Hero of the Week: Marie Wise-Hawkins

| SC Living, SC Women | July 16, 2015

Santa Clarita native and former Canyon Theatre Guild performer Marie Wise-Hawkins has recently gained national attention for her talent as a country music artist.

Set to headline at this weekend’s Concerts in the Park, Wise-Hawkins was recognized as one of the top five country artists in the United States at last year’s Country Showdown, the world’s largest country music talent competition. After winning the local and state competitions, she made it all the way to the finals in Nashville and was the last female artist remaining in the competition.

While she was in high school, Wise-Hawkins won the Colgate Country Showdown competitions in Ventura and Santa Ynez, and later received her bachelor’s degree in classical voice from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.

The star of the 2011 Canyon Theatre Guild production of “Always … Patsy Cline,” Wise-Hawkins took home the “Goldie” and “Best Musical” awards for her portrayal of 1950s country superstar Patsy Cline.

Wise-Hawkins has performed at numerous local nonprofit events – including Relay for Life, Henry Mayo Hospital’s Hometown Jamboree and the Child & Family Center’s Taste of the Town – and is actively involved in Santa Clarita’s “Cowboy Poetry and Music in the Schools” program.

Women in Touch Breakfast

| News, SC Women | March 27, 2015

Women in Touch welcomes Eldonna Lewis Fernandez! Eldonna will be speaking at the breakfasts on April 2, 2015. The breakfast is held at Marie Callender’s 27630 The Old Road from 8:30 to 10:30 on Thursday, April 2, 2015. Cost is $15 at the door.

Women in Touch is a group of women supporting women personally and professionally, learning from each-others success and cautionary tales. For more information contact Jennifer Ramos jennifer@womenintouchscv.com, www.womenintouchscv.com.

Eldonna_01812About Eldonna Lewis Fernandez MSgt USAF Retired, she has 23 years of honorable military service and is a negotiation and contracts expert. She has negotiated contracts from $1 to over $100 million both stateside and internationally. She was recently featured on Fox Business and has 7 years of extensive experience working for defense contractors in the aerospace industry. www.thinklikeanegotiator.com

A Recipe for the Easiest Eye Makeup Ever!!

| Canyon Country Magazine, SC Women | January 29, 2015

By Jen Gerard

If you are like me and you look at these ladies on Instagram with this elaborate eye makeup and think, “I could never do that!”  this article is for you. This is a “recipe” anyone can do with ease and can be done with any group of colors: browns, purples, blues, greens, etc.

Here is what you are going to need for this recipe:
Four eye shadow colors from the same color family (1 dark matte or shimmer shade, 1 medium matte shade, 1 light shimmer shade, and one glitter or extra light shimmer shade)
Any applicator brush
A blending brush (I like the MB23 from Morphe Brushes $5.95)
A pencil brush (I like the one from Makeup Geek $7.99)

Start by using the applicator brush to apply the medium shade from the center of the eyelid upward to the area just below the brow bone. Blend well with the blending brush.

Take the light shade and apply using the pencil brush along the lash line from the center of the eye inward towards the corner. Blend any excess shadow with the blender brush.

Now take the dark shade and apply to the outer corner of the eye in the shape of a V. Blend the dark color well into the crease by running the blender brush back and forth from the far corner and along the crease stopping above the center of the eye. Then use the pencil brush to apply the dark shade along the lower lash line. Make sure to tap excess powder off of the brush before applying, to prevent fallout. If you do have fallout, you can clean it up very easily with a dab of concealer, so don’t worry. Now just add a dab of the lightest or glitter color to accent the inner corner of the eye.

All that’s left is to add some mascara and – voila! – you have got a look suitable for any occasion.

November is National Adoption Month

| Canyon Country Magazine, Santa Clarita Living, SC Women | November 16, 2014


If you have ever considered the idea of foster parenting or adopting a child, an upcoming meeting can give you some specifics about the process. The Children’s Bureau invites individuals and couples to become Resource Families to care specifically for children during the reunification process with their parents. There are also children currently in foster care who are unable to return to their families of origin. Children’s Bureau encourages caring families to consider foster-adopting these children. Families who have the willingness, ability and resources to care for teenagers, older children and sibling sets are also invited. The monthly information meeting for those interested in learning more is on Saturday, November 22, 2014  from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Westfield Valencia Town Center Community Room (Level 1 by LOFT), 24201 W. Valencia Boulevard in Valencia.

Children’s Bureau encourages individuals (single or married), who are interested in helping children find the love, stability and support a family can provide, to contact Children’s Bureau. Qualifying families receive training, certification and support. For more information, call (661) 208-4212 or visit the website www.all4kids.org. An information packet or application may be requested by filling out a request form on the website, if desired. An application may also be printed directly from the website.

For 110 years, Children’s Bureau has been a nonprofit leader in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. More than 28,000 children and families are helped each year throughout Southern California with services that include school readiness, parenting classes, family resource centers, support groups, mental health counseling, foster care, foster-adoption and more.

Rodeo Champion Ann Scott

| Canyon Country Magazine, SC Women | November 14, 2014

By Martha Michael

Ann with Buzz; photo by Christy Burleson

Ann with Buzz; photo by Christy Burleson

With her shiny blonde hair and winning smile, you might not guess that Ann Scott of Canyon Country is a tough and daring cowgirl. While she may be one of the most eye-catching competitors in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), she’s also one of the fastest.

Last month, Scott was a big winner at the California Circuit Finals Rodeo in Lancaster, earning the title California Barrel Racing Winner of the Year. It qualified her to attend the Ram National Circuit Finals to be held in Kissimmee, Florida in March. “They take the top two contestants in each event from each circuit,” said Scott. “California is its own circuit, because it’s such a big state.”

Scott’s horse, Buzz, also took top honors. He was named California Barrel Racing Horse of the Year.

A Canyon Country resident since the age of three and a graduate of Santa Clarita Christian School, Scott has a great attachment to this town. “It’s far enough out of L.A. where I can have horses and be away from the big city, but close enough to L.A. where I can go to work,” she said.

Scott is a stunt woman for films and television, following in the boots of some of her family members.

Horseback rider Ann Scott posed with family and friends after winning the saddle at the Lancaster PRCA Rodeo last month.

Horseback rider Ann Scott posed with family and friends after winning the saddle at the Lancaster PRCA Rodeo last month.

“My father, Walter Scott, is a stunt coordinator (for the entertainment industry) who still competes in team ropings. My mother, Valerie, used to compete in barrel racing and is now the head of our horse breeding program. My brother, Wesley, is a stuntman and has competed at rodeos also,” said Ann.

The riding champ started out going to junior rodeos when she was 12. “I’ve competed in California PRCA rodeos since I was 14,” she said. “And this last year, I decided to travel to bigger rodeos outside of California for the first time and ended up ranking 18th in the world.”

Does she have the answer to the age-old question, “Which one makes you fast–the rider or the horse?”

“It’s a combination of both,” Scott said. “You must be able to ride well and also have a horse that can run and turn fast. And to be great at their job your horse must love it!”

As if rounding those barrels at full speed wasn’t challenging enough, Scott claimed that the whole event requires a lot of skill and tenacity.

“My biggest challenge has been training my horse, Buzz,” she said. “I was there when he was born and trained him to run barrels myself. This year was a big learning experience for both myself and my horse. Traveling to rodeos across the country was difficult. It’s a very busy schedule, but an experience that has made me grow in many ways.”

Scott has a strong support system to keep her schedule. Her boyfriend, Brad, is a competitive steer wrestler and helps her drive to many of the rodeos. Scott hopes to qualify for the “super bowl of rodeos” next year: the PRCA finals in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I’ve only been to watch,” she said. “It’s great. The best in the world compete there. Everywhere you look in Vegas during the rodeo there are cowboys!”
While many of us would never dare to go full speed on horseback, or even ride horses at all, Ann Scott has taken a lot of risks as a cowgirl.

“My job can be scary sometimes. I’ve had a few broken bones, stitches and a lot of bumps and bruises,” described Scott. “I think it was John Wayne that said, ‘Real courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.’”

Beauty Minute – Three Tips to a Flawless Face

| Canyon Country Magazine, SC Women | October 16, 2014

By Jen Gerard

As we exit summer and greet the fall it’s a great time to talk about foundation. This time of year, the summer tan is fading and foundation can become your new best friend when it comes to covering areas of concern. Here are some tips to get a flawless look with foundation.

1. Get color matched. If you are using a brand from Sephora or a department store cosmetic counter, the store will gladly color match you for free. Getting the perfect shade can sometimes require using a mixture of two shades. If you are using a drug store brand, most chain drugstores will let you return or exchange it if you get the wrong color. It’s always best to match your face to your chest color, taking extra care to blend a little down your neck so there isn’t an orange line along the base of your chin.

2. Apply loose powder BEFORE your foundation. I know it sounds strange, but it really helps to illuminate the skin, fill in pores, and most of all, helps keep your foundation from melting or sliding down your face during the day. You will love the extra long wearing this tip will give you.

3.  Blend, blend, blend!! It’s always best to use a damp beauty blender or a brush when blending your foundation rather than your fingers. Blend in a circular motion. Blend, blend, then blend some more. When you think you are done blending, blend some more. This works the foundation into the skin and gives you a flawless look. Some great foundation flat head blending brushes are the F80 from Sigma ($24 SigmaBeauty.com)  or the G6 from Morphe ($13.95 MorpheBushes.com).

Baby Boutique

| Santa Clarita Living, SC Women | September 12, 2014

baby boutique logo picNew parents, expectant mothers and fathers, grandparents and anyone remotely interested in babies are welcome to attend the Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) Baby Boutique on Saturday, September 20, 2014. The event will provide shopping for visitors, including 30 vendors, raffles, gift bags and more. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the NICU at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

Event planners Valerie Bradford and Ayanna McLeod are launching this first-time event at the Hilton Garden Inn in Valencia for the public to enjoy from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“My business partner and I are thrilled to be hosting the very first SCV Baby Boutique,” said Bradford. “This has been an amazing experience with amazing people every step of the way – from our initial contact with Maria Rodriguez at the Hilton Garden Inn, where our event will take place in four of their largest conference rooms, to our meeting with Officer Frank Vargas of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), who did not hesitate to join us and provide at least three stations in the parking lot during the event to do Child Safety Seat Inspections.”

Sponsored by Whitening Lightning, boutique vendors include a Mary Kay Cosmetics representative, Lasting Impressions, The Painted Shutter & Co., Enchanted Kids and dozens of artists from photographers to crafters who create handmade baby garments.

“Most importantly, we feel we have laid the groundwork for an amazing relationship with the Kim and Steven Ullman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, the benefactor of our event,” said Bradford. “Renee Leon, development associate & healthcare hero coordinator, has gone above and beyond to work with us and to get the word out about the boutique, and we are humbled by this opportunity to give back to our community.”

Enchanted Kids Baby BeginningsThe Hilton Garden Inn is located at 27710 The Old Road in Valencia. Contact Valerie at scvbabyboutique@yahoo.com or call (661) 312-7007 for information or for a Vendor/Sponsor Application.

Beauty Minute – Top 5 Eyelash Products

| Articles, Canyon Country Magazine, SC Women | July 30, 2014

by Jennifer Gerard

Now that summer is coming to a close and we are all sporting our Autumn bronze glow, dramatic makeup looks are out. However, sweeping lashes are a secret beauty staple any time of year. I am always in search of great lash products, because I am just one of these people who can’t do false lashes. They feel heavy on me and sometimes they itch. They look amazing when they are perfectly placed, but who has all day to place them? Using the must-have products and techniques mentioned below, you can hang up your falsies for good and have lashes your friends will be envious of!

1. RapidLash XL Eyelash Enhancing Serum ~ I have to say I was skeptical when I first tried this product, but it truly does work wonders. I have used other lash enhancing serums costing up to $160, but none have worked as well as RapidLash, which runs about $30 on Amazon. Simply apply a thin layer along your lash line (just as you would liquid eyeliner) once a day. After 4-5 weeks you will be amazed by how much longer and thicker your lashes will be.

2. Chanel Eyelash Curler ~ I recently switched after many years of using the She Uemera lash curler, because I think this one grips all the lashes perfectly, especially those thinner lashes on top going toward the inner corner of the eye. It is a tad pricey ($36 at Chanel.com) compared to an eyelash curler you can get at Walmart for $4, but since eyelash curlers basically last forever, consider it an investment. Always curl your lashes before applying mascara or primer.

3. Lancôme CILS Booster XL Super Enhancing Mascara Base ($24.50 at Sephora).This is a white mascara that primes lashes. It thickens and lengthens without clumping, allowing mascara to go on effortlessly. I have probably used every mascara primer on the market at one time or another, but the Lancôme is the best by far. Make sure to wiggle the wand a little as you apply this product for even more dramatic results.

4. YSL (Yves Saint Laurent) Faux Effet Babydoll Mascara ~ I honestly can’t say enough great things about this mascara. It is, hands down, the best of the best when it comes to mascara. It has a precision wand that separates the lashes perfectly without clumping. Apply it over the primer and wiggle the wand as you pull it up along the lashes. It is far from the cheapest mascara on the market, at $30 (Sephora or any department store carries it) but it is the only mascara I will ever use.

5. YSL (Yves Saint Laurent) Faux Effet Shocking Mascara (also $30 at Sephora) ~ For special occasions only, I add a little of the Shocking mascara over the top of the Babydoll for the full dramatic false lash effect. There is also a waterproof version, which is great for those sentimental occasions.

Keeping Our Eye on the Mall

| Santa Clarita Living, SC Women | July 5, 2014

mallFrom the mid-1900s into the 21st century, Americans became increasingly more avid shoppers. There developed a “mall culture,” where a real diversity of ages and stages frequented retail stores on a regular basis, not just to do the obvious (shop), but to socialize, date, eat, etc.

While old-timers in this valley joke about the days when Kmart was the only chain store for miles, by the time the City of Santa Clarita was founded there was a burgeoning retail presence to meet the needs of its booming population. As prosperity rose, retail sales rose, but what happened when the recession hit a few years ago? Business theory would predict a metamorphosis for malls, just as other companies have had to adjust.
Santa Clarita Living Magazine turned to Westfield Valencia Town Center Marketing Director Stacie C. House, to see what changes have been made for local residents.
SCL: With the struggling economy of the last few years, did Westfield Valencia businesses experience any slowing?
SCH: The downturn certainly had an impact on retail as with other industries. Despite the recession Westfield moved forward with development of the Patios, which we proudly opened in 2010. The addition of new premium retailers such as Sephora, Free People, mall IMApple, M. Fredric, BCBG MaxAzria and more, coupled with a beautiful outdoor lifestyle element serves as a centerpiece for the community and visitors to socially connect while exploring our diverse collection of stores, restaurants and entertainment options.
SCL: What have been the biggest changes over the last five years? Over the last year?
SCH: Retail as an industry is ever-changing. As shopper behaviors and accessibility to information evolves, providing a streamlined and dynamic guest experience across all consumer touch points is critical to our growth and success. Westfield strives to transform the

face of retail by offering the best shopping centers around the world while integrating fashion, food, leisure, entertainment and digital technology with the world’s leading retail brands. Where we’re going as a company and how we are influencing the industry is extraordinary.
SCL: Has “The Patios” had any unpredictable outcomes? (Has it gone in any different direction than intended?)
SCH: The Patios has leased up beautifully. The blend of a robust tenant mix and state-of-the-art lifestyle amenities, such as the outdoor children’s play space, have captured the essence of the Santa Clarita lifestyle as well as the attention of additional premium brands looking to join our retail family. We are excited to welcome new tenants on The Patios this year including LYFE Kitchen, Solita, and CA Fish Grill.
SCL: Which are the most popular/successful stores and sections of the mall?
SCH: The Center is undeniably multi-purpose in that it is commonly many things to one person. Situated in the heart of our community, the Center is the go-to place for mom when she needs to grab something for the kids, home to the latest fashion trends, a social hub to connect with friends, and serves as a destination to many travelers. Each fragment of Westfield Valencia Town Center contributes to our overarching goal of providing the best individual guest experience possible.

SCL: Why did the Santa Clarita Artists’ Association change locations?
SCH: It has been a treat having the Artists’ Association here on a temporary basis at Westfield Valencia Town Center. They have added an engaging energy to Town Center Drive. We worked in partnership with the Artists’ Association to relocate them in an effort to accommodate a new tenant joining us on Town Center Drive this fall.
What changes can we expect in the next year?
Go to www.santaclaritalife.com and click on the “Tell Me More” tab to see what Stacie House can tell us about changes at Westfield Valencia. There is one very popular clothing store arriving soon…
The Westfield Valencia Town Center is located at 24201 West Valencia Blvd. in Valencia.

New Health Program Takes Shape

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, SC Women, Spotlight News | March 6, 2014

Samantha Miles

Samantha Miles

The approach of spring (and with it, the distant footsteps of bikini weather) means that “heading back to the gym” and starting a weight loss program (again!) seems commonplace. Often times, however, a person enters the process alone, and the lack of support almost creates a rate of failure that seems inevitable.

Enter Samantha Miles, a certified health coach, whose job it is to be sure her clients are not on the journey alone.

“My role is to inspire, guide and support the client’s goals,” Miles explains. “I help clients all across the nation, and I do my business primarily over the phone. When we talk, we discuss the client’s goals and motivation to continue with the program.”

The program is called “Take Shape for Life,” which includes meal substitution with products from Medifast. But, beginning the dietary protocol is just the beginning. Men and women in the program also get Samantha Miles at no extra charge – a mentor for people who desire a way to make healthier choices.

“Take Shape for Life is not a diet!” Miles says. “It is an optimal health program designed to help people learn to create the habits of health in their life! I help my clients understand their current habits and show them how to develop the skills, discipline and knowledge they need to succeed.”
The Take Shape for Life website emphasizes its long-term support process.

“The program starts with a phone call between me and the potential client,” Miles explains. “I process a credit card order for them online and order them their food. The food takes five days to arrive. The night before the client starts, we have a phone conversation to go over the days on the program.”
Miles sees this program as a good fit for modern culture. “There is a crisis of obesity in America today,” she says. “In 2010, 36 percent, or 78 million, U.S. adults were obese. The problem isn’t that people aren’t trying to lose weight, the problem is that what they are doing isn’t working.”

Samatha before and after

Samatha before and after

It’s the success stories of both Samantha and her husband, Nathan Miles, that

Nathan before and after

Nathan before and after

fueled the couple’s desire to start Take Shape for Life. In fact, all of the company’s health coaches have had a similar experience. “Health coaches loved the program so much they are now paying it forward and sharing what they learned and experienced with others, and spreading the health that they have found!” says Samantha. “I became a health coach after watching my husband lose 90 pounds in about nine months on the program, and literally change his health and his life overnight!”

A mother-of-four, including an infant, Samantha began with the nursing mothers program and took off the 60+ pounds that she had gained. “I was successful and lost 60 pounds in six months on the program,” she says.

Read more about Nathan & Samantha’s weight loss experience at “Tell Me More” tab

Samantha became a health coach in May of 2012, and she has stayed in that role (and kept the weight off) for two years. She received her health coach certification from MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education at the College of Nursing at Villanova University. She had previously earned a bachelor›s degree in film and television at California State University, Northridge following two years at College of the Canyons.

The Miles Family

The Miles Family

Samantha and Nathan came to the Santa Clarita Valley to settle in Castaic 13 years ago. Three of their children attend Live Oak Elementary School in Castaic and they have a 2 1/2-year-old at home.

“I moved to Santa Clarita Valley in 2001 because I wanted to raise a family and I felt that this community had everything to offer for a family, and I have been correct,” she says. “I couldn’t think of a better place to live.”

Take Shape for Life has over 10,000 health coaches across the nation, and Samantha has personally helped more than 200 people get healthier.

“Clients beginning their journeys with Take Shape For Life will notice results quickly,” says Samantha. “Family, friends, even acquaintances will ask what you’re doing differently, and it’s natural to want to share your story with them.”

Read more about becoming a health coach at “Tell Me More” tab

Samantha has her sights set on broadening her customer base. “My goal is to expand my health coaching practice and develop more health coaches in my organization, so that I can widen my circle of influence and spread the health and happiness to more Americans!” she says. “I can help anyone who wants to get healthier, whether that means losing weight, learning to eat better, getting more quality sleep, learning health habits of motion, and creating a healthier mind and well being.”

For more information about Samantha Miles and Take Shape for Life, visit http://slimmiles.tsfl.com/explore or email Slimmiles@me.com.


New Years Resolution – Don’t ditch Your Money Makeover

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, SC Women | January 24, 2014

by Martha Michael

As 2013 turned to 2014, many people turned to someone for help with their bottom line. When it comes to finance, it may have been a financial planner or a stock broker, but finding someone to help you is the easy part. It’s making it permanent that’s the problem.

“Budgeting is the discipline of limiting your immediate desires, wants, and even some needs, in order to ensure you can financially support yourself today while saving for the future,” says Tobias Anne Skelly of giTnoticed Marketing in Santa Clarita. “The important thing to remember is that you set limits, not to deprive yourself, but to ensure your future financial health. The key is to make sure you put the money you squirrel away…in an account you won’t be tempted to touch.”

Money is a common arena for change at the beginning of the year. But, much like weight loss, we all look for keys to keeping the new plan in place.

“Money doesn’t love you or hate you. It just is,” says Arif M. Halaby, C.E.O./President of Total Financial Solutions, Inc. “If you want to change your future, work on your habits. Most people don’t become broke or rich overnight. Start with the little changes and big results will follow.”

Everyone’s weak spot may be different. Finding individual solutions and staying with them will remain the biggest challenge for most.

Valentine’s Day Things to Do

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, SC Women, Spotlight News | January 20, 2014

Here are some-we will add more!

Love Train
Plan on a ride to remember if you choose the Fillmore & Western Railway as your Valentine’s Day destination. This is your chance to finally make it to one of the Murder Mystery Dinner Train events. The “Love Train” will stretch the “Love Boat” theme to extremes, with strangely familiar characters all in ‘70s style costumes, setting the mood with music, while dancing (or dying) to the Disco beat! You will enjoy a three-course meal and, with less-than-serious sleuthing, solve a murder, or just sit back and enjoy the entertainment.
The train departs at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $89. Fillmore & Western Railway is located at 364 Main Street in Fillmore. Make reservations by calling
(805) 524-2546 or visit www.fwry.com.

Heart-Shaped Steak
Stay at home this year and throw something special on the grill – like heart-shaped steaks. Contact Bob’s Country Meats in advance to order yours. The shop is located at 19012 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country; (661) 251-5995.

Le Chene
If it’s an exotic dish, such as ostrich or bison, or elaborate wine offerings you are looking for this year, head to this Zagat-rated venue. For Valentine’s Day, Le Chene French Cuisine is offering a special menu for dinner, seating from 5:30-10:00 p.m. Le Chene is located at 12625 Sierra Hwy in Santa Clarita, near the border of Agua Dulce. For reservations call (661) 251-4315.

Date Night Painting
Pinot’s Palette will host date night painting, where two canvases make up one painting (each member of the couple paints one side). The creative staff at Pinot’s is also offering a package which will include champagne and chocolates. This Valentine’s Day event will run from 7-10 p.m. Pinot’s Palette is located at 25850 McBean Pkwy in Valencia. For more information, visit www.pinotspalette.com/valencia.

Bee Sweet
Nothing could be sweeter than taking your honey honey tasting! If you’ve never been to Bennett’s Honey Farm in Fillmore, a romantic drive over the hill at this sweet time of year for some raw, gourmet honey sounds perfect. The honey tasting room and store are open seven days a week, Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bennett’s Honey Farm is located at 3176 Honey Lane (Hwy 126) in Fillmore. Call 805-521-1375 or visit www.bennetthoney.com

And, the day after:

February 15

Santa Colorita 5K
Fun Run
Families will gather at Castaic Lake Recreational Area on Saturday morning, February 15 for an active event for all ages – the Santa Colorita 5K Fun Run. It is an un-timed, five-kilometer “race” where runners are doused with “colors” at the end of each kilometer. It’s friendly dousing, as family members and other supporters will splash non-toxic, non-rash inducing colored corn starch on runners, proclaiming their completion of each leg of the race.

At the finish line is a “Color Festival,” where brilliantly colored powder will be released onto the runners, and visitors will enjoy live music, food, games and more. For more details, call (661) 702-6977.

New Years Resolution – Keep Your Car Longer

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, SC Women | January 19, 2014

by Martha Michael

With the Great Recession, there are more and more drivers wanting to “love the one they’re with” instead of “trading it in for a younger model,” as far as vehicle ownership goes. A few years ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a report stating that the average car lasts about 13 years and 145,000 miles. How do we accomplish that?
Don’t Drive. That’s right, it’s the best way to make your car last, according to an article on the website Cars.com. As obvious as it sounds, there are sure to be times – maybe several a week – when you could walk, bike or ride the bus.

And, just to get more of the obvious out of the way: watch for warning lights, take it for regular servicing, change its vital fluids.

“It is very important to service your transmission, to keep it in good shape and prevent it from breaking, overheating or leaving you stranded on the side of the highway,” said Carlos Hernandez, owner of Competition Transmission in Santa Clarita. “Just like you service your engine, you must do the same with the transmission.”

There are other ideas we might not think of on a regular basis. Extra weight in the car is an added stressor, for instance. Any extra “stuff” in the back affects the aerodynamics and wears out its suspension, among other things.

Creating a good working relationship with your mechanic is always a good idea also. He/she can support your plan to hang onto your car as long as possible, as opposed to drivers who take out a new lease or trade in their cars every few years.

“The way you drive has an effect on how long your car — and your gas — will last. You not only save wear and tear by having good driving habits, but also fuel,” claims Juston from Superior Auto & Diesel Repair. “Taking off fast and coming to a stop quickly can be bad for a car and affect the engine, the brakes and other things.”

Ideally, we incorporate these – and more – tips to love our cars a little longer.

New Years Resolutions – Stay on the Workout Wagon

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, SC Women | January 18, 2014

by Martha Michael

Boredom. Busyness. Laziness. What is it that makes you – year after year – make a goal to get back to the gym or sign up for boot camp, then drop it by about March?

Books like “Push: 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin’ Body, and the Life You Deserve” by Chalene Johnson suggest you will get such quick results that you have to have a good reason to quit. By contrast, books like “Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward” by James O. Prochaska and John Norcross talk about a relative overhaul that may take time. Which one is it?

“You have to look at fitness more like a job, not a hobby,” claim Lyndan and Vanessa Coleman, owners of Fight For it Now Bootcamp in Santa Clarita. “You commit to a job and a hobby is something you do when you have some extra time. Imagine if you only went to work a couple times a year – what would your results be?”

Because less than half of us who make a New Year’s resolution will still uphold it in half a year, maybe it’s time to revise what we are resolving to do. “One of the reasons so many people fail within 30 days of exercise is because they don’t have a plan,” they added. “Write down your goals, hang them on your refrigerator and tell at least three people. It is too easy to quit when no one knows what you are doing.”

Many studies underscore the positive effect of teaming up with others, such as a boot camp or hiring a trainer. “A great way to stick to exercise is having an accountability partner. Find someone with similar goals and push each to get fit,” said the Colemans. “Choose a time and place four to five times a week and promise each other that you will be there. Commit to each other for 12 months, rain or shine!”

Studies suggest the goals are often unrealistic, such as exercising for two hours a day vs. taking a half-hour walk three times a week. “So many people say they just don’t have time. I believe most people have at least 30 minutes – even if they have to wake up earlier, stay up later or use half of their lunch break. You can get a great effective workout done in 30 minutes.”

Taking the first step (pun intended) is a must. It’s the steps afterwards that may need attention – whether that’s a new action or attitude. The Fight for It Now owners sum up the process: “Stop thinking of reasons why you shouldn’t exercise and think of reasons why you should.”

Diving In, Nikki Millers Life of Service

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, SC Women | January 16, 2014

By Martha Michael

Nikki and Jim, photo by Joe Um

When you were in science class as a youngster, at some point you began to understand the many forms that water can take – what conditions affect its shape and properties. That’s kind of what it’s like when getting to know Nikki Miller. There is so much in her backstory that explains who she is today.

The tip of the iceberg is this: Nikki and her husband, Jim, own Academy Swim Club, teaching water safety and swim skills to babies as young as two weeks old through adults. The family works as a team in the business, and teams up for charity work on an ongoing basis – from collecting donations for the Philippine relief effort to caring for children before they are placed in families through adoption.

You get a broader picture of Nikki Miller, including her heart for helping, when you look at her background. “I grew up with parents who gave and donated whenever they could, and were actively involved in charities, and our church has always made service a big deal,” she said.

Nikki Miller is a licensed psychotherapist who, two decades ago, set aside her fees to help her neighbors. “My first non-profit was in that field, helping people get the therapy they need, even if they didn’t have the funds. There were 10 of us working with patients on a sliding fee scale, and we did lots of community work in the local high schools and provided free group therapy for months after the big earthquake,” she said.

She specialized in working with children and using play therapy, a continuing theme, which she would bring to the water.

“My husband, Jim, and I started up Academy Swim Club about 15 years ago, because I had taught swimming to put myself through college and an internship, so I had the background,” Nikki explained. “Shortly after we were married, we had Tadpool Swimschool for about 10 years, but it was seasonal. We ultimately wanted to work together and build a business around our family, which would allow our children to grow up in and eventually work with us, in the business. We are indoor now, open year round, teaching levels from beginner to triathletes and ironmen.”

Nikki has become an expert in swim safety, collaborating with the United States Swim School Association to rewrite their infant swim certification and guidelines, and giving presentations on infant swimming to the World Aquatic Babies Congress in several countries. “We not only teach children how to swim, but we make sure that water safety, respect for the water, and fun are all part of the program,” she said.

The couple’s most recent non-profit has been the Aquatic Safety Awareness Program, which educates the community on water safety. “Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children under the age of five in California, and it is 100 percent preventable, with education,” said Nikki.

Once again, it is the Millers’ backstory that explains the drive behind their service. “Years ago, my husband and I went on a date in the middle of the day, so we hired a babysitter and returned a few hours later,” Nikki began. “It seemed uneventful until after the babysitter left and we went to the backyard. I found wet clothes on the deck to the spa, with vomit all over. I asked my three-year-old son what had happened, and he told me that his one-year-old brother had crawled into the spa while the babysitter was inside, on the phone. My three-year-old was surprised his brother didn’t even move, but just lay there underwater, so he went in and pulled him out. This could have easily become a double drowning. We feel so blessed that it wasn’t more tragic, so we have taken on the ‘Safer Three’ campaign, started by a friend of mine, Johnny Johnson, in Orange County.”

The Safer Three
Safer Parents – learn CPR and watch your children

Safer Kids – learn to swim and only swim with parents watching

Safer Water – fence pools and lock the gates, and put as many barriers of protection as possible, like upper locks on doors leading outside and pool surface alarms.

The campaign is supported and sponsored by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, and the Millers take it into the preschools and kindergarten classes in the SCV, and sponsor a Water Safety Day each year at the local fire station.

“Kids love water, and they will find a way to get into it, even if it’s in someone else’s backyard,” Nikki explained.

The Miller family (l to r from back row): Jim and Nikki; Bob, Dakota, Garrett; Hailey and Jaimie
Photo by Joe Um

And Nikki Miller knows what she’s talking about. She was a springboard diver in college and qualified and went to Nationals. “I had only been diving a few years, but I loved it,” she said. “So, when my son was in high school and on swim team, I was helping wherever I could with the swim coach. He talked me into coaching diving, so I convinced my son to give it a try. I ended up as varsity head coach for the Foothill League, including all six high schools in the SCV. I think we had eight kids qualify for CIF that first year, and one of them placed third at CIF the second year.”

Miller’s son only dove for one year, making it to CIF and placing in the top 16, but he found it difficult to practice and compete in two sports, so he concentrated on swimming his senior year.

She continued to coach diving that year, before handing the reins to Kerry Frick, who coaches the SCV divers currently. But the opportunities to give back have continued for the Millers.

“Last month at the Academy, we found out that a Philippine shipping company was offering free shipping for any donations to the Philippine relief effort, so we put out an email to our patrons. The response was tremendous, within 24 hours, so we decided to go big, and I invited my daughter’s school to participate. By the end of the week, we had to rent a moving van to take all the boxes of clothing, blankets, medication and food. It was so cool!” said Nikki.

Another big project this year was begun when Miller’s daughter had done a service project through her school for Zoe International, a non-profit group that rescues kids from human trafficking. “She came to me about a week after her project, just feeling so hopeless because her heart went out to them and she wanted to help, but she had no money and was only 11 years old,” explained Nikki. “I helped her do some brainstorming, and pointed out her amazing talent of singing, so we made a CD of 10 cover songs and she went out and got donations, mostly for $5-$10, giving a free CD for these donations. In six months, she raised over $1,500, donating it all to Zoe, and she was exposed to so many opportunities to grow herself, that it all came back to her 10-fold. That’s what service does, it helps you grow and feel great too!”

The young singer still has donations coming in through her Facebook and YouTube site (called Hailey Belle, where people can donate and get a digital download of her songs).

Among the most sacrificial situations that the Miller family demonstrated was a willingness to take two children into their

Nikki and Hailey photo by Joe Um

home. What began as a commitment of a few nights became two and a half years, when the brother and sister could be permanently adopted, together in the same home.

“My husband, Jim, and I feel so blessed, even though this has been a really tough year for us,” said Nikki. “You can’t help but feel blessed, especially when you travel to other countries. We have always tried to put our family first and spend as much time as possible with them, and look for opportunities to help others. They come along all the time. We both decided a long time ago, that the biggest regrets in life aren’t about what you do, they are about all the opportunities to do something that we pass up because we are too busy or don’t feel like we can make a difference. We are just drops in a bucket, but if we pitch in, together we can fill the bucket and make a difference for someone, somewhere!”

Small Business Startups: Professional Appearance – What NOT to do

| Articles, SC Women | November 12, 2013

By Tobias Anne Skelly

Professionalism is critical when first starting out in business. No new business owner wants to be perceived as an amateur, hobbyist, or not yet ready for prime time. Yet, this is what happens to many new business owners, because they fail to see the importance of PERCEPTION. How potential customers perceive your company often makes the difference between fast growth, slow growth, or no growth at all. Consumers TRUST companies which they perceive to be professional.

Establishing a professional appearance for a new company means removing ANY traces of your home and personal affairs. This is, after all, strictly business. Here are the three most common mistakes new business owners and home-based business owners make:

1st: Do not use your home address for your business address. There is the obvious issue of safety. You don’t want strangers coming to your door. Your private, personal life needs to remain private and personal, so find a convenient mail box rental store and RENT a box that provides you  with a suite number. It is important that you use a rental facility that can offer your company their physical address as your place of business! Not all facilities do this. You do not want a P.O. Box address. You want a real address so that your company will be listed and found by local Internet and mobile device search engines, especially Google, use your mail box address on all your business material, such as business cards, brochures, website, and any advertisements. mail box rental facilities also offer a number of business services that you will find helpful.

2nd: Do not use a personal e-mail account, such as GMAIL. This is critical. Free personal e-mail accounts, especially gmail, are NOT SECURE and are subject to being opened, viewed, and SOLD to others. It’s not just your information that can be viewed and stolen, it’s your customers’ information that is also at risk. Login information and passwords, credit and debit card information, and a host of personal information that could allow an identity thief to have a field day are all common abuses currently taking place. Surprise, surprise, it’s all legal, because these are third-party companies who NEVER gave you the right to privacy on their servers. Only use an e-mail address that is part of your URL domain name and is hosted by a reputable company. Your company name, URL domain name, and e-mail address should all be the same to avoid both confusion and suspicion. You do not want to be named as a co-conspirator in an identity theft lawsuit because you failed to use a professional, secured e-mail account.

3rd: Do not use your home phone as your business phone. How you answer your phone says everything a potential customer needs to know as to whether or not they feel safe and confident doing business with you. If you are a business, then behave like one and always answer with your company name first. Make sure you have voice mail set to a company recorded greeting, and if you find you are missing too many calls, hire a professional answering service to take care of this for you. Unanswered calls and a lack of professionalism when answered are red flags to potential customers.

Tobias Anne Skelly is a Business and Marketing Consultant for small business owners and start-ups. She is the Owner of gITnoticed® Marketing and an educator in marketing and communications.

To learn more, visit www.gitnoticed.com or send email to toby@gitnoticed.com.

Carmelita’s Pasta Sauce Coming to a Grocer Near You

| Articles, SC Women | November 10, 2013

by Carmen Russo
A recipe for classic Italian Bolognese Sauce which was passed down through multiple generations won awards that made a name for Carmelita’s Fine Italian Pasta Sauce.

Owner/Operator Carmen Russo of Santa Clarita opened her business after winning the famed San Gennaro Feast of Los Angeles Gravy/Sauce Contest this year. The judges were actors, such as John Williams (“Johnny Roastbeef” in the movie “Goodfellas”); and Masterchef Italia Winner 2012 Alberico Nunziata; also Corporate Chef Marco from Galbani Cheese.

Russo grew up on the Adriatic Coast of Italy, where most of her family lives today. Growing up in an Italian household, pasta was served a minimum of once or twice a week. According to Russo, the ingredients of any original pasta sauce should include the highest quality products, including the best olive oil from local olive trees.

After Russo’s recognition, Carmelita’s Fine Italian Pasta Sauces responded to the high volume of requests from friends and family. Within two months, the award-winning sauce was already shipped to out-of-state clients as well as to orders throughout California. Currently Carmelita’s is offering Marinara, Bolognese and French Ratatouille, which is the one that is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Carmelita’s is in the process of expanding quickly and targeting grocery stores around the country. The company will soon expand its inventory to include organic pasta products and gift baskets for holidays and other celebrations. The products can be ordered online at carmelitasauce.com or find it in local farmer’s markets, boutiques and Italian delis.

Trip to Bountiful Registered Dietitian Nourishes Those She Serves

| SC Women | November 8, 2013

By Martha Michael
To Nina Gasow, RD, “diet” is a four-letter word. Well, kind of.

“Some might be surprised to know that, as a dietitian, I actually hate the word diet! It implies restriction, and I believe in nourishing our bodies, not

Nina Gasow photo by Paul Schlueter of Paul Schlueter Photography

restricting them,” says Gasow, a registered dietitian. “I believe all food can fit into our lives and nourishing ourselves is a lifestyle, not a diet.”

In just four months, Gasow has brought her message to many in the Santa Clarita Valley. “I opened my practice immediately after completing my dietetic internship, a required yearlong internship to become a registered dietitian,” says Gasow. “Many people were surprised that I started my own practice at the beginning of my career, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way and it has already been an amazing experience. When I finished my internship I knew that I wanted to own my own business and work with clients struggling with eating disorders, so I decided ‘why not start now and do what I love?’”

What Gasow does is part counselor, part scientist. “As a dietitian, I am trained in nutrition counseling,” she says. “This means I get to use my scientific knowledge of food and the body combined with my ability to counsel clients. I come from a very scientific, research-based background, but I love working with people. It is always my goal to offer my clients this information in a way that is useful for them. I do believe that the counseling aspect of what I do is a vitally important part of being a dietitian working in the field of eating disorder treatment. It’s not all about just giving people the facts. It is also about meeting clients where they are at, understanding behaviors, and doing a lot of experiential work.”

Gasow works with approximately 15-20 clients at a time, with a wide range of ages, from 12 to 50+ years old. The majority of her clients are in the 14-30 age range. In addition to her Santa Clarita practice, she has been on contract with La Ventana Eating Disorder Treatment Program in Thousand Oaks, serving as a dietitian for the outpatient and residential treatment programs.

“I have the wonderful opportunity to eat and even cook with my clients,” says Gasow. “I do a lot of meal and snack challenges with my clients to help them diminish fear foods.”

Gasow and her husband, Tanner, an aerospace engineer, moved to Santa Clarita about a year and a half ago. She spent her childhood and attended college in the Midwest. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences at Marquette University, she completed the Didactic Program in dietetics at Iowa State University. It was a dietetic internship at the Los Angeles VA (Veterans Administration) Hospital that brought the Gasows to Santa Clarita.

“All RDs have to go through at least four years of college with a degree in nutrition, dietetics, or other related science field,” explains Nina Gasow. “We then have to complete a highly competitive internship (usually one year in length) that requires practice in all areas of dietetics. Finally, we are able to take our registration exam to become a registered dietitian. We are then required to complete continuing education to keep our RD.”

Nina and Tanner Gasow have enjoyed the move west, especially the winters. They both take advantage of the outdoors as much as possible. The support of her husband, as well as her family back in the Midwest, has been a key to Nina’s success – that, and joy in her field of study.

“I love what I do because I get to make my passion in life my profession. I am passionate about nutrition and I am fortunate enough to get to talk about that every day. I love working in the eating disorder treatment field, because I want to help people take back the joy in eating and develop a positive body image. It is an incredibly rewarding feeling to be able to help someone learn how to nourish their body appropriately again. Food is a part of everyone’s life but it can be a battle for some. I love being able to help change and improve that relationship.”

Visit Nina Gasow’s website at: www.ninagasow.com or call: (661) 388-8708. You may email nina.gasow@gmail.com or find her Facebook page: Nina Gasow, RD.

Business Startups: Company Branding

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, SC Women | September 18, 2013

By Tobias Anne Skelly

Branding your company goes deeper than choosing a name, fancy logo, slick image or clever tagline. A company’s brand is its identity. The brand describes who the company is, and makes tangible its core values and the value the company adds to the community it serves.

A successful company brand is one that instills trust and excitement within its customer base, company employees, vendors and partners, and the community at large. A successful company brand allows a business to stand out in a crowd of competitors as more than just identifiable and familiar. It evokes positive feelings and expectations of doing business.

Creating a successful company brand begins with the strategic planning process, so before you name your company or have a logo designed, here’s what you need to establish:

1st: Establish your company’s purpose. If you don’t know what your company stands for, neither will anyone else! Ask yourself what your proposed company can bring to the community. What issues does your company solve? What groups or individuals will benefit from your company’s existence? If your answers inspire you, then you’re on the right track.

2nd: Establish your company’s reputation. Remember that trust must be earned, and the basis for trust is personal and professional integrity. The principles, practices, and policies your company will operate under are critical when it comes to a customer’s desire to do business with you, as well as their personal feelings of satisfaction. Perception also matters when it comes to reputation. People need to see that everyone associated with the company is consistently authentic, genuine, and principled.

3rd: Establish how you will communicate your value to others. Both the community and those identified as your potential customers must be told that your company exists and why it is of value to them. Create a clear and concise message. You want to encourage legitimate dialog, so avoid non-essential content, unprovable claims, and clichés. Keep your message focused on the actual value your company can provide!

Tobias Anne Skelly is a Business and Marketing Consultant for small business owners and start-ups. She is the Owner of gITnoticed® Marketing and an Educator in Marketing and Communica­tions. To learn more, visit www.gitnoticed.com or send email to toby@gitnoticed.com.

What’s Trending on the Fashion Front

| Articles, Santa Clarita Living, SC Women | September 16, 2013

Santa Clarita Living Magazine asked Bridgette & Gabe DeGomez at Runway Fashion Exchange what’s trending in back-to-school and fall shopping…

Some of the popular labels

On Back-to-School Shoppers: Students didn’t vary much from wanting the basic clothing items, like shirts, jeans and tank tops. High waist shorts, flowy, sheer fabric tops, bandeau tanks and name brand jeans –  Hollister, Abercrombie, Miss Me – were popular items purchased during back to school shopping. Skull and cross tanks have been pretty popular, as well as other clothing items with skull or cross embellishments
On Accessories: Jewelry that moves through the store is name brand, such as Juicy Couture bracelets. More simple items and items with crosses are becoming more popular. Large shoulder or tote bags are more popular than smaller handbags right now. Crossbody purses are also a popular trend with teens.
On Latest Looks: We have a wide variety of customers, so it is difficult to pinpoint a specific look. A lot of teen/young adult customers have a hipster


look – high waist shorts, flowy shirts, loose tank tops. Mint and coral are still popular colors, as well as neutral colors, like gray, tan, black and white. Sheer fabrics and loose fitting tees are also popular. Straight leg, boot cut and skinny jeans are the style of pants people are looking for. Flared pant legs seem to be out of the current trend.
On the Guys: Popular items for guys are T-shirts, jeans and shorts. Diamond is the most popular brand among guys, which we don’t get in too often, but when we do the item is purchased within a couple days.
On What They’re Buying: What we are looking for are items that are seasonal. So, right now we are wanting trendy, casual, summer/fall items that are in ready-to-wear condition. We are now taking in light fall items, which include long-sleeved shirts, jeans and light jackets.
Runway Fashion Exchange is a clothing store where customers can bring in trendy, vintage clothing that is in good condition. The staff buys pieces for their racks so shoppers can have the latest trends with re-sale prices. “We have a wide variety of clothing/shoe items – people are able to come in and pick out things that fit their own style,” says Bridgette. “We take in items that cater more towards a teen/young adult look, but have women and men between the ages of 13 and 50 that shop in the store.”
Runway Fashion Exchange is located at 24135 Magic Mountain Pkwy in Valencia. Find them on Facebook or call (661) 254-7999.

What’s Cooking? Chicken Alfredo Wraps

| Articles, SC Women | July 10, 2013

This one is good! And simple!

9 Lasagne Noodles
2 1/2 Cups of Alfredo Sauce
2 Cups Shredded Chicken
Garlic Salt
3 Cups of Mozarella Cheese

Spray an 8X8 pan with non stick spray and pour 1/2 cup alfredo sauce, or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

Boil 8-10 cups of water in a large pan, cook lasagne noodles until al dente.
Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water to prevent them from sticking to each other. Then, lay out each noodle individually and blot dry with paper towel.

Spread about 2 Tbs alfredo sauce over each noodle. Sprinkle oregano and garlic salt on top of sauce, spread chicken evenly out over each noodle, add approx 3 tbs cheese on top of chicken. Roll up gently.

Place the roll ups in the pan, one by one, seam side down so that they don’t come undone. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and cover with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Step 3, Ready for baking

Step 2, rolled

Step 1

Green Coffee Bean Extract Is It the “Magic Bean” of Weight Loss?

| Articles, SC Women | July 10, 2013

No doubt about it – Green Coffee Bean Extract is making a big buzz in the weight loss industry. And there’s a good reason why – consumers are getting great results!

Before coffee beans are roasted, they are still green and they have more chlorogenic acid, a natural compound that has the ability to reduce the amount of carbohydrates absorbed. It does this by naturally reducing the level of a gastrointestinal hormone known as GIP (glucose dependent insulin tropic polypeptide). A decrease in the level of GIP shifts the site of glucose absorption away from the small intestine, resulting in a lower net level of glucose entering the bloodstream.  In addition, chlorogenic acid has the ability to reduce the amount of glucose that can be created from metabolism carbohydrates and proteins. When the body is unable to derive energy from these sources, it is forced to draw upon stored sources of energy (such as body fat) to help meet energy needs.

The benefit of this was seen in a 22-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study where overweight adults were given a Green Coffee Bean extract every day. The results were significant reductions in body weight (over 17 lbs) and percent body fat (4%). Furthermore, the body mass index for six subjects shifted from preobesity to the normal weight range.

Likewise, in another randomized, placebo-controlled study,  50 overweight men and women were given Green Coffee Bean extract or a placebo daily. Changes in weight, body mass index (BMI), and Muscle Mass/Fat Mass ratio were recorded at TO and T60. After 60 days of treatment, the results were that those taking Green Coffee Bean extract experienced a weight loss of about 11 pounds, and body mass index also decreased significantly. Moreover, Muscle Mass/Fat Mass ratio improved significantly with Green Coffee Bean extract. The significant decrease of weight, body mass index and fat mass showed that Green Coffee Bean extract is able to complement the effect of a low caloric diet in people who are overweight.

The results from a clinical study  in 12 healthy volunteers with different coffee products containing glucose (a sugar) showed that instant coffee enriched with chlorogenic acid, the active compound in Green Coffee Bean extract, reduced the absorption of glucose by 6.9 percent. No such effects were seen with normal or decaffeinated instant coffee. In another comparative, randomized, double-blind, 12-week study of 30 overweight people, coffee enriched with chlorogenic acid resulted in an average weight loss of almost 12 pounds. Researchers concluded that chlorogenic acid-enriched coffee has a significant effect on the absorption and utilization of glucose from the diet, and when used for an extended time may result in a reduction in body weight and body fat. A combination product featuring raspberry ketone resulted in increased calorie-burning over a 4-hour period.

By Gene Bruno for Earth Wise Nutrition Centers (Granary Square since 1987) at 25908 Mc Bean Parkway. 661-255-2928 or visit BuyEarthWise.com or VivaVitamins.com.

What’s Trending

| Articles, SC Women | July 9, 2013

In Retail
Don’t forget, our ability to accessorize is “what separates us from the animals” (says character “Clairee” in Steel Magnolias).

Feel self-conscious about wearing white, even after Memorial Day? Even shoe designers like Salvatore Ferragamo are giving a nod to white shoes this season. Shoppers are finding a lot of choices in handbags and heels in different shades of white for summer. Shoe styles are also trending toward less feminine, more unisex looks this year…but it’s not moving very quickly.

The most feminine flair is seen in fancy flats. – Lots are flowery, like smoking slippers, found in plenty of shades. The most exciting prints are seen in the sneaker designs, many of those in florals as well. Look no further than (shoe designer) Ruthie Davis’ Facebook to catch the vision – Baby Blue Ivy Carter (Babybeyonce) has custom-made, designer bling-covered tennies.

Talk about feminine – today’s belts are hugging the waist, which is a woman’s design, almost a reflection of the cinching that Victorian women would do with their corsets.

Glasses are high-tech looking, with blackout lenses and metal detail. But also, tortoise patterns are back – still all the rage, but now found in colors, like blues and burgundies.

For fashionistas, the fun of a change in seasons is that a whole new wardrobe gets to see the light of day.

In Resale

What if that wardrobe is revisiting the light of day? What’s trending in the resale market?

Well, for one thing, the resale market itself is trending. Consignment clothing stores are cropping up…some companies simply hold sales once or twice a year. Locally, there is Dress on a Dime and Kids’ Consignment Sale. Just Between Us carries top-of-the-line labels at a fraction of the cost, while there’s a new resale store near the Westfield Town Center Mall called Runway Fashion Exchange. Launched by a young couple, this store has pretty trendy merchandise on its racks.

Then there is, of course, the longtime popularity of thrift stores for favorite hipster pieces.

Whatever the resale venture, it enables the shopper to not just get more for his/her money…picking over the racks means a creative opportunity to piece mismatches together (which is trending) and do some layering of tops, leggings, shorts and other contemporary looks. That means you can create your own look. And not break the bank.

Small Business Start-Ups: Choosing Successful Products and Services

| Articles, SC Women | July 9, 2013

By Tobias Anne Skelly

Successful products and services are those that specific consumers consider valuable and are willing to pay more than it costs for a company to provide.

Here are three basic rules aspiring entrepreneurs need to know:

1st: Specific products and services are what matter most to potential customers.
When consumer choice is involved, the true motivation for purchasing anything is based on individual self-interest. Individuals buy products and services that they believe will benefit them. The greater the benefit, the more likely the purchase, even when the price is high. This is also true for gift purchases and charitable donations, because contributing to the wellbeing of others makes individuals feel good. Many start-ups fail within the first three years because they offer mediocre products and services or ones that don’t live up to customer expectations.

2nd: Today’s successful products and services are not necessarily tomorrow’s.
Change is a constant. Companies must continue to perfect their core products and services, weed out those that are no longer valuable, and create or locate those that are valuable to their current customer base. In the corporate world, this process is known as research and development. In the small business world, this process is known as the reason most companies fail before they reach their tenth year! Be aware of changes with competitors, technology, government regulations, and especially with consumers. Consumer tastes, habits, and perceptions naturally change over time. The reasons may seem varied, but it always comes down to individual self-interest. They want what is most beneficial for them at that time.

3rd: Profit is essential for a for-profit company.
Failure to produce or sustain a profit will bankrupt any company. Profit margins are based on charging the right price for products and services. The right price is determined by current and future costs. It’s an objective and mathematical process, not subjective or based on wishful thinking. The right price (or fair value) is a win/win. Customers win because they get products and services they value at prices they feel are fair. Companies win because they make the profits needed to sustain their business.

Tobias Anne Skelly is a Business and Marketing Consultant for small business owners and start-ups. She is the Owner of gITnoticed® Marketing and an Educator in Marketing and Communications. To learn more, visit www.gitnoticed.com or send email to toby@gitnoticed.com.

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