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Grand Rapids|Holland|Grand Haven

APRIL 2020










Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10th!

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April 2020 Edition #265


PUBLISHER Two Eagles Marcus


Alice Jasper Color Out Here

Elyse Wild


Andrea Wallace: Renaissance Woman



Everyday Athena



Inspired Voices Podcast

Elyse Wild


Pushing The Boundaries Of Beauty, One Drag Show at a Time


Artist Profile: Kara Murphy


Eirann Betka-Pope Creates An Inclusive Comedy Scene



Theresa Mosley: Love At First Braid

Devin DeMond


Mod Bettie Offers Empowerment Through Photography


Jocelyn Yost Kayla Sosa Kennedy Mapes Megan Sarnaki Michelle Jokisch Polo




Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council


Kate Sage, DO


A Beginner’s Guide To CBD


Recognizing And Treating Migraines


Coronavirus Resources


Ask The Doctor: Hormone Replacement Therapy


Potential Effects of Ozone Pollution on Your Health

Lindsey Tym Steve Lasater, MD Vonnie Woodrick PHOTOGRAPHY Kevin Huver Elyse Wild Two Eagles Marcus SALES sales@womenslifestyle.com (616) 951-5422 CALL


Where Can I Get Takeout?


Time-Saving Kitchen Shortcuts That Don’t Sacrifice Quality

(616) 458-2121 EMAIL info@womenslifestyle.com

8 10

Turning Your Side Hustle into a Full-time Gig

Grand Rapids, MI 49534


Minnie Cumnock Blodgett & Nursing History


Accepting Change, Even When It’s Difficult


Smart Saving Strategies


To a Friend Who’d Like Mail


The Family That Cleans Together: Tips from a Professional Organizer

44 4

DIY Projects To Conserve Energy In Your Home

3500 3 Mile Rd NW, Ste A

To extend an uplifting, inclusive and vibrant invitation to enjoy life, every day, in our community.




IN MEMORIAM Victoria Ann Upton Founder 1955 - 2018


Reader’s Lounge


Alice Jasper, Program Manager, Good for Michigan. Photo by Kevin Huver Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

OUR COMMUNITY CARES Need to smile? We hope these messages of love, humor and inspiration help brighten your day. We’re so grateful to everyone who stepped up to make the Community Cares video possible! After all, we’re all in this together. Now stop waiting and go check it out. #834CommunityCares

Kim Bode, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Val Lego, Deb Minton, Stacie Behler, Alli McDonough, Dr. Adrienne Wallace, Chris Andrus, Tami VandenBurg, Jason Dodge, Jennifer Jurgens, Shelby Reno, Laura Traxler, Drew Veach, Becky Puckett-Wood, Luke Moord, Tommy Allen, Amy Knape, Danielle DeWitt, Jaime Counterman, Carey Bisonet, Lauren Stanton, Amy Byler, Brian Calley

W W W. 8 3 4 D E S I G N . C O M Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020


From the Editor


’ve lived in Grand Rapid my entire life. I remember when going downtown could only mean going to a concert or play, and, in my family, dinner at The Schnitzelbank. The city is the setting of some of my most cherished memories: performing Kung Fu with my dad at Festival of the Arts; sharing eggs florentine with my mom at Cherri Inn; proudly attending my grandmother’s art shows at Terryberry Gallery at St. Cecilia Music Center; sitting next to my grandpa at Civic Theatre, just the two of us, watching a performance of Camelot; watching the sun rise in the quiet morning hours to illuminate the city as my night shift ended at Butterworth Hospital, where I worked as nursing tech another life ago; watching my best friend get married under the celestial, tower ceiling of St. Andrews Cathedral; joyfully and shamelessly dancing at shows at The Pyramid Scheme with my now husband; and sitting across from Victoria Upton at 800 Monroe Ave when she said, “When can you start?” and offered me the job as the editor of this magazine. Victoria exposed me to those in our community who work on behalf of everyone to make it a better place. I have spent years telling their stories to inspire others, and I am honored to continue to do so.


It is difficult to come to grips with everything that has changed this past month and even more with what is to come. The change brought upon by coronavirus has been sweeping, sudden and painful. I have been proud to watch our city grow into one in which dining is exciting; I ache for the restaurant’s owners and employees who are out of work right now. Our city’s small business community is a marvel to me, as many thrive while trying to help underserved communities reap the benefits of business ownership; my mind balks at the idea of our community without them. The pandemic has rendered our daily lives and our city unrecognizable. But, while we may be forced apart, we are bound more than ever. While we share in the grief for what our lives were, we also share in the hope of what is ahead. We share in the humility and joy of giving and receiving as we reach to each other to meet our basic needs and care for the most vulnerable among us. This astoundingly difficult moment is unveiling the totality of our connection to one another. Over the past several weeks, we have covered the development of COVID-19 in West Michigan on womenslifestyle.com, from local people whose actions during coronavirus will inspire you to free educational resources for homeschooling to ways in which you can find joy during shelter-in-place and how to support firstresponders who are on the front-lines of this historic pandemic. I am proud that we have launched the first-ever Women’s LifeStyle Podcast, Inspired Voices. Each episode features a revealing interview with a community leader or expert who offers their insights into the pandemic and shares how it is impacting their lives. And, for the first time 22 years, we are publishing digitally instead of printing. It is with a deep love for our readers and profound investment in our community that we will continue to provide coverage through various channels in the digital spaces we all suddenly find ourselves in. For over two decades, we have taken great pride in connecting our community; and it is that pride that spurs us forward to continue to connect you to opportunities, resources and each other as we navigate uncertainty together. We are here for you. We hope you and your family are safe and healthy. Warmly,

Elyse Wild, Editor

Women’s LifeStyle is a dynamic multi-media platform designed to make beneficial connections in our community. The positive, upbeat, award winning and popular locally owned publication is supported by a dynamic mobile friendly online presence and an interactive website, as well as friendly, helpful and consistent social media interaction with the community. Women’s LifeStyle is favored by an active, engaged and progressive audience. You are now looking at the 265th edition. All content ©Women’s LifeStyle, Inc. 2020.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

For This

Exact Moment

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

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ome renovation projects can pay numerous dividends. Renovations can have a positive effect on resale value, make homes more livable for residents and, in some ways, make homes more affordable. Renovation projects that aim to conserve energy can save homeowners substantial amounts of money. Such projects don’t often require considerable effort or even sizable financial investments, which can make homeowners skeptical as to just how much they

COURTESY OF MCC can save after completing the project. But the scale of a project may have little to do with how much homeowners will save. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy notes that a relatively effortless task like turning back a thermostat between 7° and 10° F for eight hours per day can save homeowners as much as $83 per year. A more labor-intensive task like planting shade trees saves homeowners an average of between $35 and $119 per year.

When looking for ways to conserve energy around the house and save money, homeowners need not necessarily commit to expensive projects. The DOE notes that the following are some energy-saving projects and details what homeowners can expect to save after completing them (below). While each individual project may not result in jaw-dropping savings, homeowners who follow many of these recommendations may end up saving more than $1,000 per year.

Even the smallest DIY projects can produce big savings. More information about energy-saving home improvement projects can be found at energy.gov. INSTALL EXTERIOR LOW-E STORM WINDOWS.

What is it? Low-e windows reflect infrared heat back into a home. Such windows are coated with an ultra-thin layer of metal that improves the window’s insulation ability. How much can I save? Homeowners who install low-e windows can save between 12 and 33 percent on their annual heating and cooling costs.


What is it? Air leaks let cool air in during winter and warm air in during summer. Caulking, sealing and weather stripping all cracks and large openings can cut back on air leaks that are costing you money. The DOE recommends hiring a contractor to seal any leaks on heating and cooling ducts. How much can I save? Homeowners who seal uncontrolled air leaks can save between 10 and 20 percent on their annual heating and cooling bills.


What is it? If you plant a deciduous tree between six and eight feel tall near your home, it will begin to shade your windows within a year of being planted. Depending on the species of the tree and the home, the shade tree will begin shading the roof within five to 10 years. The DOE notes that shading is the most cost-effective way to reduce air conditioning costs. How much can I save? Properly planted shade trees can reduce air conditioning costs by anywhere from 15 to 50 percent.


What is it? New water tanks are likely already insulated. But homeowners with older hot water tanks can insulate their tanks with a water heater insulating blanket kit. How much can I save? Insulating a water heater tank can save homeowners as much as 16 percent on their annual water heating bills.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020


Learn & Do



orking for oneself is an idea sown deep into the fabric of American life. The United States is one of the most entrepreneurial cultures in the world. However, for most it’s far easier to talk about taking the leap from working for others to working for yourself than actually doing it. In a 2018 study sponsored by Vistaprint, while 62% of Americans wanted to own their own business, only 14% considered it a realistic goal in that year. It’s a scary proposition to leave the security of a steady paycheck and a narrow set of decisions to dive into a world where not only is the income uncertain and totally dependent on you, but you are the decider-in-chief for literally everything. This issue is very personal to me, as I’m in the process of retiring from a company where I’ve spent more than 25 years to pursue writing, consulting, and non-profit work. While I usually interview others for these articles, this time around I’m “interviewing” myself. The first question that came to mind is how do you deal with the uncertainty and fear?

THE FIRST STEP: KNOW YOUR WHY There are few things in life as compelling as a person on a mission. Knowing the reason you are doing something, with crystal clarity, provides motivation and determination when times get tough. According to Guidant Financial, the top three reasons people decide to launch their own businesses are as follows: • 26% wanted to be their own boss • 23% wanted to pursue a passion


• 12% wanted to get away from the corporate environment

or shopping on the healthcare exchanges. Include these in your financial plan.

I’ve spent a long career in the corporate world with a great employer and have no regrets. The people I met and the opportunities it afforded me create a rich tapestry of memories that I’m grateful for. However, age and changing circumstances sometimes reorder our priorities.

• Develop a support system. While entrepreneurs wear many hats, they can’t be an expert in everything. Identifying advisors on certain topics will help you navigate challenges requiring more specialized expertise (such as legal, financial or technical) These advisors can include organizations such as GROW that have resources specifically targeted to small businesses.

This can happen gradually as kids grow up and begin to make their way in the world, or suddenly such as when a major illness strikes and you realize that the road ahead is not endless. I’ve experienced both in the past two years as my youngest son finished college and I survived cancer surgery in 2018. My “why” to strike out on my own was shaped by these circumstances.

THE SECOND STEP: DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE Once you know your why, it’s time to get to work. Thorough preparation will not only guide your effort but help you move forward with confidence. Some important steps in this journey are as follows:

In addition to the major financial and workday changes you’ll encounter, there is an emotional side to a change of this magnitude that you shouldn’t underestimate. To some, a job is part of their identity and their coworkers are an important social tribe. I’ve worked in large organizations my entire career. The potential for feeling isolated and unsupported is very real. Just as you should develop a support network of experts as part of your due diligence, an emotional support network is just as important.


• Make sure your business plan and financial picture are thought through. What will your monthly expenses be? How much of your former income do you expect to earn, from what client base? Over what timeframe? Get professional help if you need it and estimate conservatively. Ideally, you’ve been pursuing your side hustle for some time and you’ve got a sense of the work required to ramp up to full time if that is your goal.

West Michigan is known for its entrepreneurial ecosystem and there are hundreds, if not thousands of startup business owners who’ve all taken the leap. Connect with others, ask them questions and learn from them. Take advantage of all the different organizations and groups who host events for entrepreneurs and those currently working their side hustles. When you’re ready, you’ll know it.

• Ensure you plan for health coverage and other protections formerly provided by your employer. Healthcare options include moving onto a spouse’s plan

Joel Ombry lives in Grand Rapids Michigan and in addition to a corporate career writes about business, fitness, and politics.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

West Michigan COVID-19 Business Coalition The West Michigan COVID-19 Business Coalition is a collaborative effort by several West Michigan organizations working to provide resources, guidance, and businesses services to the employers and employees of our community that have been affected by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. Leaders from Experience Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Chamber and The Right Place, Inc. convened the coalition aimed at making critical information more accessible to all area businesses and their employees. Coalition members include Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (West MI), City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., Kent County, LINC UP, Local First, National Business League, Inc., Urban League of West Michigan, West Michigan Hispanic Chamber and West Michigan Works!


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020



After WWI, Minnie Cumnock Blodgett continued her work advocating for women in science and for public health projects. Upon her death from a heart attack in 1931, the 68-yearold Blodgett was memorialized in an extensive front-page article of the Grand Rapids Press. Neither that celebration of her life nor ours can offer more than a short list sampling her many contributions. She worked to found the Grand Rapids Clinic for Infant Feeding, led the Delos A. Blodgett Home for Children, and was appointed to the Michigan State Welfare Commission and the National Order of Public Health Nurses. As an effective advocate of the new science of birth control, Blodgett was also instrumental in bringing the pioneering Margaret Sanger to Grand Rapids to speak.


n 1917 as Americans prepared to enter World War I, worries about an impending nursing shortage abounded. Just how would American hospitals function when thousands of trained nurses shipped out for work on the front lines? Nursing leaders instituted a national recruitment campaign. But then another problem loomed large: how to train new recruits well enough and fast enough to meet wartime demands. Because nurses had been traditionally considered unskilled laborers requiring little medical training, American nurses had long campaigned for mandated professional standards. The nursing advocates who had emphasized the scientific and intellectual side of their profession could not now simply abandon their serious principles for wartime expediency. One solution to this conundrum was presented by prominent Grand Rapidian Minnie Cumnock Blodgett. As a trustee of her alma mater, Vassar College, she was in a position to contribute beyond the important donation, made with her husband John W. Blodgett, to build Blodgett Memorial Hospital. In June 1917, as chair of Vassar’s committee to plan the college’s contribution to the war effort, Cumnock Blodgett proposed an intensive summer program in nursing to be conducted on the campus grounds. Once endorsed by the Council of National Defense and granted $75,000 by the Red Cross, a “nursing boot camp” was begun. When they had completed a rigorous three-month educational program, graduates were dispersed to hospitals throughout the country to begin the practical portion of their training and to take over for nurses readying for deployment. Memorable in itself as a historic war measure, the Vassar Training Camp for Nurses had a continuing influence. Student nurses, including those training locally at the Blodgett and Butterworth hospitals, had struggled to balance necessary coursework with the demands of their hospitals. Cumnock Blodgett’s crucial contribution to nursing education was to separate theoretical training from the practical training received on the floors of hospitals. The Vassar Camp had proven a new strategy for structuring nursing education--one which prioritized nurses’ intellectual aspirations and pushed back against the perception of nurses as unskilled laborers. Blodgett herself described the program as “giving scientific value to the business of being a woman.” Confident in the success of her work at Vassar, Blodgett

ILLUSTRATIONS BY LIBBY VANDERPLOEG encouraged Grand Rapids nursing programs to partner with Grand Rapids Junior College for their students’ coursework, affording a learning environment wholly separate from the distractions of the hospital settings. In their separation of practical and theoretical training, both the Vassar program and the Grand Rapids partnership served as important precursors for the many undergraduate pre-professional programs that today still prepare students for the nursing profession. Both efforts owe their existence to the foresight and leadership of Minnie Cumnock Blodgett. Three years after the Vassar Training Camp had prepared over 400 women for nursing careers, alumnae convened for a post-war reunion. In the Vassar Chapel they memorialized their colleagues who had died fighting the Spanish Influenza. A second wave of this deadly plague had gripped the nation in the fall of 1918 as the First World War sputtered to a close. Worldwide, the pandemic took the lives of an estimated fifty million people--far exceeding the twenty million lost to the war.

GGRWHC’s programming to honor the 19th Amendment centennial has been interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. For now, please stay safe but celebrate with us virtually and in print! Visit the digital suffrage exhibit on our website (ggrwhc.org); follow our calendar electronically and in WLM; and stay tuned about August 26th: HER VOICE HER VOTE!


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

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Learn & Do

Accepting Change, Even When It’s Diff icult BY VONNIE WOODRICK


verything happens for a reason” was a phrase I heard much too often following the death of my husband. I knew people had good intentions, but that comment never sat well with me. I couldn’t rationalize many situations throughout my life, especially the reason as to why my kids had to grow up without their dad. The one constant in life is change; life is continuously bringing us to where we are supposed to be. Sometimes that change can be incredible and exhilarating, such as when we fall in love, move to a new place, start a new job or when we become a parent. The devastation of unexpected change can put you in a tailspin, leaving you not knowing which way is up, which direction to go or wondering how you will ever get through the pain. What do we do when we are sailing through life so smoothly, to suddenly meet a tsunami of change that cripples us emotionally, mentally and physically? How can one move through an unexpected announcement of divorce, financial devastation, watching a teen spiral downward? It’s at these times we question and are angered by the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason.”


Without change, there would be no growth.

were meant to live, even when it’s extremely difficult.

I think of the butterfly. In the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, the caterpillar is a homely creature that moves slowly into a dark and unfamiliar place. Yet, through time and change, it emerges as beautiful.

Most often, you will get through that difficult time, and you will grow in a way you never thought possible. It’s hard to see the light when things feel so dark, but chances are there is light surrounding you. There are others who can help you through. There will be a day when the change you experienced will shine a light on you; clarity will come when you recognize the lesson. You will pass the lesson on to help someone else who needed to learn from you.

When we are experiencing that dark and unfamiliar place as humans, it is difficult to see where the beauty will emerge, or even believe that it will. At times it may feel more comfortable to crawl into bed and snuggle up with a blanket than to accept the changes that have taken place. Those unexpected changes often bring us feelings of being uncomfortable, but butterflies that invade our stomachs with worry during those changes that are not meant to be controlled, but rather, accepted. Many of us don’t want to grow emotionally; we are comfortable just where we are. When our world is shaken, we have a choice to stay stagnant, to stay inside our cocoon and become the victim of the circumstance, or we can accept it. Accepting your situation and your life is the key to growth, healing and living the life you

It is important to accept the life you have been given, to go through the changes necessary, to carry yourself with dignity, and keep your head held high. I hope you will understand and perceive the butterfly as I do: change can be beautiful. Personally, I believe that everything happens for a reason, even though the reason may be very difficult to see at times. The unforeseen change does have a silver lining, a light at the end of the tunnel that brings much needed clarity to our ever-changing journey.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

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reverend vivian love kyle | INTUITIVE ANGEL READER Intuitive artist and counselor who channels messages from the angelic realm. Her clients receive insights and guidance from those entities and spirits with which they are surrounded. Vivian is a 5th generation medium who continues the legacy as teacher, spiritual counselor, and healer.

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eugenia marve | PSYCHIC • MEDICAL INTUITIVE • MEDIUM Awarded educator, workshop facilitator, Psychic over 45 years. Gives clients information about relationships, economics, health and those not present. International and national phone or Skype readings available. God is her foundation.


margaret newman nickelsen | PSYCHIC READER Over 40 years experience reading for people from all walks of life. Each reading is unique, personal, in an atmosphere of calm assurance. Margaret is a certified Spiritual Director. Your Divine Self guides your reading.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020


As with any financial matter, there’s no one “right” way to save.

Smart Saving Strategies


oney management and building long-term financial health is a careful balancing act between long- and short-term financial needs, and now is a perfect opportunity to re-examine your goals. People sometimes focus on short-term needs, making sure they can cover routine bills and living essentials. However, many Americans do not have the resources to cover an unexpected expense, much less save for the future. Data from the U.S. Financial Health Pulse shows that Americans are savings-constrained, over-indebted and underinsured. In fact, despite it being the longest period of economic expansion in modern times, 79% of Americans are not financially healthy, and many live paycheck to paycheck just to cover bills, rent and basic living expenses. As a result, 60% of households are unprepared for a financial shock, with 41% unable to cover an unexpected $400 expense without borrowing money or selling a personal item. This makes saving incredibly challenging, especially for many low-income households. “The data makes it quite clear that a significant segment of America is struggling to create a meaningful savings account, whether it’s intended as an emergency fund or a means of attaining a goal without incurring debt,” said Deborah Winshel, global head of social impact at BlackRock. Last year, the firm launched its Emergency Savings


COURTESY OF FAMILY FEATURES Initiative, a program designed to help people living on low incomes gain access to, and increase usage of, savings strategies and tools to help establish important safety nets. As with any financial matter, there’s no one “right” way to save. Individual circumstances require a customized approach to determine the best method to fit needs. In addition to traditional saving methods, Common Cents Lab, Commonwealth and the Financial Health Network are working with financial institutions and other enterprises on an initiative to create new and experimental programs that address the challenges many consumers face when it comes to saving money. If you’re not sure where to start, consider these options and consult with your credit union, employer or financial institution to learn more about the options available to fit your unique lifestyle and savings goals. Automated Savings. Often offered as an option through employer payroll, this approach allows you to designate a portion of your paycheck to be deposited in a savings account. Whether you choose to make it a flat amount or percentage of your income, it’s an easy method that allows you to consistently funnel money into savings with a one-time setup process. Round Up. Some financial institutions offer programs in which every transaction you make on your account, or perhaps just those made using your debit card, are rounded up to the nearest whole dollar. The difference between that whole dollar amount and your actual

purchase amount is then directed into your savings account. Prize-Linked Savings. Marrying the fun of winning prizes and a savings account, this type of program incentivizes personal saving by offering an on-going, risk-free chance to win a prize, such as additional cash, by making savings account deposits. Promising both security and opportunity (and perhaps some fun), the amount deposited by the account holder is never at risk, unlike lotteries and games of chance. Windfall Moments. When you receive a substantial amount of money from a source like a tax refund or a work bonus, it can be tempting to splurge on immediate needs or something fun, like a vacation. Allowing yourself to enjoy a portion of the money isn’t a bad idea, but you can also take advantage of the unplanned income as an opportunity to launch, or grow, your savings account. Collective Savings. Accountability is a common barrier to better saving habits, but when others are counting on you to contribute your share, there’s a greater level of responsibility at play. A collective savings account may be a good solution for a shared goal like a trip, special project or funding a special event for a loved one. To learn more about the savings problem and some of the work being done to help employees, customers, gig workers and students take essential steps toward longterm financial well-being, visit savingsproject.org.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

WHAT WE BELIEVE i understand suicide is an effect of an illness i understand mental illnesses are treatable i understand stigma is the #1 reason why someone would not seek treatment for mental illness; education and awareness are vital to saving and changing lives i understand reaching out to those who are suffering could save a life; let someone know you are available and treat them with respect and compassion i understand most people who are suicidal do not want to die; they want their pain to end i understand speaking out about suicide may empower others to share their stories i understand feelings of guilt are part of the grieving process on the way to finding peace and acceptance i understand those who die by suicide do make it to heaven

Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273.8255 If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.

CLICK HERE FOR COVID-19 SUPPORT iunderstandloveheals.org/covid-19

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020



Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

Color out here



espite growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Alice Lyn spent a lot of time outdoors, going on small hikes with her dad in Prospect Park, and camping on the weekends. Her connection to nature continued to grow when she moved to the Upper Peninsula to attend Northern Michigan University, a landscape and community much different than New York City. For Lyn, Grand Rapids is a happy medium, affording her the things she loves about living in a big city while being able to access outdoor recreation. She’s been here since 2015, serving as the Director of Sustainability for The Gilmore Collection and the Associate Program Director for the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance, and sitting on the board for the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. Lyn is currently the program manager for Local First’s Good for Michigan program and serves on the West Michigan Environmental Action Council’s Inclusion Development of Environmental Allies and Leaders Committee, which was created in 2013 to bring people together from underrepresented communities to fight environmental justice issues that tend to disproportionately affect marginalized groups. When she was working at the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance, some of her clients who worked for environmental organizations asked her to facilitate a workshop on racial equity. “I started to do more research into the reasons that there is a lack of diversity in the outdoors, and it was something that always resonated with me,” Lyn said. “In my experience and being outside, there are definitely fewer people of color than there are white people, and so just kind of learning more about the historical barriers as I was creating workshops for these clients, it really started to sink in with me and helped me feel like I wasn’t alone in feeling like I didn’t belong in outdoor recreation.” “Color Out Here” is Lyn’s most recent project and it unpacks this sentiment. As part of WGVU Public Media’s Shaping Narratives program aimed at giving people of color a platform to tell stories, Lyn and four others underwent a series of training to produce their own documentaries or podcasts for the Shaping Narratives series.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

“We each created our own individual media projects pertaining to things that we were passionate about and how they intersected with our racial identities,” said Lyn, who is biracial. “So I decided to pick diversifying outdoor recreation and what that looks like and also as a means of kind of building positive relationships for people of color and the outdoors because I feel like that’s a way to kind of help diversify environmental advocacy moving forward.” From the lack of diversity in early environmental activism to historical barriers, such as laws banning black people from owning land, there are a number of things that shape the way people of color have and continue to interact with nature. “Not more than a generation or two ago, black people would feel like if you go out in the woods, you might not come back,” said Lyn. “The term Redskins comes from people being literally hunted.” According to Lyn, transgenerational trauma can play a role in how young people feel about the outdoors. Color Out Here stars Lyn, along with a group of friends and colleagues, who take a trip to Idlewild, Michigan, a historic lakeside resort town where black people were allowed to purchase property and engage in recreational activities before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There, they go canoeing, attend a music festival, sleep beneath the stars, and confront their personal relationships with nature.

ALICE LYN EXAMINES DISPARITIES IN OUTDOOR RECREATION “I started to do more research into the reasons that there is a lack of diversity in the outdoors, and it was something that always resonated with me.” — ALICE LYN

The show is available on WGVU’s website, but viewers can stay tuned for more. “We are looking for funding right now, actually, to do a whole season,” Lyn. said.

Allison Arnold is a freelance writer and avid adventurer who loves hiking, traveling and trying new foods. She loves writing about food and culture on her blog, For the Love of Tacos.





hether it is up for discussion on media outlets or through word of mouth, you have probably heard of cannabidiol, or CBD. Though it has become a trend in recent years, you may still have some questions like what it is and why people use it, which is why we are going back to school. Do not worry, though. There will be no final exam. The homework has already been done because lucky for you, Janet Tombre, the managing director of The Grassy Knoll, a CBD retails store in Grand Rapids, gives us a beginner’s guide to CBD. WOMEN’S LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE: CBD has become

much more mainstream over the years. Give us a breakdown of what exactly CBD is and how it differs from THC (the main psychoactive compound in marijuana).

JANET TOMBRE: CBD is the natural extraction from the

hemp plant. It has all the medicinal parts to it, but none of the psychoactive elements like the marijuana plant. You can’t get high off a CBD product. THC is the one that gets you high. CBD is the one that helps. We have

what’s called an endocannabinoid system, and CBD locks into those endocannabinoids and tells our body how to heal. WLM: What is the difference between CBD and

hemp oil?

JT: Hemp seed oil is the oil from the seed rather than the oil from the flower. The hemp seed oil does not have the same medicinal effect as CBD. It’s a good oil. You can still use it and cook with it like olive oil, but my biggest thing is to educate people on the differences. A lot of companies claim to be CBD when it’s really hemp seed oil, and hemp seed oil does not do the same thing as CBD. If a product sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. WLM: What do people use CBD for? JT: Oh my gosh! There’s a whole list of things. Some of them are pain and inflammation. If you have arthritic pain or sciatic nerve pain, one of the best ways to relieve and alleviate that pain is to put CBD straight on where it

“I always ask people what it is they want CBD to do or help with and then it’s easier to direct them that way and talk them through the best way to take it. But come with good questions and consult your doctors first.” — JANET TOMBRE,



Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

JT: We recommend people start low, such as with a 500 milliliter, and go slow when first starting, but there are multiple ways to take it. One of the more popular ones is with tinctures or droppers. Since we have glands under our tongues, CBD can be naturally absorbed into those glands if you leave it under there anywhere between 30-45 seconds and swallow. Another way is to smoke it. People can vape or smoke the actual hemp flower, and if you put a lotion with CBD on your body that has pain or sores on it, CBD can help soothe where it hurts. There are also edibles like chocolates, gummies, teas and coffees. Parents will usually get gummies for their kids if they’re anxious, but kids have to take a lot less because it goes by height, weight and metabolism, so you have to be mindful about that. WLM: People are not the only ones who can use CBD

products. How can pets benefit from products with CBD in it?

JT: Animals have the same endocannabinoid system that we do, so whatever helps us will help your pets too. I had a 14-year-old German Shepherd who had arthritis in her back, so to help alleviate that pain, we gave CBD to her. But it also helps alleviate anxiety for pets from such things as fireworks, thunderstorms and holiday parties. WLM: One of the main questions people have about

hurts. It also helps you sleep. If you have insomnia, CBD helps to naturally relax you so you’re able to go to sleep. CBD also helps people with anxiety, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and those with cancer symptoms. WLM: How can CBD be ingested?

say there’s none, but there are very few. For example, it could possibly lead to an upset stomach, depending on the other ingredients in the tinctures because it doesn’t always just have CBD in it. It could have lavender, pepper, turmeric or things like that in it. A lot of times, though, it’s the other ingredients that react with people. WLM: How can people continue to educate themselves

on CBD?

JT: Find reliable sources. More medical people are starting to write about it and do studies on it right now. I wouldn’t just Google it because a lot of companies try to direct you to their products rather than telling you the benefits. One great place, though, is called leafly.com. It’s more about medical marijuana, but it does have a ton of great articles on CBD as well. You can also go to a credible storefront to answer all your questions. I always ask people what it is they want CBD to do or help with and then it’s easier to direct them that way and talk them through the best way to take it. But come up with good questions and consult your doctors first. If people can’t answer your questions, I wouldn’t buy your CBD from them.

This interview has been edited and condensed. Consult your physician before taking CBD.

CBD is whether it is safe or addictive. Is there anything people should know or consider before taking CBD?

JT: It’s not addictive, but people should always consult their doctor, especially if you’re pregnant or on certain epilepsy medicines. If people are allergic to MCT oil or coconut oil, we have to advice against that. But for just straight CBD, there’s very few side effects. I can’t

Megan Sarnacki is a Grand Rapids writer who enjoys crafting stories through multimedia platforms and learning about leaders making a difference in the community.



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n March 16, 2020 Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-9, which temporarily closes theaters, bars, and casinos, and limits restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. The good news is, you can still find comfort in your favorite local food; we are here to connect to those delicious and convenient locally-owned Grand Rapids eateries through delivery and take-out. In Grand Rapids, we are proud of our thriving local food scene. Our favorite local restaurants are always there to satisfy our cravings and create special moments over sharing food with loved ones.

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020



Andrea Wallace:

Renaissance Woman


ndrea Wallace (aka Super Dre) is an entrepreneur, a software developer, a musician and a creative. Wallace wears many hats and that’s the way she prefers it. As a natural relationship builder, connections with people have taken her all over the United States from Los Angeles to Detroit and now back to Grand Rapids. “I have been playing music since I was four years old,” Wallace said. “I was in concert band, marching band, jazz band. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do with music but I was going to do something.” A couple of years after graduating from high school, Wallace bought a couple of turntables and some mixers started making electronic music and taught herself how to DJ. She first launched her career as a DJ in Grand Rapids after spending several years learning and mastering her craft.

“Last year I was working a full-time job, I had just launched a full-time job, I was also coaching the Midwest UX conference, I was in a startup accelerator, and I was playing gigs and everything that I was doing was spanning the whole year.” — ANDREA WALLACE

Her first show was at an event in Grand Rapids Community College, and from there, her strategy was to connect with people. “If there was a venue I really wanted to play at locally, I would just ask them and that’s how so many people got to know me here,” Wallace expressed. At the time, she says there wasn’t a club where people could go and listen to house music, a genre of electronic dance, so she crafted these spaces and would invite people to join in what she called after-hours parties. While it wasn’t always easy to get gigs, Wallace was persistent and eventually landed her first breakout concert opening up for a world-renowned American DJ and record producer, Bassnectar, at a local venue.


“After the show, I got to know them backstage and we developed a working relationship and they invited me to go on tour with them,” she said. From there, Wallace’s career took off. She signed with West Coast Management Agency and went all over the country playing her music. “Being in the music industry taught me there is an opportunity in the tech world to help growing artists,” she added. And that’s exactly what Wallace has been doing when she’s not working fulltime as an innovation portfolio manager at Emergent Holdings. As a software developer and natural entrepreneur, Wallace saw the opportunity to use tech to help entertainers connect with answers in a meaningful and relevant way by relying on real data.

“Where Grand Rapids is right now, I feel like there is a lot I can do here,” she said. “There is a lot of opportunity here to have a startup that could actually provide an anchor to help develop the music industry here.” Wallace created Fourtifeye, a data aggregation platform for musicians that uses machine learning to deliver insights on blended data from an artist’s social media, distribution, and delivery tools they use every day. “In other words, it’s a platform to help artists quickly and easily understand their followers and make data-driven decisions, allowing them to focus on what they are good at: making music,” she said. Wallace’s hard work has paid off; — last fall her idea won $20,000 at Start Garden’s Top 100 competition. Since then she has spent the last several months developing her idea and pitching her platform to investors at Universal Music Group and Capitol Records in

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

Los Angeles. “I felt like I talked to half of L.A. ... but I got some really good feedback and made some great connections,” she explained. Wallace plans to actively pursue investors to help fund Fourtifeye this summer, but in the meantime, she says she will focus her efforts in Motu Viget, a newly launched spirits company in which she’s a co-owner. Time, Wallace says, is her most valuable resource and one she says she doesn’t have enough of. “Last year I was working a full-time job, I had just launched a full-time job, I was also coaching the Midwest UX conference, I was in a startup accelerator, and I was playing gigs and everything that I was doing was spanning the whole year. It was crazy for a while and I really pushed myself probably too hard.”

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She says she has learned to be very selective on where and how she’s investing her time. Although she says she has very little free time, her intention for this coming year is to slow down and help other women entrepreneurs gain access to resources and support.

Michelle Jokisch Polo is a Grand Rapidian transplant from El Salvador & Ecuador. She loves asking questions and will take any opportunity to do so. She is passionate about creating spaces where intersectionality is encouraged and marginalized voices are elevated.​Besides speaking Spanglish on a regular basis, she enjoys writing, drinking coffee, taking walks, reading poetry and riding her bike.

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020


Everyday Athena CAROL SANCHEZ, Professor of Management and Director of Seidman International Business Programs Grand Valley State University

This is the third chapter in a series spotlighting members of our community who epitomize the Athena standards and live by its principles. Readers will come to know these women, the companies they are representing and the forward thinking employers who have a commitment to elevating women and fairly compensating those women for their contributions in their workforce.


Dr. Carol Sanchez is a champion for the power of relationships, both in our professional and personal lives. “Relationships are so very very important, and I like to think that I take care of my relationships, and treasure them and nurture them and build on them,” she said. Sanchez is the Professor and Director of International Business Programs at Grand Valley State University Siedman College of Business, a program of which she was instrumental in establishing in the late 1990s. Her expertise in relationships is both formal and empirical: she holds a doctorate in strategic management/organizational theory from Southern Illinois University; and spent the formative years of her career working in South American as the Director of Overseas Programs for Catholic Relief Services. While Sanchez says it was challenging at first to work in a language foreign to her own, persistence, and undoubtedly an innate and gracious curiosity helped her find success. “I studied Spanish in high school, and a little in college, but it was a good 2 two years before I was really confident,” she said. “Language became a big eye-opener for me, the different ways that people understand the world and the way they use language to communicate became really interesting to me. Language turned me on to a whole different way of looking at the world by listening to the way other people use it.” She also learned how relationships differ across cultures, in particular how the United States is somewhat of an outlier. “In the United States, we get to know people by asking, ‘What do you do?’” she said. “Whereas in other cultures, there is more of an emphasis on the personal. Even if you know people from a work point of view, it is important to talk about those things that we all care about: your mom, your kids, your significant other, where you work out, what you like to eat, etc. It can surprise people, but sometimes the best way to make a connection is asking about those things, and saying, ‘I care about those things, too.’ That can be really important to those relationships through and being able to call on people and ask them to help you or them asking you to help ... that all circles back.”


Upon returning to the United States, Sanchez sought to transition what she learned about international organizations while working internationally into studying and teaching it. “At Grand Valley, I started putting together this program which would teach students the fundamentals of how to conduct business oversees from a technical level but also how to conduct themselves in a business environment by learning about crosscultural differences and how to manage themselves.” Through the study abroad business program, Sanchez is able to facilitate for business students those same invaluable, lifechanging experiences she had while working abroad. “All business students, and anyone who does business at all, would benefit from some international experience,” she said. “The world is global and business is global and markets are global, but it’s more that students can understand that there are differences between us, but on the other hand there are a lot of similarities. Sanchez says that taking the time to build relationships and facilitate understanding is key to leveraging business to solve both small and large problems. “We all want the best for our families. We all want to make our lives better, and the more people that understand that those things are important to everybody around the world, the better. We all have the same problems, in different degrees. And as business people, we are solving problems every day. Only by understanding that are we able to solve big, big problems.”


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

Your Home, Your Sanctuary, Your Way Our Delight in Designs team is guided by one principle when working with you to enhance or redesign your space: Your home’s environment must be ripe with elements that bring you peace and restore your spirit. Whether it’s a single accessory that speaks to your heart or a room full of delight, our designers curate the perfect elements to create a space where you can step back from your busy day and prepare yourself for tomorrow’s adventure! Here, it’s all about YOU! Come and visit us at our store to begin the discussion, we know you will be glad you did!

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Health & Beauty “Migraine is a common complaint in the primary care setting that can be very difficult to treat. It can be disabling for patients, resulting in a loss of function ranging from daily activities to inability to go to work.” — ALICIA BOONE, DO

and sensitivity to light and/or sound. This part can last hours to days. It can also rebound, meaning that it may get better with medicine for a few hours, but when the medicine wears off the migraine may come back and can be even worse. 4. The fourth stage is the postdrome. Migrainers describe feeling drained or exhausted. There may still be some migraine type pain with sudden movement of the head or with movement.

TRIGGERS So what causes a migraine? This is tough to answer. There is some evidence of a genetic component, but that is complicated and it appears to involve multiple genes. Science has shown that women age 30-39 are most affected and that there are various different subtypes.


Recognizing and Treating



ocusing on female health means more than just breasts, ovaries and vaginas. There are some common medical conditions that affect women more than men, or influence women differently. One such condition is the migraine. Seventeen percent of women have migraines each year, versus just six percent of men. Worldwide, migraines are the second most common disabling medical problem. And unfortunately, migraines are undertreated. Dr. Alicia Boone, DO, an Internal Medicine Doctor at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids says, “Migraine is a common complaint in the primary care setting that can be very difficult to treat. It can be disabling for patients, resulting in a loss of function ranging from daily activities to inability to go to work.”

STAGES A migraine is more than just a headache. In a typical migraine, there are four stages.


1. The first stage is called the prodrome. Seventy-seven percent of migrainers have this, and it’s usually a sign that the migraine is coming. Migrainers may experience yawning, neck stiffness, sleepiness, or food cravings, among other things. 2. The second stage is the aura. Twenty-five percent of people have an aura, which means that the vast majority of migrainers (75%) don’t have an aura with their migraines. An aura can occur before the headache or with the headache. An aura can take many different forms. It can be visual, like a bright spot or a black spot in the vision. It can also be sensory, like a tingling sensation. The aura can be auditory, such as a ringing in the ears. Commonly, the aura can be a combination of all those senses, or something completely different. It’s important to remember that even if there’s not an aura present, the headache can still be a migraine. 3. Stage three is the migraine itself. Usually it’s on one side of the head. The pain is often described as pulsing or throbbing, and the migrainer may have nausea, vomiting,

Many migrainers can identify triggers if they spend some time keeping a migraine diary. Some triggers that have been scientifically proven include stress, menstruation, visual stimuli, weather changes, nitrates, fasting, and wine. Other triggers that are commonly discussed by patients, but haven’t been officially proven include sleep disturbances, smoking, odors, and chocolate.

DIAGNOSIS There are specific criteria for diagnosis that your doctor can review. Typically, additional testing is not needed. First-line treatment includes avoiding triggers and taking Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medications (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen or Aspirin. If the migraine is not controlled with NSAIDs, there are prescription medications, called triptans, which have been proven to help. These should be taken at the first sign of a migraine. If a person has nausea with migraines, sometimes a prescription anti-nausea medication can help. If a migrainer tends to vomit, there are injectable or nasal triptans that avoid the stomach. Migrainers may also be a candidate for prophylactic medicine if they have long lasting migraines, frequent migraines, or if they don’t respond to traditional treatment. There are several categories of medications that are taken daily that may help with this. Some other treatments include Botox injections, neurostimulators (electrical pulses into the skin), or a referral to a neurologist. Dr. Boone says, “There are a wide variety of treatments. My patients have had great success working with neurologists here in the community to get medications and interventional treatments to help get them back to their daily lives.”

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020


CORONAVIRUS IN KENT COUNTY AND HOW YOU CAN HELP In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to take the steps as outlined by public health experts to do your part in slowing the spread of the virus. Even though you may feel fine, you can still be carrying the virus. CLICK TO READ

10 Local People Whose Kindness Will Inspire You T

he coronavirus pandemic has upended our lives,but in the midst of this unparalleled crisis, our community is doing what it does best. Many are acting with extraordinary kindness, leading with innovation, and reaching to the most vulnerable among us. We have compiled a list of acts of kindness that people have experienced or witnessed during the coronavirus pandemic, right here in our community.

Click to read


THESE EVENTS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED OR RESCHEDULED DUE TO COVID-19 As West Michigan adjusts to life during the current pandemic, key events that we look forward to all year long have been canceled or rescheduled. Below is a list of festivals, race and seasons that have announced changes due to COVID-19. CLICK TO READ

GROCERY STORES OFFERING RESERVED SHOPPING HOURS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS AND AT-RISK SHOPPERS Local grocery stores are reserving times for senior citizens and at-risk populations to shop safely and access the basic-goods during the current coronavirus pandemic. CLICK TO READ

15 WAYS TO FIND JOY AT HOME WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING (PT. 1) The current pandemic has upended our lives. Many are working from home, others are experiencing job loss, and our collective anxiety is palpable as we wait to see what our new normal is. Necessary social distancing measures are causing many of us to feel disconnected and afraid. However COVID-19 is impacting your life, we are right here with you to help you find moments of connection and hope. Here are 15 ways to find joy at home while social distancing.

LOCAL RESOURCES FOR ACTIVITIES TO DO FROM HOME WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING According to recommendations by the Center for Disease Control, we must do our part in slowing the spread of the coronavirus by practicing social distancing and staying home. For many of us, this is a big change from enjoying daily life in a vibrant city. We’ve come up with a few ways to engage in activities at home through resources in our local community. CLICK TO READ


STAY UP-TO-DATE AT: Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020


Health & Beauty

There is no single molecule called ‘estrogen’; rather it is a general term that is used when talking about a group of molecules that can lock into estrogen receptors and cause them to alter the behavior of estrogen-sensitive cells.


Hormone Replacement Therapy BY STEVE LASATER, M.D.


r. Lasater, may I ask your advice? My new doctor has recommended that I start bio-identical hormone replacement because I’m having fairly severe symptoms of menopause, with my last period having been one year ago, just as I turned 50. He also points out that the hormones may reduce my risk of heart disease, which runs in my family, including my mother. His advice seems quite worthwhile. But then I talked to several of my friends, and they’re strongly advising me NOT to start the hormones because “As you should know, Kathy, they’ll cause cancer!” I’m now totally uncertain of what to do. Please advise! — Kathy

DEAR KATHY, This is a fairly complex issue, and to fully address it would take nearly an entire book. As it is, I will address the issue in this column and next months. However, in a nutshell, I think that you probably should follow your doctor’s advice and start the bio-identical hormones. There are several reasons why I believe this would be the best approach: 1. Different hormones are different. There are two main classes of hormones a woman produces during the normal menstrual cycle and are replaced in HRT—they go by the names ‘estrogens’ and ‘progestins.’ There is no single molecule called ‘estrogen’; rather it is a general term that is used when talking about a group of molecules that can lock into estrogen receptors and cause them to alter the behavior of estrogen-sensitive cells. ‘Estradiol’ is the name of the principal estrogen produced by the human ovary; estrone and estriol are metabolites of estradiol. Premarin® is a mixture of some 12 different equine (i.e., horse) estrogens and only one human estrogen, estrone. ‘Progesterone’ is the name of the principal progestin of the ovary. ‘Medroxyprogesterone acetate’ is the generic name for the progestin Provera® which has been the most commonly used progestin in the United States for hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and although it contains the term ‘progesterone’ within its name, it is a very different molecule than bio-identical progesterone. Progestins then are a class of molecules that


have similar effects in progestin-sensitive tissues; estrogens are molecules that have similar effects in estrogen-sensitive tissues. Note that there is a dramatic difference between different forms of hormones, even those from the same class. Conjugated equine estrogens (from horses) are different from the types of estrogen (primarily estradiol) that a woman’s ovaries have made during her reproductive years. Estradiol appears to be a more effective choice for reducing cardiovascular risk than oral conjugated estrogens. There is an even more significant difference between types of progestins than between types of estrogens. The synthetic hormone medroxyprogesterone acetate, or MPA (Provera®), to be honest, is a rather nasty character. MPA increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, whereas progesterone decreases the risk. (See discussion below.) This difference is lost whenever one asks, Are hormones good or bad? The answer depends on the particular hormones being discussed. Why, then, haven’t the headlines been, “Provera® increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer?” I believe that this is how the headlines should have been written and therefore instead of stopping hormone replacement therapy (HRT) altogether, women should have gotten off of Provera®. Alas, that is not how it went. Instead, the headlines were, “HRT is Dead” or some sensationalistic version of this. While it’s easy to blame only the media for this, the problem lies deeper and comes from a concept that many physicians and researchers have been slow to abandon—class effect. Physicians and researchers who generalize experimental findings based on a particular type of hormone to all forms of hormone replacement therapy are clinging to the concept that all molecules of a particular class have exactly the same effects in all tissues and it really doesn’t matter which one you use. So they contend that if MPA (Provera®) causes an increased risk of breast cancer, then progesterone does as well. Or, if conjugated equine estrogen (Premarin®) causes an increase in blood clots in post-menopausal women, then so does estradiol. The problem is that there is ample data to suggest that this is just not true. To be continued in the May 2020 edition of Wome’s LifeStyle Magazine.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020


Inspired Voices PODCAST w/ Elyse Wild

Click any episode to listen.


“We are entertaining our community and allowing our entertainers to explore the boundaries of beauty, sexuality and gender presentation.” —SUE HAAS, CO-OWNER





rowing up in West Michigan, Bradley Haas never thought one day he would direct and produce drag shows for a living.

“It all started as a pipe dream,” Bradley explained. A pipe dream that began when he started attending local drag shows in Grand Rapids. Captivated by

the confidence of the drag queens and kings he saw performing, he knew he wanted to take part in the spectacle. Drag is not just for cisgender men (the term cisgender refers to people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth), although their stories and personnas are the ones typically seen on television. Bradley never felt like he fit in the traditional drag scene.

“I started doing drag when I was 18 but I wasn’t your cookie-cutter “pretty girl” in the scene and that was hard for me. I didn’t feel like I fit in,” he added. It was those experiences that inspired Bradley to dream of an allinclusive drag production company. “We have entertainers from every walk of life,” Bradley shared. “We allow a queen with a big old beard to come into our stage. We don’t make them shave their chests. We let them be who they are in getting into their characters.” It was Bradley’s mother, Sue Haas, who first believed in his dream and encouraged him to make it a reality. “Brad’s very first show was at Tip Top Deluxe Bar and Grill in the westside of Grand Rapids in 2018 and after seeing how the crowds reacted to the show, I knew he had something there” Sue said. With a background in business, Sue knew exactly what to do. “I told Brad to create proposals and reach out to venues in town and offer their services while I would help in the behind the scenes,” she explained. Two months later, they teamed up to form Beauty Beyond Drag. Sue says she never really imagined she would start, what likes to call, “an oddball business” with her son. “I’ve always been very business-oriented, and I always wanted to have a family business. As far as the logistics of the business itself ... Brad is phenomenal at social media and marketing, and I am the business end as far as



Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

finances and creating proposals to venues.” Every show starts with a common theme like burlesque. Bradley’s role is to handpick the entertainer who will be involved in the show. “We have over 70 entertainers at Beauty Beyond Drag and every single one of them is unique and talented in different ways,” He added. Producing the show involves developing close relationships with each performer involved and selecting the music. One of the common misconceptions people have about drag, explains Sue, is that its about sex. “We are not selling sex. We are entertaining our community and allowing our entertainers to explore the boundaries of beauty, sexuality and gender presentation,” she shared. For Bradly, the work he does with Beauty Beyond Drag is about remembering the legacy of trans women and drag queens, Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera. Johnson was a Black trans rights activist, sex worker and drag queen who was among the very first people to resist the police during the famous Stonewall riots in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Rivera was also a transwoman and drag queen in New York City at the same time as Johnson.

a superhero. You advocate for a lot of people that don’t have voices,” Bradley said. “A lot of the times when you see protests for LGBTQ+ rights, the drag queens are in the front lines.”

After Stonewall, Johnson and Rivera co-founded Start or Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries to help homeless young drag queens and transwomen of color. The word transvestite refers to a person, typically a man, who derives pleasure from dressing in clothes traditionally work by the opposite sex. Today, the word transvestite is considered a derogatory term.

It’s this passion for advocacy for the most marginalized that is taking Beauty Beyond Drag in a cross country tour with Drag Syndrome, a world-renowned drag collective made up of kings and queens with Down’s Syndrome. To along on their upcoming cross-country tour or attend an upcoming show visit, facebook.com/ BeautyBeyondDrag.


“I think when you put on drag, you basically turn into

Discover more local stories...

Michelle Jokisch Polo is a Grand Rapidian transplant from El Salvador & Ecuador. She loves asking questions and will take any opportunity to do so. She is passionate about creating spaces where intersectionality is encouraged and marginalized voices are elevated. Besides speaking Spanglish on a regular basis, she enjoys writing, drinking coffee, taking walks, reading poetry and riding her bike.



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experience WOMENSLIFESTYLE.COM/ARCHIVES Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020






uch of how we experience the world is through sight. It’s how we navigate where we are going and know who and what is around us. It can dictate many of our interactions, such as deciding whether or not we want to eat something or if we enjoy being in a new environment. Each of us has our own distinct cone of vision, the ability to process certain colors, details, and even our tolerance of brightness and darkness. Our experiences are limited by our physicality, which is one of the reasons why the work of Kara Murphy is so fascinating. There are no limits to what she can see. Her mastery of discovering unique spaces, textures and patterns from an aerial view is truly a gift. It allows us, the viewer, to experience the world in a whole new way. Murphy is a drone photographer. She has a unique ability to look at a space, visualize its potential, and then capture images of it using a camera-mounted drone. The resulting images are breathtaking; from unusual color shifts and textures found in the natural landscape to intricate patterns created by human-made objects. “This is what I was meant to be doing” Murphy said. “You are no longer searching for meaning — no longer thinking, what am I doing with my life— I don’t think that way.” While many artists are right-brain dominant, Murphy is a balanced blend of the two sides. “[I always] thought of myself as a techy person but it felt like there was a piece of me missing,” she said. “Now I feel more whole.” This is reflected in the type of art she does. There is a real scientific process to working with a drone, mapping out locations ahead of time, and understanding all of the nuances of the technology. Yet, looking at the photos she produces, there is undeniable artistry. Murphy got her start with photography as a fun hobby at music festivals. She attended Coachella, in her home state of California, with had a point-and-shoot camera on hand. She loved taking photos of artists performing on stage and being able to capture a specific moment in time.



Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

However, after years of photographing these festivals, she felt it was time for a shift. “Photography at music festivals started getting oversaturated,” Murphy reflected, “I realized I’m getting the same thing as at least 50 other photographers who know how to use their cameras.” It was at that time she saw a top-down image a friend took at Martha’s Vineyard. “He used a first gen. drone with a GoPro mounted. It was very compelling,” she said, “I was immediately drawn to that.” From there she began to teach herself drone photography by borrowing equipment from friends. “Technology was very limited then,” she explained. “No camera attached, no GPS, battery life of about 6 minutes. Now drones have first-person view with build-in cameras and color profiles [which] makes post-processing more accurate.” Murphy became so emerged in the technology that not only does she work professionally as a drone photographer, but also owns a small business called Aerial Print Shop, and writes for several publications on the subject, including Digital Photography Review and DroneLife. “For me it’s been a journey,” she said. “I always look at my photos and think, how can I do better? That’s the key to staying relevant. There’s always room for improvement. Always ways to stand out and be different.”


“This is what I was meant to be doing. You are no longer searching for meaning — no longer thinking, what am I doing with my life— I don’t think that way.” — KARA MURPHY

When looking at her portfolio, it’s almost like being transported to another world. You see landscapes and architecture that may look or feel familiar, but from a whole new perspective. Her eye for composition is unparalleled: gorgeous symmetrical architectural forms, color and texture separating land from water, and locations that can be appreciated on a whole other level when seen from above. When she moved out of California to Michigan two years ago, she thought she would miss the beaches and landscapes. Instead, the move exceeded all of her expectations. “I came from a place that became driven by money and what’s the next tech innovation to more of a well-rounded area with an appreciation for the arts” Murphy mused. “There’s so many treasures, the diversity of the landscape, the seasons — it’s kind of the perfect palette.” Movement is a big part of her process. From the drone itself, scanning the landscape, to her research for each shoot, Murphy is always on the move. “You never want to get too comfortable. Find a new location, or a new way of capturing something. It’s a continual journey … and when you think that way, its always more exciting” To learn more about Kara Murphy, visit her online at karaemurphy.co and aerialprintshop.com

Devin DuMond is a Grand Rapids artist, entrepreneur, and professor who is passionate about cultivating community and empowering women. Find her online at hatchgr.com and grwomenwho.com. PHOTOGRAPHY BY KARA MURPHY

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020


Time-Saving Kitchen Shortcuts That Don’t Sacrifice Quality COURTESY OF FAMILY FEATURES


f coordinating schedules to gather the family around the dinner table is a victory in its own right, finding enough time to prepare a wellrounded, flavorful meal may just be a medal-worthy accomplishment. Whether a weeknight dinner or special occasion, you can shave precious minutes off your kitchen work and dedicate more moments to doing the things you love with these time-saving ideas that don’t sacrifice quality. Plan Meals Ahead of Time Organizing your thoughts and scouring the kitchen for ingredients can take as much time as preparing the meal itself. Instead of wondering what you’ll make and whether you have what you need to make it, take time to plan meals a week ahead whenever possible. Think through a complete menu, including main dishes and sides, and take inventory of the pantry and refrigerator so you can build an efficient grocery list. Use Ingredients in Multiple Recipes When planning and shopping for your weekly meals, consider which ingredients you may be able to


Think through a complete menu, including main dishes and sides, and take inventory of the pantry and refrigerator so you can build an efficient grocery list. repurpose. Not only does using ingredients across multiple dishes help minimize waste, it cuts down on prep time. If you’ll be using chopped onion in multiple recipes, go ahead and chop enough for every meal and save the unused portions in the refrigerator or freezer. Turn to Your Pantry for Simple Sides Flavorful side dishes can be surprisingly simple. For example, Idahoan helps you put real mashed potatoes on the table in just 5 minutes. They start with 100% real Idaho potatoes from local growers then wash, peel, boil and mash them like you would at home. After cooking each batch, they simply fresh-dry the mashed potatoes so they’re ready for you to prepare at home.

Make Larger Portions Cooking once and eating twice (or more) is an easy equation for saving time. Intentionally making more than you need ensures fuss-free lunches or plenty of leftovers you can heat up quickly for nights when the family is running in different directions. Pre-Cook Proteins For many meals, the main dish protein takes the longest to prepare. If you can carve out some time over the weekend or one night a week, multitask and make several batches of proteins to use later in the week. Cooking the proteins concurrently lets you pack multiple days of preparation time into a single supersized session. Use Time-Saving Tools Traditional methods have their time and place, but a weekday dinner isn’t it. Rely on tools to get the job done faster, like a slow cooker that works hard all day so you can enjoy its labor when you return home or a food processor that takes the effort out of slicing and dicing.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

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rowing up in an ultra-conservative town in West Michigan wasn’t always easy for Eirann Betka-Pope, who identifies as queer and nonbinary, but making light of feeling like one of the few queer people in their hometown is what kept them afloat in an isolating environment. Since then, they always knew they wanted career in making people laugh while also changing the world. Today, they have taken their talents as a comic and a teacher to transform the Grand Rapids comedy scene from a homogenous space to one that includes and prioritizes women, LGBTQ+ people and people of color. Betka-Pope says the first time they used humor was when they were a kid and a stray cat they had been caring for died.

“It was my very first experience dealing with death and comedy, and the way I dealt with it was by creating limericks,” they said. “I remember reading them out loud to my family and everybody laughing and crying.” Although Betka-Pope did improv while they attended Aquinas College, it wasn’t until several years after they graduated that they decided to turn comedy into a career. At the time there were only three improv troupes in Grand Rapids: River City, Pop Scholars and No Outlet Improv Troupe. Through No Outlet, Betka-Pope started the Grand Rapids Improv Festival and Comedy Outlet Monday.

“The amount of people who are coming to the shows and being exposed to our local comedy community has grown more in the last year than it had in the past six years.” — EIRANN BETKA-POPE


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

“Comedy Outlet Monday is a variety show at the Comedy Project for anybody and everybody who is doing stand up, sketch, improv and they get the opportunity to go on stage and try their set out in front of an audience.” Comedy in Grand Rapids, according to Betka-Pope, is the second-fastest growing industry in the city, after beer of course. “The amount of people who are coming to the shows and being exposed to our local comedy community has grown more in the last year than it had in the past six years,” Betka-Pope explained. They say this is all because of the Comedy Project, Grand Rapids’ first comedy theatre. The Comedy Project, where Betka-Pope works as the theatre manager, features improv, sketch and comedy variety shows as well as a comedy training center. For Betka-Pope, the Comedy Project allows them to create a space where anybody and everybody can learn to be funny, if they are not already. “Unlike New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago, comedy here is very supportive,” they said. At the start of their comedy career in Grand Rapids, Eirann Betka-Pope contemplated moving to Chicago. “I knew I could move to Chicago and press the reset button and be a small fish in a big pond, or I could stay here and instead of wishing that something existed, try to make it here for other people who don’t have the means to move to Chicago, or don’t want to move to Chicago and still want to do stuff in Grand Rapids,” Betka-Pope expressed. “I figured I wasn’t the only one and it turns out I wasn’t — there are other people who want to do comedy in Grand Rapids.” For a long time, the city’s comedy scene has been overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly white, but Betka-Pope saw this as an opportunity to foster a space for women and minorities in the comedy world. “I kept noticing there weren’t a lot of female stand-ups, or spaces where they felt support in the stand-up world and so I called up my funniest female friends to play together at the Grand Rapids Improv festival and we read our old diaries and our old notebooks to the audience and we improvised and after that we decided we wanted

to keep doing it,” Betka-Pope explained. After the Grand Rapids Improv festival in 2015, with fellow comedians Katie Fahey, Kristin Hirsch, and Jenna Pope, Betka-Pop started an all-female comedy collective called Funny Girls. Today, Funny Girls hosts weekly rehearsals that are always open to the larger public with no requirement for past experience but a willingness to use comedy seriously. Funny Girls has performed in 28 different shows since its inception. For 2020, Betka-Pope has big plans for the all-female collective. “We want to actively figure out how to continue to co-create a group that is a more diverse and representative group that includes people of color and nonbinary individuals,” Betka-Pope added. Historically, Betka-Pope says comedy has always been about turning a mirror on society. They say it’s a way to help society at large figure out how to be a better person, neighbor, leader or community member. “It’s not pointing a finger and saying you are doing something wrong,” they said. “It’s mimicking what’s wrong and having somebody discover it for themselves or laugh at it.” And once they laugh at it, says Betka Pope, they are thinking more about it.

Michelle Jokisch Polo is a Grand Rapidian transplant from El Salvador & Ecuador. She loves asking questions and will take any opportunity to do so. She is passionate about creating spaces where intersectionality is encouraged and marginalized voices are elevated. Besides speaking Spanglish on a regular basis, she enjoys writing, drinking coffee, taking walks, reading poetry and riding her bike.

“To a Friend Who’d Like Mail” Kind folks in the community have been sending handwritten letters addressed as “To a Friend Who’d Like Mail” with sweet notes of support to Clark residents. Our residents are absolutely loving these letters and some are even writing back. If you’d like to send a letter “To a Friend Who’d Like Mail”, you can send it to: PHOTO CLARK RETIREMENT HOME

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

To a Friend Who’d Like Mail Clark Retirement Community 1551 Franklin Ave. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506


Learn & Do

The Family That Cleans Together: Tips from a Professional Organizer BY LYNDSEY TYM


ow that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season has settled and we are into February, this time of the year is when we may start to forget our New Year’s Resolutions. Some of us may have resolved to eat better, work out more, or spend more time with family. Others may have resolved to keep the house clean or purge unwanted items from our homes. While it can be easy to forget our resolutions and go back to our old routines, I have a tip that may help keep our homes clean while also spending time with family. Give this simple tip a try and make it a part of your new routine to make an impact all year long. It can be common in families for cleaning the home and keeping it that way to fall to one person, or to fall to the adults. What works for one family may not work for another. If you are looking for a way to keep the house clean and organized by getting the whole family involved, look no further.


At the end of each day, before bedtime, gather the whole family in one room and set a timer for 10 minutes. During the 10 minutes have each family member help with as many clean up chores as possible. Get the whole family involved so everyone is pitching in. You’ll be surprised how much can be accomplished in 10 minutes when multiple people are working together. Assign chores based on what people enjoy doing (or by what they don’t mind doing as much). Maybe one of the adults is cleaning up the kitchen, one of the kids is putting away toys in the living room, one of the kids is putting dirty laundry in the laundry hamper, another adult is packing lunches and gathering needed items for the next day (homework, permission slips, etc).

makes for smoother mornings, and can be a fun way to work together as a family. By getting the whole family involved and using a team approach to keeping the house tidied up, we can free up some time to relax and enjoy family with no chore list in mind. Getting the kids involved can help them learn good habits for keeping a clean house. Give it a try, and see how it can make a difference this year! Lyndsey Tym, owner of Simple Spaces, desires to help others declutter and simplify in their homes to free up time for the things they love. Learn more at facebook.com/ simplespaceslyndseytym.

However you divvy up the chores, make sure to involve the whole family and use the whole 10 minutes. Making this activity a part of your daily routine helps keep the house clean, balances out the responsibilities of doing so,

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020




The EPA notes that groundlevel ozone is most likely to reach unhealthy levels on hot, sunny days in urban environments.

f asked to offer their unfiltered reactions to the word “ozone,” many people might not hesitate to say, “It’s bad.” But ozone is more complex than that and can actually be good. Ozone is a gas composed of three atoms of oxygen that occurs in both the upper atmosphere of the Earth and at ground level. Where ozone is found determines if it’s good or bad. Ozone in the upper atmosphere, often referred to as “stratospheric ozone,” occurs naturally. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this ozone is considered good because it protects humans from harmful ultraviolet rays produced by the sun. While stratospheric ozone can protect humans, ground-level ozone offers no such protection, acting instead as a harmful air pollutant. How is ground-level ozone formed? Ground-level ozone, also known as tropospheric ozone, is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These reactions result when pollutants emitted by various sources, including cars, power plants and refineries, are exposed to sunlight. The EPA notes that

• Difficulty breathing deeply and vigorously • Shortness of breath and pain when taking deep breaths • Inflamed, damaged airways • Greater frequency of asthma attacks • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD

ground-level ozone is most likely to reach unhealthy levels on hot, sunny days in urban environments. However, ozone levels can still be unhealthy in winter, and rural areas are not immune, as wind can transport ground-level ozone from cities to the countryside. What are the harmful effects of ozone? Ozone can cause a number of health problems that affect the respiratory system. While more extensive studies are necessary, the EPA notes that existing studies suggest that long-term exposure to ozone may increase the risk of death from respiratory causes. Some of the respiratory issues that can develop as a result of ozone exposure include:

Even healthy people are susceptible to these effects, which can be more serious in people with existing respiratory conditions and diseases, including asthma. Because their lungs are still developing, children are at the greatest risk of exposure to ozone. Kids also tend to spend more time outdoors than adults when ozone levels are high, increasing their vulnerability to ozone-related health issues. Older adults and people who work outdoors also are most at risk of breathing ozone-contaminated air. Ozone is not a dirty word, though a certain type of ozone can compromise human health. Learn more at epa.gov.

The Blue Tie Ball is Going Virtual! Still as fun as ever, and no need for drink tickets! As you know WMEAC’s Blue Tie Ball raises funds for our water education and protection programs, which are core to WMEAC’s mission. Each year, we work with thousands of students, hundreds of families, and grassroots groups, municipalities and legislators around the region to educate, advocate and activate around protecting our precious freshwater resources from dangerous pollution and practices. However, because of the impact of the coronavirus crisis, WMEAC has made the decision to transition our April 22nd Blue Tie Ball from a physical event to a virtual one!

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

The 2020 Virtual Blue Tie Ball and online auction will kick off on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – April 22nd, 2020 for four days! Here is how you can take part in our Virtual Blue Tie Ball. You can still purchase tickets! Seriously, enjoy the fun of a virtual gala from the comfort of your own home – no high heels, no ties! And every dollar you spend will go to our water education and protection programs. You can participate in our online auction. Our volunteers have done an amazing job putting together auction experiences and items that you will love. Again, 100% of your

dollars will support watershed education and protection programs. Share this with your friends and family. The more the merrier! Stay tuned. We will be updating this page and our social media channels with more details, and we’ll be sending out more information in the next few weeks. Thank you for your support at this difficult time.



Learn & Do

READER’S by Jocelyn Yost

Fresh Face: Simple Routines for Beautiful, Glowing Skin, Every Day by Mandi Nyambi

The Art of Flaneuring: How to Wander with Intention and Discover a Better Life

When spring comes, we start to take off all those winter layers, and this book will help your skin look its very best. Every skin type and every life moment is covered in this sweet and simple guide, with a focus on caring for your skin from the inside out. Each routine presented in the book focuses on a specific skin concern, the ingredients to seek out to manage it and the reasons why they work.

by Erika Owen A flaneur was a rich Frenchman who leisurely strolled the streets back in the day, but it’s now come to mean someone who wanders intentionally. It’s a way to take a new path and seek inspiration in the unfamiliar. This book will teach you how flaneuring through life can improve your well-being, spark your creativity and support a more mindful mentality.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Do It Scared: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity and Create a Life You Love

Ginny and Charlotte are identical twins whose lives have gone in opposite directions – Ginny is a perpetual beauty pageant contestant and Charlotte is a school librarian and book nerd. Things go awry when Ginny’s face-altering allergic reaction ends her hopes of winning her latest pageant, until she persuades her twin to compete for her. Charlotte reluctantly agrees to the switcheroo and to being pushed out of her comfort zone in this funny, feel-good tale of sisterly love.

by Ruth Soukup Here’s a guide to get yourself going and get the life you want. Fear impacts all of us differently, but you’ll start by identifying your unique Fear Archetype – the specific type of fear that keeps you stuck. You could be a self-doubter, a pessimist, an outcast, an excuse maker, a procrastinator, a rule follower or a people pleaser. Once you know what’s holding you back, it’s easier to take focused action in the right direction and push past it. It’s inspiration, combined with concrete actions to move you forward to a life you’ll love.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

Click here to listen to these books for free! Jocelyn Yost is a librarian at the Grandville Branch of Kent District Library.





t was love at first braid for Theresa Mosley, who started doing her mother’s hair at the age of five. As the owner of Mosley School of Cosmetology, she credits her mother’s warm response as the main reason she loves working in beauty — the confidence it provides herself and clients.

said. “But it doesn’t mean that only African-American people can come in. Everybody deserves to be loved, to be included and to be celebrated so we don’t count people out, we count them in.” With a mission to help other people overcome past hardships, Mosley School of Cosmetology not only offers various programs in nail tech, hair and instructor training, but also mentorship for entrepreneurs.

“My mom would look in the mirror and say, ‘Oh my god, I’m so beautiful,’” Mosley said. “Even though as an adult, I now noticed that she never left the house with her hair like that, it made me feel so confident and empowered.” Because the environment of beauty involves an intimate setting, Mosley says this job not only makes her feel good, but it also gives her the opportunity to build up other people’s self-esteem. “As a cosmetologist, I love when people look in the mirror and smile,” Mosley said. “Somebody could be having the worst day, but as a hairstylist, you can make somebody feel so confident. Doing hair is like a form of therapy.” Even though Mosley knows some people feel anxious about strutting their stuff, she says feeling good about yourself is not a crime. “For us to express and really show love, we have to love ourselves,” Mosley said. “When we take the time to cater to ourselves, it makes us feel good. If I look in the mirror and feel like a mess, I will be trying to hide and hope no one sees me, but if you take time for self-care, such as getting your nails done or getting a massage, you feel confident and beautiful.” While attending cosmetology school, Mosley noticed that not all types of hair were being taught in her classes. Because she wanted to open a school that catered to all



“I want my students to feel like all things are possible for them. If you want to start your own salon or product line, I want to help you reach those goals.” — THERESA MOSLEY hair types, Mosley took it upon herself to further her education by taking classes all over West Michigan that certified her in styling and serving all people — from kinky and curly hair to silky or coarse hair. Because she wanted to be a door for everyone, Mosley stopped promoting herself as the only African-American owned cosmetology school in the Grand Rapids area. “When I first opened, that was my storyline,” Mosley

“Everybody needs somebody to believe in them,” Mosley expressed. “I want this to be a place where you walk in and feel like you belong. You’re not just another number in a seat — you’re family. I want my students to feel like all things are possible for them. If you want to start your own salon or product line, I want to help you reach those goals.” “I learned so much about different cultures and different ways to do hair than I would at a normal school,” said Sydney Ladere, a former student of Mosley. “Theresa helped me get out of my comfort zone and helped us bring our visions and goals to life.” Whether your career goals include cosmetology, Mosley wants the community to know it is possible to turn a dream job into a sustainable career. “It’s a misconception to think that only dropouts want to be a hairstylist or nail technician,” Mosley said. “The beauty industry is a billion-dollar industry. If you work hard, you can make good money. You are not limited. I never thought I’d be doing hair for a living, but I overcame obstacles and so can you.” Megan Sarnacki is a Grand Rapids writer who enjoys crafting stories through multimedia platforms and learning about leaders making a difference in the community.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

Small Business Owners!

We Are Here WITH and FOR You GROW is here and will continue to support small businesses, entrepreneurs and our community with the tools, information and resources we have available as a Women’s Business Center, as a Small Business Administration Partner and as community members here in West Michigan.

Business Resources in One Place Find an ongoing list of webinars and resources listed and linked on our website. These are tools provided by major organizations including the SBA, SBDC, IRS, Google and many more. Topics include:

• • • • •

Human Resources Managing Cash Flow Unemployment Filing Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Information How to Apply for an EIDL

GROW staff is also here to assist business owners to navigate the EIDL application process and newly released CARE stimulus package. We will help clarify your situation and do our best to identify the best options for your business. Visit growbusiness.org/covid Email: info2@growbusiness.org to get started.

Contact us to Get Started While our office is closed we are fully staffed virtually, and ready to help! Reach out to us online at growbusiness.org or email us directly at info2@growbusiness.org.

Stay connected

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020


“We get so caught up in what is advertised today because we don’t see ourselves portrayed in the media. I wanted to make sure that every single woman had the opportunity to be seen.” — ELISE KUTT


Mod Bettie Offers Empowerment Through Photography hat started out as a photography studio created to fill a void in the photo industry, has now turned into an outlet for women to learn about, love and embrace themselves.


her assignments because it was easier for her to play with lighting and photoshop by herself than relying on someone else. After looking through her body of work, she realized how much it influenced her self-love and the way she looked at photography.

Elise Kutt, founder of Mod Bettie Portrait Boutique, discovered her love for photography by chance. She was attending Michigan State University and feeling completely lost until she took a photography class at Lansing Community College (LCC)

Kutt created an impressive portfolio that helped her get into the Art Institute of Chicago where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts. Upon receiving her degree, she worked as a location scout in Chicago for several years until she decided to relocate to Grand Rapids.

“This is when I fell in love with photography,” Kutt expressed.

“I had a nervous breakdown,” Kutt said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do in West Michigan. It was saturated in photographers.”

She continued her education at LCC before transferring to Washtenaw Community College. Kutt said that it was at Washtenaw that she developed her love for portraits out of convenience; she took self-portraits for


She stayed in Chicago for two years and researched Grand Rapids. She wanted to see what already existed and what was lacking. She noticed that Chicago had a

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

variety of female empowerment studios and she wanted to bring that concept to Grand Rapids. When Mod Bettie first launched, it was exclusively a pin-up studio, and Kutt had no intention of drifting from that niche, until clients started asking her for more. “Probably about two years in, I was being asked to do more modern looks,” she said. “You know, it was ‘Can you do this, can you do that?’ and I never say no to anything, so I did it.’’ Mod Bettie now offers a variety of sessions from pin-up, glamour and commercial to senior portraits, and family/ generational sessions, and several more. Kutt’s favorite style to shoot, though, is modern boudoir. “The transformation my clients go through during this shoot is much more significant than any other shoot I do,” Kutt said. Kutt wanted Mod Bettie to focus on helping women through their self-love journey. “Every single day we are faced with feeling like we’re not enough,” she expressed. “We get so caught up in what is advertised today because we don’t see ourselves portrayed in the media. I wanted to make sure that every single woman had the opportunity to be seen.” In order to fully achieve this mission, Kutt opened her own lingerie boutique for women of all sizes, with no prior retail experience, in order to provide her clients with the opportunity to find clothes that will make them feel beautiful in the same safe, supportive

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • April 2020

environment in which the pictures take place. Mary Searcy, a Mod Bettie client, has done several sessions along with her daughter and her mother. “It was a blast,” Searcy said. “You have Elise’s entire attention and she has such positive energy that just radiates from her. You can’t help but be excited.” Searcy added that the shoot “makes you feel like a gorgeous model.” Kutt cheers her clients on the entire time and allows them to look at a few photos along the way. “It made me look at myself differently,” Searcy expressed. “It creates confidence and acceptance and you can see yourself the way other people see you.” Kutt has made it a point to make a personal connection to each and every one of her clients. She keeps in touch with them and also gives them a place to share their stories with other clients through an online community called #SquadBettie. The goal and intention of this empowering business can best be described by Mod Bettie’s mission statement: In a society that puts a camera in every hand but is quick to shame the selfie, our mission is to empower women by creating a safe and supportive environment for female self-expression. Learn more at modbettie.com.



■ Lindo Mexico Restaurante Mexicano ■ Aperitivo ■ Bistro Bella Vita ■ Brewery Vivant ■ Byron Center Meats ■ Essence Group ■ Ferris Coffee & Nut ■ Field & Fire ■ Grand Rapids Cheesecake Company ■ Grove ■ Malamiah Juice Bar ■ Railside Golf Club ■ Reserve Wine & Food ■ Terra GR ■ The B.O.B. ■ The Cheese Lady Grand Rapids - CHZ Enterprise ■ The Green Well


■ Arie Nol Auto Center ■ Community Automotive Repair ■ Harvey Automotive, Cadillac, Lexus, Auto Outlet ■ Pfeiffer Lincoln


■ Art of the Table ■ Bill & Paulʼs Sporthaus ■ Frames Unlimited ■ Schuler Books ■ Spirit Dreams ■ Stonesthrow ■ Supermercado Mexico ■ Switchback Gear Exchange ■ The Shade Shop


■ A-1 Locksmith ■ EPS Security ■ Gerritʼs Appliance ■ Gordon Water ■ Morris Builders ■ Nawara Brothers Home Store ■ Rockford Construction ■ Tazzia Lawn Care ■ Verhey Carpets


■ Innereactive ■ The Image Shoppe ■ Womenʼs LifeStyle Magazine


■ Grand Rapids Community Media Center (GRCMC) ■ Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) ■ Grand Rapids Public Library ■ Neighbors Development ■ Slow Food West Michigan ■ The Rapid ■ West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC)

PET PRODUCTS & SERVICES ■ Chow Hound Pet Supplies


■ AgeWise Eldercare Solutions ■ Design 1 Salon Spa ■ Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness ■ Grand Rapids Wellness ■ Grand Ridge Orthodontics ■ Mommas Home ■ The hairport ■ The Village Doula GR

FINANCIAL & LEGAL ■ Lucy Shair Financial ■ United Bank

TRAVEL & LODGING ■ Breton Travel ■ Countryside Tours ■ Witte Travel

When you support a locally owned business, more resources stay in the community and get reinvested in the economy.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT ■ Celebration Cinema ■ Community Circle Theatre ■ Frames Unlimited ■ Glitter Booth Photo Booth ■ Grand Rapids Art Museum ■ Grand Rapids Civic Theatre ■ Grand Rapids Public Museum ■ LaFontsee Galleries ■ LowellArts ■ River City Improv ■ ShowSpan, Inc. ■ The Ruse Escape Room ■ Triumph Music Academy


LOCAL FIRST means PEOPLE FIRST Communities thrive when the economy puts people first.

■ Ball Park Floral & Gifts ■ Eastern Floral ■ Romence Gardens

Local First •345 Fuller Avenue NE • GR, MI 49503 • (616) 808-3788 • www.localfirst.com

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