Family First Magazine - November 2012



Family First Magazine - November 2012
November/December 2012
Roller Derby
Diagnosis: Down Syndrome
Fall/Winter Trends of 2012
Central California’s Family First Magazine
8 ArtHop 14 Sisterhood Of Survivors 18 Marilyn Fernandez 20 Roller Derby
25 Vera Price
26 Diagnosis: Down Syndrome
31 CrossFit
33 Reading Food Labels
34 Importance of Art in Education 37 Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments
38 Fall/Winter Trends of 2012
46 Children’s Winter Trends 2012
52 Curvaceous Voluminous Hair
Stephanie A. Avila
Kevin Chavez
Beth Warmerdam
Stephanie A. Avila
Felicia Gomez, Ph.D
Nicole Giordano-Ashjian
Beth Reiland
What If Photography
Platinum Imaging Photography
GM Photography.N.Designs
Capture Life Events
Bryana Kimura
Lindsee Kaitlin Chang
Beadiful Necklaces
Dekoposh, Inc.
Ever After
Ooh La La
Pacific Southwest Building
If you have a child that would like
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please email submissions to
[email protected]
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with us, please contact
[email protected]
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Central California’s
Family First Magazine
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Pinedale, CA 93650
(559) 213-0632
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Central California’s Family First Magazine. Distribution of this magazine does not constitute
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be responsible for misinformation, typographical errors, omissions, etc. herein contained. Copyright
2011 by Central California’s Family First Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or
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Photo by Nicole Vargas
with Platinum Imaging Photography
Makeup/Hair by Kassi Kirk
Children’s Clothing courtesy
of Ever After Boutique in Fresno, CA
David and Desiree Rossette and their three boys—Dante,
Rocco, and Nico—are our cover family for the Nov./Dec.
issue. For a chance to have your child or family featured
on the cover, please contact [email protected]
A Festivity of Local Artists
Powered by the community’s intensifying passion and interest in the arts, Fresno’s ArtHop
is an arts and culture event that takes place the first and third Thursday of each month.
Originating back to the 1980’s, ArtHop was initiated by a group of artists who had galleries
in the downtown Fresno area. These artists would gather together over meals and discuss
how important it was to bring more people to the area and also how they would like to
share their art with more people. They decided they would be able to bring these two ideas
together by having open galleries—and thus ArtHop was born.
Embraced by the local community and now organized by the Fresno Arts Council, ArtHop
has now become a traditional event that has more than 80 participating artist studios, galleries, museums, and other venues that exhibit art and hold artist receptions.
Whether with friends, family, a date, or as a solo expedition, “ArtHop is really for everybody,” said Lilia Chavez, Executive Director of the Fresno Arts Council. “It is a great family
outing. Exposing children at an early age to high quality art really allows them to expand
their image of what art is and their understanding of art, and really allows them to explore
their own artistic talents.”
Chavez said that people go to Carmel and Los Angeles to see and buy art, but they should
stick closer to home.
“We really have the same caliber of art created here locally,” she said. “They can buy locally
and support our local artists and get just as good, if not better, quality art.”
ArtHop is doing its part to help people realize what great art the community has to offer.
The event is doing wonders in achieving the goals of its first founders: to bring more people
together and to allow artists to share their work with a wider audience.
This issue we would like to spotlight several artists who share these goals:
White Paper Crane, John Boyle and Debra Cooper Havens.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Story by Stephanie Avila
Photography by What If Photography
Makeup by Bryana Kimura with BMK Faces
Hair by Beth Reiland
Model: Christy Turpin
Model: Josh Dejung
ArtHop Spotlight on artist John Boyle at Broadway Studios
Fascinated with taking things apart at a young age,
John Boyle credits the beginning of his creative thinking chiefly to his brother Scott’s electronic toys.
Boyle was always a natural creative thinker, but
it wasn’t until the end of his college years at
California State University of Fresno and meeting
Reza Assemi that he actually started to direct his
fascination of the fundamentals of things into
artistic avenues.
“Through Reza, who created Broadway Studios, I’ve
become friends with a lot of fantastic artists in the area
who inspire me to this day,” he said. “To be honest, I
feel honored to be called an artist. I’m very fortunate to
have so many artistic, creative friends in my life; it took
me awhile to consider myself an artist as they are.”
Boyle finds his inspiration to create and design through
the people and objects around him. He gives a lot of
the credit to his artist girlfriend, Cosetta, his friends,
and his parents.
“My mom and dad inspire me: my dad being more
of the perfectionist, my mom being the more
creative type as far as taking art classes, creating
beautiful stained glass windows and collecting
antiques,” he said.
Constantly daydreaming and jotting down ideas as
he thinks them up, Boyle said his creative process tends
to be pretty straightforward.
“Once I begin a project, it’s simply trial and error,” he explains.
“If a road block comes up, part
of the creative enjoyment is
thinking of a solution.”
he said “From those objects and designers, I’ve been
inspired to create my own pieces.”
About 10 years ago, Boyle began to envision one of his
most popular creations, The Electric Chair, which is
a creation that is not to be missed if you venture into
Broadway Studio’s during ArtHop.
“To be honest, I feel honored to
be called an artist. I’m very fortunate to have so many artistic,
creative friends in my life; it took
me awhile to consider myself an
artist as they are.”
Boyle said he really embraces
the thought of using found
objects, whether it is something lying next to the railroad tracks or something
that he found at the flea market
or at the scrap yard.
“I’ve always had an interest in collecting art and
antiques/collectibles, particularly mid-century modern
objects such as furniture, lighting, glass and ceramics,”
Boyle sharing The Electric Chair, one of his most popular
creations, which can be found at Broadway Studios.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Boyle is most proud
of this chair because his dad,
who was not one to understand or appreciate art, was
proud of the chair and talked
about it to his friends.
“Rather than build a complete
chair from the ground up, I
found a chair and completely gutted it,” he said. “I then
added my own frame to the chair, added some Mylar
backing to reflect the light, and routed 100 feet of clear
C-9 lights throughout the chair. At that point, I began
attaching the circuit boards, which was similar to putting together a puzzle. I needed to find circuit boards
that had a nice green luminosity, which proved to be
Boyle works in multiple mediums, which is exemplified in this piece, Boxcar Gorilla.
somewhat difficult, but fortunately friends, family and
searching the scrap yards came through.”
Not only has he used circuit boards to create fundamentally eccentric creations such as The Electric Chair,
Boyle has also made use of mirrors, gears, plastic water
bottles, pharmaceutical bottles and old electronics in
his other creations.
A late bloomer as far as art and design go, Boyle said
in hindsight he wishes he would have had a degree in
Industrial Design or Product Design.
“Art and design have such an impact on the world
around us whether it’s the vehicle you drive, the pen
you write with or the building you work in,” he said. “If
you love what you do for a living, you’ll never have to
work another day in your life.”
Boyle’s love for art naturally leads him to be a strong
supporter of ArtHop.
“Art Hop proves to be a wonderful catalyst for meeting
people,” he said. “I love seeing a business professional
having a conversation with a graffiti artist about their
Central California’s Family First Magazine
ArtHop Spotlight on
White Paper Crane
Thanks to being raised in
a traditional Japanese culture, Nao Nishikikawa Smith
learned how to create origami
at a tender young age. Nao
was born and raised in
Asahikawa, Japan, but now
lives in Fresno, where she is
using her natural creativity
to take her origami skills
to a whole new level—a
Nao Nishikikawa Smith “wearable” level.
Nao has found a special niche creating origami art
that can be worn in the form of earrings. Intricately
composed tiny perfections best describe Nao’s line,
White Paper Crane. It is hard to imagine, but it can
take up to six pieces of origami to create just one
tiny earring.
“The origami is the easy part,” Noa said. “The actual
creation of the jewelry is what takes the most time.”
Nao’s husband, Jonathan Smith, who is an artist
himself, playfully refers to Nao’s origami creations
as “critters.”
“She doesn’t just make one critter and then finish
the set of earrings…she makes a sea of critters
first,” he said.
White Paper Crane’s wearable origami earrings.
All the effort pays off when Nao sees eyes light up when
they get a look at her work.
“I cannot really describe the feeling, but I love when
people see my art and have smiles on their faces,” she
said. “It feels like I am sharing some happiness with
someone else. That gives me satisfaction, happiness and
Nao is largely inspired by Jonathan, whom she calls
a “typical crazy artist.”
Art is well-cherished and sought after by art lovers near
and far. Nao’s line, White Paper Crane, allows for those
who enjoy art to not only collect it but to wear it.
“He gives me a lot of new ideas and one of the great
things about him is that he does not stop me from trying new stuff at all,” Nao said.
For more information on White Paper Crane please
visit the Fresno Water Tower in downtown Fresno and
That’s a good thing, because Nao is always pushing herself to come up with creative ideas, as Jonathan well
“She will sit there and experiment,” he said. “She will
think of cats, elephants, dolphins; you name it and she
will work on it until she creates her own version of that
animal. My favorite is the turtle.”
Central California’s Family First Magazine
The earrings come in varying shape and size.
ArtHop Spotlight on artist Debra Cooper Havens
Phenomenal, emotional, and breathtakingly beautiful.
It’s not hard to see the raw emotion and creative expertise that goes into the art of local Central Valley artist,
Debra Cooper Havens. Havens took a keen interest in
the arts as a child. She started with drawing and from
there let her creativity flourish as she experimented
with new avenues of expressing art, which included
welding and blacksmithing.
“While I was in school, I took many art classes: ceramics, glass blowing, stained glass, drawing, painting…
pretty much anything that would allow me to express
myself in a creative way,” she said.
One of Haven’s latest ventures definitely takes a lot of
creativity—and perhaps what some might consider
"trash"—to pull off.
Havens showing her piece, A Heart: Like This, which is a nod
to a poem by Rumi.
“In recent years, I've been drawn to the whole idea of
taking discarded items/trash/found objects and using
them as elements in my art,” she said.
Inspired by these items themselves, Havens said,
“They actually inform me as to how they will fit into
a new creation.”
Recently, art has been an opening for Havens to really
acknowledge and express her emotions, whether pleasant or painful.
“The creative urge finds itself needing to be expressed as
a way to help me make sense of whatever is going on in
my life,” she said.
A period in Haven’s life of great turmoil ultimately led
to her Out of Chaos collection, which shows firsthand
the beauty that can come from chaos.
“I felt the urge to create during this time more than at
any other time in my life. The result of that urge has
been quite a bit of poetry, short stories, paintings, and
sculpture,” she said. “Out of Chaos refers to the art
that has resulted from this difficult time, with ‘chaos’
referring to both the disarray that is my life right now
and also to the ancient idea of chaos as the place from
which all creation is thought to come.”
Haven’s Inextricable, is named for the inextricable link
between her heart and her uterus where her two
daughters once lived.
Havens has won multiple awards over the years for her
art; although she appreciates them, those awards come
secondhand to the creative process itself and the ultimate affect her work might have on the viewer.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Sisterhood Of Survivors (SOS)
Diagnosis: Breast Cancer
Story by Stephanie Avila
Photography by Crystal Roberts with
Capture Life Events
cer survivor, Julie Tipps, who is on the Board of
Directors for Sisterhood of Survivors (SOS).
One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. The odds are
high that it will happen to someone you know.
“Look around you. There is a good chance it can be a
girlfriend, a relative, or it can be you,” said breast can-
Tipps is just one of many members of SOS, which is
dedicated to assisting newly diagnosed breast cancer
patients as well as breast cancer survivors. SOS had a
simple start a decade ago: Two women bonding while
undergoing chemotherapy after having surgery for
breast cancer.
“They made a promise to each other that once they got
through with their chemo and they were both feeling better, they would get together for lunch,” survivor and SOS volunteer Lynette McBride said. “It took
about six months for them to get to feeling better and
by the time they were able to meet, there were six of
them. The backbone of this group was these lunches—
monthly lunches that we still do to this day.”
SOS has grown from monthly luncheons to also being
an Outreach Program whose mission is to help support
those who have just learned they have breast cancer
and to those who have been through it and survived.
“We give totes to newly diagnosed women. A survivor
is the one who gives it and makes that connection as
a way of saying, ‘You can get through this; I am living
proof that you can get through this,’” McBride said.
Not only are the totes delivered by a survivor, they are
actually handmade by a survivor. They are filled with
educational material that is donated by SOS members
and the community to help navigate new breast cancer
patients through this rough time in their lives.
SOS provides a lot more than just tote bags, though. It
is a community of women who have “been there, done
that” and know the fears and questions that are in
newly diagnosed patients’ heads. These women, who
volunteer their time, know what breast cancer patients
are going through and stand by them for support.
“Even though you can get that love and support from
a spouse and friends, and even though they can be
incredibly supportive, we know what it’s like and we
can really validate that for you,” McBride said. “Reach
Julie Tipps out and don’t be afraid. We have been there.”
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Here are the inspirational stories of three such
More than 30 years ago, Tipps’ mother had a breast
mastectomy because she just knew she had cancer—
even though her mammogram had come back negative
for cancer and the doctors told her she was cancer free.
“She insisted she had a tumor, but the doctors couldn’t
see it,” Tipps said. “She went through with the surgery
and, sure enough, she had breast cancer.”
Breast cancer can be passed genetically, so there was a
good chance that Tipps and her sister could be diagnosed with the disease sometime in their lives. In fact,
their mother’s doctor told them that he guaranteed one
of them was going to get breast cancer down the road.
“I figured it would be me because I had already been
treated for benign cysts.” Tipps said.
Ten years after surviving her first battle with cancer, Tipps’ mother was diagnosed at the age of 70 with
breast cancer in the other breast and had to undergo
another mastectomy.
“Today my mother is 92 years old and she is a survivor,”
Tipps said.
Unfortunately, the family wasn’t through with their
struggles with cancer. In fact, they were only beginning.
Lynette McBride
“In 1997, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer,”
Tipps said.
Tipps’ sister was treated for the cancer and remained
cancer free until 2004. That’s when doctors discovered
she had stage 3 ovarian cancer.
“No one had ever checked her for ovarian cancer. When
they did diagnose it, it was so well-advanced,” Tipps
said. “She was a fighter and she died at the age of 59 in
January of 2009.”
“My husband and I were going on a two-week vacation
so I delayed getting checked out,” Tipps said. “While
on the trip, I didn’t say anything to my husband. I went
into denial and tried not to think about it. While on
the trip, I felt another lump under my armpit.”
After returning home from the trip, Tipps finally spoke
to her husband about the lumps and decided to get
them checked out.
“We joked that maybe it was nothing,” she said.
That same year, Tipps had her annual mammogram
and everything looked good. But five months later,
while in the shower, Tipps discovered definite lumps
on her breast. She brushed them off as being benign
cysts since she had had them before; it was also easier
to believe that’s what they were.
The lumps did, in fact, turn out to be something. In
2010, Tipps was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Even though I knew—I think I knew—I was in total
disbelief when I was told that I was breast cancer posi-
Central California’s Family First Magazine
tive. I think emotionally I just lost it, and I am not the
type of person to lose it,” she said. “I was totally numb.”
Tipps went through surgery to remove the lumps,
choosing to have a lumpectomy rather than a complete
removal of her breasts.
harmful changes in these genes face a much higher
risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer
compared to other women who do not carry the gene.
McBride’s mother tested positive for the gene.
McBride’s life was busy with family and children, so she
put off getting tested right away. She planned to get a
mammogram after her second son was born, but was
told she couldn’t because she was breastfeeding.
“Just because you are diagnosed with breast cancer, it
doesn’t mean that you have to have both breasts cut off,”
she said. “Don’t panic. Only do what you can handle,
and if you have to, get a second or even third opinion.” “That kind of upset me because I knew that it was
something that I needed to get done,” McBride said.
After her surgery, Tipps completed radiation treatment “Since I couldn’t get that done, I did the next best thing
and she felt a need to give. A social worker mentioned
and that was to get tested for the BRCA gene. My test
SOS to her.
came back negative.”
“I contacted them and, after being dragged to a few
In 2008, McBride was going through a regular health
events by one of the members, I finally decided that
exam when her doctor discovered a lump on her breast.
this was an organization that I wanted to be involved
Because of McBride’s family history with breast cancer,
with,” she said. “It felt like a
her doctor ordered a biopsy.
“For me, as a mom of young
comfortable slipper.”
A week before Christmas
that year, McBride got the
kids, it was very scary. To think,
Today, Tipps is cancer free.
that would change her
‘Am I going to be around to see news
life forever: she was breast
“If anything positive came from them grow up?’ I was going to
cancer positive.
my experience with cancer,
do whatever in my power to be
it is that I got a group of sisters
“My immediate thoughts just
who mean a lot to me and who here for them and fight.”
went to my kids,” said McBride,
I can go to for support,” she
whose sons Matthew and
William were 3 and 8 years old at the time. “For me, as
a mom of young kids, it was very scary. To think, ‘Am
She also learned that sweating the little things in life is
I going to be around to see them grow up?’ I was going
not important to her anymore.
to do whatever in my power to be here for them and
“If my house isn’t perfect, if my dogs aren’t perfect, or if
my husband isn’t perfect…it doesn’t matter,” Tipps said. The next year, 2009, was all about McBride getting
“Each day means a lot to me.”
well. She had a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and
Breast cancer runs in Lynette McBride’s family. In 2002, “Because of my family history with cancer, it was recher mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
ommended that I take an aggressive attitude about the
cancer and get the double mastectomy,” she said. “It
“After she was diagnosed, my great uncle compiled
was an easy choice for me to make personally. When it
information about our family’s medical history. It turns came to my kids or my breasts, it was an easy choice.”
out there were 25 family members who have had some
sort of cancer, 11 of whom had breast cancer,” she said. Support from her loved ones is what helped McBride
the most during her journey with cancer.
McBride’s mother had the breast cancer (BRCA)
gene test, which is a blood test that uses DNA analysis
“I remember as my hair was coming out, I would be
to test for harmful changes in breast cancer
crying in the bathroom,” she said. “My husband came
susceptibility genes. Women who have inherited these
home from work and he saw me. At that point, he put
Central California’s Family First Magazine
his arms around me and he said, ‘You are still
beautiful to me.’”
Hearing those words from her husband helped
McBride to know that everything was okay, because she
knew that he would be there with her for the long run.
“I have to say that as terrible as it is to get that news
and to go through all of that I have gone though, I feel
so blessed,” she said. “I feel blessed to be here. I feel
blessed to have all of the support of not only my family and friends, but of the new sisters that I have gained
through this experience. I don’t know what I would do
without them.”
Jennifer Ann Fernandez is a daughter, sister, mother
and survivor. Breast cancer was frequent in Fernandez’s
family, striking her great-grandmother, her great-aunt,
her aunt, and her mother.
“My family didn’t see the red flag of having a high-risk
family history of breast cancer until my great-aunt got
breast cancer for a second time at the age of 75,” she
said. “My mother was 53 years old when she was diagnosed, but the size of the cancerous tumor indicated
that she had been living with it for a few years and that
it had gone undetected.”
Fernandez’s great-aunt was tested for the BRCA gene
when she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time.
Fernandez increased her surveillance screenings, which
included monthly self-exams, semi-annual clinical
breast exams, yearly mammograms, yearly breast MRI’s,
and semi-annual vaginal ultrasounds; but screening
doesn’t prevent cancer. It was only a method to try to
catch it at an early stage, but there was no guarantee
that it would be found in time.
“This was my new life, full of stress and anxiety,” Fernandez said. “You worry about your death, how that
will affect your loved ones. You think about everything you will miss out on, in not just your life, but in
theirs as well. You are pacified only in a brief moment
when you hear everything looks good and nothing was
detected at this time—at this screening.”
To end the fear that she lived with every day of her
life, Fernandez chose a proactive route: prophylactic
“I hate that I had to make the choice to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. It was the only thing that
I could do to get my life back and to significantly lower
my risk,” she said. “I was going to do everything in my
power to make sure I survived this.”
In 2011, Fernandez joined the young SOS chapter.
“I needed support from those who understood what
it was like to live in fear of cancer,” she said. “I found
so much love and support and true friendship
through SOS.”
“It is an inherited gene mutation that doesn’t skip generations. If a person with children has the gene, their
children have a 50% chance of inheriting the gene and
subsequently passing that 50% chance of getting it
down to their children and so on,” she said. “My mother’s sister, who had found her cancer early, and
my mom tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation.
My aunt had no children to test, but my mom was
told all of her children should be tested right away.
I tested positive.”
From the moment she tested positive for the BRCA
gene, Fernandez’s life became one of fear, stress and
anxiety. She was thrown into a life consumed by cancer.
Although she hadn’t actually been diagnosed positive
for breast cancer, it seemed inevitable to her that it was
just a matter of time.
Jennifer Ann Fernandez
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Story by Stephanie Avila
Photography by What If Photography
Makeup by Bryana Kimura of BMK Faces
Hair by Nancy Martinez at Good Haircuts
Location: The Makeup Imaginarium
Proof that life is more than disenchantments, Latin pop
artist Marilyn Fernandez is living her dream.
“I will not abandon the Spanish market because it has
been important for my career,” Marilyn said. “This
upcoming album, although in English, will have an EP
in Spanish for my Spanish followers.”
Her uplifting collection of music is a mixture of
Cumbia, Norteno and Caribbean beats. Marilyn hopes
that her songs can bring a positive message to people.
For the Fresno, CA native, who now resides in the
small town of Sanger, it all started at the age of 13
when she sat her parents down and told them that she
wanted to be an artist. From that moment on, things
went quickly. Her parents supported her decision,
enrolled her in music lessons and gave her every tool
that they could to help her pursue her dream.
“Sometimes your mind can play tricks on you…life is
too short for sadness,” she said.
“It is not easy being a recording artist,” Marilyn said.
“When you are young, you think everything will be
roses, but it’s not. There are ups and downs.”
“When I was young I had a dream that I wanted to
become an artist but when it actually happened…at
first I was really nervous but it has been very exciting
for me,” she said.
Sharing the stage with big names like Gloria Trevi,
Lucero and Alvaro Torres, Marilyn has come a long
way from the little girl who once could only imagine
what it would be like to be a real performer.
Marilyn herself has many "ups" to her credit: Musically
talented, down-to-earth, positive, and beautiful inside
Marilyn hopes that other people can achieve their
and out. She loves music and is very passionate about it. desires in life as well—even if it takes some time and
Marilyn attributes this to her father, Ruben Fernandez,
who taught her to sing her first song, Carino, when she
was just 5 years old.
“Dreams do come true,” she said. “Never give up. There
will always be ups and downs. You might want to stop,
Now, years later, she’s no novice in the music indusbut keep going forward. Things will happen…just be
try. Marilyn has recorded four Latin pop albums and
is currently working on a breakthrough English pop
album. She’s not forgetting her roots, though.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
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Opposite Page: Kitty Catalyst Zombiotch,, the jammer, and Ida Rollbounski trading paint during practice.
Originally created for sports entertainment, roller
derby is now a very real sport that is both highly athletic and highly competitive.
the opposing team’s jammer—technically playing both
defense and offense at the same time.
You might think the competitors in this sport, the
“We are a full-contact sport and there are serious inju"Derby Girls," are not your typical housewives, but
ries, but it’s very fun and very exciting,” said Elizabeth
these women are just that—normal, everyday women.
Payne, an assistant professor at California State
You don’t have to fit the stereotypical "angry girl" proUniversity of Fresno and #325 on NOtown Roller Derby. file to participate in roller derby. Women from all
walks of life have graced the roller derby tracks: Nurses,
The object of the game is for the jammer on each team
school teachers, business women…you name it.
to lap members of the opposing team and score points.
Quite simple, you might think—but not while you
“It doesn’t matter shape, size, weight, race, or occupahave the opposite team trying to knock you down or
tion,” said Ten Gauge Rachel Rage (TGRR), who plays
shove you off the track. The blockers use body contact
for team Rock-N-Rolla of Central California Area Derby
to help their teams’ jammer to score while hindering
Kitty Catalyst and BarbieWIRE, of Atomic Assault, mixing it up during their bout with Bakersfield Rollergirls.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Upon entering the track, these women leave their personal identities at home and enter the track as jammer,
pivot, or blocker.
Requiring only a pair of quad-wheel roller skates,
elbow pads, kneepads, wrist guards, a helmet, a mouth
guard, a pseudo name and a jazzy fashion sense, roller
derby’s major prerequisite is strength from within.
Practices are long and grueling, requiring heart and
dedication. Think boot camp but with heavy quad
skates on your feet!
“We work on a variety of skills from footwork drills
(think of all the stuff they do in football but with skates
on instead of cleats), to hitting drills, to scrimmages.
We scrimmage like we play,” Payne said.
The average derby player has three two-hour skating
sessions a week, Payne said. The physical benefits
can be seen on the women. Because the sport is
a full-body workout, it burns some serious calories!
It especially tones your legs, inner thighs, and gluteal
muscles. The abdominal and oblique muscles also get
some serious tone!
“It’s much more engaging then the gym!” Payne said.
Derby is more than just a physical commitment in
these women’s lives. Payne said a derby player also
“reads derby publications to learn the new strategies, and she belongs to at least one committee to help
run what is essentially a small business that is playerowned.”
One of roller derby’s signature marks is its fashion.
Being extravagant and over-the-top with your style is
very welcome in the sport. Bright-colored hair, tattoos,
heavy makeup, hot shorts, fishnet leggings, rainbowstriped leggings, and zebra-striped skates are not
uncommon on the track.
“A ‘derby girl’ cares more about her fishnets and her
boot covers then she does her playing,” Payne explains.
“It’s all about the ‘boutfit’.”
Creating a track alter-ego is also an important part of
the sport. CCADerby’s team Atomic Assault has players with names such as Barbie WIRE, MI$$ TNT and
Psychomath! A track alter-ego is cool, but it’s also
essential so that you aren’t skating as wife, mother,
Each team has a
jammer. The jammer
is the scoring player
who scores points by
lapping members of
the opposing team.
A helmet with 2 stars
distinguishes the
jammer from the
rest of the team.
Blockers use body
contact to help the
jammer to score by
hindering the opposing
team’s jammer. The
blockers wear solid
colored helmets.
A pivot is a blocker
that can change into
a jammer during
the course of a play.
A helmet with a
stripe sets the pivot
apart from the other
Roller derby is made
up of a bout which
is played in two
30-minute periods.
Bouts are filled with
jams that can last up
to 2-minutes apiece.
Points are scored
during Jams.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
daughter, or sister, but simply as an athlete
and competitor.
Personal identities do not exist on the track.
No one cares about what is going on in your
personal life. No one cares that you are going
through a breakup or a divorce, that you are
anxiously waiting for test results, or that you
are thinking about dropping out of the master’s
program. And what’s more, you don’t have time
to think about it yourself!
“I play derby because I like using a full-contact
sport to clear my mind,” Payne said.
Most derby girls will honestly tell you that
roller derby is what she does instead of therapy—when you are doing something that physically difficult, you just don’t have time to think
about personal problems.
“This is where I relieve my stress…my everyday
stress,” TGRR said.
The track not only gives you a respite from your
worries, it also serves to make you a stronger
person, both inside and out. Don’t expect to
be coddled by your opponents or your teammates. If you fall down, they expect you to get
back up. You’ll get no pity, no sorrow—just an
expectation for you to reach in to your inner
strength and pull yourself back into the sport.
It’s about believing in yourself and the people
around you.
“Roller derby has taught me about who I am,”
TGGR said. “I found me as a person.”
Roller derby also keeps your mind sharp.
Because it requires you to play both offense and
defense at the same time, roller derby always
provides a new challenge at hand. Constantly
moving and constantly learning: every triumph
is followed by a new challenge. And regardless
of how competitive it gets, the biggest obstacle
is always you—both physically and mentally.
“Not only are you able to deal with challenges
and limits and overcome them, but you can
carry that out into the world, to your job.
Psychomath during practice. Roller derby empowers you,” TGGR said.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Fairies and Rabbits
Story by Stephanie Avila
Photography by Nicole Vargas with
Platinum Imaging Photography
Nine-year-old Vera Price loves to paint and she happens to be really good at it!
Vera’s mother, Barbara Price, laughingly said, “Vera has
been drawing since she was just 4 months old!” She
then tells a story of how Vera scribbled on paper when
she was barely even old enough to hold her head up, let
alone hold a pen.
“My friend that was there at the time was like, ‘Wow,
she really likes drawing!’ It was just as a joke but as
it turns out she really likes drawing,” Barbara said.
“Throughout school and growing up, she always
enjoyed drawing and coloring. It’s always been her
favorite part of school.”
Barbara feels lucky that Vera is able to attend
Manchester GATE Elementary in Fresno, CA, where
they have a great arts program. “For a kid like Vera
who really likes art, it really keeps her interested in
school,” Barbara said.
Vera at her easel doing a cat study.
Although naturally creative, Vera extends her interest
beyond just art. Not only was Vera recently elected to
student council, but she’s also a songstress in choir, a
musician who plays the baritone, a swimmer for the
Fig Garden Swim Team, an Honor Roll Student, and a
Girl Scout since Kindergarten!
Vera’s art isn’t just for the fridge. Ma Ly entered Vera’s
paintings in the nationwide Celebrating Art contest
two times and both times her work was selected to be
published in their book of contest winners. Vera’s reaction to this honor? “I felt like I wanted to scream,” she
“I believe very strongly in letting kids try all sorts of
different things, and then supporting them in pursuing the things that they like,” Barbara said. “Vera is
involved in many things, but art is her favorite.”
Ma Ly is confident that with continued practice Vera
will continue to do well as an artist in the future.
Fancying working with paints and pastels, Vera is truly
an exceptional artist. “I like painting fairies and animals…and rabbits,” she said. She is especially proud of
a pastel painting that she recently finished of a bunny
Barbara hopes to see Vera’s enthusiasm continue
throughout her life, no matter where her passion lies.
“I want Vera to figure out what she loves to do, and pursue that, whether it turns out to be her art or anything
else,” she said. “When people have opportunities to
do what they love, I believe they end up with the inner
resources to give the most back to their communities.”
Vera’s art instructor, Ma Ly, is proud to have such an
enthusiastic and talented student. “Art is a gift for Vera,” Bright, passionate, imaginative and naturally talented,
he said. “It comes naturally for her. I think she is very
Vera is at the beginning of her journey into a life full of
passionate about art.”
limitless possibilities.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Touching Hearts
Diagnosis: Down Syndrome
Story by Stephanie Avila
Photography by Nicole Vargas with
Platinum Imaging Photography
Girls Clothing: Dekoposh Inc.
Boys Clothing: Ga Ga Chic
Hair and Makeup of Desiree Rosette by Kassi Kirk
“When we found out we were pregnant in June 2006, it
was the best feeling of our lives,” Desiree said.
The pregnancy seemed to be progressing normally until
Desiree received a call from Children’s Hospital that
would forever change her and David’s life.
Denial, shock and fear are the most common emotions “The nurse told me that I tested positive for a baby with
that parents experience upon learning that their new
Down syndrome and that I needed to go in for blood
baby might be born with Down syndrome (DS). But
work and to speak to a genetic counselor,” Desiree said.
when Mom and Dad hold that bundle of joy in their
“We had mixed feelings.”
arms, love takes hold and a new adventure begins. Here
are the stories of two extraordinary families who have
When Desiree and David spoke to a counselor, they
dealt with the struggles and the joys of having a child
learned that not all positives necessarily turn out to
with Down syndrome.
be correct and that there was a chance that their baby
may not have DS. The only way to be sure would be to
have an amniocentesis done, in which a small amount
High School sweethearts David and Desiree Rosette
of amniotic fluid is taken and tested from the amniotic
from Mendota, CA married in 2003 and in 2006 they
sac surrounding the fetus.
decided to build their family and have children.
“Dave and I wanted to know for sure so we decided to
have the amniocentesis done,” Desiree said.
With the amniocentesis comes a risk of miscarriage,
but it was worth the risk for the knowledge it would
bring to Desiree and Dave.
“We were taking a risk but we also wanted to know for
sure so we could research programs for our child for
when he was born,” Desiree said.
The results from the amniocentesis came in and the test
confirmed that the baby did indeed have DS. Desiree
“I was crying not because he had DS, but because we
knew he was going to have a tough road ahead of him,”
she explains.
When her own doctor suggested she abort her baby to
avoid that kind of “burden” in her life, Desiree said she
felt “like my heart was ripped out of me and thrown
into the gutter.”
The Rosette Family
Central California’s Family First Magazine
The heartache didn’t stop there. Not only was their baby
diagnosed with DS, but Desiree and Dave were also
told that the baby had multiple holes in his heart and
if Desiree tried to go full term there was a chance that
both mother and child could pass away. Desiree was
given two options: 1. Deliver the baby at five months
and have a proper burial; 2. Have an abortion.
“Being a first time mother and after all we have been
through, those were my only options?” Desiree said she
questioned at the time.
Desiree and David decided to get a second opinion. That’s when they found Dr. Alfred Peters, whom
Desiree describes as the best doctor in the world. After
another ultrasound, it was discovered that everything
was going to be fine and that there was nothing wrong
with the baby’s heart at all.
Desiree continued on with her pregnancy, planning to
deliver a baby with DS. And that’s when the fear began
to set in.
“My concerns and fears about having a child with DS
were what kind of life he would live and how long he
would live,” Desiree said.
She said, “I just couldn’t help but think what conditions
he might have when born or how he was going to handle bullies in the playground, or how would I handle
him being bullied? Just a lot of things ran in my mind.”
She and her husband did as much research as possible
on DS before their baby, Dante, was born to prepare
themselves for what lay ahead. Instead of wallowing in
negativity, Desiree’s active approach in researching DS
helped her deal with the fear she was feeling.
“I couldn’t sit there and feel sorry for myself or let people tell me they are sorry to hear Dante has DS,” she
said. “I understood why they always said sorry but I
just ignored it. I wanted to do what was best for Dante
and we did.”
David and Dante
told her dad that she relied on some wisdom from her
sister to help get her through.
“Like my sister always said, ‘God will never give you
anything more than you can handle.’ I took those
words and I rolled with them,” she said.
Dante, whose name was chosen because it means “everlasting and steadfast,” was born at Clovis Community
at 6.3 lbs.
“He’s a fighter and our little angel,” Desiree said.
Desiree and David’s family were supportive of what was
going on when the diagnosis was finalized, but they
had their fears and concerns as well.
Since they had researched and prepared for a baby
with Down syndrome, Desiree and David were on the
fast track to ensure that their baby had the best care
from birth.
“At times I noticed my dad would sit and stare at me
and say, ‘Darling, you’re going to have your hands full,
Dante is going to have a rough life,’” said Desiree, who
“Dante was born with very low muscle tone so he
needed a lot of assistance with his physical therapy,”
Desiree said. “Central Valley Regional Center
Central California’s Family First Magazine
“He knows when someone is hurting and he gives the
sweetest hugs ever,” Desiree said.
Like any other kid, Dante loves to dance, watch
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, run and play in the mud,
and play with an iPad.
“He has the cutest smile in the world,” Desiree gushes.
“My brother always refers to him as the coolest kid in
the world.”
Desiree and Dave decided to expand their family and
give Dante some younger siblings to play with.
“When I gave birth to Dante, I told Dave that I wasn’t
sure if I could love anyone else more than I loved
Dante. Then we had more kids and our love just grew
more,” Desiree said. “Having all boys made it easy, too,
because I love all my guys the same.”
Thanks to Dante, Desiree was able to give another
mother of a child with Down syndrome the confidence
to move forward and know everything would be okay.
“She was very devastated because she didn’t know he
had DS until the day he was born. She was depressed
and unhappy,” Desiree said. “We visited her at home
and let her know all the resources available and the one
thing that really touched her heart was when she met
Dante. She saw that he was the happiest baby in the
world. I told her that her life will be different because
he shows so much love. At her worst moments, she
looks to her son for comfort.”
The Archon Family
provided us with a counselor for Dante and the counselor hooked us up with all kinds of resources. Things
cost up to $500 at times and it was all covered through
the program. We are very fortunate to have resources
such as these.”
One of Dante’s biggest struggles as he grows up is with
his communication.
“I think at times we wish his language was better for the
communication,” Desiree said. “I want to make sure
he is able to communicate to me if he is harmed in any
way. We are not going to be with him all day long so I
want to make sure he is able to tell me what’s going on.”
What Dante does not have a hard time with is sharing
his love.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Mark and Holly Archon had a little girl already—
healthy 2-year-old Alexi—when they became pregnant
with their second child, Emily.
Not hesitating to take the AFB blood test during this
pregnancy since they had done so with Alexi, Mark
and Holly were surprised when they received a phone
call from the doctor’s office advising them that the test
came back elevated and that an ultrasound and genetic
counseling was recommended.
“No other information was given at that time and
we were panicked over the possibilities,” Holly said.
“The brochure that we had been provided with gave
several possibilities, some of which were not
compatible with life.”
She and Mark called for clarification and they were
advised that the test came back elevated for the possibility of Down syndrome.
“It was a relief and yet we were still in a state of shock
and worry,” Holly said.
Holly and Mark had hoped that the genetics counseling would give them more answers, but the ultrasound
they had done did not provide any additional information because no DS "markers" that they typically see in
babies with this diagnosis were detected.
The genetics counselor recommended confirming the
diagnosis of DS for their baby through amniocentesis,
but Mark and Holly decided against it.
“There are always risks associated with this type of testing and we had experienced a miscarriage before the
birth of our first daughter so we weren’t willing to risk
it,” Holly explains. “We knew that regardless of the
results, we would love our baby and she was already
part of our family.”
Holly’s pregnancy was normal and she and her husband continued to prepare for the birth of their baby
just as they had for their first child.
When Emily was born, her cry was the sweetest sound
Holly and Mark had ever heard.
“We looked her over and determined that she was absolutely perfect!” Holly said.
Emily’s APGAR scores were good and Holly and Mark
held their breath waiting for someone to tell them that
something was wrong, but nobody did.
“Looking back, we realize that we kept trying to reassure ourselves by commenting on the fact that we
didn’t see any of the telltale markers and she was
healthy,” Holly said. “I think we were quite comfortable
staying in our state of denial.”
The next day that denial would come to a crushing end.
During an examination, the pediatrician mentioned
that Emily had several "markers" and would need to do
a chromosome test to confirm the diagnosis of DS.
Alexi and her sister Emily.
‘Does she really look like anybody in your family?’ I
raised my voice just a little and said that she did indeed
look just like her sister. Does a DS diagnosis take away
the fact that she is ours and that she is a part of us?
Why shouldn’t she look like us?”
Tears started to flow and Holly and Mark’s anger
quickly turned to fear.
“There were two nurses in our room at the time and
they both began to cry as well. The only ones in the
room who weren’t crying were our precious Emily and
the doctor,” Holly said.
Holly and Mark were terrified for their daughter and
the life that she would have to face with this diagnosis.
“What if others made fun of her, what if she had more
medical issues, what if, what if, what if? After about an
“It was as though somebody had hit us in the gut,” Holly hour, we just held her and loved her and realized that
describes. “When we questioned him further, he said,
this was our baby and we would face whatever came
Central California’s Family First Magazine
our way as a family,” Holly said. “She was precious and
she was ours.”
As much as they loved their new child, Holly and Mark
didn’t always get the response they needed to hear
when they shared Emily’s diagnosis with other people.
“It was difficult to tell family and friends as the emotions would take over again and again,” Holly said.
“We would become frustrated when others would react
with ‘I am so sorry’ or ‘It’s so sad.’ We didn’t want for
anyone to pity us or feel sorry for us. We just had
a beautiful baby girl and yet so many people didn’t
know what to say.”
After Emily’s Down syndrome diagnosis, Holly and
Mark began to educate themselves on DS as much
as they could.
“We knew it was going to be challenging, but we were
ready to take it in,” Holly said.
She and Mark found solace, hope, support, and valuable information from other families they met through
the Down Syndrome Association of Central California.
“We attended our first Buddy Walk when Emily was just
four weeks old. We were the newest family with a baby
with Down syndrome,” Holly said. “The outpouring of
support and love from these families was amazing.”
Support is vital when it comes to raising a child with
Down syndrome, because there are many difficult
times. Holly and Mark have faced many challenges
with Emily in all aspects of her life: health, school and
“We face them one at a time,” Holly said. “Just when we
think we can’t do it anymore, she gives us one of her
famous hugs and tells us ‘It will be all right.’ It is amazing that a 9-year-old has to be the one to put things in
perspective for us once in a while.”
Emily with a good start. We knew that intensive and
prolonged intervention would provide Emily with an
opportunity to reach her potential.”
Emily’s fear of doctors is a big challenge because doctor appointments are something she has to endure on a
regular basis.
“It’s heartbreaking to see the fear on her face when we
have to hold her down so they can draw blood for tests
that need to be run every three months,” Holly said.
“Even though she is frightened and hurt, when all is
said and done and we feel like the worst parents ever,
she will put her little hands on our cheeks, look us in
the eye and tell us she loves us and that it will be okay.”
Life isn’t all difficult for the family, though. Emily
brings a light and love to the world that makes her one
very special girl.
“Emily is amazing! She is most definitely a morning
person and is very happy to greet mom and dad every
morning with a smile, hug and request to play with her,”
Holly said. “She revels in the small wonders of life like
going out for Chinese food, reading book after book
after book, and having a bowl of strawberry ice cream.”
Emily is also a very empathetic little girl and always
ready to reach out to others in pain.
“When others are hurting, sad, or crying, she is the first
to console and comfort them,” Holly said. “In short, we
love her ability to love unconditionally, her caring and
compassionate heart, her smile, her personality, her
spunk and her ‘can do’ attitude.”
Both Dante and Emily are proof that having a baby
with Down syndrome is definitely not the end of the
world—just the beginning of a new one.
“It’s your baby first! Your child is more like other children than not. There will be challenges, but there are
challenges with any child,” Holly said. “Our family and
Holly said the difficulties associated with raising a child friends came to love Emily more than we ever could
with DS are not unlike those of any other child, but
have imagined. She has touched so many people’s lives
require a great deal of patience and perseverance.
and taught them lessons that nobody else could have.
She is an inspiration to many and a reminder to each
“We began early intervention services at four months
of us just how much we need to take the time to get to
old which included sign language and physical therapy,” know others and treat every individual with love, comHolly said. “We feel this approach has helped provide
passion, respect and dignity.”
Central California’s Family First Magazine
The Sport of Fitness–CrossFit
Story by Stephanie Avila
Photography by GM Photography.N.Design
CrossFit is an intense form of exercise that makes use
of ALL forms of fitness training. It combines military style training, weight lifting, running, gymnastics,
jump roping and anything and everything else you can
think of with the goal of improving fitness.
large muscles; it is about complete fitness. It increases
flexibility, power, speed, agility, strength, balance and
coordination. It uses rowing, running, Olympic lifts,
plyometric jumps, pull-ups, squats and non-traditional
weightlifting equipment such as sand bags, logs and
Fresno resident Gregorio Matíaz-Sebastián was able to
get back into shape using CrossFit after being forced
into a sedentary lifestyle due to Valley Fever. He has
been CrossFitting for over a year and finds it a unique
way to exercise and get results.
The movie Rocky IV is a good example of what CrossFit is all about. In the 1985 classic film, the main character, Rocky, travels to the USSR to fight Drago in order
to avenge his good friend Apollo Creed’s death. To
prepare for the fight against Rocky, Drago uses high“The combination of Olympic-style maneuvers along
tech equipment to enhance his strength and punching
with functional movements such as wall-balls,
power, which is essentially the opposite of CrossFit.
hand-stand push-ups, box jumps, ring exercises, kettle
Rocky, on the other hand, only has a barn and the
icy countryside of the USSR in which to train. Rocky
doesn’t have a gym or any high-tech equipment available, so he uses whatever he can find in his surroundings to prepare for the fight. This meant trudging
through knee-deep snow with half a tree trunk across
his back, and getting down on all fours in the snow to
pull a sled burdened down with giant rocks. Rocky’s
filthy, high-intense, make-use-of-anything-and-everything regimen is a great example of what CrossFit is.
You don’t have to be a power-hitting boxer like Rocky
to CrossFit. Cops, firefighters, marines, teachers, soccer
moms, kids and grandmas take part in CrossFit.
“There is no ‘typical’ CrossFitter,” according to Erik
Traeger, head trainer at CrossFit Combat Fitness in
Fresno, CA. “CrossFitters come from all walks of life.
They range in age from kids to the elderly, and in occupation from students to doctors and lawyers. They
range from out-of-shape, overweight, non-athletic people who just want to get back in shape and lose some
weight to top athletes in great shape who want to compete in CrossFit competitions. They all have one thing
in common: they love to work out hard.”
Because this fitness regimen is high in intensity and
includes power-based exercises, it is important to get
training from a professional CrossFit trainer to learn
the proper movements and techniques to avoid injury.
CrossFit is not just about losing weight or growing
Central California’s Family First Magazine
bells, and the like enhance the body to increase flexibility, strength, and speed,” he said.
Unlike some monotonous exercise routines, CrossFit is never boring. A typical CrossFit class consists of
five phases: Warm-up, Stretching of all major muscle
groups, a 1-minute Mini-Workout of the Day (WOD),
the Main WOD, and the Cool Down with stretching of
all major muscle groups.
“The Main WOD varies drastically each day of the
week,” said Matíaz-Sebastián. “A typical WOD may
include as many repetitions as possible of 30-box
jumps, 25-pull-ups, 20-kettle bell swings, and 15-wall
balls for a fixed time period. A typical CrossFit workout is never a routine. It is constantly changing with
the purpose to challenge the exerciser. After completing a routine, I feel tired and glad that the struggle and
pain is over. However, I am always excited to find out
about the next WOD of the day.”
Although the workouts are difficult, those who participate have the benefit of not having to take on the challenge alone.
“When you become a CrossFitter, you join a worldwide
community of fellow CrossFitters,” Traeger said. “You
also become part of a tight-knit family of fellow CrossFitters at your local CrossFit box who encourage you,
keep you accountable, challenge you, and push you
through your workouts.”
For Traeger, CrossFit has been a major life changer.
“After I saw how awesome CrossFit was, I decided to
open my own CrossFit affiliate,” he said. “At 42 years
of age and with about three years of CrossFit under
my belt, I was as strong as I had ever been, but with a
far superior conditioning level. I was able to achieve
things in workouts I never thought possible. There are
things I learned in college about exercise physiology
that CrossFit has completely blown out of the water.”
Always varied, always challenging and always producing results, CrossFit is an exercise program that can
whip you into shape!
“If you have tried other fitness disciplines and you do
not find them challenging, try CrossFit,” said
Matíaz-Sebastián. “You will find a challenge in every
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Reading Food Labels: A 1st Step to Healthier Nutrition Choices
Story by Felicia Gomez, Ph.D
Our health and wellness depends upon several factors,
however, the two aspects that we have the most control
over is what we eat (our nutrition) and what we do (our
level of physical activity).
1. Start here.
2. Check total calories
per serving and
calories from fat.
Our society is not conducive to living well. We are
surrounded by fast food restaurants serving cheap
unhealthy food, and leading a sedentary lifestyle is the
norm. In fact, if you make a concerted effort to exercise
on a regular basis and eat healthy nutritious meals, you
will no doubt be a minority. But what about those of us
who do want to make a change towards a healthier lifestyle? Starting with some simple nutrition tips can be a
great start.
3. Limit these
4. Get enough fiber.
5. Get enough of
these nutrients.
The first thing I teach people who want to change their
eating habits is how to read a food label. This is an
important skill to have so you can make educated decisions about what you are eating and feeding others.
6. Quick Guide
to % Daily
Here are some tips for making the most out of reading
a food label.
Start here—note the size of a single serving and
how many servings are in a package
Check total calories per serving and calories from
fat. Look at the serving size and how many servings you’re really consuming. If you double the
servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the Percent Daily Value (% DV). A
general rule of thumb is to consume the majority
of food where less than 30% of the calories come
from fat. In this example, 100/230, 43.5% of the
total calories are from fat. This means you want to
eat this product in small or moderate amounts.
Limit these nutrients. You need to limit your total
fat to no more than 56–78 grams a day—including
no more than 16 grams of saturated fat, less than
two grams of trans fat, and less than 300 mg cholesterol (for a 2,000 calorie diet).
Get enough fiber. The average American needs
30-35 g of fiber per day, yet consumes only 16g.
Get enough of these nutrients. Make sure you
get 100% of the vitamins and minerals you
need each day.
Quick guide to percent daily value. Percent Daily
Value (DV) tells you the percent of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the daily recommended amount. In general, if you want to
consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat,
cholesterol or sodium), choose foods with a lower
% DV–5 % or less is low. If you want to consume
more of a nutrient (such as fiber), eat foods with a
higher % DV–20 percent or more is high.
Felicia has her Ph.D. in Exercise Metabolism and
Nutrition. She owns Pinnacle Training Systems which
specializes in nutrition, weight loss, coaching and
worksite wellness.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Fueling Creativity with the Arts
Story by Stephanie Avila
Photography by Nicole Vargas with
Platinum Imaging Photography
The arts are critical to a child’s education, especially in the 21st century, but with shrinking budget cuts, these creative classes are not as plentiful
in public schools as they need to be.
Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more
important than knowledge.” Knowledge necessitates monotonous learning of concepts already
known. Imagination necessitates students to create something from nothing, and transfers to
every aspect of adult life and work.
“We have children who are going to be developing
skills that will prepare them for the work world.
In the work world, people have to be innovative,
creative, adapt to change, and be willing to partner and collaborate with others,” says Lilia Chavez,
Executive Director of The Fresno Arts Council.
“And those are skills taught through the arts. We
know this and for us to ignore it and not be supportive of it doesn’t allow us to prepare our young
people for the world that they are going to live in.”
The arts not only teach these essential skills that
Chavez talks about but they also help to build selfesteem and motivation.
For instance, not all children excel in school subjects such as math and English, so art allows for
these children to have a subject in which they can
shine. This can help children to build self-esteem
and motivate them to want to continue to learn,
which can be carried over into other subjects.
Local resident Barbara Price feels very blessed that
her two children have been able to attend schools
such as Fresno’s Manchester GATE Elementary
and University High that understand the importance of art and that offer great arts programs. She
finds that her daughter, Vera, especially benefits
from the programs.
Cole Gulesserian attending the Manchester GATE Elementary.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
“For a kid like Vera, who is an art kid, art makes school
interesting for her,” Price says.
The basis of art is creativity. This quality requires our
children to be free flowing, which allows them to think
for themselves and to make their own decision on what
they want to do. In the classroom, a creative mind is
needed to understand ancient arts and to brainstorm
solutions to science projects and experiments.
memorizing and being able to perform well on a test.
That is why some school districts choose to remove arts
from the curriculum. There are limited resources.”
Being an artist herself, Debra Cooper Havens finds it a
shame that so many kids are missing out on an essential part of education.
“It’s my belief that when we cut art in its many forms
from our kids’ education, we’re leaving a whole seg“With so many ways for our children to learn through
ment of kids without a tool that could make the differthe arts, it is important that schools include as many
ence in their lives; this, in turn, negatively affects the
opportunities as possible for children in public schools,” very health of our communities,” Havens says.
Chavez says.
Kids who are in lower income areas are hit especially
For some, especially in a community as diverse as
hard when it comes to the arts.
the Central Valley, the arts can serve as a vital bridge
across language and cultural differences. They become “Where parents have higher levels of education and
the united link, the glue that
are more affluent, the arts are
shapes our understanding of
“Art transcends languages; there uent,” says Chavez. “Where
how we see ourselves and each
there are less resources and not
are no barriers in art.”
high level of educations, the
arts are not as readily available.”
Local artist Rudy Murrietta knows firsthand the power
of art in transcending language barriers. Born in
Barbara Price keeps her eye out for other ways for her
Southern California, his family moved to Fresno when
kids to participate in the arts in addition to school. She
Rudy was about 5 years old.
says there are opportunities in Fresno; you just have to
look for them. Her son, Joe, was able to make the most
“When I got here I didn’t speak English, so I thought I
of the opportunities that Fresno has to offer.
was in another country,” he says.
“He had some great experiences learning drama, first
Murrietta struggled throughout school because of his
with Teena Hagermann in Coarsegold when he was 6
lack of English and it continued to be a poor subject
years old, then with Nancy Hale at Cal Arts, then with
for him, so he turned to art as a way to overcome that
our local Big Read program, the Rogue Festival, Wooddebility.
ward Shakespeare, Second Space Theater, and the drama
program at University High,” Price says. “Now he’s just
“Art transcends languages; there are no barriers in art,”
started as a freshman at UCLA studying acting in the
he says.
School of Theater, Film and Television. It’s a very competitive program, and all these great local places—and
Unfortunately, many students today don’t get to experi- the wonderful people in our community who taught
ence the arts in school because they have been taken
Joe, educated him, mentored him, and supported his
talent—gave him the start he needed to get into a proout of the curriculum. Many schools have been forced
to cut “non-core” classes such as theater, music and fine gram like that.”
arts, much to the detriment of their students.
For her talented 9-year-old daughter, Vera, Price was
able to find the right tools to help enhance her artistic
“I believe our educational system for a time has been
focused on test scores and getting those test scores up,”
says Chavez. “So children’s education has become more
test readiness and children are taught more to be good “Sometimes you just have to go looking for the opportunities a little bit -- and sometimes you just get lucky,”
test takers. That doesn’t include creative thinking and
being innovative. That includes learning things by rope, she says. “For example, we found Ma Ly (artist and
Central California’s Family First Magazine
educator in the Central Valley) for Vera on a Google
search, and he’s an amazing art teacher—he’s great with
kids, he’s able to teach her real art techniques, he’s willing to work with her to follow her interests—and he’s
also very personable and kind and fun.”
Unfortunately, not all parents have the time or
resources to put their children in arts activities
outside of school.
“We know that parents who can afford to will take their
kids to private art lessons and piano lessons, but that is
not available to all children unless it is available in our
public schools,” says Chavez.
budget that way…there are more important things like
math and science.’ And yes, those are important, but
the arts contribute to a child’s learning of those things
as well.”
Chavez says the role of the Arts Council is to assist in
educating the community so that the public can be
supportive when those decisions are made at schools.
“A lot of times people in our community may not fully
recognize just how important the arts are to a complete
and positive education, so we try to educate the community or even partner with a school,” Chavez says.
Artist Debra Cooper Havens believes the arts are
important not only in education but in life as well.
That’s why programs such as the Fresno Arts Council
and the California Alliance for Arts and Education work
so hard to promote and educate the community on the “Without art, we lose a fundamental quality of what it
is to be human,” she says. “Many people get along just
importance of the arts to children.
fine without taking an art class or without having art as
a means to make sense of their world. However, many
“It can be challenging within a school if a principal or a
teacher or the superintendent wants to direct resources people also find it difficult to think, or difficult to find
the incentive to think, without the use of more creative
to arts,” says Chavez with the Arts Council. “The genmeans.”
eral population may say, ‘You shouldn’t spend your
Vera Price furthers her interest in the arts in music, in addition to the more commonly thought of art mediums, like paint.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Courtesy of iLoveToCreate®
Just combine cinnamon, applesauce and Aleene’s® Original Tacky Glue
to create this one of a kind holiday ornament!
Tulip® 3D Fashion Paint
· Bright Red
· Leaf Green
· White
Aleene’s® Original
Tacky Glue®
1 cup cinnamon
1 tablespoon cloves
1 tablespoon nutmeg
¾ cup applesauce, drained
2 tbsp glue
1. Combine cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add applesauce and glue.
Mix well with hands until mixture is smooth and well combined.
2. Place wax paper down onto work surface.
Tulip® Glam-It Up!™
Iron-On Crystals™
AB Crystals
3. Roll one quarter of dough between two pieces of wax paper until
about ¼” thick.
4. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters, etc.
Wire Rack
Plastic Food Wrap
Wax Paper
Cookie Cutters
Ribbon, to Hang Ornaments
Measuring Spoons
Measuring Cup
Paper Towels
Rolling Pin
Drinking Straw
5. Cut holes for hanging using straw or similar object.
6. Dry on wire rack for several days, turning daily to keep from curling. Option—dry in a 250 degree F oven until hard.
7. For stones, squeeze out a dot of Tulip® 3D Fashion Paint slightly
smaller than size of stone. Place stone into paint and gently press so
paint comes up and around stone.
8. Refer to photo when decorating ornaments. Start flow of paint on a
paper towel, applying an even pressure on bottle for a smooth line.
Create polka dots or lines using different colors. Let dry completely.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Story and Clothing Styling by Nicole Giordano-Ashjian
Photography by What If Photography
Makeup by Bryana Kimura with BMK Faces
Hair by Beth Reiland
Clothing: Ooh La La
Location: Pacific Southwest Building
Model: Danielle Dains
Model: Brooklynn Maciel
Model: Paige Packard
Model: Christy Turpin
The fashion verdict is in: Wardrobe re-vamping is a
true art form! It’s all about adapting to up-and-coming
trends while marrying the staple of vintage-retro with
the wave of a new look. It’s also about opening up to
the idea that fashion is heavily influenced by music.
So when you’re having your own little fashion show in
front of an audience full of hangers, turn up that music!
This season, there are plenty of roles to fill in the world
of fashion and many faces to be unmasked when it
comes to style. Unmask yours with one of these looks
for Fall/Winter 2012:
Velvet Vixen
If you turn into the Velveteen Rabbit this season, have
no fear–velvet is here. Adding velvet to your closet
plays up the plush life with looks that are both casual
and glam. The royal fabric is making a statement with
Central California’s Family First Magazine
skirts, jackets, trousers, boiler suits and dresses to bring
extra luxury to your dusk tea party with the kiss of
plumped plum lips.
Western Rockabilly Warrior
This fashion frontier is a showdown between ruffles,
rugged fringe and chunky turquoise. Think ‘30s style
icon Millicent Rogers, godmother of Southwestern
sauciness, with an embroidered bomber.
Lady Leather
It’s much more than a biker mentality. This fall, leather
goes way beyond the norm to cover every angle of what
makes a chic wardrobe, whether it’s added to a tweed
sheath dress to pack a punch or converted into a blazer
to represent a strong sophisticated statement. It can
also be highlighted with baggy leather pants.
Native Dancer meets Psychedelic Prowler
Fashion has dropped back a few centuries to let the Aztec trend inspire modern fashion, and it’s moving into fall
from a tribal-infused summer. From geode rocks, ombré arm candy, and soft leather accessories to ponchos and
geometric printed leggings, match these with a trip back to the ‘70s in a psychedelic print loud enough to make
your eyes shimmy.
Shine Goddess
The chic way to bling out your wardrobe this season is not with rhinestones, but with an injection of super shine.
Say hello to patent leathers and rubberized rainwear. It’s all about a slick new approach to staying warm.
Femme Fur Fatale
Wild, shaggy, poised and fuzzy: Fur will never leave. It is one of the hottest trends in fashion today with bold new
silhouettes, exciting accessories and wildly innovative trims. Old Hollywood would be proud.
Rad in Plaid
Grunge never looked so good! Plaid has made a splash and has brought the cabin to the streets. Get cozy with it
and stock your closet full of plenty o’ plaid.
With a familiar voice, Nicole Giordano-Ashjian brings her colorful style to the airwaves on Y101 After Hours
(101.1FM). She is a regular host and emcee for Fresno’s biggest nightlife events, fundraisers and charities. She
loves old horror films, thrift store hunts and discovering new music. You can catch her on-air each weeknight
from 7pm–12am. Be sure to check out Nicole’s Fortunes and Finds tables at Ooh La La’s River Park and Clovis locations for out-of-the-box fashion ideas.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Story by Stephanie Avila
Photography by Crystal Roberts with
Capture Life Events
A lot of exciting fashion options await children this season, with so many trends it’s
impossible to pinpoint just one that will be
the staple for winter.
“According to the trends that showed up at
fashion week, this is the first time that there
are no trends,” said Jessica Elrod, owner/
designer of Cavelle Kids Inc. “Meaning that
there are so many trends that it is hard to capture just one!”
Several of these numerous looks include the
classics, such as ruffles, lace, plaid and polka
dots, which Elrod said you can never have
enough of in children’s wear.
Some of the bolder trends for girls this season include animal prints, lots of fur, glitter,
sequins and bright colors, according to Dina
Thomas-Virrueta, owner of Dekoposh Inc.
“Ugg-style boots with sequins and bright colors will be very trendy this season, as well as
high top sneakers with bold prints and bright
colors,” she said.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
“And don’t forget about rhinestones, which will
never go out of style”, Thomas-Virrueta said.
In addition to bright colors—pink is always
a hot choice for girls—look for darker, richer
colors which will start to emerge for both girls
and boys this season.
“For boys, the style is getting more sophisticated with fun pops of color paired with neutral colors,” Elrod said.
Of course, we can’t forget about the importance of accessories when it comes to girls’
fashion. A huge trend right now for girls is the
bubble gum chunky beaded necklace.
“There are so many color choices and
styles to choose from,” said Trisha Mayes,
Owner/Designer of Beadiful Necklaces.
“Christmas season is coming, so of course
there are going to be a lot of red and green
colors and even pink and lime. I love the
modern take on Christmas colors.”
‘Tis the season to have some fun with style,
and this year there are no defined trends or
set rules. So don’t be afraid to let your child
have a good time mixing concoctions of colors, prints and layers, letting them discover
their true style!
Clothing: Cavelle Kids Inc.
Headband: Olivia Grace Couture
Necklace: Beadiful Necklaces.
Clothing: Kid Dreams
Headband and necklace: Kid Dreams
Clothing: Cavelle Kids Inc.
Clothing: Kisch Boutique
Necklace: Beadiful Necklaces.
Clothing: Cavelle Kids Inc.
Headband: Olivia Grace Couture
Necklace: Beadiful Necklaces.
Clothing: Kisch Boutique
Clothing: Kisch Boutique
Clothing: Kid Dreams.
Headband and necklace: Kid Dreams.
Clothing: Kid Dreams.
Headband and necklace: Kid Dreams.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
Story and hair by Beth Reiland
Photography by What If Photography
Makeup by Bryana Kimura of BMK Faces
Model: Timillia Johnson
We all know the look: you know, that super-curvy, super-sexy, super-rocking hair that looks
like you just rolled out of bed, tousled it a bit and let it naturally fall perfectly into place.
Yeah, that look!
Hair is a fickle thing; it likes to be coaxed, loved. Yet, we fry it, straighten it till it can’t
be straighter, color it, and just generally abuse it. And then we wonder why our hair
won’t do what we want it to. So step one is all about being nice to your hair. Start with
hair that is clean; not freshly shampooed, but next-morning or a couple-of-hourslater clean. I use a dry shampoo from TIGI Catwalk for texture. Then I spray the dry
shampoo about 6 inches from the scalp and used my fingers to pull it through the
length of her hair.
Blow drying the hair is an important step. It sets the hair in the shape you eventually
want, which makes this step essential. I sectioned the hair into 1–1½ inch sections
and blow dry the hair with a round brush in the opposite direction of how I wanted
it to eventually lie. This adds volume at the base and gives the hair lots of body.
Sometimes it’s difficult to reach certain areas in the head without a hairstylist—unless,
perhaps, you’re a contortionist. That being said, it’s handy to have a big barrel curling iron around. Take sections that are ½ the width of the barrel and start at the base.
Wrap the hair around and slowly move down the length of the hair, wrapping the hair
around as you go. Wrap, click to release, move down, wrap, click to release, and so on.
Pin the curled sections as you go; this sets the hair.
Once you have your hair curled (or blow dried) into the shape you desire, use a working spray to keep it that way. A working hairspray is one that is more flexible than
a finishing hairspray. I used Redken’s 12 Fashion Work spray. This allows you to
work with the hair after it is sprayed, but it keeps the basic shape.
This is the fun part. Unpin the hair and bend over. Use your fingers and shake the
curls out. Fun, right? Take that working spray and spray the hair while you are still
bent over. Shaking out the curls upside down keeps all that volume you worked
so hard to get.
Flip back over and take a look. Do you see lots of volume and body? There might
be some little hairs that are not necessarily behaving, but that can be fixed. Spray
a little of the Redken 12 Fashion Work on your forefinger and thumb, and apply
it to tame those unruly tresses. Once you have your hair moving in the right direction,
take a little finishing spray and lock that style in. I use Redken 18 Quick Dry to lock
it in. I then finished the style with Redken’s 02 Shine Flash to give hair extra sheen.
Central California’s Family First Magazine
For a chance to have your child model in one of our
children's fashion shoots, go to
to see the rules for submission.
Hair: Beth Reiland
Make up: Bryana Kimura of BMK Faces
Every photo has a story behind it.
This one was about Brooklynn.
It took a fraction of a second to tell.
What’s your story? PH 559 759 6830

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