Tag Archives: march

Planning for the Future

A young woman searches for a doctor who will let her be in control of her own body

When Christa Poindexter graduated from high school in 2008, she knew that giving birth to children was something that she did not want for her future.
“I remember talking to my first gynecologist, well before I was sexually active, and explaining that I was interested in permanent birth control for when I became sexually active,” she explains. “The doctors look at you like you are crazy.”
For Christa and many other women, this conversation is still difficult to have with medical professionals in the south, predominately in what is considered the “Bible Belt” region. The double standard still exists that, even in your twenties, you are old enough to choose to commit to a child for the rest of your life, but not old enough to decide that you never want to give birth to children.
Four years later, Christa brought it up to her doctor again. She explained that she planned on adopting children when she was ready, something that is desperately needed across the country. Again, her doctor refused to offer any form of permanent birth control.
“She explained that she would not perform the procedure unless her patient was 30 years old or had two to three children, and she preferred three children. It was a shocking thing to me,” Christa says.
This topic became the first that Christa brought up when she visited a new doctor. Even when she moved to more progressive areas, like Philadelphia, she was met with resistance.
“In Philadelphia, a doctor told me she did not want to dismiss it, but that I was simply too young. She told me that it wasn’t that she wanted me to have children, but my age was not what her practice would allow,” she adds. “When I asked if she knew someone who would do it, she said I should try a different form of birth control.”
This suggestion, although perfectly valid for women who seek temporary birth control, was simply not right for Christa. During her first three months on any form of birth control pills, she experienced severe side effects from headaches to hair loss. When she explained these to her first doctor, she suggested a non-hormonal IUD. Until that time, Christa had never experienced cramps with her monthly cycle. Once she had the IUD, her cramps became worse, and her cycle lasted 18 days.
Christa then switched to a hormonal IUD and began having headaches, back aches, and extreme cramps. She experienced weight gain and emotional turmoil. For years, she struggled with each temporary solution offered to her in place of the permanent one she desired. Then, she moved across the country.
When she met with her doctor in California, at age 26, she inquired about a permanent procedure once more. This time, after acknowledging that Christa was young, she followed it up with the truth that rises above a woman’s age or marital status: Christa owns her own body. She should be able to make decisions like this one for herself.
They agreed to a procedure called Tubal Ligation. This can mean different things for different people, but for Christa it meant that her fallopian tubes were removed. She met with the doctor and surgeon thirty days prior to the surgery for an evaluation that made sure she understood what the procedure meant and that she was not forced. By law, her doctor had to go through every single form of birth control verbally as an option. Once Christa refused all of them, they could schedule her surgery.
“All of the changes that I’ve experienced are positive. My monthly cycle is back to normal. I am happier, not moody and crying all the time. My hair isn’t falling out, and I don’t have any weird body changes. I’ve lost weight. It’s all positive for me,” she explains. “I have no scars. They walked me right through it. I have no pain or soreness.”
Christa does say that some women could have scars, and it is important to remember that, like birth control pills or IUDs, side effects can be different for everyone. People who are interested in this procedure should have full discussions with their doctors about options and potential side effects to make the best decision. Of course, based on your age, you may be having that discussion with more than one doctor. Above all, be the best health advocate you can for yourself. It never hurts to get opinions from a few different medical professionals to weigh your options.
You may also want to look at your insurance coverage before scheduling a permanent birth control procedure.
“When I selected my insurance plan with my employer, I noticed that most of them covered sterilization. It was interesting to me to see that they also believed an individual owns their own body, and they wanted to give options for coverage based on that. The surgery was very expensive, but my insurance covered all of it except my copay since I was in the hospital,” Christa says.
Since her procedure, Christa has received both criticism and congratulations. From her critics, Christa is often told the same things her original doctors said almost ten years ago. She is young. She may regret this one day.
Some even revert to talking about how much they love their own children, which is an odd argument to hear from someone else in the context of Christa’s body.
“Of course they love their own children,” she says. “I’m not telling them they shouldn’t, or that I won’t love the children I adopt one day.”
Because, when it all comes down to it, the public outcry that goes into whether a woman can choose permanent birth control seems to far surpass the energy that goes into helping children in foster care or in need of adoption. Christa, who has volunteered through various organizations to help these children, has seen this problem first hand.
“I work with various age groups, and it has made me feel close to them. I don’t have to go through the challenge of birth, that could be detrimental to my health and the health of a baby,” she explains. “At the end of the day, there are children out there already who need love, and I can provide that for them without going through childbirth.”

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Women’s March on Washington

As a student of an all women’s university, I have been lifted into a family of strong, bold women who are not easily shut down when working towards a greater cause. Our newest opportunity is the Women’s March on Washington taking place January 21, 2017 from 10am-5pm. Granting us the leisure of buses, anyone can sign up to go. Some plan to attend the march, others will go in support. Even if they feel they aren’t ready for the crowd of people, they can go simply to explore the city. They are giving us this opportunity to expand our horizons, see new places, and make a difference.
People of all backgrounds, gender identities or gender non-conforming, feminists, and ages are welcome. There will be special arrangements and meeting points for the elderly, pregnant women, and those with disabilities or a wheelchair. Our diverse community and familial backgrounds are what makes America the “melting pot” that it is known to be. It is adamant within the official website of the march that every effort to maintain peace and solidarity will be made.
As we have been for years, we are fearful of our future regarding our pay, our everyday safety, our health, and our families. If we continue to let oppressors believe we are easily silenced, they win. It would be wrong to sit back while decisions against our human rights are being made. We are louder as a group, for when people work together for a cause, it induces change.
Feminism shouldn’t be perceived as a “dirty” word, or something masked by a taboo. Being a feminist solely means that you believe in the equality of the sexes. You believe in basic human rights to protect, if not yourself, then your mother, sister, or daughter.
I want the best future for all of the woman in my life, and I want the best opportunities for the women surrounding me in the classroom. I am eternally grateful to have chosen a university that allows me a voice despite opposing political opinions, and that it gives me a chance to express it no matter the circumstances.
More information regarding the march can be found here.


Written by Zoë Pierson

Gardening Without Breaking the Bank

Ladies, it’s just about time to break out those watering cans! Summer is just around the corner and we know what that means… fresh vegetables and flowers straight from the garden! We wanted to help you make the most out of your gardens this year while still being able to stay within your budget. Also, we have a few ideas to keep you out of those annoying hardware stores buying gallons of chemical-filled products for your garden, and instead spending more time enjoying your garden by making your own products at home!
First, did you know that you can actually regrow some vegetables like lettuce, celery, onions, tomatoes, carrots, and even potatoes from the scraps left in your own refrigerator? This is a huge time and money saver because you’re regrowing from something you have already purchased and you’re starting from a base instead of a seed! So, stop throwing them away and find a planting pot, fast! For flowers, you and your neighbors can share and propagate cuttings from your larger flower bushes/plants in order to save one another money.  Plus, this way everyone has beautiful flower beds while building stronger relationships with their neighbor! Another super easy way to save money is to, instead of waiting until the middle of the day when it’s the hottest to water your flowers or vegetables, do it first thing in the morning or after the sun has started to go down. This saves money because you end up using less water because plants will need more water in the middle of the day to prevent becoming wilted. However, if you water them in the morning or the evening, then they already have all the water they will need to make it through the day! While this may seem like a difficult time of the day to squeeze another task into your morning/evening routine, spending quality time in your garden during the most peaceful times of the day is good for the soul. You might even find that it puts you in a better mood for your day by just spending a few extra minutes in your garden each morning/evening.
gardening1Making your own organic sprays or fertilizers in order to avoid spraying your flowers or vegetables with potentially harmful chemicals is a great alternative! Even better is that making your own organic sprays prevents you from going into those overwhelming home improvement stores trying to sell you unnecessary things in order to have a successful garden. If you are active on Pinterest you can find tons of recipes for both organic pesticide sprays and fertilizers here. Our favorite organic pesticide spray to use on vegetables and flowers is from LavenderandLime.com and contains only the best ingredients to keep pests and chemicals out of your garden! For more ideas on how to have a successful garden and how you can get an early start, pick up our March issue out now!

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Serve it up Sassy!®: Dining on a Dime!


Winter may bring cold winds and snow showers, but there’s a bright spot in all of this wintery bliss, a healthy meal with a pretty table ushering in the promise of spring and dining on a dime. Hope you are hungry!

Here is a budget-friendly menu for light supper at home. Melt away the icy chill with a hearty tomato bacon soup, triple cheese “spoons” and for dessert, a mouthwatering chocolate meringue brownie with cashew caramel sauce.

If the past season has left you money hungry, this menu will help you stretch-a- dollar. Purchasing seasonal foods is a healthy and cost-effective way to approach menu planning and shopping. Grocery stores tend to purchase in-bulk seasonal items because they are plentiful, making them less expensive for you—especially when they go on sale. Vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic and carrots are just a few seasonal foods that were used in this menu. There are many other vegetables to select from ranging from arugula to turnip greens. Ask your produce manager what items are seasonal and they should be able to help you.

Our menu has five seasonal items including the vegetables in the centerpiece. The onions, garlic and carrots were cooked in the savory tomato soup along with canned tomatoes. The triple cheese spoons and chocolate meringue brownies were baked to perfection using basics from a well -stocked pantry. If you don’t have a stocked pantry, begin to add one or two extra items each time you shop to keep your pantry ready for those impromptu meals. A good resource for stocking your pantry is budgetbytes.com.

lenton rose centerpieceBlooming in the midst of a cold winter and reaching toward the warmth of the sun, white Lenten roses are the welcomed centerpiece for this light supper. The roses were not purchased but cut from the backyard. The base of a green head of cabbage provided an interesting vase and the Brussels sprouts compliment the dark green leaves of the Lenten roses. The cabbage is hollowed in the center and holds a small glass container for water. After the flowers are spent, you can use the cabbage and Brussels sprouts for another meal or two. A great way to save money is to use vegetables and fruits as part of your centerpiece.

Decorate your table with what you have, begin with the white dinner plate and add colorful salad plates or bowls to the setting. Fold a pretty napkin and tuck it under the salad plate. In this sassyscape, the $3.00 centerpiece set the tone for this green, white and black color scheme. The napkin is a tea towel. Be creative and make your table your own by using what you already have available. Perhaps you have extra lemons or limes around; you could create a scheme from those two colors.  Inspiration is all around you. Take the time to find it.

February may indeed bring cold winds and snow showers, but there is always a bright spot in each and every day no matter what the season brings. A pretty table, a fulfilling meal and the satisfaction knowing you didn’t over spend makes every day a little bit brighter and less stressful. Dining on a Dime can help you usher in the promise of spring with a big smile on your face and money in your pocket.

tomato soupSavory Bacon Tomato Soup with Avocado Sauce

2 strips of market fresh bacon
½ cup chopped yellow onion
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup canned tomato sauce
2-12 ounce can diced tomatoes basil, garlic and oregano
3 cups chicken broth
Avocado Sauce
½ cup bacon bits-divided
8-10 Chive stems

Avocado Sauce
¼ cup yogurt or sour cream
1-tablespoons water
½-avocado, mashed

In large saucepan, fry bacon. Remove bacon but reserve oil. Sauté onions, garlic and carrots in the bacon oil on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir until onions are transparent and soft.
Add tomato paste and canned diced tomatoes. Add broth, salt and pepper.
Simmer for 45 minutes.
In blender or using hand emulsifier, puree the soup in batches until smooth, return to saucepan over medium heat. Serve soup in individual bowls.
Make avocado sauce; mix all ingredients together until smooth.
Top each bowl with avocado sauce, crumbled bacon bits and chive stems.
Serve with Three Cheese Cheddar Spoons.
Yield: 4-6 Servings


cheesespoonsThree- Cheese Spoons (Straws)

16 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
1 stick butter- land a lakes
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more as desired
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
Garnish:   white sesame seeds-optional

In food processor with steel blade, or with a mixer, cream the butter and cheeses until fluffy and smooth. Add cayenne, salt and flour and process the dough until the dough gathers inside the bowl.
Preheat oven to 325.
Remove dough and wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for 25 minutes or longer. When ready to roll out, the dough should be pliable and easy to roll. You might need to knead the dough to make it pliable and easier to roll.
Roll dough on flour surface to a little more than 1/8 inch thick – these will puff slightly during baking. (¼ inch is to thick, unless you want a thicker spoon)
Cut desired shapes using cookie cutters or a spoon cut out.
On a parchment lined double baking sheet space each spoon 1/4 inch apart. Brush spoon with water then sprinkle with sesame seeds or other grain. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and brown. Allow to cool on pan before removing to avoid breakage.
Store in airtight container after cooled.
Yield: about 40 spoons (These freeze well. Serve with soups, salads or as appetizer mini’s.)

chocolatemeringueChocolate Meringue Brownies with Cashew Caramel Sauce

1-8×8 inch square pan full of baked brownies- use favorite mix or recipe
1 cup chocolate frosting, purchased or home-made

Chocolate Meringue

½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 ½ tablespoons unsweetened special dark cocoa
2 egg whites, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar

Cashew Caramel Sauce

½ cup purchased caramel sauce
½ cup whole cashews

Instructions for Meringue and Cashew Caramel Sauce

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace 8- 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter size on to parchment paper. Turn paper over. Set aside.
In small bowl, sift confectioners sugar with cocoa, set aside.
In large mixing bowl, using wire wisk, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Gradually add granulated sugar to egg whites, beat until stiff peaks form.
Gradually add confectioners and cocoa mixture, beat to blend. Peaks will be lost.
Spoon mixture into zip lock bag, close bag, clip one end to 1/8 inch, pipe circles onto parchment paper.
Bake meringues in oven for 20- 25 minutes or until firm. Open oven door slightly and cool completely.
In small bowl, combine cashews with caramel sauce. Set aside.

To Assemble:
Cut brownies into 4 -2 ½ inch circles using cutter for meringues. Frost each brownie top with chocolate frosting. On serving plate, layer one meringue upright, brownie round, top with meringue. With spoon drizzle cashew caramel sauce over meringue brownie dessert.
Yield: 4 servings

Make a Statement, Make it Sassy, Make it Your’s.®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. Liz is famous for creating her own version of a beautifully presented tablescape – which she calls a Sassyscape ™ -and she also creates magic beyond the dining experience. In 2009, 2010, and 13, she was selected from thousands nationwide to be part of an elite team of 100 professionals entrusted with decorating the White House for the Holiday. In 2011, she was part of seven-person team selected to decorate the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion for the holiday.
Liz has been featured as the monthly guest chef on Daytime Tri-Cities, television show on WJHL, the CBS Affiliate for the Tri- Cities Area of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Daytime Blue Ridge in Roanoke, Virginia and Daytime Tampa, Tampa Florida. She is also the creator and host of her own one-hour seasonal television show called “Serve it up Sassy!” for the same market, which aired in 2011. She is also a contributing writer for the regional magazine VIP Seen and Lovely Bella magazine in Roanoke, Virginia.
She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Consumer and Family Sciences from Purdue University and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Fashion Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She is also certified in Decorative Finishes and has been trained as a volunteer Master Gardener.
Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook. Liz turns dessert into the fifth basic food group and features recipes for her signature specialty, delicious “mini-desserts and appetizers.”
Liz makes her home in Johnson City, Tennessee. She continues to perfect her sassy approach to turning simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments.
Liz Bushong, Serve it up Sassy! ™
To purchase cookbooks, find recipes, cooking, and decorating demonstrations, go to www.lizbushong.com.


Women’s History Month: A moment of recognition

March is Women’s History Month, marked by International Women’s Day on March 8.
Sometimes, as women, it is hard to remember that we are defined by so much more than our size, the way we wear our hair, and if we wear the right makeup.
What defines us, and what actually matters is something much deeper. It is our desire to make a positive change in our own lives and the lives of others. It is our willingness to listen when we need to and lead with our hearts when the opportunity arises.
Last year, we highlighted some extraordinary local women in our magazine and on our website for our 100th issue. We feel fortunate to work with and live alongside those women, and look forward to a future that is better because of them. 
Throughout the year, we will continue to introduce you to women in our area doing amazing things. After all, our publication is a celebration of you, our readers— the things that inspire you, make you healthy, and confident to pursue your dreams. We want to encourage you to reach out to the women in your life who have helped you achieve your goals or simply gave you a shoulder to cry on when times were tough. 
Take your mother, sister, or friend out to lunch. Remind someone you care by sending them chocolate or flowers if you cannot meet up with them. And if none of these are an option, call them or send them a text to let them know you care. We all need that every once in a while.
On that note, we would like to take the opportunity to recognize one important woman who has influenced each of our lives. Narrowing it down to one was hard— we have all known some very incredible ladies! 
We hope this inspires you to share a photo of yourself and a woman you would like to recognize with us by emailing editorial@beckmediagroup.com. We may give you a shout out on our Facebook page!

New ImageHayleigh: I know some pretty amazing women, but my mom is definitely the most important one in my life! As an adult, I feel fortunate to call her my best friend. I have so much to learn, and she is an inspiration every time I have to get up, dust off, and try again.






joeyJoey: Valerie became my “big sister” when I turned 12 as part of the Big Brother, Big Sister program. With no mother figure in my life, she became that and so much more. Today, we remain the best of friends. Even though we live miles apart– and through husbands, children, careers and daily lives– our friendship is stronger than ever.





cheryl2Cheryl: I know I have tried to model myself after my parents in many ways because I think they have done many things right. The way I live my life has been influenced by them; my faith, my hard work and determination. The simple values of life such as love, goodness, sympathy, and respect for others.





danielleandmollyDanielle: My aunt Mollie has been the most influential woman in my life. She is a selfless and beautiful person whom I hope to be like someday.  Because of her, I know how to garden, stay strong, and love. And she was the first person to make me realize my beauty and capabilities.

Bella Loves You!

Did you miss our Valentine’s Day recommendations? That’s ok, because these products are still a great way to spoil yourself during these harsh winter days. Check out some of our favorite new things, and pick up the February issue of Bella while you still can!


 A Fitting Kit from Commodity Goods: First, you order a kit. From that kit you choose your favorite scent and order a bottle. Warning: Choosing one favorite is hard!









Zuny Classic Series Elephant Pink Animal Bookend:
Ok, so we are just a little obsessed with how cute this is–and there are tons of animals to choose from!










Broccoli, Love & Dark Chocolate by Liz Pearson:
The title says it all. Get healthy and ENJOY it! This book is full of advice and great recipes that will change your life.







bellamarchprodAnd, a special sneak peek to our favorite March things:
Subversive Cross Stitch: 50 F*cking Clever Designs for your Sassy Side by Julie Jackson– released February 17! Copies available now!

P.S. Stay tuned to our Facebook page during the next two weeks for chances to win some of these awesome finds!