Healthy Concepts

Self-confidence is a pivotal key to success in every aspect of our life. Ego, on the other hand, gets us into trouble and is the basis for all our bad habits, addictions and self-loathing. So what’s the difference between self-confidence and ego? Self-confidence comes from positive actions and positive attitudes, and is very different from ego.

When our ego runs amuck, selfish and narcissistic behavior begins to manifest. Drinking, drug abuse, gambling and other self-destructive behaviors arise from ego. Ego is an over-inflated view of our self that feels we are naturally more important than others. Achieving personal success and overcoming our bad habits depends on reducing ego and starting to truly love ourselves again. When we truly love ourselves this is not ego because it eliminates self-destructive behavior and is the foundation of confidence.

Self-destructive behavior makes us lack confidence and eventually we can begin to even hate ourselves. Alcoholism and drug addiction erode our self-love and confidence and the self-hatred that can develop causes many people to commit suicide.

By focusing on our positive qualities and positive actions we naturally and effortlessly begin to feel good about ourselves. Letting go of bad habits and addictions is important to allowing our confidence to surface. As we let go of bad habits and replace them with positive and beneficial ones our mind becomes clearer, our energy improves, we sleep better, and each day seems brighter and fuller of opportunities.

Using self-hypnosis is really a way to become your best self. When we are our best self not only do we love ourselves and feel great about ourselves but it carries out into our relationships and daily interactions so that we make people feel good about their selves!

For both our professional and personal success tossing out bad habits and developing self-confidence is of paramount importance. Using hypnosis is safe, effective and unties the deeply rooted knot of ego for a more fulfilling and love-filled life.

Neil Jacobson’s study of couples, two years after the end of couple’s therapy, differentiated between “maintainers” of change and “relapsers.” He found that couples who were able to decrease the stress they experienced from sources outside the relationship, were more successful in maintaining the gains they had made during couple’s therapy. This was the only criteria that made a statistically, significant difference in couples being able to retain the gains, and new skills, that they learned as the result of going to couple’s therapy. That is how important stress-guarding your relationship from outside pressures really is. Think about that for a moment.

You can have a wonderful partnership, great conflict resolution skills, possess the ability to repair your relationship once it goes off track and be deeply in love; however, that is not enough to keep your relationship sound and in good working order. “Me and you against the world, Baby” — that is what every couple needs, to stay strong and healthy, in the long run. We all need to be heard, validated and to receive empathy from our partners on a daily basis. Everyone needs to know that when they arrive home, there is safety and unconditional love. But how do we know that we are safe and have that love?

Gottman therapists teach couples to have “Stress-Reducing Conversations” for 20 minutes, every single day. Each partner gets to both speak and listen. Each partner gets a minimum of 10 minutes to be in the role of speaker (or until they feel understood, validated and have received empathy from their partner). It isn’t complicated but it does require a certain skill set, and practice, to perfect.

Here are the rules:

  1. Each speaker gets 10 minutes to talk about anything they want, or need, to talk about; however, it cannot be about the relationship, and preferably, not about the children. The topic can be about anything else. There is nothing too big, or too small, to be a topic of discussion.
  2. The listener needs to give undivided attention, and the communication of understanding is crucial. The speaker should be able to tell by observation, and hearing the listener’s responses, that they have been heard and understood. Showing genuine interest; making eye contact and really getting those “back channels” going (nodding, smiling, turning toward the speaker and looking interested) all help the speaker know that they have been heard and understood.
  3. When the speaker has gotten the first thought or two out, it’s the listener’s turn to practice active listening. The listener will say something like, “OK, let me make sure that I am hearing you correctly. You said, “….” did I get that right? Is there anything else that you want me to know or anything that I missed?” If the listener has missed anything or misheard, the speaker will give the correction; then, the listener will “play the corrected content back” for the speaker.
  4. The listener’s job is to find out more information about the situation by asking open-ended questions; questions that cannot be answered “yes” or “no.” Questions that start with “who,” “what,” “when” and “where” are good questions to ask. “Why” questions should be avoided because they tend to convey a felt sense of criticism. The following questions are good ones to use to help the speaker open up:
    • What is most upsetting for you about this?
    • What is it that you don’t like about this situation?
    • What is the worst thing that could happen in this situation?
    • What is this like for you?
    • Is there anything I can do to support you in this?
    • What do you need?
  5. The listener should give voice to their emotions as the speaker shares their thoughts:
  • Interest: “Tell me more about that.”
  • Excitement: “Wow! This is really hot stuff! Let’s do it!”
  • Sadness: “That is so sad. That must have really hurt.”
  • Fear: “That is something that I would be worried about, too.”
  • Irritation and anger: “I can see why you’re annoyed here.”

Other helpful hints for you and your partner: Don’t side with the enemy! If your partner says, “I was 10 minutes late to work today and my boss wrote me up!” You may be thinking, “Well you are usually late everywhere you go.” This is not the time to say that. “That is terrible, how upsetting!” is a much better response. Do not be critical of your partner, how they feel or what they are thinking. There is no such thing as “overreacting,” being “too sensitive” or being “irrational.” Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, do not give advice. You may believe that you are being helpful; that is usually not the case. You partner will either become frustrated, insulted or simply start to “yes, but...” you {“Yes, I thought of that (tried that), but it won’t work (didn’t work, has never worked)}. At that point, you will become angry and your stress-reducing conversation will go up in flames.

So, make it a point to start having a stress-reducing conversation with your partner tonight. Isn’t your partnership worth 20 minutes a day?

Whether you have heard it from your doctor, from a friend or family member, or saw a late night infomercial, we all know that regular exercise is good for us. It can improve mood, lower blood pressure, ensure a good night’s sleep, help manage weight and a host of other benefits. However, for those diagnosed with a medical condition, starting or maintaining a regular exercise program may seem out of reach.

Medical conditions like stroke, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis can make people feel as if they are sidelined from exercise. There may be a tendency to fatigue quickly, feel weak and unsteady or even be anxious about exercise due to fears of falling or suffering a setback, so consulting your doctor before starting to exercise is important. But perhaps the question to ask isn’t if you should exercise, but rather how you should exercise.

It’s amazing to see how warm water coupled with determination and a positive attitude can break down so many of the barriers that limit a successful exercise program. Warm water exercise can open the door for many who feel isolated due to a medical condition and its imposed limitations and offers several benefits.

Stretching is easier

Daily stretching is beneficial for everyone; however, it’s of vital importance to those with a medical condition. Only when your body is adequately stretched can you begin to successfully work on gaining strength. Stretching helps manage spasticity, tone and loss of range of motion (ROM) and warm water enables you to increase the elasticity of tight muscles, utilizing rhythmical active ROM exercises. These stretches are performed by moving through water in a slow, fluent and relaxed manner, which alleviates pain and tightness in targeted muscle areas of the arms, legs and torso.

The warm water alternative

Traditional land-based exercise programs can prove to be a challenge for many. Warm water provides an alternative environment to advance further in a strengthening program. Exercising in water reduces your body weight up to 90 percent. By alleviating gravity, those with poor muscle control and limited endurance can increase the number of repetitions or length of time each exercise is performed.

Water also provides a supportive cushion around an individual that allows them to focus on core strengthening, standing/balance and gait training exercises without the fear of falling. Barbells and hand/ankle weights may be added to achieve the desired level of resistance to maximize progress. I believe if we can successfully educate people about proper body mechanics and safe ways to exercise in water, it will carry over to their everyday lives, and their ability to perform tasks at home with more ease and self-confidence.

Brain training

Whether our bodies are slowing down due to age or a medical condition, warm water therapy is an extremely effective avenue to retrain the brain. Many neurologic disorders cause brain impulses to stop firing correctly and therefore do not communicate with the body as they once did. If “rewiring” of the neural pathways can be facilitated, then you can regain movement.

Unpredictable Movement Command is a technique used in water to target the use of multiple brain areas simultaneously. It consists of movement patterns being performed with quickly changing or random combinations (e.g. small-big, start-stop and directional changes). This fosters the brain’s ability to multitask, improve somatic awareness (feel where body is in space), self-righting reactions (needed to prevent falls) and overall coordination.

What to consider before diving in

The ultimate goal is to keep moving. Check into one-on-one aquatic therapy and specialty classes offered at warm water facilities in your area, and don’t forget to plan ahead for your mobility needs. You may want to inquire about accessible parking, entrances and locker rooms. Bringing a family member, friend or attendant on your first visit will help ensure that you have positive experience.

Once in water, you will see firsthand how it gives those with mobility impairments due to a medical condition a sense of self-empowerment, a reason to smile and the courage to keep pushing past preconceived exercise barriers, to live again with confidence and a new twinkle in their eye! 

Have you ever tried to break a sweet tooth addiction only to find yourself still craving cookies, soda or other refined carbohydrates? Do you want to know why it is hard to break your sweet tooth addiction? The answer is simple: because it is a real addiction.

So while you might beat yourself up inside for not being strong enough to fight your sweet tooth, you should cut yourself some slack because it is not “a piece of cake.” Research shows that sugar is a highly refined substance that actually acts a lot like heroin when it hits the brain. Although the idea that sugar is addictive was controversial among scientists for years, studies have shown that sugar affects the brain chemistry and thus might be expected to cause addictive behavior. Sugar has also been shown to cause withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The behavioral effects are similar to the neurochemical changes in the brain that also occur with addictive drugs. Both sugar and the taste of sweet activate beta endorphin receptor sites in the brain, the same receptor sites that are activated by heroin and morphine.

Needless to say, sugar is usually found as simple carbohydrates, which are not exactly “healthy” foods. They are considered high glycemic index (GI) foods, which produce high levels of blood sugar. A diet that consists primarily of high GI foods can lead to carbohydrate cravings and an overall increase in appetite — potentially resulting in unwanted weight gain. These foods can cause large fluctuations of both blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to a vicious cycle of overeating (even overeating foods that are good for us). And studies have shown that each time you give into this cycle, “the chronic consumption of a diet with a high glycemic load is independently associated with an increased risk of obesity, developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.”

As far as choosing products without refined sugar goes, unfortunately, so many of these “better alternatives” contain artificial sweeteners, which studies have shown do not ultimately control your cravings for sweets. Some people do use these to bridge a gap here and there, but never should be used long term. Reason being is that they are unnatural, and hundreds of times sweeter, tricking your body into thinking it craves even more of that sweet flavor. So replacing things with sugar-free and diet beverages will definitely not break the sugar addiction. The body sees sugar as sugar, and you would just end up compensating by taking in more calories later on.

To break your sweet tooth addiction, focus on products that contain natural forms of sweeteners (i.e. stevia) in small amounts. Also slowly replace one unhealthy sweet food (i.e. cookies) with another food that is naturally sweet like fresh fruits, small portions of dried fruits, Greek yogurt and unsweetened dairy alternatives, etc. Even adding things like a little honey, cinnamon or cocoa powder could be helpful in satisfying a sweet tooth in a healthy way.

Be creative! Break the cookie cycle!

“Sugar and Fat Bingeing Have Notable Differences in Addictive-Like Behavior.” Journal of Nutrition. 2009.

“The role of glycemic index concept in carbohydrate metabolism.” J. Ciok et al. 2006.

Children often aspire to emulate their parents. Young boys who see their fathers shaving might reach for dad’s shaving cream, while young girls may find their way into mom’s closet in an effort to dress up like their mothers.

Kids’ curiosity may be similarly piqued when they see their parents going green. Parents who reduce, reuse and recycle are setting positive examples for their kids, who may inquire about the ways they can follow suit. While going green might not seem like the most kid-friendly activity, there are myriad ways for parents to involve children in their efforts to live eco-friendly lifestyles.

Donate clothing and toys. Children outgrow their clothing pretty quickly. Rather than discarding items kids can no longer wear, parents can take tots along to donation centers or thrift stores to show them how their clothes can be reused. Use this as an opportunity to teach kids how donating or recycling old items cuts down on the need to use natural resources to create new items. Do the same with toys, which kids tend to outgrow almost as quickly as their clothing.

Bike to school. Stay-at-home parents, telecommuters or those who have time to escort their children to and from school can bike to school with their children. Teach them how biking in lieu of driving helps to conserve fuel and how such conservation benefits the planet.

If biking is not an option due to weather or distance, parents can organize carpools, teaching kids how traveling together instead of individually helps to conserve fuel.

Avoid plastic water bottles. Plastic water bottles might seem more convenient because they don’t need to be washed after using them, but the environmental organization Clean Up Australia notes that plastic bottles, many of which are derived from crude oil, generate enormous amounts of waste that ultimately end up in landfills. In addition, the transportation of such bottles from factories to store shelves requires the burning of significant amounts of fossil fuels. Take kids along to the store to purchase their own reusable water bottle, explaining to them how they’re doing their part to protect the planet by choosing reusable bottles over bottled water.

Visit the library. Young children who love to read can borrow books from the library rather than asking mom and dad to purchase their own copies at the bookstore. Explain how borrowing cuts down on the need for paper, which helps preserve forests and reduce waste.

Spend more time in the great outdoors. Many parents want their children to spend more time outdoors and less time on the couch playing video games or watching television. Parents can make an effort to spend more time outdoors with their children engaging in fun activities like hiking, camping or fishing. Such excursions can instill a love and appreciation for nature in youngsters, and that love can compel them to a lifetime of protecting the planet and conserving its resources.

Kids who want to follow their parents’ example and go green can do so in various ways, many of which are as fun as they are eco-friendly.

Source: MetroCreative Connection.

Our delicate hormone balance is often referred to as a symphony. When each hormone plays its part correctly, the music is beautiful and life is good, but when one of the instruments falls out of tune the music can quickly fall apart. Each hormone relies on and is affected by the other hormones at play in the body. A symptom that might seem to be caused by a female hormone imbalance might actually be caused by the adrenals or thyroid. This is why testing, along with symptom charting and patient history, is critical when diagnosing hormone imbalances.

All hormones need to be balanced in order to achieve optimal health and wellness. When our hormones fall out of balance it can lead to a wide range of symptoms varying in degrees of unpleasantness. So, we can safely say that all hormones can eventually lead to a loss of libido because when you don’t feel good and don’t feel like yourself, it’s difficult to get excited about sex. However, for this article we are going to look at a few hormones that seem to have a more direct cause and effect relationship with the libido.


This is not just a male hormone. Women also have testosterone in their system and it helps to drive desire and fantasy, and provide energy for sex. Women’s testosterone levels start to decline with age — same as men. With that decline, women can experience a lower sex drive and a decrease in sensitivity in the vagina and clitoris, which can also affect libido.


This is considered by many as the primary female hormone. It helps regulate menstrual cycles and it controls the development of female sex organs. Estrogen levels begin to decrease dramatically as a woman approaches menopause. Low levels of estrogen can cause vaginal dryness, which can lead to painful sex. It also causes mood swings and unstable sleep patterns, which can have negative effects on the libido. Estrogen dominance can also cause low sex drive, irritability, anxiety and sleeplessness. Estrogen really needs to be balanced with the right amount of progesterone.


Progesterone is often called the “feel good” hormone. It is needed to keep estrogen in check and prevent estrogen dominance. However, too much progesterone can negatively affect the libido and actually prevent a woman from achieving orgasm.

Thyroid and adrenals

Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid, causes body systems to slow down. Metabolism slows and causes other organs and glands to slow down. Reproductive organs and the adrenal glands, which produce hormones that convert into sex hormones, produce lower levels of these hormones resulting in a lower sex drive. On top of the hormone imbalance, there is also the issue of fatigue that is associated with hypothyroidism, which also affects libido.

High levels of cortisol, released by the adrenals during extended periods of stress, can also rob your body of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These sex hormones are essential to a healthy libido and the stress of a lower sex drive can lead to a vicious cycle here if hormones are not brought back into balance.

This list helps to demonstrate the hormone symphony and how each hormone plays a critical role in that interwoven composition. Each cell in our body requires hormones to function properly. When our hormones are out of balance many systems in our body are affected and libido is often one of those systems. There is no reason we can’t enjoy a happy, healthy sex life long after menopause.

Keeping your skin healthy may seem like a simple task, but in truth it’s actually an art that can require help, or at minimum, advice from a skin care expert.

Perfecting your skin care regimen

The two most important building blocks to a proper skin care regimen are moisturizer and sunscreen. Sunscreen should be a daily part of your regimen to help protect your skin from sun damage and ultimately cancer. Your skin is exposed to damaging ultraviolet rays every single day, regardless of the season or weather conditions. For the most effective protection, choose one that is SPF 30 or higher and contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

The second building block, moisturizer, is the key to maintaining youthful skin. Apply moisturizer regularly morning and night, and as needed throughout the day. Look for a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid — a sugar molecule that absorbs 1,000 times its weight in water, making it the ultimate moisturizer.

Rounding out your skin care regimen should be products containing tretinoin and antioxidants. Tretinoin, a prescription medication, is the gold standard for anti-aging that is shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, help with overall skin texture, and thicken the outermost layer of your skin.

Antioxidants, on the other hand, help absorb free radicals from UV sun exposure and protect your skin from chemicals in the environment.

Enhance your natural beauty

While a proper skin care regimen helps maintain your natural beauty, sometimes we choose to enhance our natural beauty and improve self-esteem through cosmetic treatments. There are many different cosmetic procedures out there that can treat any number of skin concerns, but there are two treatments trending for 2018.

Vivace is a brand new treatment that is virtually pain free and requires no downtime. Vivace combines radiofrequency with microneedling, making it the most innovative way to stimulate collagen production. Vivace improves a number of skin issues including fine lines and wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, pore size, loose skin and overall texture and tone. Vivace requires three treatments, spaced a few weeks apart. While you will see immediate results after each treatment, continued results will be noticed after three months.

The second trending treatment for 2018 is one you may have heard of. Celebrities around the world, including Debra Messing and Khloe Kardashian, have seen the positive results from CoolSculpting. Currently the world’s leading procedure for nonsurgical fat reduction, CoolSculpting destroys fat cells through a 35-minute treatment process called cryolipolysis. An applicator with vacuum suction is placed onto the desired area and forms a snug seal around the tissue being treated. Through cryolipolysis, a cold temperature is applied, freezing the fat cells causing them to die. CoolSculpting safely treats most areas of the body including love handles, upper and lower abdomen, inner, outer and back of thighs, arms, neck and double chin. A single treatment destroys an average 20-25 percent of fat cells in the desired area. Optimal results show between three and six months as the body eliminates the destroyed cells from your body over time.

Educate yourself

Regardless of whether you need assistance perfecting your skin care regimen or are looking to enhance your natural beauty, it is important to educate yourself. Spend time researching the treatment options available and learn more about the individuals offering the treatments. Look for an expert with an educational background in skin health, such as a board-certified dermatologist. Ask questions about their background and experience providing the procedure you are considering. 

Holistic health is defined as “a form of healing that considers the whole person — body, mind, spirit and emotions — in the quest for optimal health and wellness.” It’s a well-known explanation, and is generally used to encompass several aspects of one’s journey to well-being: a mixture of modalities and techniques to find balance in a variety of aspects. 

It’s rare and unique to find it all rolled into one experience, but that’s exactly what Aerial Dance Pole Exercise in Appleton offers as a carefully constructed and thoughtful space that provides so much more than physical exercise.

Founder and owner Dr. Paula Brusky has intentionally and knowingly created a sanctuary for women, a place where students and instructors alike feel safe and empowered through fitness and community.

“We’re a sanctuary where women can discover their strength and believe in their beauty all while networking with other adventurous women,” she says. “Be adventurous! Be courageous! So much of our culture tells women to be shameful and reserved, and we adamantly want the opposite. Our women want to get strong and feel good about themselves, but they also want to find cool women to be friends with.” 

A full-service fitness community

In addition to what Paula refers to as “play classes” (tricks-based classes on a specific apparatus) that have catapulted the studio into a class of its own, Aerial Dance also provides strength and conditioning classes more recognized in a typical gym environment.

“We teach pole, hoop, hammock and silks and also have a full line of flexibility conditioning and strength building classes. It’s not just the adventurous stuff, it’s the nuts and bolts classes that help members work toward and build up to a pullup or increase range of motion – exactly what women need as they age.”

Paula stresses that you can be a member without ever touching one of the apparatus, and the programs offered are designed for women who get bored and want new and interesting components each visit, including workouts with kettlebells, free weights, resistant bands, and body weight exercises.

All programs are taught by highly trained and certified instructors who are working as hard behind the scenes as in front of the class. Cross collaboration is important at Aerial Dance, and classes are designed with each woman on the roster in mind. For example, Paula explains that if a student had been struggling with a move the week before, a specific exercise will be included in that week’s conditioning class curriculum to specifically address the problem. It’s all in an effort to help women stay engaged and reach their goals.

“Our programs change constantly. And the great thing is that they’re all very small class sizes. It’s particularly true for our strength and conditioning classes that have a max of five women, so really you’re talking about small group personal training and it’s included in your membership. Even our ‘big’ classes are usually eight women,” she explains.

When it comes to the aerial arts, your interests and comfort level dictate what you should try first, and that varies from wanting to try flying and being off the ground to exploring the sensual side and “tricks.” 

So what are they and how do they work? Paula explains: 

Pole. A vertical metal object that is attached to the ceiling and the floor — it’s gymnastics on a vertical apparatus. “Pole is going to be an Olympic sport in 2024 – there are two international groups working to make this a reality!”

Aerial hoop. A metal ring you do tricks on that is suspended in the air. “Hoop is very attainable because once you get in the hoop, there’s a lot you can do without having to lift your bodyweight again.”

Aerial hammock. One loop of fabric that has both ends attaching at the top. “The loop is much easier to start with because you can sit in it.”

Aerial silks. Silks are two strands of fabric that are attached at one point and come down to become two separate pieces.

Choosing and exploring the apparatus to try first (they offer an Intro to Aerial class so you can try Hoop, Hammock and Silks in one class!) is fun, but the safety of students and staff is taken very seriously. The studio features only the most state-of-the-art and dependable gear. 

“Because of how we install our permanent poles, there are no weight limits and the pole itself can spin or be static. In our aerial program, we have a custom-designed steel aerial structure that you can hang cars off of. 

“In general, you’re supposed to have a 2,000 pound point load to hang a human. That’s the safety factor. Ours at Aerial Dance are 30 times that. It lets me sleep at night, and I really like sleeping!” Paula laughs. “I want to know that my students and instructors are safe.”

She also explains that falls do happen, and that’s all a part of learning a new sport. In advanced classes – when students are not upright but inverted and injury is a potential concern – each student has a spotter when learning a new trick, just like in gymnastics programs. Paula developed a curriculum to help keep both the instructor who is spotting and the student who is trying the trick safe from injury, and also in a great mental space to keep attempting tricks and goals.

“Even when a student is “falling” out of a move and an instructor is stopping her, with our spotting technique the student is able to recover the move and is able to come down on her own safely,” she explains. “So she’s not afraid of the move later, which is really important from a mental standpoint.” 

Find your strength. Believe your beauty.

The aerial arts provide a whole body workout, but what Paula says is one of the most significant components of Aerial Dance has little to do with physical fitness. 

“We spend a lot of time getting to know our women and getting to know what they’re going through,” Paula says. “We find out where they need support so we’re able to offer that to them. There’s something that happens when you’re scared and doing a move for the first time, and you’re trusting your spotter with your life – literally – that develops a different level of comfort.

“As instructors we’re all very different, which I think is important and unique. It’s not our job to do anything but support you, both in the air and on the ground.” 

Paula and her instructors cultivate an environment of celebration, not competition. Being true to yourself and finding out who you are is as much a part of the process as learning to use the hammock and silks, and every step is celebrated. 

“There’s a lot of individuality in the aerial arts,” she says. “We foster a ‘help each other because life can be hard’ attitude. The more cheerleaders we have on our path, the more willing we are to walk it.

“Find your strength. Believe your beauty. You’re already strong, you are already beautiful. We hear a lot about finding a new you and losing weight going into the New Year, but we don’t want that. Aerial Dance is all about what you can gain and owning what’s already there.” 

“I think it’s important to understand that the aerial arts are about you, and not about eliciting something from someone else. It’s about your journey and feeling comfortable in your own skin. It’s discovering what your body is capable of. It’s about confronting your fears and succeeding. It empowers you and makes you feel strong internally as well as gaining strength externally.” —Dr. Paula Brusky

Building emotional strength 

“We spend so much time working on our physical body and not enough on emotionally building strength,” Paula says. “We’re going to be starting a book club in January — a book a month — about pertinent things happening in life.” 

Titles like Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection,” Terry Orlick’s “In Pursuit of Excellence” and other books about self-compassion and loving and accepting yourself are all on the table in an effort to provide another healthy outlet through Aerial Dance’s supportive community. 

“We want our members to be able to explore other ideas about themselves. Smart is sexy!” 


It’s no surprise that with the supportive environment and focus on reveling each other’s successes that Aerial Dance likes to celebrate — in a big way — each year. Their annual Christmas Show and Holiday Party applauds the past year’s progress in December as a way to celebrate and showcase the growth the students and instructors have seen over the last year. 

And it’s not just the routine and physical tricks that are cheered for. Paula says that it’s about getting excited about outgrowing comfort zones and developing confidence that she sees as a big reason the applause and cheers for the performances are so loud.

“All body shapes and sizes, and all ability levels perform,” she says. “A lot of people have a misconception that you have to look a certain way to do this. You don’t. You can be a very successful aerial artist at any shape and size.” 

Aerial Dance Pole Exercise

1871 N. Silverspring Drive, Appleton


To find schedules and to register for classes (or to check out what members have to say about Aerial Dance!), visit

My passion for skin care developed from my personal experience with a common skin condition. I understand the physical and emotional pain that often come with issues of the skin — for our exterior is ultimately others’ first impression of us. When our exterior is damaged, or not to our liking, our self-esteem is not as high and our confidence can suffer. I made it my ultimate goal to find a career in life where I have the opportunity to help individuals feel confident in their skin. 

According to the National Institute of Health (, approximately 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30 will experience at least one acne breakout. At age 19, the hormonal acne that I experienced the majority of my life took an unexpected turn — cystic. The annoying red bumps that appeared grew larger, became more inflamed and were painful. This is when I turned to the help of a primary care physician. I was met with compassion, but wasn’t given much information more than a handout on the medication I was prescribed. At home, I soaked in the information from the handout and did my own research. It was a topical medication that worked by speeding up the cell regeneration, or the cell turnover — cells died and shed at a faster rate, which allowed new cells to take its place — resulting in a clearer complexion. Medications can have a “get worse before it gets better” phase and in my experience, it was absolutely the hardest part of my journey.

I remember leaving the house without makeup to let my skin breathe, and I felt like a monster. I went to a clothing shop with a friend of mine, and I could feel the eyes on my skin; I felt ashamed and embarrassed. There is a stigma about acne that if you have it, then you are not doing something right and it’s “your fault.” For example, you might be told you wear too much makeup or you have poor hygiene habits, but that is not always the case. Yes, proper skin habits will help alleviate problems and promote healthy skin, but acne is a skin condition that is very common and the root of this condition can originate from genes, diet and lifestyle. All acne is not created equally. If you are reading this, and you are fighting any skin condition — not just acne — know that it is not your fault.

Proudly, I can now say that my acne is under control. Through my acne journey I discovered my calling; I wanted to help people like me, individuals who didn’t feel confident in their skin. Skin health is not common knowledge. The average person does not know how to properly cleanse their skin, how to choose the appropriate moisturizer for their skin type or how they can effectively exfoliate their skin at home. Before and during my acne journey I did not know that there were licensed professionals out there that helped guide individuals through their experiences and educate on skin health. I remember Googling: “skin care professional” while pondering my future and seeing the word “aesthetician” pop up. I thought to myself, “That... that is what I want to be.”

What is the difference between dermatology and aesthetics?

Dermatologists are medical doctors with continued education to diagnose skin diseases and conditions, and effectively treat them using prescribed medication and/or services. Aestheticians are licensed professionals who are trained to recognize skin types and conditions, treat those types and conditions within their scope of practice by using products and tools, and recommend at-home care based off of the information they have gathered by analyzing skin and a consultation. They are also trained to understand the effects medications have on the skin, and accommodate treatments based on that information. I chose aesthetics because in my experience no one told me that there are licensed professionals who could have helped me with my acne journey, especially while I was experiencing sufferable side effects. I want people to know that you can see both a dermatologist and an aesthetician; one will diagnose and treat your condition with prescribed medication and/or medical services, and the other to help guide you through your journey by educating you on skin health, proper professional treatments and at-home care. 

As an aesthetician, products that we use are our most important accessories; this is what we trust will help our clients reach their goals. For me, using a line that is cruelty-free, clean and effective is imperative. I am humbled to be a part of a team that uses nothing but the highest quality organic skin care product, called Ilike, and is welcoming to everyone. 

I entered this career path with a fire in my heart to help individuals with acne, and upon working in my field my fire grew into something much larger — a drive to educate clients on the overall importance of skin health and how to achieve it, to build confidence and self-appreciation, and help my clients breathe and take a moment for themselves. 

As we fully embrace this winter season, I find myself longing for the fresh taste of herbs from my garden to season the foods I eat. Obviously, we cannot simply slip outside and snip a sprig of thyme, oregano, or harvest a cayenne pepper so it is time for us to reach for dried or frozen herbs to provide flavor and a health kick to our foods. In addition to using herbal teas as a way to ingest herbs — and rather than relying on supplements — why not use them as we cook? 

In general, dried herbs (if they are still good — how long have you had that spice jar in your cabinet?) are stronger than fresh herbs. The basic rule of thumb is that 1 unit of dry herb = 3 units of fresh herb. In other words, if you would use 1 teaspoon of fresh basil in a recipe, you likely will only need 1/3 teaspoon of dried basil in the same recipe. This is because fresh herbs have a lot of water content when compared to the dried so the dried are far more concentrated. Here is an interesting comparison of fresh to dried herb, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database:

  • Fresh parsley is 87.71 percent water (12.29 percent active ingredients)
  • Dried parsley is 5.89 percent water (94.11 percent active ingredients)

This means that dried parsley is 700 percent more concentrated than fresh. And this holds true with the antioxidants in dried herbs. The gold standard for measuring antioxidants is the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), developed by the USDA and National Institutes of Health. The ORAC value for fresh parsley is 1,301; for dried parsley, the ORAC value is 73,670. So, if you purchase organic herbs, nonirradiated, that are not UV treated, or bottled with chemical preservatives, you can eat those dried herbs without worrying about a loss of antioxidant properties! Store them in a cool, dry, dark place in glass containers, and they will last longer for you, too. Also, if you buy whole herb versus ground, you will notice that the flavor is maintained longer (just crush/grind it when you need it — a spice/coffee grinder works well).

Since we are in the season in which respiratory ailments are common, let’s focus on an herb that can enhance your respiratory system, protect against colds/flu, help fight sinus infections, or minimize symptoms and/or the length of time those symptoms hang around: horseradish (Armoracia rusticana). 

Before it was a food, horseradish was recognized as a powerful medicine. It has a volatile oil compound, sinigrin, which breaks down to become a natural antibiotic which is thought to be the active ingredient that enables horseradish to be so effective against upper respiratory infections. This compound, along with several others in horseradish, clear congestion, thin mucous, reduce inflammation, fight bacteria and viruses, relax muscles and stimulate the immune system. The root is rich in minerals and vitamins, including vitamin C.

Here is a Bavarian-inspired recipe from Bharat Aggarwal and Debora Yost’s wonderful book that can be used to accompany a pork dish, or as a condiment for a roast beef sandwich:

Bavarian Apple and Horseradish Sauce

Makes about 1½ cups

½ cup prepared horseradish, drained

1 large, tart green apple, peeled, cored and diced

¼ cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon dried parsley

Mix the horseradish, apple, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the sour cream, sprinkle with parsley and serve. Or, refrigerate until ready to use, stir and bring to room temperature prior to serving.

You can also cook with horseradish, which makes the flavor quite mild. Today, it is often used as an ingredient in batter or coating for fish, and is even added with a bit of sour cream to mashed potatoes. 

References: “Healing spices: How to use 50 everyday and exotic spices to boost health and beat disease.” Aggarwal. B. & Yost, D. Sterling. 2011. 

“Herbs for common ailments: How to make and use herbal remedies for home health care.” Gladstar, R. Storey Publishing. 2014.

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