly inspirational. Fitness instructor Tonya Wigfall gets us off to a good start for the New Year with great weight loss tips and a fantastic Pilates MOVE OF THE MONTH feature. And while you’re working on getting things into shape, why not stop over to Angeline Huffman’s column and learn about how to start putting your finances in order through setting-up a sound and workable budget. The sad outcome from bullying is examined by Leslie Orndoff in MOM CENTRAL. She tells the horrifying story of 10 year old Ashlynn Connor, who as a result of relentless bullying from classmates, took her own life. And she’s not alone. Statistics show that more and more children ages 10-14 are committing this unthinkable act due to feeling unable to endure the pain and stress of relentless bullying. Learn what efforts are being done help stop it. Writing in a different capacity as a contributor to our GREEN LIVING column, Leslie also shares information on learning how to calculate you and your family’s “carbon footprint” (the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere) through their daily living for the purposes of working on changes. What she finds out is startling.

Her article mainly points out that we can ALL do our part to make a difference. Continuing in the area of eco-living, please read Jen Morgan’s article outlining some of the activities going on at the Baltimore Green Works and also our fashion columnist, Jewell McFadden’s enlightening piece on two women who’ve found a way to produce environmentally-friendly clothing, accessories and cosmetics through their unique (online only) boutique called Nancy’s Gone (NGG) named after one of the owners, Nancy Atkins. She along with her daughter Mary Savoca endeavor to make sure that their products are organic, sustainable or recycled. They believe that “caring for the earth includes caring for the people who inhabit it.” Finding yourself feeling a little “blue” during the cold winter months? Well you’re not alone. Millions suffer with a condition known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Yes, there really is such a condition! Learn more about it from our writer, Mia Bolton, who delves into the topic giving you ideas for coping with this malady. You can beat the blues! Aileen Gabby of the MDSPCA gives a different spin on setting New Year’s resolutions…. why not include your pets? Resolve to take better care of them; make sure they get proper nutrition, exercise and medical care. Our pets deserve our best treatment! We’ve got some really exciting upcoming events to bring to your attention as well: March 17th – The GBS-NCNW “Spirit Of A Woman Mind, Body & Pocketbook” Conference is to be held at the Radisson Hotel located in the Village of Cross Keys. For further information email: info@ Another very worthwhile event is the annual Empty Bowls fundraising event sponsored by St. Vincent De Paul of Baltimore. The event will take place on Sat. March 24th at the Timonium Fair Grounds. Contact Janice Williams, Dir. Of Development or Teresa Eaton, Director of Communications at 410-662-0500 ext. 216. Please make note of our full events calendar in both our print and online issues. Dr. Renee, as usual, serves up some great relationship advice in our Woman to Woman column, while Vicki Townsend discusses “new beginnings” in her INSPIRATIONALLY YOURS column. Take a look- it will inspire you! Please take time and read all of the great articles we have for you this issue! They are all caringly presented for your reading enjoyment. And, as always…… support our advertisers!

Happy Reading!

Janet P.S. February is also lover’s month! Don’t forget to make time for love:-)




ENCOURAGING Cover Story 2 Woman of the Month 5 Let's Get Organized 5

EMPOWERING Fitness 6 Move of the Month 6 Health 7





Sustainable Living 12 Green Living 12 Food 13 │ Woman of Faith 13

Travel 14 Arts & Entertainment 15 Beauty & Fashion 16 │ Sports 17



Advice 8 │ The Healing Place 9 Inspirationally Yours 9

Car Care 18 │ Pet Care 19 Finance 20 Smart Woman 21 │ Wired 22 Education 23 Success Strategies 24

Community News 10 Organizations Corner 11

Political News 25 Veteran Women 25 International News 26

4 • February/March 2012

WOMAN of the MONTH Ginger's advocacy and outreach efforts have lead her to host Veteran Round Tables in Annapolis, Maryland with State Veterans Agencies and Elected Representatives. She facilitates workshops for veteran caregivers and frequently receives Affairs, the Washington invitations to speak at D.C. VA Medical Cenvarious government agenter, Maryland Departcies, including the U.S. ment of Veterans Affairs, Department of HomePrince George’s County, land Security. In two years and The National Coalibecause of hard work, and tion for Homeless Veterans and The National Ginger Miller: A passionate, dedicated knowledge on veteran's issues, she has become the Alliance to End Home- advocate for homeless veterans go to advocate. In March lessness to assist in colof 2010 Ginger, was invited by Senator Patricia laborative efforts with John 14:2 to help veterMurray of the Senate Committee on Veterans ans. Affairs to advocate with U.S. senators to save With constant change and implementation potential cuts to the HUD VASH Program. of new laws and guidelines, Ginger recognizMost recently, Ginger has started Women Vetes the importance of staying abreast of these erans Interactive, a division of John 14:2, Inc changes that are crucial to the success of John that is dedicated to serving and supporting 14:2, Inc’s ability to serve veterans effectively women veterans. and efficiently, while meeting them at their On August 26, 2010, Ginger received an point of need. This is why she feels so strongly Official Citation from the Maryland Genabout advocacy, outreach, researching and neteral Assembly in recognition for her appointworking on veteran’s issues and legislation.

Ginger Miller Founder & CEO John 14:2, Inc


inger Miller is a native New Yorker and former homeless service disabled veteran. After taking care of her husband, a disabled veteran, who has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for over a decade and experiencing homelessness with her family, Ginger decided to form John 14:2, Inc. John 14:2, Inc is a nonprofit organization whose core mission is to assist military veterans and their families experiencing homelessness, substance abuse, and mental illness to reintegrate back into the community, retain permanent housing, maintain sobriety and regain their pride, dignity, and most of all, hope. As President and CEO of John 14:2, Inc, Ginger has been a passionate and dedicated advocate on behalf of veterans and believes strongly in the combination of advocating, networking, and collaboration. She has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Veterans

Making heart health a priority Heart Health, from page 2 Most interesting to her is that she is afforded the opportunity to work with her patients from beginning to end, particularly concentrating on prevention. Educating her patients on how they can prevent themselves from getting heart disease is something that she excels at and cherishes in her daily work. “Most people are in a place of inertia, repeating the same behaviors over and over,” stated Dr. Aggarwal. For her, figuring out how to break those patterns, through dietary and activity level changes is fascinating. Equally important and personal for her is the ability to work with and support her patients who have sustained severe damage to their hearts and are in end stage heart failure. During these difficult times, Dr. Aggarwal walks with compassion and dedication through surgical options such as heart transplants or heart pumps with her patients. Many people are unaware that it is heart disease, not cancer, that is the leading cause of death and that is due largely to the lack of education that people are given; essentially, too many are not aware of the most common risk factors, which Dr. Aggarwal stated are: heredity, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, diet and activity level. “We know how to treat disease, but we do a poor job teaching people how to prevent

this disease,” says Aggarwal, who often conducts “Lunch and Learns” at Mercy Medical Center as well as lectures within the community in order to better educate the public about prevention. Much of the mastery of heart disease is treating and maintaining subsequent health issues such as high cholesterol and obesity. Focusing on the reason being healthy and active are so important should not be overlooked, Aggarwal said. Maintaining an active lifestyle is the most heart healthy thing we can do for ourselves, said Aggarwal, who often meets with patients who confuse being skinny with being healthy. “In actuality, it is often times healthier to be active and a little over weight, than to be skinny and not active at all,” she said. When patients first meet with Dr. Aggarwal, she conducts a risk assessment of factors such as age, smoking, familial history, existing symptoms and dietary habits. From there, she and her patients devise a strategy that includes prevention and treatment. Dr. Aggarwal said she likes the challenge of treating women because they are often misdiagnosed and may have different symptoms of heart disease than men. Additionally, women often “downplay their symptoms and attribute them to just being run down or out of shape,” she said. Because of this, women historically visit the emergency room

less and therefore get treated later or are misdiagnosed. These statistics elevate Dr. Aggarwal’s commitment to educating the public about women’s heart health. “It’s never too early or too late to take preventative measures towards keeping your heart healthy,” said Dr. Aggarwal. She credits even small dietary and exercise adjustments as the best preventative measures. Simply exercising for small intervals of time throughout the day and watching salt and sugar intake can make a world of difference in heart health. Eating processed food purchased in cans and boxes are bad habits and are horrific for the human body. Supplementing one’s diet with fresh fruit, nuts, fish and whole grains is the way to go instead, advises Dr. Aggarwal. She also stresses the importance of listening to one’s body and to not let out-of-the-ordinary symptoms go by the wayside. “If you feel tightening in the chest or notice a rapid or irregular heartbeat, have it checked out by a medical professional right away,” she cautions. “Even if you think it is nothing, it is better to have a symptom looked at and is always better than the alternative, which is to have heart disease missed.” The heart is an amazing organ and has the miraculous ability to repair itself when the disease is caught in time. Dr. Aggarwal graduated from Virginia University School of Medicine in 2000. She then went on to do her residency at Tufts

ment by Governor O'Malley to the Maryland Caregivers Support Coordinating Council on August 13, 2010. In March of 2011, Governor O' Malley appointed Ginger to the Maryland Commission for Women. The Prince George’s County Gazette featured articles on Ginger advocating for homeless veterans on November 5, 2009 and December 10, 2009. The DAV September-October 2011 issue highlights Ginger as the President and CEO of John 14:2, Inc discussing issues as it relates to women veteran at the 2011 Women Veterans Summit. Ginger is featured as a "Woman of Valor" in the December 2011 issue of Essence Magazine. Ms. Miller was recently featured in the Washington Post, as she supported John 14:2, Inc.’s Women Veterans Lunch on December 27 to showcase her women veterans work in the community. Ginger served in the U.S. Navy from 1989 to 1992, received a Bachelor Degree in Accounting from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and is currently pursuing a Master Degree in Nonprofit Management and her MBA at the University of Maryland University College. She enjoys spending quality time with her husband and two sons, meeting people, traveling, watching movies, and attending church.

University in Boston, Mass., and completed her Cardiology Fellowship at the University of Maryland in 2006. Dr. Aggarwal is board certified in nuclear cardiology, cardiovascular disease and internal medicine. She specializes in clinical cardiology, nuclear transesophageal cardiology and women’s health care and heart failure. Dr. Aggarwal was previously the codirector of the Women’s Heart Program at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore and has conducted numerous clinical presentations and is a research member of Women in Cardiology at the American College of Cardiology.

Happy Valentine's Day

LOVE is great for your heart!

February/March 2012 •



BULLYING in t he 21st Cen tu r y By Leslie Orndoff, Staff Writer Ashlynn Conner was a 10 year old girl much like any other. She enjoyed cheerleading and hoped to become a veterinarian. Unfortunately, like other kids her age, she was relentlessly bullied. The harassment became so unbearable that she took her own life. As unthinkable as this tragedy is, she is not the only child to feel as if the only way to escape the pain and torment is to commit suicide. A study by the American Association of Suicidology finds that suicide rates among 10-14 year olds has grown a staggering 50 percent over the past three decades and bullying is often the cause. According to Stomp Out Bullying, a national anti-bullying program, one out of four teens are bullied, as many as 160,000 students stay home on any given day due to a fear of being bullied, and a shocking 97 percent of middle school students say they have been bullied online. These statistics expose a serious problem facing today’s youth and it seems to be growing. “I have been in practice for eight years,” says Jessica Ives, MA, NCC, LCPC of Life Counseling Center, “and I have seen a dramatic increase in bullying, particularly over the past two years.” Bullying takes on many different forms: physical bullying, which includes contact intended to injure an individual; verbal aggression, where teasing and offensive remarks are the method by which pain is inflicted; indirect bullying, which includes excluding someone from a group or spreading rumors about that person; and cyber bullying where electronic media is used to send messages,

pictures, or information that is harmful and hurtful. With so many different types of bullying, it is important for kids and parents to know how to deal with threatening behavior. “It is important that kids stand up for themselves,” says Ives. “They need to talk to a guidance counselor or a teacher to get help.” Teachers and guidance counselors are likely to intervene in instances where there is physical bullying because it is the most visible. However, often times bullies who resort to physical intimidation do so where authority figures aren’t present. In that instance, it is best for the target to walk away without saying anything. If the bully doesn’t get a reaction, often times they will give up and leave that person alone. If the bullying persists, it is best to go to a teacher, parent or any other adult with whom the victim feels comfortable. Methods of dealing with verbal bullying are similar to those employed for physical intimidation. The student can walk away from a tormenter who is unleashing a verbal onslaught. Another option is to have parents’ role play, suggests Ives. “Have the child come up with their own response,” that way when the time comes, they’ll have an arsenal of their own comebacks to draw on and hopefully defuse the bully. Verbal bullying can be mentally destructive however; indirect bullying can lead to depression and intense feelings of isolation. Indirect bullying involves spreading rumors and excluding an individual. Those who engage in indirect bullying will criticize the victim’s appearance, religion, or disability. “The kids

WomanScope NewsMagazine applauds the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision

date others. Cyber bullying is particularly damaging because the harassment doesn’t end at school; it can happen 24 hours a day, leaving the victim without respite. Cyber bullying must be met head on, just as with other forms of bullying. Ways for parents to prevent their child from bullying, or being bullied is to put the computer in a common area of the house and advise children to Cyber bullying, via the internet and electronic media, can change passwords and login mean that victims have no escape from their oppressors identifications frequently. Bullies today have a who I see that are bullied are the ones with greater opportunity to target victims. It poor social skills,” says Ives, “the ones with is important to help children through the Asperger’s or Autism. The other kids see the tough years of adolescence, guiding them, difference and pick on them.” The best way so they feel empowered and capable of tackto deal with this type of bullying is to stay ling any challenge they are presented with. cool, not react and seek help from a trusted If you are a parent who suspects your child adult. Finding a true friend with whom to of being the victim of bullying, don’t wait to spend time with is also helpful, that way the intervene. There are many helpful resources feeling of isolation and exclusion is lessened. on the web, such as Cyber bullying is a relatively new form of and No child hurtful and damaging persecution. Today’s should feel the pain of Ashlynn Conner. No youth are technically savvy and are utilizing parent should lose a child to bullying. their knowledge of the Internet and other electronic media to spread rumors and intimi-


New Year’s Resolutions that Work! By Nettie Owens, Staff Writer, Professional Organizer

The holidays are past, today is the day you resolve to make a change in your life. It’s a new year, and what better time to reflect on the past and move forward with a plan. According to a survey conducted by Interpreting Service International (ISI) in November 2010, 66 percent of the people polled do not make New Year’s Resolutions. However, goal setting has been proven to increase your ability to succeed at whatever you set out to do, dramatically. Goal setting is so important that books, studies and degrees have been dedicated to this subject. In her book, “Creating Your Best Life” Caroline Adams cites, “One study tracked the success of resolvers and non-resolvers, and found that the people who set New Year’s resolutions had a 46 percent success rate with their goals after six months, while those who set no goals had only a 4 percent success rate!” That is a profound difference. Goals can be short term, long term, over arching, financial, personal, physical, spiritual. Follow the steps below to create three goals to guide your life this year. Your goals should be SMART : Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic

and Time Sensitive. Take this example of a SMART goal: Read Oprah Winfrey’s book club book by the end of the month. It is specific: you are to read Oprah’s book club book. It is measurable: you can track your progress of reading the book as you go along. It is attainable: you divide the number of pages in the book by the days in the month and set out to read that many pages per day. It is realistic: you chose one month rather than one week, too short, or one year, two long. Setting low goals decreases the value in achieving those goals. Lastly it is time sensitive: you have one month to read the book. Beware of setting vague goals such as: Lose weight or earn more money. These goals lack specificity, measurability or timeliness. Better examples would be: lose five pounds in 30 days and increase income by 10 percent this year. You may then take your goals and break down the steps needed to complete them. Lastly, write down your three goals and share them with others. Each of these steps will motivate you and increase your success rate. Make 2012 the year you not only set New Year’s Resolutions but also achieve them.

6 • February/March 2012



Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution MOVE of the By Tonya Wigfall, Staff Writer/Fitness Trainer/Instructor

It should come as no surprise that losing weight and staying fit continues to make the top ten New Year’s resolutions list every year. I love the New Year because with it comes the opportunity for me to meet new people striving toward these two very important goals! After a season of too many cookies, cakes and pies, it's only natural that people vow to lose weight and get fit. The important thing to remember is that losing weight requires that you change or make adjustments to your lifestyle. The trouble is, the enthusiasm to make changes, especially with exercise and diet, tends to fade once you realize you can't change overnight. Well, you didn’t gain the weight overnight and surely won’t lose it overnight either. So, where do you begin? You have to evaluate the way you think about exercise and your eating habits. Think about how important achieving your goal is to you. Being prepared for any challenges you might face is also an invaluable step in the right direction. If you want to make lasting changes, there are several things you can do to make your resolutions work all year long. I recommend you start with adopting a positive attitude toward exercise and eating healthy. Once you’ve done that, evaluate areas in your lifestyle that need to change and then come up with a plan to change them. Another important part of

reaching this (or any) resolution is to break it down into smaller achievable goals. ADOPTING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE If you have a bad attitude about exercise and eating healthy, you're already setting yourself up for failure. Surprisingly, exercise and eating healthy can be an enjoyable and pleasurable experience. Nobody wants to do something they don’t enjoy or eat foods they don’t like. So, before you throw yourself into a weight loss and exercise program, determine your attitudes toward food and about exercise; then figure out whether these attitudes are true or just excuses. Try a different perspective and outlook. For example, one of your excuses for not exercising or eating healthier is its time consuming. Well, this “excuse” is absolutely true! Exercising can be time consuming but any time spent exercising is cumulative. If you view exercise this way, then you have to make it a part of your day like brushing your teeth. Better yet, look at it as a chance to take a break from a stressful or routine workday. A 15 minute walk in the morning and a 15 minute walk in the afternoon add up to an easy 30 minutes. You also burn a few more calories that you otherwise would not have if you simply sat around during your break time. You can even take this time to give your mind a chance to rest or walk with a coworker/ friend will give you a bit of social time. Eating healthy does take a lot more time

and effort than running into a fast food restaurant. This is where your preparedness will come in handy. I set aside my Sunday afternoons to prepare meals for the rest of the week. Another helpful tip is to always make sure you have healthy snack on-hand in case of time constraints. EVALUATE YOUR LIFESTYLE Never forget that incorporating exercise, losing weight, and maintaining that weight loss is a lifetime venture. You will never stop working to maintain your fitness and weight. So, before you start that same old diet or exercise program, ask yourself a couple questions: Can I sustain these eating habits for the long term? Is this exercise program something I can do regularly? While exercise is a big part of the equation, your eating habits play a large role too. You become overweight when you consume more calories in food (and drink) than your body needs or burns. To lose weight, you need to shift that balance by first consuming only what your body needs, then burning more than you consume. You can accomplish that by consuming healthier and easily digestible calories (i.e. Baked Potato vs. French Fries), burning an excess of calories, or both. It’s very important you take a look at what exactly you are eating. In order to do that it is recommended that you keep a food journal for at least a couple of weeks or more. Be honest with yourself and figure out your unfavorable eating habits. Make sure to include the times of day and perhaps your mood (i.e. Am I really hungry?). No one has to look at your journal, so this should be done without judgment or shame. You simply need to figure out what you're doing every day that may be hurting your weight loss goals. If you are unsure, you may want to seek out the advice of a dietician or nutritionist. Once you have identified possible bad eating habits, replace those habits, one at a time, with different habits. This may mean avoiding or limiting one or more foods high in calories from fat or from sugar. Portion control or increasing vegetables and fruits consumption might even be a huge factor. You might have to change your environment to make your goals a reality. If you eat fast food because of its convenience, try to avoid driving past food chains. A little self discipline goes a long way! This also means you have to always have healthy snacks on hand like fruit, nuts, or snack bars. If, however, you must eat at a fast food restaurant, there are healthier options but avoiding the temptation all together is highly recommended! BREAK DOWN YOUR GOALS You've figured out how to change your bad eating habits by replacing them with good ones and you've learned to create an environment that doesn't allow those bad habits to exist. Now, you need to make a plan for what you really want and why you want it. Write down specific details that pertain to your goals such as “How much weight do I want to lose?” Make sure the amount of weight you want to lose is realistic for your height and frame. Give yourself a realistic target date to

MONTH THE PLIE SQUAT Different from a traditional squat, the Plie Squat involves a variation on foot placement that helps target your leg muscles in different ways. By taking the legs wide and the toes pointed out, you'll incorporate a bit more muscle fibers in the inner thighs. Start Position: Begin with your legs two to three feet apart in a wide stance with toes pointed out at a comfortable angle. (Your knees will need to stay aligned with your toes, so don't go out too far. Beginners should place hands on hips while more advanced exerciser can hold a dumbbell between their legs.) Ending Position: Push your hips back and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. (Make sure to keep knees in line with toes, abs contracted and back straight. Beginners should only go down as low as you can without compromising flexibility or your balance.) Pause, then push back to start position without locking the knees. That’s one repetition! Complete 3-4 sets of 15-25 repetitions

reach your goals. (The average amount of healthy weight loss is 1-2 lbs per week.) Why you want to lose this weight (i.e., I’m getting married) is a very important thing to know. You need to consider how you'll maintain your weight loss once you reach your goal. Remember, it's a lifetime thing--even when you reach your goal, you can't quit! Make your own plan based on realistic changes. If you know you want to lose a large amount of weight, break it down into smaller increments. When you reach that goal reward yourself with tangible items. If you work long hours, set aside a couple days during the week and one or both days on the weekends to exercise. Your goal’s long-term success requires planning, discipline and finding ways to motivate yourself every day. Motivation will not magically happen. What motivates you may change from day to day. You have to recommit to your goals each day, tweak them to fit changes in your lifestyle and attitude and find new ways to motivate yourself over the course of your life. Lastly, achieving any goal (or New Year’s resolution) might require assistance but with a little help and a lot of determination you can achieve any goal and make your resolution(s) a reality!

February/March 2012 •

Stress Solutions Part 1: Environmental Stress By Sarah Woods, Health News Writer


Most women are aware that excessive stress can negatively impact overall health, but many are not aware of the other factors that can contribute to stress levels. A person’s environment can increase stress levels, subsequently changing their behavior. Environmental stressors range from noisy pets or children to living in a high-crime area. The two main methods to deal with environmental stress include eliminating the stressor completely, or finding ways to cope with the stress.2 ELIMINATING THE STRESSOR One proactive way to cope with environmental stress is to change the environment in a way that eliminates the stressor.3 While some environmental stressors can’t be avoided, such as a community’s crime rate, there are ways to lessen the impact once the stressor

is identified. Step 1: Identify the Stressor Take a short inventory of stressful situations that occur in the workplace, home, or school and determine what factors influenced the situation. Is cooking dinner stressful because of lack of counter space in the kitchen, or does schoolwork seem overwhelming due to a lack of organization? Examine stressful situations closely for similarities to determine if the same stressor may be leaking into various environments. Step 2: Make a Plan Make a plan that details how the stressor can be eliminated. In the kitchen example mentioned earlier, the stressor has been identified as a lack of counter space and organization. A plan would include goals to utilize counter space more effectively and engineer an organization method that the whole family can adopt. Step 3: Follow the Plan Once the plan has been made, the process of eliminating the stressor can begin. Eliminating an environmental stressor can be as simple as re-organizing a pantry, or as difficult as replacing an unreliable vehicle on a budget. Sometimes eliminating the stressor can be impossible, such as with a newborn baby or


HEALTH neighborhood crime. When it is not possible to change the environment in a way that eliminates the stressor, it is important to take steps to cope with the stressor in the most effective way possible. COPE WITH THE ENVIRONMENT A paper published in 2008 by The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry reviewed studies on depression in women and found that women are more likely than men to employ numerous coping strategies when facing stress. The paper also suggested that women are more likely to suffer depression as a result of stress.4 Social Interaction One of the most recommended coping methods for stress is social interaction because it raises self-esteem and offers a support system. To utilize social interaction in a way that decreases stress, identify a social group where you can share your feelings about the stress that you experience. For example, for stressful situations in the office, it might cause more problems to share feelings with your co-workers but may be helpful to vent to friends outside of work. Scheduling a once-a-week “girl’s night out” can be helpful to women who experience stress both at work and at home by removing them from the stressful environment for a few hours. Physical Activity Studies have shown that physical activity can increase a person’s ability to cope with environmental stress. People who participate in physical activity make more efforts to deal with stress in healthy ways before turning to

unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drug use.5 The American Heart Association suggests 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.6 Other Coping Methods Some methods physicians, therapists and psychologists apply in therapy can be utilized by anyone. Many women are familiar with Lamaze breathing, a method used to decrease pain and stress during childbirth. This breathing method can be applied in stressful situations as well. Another common coping method is identifying a response to the stress and making an effort to respond differently when stressed. If you notice that you tense your muscles when stressed, make a conscious effort to relax those muscles next time you experience the stressor. Other stress-relieving activities include journaling, meditating, or starting a new hobby.7 Refrences: 2 Stress management: Ways to relieve stress. (2007, April 20). Retrieved from stress-management-relieving-stress 3 Aldwin, C. M. (2007). Stress, coping, and development: An integrative approach. (2 ed., pp. 113-117). New York, NY: Guilford Press. Retrieved from W3V39ak34C&lpg=PP1&vq=environmental%20coping%20 stress&pg=PP1 4 Wilhem, K., Parker, G., Geerligs, L., and Wedgwood, L. (2008). Women and depression: A 30-year learning curve. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 42(1), 3-12. 5 Salami, Samuel O. (2011). Job stress and burnout among lecturers: Personality and social support as moderators. Asian Social Science, 7(5), 110-121. 6 America heart association guidelines. (2011, January 19). Retrieved from PhysicalActivity/StartWalking/American-Heart-AssociationGuidelines_UCM_307976_Article.jsp 7 Taylor, S. E., & Stanton, A. L. (2007). Coping resources, coping processes, and mental health. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 3, 377-401. doi: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.3.022806.09152

Understanding and Overcoming Seasonal Affective Disorder By M. Bolton, Staff Writer Winter has hit us, Baltimore- and it doesn’t look like it is going anywhere for a while. We know the routine, but that doesn’t make it any easier to keep ourselves upbeat and spritely during these chilly months. Lack of sunshine and shortened days are challenging factors to add into this wintery mix, and our normal routines and busy schedules often keep us from basking in what little sunshine there is. Many of us can find ourselves feeling blue and lethargic post-holidays, commonly known as having the “winter blues.” However, you may not know that these blues are actually diagnosable and recognized among medical professionals as Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a unique form of depression resulting from a variety of factors which affect our bodies during winter months, and ¾ of those diagnosed with it are women.1 SAD is recognizable when symptoms appear to correlate with the cycle of seasons; becoming increasingly miserable in the fall and winter, but feeling significant improvement in the spring and summer.2 Subtle behavior changes during the cold and less sunny time of year are not uncommon, but knowing the indicators of SAD can help distinguish

SYMPTOMS OF SAD CAN BE IDENTIFIED AS: • Social and family withdrawal • Irritability and anxiety • Feelings of despair and hopelessness • Fatigue/inability to carry out normal routines • Extreme sleepiness • Decreased sex drive and physical contact • Over-eating or increased cravings for carbohydrates2 between a gloomy day and something more serious. Though specific causation of SAD is unknown, it is mostly accredited to the drastic variation of sunlight we receive throughout the year. According to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA), “As seasons change, there is a shift in our ‘biological internal clocks’ or circadian rhythm, due partly to these changes in sunlight patterns. See SAD, Page 20

8 • February/March 2012



W oman to Woman By Dr. Renée Parks, Staff Writer





Dear Dr. Renee, I am an upbeat and energetic 55 year old single woman. I seem to attract attention from much younger men. Is age an issue between two consenting adults? A life partnership is always possible, but is it okay to date a gentleman 25-30 years my junior? ~ Cradle Conscious

Dear Dr. Renée, I am 40-something and recently divorced looking for advice to overcome depression. My marriage ended due to financial issues, most of which I am responsible for. How can I move on and what should I do to renew my passions for life and love. ~ Stressful Moment

Dear Cradle, It is quite common for men to date woman much younger than them so if it is acceptable for men, then it should be acceptable for women. The deeper question, is how does the man makes you feel? Do you feel like his woman or do you feel like his mama? Are your needs being met in the relationship or are you catering to his? Are you comfortable with bringing this man around your family, friends or children? If the answer is no, then even if you continue in the relationship to get your ego stroked, you will unconsciously sabotage it. Age truly is nothing but a number but ultimately if you are robbing the cradle you could end up holding the short end of the stick.

Dear Stressful, Differences over finances are one of the top reasons why many marriages end in divorce, so don’t be so hard on yourself. One of the first things that you can do is to forgive yourself for whatever you think you did to botch things up. Take time to list out all of the things that you feel didn’t turn out the way that you would have liked Then forgive yourself for each incident on the list. Doing this will help you heal your heart and not feel so guilty about what happened. Next, forgive your husband for the part that you feel he played in bringing the relationship to an end. To get a new lease on life lavish yourself with lots of love and attention.


Dear Dr. Renée, Recently I was diagnosed with fibroid tumors. My doctor has advised me to lower my stress level. With my demanding career, I’m not used to slowing down much. With my health at risk, I know that something needs to change. Any ideas? ~ Ambitious Go-Getter Dear Ambitious, Issues with fibroid tumors are a metaphysical indication of unfinished business from a past relationship. Follow the same advice that we gave to Stressful above as it relates to forgiveness. You can reduce your stress by meditating for at least fifteen minutes per day. Whenever you feel stressed out during the day, take a few long slow deep breaths and you will feel calmer almost instantly. Dr. Renée is wellness practitioner and the author of The Four Paths to Ultimate Wellness. She can be reached at 410-630-6989. Submit your lifestyle questions to:


New Year, New Beginnings By V. Townsend, Staff Writer Like Rae Lewis-Thornton, I’m so excited! (…in my Pointer Sisters voice) Grumble about hot flashes and perimenopause? Not us. We are celebrating! Open up a window and crank up the music. We’re going to dance joyfully, thankful for this transition into the next phase of life. It’s a new beginning that only I expected. Ms. Thornton’s expectations never entertained this phase of life. She’d already been living with AIDS for two decades when I heard her speak at an HIV/AIDS conference nearly 10 years ago. Now, she is celebrating and you can read about it in her blog post, “Monday Reflection: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Death” on her site: For someone who doesn’t expect to live long, celebrating new beginnings is much like breathing. Nothing is taken for granted. But for those of us who believe we will live longer, recognizing our opportunities to decrease stress, lessen health issues, or improve our life outlook is more of a challenge. New beginnings have a “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” theme. They give our lives meaning so that we are living instead of just existing. One person may sing his own praises on choosing the stairs instead of the elevator. Yet another may feel the need to dig deeper: converting his religious practice from Methodist to Buddhist. How do you define a new beginning in your life? With a new marriage, job, baby, house or car? Or do you see a new beginning with each new day that you are able to open your eyes? An alcoholic’s new beginning is likely any day that he doesn’t take a drink. For a domestic violence victim, it’s every minute she lives past a loved one’s threats to kill her. Ending the day with an increased caloric

count would count as a new beginning for a person struggling with anorexia nervosa. Less calories at the end of the day is a triumph for a person struggling to lose weight. Those beginnings stem from organized, expected transitions. If your life is stressful, you may be passing over opportunities to recognize your own new beginnings and need to train yourself to see what’s right in front of you. I almost missed this one recently: One night when I was tired and nursing a headache, my 15-month-old granddaughter reached onto the table and pulled the glass bowl holding her dinner onto the floor, where it shattered on impact. I looked at her and inhaled, exhaled and then in my normal tone, calmly explained that if she was full she could have found another way to let Nana know. It worked! Two points for me! Keeping my cool meant no screaming from her and I didn’t have to make a mad dash to 7-11 for Advil! I can count this as a learned new beginning: if I’m calm, the baby will stay calm. You may find, as I have with parenting that your new beginnings tend to jump forward, then slide back like the steps in a line dance. That wasn’t my first attempt to change my response tactics with my granddaughter and it certainly wasn’t the last. Sometimes making a new beginning a habit takes practice, discipline and time. I’m sure you have your own examples don’t you? Think about it. Do arguments usually explode from your mouth, but you can recall a time when you held your tongue? Are you a cheese-aholic who made it through one day without melting or shredding cheese on anything? (I’m still working on this one.) Do you have an obsession that has been holding you hostage and finally you See Small Steps, Page 19

February/March 2012 •

Hi-Tech Stalking Devices Extend Abusers' Reach By Marie Tessier, WeNews correspondent The case of a Seattle woman who was stalked by her estranged husband shows how controlling personalities can use cell phones, spyware and GPS technologies to terrorize their victims. First in "Dangerous Trends, Innovative Responses" series. (WOMENSENEWS)--As Sherri Peak ran errands in suburban Seattle, she often saw her estranged husband in the rearview mirror of her Toyota Land Cruiser. Robert M. Peak showed up at her Bellevue business, at restaurants, at shops in downtown Seattle, and at the homes of co-workers. The couple separated in July 2005, as Sherri Peak sought to escape what she describes as her husband's controlling behavior. According to her claims during a subsequent criminal investigation, by August, he was phoning Sherri Peak's co-workers repeatedly to find out where she was. She was being stalked, a pattern of behavior that is linked to a higher risk for homicide. In October, terrified, she filed for a protective order to keep him away. Robert Peak had also found invisible ways to monitor his wife, though it would take months to unravel what they were. Once, Sherri Peak told a friend that she was going to notify police that he had violated the protective order, and Robert Peak went to the police station first to tell them the incident was nothing, she says. "This is a case of 'watch him come kill me,'" Sherri Peak told Women's eNews. "He used technology to threaten, control and hold me hostage." In early 2006, trusting her instincts but unable to find a tracking device herself, Sherri Peak brought her SUV to the Bellevue, Wash., police. Two hours into an inspection assisted by immigration and customs agents, and on the verge of giving up, investigators popped off the dashboard. Inside, they found a cell phone with a Global Positioning System, or GPS. The phone was hooked to the battery of the vehicle, and programmed to pick up silently whenever he called. Once the phone answered, her stalker could monitor the precise location of her SUV via the Internet. Technology Assists Stalkers As GPS systems get smaller and cheaper, and as cell phone and computer monitoring software becomes standard in families concerned about Internet safety, Sherri Peak's experience of intimate partner stalking is becoming more common, law enforcement officials and advocates say. Type "spouse" combined with "track" or "spy" into any Internet search engine, and consumers are offered myriad products from hidden cameras to GPS devices to computer software, all at low prices. "Monitor any PC from anywhere!" one ad promises. "Catch a spouse in the act!" another says. Safe cell phones and secure computers are often a central part of battered women's safety

plans, as they seek to escape abuse. However, abusers increasingly are using phone records, computer software that displays every key typed, and other technologies to stalk, monitor, control and terrify their victims. "For an abuser, it's all about power and control," says Cindy Southworth, director of technology at the National Network to End Domestic Violence in Washington, D.C. "Abusers have always monitored their victims and stalked them when they tried to leave, but now they can do it with new technologies." Criminologists know that a stalking victim's terror is well founded. Studies have shown that stalking is a red flag showing a high risk of a woman's homicide. Nine out of 10 women killed by intimate partners have been stalked during the previous year, research shows. One-third of women stalked by a current or former partner are sexually assaulted, according to the National Institute of Justice, a government research office. When police searched Robert Peak's home, they found Sherri Peak's e-mails, including correspondence with police and her divorce attorney, and the spyware program he had used to obtain them. Access to House Keys and Passwords They found passwords and account numbers he had hacked from her computer. They found a set of keys to the new locks Sherri Peak had put on her home. In August, Robert Peak was sentenced on felony stalking charges to eight months at King County Jail in Washington, according to the Seattle Times. He is on a work release program, but stays in jail at night and on weekends. Robert Peak, through his attorney, declined to comment for this story. In a similar case in Arizona last summer, the felony stalking conviction of former Major League Baseball outfielder Albert Belle exemplifies how 3 of every 4 stalking victims are terrorized by threats of violence or death at the same time that they are being monitored and followed. Belle's ex-girlfriend told police that he was showing up "everywhere she went," such as the store, on dates, and at the gym. He left a phone message saying she needed to hire a bodyguard for protection and that she "would never know what hit her," according to news reports of court statements. But it wasn't until she drove over a bump in the road and heard something fall off her car that the woman, whose identity has been kept out of the news, discovered the GPS device. Belle was sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty in July, according to TV network ESPN. The judge vowed to put him in prison if he ever contacted the woman again. Stalking convictions like those of Belle and Robert Peak are increasing, but are still not routine. Because infractions tend to happen over a long period of time, at varied times of the


THE HEALING PLACE day, and often in a variety of jurisdictions, it is difficult and time-consuming for police and prosecutors to build a successful case, attorneys say. Even then, it is difficult for juries to grasp the depth of fear and control that perpetrators have created for a victim. "When a victim presents herself to law enforcement, it doesn't necessarily look that dangerous," says Sandy Bromley, an attorney with the Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime in Washington, D.C. "Individual incidents alone usually would not be criminal, but when you add them together in a pattern of following, calling and using technology to track a victim, it becomes a type of behavior that is designed to induce fear. And it works." Trusting Instincts Advocates and law enforcement experts have two basic pieces of advice for people who think a partner or former partner has too much information about them. "First, trust your instincts," says Southworth of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. "If you think a partner or former partner knows too much about you, it's probably true." Second, it can be critical to a woman's safety to avoid tipping off a stalker by disabling monitoring devices. Rather, a victim should work with law enforcement officials, a local domestic violence agency or the National Domestic Violence Hotline to develop a safety plan, advocates say. In the digital age, a routine look at a computer's Web visit history could reveal a search for a new apartment, a new job or a new location, according to the Stalking Resource Cen-

ter. Even making seemingly common sense moves such as searching for spyware and erasing it from a home computer can trigger an escalation in violence, advocates say. Such a move could also destroy evidence necessary to bring a criminal prosecution or to obtain a civil protection order. In the meantime, pursuing a criminal case is a process that takes an average of two years, even as a woman lives in fear, Bromley says. It's also often necessary because research shows that stalkers are usually obsessive, difficult to deter and likely to escalate their behavior at any time. And then a perpetrator is released from jail, as Robert Peak will be later this year. The Peaks' divorce is set to proceed early next year. Custody and visitation of their two children will be at issue. "I would say this experience has been like being hostage in your own life, someone always knowing where you are, what you're doing," Sherri Peak says. "And it's a very, very scary thing." Marie Tessier is an independent journalist who covers national affairs, and writes frequently about violence against women. This series is supported by a special grant from Mary Kay Inc.

10 • February/March 2012


Appearance by 'Dog Whisperer' draws hundreds to pet shop Cesar Millan meets pets, poses for pictures before Lyric show By Jill Rosen, The Baltimore Sun When Vinny Ragone heard the Dog Whisperer was going to be at a Baltimore pet store, and he could see him for free, he told his mother (who had never heard of Cesar Millan), "I've got to be there." The eight-year-old Towson boy with wirerimmed glasses nearly cried when, after waiting in line for hours, he finally saw in person the guy he's seen so many times on TV — the guy he hopes can get his puppy Molly to stop biting. "I think [Millan] impresses him a lot," said Vinny's mother, Mona Ragone. "He's in control, and that's how [Vinny] wants to be with his dog." Hundreds of animal lovers, similarly impressed with the trainer's seemingly magic ability to make dogs mind, crowded the Pet Valu store on Fort Avenue on Saturday morning. Millan stopped there, allowing folks to see him for free, before a performance later in the day at the Lyric Opera House. Not unlike Martha Stewart's or Oprah's, Millan's multimedia reach extends from his hit television show, which has aired eight seasons, to books, DVDs, a magazine called "Cesar's Way," a touring show and pet products. Millan has a bit of a loose Baltimore connection — it was native Jada Pinkett Smith who first hired him to train her dogs, and her

imprimatur then opened the door to more celebrity clients, and eventually the canine empire he now runs. His self-taught methods have been a touch controversial in recent years, mainly to those in the animal world who'd rather see a more tender, reward-based technique to train dogs than Millan's "people lead the pack" philosophy, which is often accompanied by the trainer's famous "tsssk" and poke to the side of a misbehaving pooch. But the culture clash seemed to have done little to deter his faithful followers. Despite temperatures hovering in the 30s, they lined up outside the South Baltimore pet store, hours before Millan's planned 11 a.m. arrival, shivering and holding their dogs' leashes in gloved hands. The first in line got there at 5:45 a.m., driving down from Monkton. Brittany Falkowitz, a 25-year-old law student, clutched her cellphone; she had a photo she wanted to show Millan of her dog, Sheba, who had died three years ago. In the excitement of the moment, though, she forgot to show him the picture. Millan is, after all, on Falkowitz's list of the Top 5 people she'd hoped to meet in her lifetime. Millan rolled slowly up to the shopping plaza in a black Lincoln Town Car, hazards



How do you feel we can better connect with societies’ youth?

By Nakia Brown, Staff Writer

Kevin Collins, 19

“„ Bandana Bhusal, 30

Personally, I feel comfortable connecting with them. I show them love and feelings of caring. Sometimes when I see teenagers somewhat unbalanced in themselves, I feel programs to assist the youth should be implemented to raise knowledge and awareness of basic priorities of life. I feel that schools should be regulated to promote educational equality between the city and county schools.

Involving them in things that actually interest them. Don’t tell them what to do, show them what they can do. With the youth of today, it’s hard because they constantly complain that people don’t understand them. We need to have a sit down and figure out what they want. We’ve been doing programs for years. It’s all about the mentality that people have. We need to understand that they need help and may be too ashamed to ask. If parents and programs don’t work then I’m not sure. 80% of the youth problem is lack of parent involvement and 20% is society. Kids don’t just grow up on the streets, their parents raise them in the streets. If you understand someone, you understand their emotions and you can figure out how to help them.

Monica, 27

“ „ „ By making them feeling beautiful. Everybody likes something even in themselves and they can be more so connected with things that they like. They can be more if they feel more within themselves. Everyone is different so by helping them find their individuality allows them to expose their true self.

blinking. He entered through the store's back door, hustling in with Lola, his fluffy Pomeranian mix, tucked into the folds of his down jacket. Holly, a Labrador he's training for his show, was also along for the ride. Wearing decoratively distressed jeans, a black suede jacket over a black T-shirt and a diamond stud in one ear, Millan bounded into the store, greeting the few fans already inside, and running to the window to wave at the many more outside and yell, "Thank you!" He settled in at an autograph table with a backdrop of shelves stocked with his dog treats, his dog toys, his bright-colored bowls. People who wanted to meet Millan came with books, DVDs, photos and clothing for him to sign. More than a few were wearing shirts and hats with his "Pack Leader" slogan. And nearly everyone brought a dog or two. He happily posed for pictures with pup after pup, allowing the smaller ones to hop right onto his table. His favorite photo stance involved throwing his left arm around the

back of the dog owner and then holding one of the dog's paws in his other hand — big grin. If a fan wanted to hug him — even hard and tight — he was fine with it. If a dog wanted to lay a sloppy wet kiss on his cheek, also cool. When 12-year-old Mikayla Cepeda's dog Sammy whined a bit during the photo, he and the girl's mom Yesenia Banks, simultaneously gave the Odenton pup a playful "tsssk" and laughed. Chelsea Kohlerman's pit bull, Tucker, who was wearing a hoodie, was one of those that licked Millan on the face. Though Tucker is generally a good boy, Kohlerman has used Millan's tips to calm her other more rambunctious dog, Jasper — when he's trying to steal Tucker's bone, when he won't wait patiently for his dinner and when, no matter what, he just won't obey. She said Millan "shows you that it's the owner, not the dog."

February/March 2012 •

Empty Bowls “As our bowls are filled, let us remember those that remain empty” By Janice L. Williams, Director of Development, St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore

Empty Bowls is one of the fastest growing events in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The 6th annual Empty Bowls will be held on March 24, 2012 at the Timonium Fairgrounds. Empty Bowls is St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore’s signature annual fundraising event. Empty Bowls is an event originally developed to heighten awareness about hunger. The event features a simple meal of soup and bread to reflect the typical meal of a growing percentage of the world’s population. For St. Vincent de Paul, Empty Bowls also serves as a “friend raiser.” For a modest ticket price of $20, we engage a growing following in our mission to ensure that individuals and families have the resources and opportunity to care for themselves and build a better future. In addition to the meal of soup and bread each attendee receives a handcrafted bowl created and donated by thousands of individuals. School children engage in service learning, community groups and churches host bowl parties, all in support of this unique opportunity to help people experiencing hunger. There are more than 100 schools and organizations, a host of potters, and hundreds of individuals who make and donate over 2500 personal artistic bowls. Over 40 local restaurants donate a wonderful assortment of soups, our corporate sponsor, H&S Bakery donates all the bread, and many local businesses donate items for our silent auction.

Now in its sixth year, Empty Bowls has moved to a larger venue at the Timonium Fairgrounds to accommodate over 1500 people attending lunch and dinner seating. Through our community partnership with WBALTV, we have enjoyed the celebrity support of WBAL news personalities, annual visits from the Mayor and a variety of family friendly entertainment that has created a multigenerational event that is a delightful experience. Often families arrive together; grandparents enjoy the selection of soups, parents peruse the auction, teenagers volunteer and younger children enjoy the entertainment. Empty Bowls involves over 200 volunteers, many of which are high school students fulfilling their service learning requirement. These students receive a powerful presentation designed to introduce and reinforce their understanding of social justice and provides an opportunity for reflection. The reflections surfaces emotions from young people who lack experience with people their own age whose lives are so different. Students emerge from their reflections energized to serve. They serve with a true understanding of the difference between serving and helping and join together into the army of manpower needed to execute the event. One parent noted, “I can’t get him to clean his own room and I watched him here today bussing tables, hauling trash, and serving with his whole heart, without complaining or taking a


Volunteers serve soup and bread to attendees, helping to raise awareness about hunger


ORGANIZATIONS CORNER break. It’s amazing!” This comment highlights the success of the event. Empty Bowls is mission driven. The event will also feature stories about our work, displays information about the number of people touched by our services, and shows with pictures and success stories, the impact of the dollars donated to this event. Attendees see that their donations change lives and are eager to contribute in whatever way they can. To join the army of people who provide assistance to our neighbors in need, support Empty Bowls. Visit Hot Pots Studio in Timonium to create a bowl, spend an afternoon

with children and friends, and give to our very important work. Host a bowl party, at your convenience, for your friends, club, or family. You can make a bowl that will be displayed at the event as a reminder of the bowls that remain empty, the families we serve, and the fulfillment of the mission. To learn more about our programs and services, find out more about the event, volunteer, register to make a bowl, or purchase tickets, visit and click Empty Bowls. Join us for lunch or dinner on March 24th and help build a better future. See you there.


Guests peruse the thousands of handcrafted bowls donated by local individuals, churches and community groups, to claim their own beautiful momento of the event

Informational Interviews By Stephen B. Thomas, Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) at Maryland New Directions

I have a challenge for you. Look up someone who has your dream job and send them an email. Ask them if they wouldn’t mind spending 10 minutes with you so you can learn about their job. Note that you understand their time is important and let them choose a good time for you to visit. Show up early for the interview wearing professional attire, and have a note pad and pen in your hands. By this time you might have formed a picture of this person in your head, or maybe you’ve seen a picture of them on a website somewhere. Remember you do not know them yet, so do not show surprise if they look different from how you imagined. Even though you are the interviewer and not the interviewee, you still want to impress them. Greet them confidently and keep your tone relaxed and respectful so they will feel comfortable with you. Ask them questions about how they started in their line of work. Ask them what happens during their typical day. What do they like the most about it? What's the greatest challenge facing someone doing that work? What sort of education do they have? Who else (or what other company) does the kind of work they do? As long as you’re asking questions in a friendly way, you will not only learn about this person’s career choices and strategies, but interesting tidbits about the career field, too. Be sure to not spend more than ten minutes asking questions; in fact, make a big deal out of wanting to leave at the ten minute mark. Chances are, once they realize they've spent

the last ten minutes talking about themselves, they'll ask you to stay so they can keep doing it. When it is time to go, make sure you ask for their business card or otherwise obtain their full name and address, so that you can send them a thank-you note. If have your own business card, offer one to the person. Before you know it, you've carried out your first Informational Interview. You're not asking for a job, you're asking about the job. Informational Interviews do many things for you, all of them good. They offer you insight on the career field that you otherwise may not have had. They let you know possible career options for you in an industry that you're passionate about. But most importantly, it builds your business network. Because you presented yourself so professionally – a great wardrobe, easy to talk to, minding the time, asking worthwhile questions, and offering follow-up contact information – that person will have a clear idea in mind about the person they want to contact should an opportunity in that field arise. Even if the person can't point you to a job right away, they can still point you to other organizations that employ people who do the work you want to do. You can't ask for better promotional potential, or a more positive professional impression. So rise to the challenge of an Informational Interview. It just might be the best interview you’ve ever given.

12 • February/March 2012



Follow That Food Understanding Your Carbon Footprint By Leslie Orndoff, Staff Writer My family consists of five people, one cat and one dog. We do our best to minimize the impact we have on the environment by recycling, composting, limiting water use and buying local produce and meats when we can. In doing these things I hope we are contributing something, but is it enough? Are our efforts really effecting any change? I recently decided to see exactly what our carbon footprint is as a whole. The EPA defines the phrase carbon footprint as, “the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) that are emitted into the atmosphere…by a person, household, building, organization, or company.” Armed with that knowledge, I decided my best course of action was to search the Internet for a carbon footprint calculator. I was, of course, confronted with all manner of Websites offering to let you calculate your footprint or buy credits to offset it. I selected one by The Nature Conservancy thinking they are a relatively well known, reputable organization. It prompted me to enter the number of people in our household along with what sort of house we live in, cars we drive, food we eat and our overall energy consumption. It turns out according to The Nature Conservancy’s calculator my family alone is responsible for 97 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year. CO2 is a gas emitted through natural processes like volcanoes or geysers, and through human activity like the burning of fossil fuels and land clearing. So, when I heat my house, drive my car, and buy my food, I am contributing to the amount of CO2 being pumped into the earth’s atmosphere. Increased levels of CO2 are thought to having a warming effect on the planet due to the fact that it traps heat in the atmosphere. So what can I do? Turn down the heat? Drive smarter? What about the food I buy? Would buying locally truly impact the amount of CO2 emissions I am indirectly contributing to? I decided to figure the carbon footprint of the grapes I buy at my local supermarket. Grapes sold in our supermarkets tend to come from Chile, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, South America and California. Chilean grapes, however, seem to have a monopoly year round in my local grocery store. But how did they get there? First they are hand- picked, then boxed and loaded onto ships bound for

the US. They arrive in California and are placed on trucks headed to points across the United States. By the time they reach Maryland they have racked up roughly 8,300 travel miles. According to the non-profit organization, for every mile travelled, 0.654 pounds of CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere per ton mile. That means that that package of grapes is responsible for approximately 5,400 pounds of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere. Other food we regularly eat emits as much or more greenhouse gas. We get tomatoes and cucumbers from Mexico, potatoes from Peru, beef from New Zealand, and fish from China. But, is buying local the answer? Will that really turn the tide of unchecked and unencumbered carbon dioxide emissions? According to a study released by Carnegie Mellon University researchers, Christopher Weber and H. Scott Mathews, “…the distance food travels is only 11 percent of the average Americans household’s food related greenhouse gas emissions.” Weber and Mathews estimate that if a person were to switch to an entirely local diet, the reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions would be equal to driving 1000 miles. The researchers agree that produce, milk, and meat produced closer to home decreases the amount of petroleum based transport miles, however, they deem the production of food a much more significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, it takes 16 pounds of grain to raise just one pound of beef. Farm raised fish require five pounds of wild caught fish to produce one pound of eatable fish. Thus, Weber and Mathews advocate limiting consumption of red meat and/or dairy products to lower food related climate impacts. So what is a person to do? How can we as a society reduce our potentially harmful impact on the planet? The answer is probably a combination of buying local and making responsible choices when it comes to meat and dairy. Websites like and can assist in your search for earth friendly, sustainable food. Changing life-long habits can be challenging. But living on a planet that has warmed one or two degrees due to greenhouse gas emissions may prove to be even more of a challenge.

Baltimore Greenworks By Jen Morgan, Staff Writer For most of us the holidays are over. The promise of a new year has set in and visions of removing those holiday sugarplums have taken over. Not so in my world. January 6th is Epiphany. Traditionally, Epiphany is the day you take down your Christmas decorations. While “the burning of the greens” is a long honored tradition, it definitely leaves behind some unwanted CO2 emissions we can all probably live without. While contemplating your New Year’s resolutions and organizing your “green” calendars, here are just a few events for you to look forward to: Come out for some laughs, music and great food as Baltimore Greenworks celebrates their 4th Annual Ecoball on March 16th at the Frederick Douglass –Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum. Enjoy local fare while watching culinary students from Stratford Culinary compete in the Ecoball’s Top Chef Competition. April 1st, April Fool’s Day, marks the opening day for the downtown Baltimore Farmers market. The market under the Jones Falls Expressway is no joke and reigns supreme as the city’s largest fresh market. Over 100 farmers are on hand bringing locally grown fresh foods into the heart of the city. There are currently 19 farmers markets in Baltimore City to

choose from, and countless others right over the line, so there’s no excuse for not going “farm to fork” to feed your family. April 21-28th, Baltimore Green Works celebrates the 9th Annual Baltimore Green Week in 2012, which will be in full swing for Earth Day, April 22nd. This weeklong series of programs focuses on promoting environmental awareness and best sustainable practices in and around Baltimore. Ecofest, voted one of Baltimore’s top ten festivals by Baltimore Magazine, kicks off the week on Saturday, April 21st at Druid Hill Park. There is a lot more to look forward to; dare I say more than your calendars have room for… The Sustainable Speaker Series, Ecoball, Trash Bash, Berry Festival, Green Drinks, Tour du Port, Tour dem Parks, and Green Forums – brought to you by Blue Water Baltimore, CSBA, Tree Baltimore, Great Kids Farm, Parks and People, Baltimore Green Works, Bike Maryland, Sierra Club, Power in Dirt, Living Classrooms, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Station North and more. As you contemplate your resolutions for the New Year, I hope some of your considerations are green. I wish all of you a very Happy New Year and to my friends and family. For more information on Baltimore Green Works and how to get involved with Green Week or Ecofest:

February/March 2012 •


A is for Apple and Squash Gratin


A Sweet One Dish Wonder INGREDIENTS


2 - 3 cups butternut squash, roasted or boiled 1 tbsp olive oil 2 onions, sliced 1 tsp dried thyme 2 cups apples, sliced 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated 1/4 cup bread crumbs Salt and Pepper to taste (use whatever winter squash is available) (about 1 ¼ cups)

1. Mash up squash. Spoon a good 2 to 3 cups of the squash into the bottom of an oven safe casserole dish. 2. Add olive oil to a skillet and sauté onions over medium heat. Add thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Stir onions and cook over medium heat for 7 minutes. The onions should be caramelized. 3. Add the onions on top of the squash. 4. Layer apples on top of the onions. 5. Add the grated cheddar cheese and bread crumbs to the top of the dish and add up to 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. 6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until the cheese is melted and

a little browned on top. Let it cool for a moment or two when you take it out because it will be very hot.


First female pastor in Baltimore Presbytery retires after 38 years Catonsville resident celebrates last service Jan. 8 at Hope Presbyterian Church in Arbutus By Brian Conlin (Contributer)

Cherry Marshall doesn't remember much about the first service she celebrated as pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church. Who could blame her? After all, it was nearly four decades ago. A Catonsville resident since 1996, she will likely remember the service on Jan. 8, though, as it marks her last before retiring. "I'm the right age," the 66-year-old said about why she chose to retire. "I think 38 years is a long time. Time for them to have new leadership." When Marshall accepted her position at the Arbutus church on Shelbourne Avenue in 1973, one of the few things Marshall remembers about her first service were the television cameras stationed around the church attempting to get a glimpse of the first female pastor in the Baltimore Presbytery. "When I was ordained, there were less than 100. Now it's over 4,000," Marshall said of the number of women pastors in the country. "It's changed a lot in my tenure." Though the number of women serving as pastors has increased, the congregation she serves has largely remained the same.

Travelwear By Jenna Swartz, Staff Writer

By Gregory Schaefer

I highly recommend you double (or quadruple) this recipe because people will tear into it and it will be all gone in a flash.


"These people are my friends," Marshall said. "It's hard to leave. Somebody said I grew up with them, and they grew up with me." Marshall recalled the first baptism she ever performed at Hope Presbyterian Church came only a few weeks after she arrived in Arbutus after serving in Hagerstown for three years. That day, Marshall baptized Cindy Shreve. Shreve called Marshall a "second mom" and that's why she waited and waited to get her 3-month-old daughter, Bailey, baptized this past Christmas. "We actually had a lot of babies born in our church in the last few months, and we wanted to make sure we had the last (baptism)," said Shreve, who married her husband, Michael, six years ago. "It was just a really big and special time," said Shreve, a Wynnewood resident. "It just means so much that I started off Cherry at the church and Bailey sort of finsihed off." Farrell Maddox saw Marshall's connection with her congregation when he arrived in 1993 to serve as a temporary choir director. The church asked Maddox to stay, he said, and 18 years later, he can still be found playing the organ at many of the church's 11 a.m. services. For Maddox, the 35-minute ride to Marshall's church from his home in Joppatowne is worth it, even though another Presbyterian church with a pastor he likes is only five minutes from his home. "She lives the life she teaches to others," Maddox, 53, said. "Working with her with

weddings and funerals, she just brings comfort to everyone." Maddox said when his father, Farrell Sr., died about 12 years ago, Marshall provided him comfort as he went through the difficult time. "She was there as we needed her," Maddox said, noting she often provides the same service to people not affiliated with Hope Presbyterian Church. "When you're in a difficult situation and she appears and prays with you, you just feel comfort." Maddox said seeing Marshall go will be sad, but he is also excited about the addition of Pastor John Kazanjian from Kenwood Presbyterian Church in Overlea on Feb. 1. Marshall said she is unsure of what she will do with her new found time off, but that the Presbyterian church often puts pastors in interim work after retirement. She added that she would like to continue ministry. Marshall's final service certainly wasn't a goodbye. She went out in style with a party thrown at Snyders Willow Grove Restaurant on Hammonds Ferry Road. More than 250 friends, family and members of the Presbytery signed up to attend. Days before the event, Marshall noted she was thrilled with the number of people attending but kept her eye where it's been for the past 38 years. "I wish they were all coming to church, but they have their own churches to go to," she said with a laugh.

Can’t figure out what to wear on trips? Your travel attire should be easy to manage, wear, and wash, without making you look like a blatant tourist. Your attire can affect the kinds of interactions you have. Avoiding the tourist look can lead to a more authentic experience and reduced chance of theft.2 Research the typical dress of a specific region before you go so that you’re not a prime target for pickpockets and can blend into your new environment. Your goal should be “…to walk the streets and become part of the cultural landscape…try not to disrupt it with bright, white tennis shoes and fanny packs.”2 Opt for a lightweight messenger, worn across your shoulders. That way, you’ll be aware if anyone tries to snatch your purse.3 Large zippered interior pockets in jackets are also ideal for passports, tickets, and money. Steer clear of suggestive, revealing pieces, especially in destinations where this is not the social norm. Avoid T-shirts with vulgar or offensive images or words. Bright colors and exotic patterns might work at home, but they could advertise your tourist status when traveling.4 When you’re deciding what to wear to the airport, focus on ease. Many airports now use full body metal detectors, so don’t wear excessive jewelry and highheeled shoes unless absolutely necessary. Save these accessories for your arrival instead. Avoid clingy, binding clothes and select an outfit with movement. Prepare a “travel day” outfit—use it on the day you depart and wear it again the day you return. Over-packing leads to unnecessary fatigue, crankiness, and vulnerability on your trip. Make every article count—bring clothing that that can be easily layered and accommodates changes in temperature and weather. Pack pieces that complete a number of different outfits such as black plants, a classic pair of jeans, a simple cocktail dress, and white or neutral sweaters, tees, and tanks. Dark neutrals work well with distinctive accessories. Lightweight, quick drying knits and cotton blends are easy to wash in hotel sinks and won’t take up much room in your suitcase. Skirts are a great option in more tropical environments.1 If you’re heading to a rainy climate, buy an inexpensive umbrella and raincoat when you arrive. It’s one less thing you have to pack, and you can discard them before the trip home. A light weight scarf is a great staple, providing warmth and doubling as a quick cover-up. Wear walking shoes for changing terrains. Cobblestone streets, steep hills, or long walks to the transit system are more surmountable in shoes that don’t give you blisters. Padded foot beds, EVA insoles, and rubber soles all provide cushioning and ease fatigue. Have fun with your attire, but don’t go overboard packing. Today’s active wear, athletic shoes, and casual clothes blend a chic sensibility with comfort—a combination that never goes out of style. 1. 2. 3. 4.



Special guest - Ravens Super Bowl Champion Quadry "The Missile" Ismail

Benefitting the Edgewood Boys and Girls Club

16 • February/March 2012


Angelina Jolie’s ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’ Film puts focus on victims in Bosnia By Peter Suderman - Special to The Washington Times


Zana Marjanovic (left) and Boris Ler play characters caught up in the war in Bosnia “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” directed and co-written by Angelina Jolie, refuses to spare its audience or its characters. A grim twist on “Romeo and Juliet” set amidst mass rape and ethnic cleansing in the Bosnian war of the early 1990s, the film is part parade of war-crime horrors, part harrowing melodrama. It’s hard to watch, but Miss Jolie’s vision of social breakdown and affectless barbarism is so powerful that it deserves to be seen. When the movie opens, Bosnia is at peace. A young woman named Ajla (Zana Marjanovic) goes on a date with a soldier named Danijel (Goran Kostic) at a local club. They flirt. They smile. They dance. And then a bomb goes off. Suddenly, their whole world is over.

When we next see Ajla, it’s four months later. Her apartment is raided by Serbian soldiers to brutal effect. The men are machine gunned; the women are taken off to a work camp to serve soldiers and be raped. For roughly the next hour, Miss Jolie offers a cold, precise, sometimes shocking chronicle of a world wrecked by atrocity: forced relocations, mass shootings and random killings. Degradation and humiliation (old women forced to strip so soldiers can laugh) mixes with unspeakable horrors (shallow graves packed with bodies and filled in by bulldozers). After a while, it becomes hard to tell the difference — which seems to be part of the point. The only salvation in the midst of all this


Sister Citizen By Melissa Harris-Perry Reviewed by Arlene Almas , Contributor Ms Harris-Perry, professor at Tulane University, is well known to those who follow the elite, liberal media. She is a regular contributor to Nation Magazine and MSNBC where she will begin airing her own show Feb 4. Sister Citizen is a comprehensive, highly focused exploration of the "intentional misrecognition of black women" throughout history and today. The model she uses is the crooked room, taken from field placement studies where a subject is put in a room with crooked walls, floors, furniture and told to find the upright. Obviously, the visual cues will make this most challenging or, perhaps, impossible. Ms Harris-Perry's style is warm, conversational and inviting in spite of the fact that she is describing a particularly heinous set of judgments. Three streotypes dominate the misrecognition: The hypersexual Jezebel, the self sacrificing Mammy, and Sapphire, the angry black woman. Basing her conclusions on many academic studies, focus groups as well as literature and current events, she pres-

ents a convincing argument within a polemic that is educational, not necessarily blaming. An additional stereotype, the strong black woman, is now emerging. Based on the achievements and successes in all areas of endeavor--business, political, educational, entertainment--black women must now contend with allowing themselves to feel vulnerable, in need of help, finding suitable partners, all part of the human struggle, but a threat to the self imposed strong image. Ms Harris Perry seems to be saying "proceed with caution; standing in the crooked room is an ongoing process and must be attended to with inner resources to keep the upright in view." I highly recommend this book as a tool for understanding and exploring the never ending search for what it means to be a human being.

is that Ajla ends up at a work camp run by Danijel — who offers her his bed, and a measure of protection. The two end up in a damaged romance — eventually a sort of hostage marriage. Their relationship, which makes up the core of the film, is marked by fascinating ambiguities. Is Ajla genuinely attracted to Danijel, or merely accepting the comparatively easier life he offers? Is Danijel — who at one point looks ready to take his own turn with the captive women before recognizing Alja — a monster or a savior? The movie makes clear that the Serb forces to which Danijel belongs are responsible for the bulk of the atrocities, yet it sometimes seems to sympathize with Danijel and some of his men. It’s a movie about evil, but not villains. Miss Jolie, whose directorial style seems influenced by an older, slower, more intentional school of filmmaking, has the sense to let the questions play out, amplifying the ambiguities

rather than explaining them. “In the Land of Blood and Honey” is the rare political movie that puts its characters first. There are few lectures, and little in the way of political history or context. In the closest thing to a political debate, Danijel defends his side, weakly, by arguing that their campaigns are “politics, not murder.” The movie, however, is long on murder and short on politics — perhaps the only reprieve the audience gets.


Director Angelina Jolie consults with DP Dean Semler during filming

February/March 2012 •



Beauty Resolutions By Kathleen Novak, Staff Writer

New Years Day many of us make our resolutions; a pact with ourselves to improve some facet of our lives. Why not make a beauty resolution this year? Choose to change one (or a few) of your negative beauty habits and you will not only look better, but you will feel better too. I Will Get Regular Hair Trims Split ends look awful and can make hair unmanageable. Regular trims help hair to feel healthier and will turn your locks into the shiny, voluminous hair you dream of. If you are growing your hair out and are scared of losing some length, experts say that trimming off your dead ends makes hair grow faster. Having dead ends puts your hair at risk of breaking, preventing growth. If you vow to visit your salon at least once every three months your hair, and your hairdresser, will thank you. I Will Remove My Makeup Before Going To Bed This is, in my opinion, the number one beauty mistake women make. I know the story- you are too tired and can’t imagine taking the time to wash your face. Stop making excuses and think about this. Every day you slather foundation on your face, swipe your lashes with mascara and powder your nose multiple times. You sweat. You touch your face. Environmental factors like smog stick

to your skin as you walk around the city. When you turn in for the night and lay your unwashed face down onto your pillow, you are pushing all of that makeup and grime right into your pores. After a few nights of this routine, you will wake up to blackheads and pimples. Take two minutes at the end of your day, grab a cleanser, wash everything off and you will wake up with refreshed, glowing skin. For the super lazy (myself included) you can pick up a pack of pre-moistened face cloths at your local drugstore to keep on your nightstand. These cloths are packed with cleanser and will whisk away dirt and makeup with ease. Simply swipe the cleansing cloth over your face, no rinsing required. I Will Drink More Water Seventy percent of our body is made up of water. Without it we are dehydrated and sluggish. Our skin becomes dry and our complexion can become sallow and dull. Keeping hydrated by swapping your soda for water will keep your skin supple and plump. In addition, water will flush out any toxins that are lurking around your body making you feel like a million bucks. I Will Get More Sleep Beauty sleep is so important, yet so many of us take it for granted. On average, Americans are only getting six and a half hours of sleep each night. Experts agree that in order

to fully recharge, we should be sleeping at least eight hours. Busy schedules are often to blame. I am certainly guilty of staying up way past my bedtime, relishing in precious “me time” after my children are in bed. The cost is high though, since I am usually tired and sluggish the following day. Start your resolution by getting into bed one hour earlier than usual. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Studies have shown that people with consistent sleep schedules are better rested than those without. Getting enough sleep at night will keep you alert and you will find it easier to breeze through your day. I Will Stop Biting My Nails Nubby nails have you down? Put a stop to this nasty habit pronto! Not only does nail biting cause sore fingertips and ragged, bloody cuticles, it increases your risk of infections around your nail bed. Getting regular mani-

cures could curb this habit. Your desire to nibble could decrease once you see your freshly painted nails. Or pick up a bitter tasting nail polish at the drugstore to coat your nails with. One taste will remind you to stop biting. Making a beauty resolution may not seem important, and focusing on you is something that many women do not do. Remember that in order to take care of other things, whether it is your children, your job or your pets, that you must feel your best to give your best. When you are down or exhausted, other things in your life become out of balance which can make you feel worse. Promise yourself to make a positive change in 2012 because true beauty comes from the inside. When you feel beautiful you will look beautiful! Happy New Year to you!


Fashionably Green By Jewel McFadden, Staff Writer

All that glitters is not gold, or green for that matter. Nancy Atkins and Mary Savoca are hoping to do something about that. The mother-daughter team founded Nancy’s Gone Green, an environmentally-friendly online boutique based in Framingham, MA. Nancy and Mary first embarked on a green path by shopping at local flea markets and vintage clothing stores. After acquiring an impressive array of secondhand garments, they began selling pieces from their personal collections. The twosome quickly became eBay favorites to style seekers. Reeling from a high demand, Nancy decided to launch NancysGoneGreen. com in 2008. In addition to pre-owned items, the virtual boutique sells all-natural cosmetics, accessories and shoes for women and children- all of which are easy on the earth. According to Technical Textile Markets, a quarterly publication providing market data for modern-day textile industries, demand for man-made fibers such as polyester has nearly doubled over the past 15 years. The manufacturing of polyester and other synthetic fabrics requires large amounts of crude oil and processing techniques that involve harmful chemicals such as hydrogen chloride which are emitted into the air and water. When selecting new products to retail, NGG looks for organic, sustainable or recycled materials. And because the method used is just as important as the end product, they also examine the seller’s production process to make sure

there is little environmental impact. “…We believe that caring for the earth includes caring for the people who inhabit it. We’re committed to only buying from sweatshop-free companies who pay fair wages. Our mantra is green and fair…we promise that the companies we work with are fully committed to the environmental and fair labor movements. They’re motivated by so much more than profits – they want to change this industry for the better,” says NGG’s website. The term is called “fast fashion,” and society pays a high price for cheap fashion. In modern times it’s the norm to produce mass clothing quickly to capture current trends in fashion. The unfortunate result is not just the lack of emphasis on quality, but also unfair labor. The Clean Clothes Campaign sat down with garment workers in China where they described the pressures of fast fashion. “We have endless overtime in the peak season and we sit working non-stop for 13 to 14 hours a day. It’s like this every day – we sew and sew without a break until our arms feel sore and stiff.” Wal-Mart and other mega-retailers have been accused of exploiting workers with inhumane working conditions and insufficient wages. Mary admits that due to their ethics and standards, NGG may not be your cheapest option, but they are trying to be your best option. Nancy and Mary See Style, Page 25

18 • February/March 2012


Co-Ed Sports Teams By Erin Hart, Staff Writer Sports leagues outside of college are becoming more popular, especially coed teams. From little league to college, the opportunity to play sports with the opposite sex has been available, but not as easy to find as today. With the computer generation, it is as easy as an online search to find a local coed team in your area. A lot of colleges have intramural coed teams, as well as after college adult coed social leagues. One league close to Baltimore is Baltimore Sports and Social Club, (BSSC) which offers many coed sports year round played in the Canton, Fells Point, and Federal Hill areas. Some of the games offered are softball, kickball, dodge ball, and football. Mike Cray, founder of BSSC, runs all coed sports in his league. “I am running 6,000 players a week in the fall and one-third of them are women,” says Cray. His league offers many team options to join and the local bars have partnered up with the club to offer game day beer specials. You must be 21 and older to join BSSC. It gives women and men a chance to get together once a week and play a sport they may not have thought they would be able to play with the opposite sex and enjoy a social get together after the games at the bars.

Susan Dael, a 24 year old Canton resident, plays dodge ball for BSSC. “I joined the dodge ball team because it’s a great way to meet new people in the city and it’s a fun way to get a little exercise that is fun and enjoyable after a long day at work.” When many of us think of dodge ball we think of guys throwing balls as hard as they can at any one that is in their way, but with coed it is a little more relaxed, yet still challenging. “Now that I am older and have played in all girls sports my whole life, I prefer to play coed sports. It is a great experience for guys and girls to meet and do something different than just meeting and going out to bars,” Dael said. Being older and playing sports that are not offered throughout grade school and college gives everyone motivation to play as tough and competitive as they can, yet still have fun and not take themselves too seriously. Scott Mooney plays coed soccer in Virginia. When asked if he plays just as competitive with women as he would in an all guys league he said, “It depends on the sport and type of situation. I would play a guy harder in an all guys league, but I would rather play coed because it is about having fun and not

just winning, but I do play competitive with women.” From the short time he has lived in Baltimore City he has found himself wanting to join the leagues and saw that it is a great way to meet new people and play a game he may not have gotten a chance to play. Mooney joined a team that has been playing together for three years. They welcomed him with open arms and have gained COURTESY OF BSSAC WEBSITE/MIKE CRAY friends from playing every Saturday An increasing number of women are proving that they with them. They make sure each are a force to be reckoned with on the sports field girl gets enough playing time and we have a lot of fun as well. in coed sports in today’s generation and are While watching some of the footmore important to the team than one may ball games this fall, a lot of the touchdowns think. From coed to professional sports, scored have been by women; evidence that women are making a big impact. According not only do they take the game seriously, but to the American Association of University that they can do as much as men can on the Women timeline of women in sports, in 2011 field. In the football games they have a gender Yani Tseng, 22, from Taiwan, became the rule, which means if after so many passes a girl youngest player - male or female - in the hishas not gotten the ball, the quarterback must tory of golf to capture a fifth major title with throw to a girl. It allows for a fair game and her win in the Women's British Open. The gives women a chance to show off their skills. Los Angeles Dodgers named Sue Falsone as Shawn Rodriguez, a coed football player likes head athletic trainer-physical therapist, the the idea of the gender rule. “Yes, it's a good first woman to hold that position in major idea to make it fair that the ladies get guaranprofessional sports. From around the world teed plays coming their way. However most of to Baltimore women are proving their right the girls that do play in BSSC, at least would to take part in sports. Try something new and see the ball because they are good enough to show the coed sports world what you got, you get open and can hold on to the ball.” never know where it will take you! Women are becoming more recognized

February/March 2012 •



Choosing the Best Vehicle for Carpooling With Kids Features and Options You Need for Babies Through Teens Reviewed by

Parents have a lot to consider when they shop for a vehicle, even more so if they'll be driving for a school carpool or have a large family. More than a third of the Edmunds editors have "been there, done that" — or are still doing it, so we know a thing or two about schlepping pint-size passengers, whether we're bringing them to day care, school, the mall or the soccer game. The first rule of thumb for choosing any car is always the same: Separate what you want from what you truly need. And it's here where many parents fall into the trap of buying more car than they require. Below are what we consider the most important criteria for choosing the best vehicle for carpooling with kids. We're looking primarily at larger cars that can carry six or more people. SAFETY FIRST Any car you carry kids in ought to be super safe. Smaller cars, which won't have three rows of seats anyway, are likely to lose out any on-road battles with larger vehicles. Truck-based SUVs have a higher risk of rollover, the deadliest kind of crash; plus, they're not particularly fuel-efficient. We prefer crossovers (a.k.a. car-

based SUVs) or the old, reliable minivan for the job of transporting kids. Look for cars with comprehensive safety features and excellent crash test scores — particularly in side-impact crashes, the kind most likely to injure backseat passengers. Also look for rearview cameras, excellent visibility front and rear, and good stopping distances. Note that all vehicles sold in the U.S. will be required to have electronic stability control — a critical safety feature — as standard equipment by 2012. Volvo, Mercedes and other luxury vehicles tend to be standouts for their safety technology, but high-tech safety features are trickling down to mainstream brands as well. THE CASE FOR SPACE There seems to be an unwritten rule that the smallest children require the biggest cars, if only because the sheer amount of gear required to sustain these tiny tots (play yards, strollers, etc.) fills the largest of cargo holds. Also, the myriad safety and comfort features built into today's child safety seats (car seats) have made them ginormous and cumbersome, requiring lots of second-row space. If you've ever had an elementary-school student with a

rolling backpack try to get past a strapped-in toddler in the second row, you know just what we're talking about. Look for plentiful cargo space, second-row legroom and sliding second-row seats. Minivans, such as the top-rated Honda Odyssey, are still the most practical choice here, but there are plenty of other options, particularly crossover vehicles. For those who want a smaller minivan that's fun to drive, less expensive and a cinch to park, the Mazda Mazda 5 is an alternative, but it doesn't yet have traction or stability control. Look at to make sure your car seats will be compatible with the car you're considering. CONVENIENCE IS KEY Parenthood begins as an all-night marathon, progresses through weight-lifting (as the kids get bigger) and ends up a juggling act. So anything that makes daily commutes easier is a gift. Look for easy entry and exit (this is where midsize crossovers pale in comparison to minivans) and captain's chairs that allow you to access the third row. Flexible seat configurations, such as the Chrysler Town and Country's Stow 'n Go system or the Ford Flex's power flip-fold second row can dramatically smooth the daily carpool routine. When carting kids, some of our favorite convenience features include the Flex's optional rear-seat refrigerator (great for after-school refreshments); the integrated center booster cushion in the Volvo XC90's second row that quickly reverts back to regular seating duty; cargo wells behind the third row for stashing packs and book bags; and conversation mirrors that let the driver keep an eye on rear passengers. Anything that helps you avoid juggling keys while getting the herd home — power rear hatches, push-button and/or remote start — can be a huge help. Minivans' with powered sliding door options make them one of the best choices for their segment, as they make just about everything easier with younger children. DIRT HURTS With calls of "Here, Mom," small children turn adults — and their cars — into garbage receptacles. Cheerios, food wrappers and crayons end up between the seats and ground into the floor mats. Not only is it thrilling to live with, it's pretty clear when a car's been badly trashed by kids, lowering its resale value. We're still waiting for automakers to build in somewhere convenient for all that garbage — and a


Minivans are hard to beat when it comes to space, convenience and practicality box of tissues. To keep your carpooling ride intact, look for darker, stain-resistant fabrics, or leather, which is easier to clean. Often optional, washable cargo areas and rubber floor mats can save your car's carpets, and you can never have enough cubbies to corral small items, such as in the Dodge Journey. FOR OLDER KIDS AND TEENS If little kids need space fore and aft, those long, teenage limbs require more vertical and side-to-side space. Teenagers can also become picky about what car they'll be seen in and what they'll do when they're in it. If you still have the car you bought when they were in high chairs, you're probably ready for a change as well. Look for third-row headroom, legroom, and hiproom (check the specs on Edmunds for measurements). Experience whether it's easy to climb into and out of the rear, and see if you'd be comfortable spending a long drive there. Today's electronically oriented kids, with their tiny attention spans, have to be kept busy, or everyone suffers. Any rear entertainment system is good, but Chrysler's Video Entertainment System (VES) is the best rear-seat entertainment system hands-down, according to Edmunds Senior Technology Editor Doug Newcomb. "Rear passengers can listen to any audio source in the vehicle — CD/DVD, iPod, aux-in, music on a hard drive and AM, FM and satellite radio — on wireless headphones, as well as watch either a DVD or Sirius Backseat TV." Also high on his list is the Family Entertainment DVD system in Ford vehicles. Chrysler's Town and Country/Dodge Grand Caravan features an optional table in the back that, while cramped, allows for gameplay inside the vehicle.

Small steps lead to big blessings Small Steps, from page 10 resisted its mental tugs on your psyche? (i.e. impulse buying at the checkout; internet shopping; your daily stop at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s) If you resisted even once, then that counts as a new beginning. So how can you train yourself to look for the positive sides of your life? • No stinky thinking – Nix all your negatives: thoughts, words, deeds. Write them down if you have to. Get them out of your head and replace with positives. • Pat your own back – Congratulate yourself often. Recognize your own milestones be they

large or small. • Surround yourself with positive material – self-help books, motivational talks, uplifting sermons from church. Whatever lightens your spirit and de-stresses your mind. When you’ve booted your negatives out the door, it’ll be easier to begin anew with positive thoughts and actions. Then you’ll be dancing and singing in your Pointer Sister voice too. Self-Help Reads • In the Spirit – Susan Taylor • Acts of Faith: Daily Meditations for People of Color – Iylana Vanzant • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey • You Can Create An Exceptional Life – Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson

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New Year’s Resolutions! By Aileen Gabbey, Staff Writer, Executive Director, MDSPCA We all look to the New Year as a fresh start and chance to set resolutions for ourselves. It can be exciting! Our pets may even be motivators to keep us on track! Many resolutions revolve around diet and exercise. It can be challenging to maintain discipline, especially around holiday time! Our pets do best when we are consistent with their diet and activities. We can do the same for ourselves! Feeding our pets at set times and an amount is ideal for their health. Even though they often like rich people food (and beg for it!), it’s best not to give in for the sake of their well-being. Even though we’re very busy these days, setting a determined time for meals is a way to keep us, and our pets, on track with our diets! Finding time to exercise is hard nowadays. We all have so many responsibilities and obligations. Having a dog is a wonderful way to make time for walking. Dogs love going for walks with their owners and it’s always fun to see their happy faces as you

stroll the neighborhood. Depending on the dog (and the walker), you could even speed up to jogging! For those without a dog in the home, there are other ways to keep New Year’s resolutions. Many of our fantastic volunteers at the Maryland SPCA come to walk the dogs in our adoption center. Not only does this benefit the animals in our care, it is also enjoyable and beneficial to the walkers! It is a chance to do something for homeless animals and feel good while doing it, too! Adoption is also a great way to give a needy pet a home and start a new walking routine. Puppies like Hannah need exercise and can be great company on walks. Adult dogs will likely require less activity. Adopting a pet is also a way to reduce your own stress. Studies by the American Heart Association find that owning a pet can lower your blood pressure. Talk about win-win! 2012 is a great time to take on those resolutions – good food, fun exercise, helping others, and maybe even a new four-legged family member!

Winning the battle against SAD SAD, from page 7 This can cause our biological clocks to be out of ‘step’ with our daily schedules”.3 Additionally, our bodies produce a hormone known as melatonin, which is linked to sleep and several symptoms of depression. This hormone is produced at heightened levels in the dark. Our bodies react as if the sun has disappeared forever; we find ourselves out of balance and fighting our hormones.3 Perhaps all we need is to convince our bodies that months of glorious sunshine is soon to come. But how do we do that? Effective treatment is available for severe cases of SAD. Light therapy is an available method which imitates natural sunlight with a gradual sunrise in the early morning and a calming dissolving of light in the evening.4 Normal indoor lighting does not have the same effect as light therapy, thus the purchase of a light box specially designed for SAD is your best bet. They come with different features in many shapes and sizes, and can be found at various internet retailers and drug stores. Spending time outdoors is the best thing you can do. Soak up as much sunshine as you can by going for an early morning walk before your day begins. During the day sit

near a window and open your blinds to let as much natural sunlight in as possible. Round up some co-workers and eat lunch outside. It is worthwhile to give your body fresh air and natural daylight for a few minutes during your day. Simply being outdoors improves attitude and has a therapeutic effect. Getting into a regular schedule helps bring balance and consistency to our jumbled winter bodies. Try to plan your day out the night before (don’t forget to include morning outdoor activities.) Strive to wake up and fall asleep each day within the same half-hour, to get your body on a predictable sleep cycle. Finally, talking to a therapist is always a great idea to help work through the difficulties of any depression and manage its effects. SAD is a battle, but there are ways to conquer it. In life we do our best with whatever we face, yet it is comforting to know we can always count on spring and summer to brighten things up a bit. 1. 2. seasonal-affective-disorder-sad-topic-overview 3. melatonin-overview 4.

Harford Land Trust Announces “Campaign to Preserve Our Lands” Harford Land Trust is seeking broad community support for its mission with a fundraising initiative timed to coincide with its 20th anniversary

Timed to coincide with its 20th anniversary in 2011, the Harford Land Trust (HLT) announces the launch of its three-year “Campaign to Preserve Our Lands” which is designed to increase awareness and raise funds to further land preservation in Harford County. While the campaign was officially launched at HLT’s annual meeting in March 2011, according to Harry Webster, president of the nonprofit’s board of directors, the initial phase of the campaign solicited donations exclusively from current members and donors. During this “quiet phase,” several generous gifts were made to the HLT, including one substantial donation that was matched through 100 percent participation by the HLT board of directors. Now, HLT is kicking off the next phase of its campaign by reaching out to the general public for support. To date, the HLT has raised $60,000 towards its end goal of $250,000. Says Webster, “It is the goal of the HLT to become the citizens’ institution that keeps giving… from next month through hundreds of years from now, when sensitive watersheds, natural open space and agriculture are threatened. During an era of historic growth and expansion in Harford County, this campaign will position us to be successful in protecting these irreplaceable natural resources.” Organized in 1991 by local residents, the HLT joins over 52 other land trusts protecting land throughout Maryland. The HLT provides Harford County landowners, private and public, resources and tools to help them conserve their land and protect the natural resources. To date, HLT has helped protect more than 10,109 acres, holds easements on 1,226 acres of land, and has acquired 204 acres for public use. The HLT has also provided technical and financial assistance to numerous other landowners who want to preserve their land, and is an active partner with other like organizations, assisting them in their preservation efforts.. The HLT is a volunteer-driven nonprofit, comprised of a board of directors and 500 members. There are several ways for Harford County residents to join in the HLT’s efforts to protect and preserve Harford County’s agricultural and natural landscapes, including becoming a member or volunteer, making a donation or sponsoring its Campaign to Preserve Our Lands. For more information please visit www. or call 410-836-2103.

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Tips on How to Develop a Working Budget By Angeline M. Huffman, MBA, CPA, Founder/Owner HFS Associates Developing a working budget can be challenging, but it is well worth the effort if you want to take charge of your spending and save more money for the future. The key here is the term “working”. A “working” budget is one that is realistic and one that you can commit to following. Tip One: Find out how you are currently spending your money. Assemble all of your bills, bank account statements and credit card statements. List all of your fix regular expenses such as a car payment, car insurance, rent, etc. These are the expenses that are the same month-to-month. You will find this information on the bill itself or on your bank statement from when you paid the bill. List the monthly expenses that receive only one monthly bill, but tend to fluctuate monthto-month, such as your gas and electric or telephone bills. Determine a monthly average for these types of expenses. Add up at least six months of your gas and electric bill and divide that number by six to get the monthly average. This information should also come from the bills or your bank statements. Now examine your bank statements and credit card bills for all of the other spending you do. Break the spending up into various categories, such as gas for the car, eating out, groceries, entertainment, etc. What categories you use does not matter as long as those categories make sense to you. Once you have your categories, add up your spending for those categories. Tip Two: Pay yourself first Decide how much you want to save for future spending (retirement, buying a house, replacing the TV) before you create the rest of your budget. If you save these items for last, there will never be enough left over for them. Making savings your priority instead of an afterthought increases your ability to have savings. Tip Three: Be realistic about your spending Let’s say you discover you’ve been spending $800 a month on groceries. Don’t create a budget that allows only $200 a month for that expense because it is unrealistic; unless you’ve been throwing out $600 a month of food or have been feeding all of your neighbors and decide to kick them out of your refrigerator. Tip Four: Have a plan for spending cuts You decide to spend less money on gifts and set a budget of $3000 for gifts a year when you’ve been spending $5000. Plan it out. List all of the people you want to give gifts to and which occasions you will give them. Then, budget for each gift so that the total of gifts given adds up to your annual gift giving budget. It’s easy to say you’ll only spend $3000 in gifts this year, but it’s also easy to spend all of the $3000 throughout the year before Christmas and then need to choose between giving no Christmas gifts or risk going over your budget. Tip Five: Assume costs will increase Assume your car insurance and rent will in-

crease or gas will see another sharp spike. Build these assumptions into your budget. It’s much easier to keep your budget if you expect gas will go up another $1 per gallon rather than budgeting for a 25 cents increase and the cost of gas actually increases 50 cents per gallon. Tip Six: Be realistic about your income Do not assume you will receive a raise this year. An employer has no obligation to give you a raise each year, or to give you as much of a raise as you may have received last year. Do not add overtime or bonuses into your income unless the amounts are guaranteed by a contract. Both of these types of income can vary greatly and cannot be depended upon. However, have a plan for how you will save or spend overtime pay or a bonus in the event you receive any. Maybe you want a new TV, but saving for one just doesn’t fit into your budget right now. Put the TV on your “If I Get Overtime or a Bonus List.” But don’t buy the TV until the money is in your hand. Tip Seven: Track you budget as you go Creating a workable budget is a waste of time if you don’t track your actual spending. For example, your entertainment budget is $200 for the month. Then on the first Friday of the month you go out with some friends to the movies and spend $50. On Saturday morning you minus this $50 from the $200 budget and know you have $150 left for the month. Track each category this way daily or weekly so you can make sure you are keeping to your budget. Don’t wait until the end of the month to see if you kept to your budget. There are many budget and personal finance software programs and apps available today you can use to help you track your spending. Or you can simply use pen and paper. The “how” is not as important as following through with making sure you are keeping to your budget on a daily basis. Tip Eight: Be flexible A working budget is not written in stone but adapts to your changing needs. You may find you don’t really need $600 a month for groceries now that you are being more careful about what you are buying. It’s okay to change the budget to reduce grocery spending and allocate it elsewhere. You’ll need to make similar adjustments if one of your categories requires more funds. For example, your company transfers you to another location (without an increase in pay) that requires you to spend more on gas. You’ll need to increase your gas budget and decrease another category to keep your budget working. Developing—and following—a working budget will take effort and several modifications, but is well worth it. You will gain control over your spending which will help ensure a bright financial future.


WomanWords... “I don't remember much from that horrible day, but I will never forget the trust you raise in me to be your voice. Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover.” ~Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announcing her resignation


Buyer beware Cash for Gold Scams By Erin Frost, Staff Writer, Senior Editor Consumer scams are not a new concept. Though statistics are difficult to ascertain due to many people not reporting being scammed, over the decades, hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting people have fallen victim to predator’s shady ventures and empty promises. According to The Better Business Bureau, senior citizens are the most targeted population when it comes to the business of scamming because of many factors; seniors often have “nest eggs” which are attractive to con artists; often times scams go unreported because the older population doesn’t know where to report it to or they are simply too embarrassed to report it; seniors are highly susceptible to popular scams that promise better health cures, improved cognition, etc; and finally, due to failing memory and varied education level, many in this population are thought to make poor witnesses to scam crimes. With an ever-sluggish economy still brooding in 2011, tried and true scams continued to run rampant and new scams emerged in record amounts. Among the most prevalent reported were check cashing scams, the infamous Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Sweepstakes scam, mortgage relief scams and perhaps most sadly, a new batch of online employment scams, as the country hit an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent as of December, 2011. Particularly during tough economic times, people will seek alternative ways to add income to their households, so for this writer, it comes as no surprise that the infamous “Cash for Gold” business skyrocketed in 2011. The concept is indeed remarkable; for just a few cents in gas or the few moments of time it takes to seal the convenient no postage necessary envelop, one can hand over unwanted gold and silver which is just collecting dust in jewelry boxes. In return, they are promised a prompt check for their valuables. At least that is what many of these companies want and successfully get you to believe. An article published in The Consumerist in 2009 was one of the first to shake up the Cash for Gold business. A former Cash for Gold employee offered a tell-all confession about the scamming training she received the first day on the job. None of the employees were jewelers with professional appraising training. They used magnifying glasses, weight pads and other general household supplies to appraise the jewelry they received. Their insurance policy covered consumer’s packages (sent by UPS), but only up to $100; often much less than the actual value of your pieces. It was not unusual for packages to be “misplaced” or “lost” by the postal service; thus, many consumers received their $100 insurance check, when in actuality they had mailed hundreds or more in jewelry. The company would then sell your “lost” jewelry for top dollar elsewhere. And of course, more times than not, the consumer’s idea of what their precious items are worth was much lower than the check they received. This employee reported some consumers receiving checks as little as 10 cents for an abundance of gold. As often happens, when victimized consumers would then contact customer service to complain, they received the run-around by already trained and expecting customer service reps. Cleverly, these reps were taught to ask the irate consumer how much they were expecting to receive. Since many consumers did not do their research, even the numbers they threw out were much lower than what their jewelry was worth. The reps would then place the caller on hold, telling them they were speaking with a supervisor (this did not happen) and then come back on the line and offer the consumer around three times more than the original check they received. Unassuming and often desperate consumers would often take this bait-and the rep would get a bonus for their diligent and successful job well done. Consumers that did not take the amount offered often times had to pay a $10 or more shipping fee to receive their items back, which could take a month. Sometimes they never received them at all. That company has filed a retaliation suit against this employee citing defamation and there is an on-going investigation. This is one example of how fraudulent companies operate. The horror stories are endless. Another popular practice for some of these companies lies within their check See Cash for Gold, Page 23

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Facebook Timeline 9 things you need to know By Mark W. Smith, Detroit Free Press Facebook's long-delayed massive overhaul to user profiles, dubbed Timeline, is finally available for all of the social networks more than 800 million users worldwide. Timeline, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg first showed off in September, is a complete rethinking off a user's profile page. It attempts to use the data already inside Facebook as a sort of digital scrapbook. Facebook users can now easily scroll back to previous years and see what they were saying and what they were doing. For some, this will be a nostalgic trip through a social network that has captured much of who we are. For others, it will be a bit terrifying to see posts from the early days of Facebook, when it was limited to college students who often shared way too much. Here's a look at nine things to know about the new Facebook. THERE'S A SEVEN-DAY REVIEW PERIOD Once upgraded, Facebook users will be able to work through their Timeline and get things ready before it goes public. During the seven-day review period, the Facebook user will be able to publish it at any time. If he or she chooses to wait, it will automatically go live after the week is up. YOUR COVER PHOTO IS YOUR CHANCE TO MAKE A SPLASH The most striking feature at the top of the new Facebook profile is the cover photo, which stretches across the page's width. The Facebook user's profile photo, which is seen across the site, is now just a small square. Most are using this opportunity to make the profile photo a simple face shot and have used the cover photo to show something more personal, like a pet or favorite vacation spot.

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NO NEW INFORMATION IS BEING SHARED Yes, Timeline is bringing back a bunch of old posts. But these posts have long been viewable on Facebook. Before, a friend would have had to go to a profile and click again and again for more posts, but would eventually travel back in time. YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS ON OLD POSTS WILL REMAIN A post shared four years ago that was set to be viewable to just friends will continue to be viewable to just friends. The only concern here lies in how a user's definition of friend has changed. A photo or status update that in college that was OK for friends might not be OK for friends now, which might include coworkers. POSTS CAN BE EXPANDED Timeline already tries to guess which of your posts will be the most interesting and it makes those viewable. It can try and guess here by how many likes or comments a post has received. If there is a post that should be expanded and is not -- like a new job or college graduation -- you can expand it. THE ACTIVITY LOG IS THE BEST PLACE TO EDIT A TIMELINE Facebook has built a very helpful new page called the Activity Log, which can be accessed from a profile page, that shows every single piece of content Facebook has from a user. Each item can be deleted or tweaked from this page. FOR YOUR EYES ONLY If there is a post in your Timeline that you don't want to zap completely from Facebook, but don't want anyone to see, you can change the post's visibility to "Only Me." USERS CAN ADD OTHER LIFE EVENTS Facebook is hoping that users flesh out their Timeline with information from B.F. (Before Facebook), too. Anything added to the Timeline can now be given a date. So, if a user uploads an old photo from summer camp, he or she can set the date to June 1995 so that it appears chronologically in the Timeline. THERE'S NO SENSE IN HOLDING OUT Facebook Timeline will eventually go live for everyone on Facebook, whether or not the user has taken the time to prune and optimize the Timeline view. It's best to be proactive and make sure what people will see is what should be seen.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about Timeline during the f8 conference in San Fransisco.

February/March 2012 •



Minimize Your Student “ thousands of scholarships go unclaimed by students Loan Amount ” because they aren't promoted as widely as others like Pell Grants

By Heather McCubbin, Staff Writer

Americans have student loans averaging $34,400 for the class of 20101 (combining student loans and loans parents took out for their child's education) and many recent graduates are struggling to make payments. According to during the 2011-2012 school years, the average public four-year college costs $9,000 a year, while a private four-year college can cost $36,000 a year. Recent graduates face a lean job market, and have the potential for heavy debts, so what are some money-saving options for a college bound student? Look locally first. The average cost for a 15-credit community college semester would cost about $2,000 for a county resident, not counting books. The same 15-credit semester would cost $22,000 at the University of Maryland, if you were a Maryland resident and stayed on campus. Looking at the numbers it may make sense for an undecided major to start with a community college. When considering where to go, how to pay for it, and how much to borrow, those looking at the four-year college path need

to consider the potential job opportunities and salaries available for their chosen major. While it may be difficult for an 18 year old to think that far ahead, differences in salaries have a huge impact on the ability to afford the student loan payment. A social work major who amasses $30,000 in student loans may not find a job that will enable them to repay their student loan. Bob GianninoRacine, CEO of ACCESS, suggests a debt ceiling, or maximum total loan amount, of $45,000 for someone who plans to earn a degree in one of the Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) fields or $35,000 for liberal arts majors.2 Care also needs to be taken when choosing your four-year college. According to a segment on National Public Radio, there is a difference between various kinds of colleges and the amount of debt the average student has after four years.3 Private college can offer grants and other tuition saving opportunities, so don't limit your search to just public four-year colleges. In addition to tuition, a student should

investigate scholarships available by the colleges they are applying to. Thousands of scholarships go unclaimed by students because they aren't promoted as widely as others like Pell Grants, sports or academic scholarships. Are you an expert duck caller? Can you draw and do you love Dr. Seuss? These are just a sampling of some of the scholarships that offer $1,000 to $10,000 for the student. A Google search for "weird unknown college scholarships" will list hundreds of quirky, free money ideas. Looking locally also works for scholarships. Many local chapters like the Lions or Rotary Clubs offer smaller scholarships, $500-$1,000, so these may get fewer applicants.4 When you begin the loan process, Paulette Anders, a consultant for College Vision, has the motto, "Online by Valentine." Fill out your federal loan forms online by February 14th of your senior year. Even if you think your salary is too high to qualify, you should still fill one out. The Federal Student Aid website: will give information about qualifying, the

different types of loans available and how to apply. When researching private loans contact the college's Financial Aid office and get their "Preferred Lender List". The average rise for tuition is 8 percent for in-state public college students and 4.5 percent for private colleges. It pays to look into every avenue you can to cut down the amount of your student loan. Bill Symonds, Director of Harvard-based Pathways to Prosperity Project offers real-world advice. "If you go to a four-year college and get a degree and can't use it in the labor market, you're not getting much of a return on that investment."5 Lewin, Tamar. The New York Times. November 2, 2011. Available at: average-student-loan-debt-grew-by-5-percent-in-2010.html. Accessed on: November 15, 2011 2 Dell, Kristina. I Owe You. Time Magazine, October 31, 2012, vol. 178, No. 17: 41-44. 3 Abramson, Larry. College Students' Borrowing Hits An AllTime High. November 3, 2011. Available at: http://www.npr. org/2011/11/03/141951756/college-students-borrowing-hitsan-all-time-high. Accessed on November 14, 2011. 4 Goff, Lisa. 5 Overlooked Sources for Scholarships. Good Housekeeping. overlooked-college-scholarship-sources Accessed on December 6, 2011. 5 Dell, Kristina. I Owe You. Time Magazine, October 31, 2012, vol. 178, No. 17: 41-44. 1

Do your research to avoid a scam Cash for Gold, from page 21 delivery method. Many will tell the consumer upfront to watch diligently for their check to come in the mail and warn you to cash it right away because there is a small window to do so; after that window, the check will be useless or there is a short amount of time allotted for the consumer to get a refund should they disagree with the amount of the check (10 days for example). These companies purposely delay sending out the checks, so that by the time the consumer receives it, there is not enough time for them to send it back and reclaim their items. The companies can simply state that they have no control over the postal services. Consumers who are savvy enough to fight that particular company may receive an insurance check but it is always much less than the value of their jewelry. Either way, the company makes out. This is not to say that there are not reputable gold selling companies out there. There are many and as a consumer it will behoove you to research the company before utilizing them and place stock in word of mouth reporting. Additionally, there are helpful tips that can be followed prior to safeguard against being scammed. Before selling your gold, know its current market value. Websites such as are great resources that generate the daily value of gold and silver by ounces, grams and kilograms for you. Local jewelers are also

a great source to defer to for jewelry value and most will appraise it at no cost. Once you have an idea of your jewelry’s value, researching different companies should be the next step. Consider first how long the company has been in business. Businesses operating for at least 5 or ten years will most likely have earned a decent reputation and will not risk it by scamming consumers. Contacting or searching the Better Business Bureau is also helpful as they keep record of the best and most fraudulent companies. Choose to deal with only BBC accredited companies who have at least a B rating. Reputable companies will have Websites. Scrutinize them as much as possible. Read carefully the company’s buying and selling policies, including their pay out schedules and insurance policies. Gather pertinent information such as their address and phone number and check to make sure the address exists and the phone number listed is operational. Do not utilize a company that only lists a P.O. Box or doesn’t have a working number listed. Finally, consider using a gold refinery instead. Since their overhead is nil, they pay top dollar for your gold and silver and because they are an LLC business, they have to be listed with the BBC automatically and follow federal and state guidelines designed to protect consumers. The research needed to find reputable companies may take a little more time but in the long run it will protect you and your assets.

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ASSR NETWORKING: Generosity has its own rewards!

By Ann Hosmer, Team Management Specialist, Building Winning Teams

Try it some time. Ask this question and see what you get for a response: What is the best way to network to get the right clients for my business? The methodology and quality of the results can vary according to the type of networking you are doing. Know what target market you want to reach. If you want to meet entrepreneurs, you must go where entrepreneurs congregate. Regardless of the venue, what is most important is how you ask. Here are a couple of easy guidelines to make the experience of networking most rewarding. Question #1 - What do I say when I first meet someone at a gathering? Instead of shoving a business card in their face and talking about yourself, show an interest in them: Hi, Jane. I haven’t had a chance to meet you yet. My name is Ann Hosmer. Tell me about your business. Allow them to freely talk while you listen without interrupting. Then ask, what is the best kind of referral for you? Or, who would you most like to meet? (Such as accountants, property managers, or even the name of a certain influential person you know, but they do not.) Be quiet and listen for as long as they want to talk. Once they finish, the Law of Reciprocity will kick in, and they will respond in kind: So, now tell me about your business. When it’s your turn to share, present your “elevator speech” in a few sentences, emphasizing the RESULTS your clients will gain—ASSR—Always Sell Specific Results! I help the solo entrepreneur earn a lot more money by outsourcing tasks that are preventing them from earning all they can, to a virtual team—things like being their own bookkeeper, webmaster, and marketing department—freeing them to maximize their income by seeing more clients. Or, how about this approach? By working with me, the small business owner can reduce employee turnover, increase the quality of customer service, and reduce overhead by 40 – 60 percent. I provide tools and strategies to get you out of people management, and your team united behind your vision. ASSR---Always Sell Specific Results! Question #2 – Where are some great places to network besides business breakfasts, lunches and happy hours? Let’s look at a source you may not have considered. What’s happening that’s fun in your communities? Fundraisers, that’s what! Ever gotten those glossy brochures in the mail advertising a certain party or gala? Check out the color photos. Who is attending this event? Are any of the attendees’ prominent people in your town? Who might they know that you should also meet? To whom could they introduce you? Their CEO, maybe? Perhaps the board member who is the Comptroller for that organization sponsoring the fundraiser is a CFO for a major corporation in your town. What worthy cause would you like to generously support? Being there and giving generously activates the Law of Cause and Effect, also called the Law of Giving and Receiving. Activate the Law of Giving and Receiving In order to receive what we want, we must freely and unselfishly give something first. Giving opens the channels for receiving—many times more than what we have given. When we experience those times when money feels tight, guess what? By giving freely and unselfishly to someone or to a cause we love, we tend to break that pattern and start the flow of money toward us. Most importantly, for this law to work in our life, giving is not limited to money. Our gifts of goods, services, and our time will also generate the flow back to us. Consider volunteering with an organization that is delivering a service that gets you excited. Who else is volunteering that you could develop a relationship, and later collaborate in a joint business venture? Become visible by joining a non-profit board and helping them with a key talent of yours such as accounting, public speaking, fundraising or mentoring new entrepreneurs. Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore is certainly a good example of an organization that I would highly recommend. A Word of Caution Whatever your choice, don’t be someone whose primary goal is meeting people to convert to clients. Roll up your sleeves and get involved. As you do, please remember, the quality of the contacts you make while volunteering will be in direct proportion to your level of commitment to service in that organization. How you give of your time and resources will directly reflect how others perceive the way you conduct your business. Happy networking! Ann Hosmer is a Team Management and Communication Specialist for Building Winning Teams. You may contact her by email at with SUCCESS STRATEGIES in the subject line, or by phone at 410-752-3437.

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February/March 2012 •



Mayor urges city residents to 'pitch in' to improve Baltimore Rawlings-Blake sworn in for her first full term By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun In her inaugural address, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake exhorted Baltimoreans to "pitch in and do their part" to improve the city and draw new residents despite economic challenges. Speaking in a light rain outside City Hall, Rawlings-Blake, 41, urged residents to draw inspiration from civil rights leaders of her parents' generation to summon a "sense of urgency and collective sacrifice for a greater purpose." "Citizenship is an opportunity and a duty in which everyone contributes to and benefits from a greater good," she said. "When we come together with a collective spirit of urgency, our people and businesses, empowered by self-determination, will transform our city." Rawlings-Blake's husband, Kent Blake, held an umbrella as she spoke. Several dozen elected officials joined her on the stage in

front of City Hall, including two who had challenged her in the Democratic primary for mayor — State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh and Clerk of Court Frank M. Conaway Sr. Conaway administered the oath of office to Rawlings-Blake, as is customary. Rawlings-Blake, who was elevated to the mayor's office in February 2010 after the resignation of Sheila Dixon as part of a plea agreement to settle criminal charges, was sworn in for her first full term. She said she aims to attract 10,000 new families —- or about 22,000 residents — to the city in the next decade. "A shrinking city simply cannot stand, but a growing city is the center of a creative and stronger society," Rawlings-Blake said. "This work is the urgent work before us. It begins in earnest today — right now." Students from the Morgan State University band, City College and the Baltimore School for the Arts performed at the cere-


At her inauguration, the mayor makes a plea for "collective sacrifice for a great purpose" mony, which was attended by more than 100 city workers, community and business leaders and members of the mayor's family. Kimoya Henry, an honor student at Western High School, Rawlings-Blake's alma ma-


THEINVISIBLE HOMELESS By: Orie Frazer, Staff Writer We all are aware of the homeless. We see them on the street or holding a sign. Some of us give food or money, and others dismiss them as beggars. They come from all walks of life, and I’m sure many have a storied past of grandeur, and yet another set of events that led them to become part of this marginalized segment of society. Did you know of the many stories held in the hearts and minds of America’s homeless include those of war, mental and physical trauma, being a courageous defender of America, and possibly an abandoned child of the same? Did you know the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) estimates up to two of every ten homeless is an American veteran? In June, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimated in its 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, there were 1.6 million sheltered and 650,000 unsheltered homeless persons in the U.S. during the previous 12 months, for an estimated total of 2.25 million homeless. It was reported that 78 percent are adult, 38 percent are women and 37 percent are disabled adults. Due the transient history of veterans, earlier Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and United States Interagency Council on Homelessness data estimates the nation’s homeless veteran population to be 23 percent with approximately five percent of the homeless veteran population being women. Presently, these statistics translate in numbers to approximately 518,000 homeless veterans, with approximately 26,000 female veterans in shelters, or sleeping on the street over the course of the year. In my discussions with individuals over the years, many people don’t think of veterans when they think of homelessness, and even fewer

think of women when they think of veterans. The VA has introduced a special initiative to end veteran homelessness. It provides services to veterans at risk for or attempting to exit homelessness. The program includes the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans Hotline, for veterans and their families to address issues confidentially with counselors 24 hours, 7 days a week at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838). Another VA program is the annual Winterhaven Homeless Veterans Stand Down. This event brings VA services and community agencies together to provide a day of support for homeless veterans in the areas of health care, employment, education and housing. Stand downs are held across the country and provide one-stop assistance to the veteran. They will also be able to enjoy a hot meal, haircuts, receive personal care kits and donations of warm clothing. The VA has 1620 facilities across the nation, including Alaska and Hawaii to answer questions and aid homeless veterans. Go to A FEW LOCAL SHELTER AND MEAL FACILITIES ARE: DC Hypothermia Hotline: 202-399-7093 House of Ruth: 202-667-7001 St Stephens Church: 202-232-0900 (meals) MD Shelter Housing: 1-888-731-0999 The Shepherd’s Table: 301-585-6459 (meals, Silver Spring) ALEXANDRIA, VA Meade Memorial Church: 703-549-1334 (meals) I hope many readers will be inspired to action to help address this issue. If you desire to become involved in this area of critical need, NCHV suggests you align yourself with others combating this issue, make a donation to your local homeless veteran provider and contact your elected officials to discuss what is being done for homeless veterans. To all you ladies and fellow veterans, please seek out and utilize services available to aid you. You can go into any VA or social services facility to inquire about assistance, medical care, food and shelter. I wish for you bright futures!

ter, urged the mayor to "always shine your light brighter." "This way you will be true to the Western motto, 'We have received light, let us give forth light,'" Henry said.

Sensible Style Style, from page 17 promise to keep at least half of their inventory priced under $50. Better yet, if you see an identical product selling for less on another site, NGG will beat that price by 5 percent and “…the price tag you see reflects real value. Higher prices translate into spectacular design, lasting quality, and impeccable environmental standards. Always.” One of many beautiful finds you can uncover in the NGG boutique is a secondhand vintage Gucci scarf, made of 100 percent silk. NGG gives you a taste of luxury for just $46. Similar scarves bought directly from Gucci’s online retailer will set you back over $300. Other great brands NGG features are Global Girlfriend which helps women gain economic security by providing a market for their handmade goods. Urthbags is a fan favorite which offers one-of-a-kind handbags made from recycled and biodegradable materials such as seashells. When you buy any product from NGG you will notice that consideration for the planet is not forgotten down to the very last step. All items shipped out to customers are in recycled shipping materials and minimum packaging to reduce waste. The stylish pair is part of a movement that recognizes the desperate need to protect the earth that gives so much back. NGG says its mission is simple- “to make our world a little bit more beautiful, every day.”

26 • February/March 2012


Women are Backbone of Reconstruction Following Chilean Earthquake By By Gloria Wormsley, Contributing Writer The catastrophic Chilean earthquake of February 2010, which measured an 8.8 in magnitude and is thought by NASA to have thrown off the earth’s axis by three inches, claimed over seven hundred lives and displaced fifteen hundred Chileans whose homes (and livelihoods) were destroyed. The quake brought with it sizable aftershocks and fastmoving tsunami waves that hit nearby islands before petering out in Hawaii. In capital city Santiago, Chileans were paralyzed by fear; just miles away, now homeless citizens slept under the stars, using the flames from nearby decimated buildings for warmth. The loss of life and the damage to Chile’s infrastructure left President Michelle Bachelet declaring a state of catastrophe, calling the earthquake, “one of the worst tragedies of the past fifty years.” And--as always--women and the poor were hit the hardest. An information sheet released by the Pan American Health Organization in 2001 reveals that in the days after disaster, women are among the most vulnerable populations in the aftermath of a disaster. Global priorities are rarely in women’s favor, and they have less access to social media, transportation, education, and healthcare--all crucial safeguards in the days after a catastrophe. Because of gen-

dered divisions of labor, women are often shunted into jobs with less economic security than men, and women are responsible for children and other domestic duties that shackle them to one location, making it difficult to travel and find work. With men migrating and women alone, women are more likely to become victims of sexual or domestic violence; desperate circumstances increase aggression and violence, and women become the target. In the days after the earthquake, affected areas became militarized zones, and eyewitnesses recall the soldiers, slung with rifles and sent to “restore public order,” with fear and discomfort. No statistics exist regarding sexual violence towards women in the aftermath of the disaster, at the hands of these soldiers or otherwise, but Natalia Flores Gonzalez, of Chile’s Gender and Equity Watch, reports that, “reproductive healthcare almost disappeared, and government authorities were not concerned.” Despite these setbacks, Chilean women mobilized after the quake. They set up soup kitchens, cleared debris, and participated in some rebuilding; several women’s NGOs quickly organized solidarity movements. However, despite the call to get Chile back on its feet, the country’s resources were both insufficient and allocated incorrectly. The government’s response to the crisis left women almost en-


A family gathers around the destruction that was once their home in Constitucion, Chile tirely out of its game plan. Though community centers hosted talks with psychologists and provided emotional support, they did not respond to women’s on-the-ground needs, such as contraceptives or sanitary pads, and women suffered unwanted pregnancies and restricted access to medicine. Much of the female-led activism was extremely localized, and took place outside of the government’s purview. Leaders emerged, but they were not unified, or operating under official directives, with cohesive economic plans. In June 2010, several NGOs and the Christian Humanism Academy University hosted a seminar on “Women and Earthquakes: Building Cities/Citizenships.” Over 100 female leaders attended. For some, it was their first chance to meet and discuss reconstruction efforts--a sad comment on the efficacy of the Chilean government’s response to disasters in general and women’s issues in particular. Building broader alliances has been an enormous boon

for these women, and for Chile’s reconstruction efforts. However, these women still have a long way to go. At the time of this writing, reconstruction is lagging, and President Pinera, who took over for Bachelet in March 2010, calls Chile’s current economic situation a “siesta” period (compared to the “Chilean miracle” of 19881998, during which the country flourished). And in a 2010 speech at the Brookings Institute, Pinera acknowledges that part of the reason for this siesta is his country’s treatment of women. He freely admits that women have restricted access to education and job training, due in part to the fact that they are expected, first and foremost, to stay with their children (until at least a certain age). Until Chile includes women’s issues in its national agenda, it will be extremely difficult for the country to snap out of its “siesta.” And if it doesn’t? Chilean women will continue to live a nightmare.

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