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Wine Sparkling Wines Tis the Season Finance The Season of Giving Culinary Holidays Culinary Traditions & Nicole A Host of Possibilities Life-Changing and Selfless Gifts Kelchner-Williamson HERLIFE CONTENTS features 8 24 30 06 08 Welcome From the Publisher Health Synthetically Sick or Organically Healthy Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System Beauty Holiday Glam Just Sayin Pets Stress-Free Holidays for your Pets Culinary Holidays and Culinary Traditions Spotlight Drs. Maria and Dax Sirucek 28 22 23 Foodies Recipes Amaretto Brioche Bake Casserole Peppermint Snowcap Meringues Wine Sparkling Wines Tis the Season Real Estate SOLD During the Holidays It Can Be Done Working Women Office Holiday Party Tips Cover Story Nicole Kelchner-Williamson Finance Ten Top Ways to Keep Holiday Spending in Check 42 38 40 Travel Great Holiday Destinations Green Living Choose Green Eco-Friendly Holiday Surprise Mother s Perspective Celebrating Holiday Traditions Fine Things Fine Art The Perfect Gift Home Centerpiece and Decorating Trends for the Holidays Holiday Giving The Season of Giving Horoscope Star Journeys HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 3 24 26 42 44 46 10 12 14 16 18 28 30 36 48 50 staff & contacts Editor-In-Chief Jody Liebetrau jody (208) 371-7999 Greg Liebetrau greg Jody Liebetrau jody (208) 371-7999 Marilyn Isaminger Cyndi King cyndi Elana Bell elana Virginia Martin Melody Bussey Lisa Taranto Butler Patty Cook Melanie Corbellini Rebecca Flansburg Judy Goppert Marilyn Isaminger Carrie Rowlands Johnson Melissa Haines Lavin Laura Leiva Tina V. Savas Gail Silverstein Allison Turnberg and VeryCulinary. com Cy Gilbert Photography Sarah Ledford of Shutterhappy Photography Greg Liebetrau and Donald Williamson 10400 W. Overland Road 306 Boise ID 83709 For Advertising call (208) 371-7999 Subscriptions are available for 24 (for 12 issues). Please go to and click on the Treasure Valley edition or mail a check made out to HERLIFE Magazine to the above address. President of Business Development Advertising Editor Art Director Advertising Art Director Proofreader Contributing Authors Contributing Photographers To contact HERLIFE Magazine Subscriptions HERLIFE Magazine of Treasure Valley is operated locally by Limitless Trilogy Group LLC an independently owned and operated franchisee of HERLIFE Magazine LLC. To reach national headquarters call 913-402-6994. 2014 by HERLIFE Magazine. All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted we require that prior permission be obtained in writing. HERLIFE Magazine is owned by Limitless Trilogy Group LLC and is a free publication distributed locally and is supported by our advertisers. It is available in selected specialty stores doctor and dental offices medical spas hair and nail salons tanning salons public libraries and numerous other high traffic locations. Please call for a location near you or if you would like copies placed at your business. We do not necessarily endorse the views expressed in the articles and advertisements nor are we responsible for the products and services advertised. We welcome your ideas articles and feedback. 4 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM Things To Love TOTAL LAWN & SPRINKLER CO. Call us today at 208.283.3518 - The top choice for complete lawn maintenance and sprinkler services. - Over 20 years of experience in the industry - Our personalized service and competitive rates place us above the rest. - From sprinkler installations to lawn mowing we are your one-stop-shop for healthy green lawns. LAWN CARE SERVICES Sod Installation Hedge Trimming Lawn Mowing Yard Maintenance SPRINKLER SERVICES Installations and repairs for all makes and models Serving the Entire Treasure Valley To see complete lists of services visit our website Total Lawn & Sprinkler Co. is fully licensed bonded and insured for customer protection. Same-day service is available Your ad here. For advertising information call Jody (208) 371-7999 jody HERLIFE WELCOME thankfulness and giving the whole year through p h o to by greg liebetrau This is the time of year when we all take a few more pauses in our day to think about what we re thankful for. For most I think we are truly thankful for things all year but we get so busy with life that we rarely take the time to stop and think about it each day. This is another time we should all take our cues from six-year-olds. If you get a chance ask one what they are thankful for. You might hear them say something like My mommy daddy and puppy or something even simpler such as new crayons a friend or the flower in their hand. They are thankful for all of the little things that we take for granted. They re thankful when our phones don t ring while they are trying to tell us about their day or trying to play a game with us or trying to do anything with us. I can promise my daughter any object in the world and offer her to exchange that for an hour of uninterrupted time with me and she will trade it EVERY single time. Sad to say but the truth is I spend hours with her each day so she gets a lot of mommy time and during that time I m not on electronics for most of it. I do take a phone call if I get one though. That just proves my point more even getting a ton of time with me she still would trade any object for more time. Then there are the kids that are thankful for just having food for break- fast. Did you know that the food banks give backpacks to kids in need so they can eat dinner each night and a weekend backpack so they can eat while they aren t at school The safety professional at my daughter s school keeps snacks in her office for kids that she sees throughout the day who are hungry. She buys these snacks out of her own pocket and only shared it with me because I saw her giving them to a child one morning. From that point on I have tried to help keep her office stocked with what she needs. It seems like such a small thing but I will never forget the look on the child s face when she gave him some crackers. As I told my husband that I felt ignorant of how many kids in her school really needed things as simple as a little snack during the day my daughter shared that this was why she was asking for two snacks in her bag each day. She explained that the little boy who sits next to her never has a snack and that she knew he was hungry so she had been giving him hers but decided to ask for two so she could eat also. I was shocked. I thought she was just not eating enough breakfast and was starving at snack time. I was also very proud of her. This had evidently been going on since the first week of school but I had only been sending double snacks for a month. Have a story about a smart sophisticated and talented local woman whose story should be told E-mail jody 6 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM Merry Christmas I wish I had known sooner. Her school also does a turkey drive for the food bank each year asking families to donate a turkey. Their goal was 30 turkeys so I asked the principal why it was only 30 it s a huge school. The principal replied that last year they couldn t even reach that goal they couldn t get 500 families to donate 30 turkeys... If a family isn t able to donate at all I understand but I know there are many more than 30 families at her school who can afford a 15 turkey to donate. I emphasize this because I was a culprit of not opening my eyes of not asking questions in my own backyard. After I started asking questions I learned that although we support families at Christmas each year there are families that need help all year. This means not only the obvious people I see on the streets or in the shelters but also possibly the child that my daughter sits next to or plays with on the playground at recess. What I would ask of HERLIFE readers this November and throughout the year is that you all please keep your eyes open and ask questions. Maybe you too could help by picking up a couple of extra snacks at the store each month or a couple of times during the school year. Ask what little things like this are going on at the schools in your neighborhood maybe you ll find something that could help and is a fit for you or your business to donate throughout the year not just at the holidays. Some families are really trying but just need a little extra help with the small things. Thank you to all of my advertisers this year for helping HERLIFE keep women connected with the things they need for themselves and their families. Thanks also to all of you our readers. Without you and your support we would not have HERLIFE Treasure Valley I extend a special heartfelt Thank You to everyone who helps make HERLIFE Magazine come together each month. I am extremely grateful for each and every one of you Jo dy L i e be t r a u HERLIFETreasureValley HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 7 HERLIFE HEALTH natural ways to boost your immune system by l i sa ta ra n to b u tl e r synthetically sick or organically healthy 8 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM If you re a glass-half-full kind of person then your immune system will thank you for it. Positive people with optimistic attitudes not only make more friends but are often more resilient it) excessive alcohol consumption impairs the immune system and increases vulnerability to infection. But sip that drink with a friend. A glass of wine or beer actually does provide health advantages and sharing with a buddy provides socialization which is a fun way to fight the yuckies. Sun Your Buns Sunshine plays a major role in how we feel especially in the winter. Grab a coat head outside and nab yourself at least 15 minutes of sunlight each day. In colder climates where sun isn t strong enough taking a vitamin D supplement daily will help keep you in flu-fighting shape. Speaking of buns make sure you are working them out on a regular basis. A fit body will wreak havoc on many intruding infections. Get a Pet Like you needed a reason Animals bring out the best in just about anyone. Stress-fighting social-connecting mood-boosting cats and dogs can help combat sickness and fight heart disease. If owning a pet is not for you then offer to pet sit for a neighbor or walk dogs at the local pet shelter. There s a reason they call them woman s best friend. Stay Positive If you re a glass-half-full kind of person then your immune system will thank you for it. Positive people with optimistic attitudes not only make more friends but are often more resilient. Affirmative thoughts have been proven to strengthen the immune system and lower stress levels fighting heart disease diabetes and some cancers. Get your ZZZs A night without sleep won t bring you down but regular sleep deprivation causes excess amounts of the hormone cortisol. Lose too much sleep over a couple of weeks and you may be on the road to Virus-Ville. Make Like Marvin Gaye and Get it On Now if you have to lose sleep don t lose it to stress or worry lose it because you re having fun Make love to your honey and lose sleep like a winner Regular sex improves bladder control for the ladies and lessens the chance of prostate cancer for men. Since sex counts as a form of exercise (it burns 5 calories a minute) a whole lotta lovin helps lower blood pressure and decreases the risk for heart attack. Let s face it. Our bodies are armed with a myriad of defenses to guard against germs and bacteria. But it is up to us to bring our welltuned weapon to the battle. Take a cue from Mother Nature and give your system the natural boost it needs to stay happy healthy and strong during the cold winter season. HLM C ough sneeze sniffle and wheeze. It s that time of year when germs are flying and bodies are trying to keep infections at bay and sickness away. Luckily our bodies are well equipped with a pretty snazzy immune system that defends us from disease-causing bacteria on a daily basis. But to ward off sickness we should do our share to keep our system in tip-top shape. What we eat drink and do to our bodies is very important to how we feel and we don t need a handful of pills to keep us perky. Here s what we can do to winterize our bodies and fight germs the natural way. Eat Your Way to Resistance Everything you eat affects your immune system. Unfortunately Americans often aren t getting enough fresh fruits vegetables and other healthy foods on a regular basis. And don t think eating an orange every now and again will keep you from getting a cold that s been going around the office. A truly healthy immune system relies on a daily balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables provide your body with the nutrients your immune system needs. Look for foods that are red purple orange and blue. Rich colors mean rich in antioxidants. Garlic keeps vampires away and helps keep influenza and other sicknesses at bay. But add it to foods just before serving. Heating it up deactivates some of its protective properties. Mushrooms such as shiitake reishi and maitake improve cardio health and immunity. If you are trying a certain variety for the first time make sure to eat a very small bite as some mushrooms may have opposing effects on the body. Lessen Stress Work kids finances and a myriad of other daily pressures can all contribute to our stress levels. Too much strain can create chronic inflammatory illness and lower the resistance of people who otherwise might be very healthy. Everyone has stress but how you handle it directly affects how you feel. Simple tasks such as deep breathing may be helpful but meditation yoga or other forms of exercise will give your system a bigger boost. Don t Belly Up As much as we don t want to hear it (and we probably already know Sources and HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 9 HERLIFE BEAUTY holiday glam by c a r ri e row l a n d s j o h n so n D up to you ig those hot rollers out of the closet pull your hair into a classy updo smear on the red-red lipstick and smudge your eyeshadow to near-raccoon status. The holidays the topknot is that you can make it as dressy as you like depending on how loosely you pull your hair up the tighter the bun the dressier the style. Add interest by French braiding the hair around your face and nape of your neck before pulling it back. Add volume by teasing your hair at the crown before pulling it into the knot. Dark lips will pop your features and contrast nicely with the stark look of this hair-do. Loose waves are so Hollywood and during the holidays they re just perfect no matter which city you choose as your party zone. Use heated or velcro rollers to create the waves then smooth them with a paddle brush for a softer curl. A tiny bit of hairspray will keep your curls in place when you re heating it up on the dance floor. Add interest and intrigue while attending a festive party by changing the texture of your hair. If it s curly swipe it with a straightening iron. If it s straight add waves or enhance your look with hair extensions. Experiment with plaits and finger waves. Fish tails and French braids add a fun flirty touch to any look. Pair the style with a sparkly pair of dangling earrings and bright red lips. Play around with accessories. Slip a sparkly headband into your up-do. Pull back a piece of hair at the side of your face with a vintage or sequined brooch or clip. When it comes to accessorizing the hair though keep it simple and on are all about making a statement whether it be glamorous chic or trendy. From Thanksgiving Eve to New Year s Day nearly anything goes. Now is your time to shine or not it s completely Throw the glam into glamorous with a gorgeous up-do. If you re pulling your hair into a sleek bun gel up first to hold those wispy pieces and fly-aways in place. Add a bit of shine-enhancing serum for a high-gloss high-style look. The beauty of 10 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM Brush a gold or silver eyeshadow below your bottom lashes for a touch of fun. Create a goddess-like look by also using the golds and silver on your upper lids or smudge them with navy deep green or purple. only one side of the head. If you ve ever nurtured a desire to change up your hair color the holidays are the time. Rich bold colors are hot and enhance the jewel tones of traditional seasonal party dresses. Maybe you re a blonde who has been yearning to live as a redhead for a bit or a brunette who wants to add a pop of burgundy. If you don t want to commit ask your stylist about a gloss that washes out after six to eight shampoos or a semi-permanent that fades with washing. Or consider adding a weave or a clip-on volumizer in a different color to give new interest to your tresses. Most days of the year we re taught to avoid wearing both a bold lip and heavy eye simultaneously. The holidays are prime time to break that rule. Feel free to take the liberty to add sparkles too. To create even more dazzle pair a sparkly shadow with a jewel-toned eyeliner to match your dress. Add a touch of glittering lip gloss to the center of your bottom lip for a snazzy pout and to add dimension and shine. Play with your eyeshadow. Use a waterproof eyeliner to line the rims of the eyes. Open your eyes and create a glow to your face by dabbing the inner corners with a cream highlighter. Brush a gold or silver eyeshadow below your bottom lashes for a touch of fun. Create a goddess-like look by also using the golds and silver on your upper lids or smudge them with navy deep green or purple. Lash it up Adding lush long lashes will pop your eyes and add a dramatic glamorous effect. Apply an extra coat of mascara. The heavier and thicker the fringe the more exotic your eyes and face will appear. Red red lips are hot during the holidays and almost always work. If you re not quite so daring try a berry stain. Opt for an au natural pout by skipping the lipstick and applying a gloss instead. Make it holiday-worthy and fun by lining first with a colored lip liner and then glossing with a shine stick. Be careful not to apply the lip liner too heavily or you ll look more circus ready than party glamorous. Don t forget your cheeks Add a healthy glow with blush in pinks and corals. Brush a bit of sparkly gold powder or eye shadow onto your cheekbones for a party-ready highlight. Above all achieve a fabulous healthy glow by maintaining a sensible diet limiting sugar and alcohol and taking care of your skin. The best holiday glam shines from the inside out HLM Sources and HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 11 COMING IN JANUARY... Just Sayin ... Kate McGwire with GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN RIGHT NOW on Mix 106 Monday-Friday 5 30-10am Host of Mike & Kate In The Morning Like us on HERLIFE Treasure Valley to send us your questions or e-mail us at Justsayin What questions or random thoughts do you have for Kate Kate McGwire cohost of Mike & Kate in the Morning on Mix 106 is also the creator of Kate University through which listeners can experience field trips for adults. A Coloradan by birth and Idahoan by choice Kate is a community volunteer with the Idaho Foodbank and West Valley Humane Society and a member of the Boise Young Professionals group. 12 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 13 HERLIFE PETS stress-free holidays for your pets by re b e c c a f l a n sb u rg T was that long-anticipated holiday time and all through the house not a creature was stirring...except Fido the dog and Fluffy the cat who were freaking out pected and unexpected company and more activity than usual disrupt household schedules. As humans we can read a calendar and know that these hectic times are coming but imagine this unexpected shift in atmosphere and schedule from your pet s perspective. They are unaware of the looming festivities and only know that their pet parents are snappy frazzled and there s suddenly a whole herd of strange humans in their house. Soon our beloved fur children are just as anxious and stressed as we are. Only Fred the turtle seems unaffected by the frenetic activity because...well...he s a turtle. But there are ways to buffer the effects of this busy time of year when it comes to our pets. For many of us our pets are like members of our family and going the extra mile for their safety sanity and comfort isn t an inconvenience it s an act of love. Here are some ideas for ways to reduce our own holiday chaos which in turn will positively affect our four-legged family members. Planning Is Everything The first step in planning for a stress-free holiday is prioritizing your time. Whenever possible figure out what activities are upcoming and which ones need your attention and time. Use that pre-planning to take into account your pet s schedule and endeavor to work around it if possible. If Fido is used to taking a walk after work or getting a potty break at noon work out alternative options or shift your activities away from those times. Consider your pet s domain as well. Your The holidays are filled with hustle and bus- tle and that fast-paced dynamic can leave many of us reeling from exhaustion and forgetting the meaning of the season. Planning a stress-free holiday is a bit of a unicorn since everyone wants it but very few seem to know how to successfully achieve it. There s a fine line between topsy-turvy and holiday bliss when it comes to the most joyous time of year. What many people don t realize is that this heightened time of stress and anxiety also affects our pets. Parties shopping excitement ex- 14 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM Don t be afraid to set ground rules for handling your pets especially for visiting children. Use the opportunity to educate youngsters on the proper way to handle and respect animals. home is their kingdom so to keep stress at a minimum make sure your dogs or cats have an escape plan when the Rowdy family stops by for their holiday visit. Unless they are very sociable critters make your pets comfortable in a safe warm and quiet area until your visitors leave. Felines are particularly sensitive when it comes to stress and are less likely to want to hang out with your company than a canine. Keeping mealtimes and scheduled walks the same will also go a long way in smoothing out the bumps in your pet s life during the holidays. Humans thrive on routine and set schedules just as pets do so this step is a sanity saver for everyone in your household. Attention Disorder Another source of stress for pets during the holiday season is attention either too much or too little. Too much attention particularly from little visitors can make sensitive pets grumpier and excitable pets that much more excited. Be aware of your pet s temperament and limits and plan accordingly. This word of caution also applies to our feathered friends as well since birds are not exempt from holiday upset. Little fingers poking through the cage can be worrisome and stressful to feathered pets so it may be best to retire your bird to a quieter area for some temporary peace and tranquility until guests leave. Don t be afraid to set ground rules for handling your pets especially for visiting children. Use the opportunity to educate youngsters on the proper way to handle and respect animals. Overzealous little humans sometimes forget that Fido is not a wrestling buddy or Fluffy isn t fond of having her tail repeatedly pulled. This education and rule-setting can also help avoid issues with pets who have had enough and start to lash out in self-defense. If your visitors bring their pet over let the animals meet and greet each other on their own terms don t force the friendship. The Gift of Time Above all make time for your pets. Spending time with our fur babies is beneficial to humans and animals alike studies have shown that the simple act of petting a dog or cat can lower the blood pressure of their owner. Pets have a calming effect on humans but they can also feel our emotions as well. When life at home is hectic and we find ourselves stressed and frazzled that anxiety is easily transferred to our pets. By slowing down relaxing and taking the time to nurture the health and well-being of our pets we are in effect nurturing ourselves as well. Enjoy your holiday season HLM Sources and HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 15 HERLIFE CULINARY holidays and culinary traditions by p a tty c o o k T he northern hemisphere experiences its shortest days and longest nights of the year in the month of December. This year December 22 marks the winter solstice. The worst of winter weather awaits but we know that the sun will begin to rise earlier and set later each day. Imagine if you can living at the dawn of time. You notice that the sun shines less day by day. At the same time the weather grows colder. Plants die and animals hibernate. What would you do to make sure the sun did not disappear What if everyone around you feared that the sun might never return to warm the earth Around the world people dealt with their fear of losing the sun and adapted to the solstice in different ways. Whether they worshipped gods that ruled the sun or agriculture or the goddess of the Earth every culture honored the winter solstice as a time when light overcame darkness. When a new religion Christianity began to spread through the civilized world pagan celebrations gradually blended with Christian celebrations. It came to pass that Christianity celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25 the same date as one of the largest pagan celebrations that honored the god of the sun. Sacred and secular practices continued to blend through the centuries in different traditions. Whether you celebrate this season with Christmas Hanukkah Yule Diwali Sadeh Festivus Kwanzaa or some other way chances are that the celebration involves a feast. Let s take a look at some of the foods used to celebrate this season beginning with sweets. There are many European holiday traditions that honor the Christmas holiday. One is the b che de No l or Yule log. This unique cake is rolled then iced with chocolate frosting to resemble the log traditionally lit on hearths during the holidays. In Germany one confection is made from the skins of oranges lemons and grapefruit. This candied fruit was rolled in sugar to acknowledge the season of ice and snow with the fruit itself a reminder that the sun will triumph over the winter season. If you or a family member loves mincemeat pie have you wondered how it got its name This ancient British dish was once the main meal. Originally a pie of diced or minced meat 16 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM In the East an ancient Chinese celebration known as Dongzhi which means the extreme of winter marked the solstice. Families gathered to enjoy foods that symbolize wholeness and unity. usually lamb it evolved over time into a dessert made of apples raisins and spices. We ll move from dessert to breakfast looking at savory and sweet ways potatoes are used. The celebration of Hanukkah nearly always has a meal including potato latkes. This crisp-yet-dense potato pancake is a memorable cross between hash browns and pancakes. If your ancestors hailed from Scandinavian countries you may know how to make or where to buy potato lease. These soft tortilla-shaped flatbreads are a Nordic tradition. Spread with jam or butter cinnamon and sugar they make an excellent sweet addition to any holiday brunch. The main meal of the festive day in many parts of Scandinavia and Europe centered on boar or ham. This is because most family farms had a household pig that was slaughtered in the fall with the hams being reserved for the winter feast. The meal of ham was cooked in a large pot for more than a day with the meat and broth eaten straight from the pot with bread which came to be known as dip-in-the-pot. In northern Europe salted meat and fish along with root vegetables were the foundation of festive meals they were also the foods that helped sustain families through winter into spring. In many cultures days of celebration and feasts often began with a period of fasting. In Europe the traditional Christmas Eve meal before Midnight Mass was very simple in Provence France it was called the souper maigre or meager meal. A plain meatless supper was accompanied with water. In Italy this meal was known as the magro or meatless meal. Over time this meatless meal has evolved into well-planned feasts for large family gatherings. One Italian-American tradition the Feast of the Seven Fishes may be as elaborate as a seven-course meal or as simple as a bowl of zuppa de pesce or fish stew. In the East an ancient Chinese celebration known as Dongzhi which means the extreme of winter marked the solstice. Families gathered to enjoy foods that symbolize wholeness and unity. The dishes including dumplings and lamb were meant to nourish the body for cold weather. As the planet spins toward the winter solstice you may already be spinning plans that involve long-standing religious or family traditions. Or perhaps old traditions are giving way to new ones. No matter how you celebrate the holiday season my winter solstice wish is that you enjoy good companionship good memories and good food. HLM Sources hakkasan. com Morrison Dorothy Yule A Celebration of Light & Warmth (St. Paul Llewellyn Publications 2000) and Luard Elizabeth Sacred Food Cooking for Spiritual Nourishment (Chicago Chicago Review Press Inc. 2001). HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 17 HERLIFE SPOTLIGHT of Sirucek Chiropractic Neurology Clinic Providing a Healing Touch wr i t t e n by gail silverstein p hot os by alex gar za of gar za s p h o to gra p hy h a i r by r ya n go o d m a n o f to n i & g u y sa l o n m a ke u p by j e n n i fe r e pl ey Husband-and-Wife Team Drs. Maria and Dax Sirucek Success without Surgery or Drugs Sirucek Chiropractic Neurology Clinic works for their patients to achieve the best results possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Dr. Maria recounts two recent patient success stories. One of our patients was a coma survivor. Her mother was told that her daughter would never walk again she commented. We worked with her for over a year and she learned to walk once more. Another patient of ours is a little boy with hydrocephaly (water on the brain) and hip dysplasia who doctors said would never walk today he is walking with the aid of a walker. It s people like these two that continue to show me what positive life changes I could help make in a person. Dr. Maria and her sister with sports injuries. Until then the native of Lima Peru who placed among the top in her class at Boston University was set for a more traditional career path in medicine. Something just clicked in my head said Dr. Maria. This is really what I want to do not prescribe medication. For years my mother was not my mother anymore but rather an angry bitter person due to all the meds she was taking. It took a while to convince her to try our chiropractor but once she did my mom withdrew from all her medications within six months and has been prescription free for more than 15 years now. 18 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM I t was a life-altering experience recalls Dr. Maria Teresa Sirucek when her mother a chronic bronchitis sufferer who was on 12 different prescription medications at one point finally felt relief from a chiropractor who had helped Calling Credentials and Partnership After seeing those miraculous changes in her mother s health Dr. Maria decided to move to California and attend Life Chiropractic College West (LCCW) in Hayward California. It was there that she met native Idahoan Dr. Dax Sirucek a second-generation chiropractor and now her husband of four years. A Boise State University graduate he attended LCCW because he wanted to better understand how the nervous system and brain affect the body. Fascinated with the science behind chiropractic Dr. Dax pursued the study of functional neurology. Both doctors completed an additional three-year post-doctoral board certification in that area through the Carrick Institute. After graduation Dr. Dax returned to Idaho and opened Sirucek Chiropractic Neurology Clinic in 2008. The following year Dr. Maria joined him after graduating with the highest honors from chiropractic school. She received the only clinical recognition excellence award in her entire graduating class at LCCW. Together the pair specializes in the treatment of spinal conditions and neurologic disorders such as back injuries arthritis concussion whiplash headaches Parkinson s disease multiple sclerosis neurobehavioral disorders and the discomforts of pregnancy. They also see patients suffering from dystonia a neurological disorder characterized by a state of abnormal muscle tone and resulting in muscular spasm and abnormal posture. Their patients run the gamut of ages from newborn babies to senior citizens and every age in between. Children with learning disabilities such as ADHD and Asperger s syndrome have benefited from the advanced training in neurology that differentiates these two chiropractors from traditional chiropractic clinics. Combined Disciplines Unique to Treasure Valley In Boise Sirucek Chiropractic Neurology Clinic is the first of its kind to combine this neurology background with chiropractic in order to provide patients with life-changing good health. The brain influences all functions that occur within the human body including the movement of our limbs and spine stated Dr. Maria. Our treatments are very successful for this reason. We address not only the spinal biomechanics how the spinal joints are moving but also the neurologic structures that may influence those movements. This provides rehabilitation that is above that which any other provider can currently offer in the Treasure Valley area. Neurology and the brain play a crucial role in a patient s treatment. Chiropractic neurologists can work directly on the pain pathways to help a person escape from pain explained Dr. Dax. By focusing on the brain and de- termining if a pathway is blocked or just needs re-routing patients can achieve relief from their pain. Adjustments work longer because we ve brains. actually balanced their Neurology and the brain play a crucial role in a patient s treatment. Chiropractic neurologists can work directly on the pain pathways to help a person escape from pain explained Dr. Dax. Bilingual Services and Education to Serve the Community At Sirucek Chiropractic Neurology Clinic patients can choose a male or female physician to suit their comfort level and are fortunate to have a doctor who speaks Spanish. In the past Dr. Maria has lectured in the Hispanic community providing valuable information about overall health. Both doctors continue to provide outreach on a weekly basis to area neurologists and neurosurgeons. In their office patients can learn more through educational videos and pamphlets and may avail themselves of nutritional counseling services provided through the HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 19 practice. We recently added a new staff member to our team smiled Dr. Maria. Also our future plans include the possibility of adding a licensed massage therapist and an additional rehabilitation room with advanced equipment for spinal musculature after injury. The couple finds time in their busy lives as the parents of 21-month old daughter Eliza to donate to several charities including local high schools students individual sports programs and the Boise Hawks. Dr. Maria is also a mentor for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. We help college students achieve goals and plan for future study. I m a mentor to the Latino population because I was fortunate to have supporting parents help with finding financial aid or applying to other scholarships shared Dr. Maria. Our philosophy is to help the body heal itself she shared. We recommend everybody start with the least invasive treatment options first such as chiropractic and move toward more invasive options if needed said Dr. Maria. We want you to be out enjoying your life. Added Dr. Dax We can strictly follow the rule of first do no harm. Compared to medicine and surgery where side effects are a given chiropractic is truly a unique and very successful treatment with minimal to no side effects. HLM 20 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM Sirucek Chiropractic Neurology Clinic is open Tuesday through Friday from 8 00 a.m. to 1 00 p.m. and from 3 00 p.m. to 7 00 p.m. Saturday through Monday the doctors are on call for emergency patients. The clinic is located at 3080 E. Gentry Way Suite 110 in Meridian and can be reached by telephone at 208-3457262. To learn more visit them on the web at HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 21 HERLIFE FOODIES meridian eagle boise foodies HERLIFE is proud to share with you some of our favorite local eateries Whether you crave something sweet or savory we guarantee you ll find something to please your palate. HLM Sa-wad-dee Thai Restaurant and Sushi 1890 E. Fairview Ave Meridian Idaho 83642 208.884.0701 SawaddeeIdaho You will be transported into a relaxing subtropical setting with soothing music exquisite artwork and decorations directly from Thailand. The chefs provide a unique and delicious taste to our customers. With a large variety of delectable Thai dishes and fresh sushi our menu caters to a wide range of tastes...from mild to very spicy. Daily Happy Hour 5-7 pm. Super Happy Hour on Wednesday 5-close Buy 1 get 1 FREE from regular drink menu Rice Contemporary Asian Cuisine and Bar 228 E. Plaza Street Eagle Idaho 83616 208.939.2595 RiceEagle An Asian fusion restaurant in Eagle offering an intense variety of contemporary Asian cuisine as well as a full menu of fresh sushi. Also serving Gluten Free and Vegan dishes Winners of Best Martini and Best Bartender in 2013 & 2014. Rice offers a handcrafted cocktail with hand-squeezed fresh juice mixers bar. Daily Happy Hours 4-6 pm and Live Jazz every Thursday 6-9 pm. PATIO IS OPEN. Papa Murphy s Fairview & Locust Grove 1330 E. Fairview Ave. Next to Idaho Athletic 208.855.0777 Meridian West 3317 W. Cherry Ln. Next to Albertsons 208.884.8333 Roaster 11875 W. President Dr. Boise ID 83713 208.377.8488 roastere RoastereatTreasureValleyCoffee Treasure Valley Coffee. Idaho s largest coffee store. Over 100 whole bean coffees. Fresh Roast of the day 7.95 per lb. Full espresso bar. Happy Hour from 2-4 daily. Custom and premade gift baskets. Large seating area. WiFi. Hours 6 305 00 Monday Friday 8 00-5 00 Saturday closed Sunday. There s nothing like making a pizza from scratch and transforming it into something you can t wait to serve your family. Especially if all you ve got to do is bake it and be there for your fan club. Try our new Gourmet Delites. You re gonna love it It s Love at 425 degrees. Taco Del Mar 2976 E State St Suite 100 Eagle ID 83616 208.938.0003 13613 W. McMillan Road 105 Boise Idaho 83713 208.939.4750 El Tenampa Mexican Restaurant and Cantina 906 N Main St. Meridian ID 208.888.4089 248 Caldwell Blvd Nampa ID 208.466.4460 Inspired by the coastal cuisine of Baja California we serve healthy authentic Baja-style Mexican food like our Burrito and Baja Fish Tacos. Everything we make is made fresh and to your personal taste. Come in for daily specials or let us cater your next event Hours 9-9 30 Monday-Friday 10-9 30 Saturday and Sunday. Authentic Mexican cuisine served at two convenient locations one in downtown Meridian and the other on the boulevard in Nampa. Enjoy daily lunch and dinner specials as well as our ALL YOU CAN EAT Mexican buffet on Saturdays from 10 30 to 3 00. If you love Margaritas you will not want to miss our Happy Hour offered daily from 3-6 p.m. Open 7 days a week. 22 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM HERLIFE RECIPES peppermint snowcap meringues Makes 30 Prep time 10 minutes 2 hours cooling Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes ingredients 2 egg whites 1 8 teaspoon salt 1 8 teaspoon cream of tartar cup granulated sugar 4 (5-inch) peppermint candy canes finely crushed (about 1 3 cup) cup semisweet chocolate chips directions Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl beat egg whites salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the sugar one tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the meringue to a plastic zipper bag cut a small corner off and pipe out meringue onto the parchment into dollops about the width of a quarter 1 inch apart. Bake for 1 hours until dry but not brown. Turn off heat and allow the meringues to rest in the oven with the door closed until completely cool. Place crushed candy canes in a bowl. In a microwave-safe bowl melt the chocolate chips until smooth. Remove the meringues from parchment and gently dip them first in the melted chocolate then in the candy canes. Allow to set for a few minutes and enjoy Best the same day or store for a few days in an airtight container. HLM recipes and p hot ogr ap hy by ver y c ulinar y.c om amaretto brioche bake casserole Serves 8 Prep 15 minutes Cook 45 minutes ingredients 1 cup brown sugar 1 3 cup unsalted butter cup amaretto liquor 2 tablespoons light-color corn syrup 1 loaf (12 ounce) brioche or challah cut into 8 slices 4 eggs 2 cups whole milk 1 teaspoons vanilla teaspoon salt teaspoon nutmeg 1 cups blackberries 2 tablespoons sugar directions Lightly coat a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick spray set aside. In a small saucepan combine sugar butter amaretto and corn syrup bring to a boil stirring continuously for 1 minute. Pour into baking dish arrange bread over the sauce. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs milk salt and nutmeg. Pour evenly over the bread. Press lightly to moisten all the bread. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and top is lightly brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. While the casserole is resting combine blackberries with sugar in a small bowl. Lightly crush the berries with a fork let stand until a syrup forms stirring occasionally. Slice brioche and invert onto plates. Spoon berry mixture over each serving. HLM recipes and p hot ogr ap hy by ver y c ulinar y.c om HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 23 HERLIFE WINE sparkling wines tis the season by m e l i ssa h a i n e s l av i n C 24 heers It s the time of year when we make plans to close out the successes of one year and plan for the adventures of the next one. Worldwide there s a tradi- tion of crossing from one year to the next celebrating what s to come with family and friends. Any way you pour it this celebration often includes a special beverage punch or bubbly The traditional celebratory beverage in my family was always champagne. The holidays were the one time of year when the extravagance of champagne was accepted almost encouraged. Champagne was consid- HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM Sparkling Wines vs. Champagne Sparkling wines are wines that have undergone a second fermentation caused by additional yeasts and carbon dioxides for effervescence. You can find sparkling wines at your local market or convenience store. But pay attention to a key word Champagne. Sparkling wines that derive from the original region of Champagne France are called Champagne and are strictly created by methode Champenoise the original method accredited to the Benedictine monk Dom Perignon (1638-1715) who along with his countrymen initially viewed the accidental bubbles from secondary fermentation as a flaw But in 1839 modern development of champagne overcame the obstacles of exploding bottles and inconsistency with the dedication of Veuve Clicquot Charles Krug and others. The shape of the champagne bottle is mostly traditional but it was indeed necessary for the bottle to be made of very thick glass with gentle shoulders and a deep punt (indentation at the bottom of the bottle) to literally contain the increasing champagne pressure. Is Italian Prosecco a sparkling wine Absolutely. But it is not champagne. Prosecco is a very dry white sparkling wine in which yeasts are added to the entire barrel or volume of wine then bottled into the classic sparkling wine bottle before corking and labeling. Conversely when champagnes and other sparkling wines are made each bottle is filled with wine (already fermented) then the additional yeasts are added per bottle ered an extravagance because it wasn t the everyday beverage or cocktail and was instead revered as a symbol of success comfort or good cheer. The pop of the champagne cork is a universal symbol for good times. Whenever you hear the signature pop don t you glance around for just a moment wondering who or what the fuss is for We used to think that sparkling wines could only come from lands far away but look no further than your market to find sparkling wines from Venezuela Spain Italy France Germany and California regions of Lodi Amador Clarksburg Paso Robles and Napa. and corked for an initial period of nine months or more. During this time of aging the wine is turned ever so slightly to keep the yeast from settling. After the designated period of time the cork ends of the bottles contain yeast sediments that are then frozen uncorked then recorked quickly. The champagne has undergone its secondary fermentation and is now naturally highly carbonated and corked with extreme pressure. A quality flute of champagne may have fifteen million bubbles whereas a Prosecco may have fewer bubbles by volume that dissipate much more quickly than champagne s seemingly endless supply. Both are delightful wines to serve in the tra- ditional flute to help contain all that beautiful effervescence. Broadening our taste for sparklings we see lovely offerings made from Viognier Chenin Blanc Moscato Chardonnay and red varietals of Tempranillo Sangiovese and Pinot Noir. In addition to the usual mimosas for brunch sparkling wines are an ideal way to start off your appetizer course an elegant way to cleanse one s palate or a perfect welcome when guests first arrive to your soir e. Poultry courses such as pheasant and turkey go very well with the crisp dry finish of sparkling wines. If you opt to do your holiday dining in four-star restaurants you may find yourself enjoying champagne courses throughout the entire menu. Holiday beverages can be kicked up a notch with a bottle of sparkling wine added to your favorite punch recipe or try adding sparkling wine to a glass of cranberry juice enjoying the Poinsettia. Add a bit of Chambord liquor and you have a Duchess and the bubbles continue. Remember to always chill your sparkling wines and retrieve them from the freezer after 20 minutes or the bottle may explode May you all enjoy a marvelous and blessed holiday season filled with love and friendship HLM Sources drinksmixer. com and WHAT S YOUR PREFERENCE WHAT S THE DIFFERENCE SPARKLING WINES 101 CAN HELP Cuvee - Special blend of wines Extra Brut - The most dry least sweet on the palate Dry Brut - Dry and less sweet on the palate Demi Demi Sec - Medium to high sweetness Blanc de Noir - White wine made of black grapes such as pinot noir Blanc de Blanc - White wine made of white grapes such as chardonnay viognier Cava - Blended white sparkling wine originating in Spanish caves Rose - Pink wine made by adding red wine to white usually a bit sweeter Noir - Black or dark red grape type Blanc - White or lighter grape type Prestige - Highest quality champagne Vintage - Denotes the year in which the harvest occurred NV - Non-Vintage tells us that several vintages may be blended together HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 25 HERLIFE REAL ESTATE during the holidays it can be done by j u dy go p p e r t SOLD if you go into it with the right attitude and follow some important guidelines. After all the month of December holds more emotions and a myriad of joy for everyone and homebuyers actually buy more. Why not play on those deep feelings to en- M erry Christmas Happy Hanukkah Happy Kwanzaa Happy selling What Who sells their home during the holidays You can and it can be a delightful experience tice buyers We all know or maybe we assume that spring and summer are the best times to sell a home. And it s true that many buyers do plan their new home purchases during the warmer months. But that doesn t mean all the serious buyers evaporate after Labor Day. If your home is for sale now you re actually in a great position to sell faster and for more money by taking advantage of the unique characteristics of the holiday selling season. The general consensus that sellers shouldn t even try to sell their home during the busy holiday season is truly a misnomer. Serious potential homebuyers will take time out from planning vacations attending parties and cooking meals if they are motivated enough. Plus the Internet and new technology have given rise to a new generation of buyers with smartphones tablets and laptops. As a result people have instant access to information and the buying season has become a year- 26 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM round event. The Internet cuts down on the amount of time that it takes to buy a home because many buyers do their shopping online. In reality people are always looking for homes including before during and after the holidays. During the holidays the people who look at homes are typically motivated buyers. Since many sellers tend to take their homes off the market during the holidays buyers have fewer choices. This means less competition and a much better chance of selling. In some cases sellers can even get more money. Those looking for a home during the holidays are serious buyers. Some have an immediate need to buy a home and many have to relocate due to job opportunities while others are experiencing life changes such as divorce financial issues empty nest situations or retirement. Many buyers also purchase at the end of the year as part of their tax reduction strategy. Lenders are frequently less harried during the holidays so paperwork can be pushed through in a more timely fashion. Smart sellers seek out motivated buyers by working with an agent to target buyers on deadline such as people relocating for jobs in your area investors on tax deadlines college students and staff and military personnel if you live near a military base. And of course price the home to sell. Finding and closing on a home that is priced low for the market will make potential buyers feel merry no matter what season it may be. Creating a video tour of your home for the Web will help especially since sellers get less foot traffic during the holidays as a result of inclement weather and vacation plans. This is a good way to attract house hunters who don t have time to physically see the home or who may not be located in its geographical area. Top on the list of recommendations is to relax and realize the New Year is just around the corner. The holidays can be stressful with gifts to buy dinners to prepare and the onslaught of relatives to entertain. Take moments through this time to remind yourself that if you don t sell now there is always next year which luckily is only a few short days away. HLM Sources and Experts provide these tips to maximize your home s selling potential during the last two months of the year Pay attention to curb appeal and wintry conditions that may exist at the home s entrance. Tone down the size of your tree. In place of a ten-foot tree try decorating a table-top four-foot version. Stack wrapped presents in a closet or in one corner. Use more splashes of red than green red is an emotionally appealing color. Resist the urge to hang banners and use greenery instead such as evergreen or rosemary garlands. These also will impart great fragrance to the room. Display centerpieces made from pine cones or other wintry pieces of nature. Set a plate of cookies on the counter next to festive paper napkins for guests. Simmer spicy apple cider on the stove and set out cups and a ladle. If your target is young families setting out a toy or two or setting a small table with books and crayons for the kiddos to play with before showings can help. If retirees are the target consider staging a room with rich travel accessories. Going the extra mile may just pay off in an easy sale. HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 27 HERLIFE WORKING WOMEN office holiday party tips by ti n a v. sava s E 28 ven though the word party is in the holiday office party invitation there are a few do s and don ts that are not listed on the invitation. Wise office workers beware this is an opportunity to either shine brightly like tinsel or to watch your promising career snuffed like a candle Attire Sometimes an invitation will state the attire but in most cases a party denotes festive dress. If you usually come to work sporting a sensible dress and shoes this is your chance to spice it up a bit. Tasteful bling may include a pair of red pumps with a black dress a few extra wrist bangles or a necklace that stands out from your usual jewelry. Don t go overboard this is not a nightclub. The last thing you need are Here are a few tips for that time of the year. HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM make an impression where it counts. Most office parties are well attended by the top brass. Make a plan before you get there. Know exactly who best to impress and be careful to keep the conversation appropriate to a party and light hearted. Remember this is a party not a meeting with your boss. You are allowed to be personal and ask questions about families pets vacations hobbies etc. Be extra attentive and listen well because these types of encounters can take your relationship to a level beyond what you might be able to establish during working hours. Everyone appreciates knowing they have been heard. Social Drink We ve all heard the horror stories about heavy drinking at the office party and they never end well. But this doesn t mean you shouldn t take part in the social aspect of having some spiked punch or your favorite cocktail. Just don t stand guard over the punch bowl and get bombed in the process You are after all still at your office and some decorum is demanded. Only you know your limit so if one glass of wine puts you in a nice party mood make sure you don t grab a second. If a co-worker hands you another glass a kind gesture indeed go ahead and accept it but be sure to discard it right away. You don t want to get to a state of inebriation and become the brunt of jokes the next day (and forever to come). On the other hand be aware that if you choose not to drink some may wonder if you have a substance abuse issue and are trying to avoid alcohol. In this case a glass of tonic works nicely. No one needs to know what you are drinking. Minding Manners It s the end of the year and everyone is ready to celebrate but be very careful to mind the manstares that say Can you believe she is wearing a strapless skimpy dress and a sequined hat with mistletoe on top Presentation Now that you look perfect expect attention. And with that attention comes a perfect time to ners your mother taught you. Unless the invitation says you may bring a guest don t. If there isn t an official invitation be safe and inquire if this is appropriate. If you are getting to know your boss socially for the first time at the office party this does not mean you can throw your manners out the build- ing. You continue to respect his or her position and remember yours. By the same token just because the office mail clerk is playing Santa Claus it doesn t behoove you to go sit on his lap and act like a child. If you feel tempted to belt out a holiday tune make sure you are not solo unless you are a trained gifted singer and your co-workers have been begging you for at least an hour to grant them this wish. Gossip is strictly forbidden no matter how loose the evening or co-workers tongues get. The same goes for telling off-color jokes. Just don t. Remember the spirit of the season and avoid anything and everyone negative. Be mindful of your time. Try not to be the first guest to arrive. And don t come too late just to show that you were there. Your co-workers will definitely notice the subterfuge. When it s time to eat put a reasonable amount of food on your plate and leave the table. Don t hover around the buffet. Be sure to compliment the chef and thank your hosts or hostesses i.e. your bosses before you leave. Now that you have looked and acted in a way that impressed your co-workers and bosses it s time to reap the benefits of your presentation. Surely you made some kind of personal relationship while at the party and now you should feel free to contact that person to discuss your common connection. Perhaps you saw a movie or book you discussed Or you noticed a musician coming to town that you both appreciate The opportunities are there but need to be cultivated to reap the most benefit. Happy Holidays HLM If you are getting to know your boss socially for the first time at the office party this does not mean you can throw your manners out the building. You continue to respect his or her position and remember yours. HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 29 HERLIFE COVER STORY 30 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM A Host of Possibilities New Facets of Parenting by gail silverstein photography by cy gilbert photography hair by ashley tincher and makeup by jordyn jensen from toni & guy hairdressing academy Kelchner-Williamson carrier for didn t even know I gave birth Nicole When Nicole Kelchner-Williamson experienced her two pregnancies she discovered both the wonderful nine-month journey and the incredible joy of motherhood. While she was carrying her last child daughter Adelleine now six Nicole s close friends had difficulty with the adoption process. Approval was slow going so after discussing it with her husband Don she offered to carry their child for them after her own delivery. In the meantime her friends were picked to adopt but the desire to help others in a similar situation was born. The passion that Nicole feels for surrogacy led to the birth of her agency A Host of Possibilities in April 2013. I have been a gestational carrier three times Nicole said. Through my own experience carrying for multiple families having worked with different agencies each time I felt there were many areas that could be improved upon. With my background education and experience I knew I was the one who could do more and do it better. Some agencies don t walk gestational carriers through all the steps and it can be frustrating the first time out at certain points in the process. Others have no follow up. The last agency I was a gestational Experience That Sets New Standards With an MBA in healthcare and a master s degree in adult organization and leadership Nicole worked at St. Luke s Hospital for four years before venturing out on her own. She served on the hospital s task force that created a comprehensive surrogacy program and staff training. After trying to juggle both a career at St. Luke s and her own business Nicole decided the time was right to focus all her energy and talents on making her agency top notch. A Host of Possibilities insists on going above and beyond the level of personal attention and service than what has been commonly accepted in the industry. This sets us apart from any other agency in the country Nicole stated. We provide monthly support groups for our gestational carriers as well as support meetings for their spouses and families. Many other agencies do not offer these not to mention the 24 7 support provided for the gestational carrier and intended parents by phone online or in person. This is critical when the carrier is approaching delivery date as well as post-delivery. This is a time when everyone s stress level is high and they have a lot on their mind preparing for the big moment. When questions or concerns arise during this time frame it s imperative that gestational carriers get immediate assistance when it s needed so they can focus their attention where it needs to be HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 31 co u r te sy o f d o n a ld w il li a m so n A Focus on Being Present Unlike Nicole s experience the gestational carriers with her agency receive support during the entire process meaning before transfer during pregnancy and after delivery. The transfer when the embryo is planted into the gestational carrier is a quick painless procedure she explained. Afterward the gestational carrier has to have 24hour bed rest and a follow-up blood test to ensure that the transfer was successful. Throughout their journey both the intended parents and gestational carrier are educated about the process. The 20week ultrasound and routine doctor visits can be shared by the gestational carrier with the intended parents thanks to technology such as Skype. Her agency also hosts frequent outings and events throughout the year for gestational carriers and their families as well as staff and intending parents whenever possible to further strengthen the bond and sense of trust within A Host of Possibilities family. With clients all over the world Nicole works seven days a week. Our clients come from Spain New York Dubai and right here in Idaho. I work ers who have become discouraged by the lengthy wait time for adoption. Countless couples come to her with very sad stories of loss and disappointment. Same-sex couples currently comprise the other 50 percent of her clientele. Life-Giving Love Many women become gestational carriers because like Nicole they have a big heart want to help others and enjoyed being pregnant. While they are compensated it s really about taking the opportunity to help others because no amount of money is worth it if you have a horrible pregnancy she added. My family and I go to Seattle once or twice a year to visit my surrogate babies Nicole commented. My kids are very excited to go see them and watch them grow up. It s such a cool experience for my own kids to bond with the families and to continue to build relationships every year. In addition to Adelleine and her son Aidan 12 stepdaughter Gabi 17 completes Nicole and Don s family. The best thing about this profession is visiting the intending parents at the hospital and watching them hold their baby or babies. The happiness and joy they are feeling show in every facial expression Nicole enthused. Being a part of this experience with each family is an absolute honor. There are no words that can express how full my heart is when I see them experiencing parenthood. She sums it up by stating We pride ourselves on our ability to build personal and meaningful relationships with every one of our intending parents gestational carriers and egg donors. Planning for Tomorrow A Host of Possibilities recently hired Mattie n na ld wi lli am so co ur te sy of do Stewart as its surrogate program coordinator. Her job duties include profiling both intended parents and gestational carriers coordinating their paperwork leading monthly support groups and conducting home and telephone interviews. In short she s doing everything that Nicole used to do Now Nicole can work on the big picture for her business. My agency is expanding its gestational carrier program to California Oregon Montana Utah Colorado Texas and Illinois. This will provide more options for intending parents she explained. with numerous fertility clinics and I currently have around 10 gestational carriers pregnant and around 30 gestational carriers getting ready to transfer embryos she remarked. We have more than 60 gestational carriers with our agency at this time and we are always receiving new inquiries. Her clients include those who tried in vitrofertilization and were unsuccessful as well as oth- 32 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 33 Ever the nurturing kind-hearted person Nicole is getting ready to carry again this January for another couple. A Host of Possibilities was started with love and compassion and after three years I want others to know that my love and compassion continues to grow she reflected. By the end of the journey I have been given this incredible opportunity to make life-long relationships. By far these relationships are one of the most rewarding aspects of this business 34 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM p h o to by sa ra h l e d f o rd o f sh u tte rh a p py ph o t o gr a phy Also we are expanding our egg donor program n na ld wi lli am so co ur te sy of do each of them for a few minutes. This is my time every day that I get to connect with them and just love on them she said. Ever the nurturing kind-hearted person Nicole is getting ready to carry again this January for another couple. A Host of Possibilities was started with love and compassion and after three years I want others to know that my love and compassion continues to grow she reflected. By the end of the journey I have been given this incredible opportunity to make life-long relationships. By far these relationships are one of the most rewarding aspects of this business HLM A Host of Possibilities is open Monday through Friday from 9 00 a.m. to 5 00 p.m. and by appointment on weekends. The agency is located at 1655 W. Fairview Avenue in Boise. To contact the agency call 208-297-5189 or Nicole s cell phone at 208-789-1243. and will be hiring an egg donor coordinator to manage our egg donation program. Future plans include hiring an assistant. Nicole s husband who handles all the marketing aspects including the design of their poignant website plans to join A Host of Possibilities in the next six months. Nicole offers relevant practical advice to any women who want to pursue a similar career path. I think the biggest key to running a surrogacy agency is understanding the business aspect and balancing that with the relationships you create. Many women who have been gestational carriers open their own agencies not realizing the time and effort that is needed to make the business successful Nicole commented. I think having a full understanding of how a business functions and working closely with fertility co u r te sy o f d o n a ld w il li a m so n clinics has helped me be successful. As part of giving back to the community her agency sponsors a tree at the St. Alphonsus Hospital s annual Festival of Trees which auctions off decorated trees and donates the proceeds to its children s unit. Nicole also makes time to volunteer at the City Light Women s Shelter. She plans to increase the agency s charitable work in the near future. Building Connections In her down time Nicole loves to create photo books and document all of the wonderful experiences her family has had each year. I think I probably have 20 or more photo albums and I am constantly sending family members photo albums to share our experiences with them she chuckled. Dinner is also very important to my family. We all sit at the table and share our day. This is such an important part of our routine it really helps us stay connected and I love hearing about their day at school. Nicole also loves to travel and has started to do more international travel thanks in large part to her agency. Always a mother she tries to bring her kids when their schedules permit so they can have new experiences. When I m in town I enjoy taking my kids to the arcade to play video games going to the park and paddle boating. My favorite time of the day is right before bed. My kids and I read a few books together and then I tuck them in their beds and snuggle with HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 35 HERLIFE FINANCE ten top ways to keep holiday spending in check by ga i l si l ve rste i n 36 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM can be stressful and is not a spectator sport. In these difficult economic times here are a few tips to help you keep more green in your wallet while giving appreciated presents to your loved ones and friends. W ith the holiday season just around the corner you re probably already concerned about being a good gift giver and not a Grinch. Holiday shopping es with your neighbors or planning a white elephant gift exchange with coworkers. With just a bit of creativity and thoughtfulness you can give a more meaningful unique gift that can t be purchased anywhere. Create memorable times with your kids by going to see the holiday lights in other neighborhood or watching Christmas flicks complete with hot cocoa and popcorn at home. Buy online and avoid the malls. Set a budget and stick to it. Yes it s boring but sage advice. Tried true and trusted to work the key to this number one way to curb holiday overspending is to be realistic and stick to it. Another alternative to good old-fashioned green is to set up a holiday savings account and deposit a little bit of your paycheck into this special account every month. By the holidays you ll have accumulated a nest egg specifically for this purpose so shopping won t send you into debt. Look at your list twice for the necessary and nice. This shouldn t need to be stated but somehow we tend to spend on everyone Thoughtfully examine your list and make prudent cutbacks. Do this painful process early and if need be prepare people. Suggest a gift exchange within your own extended family so you don t have to buy for everyone or limit the presents to the children. Buy food and libations at warehouse stores to give to your hairdresser or mailman. Finally don t forget to shop with your pareddown list in hand or on your Smartphone. Buy more gift cards. Think of the time you ll save not scouring the mall and impulse buying not to mention the postage you ll save by mailing a gift card to that special person instead of a package No more standing in line at the post office to mail that huge box. Added bonus this versatile gift gives the recipient more freedom to choose whatever she wants at her favorite store. This will save you time money and aggravation. Forget about the thrill of the bargain hunt many retailers artificially inflate prices and then mark them down for sales. A recent California Institute of Technology study proposed that shoppers are willing to pay nearly 50 percent more for merchandise in stores where they can touch and see the goods than online. Find online bargains using social media pages of the stores you and your family love. If you ve been to Black Friday enough said about avoiding aggravation Buy in advance and after the holidays. Plan ahead for those loved ones you know you ll need to purchase a present for by keeping a running list of their interests. It s easy to do especially for children because they usually latch onto a favorite character or object (Elmo trains) all year making Christmas buying in July a reality for you. For adults think the staples such as gourmet coffee interesting socks or a leather-bound journal. After-the-holidays sales are first-rate ways to save big bucks on presents. Use coupons or Groupons. And everything else in your arsenal of discounts The Internet has made this tip easy to follow. Explore the websites of everyone s favorite stores for coupon codes. Check your mailbox for flyers and coupons as well as that neighborhood news magazine that you usually toss in the garbage. Organize group volunteering. Try doing a family member s dreaded chores for a week organizing cookie exchanges with your neighbors or planning a white elephant gift exchange with coworkers. With just a bit of creativity and thoughtfulness you can give a more meaningful unique gift that can t be purchased anywhere. beach and so will your co-workers. Bring along your camera and make memories dressed as Santa s helpers. Give DIY gifts. Besides being more affordable these presents are definitely more meaningful. If you re handy with repairs fix that neighbor s leaky faucet. If technology is your thing help a friend create a website. Babysit dog walk or rake grandma s leaves for no charge you can even make your own gift certificates for these services and tuck them into their stockings. Skip buying extended warranties on electronics and appliances. Unless you re buying new untested technology there s no real reason for buying an extended warranty. In most cases the cost of a repair usually equals the price of this unnecessary piece of paper. With party obligations decorating dilemmas and relatives taking up temporary residence in your home at least gift giving will be less stressful. With a bit of planning introspection and determination you ll be able to ring in the New Year holiday debt free. Who knows you might have enough cash left over to treat yourself to a much-needed massage or a stressrelieving facial. HLM Sources and HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 37 Aim for simpler things in life. Try doing a family member s dreaded chores for a week organizing cookie exchang- Instead of the normal ho-hum holiday party you ll feel better performing a good deed at the local soup kitchen or cleaning up the HERLIFE TRAVEL great holiday destinations by m a ri l y n i sa m i n ge r D 38 reams come true during the holiday season whether they re of sugarplums that special ring or taking the fantasy vacation trip you ve longed for. days somewhere other than your or your relatives home keep reading. We just might see you there Hershey Pennsylvania Hersheypark s Christmas Candylane transforms the sweetest place on earth into a glowing wonderland with more than four million twinkling lights. Drive through the Sweet Lights attraction a breathtaking exhibit of illuminations and sculptures share breakfast or lunch with Santa and enjoy the year-round rides including four roller coasters. Situated atop the mountain adjacent to Hersheypark is the historic Hotel Hershey a spectacularly elegant Mediterranean-style villa resort inspired by the European hotels of Milton Hershey s travels. The spa is fondly We ve dreamed along with you and lo- cated some charming destinations that will provide winter magic for singles couples and families. If you re ready to spend the holiHERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM ner on Christmas Eve and a personal visit from Santa. Outdoor Big Sky Country activities include sleigh rides horseback riding dog sledding cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in a winter wonderland setting. Stay through New Year s Eve dubbed Stars Night and ring in the New Year with fireworks and in 2015 a private concert by Austin Jenckes and Brian Pounds of The Voice Season 5. Mohonk Mountain House New Paltz New York From late November to early January this historic retreat is adorned in style with garlands wreaths elaborate gingerbread creations and spectacularly decorated trees. The Victorian-era hotel in the Hudson Valley sits on 1 200 acres including 85 miles of hiking trails affording incredible views of Lake Mohonk and the Catskill Mountains. Holiday packages include afternoon tea and cookies a three-course dinner bountiful breakfast buffet antique-filled guest rooms and resort activities including ice-skating swimming in the indoor heated pool fitness classes yoga meditation cross-country skiing snowshoeing and snow tubing weather permitting. Guests who arrive before December 5 can watch the holidays come alive each day as the resort is decorated. If you re looking for a romantic getaway for the holidays or called the Chocolate Spa where you can indulge in Chocolate Immersion a signature chocolate-themed body treatment featuring a Chocolate Bean Polish followed by the Chocolate Fondue Wrap. The nearby Hershey Lodge hosts A Chocolate Avenue Christmas dinner theatre produced by an Emmy -awardwinning team. The Resort at Paws Up Greenough Montana Stay in a cozy private vacation home and experience luxury and five-star amenities on this authentic working cattle ranch in western Montana. Christmas flair arrives each December with the resort s comprehensive package that includes meals a customdecorated tree in your lodge a gourmet dinGaylord Resorts Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville Tennessee transforms with more than two million lights into its annual festival A Country Christmas. Experience extreme tubing at the six-lane tubing hill covered in one and a half million pounds of real snow or ice skate at the 6 000-square-foot outdoor ice rink. And speaking of ICE experience The Nutcracker in a magical adventure with more than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures accompanied by the original Tchaikovsky score. This year you can indulge your love of country music as Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers provide a Christmas are traveling solo Mohonk Mountain House caters to your choices. dinner show or visit the Grand Ole Opry House for a performance of Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Musical. Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee Florida themes its 2015 ICE presentation around the classic poem Twas the Night before Christmas with the same volume of frozen stuff featured in six rooms that illustrate the poem. Other activities include Cirque Dreams UnWrapped live stage show the Gingerbread Decorating Corner and the Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt. If you weary of activities the myriad attractions of Disney World are a short drive away. Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor Maryland presents Christmas on the Potomac with more ICE in the retelling of the classic television special Santa Claus is Comin to Town. It s always 72 degrees in the atrium but somehow snow seems to magically fall as part of the Atrium fountain shows synchronized to modern and classic Christmas carols. Combine a visit here with excursions to the nearby Washington D.C. attractions. The Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas Nevada The Bellagio never does anything in small measure and the holiday season is no exception. The incredibly lush indoor botanical garden is bedecked with a dazzling Christmas tree decorated with 7 000 LED lights and 2 500 ornaments flying reindeer enormous ornamental balls and a display of polar bears made of 12 000 white carnations. Also displayed are two 12-foot-tall animated snow globes that showcase classic winter scenes. Outside the iconic dancing fountains feature special performances of classic holiday tunes such as O Holy Night and Santa Baby throughout the season. As always it s best to plan ahead and check hotel and resort availability. Even if it s next year s holiday excursion you have a year to dream HLM Sources marriott. com and HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 39 HERLIFE GREEN LIVING eco-friendly holiday surprises by m a ri l y n i sa m i n ge r choose green candles daily in fragrances that echo favorite wine varietals. Ros for example contains aromas of lush red fruit rose petal white peach and pink peppercorn. The newest offering is Champagne crafted from recycled magnum champagne bottles with two wicks and 120-hour burn time and releasing sweet notes of white grape honey fresh-baked bread and citrus. Beeswax is made from the nectar of flowers by industrious honeybees infusing Big Dipper Wax Works pure beeswax pillar candles with a natural subtle honey fragrance. These candles are all natural and free of paraffin with wicks made from 100% cotton. Beeswax is a renewable resource that cleans the air by emitting purifying negative ions Big Dipper uses locally sourced beeswax and pure essential oils and it packages with postconsumer recycled paper products and soy-based inks. Light It Up The Little Sun solar lamp designed by artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen features the world s most efficient solar cell and has an attractive sunny design. Five hours of charging in the sun produces ten hours of soft light or four hours of bright light. The company is socially responsible as well the website says Every Little Sun sold in an area of the world with electricity enables us to deliver one Little Sun to an off-grid African community at a locally affordable price. It s also a great way to introduce kids to the concept of solar energy. and sustainable attributes. We ve looked at a plethora of green choices and narrowed it down to a few suggestions and ideas for all gift-givers. Greenery is Green In one visit to your local garden shop you might be able to satisfy a large portion of your gift list A pretty pot with a colorful orchid a dish garden a lush wreath (possibly already decorated ) or a seasonal red or white poinsettia are appropriate for many situations. If you started rooting cuttings in September your greenery is ready to be potted. Perfect for this are variegated pothos creeping jenny most ivies tradescantia or begonias. A pretty pot good quality potting soil and a colorful bow create a sweet and thoughtful gift. More green that looks forward to January or February is a bag of bulbs amaryllis or paperwhite narcissus accompanied by a pretty glass forcing jar. The amaryllis will grow to provide color the narcissus will provide fragrance and both are welcome during dark winter months. Sweet Fragrance We ve discussed ways to repurpose our wine bottles but Rewined Candles in Charleston South Carolina takes reuse and recycle a step beyond. This small business makes 1 400 premium soy wax 40 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM I n the quest for the perfect gift this holiday season it makes sense to search out what will be appreciated by the recipient not only for its unique qualities but also for its eco-friendly Cards created from recycled paper and wildflower seeds such as those from Grow-A-Note serve the dual purpose of extending greetings and providing a gift in the springtime Seeds Without Weeds Cards created from recycled paper and wildflower seeds such as those from Grow-A-Note serve the dual purpose of extending greetings and providing a gift in the springtime Seed paper is embedded with a colorful array of wildflower seeds including alyssum Siberian wallflower black-eyed Susan and baby blue eyes. Just plant the card keep it watered and watch it grow The papers an eco-friendly concept of Green Field Paper Company are handmade by skilled artisans in San Diego California and communicate a sense of style and environmental responsibility. Each sheet is hand crafted in an age-old tradition from tree-free fibers and is rich in texture and appearance. Green Field s Hemp Heritage paper has organic texture and is crafted into journals sketch and drawing books in seven sizes and a choice of 24-lb. or 70-lb. paper. These journal books are lined in soy ink on one side of the sheet giving a budding artist or writer the flexibility of being able to sketch on one side and write on the other. All are acid free chlorine free and of archival quality. Coffee Therapy Is a coffee connoisseur on your list Give her a reason to boast that she s getting a caffeine kick and boosting a sustainably grown product. Certified organic coffees are grown without the use of pesticides and fertilizers certified fair trade coffee gives farmers a better standard of living and producer cooperatives are guaranteed a minimum fair price for their crop. Shade-grown coffee reduces cutting of the rain forests and protects bird habitat. Many coffee producers such as Deans Beans and Grounds for Change participate in socially just and environmentally responsible practices and provide flavorful products as well. A gift pack or coffee-of-the-month club membership from a fair trade producer serves the dual purpose of taste and social responsibility. Minimize Your Impact Maximize Your Gift Finally a donation to an environmentally responsible organization may endear you to a recipient who favors it. Through The Nature Conservancy for example you can Adopt an Acre in one of five scenic locations and the giftee will receive an adoption certificate plus a subscription to Nature Conservancy magazine. HLM Sources and HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 41 HERLIFE MOTHER S PERSPECTIVE celebrating holiday traditions by re b e c c a f l a n sb u rg T 42 he holiday season is a festive time of year filled to the brim with fun familyfriendly activities. Aside from the standard season-appropriate adventures of storytelling caroling and ornament Tracking Santa Remember when you were a child and could hardly sleep knowing Santa was about to visit your home You may have spent Christmas Eve with your nose smooshed against the window glass hoping to catch a glimpse of a jolly man in a red suit accompanied by eight flying reindeer. Santa watching has taken a new twist now that tracking Santa has gone high tech. Apps such as Google Santa Tracker let kids and parents follow Santa on the go with the use of smart devices. The Santa Tracker app is available on Google Play it starts tracking Santa on Christmas Eve and users can follow his journey online. NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955 and has recently partnered with Bing Maps and Microsoft to provide a family -friendly program by the North American Aerospace Defense Command which tracks Santa around the world using military sensors and technology. These options are exciting and techy making families sometimes crave fun that is different from the norm. Here are a few ideas that may have fallen off your fun radar but ones that are bound to create lasting holiday memories. HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM Simple craft activities that double as gift-making creations include homemade bath salts pine cone wreaths mosaic tile picture frames and DIY wind chimes. ways for the family to watch Santa traverse the globe. Holiday Book Traditions Reading to children is a big part of family living during the year but it takes on a new meaning around the holidays. What better way to share holiday traditions folklore and magic than to snuggle together as a family and read. Classics such as A Charlie Brown Christmas or How the Grinch Stole Christmas and others which are available in app form to help parents read to their kids. The oral traditions that celebrate Chanukah and the observation of Kwanzaa also help parents take a walk down memory lane. Elf on the Shelf Elf on the Shelf began as a children s book in 2005 written and selfpublished by American author Carol Aebersold and daughter Chanda Bell and illustrated by Co Steinwart. Elf on the Shelf featured a Christmas-themed tale written in rhyme that explains how Santa knows who is naughty and who is nice. As time went on Elf on a Shelf evolved into a physical activity involving an elf who was strategically placed (by Mom and Dad) around the house to keep watch on the kids behavior. Kids have a ball trying to guess and find where the Elf is on any given day. Family Movie Night Most parents have an endless number of forgotten DVDs in their home that seems to grow as their children age. The beauty of children s movies is that no matter what character show or movie your child is into there is probably a holiday version of that movie available. From Muppets to National Lampoon s Christmas Vacation re-living and re-watching these movies can creCREATING HANDMADE BATH SALTS Bath salts are enjoyed by many women and make an excellent gift for moms aunts grandmothers and teachers. Supplies Mixing bowl Epsom salt Food coloring 1 4 teaspoon glycerin Essential oil of preferred fragrance Decorative glass jars Directions Pour 2 cups of Epsom salt in mixing bowl and stir until all lumps are removed. Next add a few drops of food coloring and stir until the salt is evenly colored. Follow by stirring in the glycerin with approximately 5 drops of essential oil. Finish by funneling salt into decorative jars and attaching tags directing recipients to use 1 3 cup per bath. ate a fun and laid back family tradition. Engage the Tweens and Teens When many mothers consider purchasing materials for holiday crafts they generally think about crafts for younger children and not teenagers. While many teens would rather hang out with friends or listen to their iPods there are plenty of artsy teens who would enjoy these activities. Even if your tween or teen isn t into crafty stuff creating holiday crafts can be a good family night activity. Simple craft activities that double as gift-making creations include homemade bath salts pine cone wreaths mosaic tile picture frames and DIY wind chimes. For more ideas search Christmas crafts for teens on Pinterest and enjoy a mother lode of ideas. Food Creations and Crafts One of the most treasured holiday activities is eating all the yummy holiday food. Homemade foods and treats are often the best gifts for family and friends as well. Baking appeals to kids of all ages and whether they re preschoolers or teenagers they can help and will have fun. Simple baked goods such as brownies and cookies are always a hit as are more complex projects such as soup mixes in a jar or handcrafted candies. Whether it s baking reading or making crafts holiday activities are a great way to create quality family memories that your children will pass on to their children and remember for a lifetime. HLM Sources and HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 43 HERLIFE FINE THINGS fine art the perfect gift by l a u ra l e i va season. You might be thinking How can fine art be a good gift idea or Isn t fine art very expensive Gifting fine art is an exceptional idea granted you are choosing a piece that will be loved and appreciated by the recipient. Fine art comes in various forms whether it s a beautiful sculpture or mesmerizing painting. In order to ensure that the time and money you are putting into the gift is going to be well received you should follow these suggested gifting guidelines. What is Their Personal Style If they love Rodin and you gift them with an abstract piece chances are it might not be such a good fit. Before shopping be sure to get 44 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM H oliday shopping comes with the usual stresses such as who to shop for and more importantly what do you possibly get them this year When you re ready to get a little creative and find that perfect item for a loved one or close friend fine art is something that could really make a lasting impression on the holiday a good idea of the personal taste and style of your loved one or friend. You can get some good clues by taking a look around their house. Do they love modern art or impressionism landscapes or urban art Take into consideration what items they have around the home and use that as a foundation for your fine art search. For example if they love the architecture of New York City s Chrysler Building you might decide to go in the direction of art deco or even a building-inspired piece. Choose a Medium When it comes to the idea of gifting fine art you don t need to feel responsible for picking up a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Instead think of fine art as an exceptional piece of visual art designed to be appreciated and displayed. For one person a fine art piece could be a pop art print similar to that of Roy Lichtenstein or Andy Warhol or it could also be a quality reproduction of an American West-inspired bronze sculpture created by Frederic Remington. Whether you want to find a painting print or If you re unsure where to start avid art collectors often like to browse smaller galleries and art shows for spectacular and unique pieces. Purchasing a print or painting from an unknown artist now could really be priceless one day if that artist s popularity grows. sculpture choose a style that best fits the aesthetic of your recipient. After all art is meant to be viewed or incorporated into the overall d cor. Search for a Unique Piece Art can be found anywhere from a notable gallery or even a local art show at a university. If you re unsure where to start avid art collectors often like to browse smaller galleries and art shows for spectacular and unique pieces. Purchasing a print or painting from an unknown artist now could really be priceless one day if that artist s popularity grows. In addition to finding an ideal art piece browsing local art shows or galleries can help you narrow down your options or fine tune what it is you re looking for in terms of style or color. Art gallery experts do suggest one thing never buy art because of the investment factor purchase art because it evokes a certain emotion or because it is visually enchanting. Let Them Pick Out a Piece OK well not exactly. If you simply have no idea what kind of art a loved one or friend likes one way to find out is to take them to an art gallery or museum under the guise of its being a fun day out. During the excursion try to get an idea of what pieces they love and what they don t. Once you get a feel for what their aesthetic is you can either go back to purchase it later (if it s at an art gallery) or use the museum trip as inspiration once you start shopping. Gallery owners encourage you to ask questions during a visit if you don t see something that jumps out at you or grabs your attention ask the gallery owner for tips and suggestions. Often they have plenty of art that is not on display and are more than willing to show you additional pieces. Don t Buy Online If You Can Help It While it is easier to do holiday shopping or shopping in general online fine art is one area where it s best to see it up close. You want to make sure you are getting what you pay for and that if you want a canvas piece it s not delivered to the door on paper or vice versa. When purchasing art examine paint or other media to ensure it is quality and clean the paper or canvas should be in good condition. You should also ask if the price includes hanging hardware or frame. Shopping for fine art might sound a bit frightening but it doesn t have to be. Take time and research to find the perfect piece for your recipient HLM Sources and HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 45 HERLIFE HOME centerpiece and decorating trends for the holidays by m e l a n i e c o rb e l l i n i T his time of year we re excited for all sorts of pumpkin-spice flavored things and the overall comfort the season embodies and the cooler temperatures of fall have prepared us for the celebrations that occur this month. Whether you plan on throwing lavish parties or simply celebrating with a small group of family and friends we know food is a key element of any gathering so an inviting table setting is a must. Nothing completes a table and entices your guests like a festive charming centerpiece so here are some ways to add a little more holiday cheer to your table this season. 46 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM Hanukkah begins Sunday December 6 this year with its traditional theme colors of blue and white set off by the light of candles on the menorah. The Jewish home may have a well-loved menorah that s used each year but we found some contemporary ideas for eye-catching centerpieces that can be adapted to other seasons and traditions. Begin with a white tray or platter clear votive cups floating wicks blue food coloring water and oil. In three separate containers tint the water into three varying hues of blue. Pour the water into the cups and float a teaspoon of oil on top then place the wick in the center. Arrange the floating candle lights on the tray and light the wicks when guests arrive for a glowing table centerpiece that s low and invites conversation. A unique menorah can be created by wrapping small boxes in silver and blue paper. Set glass tea lights on top securing them with doublefaced tape. Use a total of nine elevate the center candle on two boxes and wrap them in a different paper for extra interest. If your taste leans to table runners take a length of extra-wide twosided velvet and gather the middle in a decorative knot. Arrange tapers down the center. Cut Star of David shapes from cardboard and cover with decorative paper and hang blue and white or crystal beads from the edges then push one into the base of each taper for a lush look and horizontal appeal. As the fall palette transitions into December s hues we re ready for a change of pace. A centerpiece theme that s beautiful during everyone s favorite time of year is the winter wonderland. Nothing makes a table more magical than vibrant silver white and blue d cor and it will enchant your guests for any occasion. You can use this theme to create various centerpieces. Two lovely ideas include using a white rose floral arrangement in a glass vase half-filled with glass silver balls or invest in white Christmas tree-shaped candles and arrange them on your table alone with a few champagne flutes filled with silver and blue glass balls. Get creative with your Christmas table centerpiece by combining fruit and flowers. Purchase three medium-sized glass vases in whatever shape you like (we recommend round) and use the vase within a vase technique. Insert a smaller vase filled with white or yellow roses set it into the larger vase and fill the larger vase to the top with cranberries. Arrange the vases spacing them out evenly in the center of your table. This will add elegance and charisma to your table giving it a touch of sophistication that anyone can appreciate. For a simple earthy look use a long wooden candleholder as your centerpiece and decorate it with green or red apples set in the candle wells. If you want to add light scoop out a hollow in the top of each apple and insert a tea-light candle. Surround the base with evergreen branches to soften the look. Because the candleholder is long but not wide it will bring your table together and maintain a line of sight for guests. For a trendy way to bring some glam to your New Year s Eve dinner start by purchasing four large martini glasses and fill them with small silver beads or balls. Place a small floating candle well on top of each martini glasses. Arrange the glasses on the center of your table light the candles and you have just created a sexy aroma to match the mood of your evening. Who doesn t love a martini glass no matter what it s filled with New Year s Eve is all about sparkles streamers and shine. To create a centerpiece that embodies the excitement of the evening start by filling six champagne flutes with silver streamers stars and glitter found at any crafts store allowing some of the streamers to spill over the sides. Arrange the flutes in a horizontal line evenly spaced at the center of the table. Take four white pillar candles and outline one number of the coming year with small blue stick-on gems. Arrange the candles front and center in the appropriate order in front of your champagne flutes for an alluring and fun centerpiece. Now you re ready to celebrate the season in style HLM Sources and HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 47 HERLIFE HOLIDAY GIVING the season of giving by a l l i so n tu r n b e rg T is the season to give so why not give to the less fortunate The holiday season is all about giving but that doesn t always have to mean giv- more leading to increased happiness as well. There are even health benefits to being charitable. In fact studies have shown that people who donate to charities have generally better health than those who don t. And with so many creative ways to give what s stopping you Whether you re looking to donate money time or talents there are countless ways to help others during the holiday season. Consider these ideas if you re looking to give in a way that doesn t necessarily come wrapped in a bow. Charitable Gifts If you have a loved one who shares your desire to help others consider using their gift to donate to charity. Choose one that correlates to his or her interests to make it more personal there are countless charities covering a wide range of important topics. Many charities such as UNICEF Oxfam Livestrong and the World Wildlife Federation often have gifts available that when purchased donate a portion or all of the proceeds to the corresponding charity. Many of these charitable gifts are very popular and fashionable such as TOMS Shoes a company that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. If the charity you chose does not offer a gift in return for a donation consider simply making a monetary donation in your loved one s name. You will feel proud that your hardearned money is going toward something good and your loved one will be happy that their sacrifice of a tangible gift has helped someone. There are even charity gift cards available so that the recipient of your gift can choose the organization they want to support. Be aware that this option often deducts a percentage of the funds for handling fees however. Make It a Family Day You can also look for a volunteer opportunity that involves the whole family. Doinggood- ing material gifts. They re always a fun way to show your appreciation for someone and nothing beats the smile that comes across a loved one s face when they see what they ve received but giving to those in need can help us feel more fulfilled. Holiday philanthropy is an easy and fun way to celebrate the season. Reasons to Give If feeling warm and fuzzy inside isn t reason enough for you to consider donating time or money to charity during the holidays the tax deductions that many charitable donations are eligible for should entice you. Taking time to reflect on the wonderful things you have while helping provide those things to others who lack them will make you appreciate your life much 48 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM Taking time to reflect on the wonderful things you have while helping provide those things to others who lack them will make you appreciate your life much more leading to increased happiness as well. has an extensive list of family volunteer programs in several cities to help you find the best fit for your family and it can connect you with organizations that fit your family s interests. They re also open to adding you as a volunteer coordinator in your own city. Consult Your Employer Find out if the company you work for has a matching program for charitable donations. Many do and in most cases the employer will match your contribution 100 percent. This is an excellent way to stretch your dollars for maximum impact and your employer will appreciate your incentive. Give a Holiday Meal Many in our country and around the world don t have access to adequate food and water to make the delicious holiday meals we re so fortunate to be accustomed to. Homeless shelters churches and charity organizations need help year-round but especially during the holidays to provide meals to the less fortunate. If money is tight this holiday season donate your time by volunteering to cook or deliver these meals through soup kitchens or organizations such as Meals on Wheels or volunteer for a day at an organization that donates nonperishable nutrient-packed meals to starving children in developing countries. has an extensive database and rating system for charities such as these nationwide. But at the same time remember that your involvement is also appreciated and necessary during the rest of the year. Donate Your Clothes Be philanthropic this season by cleaning out your closet. Instead of throwing out-of-season clothing away or selling to consignment stores donate items to homeless shelters or thrift stores that support important causes there will always be a need for clothing items of every kind. Many places also accept gently used housewares such as pots and pans dishes baskets and furniture. The holidays are a time to be close to loved ones and certainly to show them how much they mean to you but they re also a time to reflect on your life. Spending less time stressing about the material things and spreading holiday cheer by helping others is the real reason for the season. Gifts are always fun especially during the holiday season but philanthropy is a gift to those you are helping as well as to yourself. HLM Sources and HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM 49 HERLIFE HOROSCOPE star journeys December is the time for a spiritual awakening. Many signs will go through this awakening as the month progresses so take the time to figure out who you are before figuring out others. Some signs will need to have a health-conscious mind and an iron will. Despite trying circumstances remember that there is a light on the horizon and once you re there you will find bliss. HLM by m e l o dy b u ssey Sagittarius NOV. 22-DEC. 21 Life is yours for the taking so live your life by design. What you do in life the experiences the pain the happiness are totally up to you. Be happy and the world will smile with you. Travel and sensual opportunities abound this month. Overall this month will leave you satisfied. Gemini MAY 21-JUNE 20 The trial by fire is over each day a new planet leaves the stress-inducing alignment. By the 16th you will be carefree. Every house will benefit from this celestial rearrangement. Socially you will be calmer and singles will have more chances than ever to find their one. Whether that is the first second or third one don t give up. Capricorn DEC. 22-JAN. 19 Do not rely on anyone. This doesn t mean push away help when it is needed but rather avoid using people as a personal crutch. Personal independence is going to fly high this month so don t let go of it. Your dreams are within your grasp this month and it s time to make that final push forward and reach the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Cancer JUNE 21-JULY 23 The house of career will be visited by its ruler and your career planet Mars. Career will be emphasized this month and it is time to plant your feet down and get moving. Christmas shopping needs to be done before the retrograde on the 17th as decisions will be made better before then. Aquarius JAN. 20-FEB. 18 While a majority of planets are still above the horizon for you this will not affect the career house which is still very active and happy. But career will slowly lose its appeal as the 21st comes around. Family and home will become more of a focus. Live life on your terms and happiness will follow since most of the planets that rule your houses are located in the east. Leo JULY 24-AUG. 22 Now that the eclipses have stopped rattling your cage it s time to enjoy your life a little more. As a Leo you must learn to adapt and overcome situations rather than blunder through them. Charm and a conscious try will go further than you previously thought. Pisces FEB. 19-MAR. 20 Health will need to be the priority this month both mental and physical. Many of the things to watch for are located in the thighs liver and spine. Unfortunately it will be hard to focus on that when you will want to focus more on your career s health instead of your physical health. Watch out for this. Virgo AUG. 23-SEPT. 22 Once Mars is gone from your houses your overall health will pick back up. This new bout of energy and grace doesn t mean you should push yourself. Don t overextend yourself as this will lead to health problems. The 22nd will bring on the leisure and pleasure portion of the month. Take this time to play. Aries MAR. 21-APR. 19 Like a butterfly you will emerge from this much-needed personal seclusion and come out of it for the better spiritually and physically. You will discover a new you and the weight of the world seems to be bearable now. With Mars your ruling planet leaving your 12th house it will move into your Aries sign which causes a surfacing of new-found energy and vitality. Libra SEPT. 23-OCT. 22 Remember the human body has limits and breaking points. By the 22nd health could take a serious turn so be careful and be safe. Home and social plights will pull you in every direction and the obvious direction to go is to find a good neutral point to the issues. Commit to nothing. Taurus APR. 20-MAY 20 Career will be the biggest drive this month and family will be pushed to the back burner. Be careful to not leave them there too long or you risk burning them. With all the planetary power above the horizon your career house grows each day in power. Big career choices should be made now so strike while the iron is hot. 50 HERLIFEMAGAZINE.COM Scorpio OCT. 23-NOV. 21 With the celestial bodies below the horizon the house and family sectors are very close and powerful to you. Use this time to strengthen familial bonds. In matters approaching remember to be flexible and adapt to the situation. It is okay to ask for help.