The staff of HopeWay, Charlotte’s nonprofit mental health center that offers residential and day treatment for adults in a first-class setting, knows that it’s healthy for women to invest in themselves.

They recommend working “me” time into your everyday routine as a way to bring balance into your life and nuture your mental health.

If that sounds unattainbable, take inspiration from the ways some of HopeWay’s female staff makes time for their own favorite healthy activities, which they relayed in a recent edition of HopeWay Matters, the center’s monthly newsletter.

Sharing their tips are (from left) Ama Owusuaa, Jordan Conner, Elizabeth Rhoads, Megan Gregg and Katy Hollingsworth.

“For me, it is fitness. I exercise 5 days a week, which helps set me up for my day and also helps with my mood and maintaining a healthy diet. I like to mix it up to keep from getting bored - bootcamp, boxing and weight training are my favorites."
Ama Owusuaa, MEd, LPC, NCC, Primary Therapist

“In my me-time free-time, I like to engage in yoga, meditation and mindfulness, art projects and TED talks. I know that my health depends on me taking time for myself. This doesn't mean I'm always the best at self-care, but that I'm aware of what helps me to be my best self.”
Jordan Conner, ATR-P, Art Therapist and Front Desk Coordinator

”During my free moments, I enjoy taking photographs. Photos allow you to look back at a time and place that is impossible to reproduce, and conjure memories and feelings from that moment. Photos bring me joy, happiness and excitement.”
Elizabeth Rhoads, Chief Operations Officer

“I never thought I'd be a morning person, but it is now my very favorite part of the day. While the house (and the world) is still quiet, I enjoy a hot cup of coffee while reading or praying in my recliner. The best part is having my Cavalier curled up on my lap sound asleep!”
Megan Gregg, Development & Marketing Associate

“I enjoy taking my dogs for walks, reading, catching up on a good TV show, spending time with my sisters, going for a hike, kayaking or laying in my hammock.”
Katy Hollingsworth, MA, LPC, Admissions Specialist


Free Stock Photo Sunrise.jpg

The old saying is true: Time really does seem to speed up as we get older. But a monastic tradition called The Seven Sacred Pauses that’s been around for thousands of years may help us slow down and appreciate each day.

It may not be realistic to stop and acknowledge them all, but pausing for no more than a minute to reflect and pray during these seven specific times is a simple way to increase our gratitude and inner peace, which reduces stress.

Dawn, The Awakening Hour. At the break of day, around 5:30 or 6 a.m., set the tone for the day by opening your heart to its possibilities and asking for guidance.

Midmorning, The Blessing Hour. Around 9 or 10 a.m., when our days can sometimes start to feel overwhelming as to-lo lists kick in, stop to reflect and reset your thoughts into a positive place.

Noon, The Hour of Illumination. This is when the sun is in its most powerful position. Taking several deep breaths will help you focus on reenergizing yourself and give you a fresh outlook on the day.

Midafternoon, The Wisdom Hour. At 3 p.m. when the sun begins to descend is a time to let go of any stress or worry that’s built up over the day.

Evening, The Twilight Hour. Take a moment to be aware of the sunset and how it represents the end of a day and the hope of a new beginning tomorrow.

Bedtime, The Great Silence. Around 9 or 10 p.m. before going to sleep, stop to reflect on the day and evaluate any lessons you’ve learned.

After midnight, The Night Watch. If you wake up and find yourself not being able to sleep, think of it as a gift and use the time to pray for others or make a mental gratitude list.

To learn more about this ancient practice, read Macrina Wiederkehr's bestselling book, Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day,


Pexels Lime Sparkling Water.jpg

One of the newest health trends, Dry January, Is similar to a Whole 30 plan, but instead of cutting out carbs and sugar you commit to not drinking any alcohol for 30 days.

Even though it’s called Dry January, you can actually do it anytime during any month as long as you sustain your commitment for 30 consecutive days.

Reports from those who have taken the challenge reveal that many end up feeling so great they decide to either quit drinking permanently, or drastically reduce their alcohol intake going forward

One of the tools participants use is finding satisfying mocktails or other non-alcoholic beverage replacements. And it’s a great excuse to drink more water. Sparkling waters such as LaCroix or Perrier jazzed up with fruit slices or splashes of your favorite fruit juices can help take the edge off.

Losing a few pounds is a nice bonus of the plan, but don’t expect to see dramatic results on the scale. A loss of around four pounds over the 30 days is typical.


Michael Anders, head trainer and owner of Shape Up Fitness & Wellness Consulting, specializes in helping his clients navigate the various stressors in life so they'll have a more balanced approach to health, fitness and nutrition. 

Anders has a Masters Degree in Sports Science, Sports Medicine. He especially enjoys focusing on post-injury recovery and coaching his clients to help get their eating under control or optimize it for their sports and activities.

During the Living the Good Life As A Woman In 2018 event organized by financial advisor Alison Rowe of Baird Private Wealth Management, he shared his top tips. 

Set Realistic Goals

  • To increase your success, set a goal to fix one negative habit at a time because success breeds success

  • A goal should have a 90% chance of success at a minimum

  • When setting a goal, don't include the words "never" or "always"

  • If you find the goal you set isn't doable, reduce it until it is possible


  • Eat meals slowly (slow eaters eat less food and reach satiation earlier)

  • Eat until you're 80% full

  • Eat mindfully without distractions (no phones or TV) because people who eat without distractions are more cued into their hunger/appetite feelings

  • Focus on having protein with each meal

  • Nutrition is a crucial element in any fitness transformation so start working on making healthier food choices as quickly as possible


  • Don't overcommit by saying you'll exercise 5 or 6 times a week - that's unrealistic

  • Aim to exercise 3 times a week

  • Something is better than nothing: even if you just exercise for 10 minutes a day that adds up





Fitness and nutrition expert Michael Anders of Shape Up Fitness & Wellness Consulting.

Fitness and nutrition expert Michael Anders of Shape Up Fitness & Wellness Consulting.


Fitness expert Jill Cerami works with clients at Afturburn, the workout center at Twin Mills Club at Trilogy Lake Norman, a community for 55 and older.  Photo courtesy of Trilogy Lake Norman.

Fitness expert Jill Cerami works with clients at Afturburn, the workout center at Twin Mills Club at Trilogy Lake Norman, a community for 55 and older. Photo courtesy of Trilogy Lake Norman.

Jill Cerami is an expert when it comes to exercise for those 55 and older.

As the fitness supervisor at the Twin Mills Club at Trilogy Lake Norman, a community for 55 and older, she manages seven trainers and also teaches classes at Afturburn, the club's workout center. The center is filled with renowned TechnoGym® equipment, fitness classes, personal trainers, a resort-style pool and more. 

Afturburn is filled with the best new fitness gear available and has garage-style doors that can open to the outdoors on nice days.  Photo courtesy of Trilogy Lake Norman.

Afturburn is filled with the best new fitness gear available and has garage-style doors that can open to the outdoors on nice days. Photo courtesy of Trilogy Lake Norman.

Afturburn offers around 32 group fitness classes a week including Aqua Fitness, Chair Yoga, Tai Chi and Zumba. "Tai Chi has become so popular we've had to add an additional class," Jill says. "Tai Chi is great because it helps with balance, it's calming, it focuses on breathing and it works the mind and the body."

Her class participants range in age from 55 to 70 and her advice to them is simple: Have fun with exercise, keep your sense of humor and never be afraid to try something new. 

Here are more of Jill's tips: 

Start out slow: A lot of people start exercising this time of year but they don't take their age into consideration. Start out slow and make it fun by finding something you enjoy doing. Always listen to your body. The "no pain no gain" saying makes no sense anymore. Take a break if you need one.

Keep it positive: When you walk out of your fitness class or from your training session, you should be feeling confident and that you have potential.

Agility and balance are everything: Jill teaches a Body Flex and Balance class that focuses on balance, which is a huge issue for those 55 and up, and agility, which people tend to lose as they get older. The class focuses on core strength, foot placement and making the mind and body work together. 

Stay hydrated: It's important to drink water while you're working out, but don't gulp it or you'll start to feel too full. Instead, sip it like a bird.

Core move: Always engage your core. To make sure you're doing that, visualize someone pushing your stomach - that tightening you feel means your core is engaged.

Keep it functional: Functional training helps with real-life movement. Bending over to pick up groceries or grandchildren? Working with medicine balls, kettle balls and battle ropes help build the muscle groups you use when bending and lifting. Reaching over your head can be improved with exercises such as holding your hands up while standing on one leg. Torso twists that improve spinal rotation will help you when you have to look over your shoulder while driving.



Be the star of your holiday party with this healthy and festive option for the buffet table, a Broccoli Tree. It's among the recipes featured in the Christmas issue of Woman's World magazine. 

Start by taking a 9"x4" Styrofoam cone. Wrap it in plastic wrap. Using 14 cups of broccoli florets, trim the ends flat and insert a toothpick into each floret. Starting at the bottom of the cone and working around it in rows, insert the toothpicks with florets until the tree is covered. Transfer the tree to a serving plate. 

Cut red peppers in half lengthwise; then cut crosswise into 1/4"-wide strips. Cut one yellow pepper in half lengthwise. Using a 2-1/4" star-shaped cookie cutter, cut star shapes from one piece.  Cut the remaining piece crosswise into 1/4"-wide strips. Using a 1" star-shapped cookie cutter, cut out shapes from carrots cut into 1/4"-thick slices.

Arrange pepper strips on tree, tucking ends in between florets, leaving about 1/2" sticking out. Press cherry tomatoes and carrot stars onto toothpicks and insert them in between florets to hold vegetables on tree. Tuck radish slices in between florets. Insert toothpick into edge of yellow pepper star; insert into top of tree.

If not serving immediately, lightly drape damp paper towels over tree, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Serve with your favorite dip. 




Go head, tell them what you think. Just be nice about it. 

Go head, tell them what you think. Just be nice about it. 

It's true! Honesty really is the best policy according to new research from the University of California San Diego's Emotion Lab. An article about the research in Spry Living magazine reported that the researchers found that "prosocial" lies - the little lies we tell others in order to not hurt their feelings - makes us feel good in the moment, but guilty later.

The reason behind this reaction is actually very sweet: We tend to lie to people we care about. The researchers advise people to try "gentle honesty" instead. So, for example, when a friend or family member asks you if you like their new hair style, and you hate it, say something along the lines of, "I'm partial to when you wear it longer," or whatever the case may be. The main thing is to be honest because you want the other person to trust you, but don't be be harsh or blunt. 



Ready or not, flu season is here.

If you're planning on getting a flu shot, you may be interested to know a new study from British scientists claims that getting vaccinated in the morning is ideal. Those in the study who got their flu shots between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. produced more antibodies (think of them as mini flu fighters) than those who were vaccinated in the afternoon. 




The skeleton wasn't going to the Halloween party because he had no body to go with. But you can take him, and be the healthy hit of the gathering, with this adorable Veggie Skeleton with Vidalia Onion Dip from Woman's World magazine

Two tips: If you don't want to go to the trouble of making the Vidalia Onion dip, sub in your favorite store-bought dip. And if you don't want to take the time to hollow out a Vidalia onion to hold the dip (as shown in the photo above), use a bowl instead. 

Bone appetit!

Dip: In large skillet, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Add one finely chopped Vidalia onion and a 1/2 Tsp. of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft (10-12 minutes). Remove from heat; transfer to bowl. Cool. Stir in 1-1/2 cups sour cream, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup creamy horseradish and 2 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar. Transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Skeleton: For head, place the dip in a bowl (or hollowed out Vidalia onion half) at one end of a large cutting board. For the hair, arrange four lettuce leaves and one package of shredded carrots around the bowl. For shoulders, use medium mini pepper halves and broccoli florets. For arms, use mini carrots, broccoli florets, snap peas and 1 radish (halved). For body, use cauliflower florets, sliced cucumber, orange pepper strips, broccoli florets and remaining radishes (sliced). For legs, use remaining baby carrots, broccoli and snap peas. For feet, use small mini pepper halves. For eyes and teeth, use pitted black olives. 


This Butternut Squash Soup from Jamie Geller was recently featured in   Woman's World  . 

This Butternut Squash Soup from Jamie Geller was recently featured in Woman's World

This tasty soup is a healthy way to celebrate the new Fall season. Added bonus: It's Kosher! Find it, and other recipes from food blogger Jamie Geller, at

Ingredients: 2 lbs. cubed, peeled butternut squash; 1 medium onion, minced; 1 cup coconut milk; 1/2 cup white wine; 1 Tbs. grated peeled fresh ginger (or 1 tsp. ground ginger); 2 cloves garlic, chopped; 1 tsp curry powder; 1 tsp. kosher salt; 1/4 tsp. dried thyme. 

Directions: Combine all ingredients with 6 cups water in 6 quart pot. Cover; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer; cook, covered, until squash is soft, 30-40 minutes. Use immersion blender, potato masher or fork to puree or mash squash and continue cooking 10 minutes or until soup is slightly reduced and thickened. Ladle into bowls, and if desired, serve garnished with sprig of fresh thyme. Makes about 10 cups. 



Whether your go-to yogurt is traditional Greek, Icelandic or Australian, to make sure it's the healthiest choice, check the label to find out if it has more probiotics and less sugar. 

Whether your go-to yogurt is traditional Greek, Icelandic or Australian, to make sure it's the healthiest choice, check the label to find out if it has more probiotics and less sugar. 

Yogurt has become a healthy go-to for breakfast, snacks, smoothies, or in recipes to cut down on calories. 

Greek yogurt is The O Report's favorite because it has less lactose and sugar, but more protein, than traditional yogurt. (Greek yogurt has up to 20 grams of protein; traditional has 11-15 grams.) 

Also be on the lookout for Icelandic and Australian yogurts, which are just now appearing in U.S. supermarkets. Icelandic is the thickest of all varieties, but it's also the tartest; Australian is the creamiest, but has a higher fat content. Also new is Oui by Yoplait, a line inspired by the brand's French recipe. It comes in 5-ounce glass jars, which allows the yogurt to set up without added cornstarch or gelatin. 

No matter which kind of yogurt you prefer, a recent article in Better Homes & Gardens magazine listed two things to check the label for so you can make sure the yogurt you choose is the healthiest. 

1. Probiotic Check. Look for the Live & Active Cutlures seal on the label of dairy and nondairy yogurts. It means that it contains the highest amount of probiotics. If you don't see a seal, make sure L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus are listed as ingredients. 

2. Sugar Check. Plain yogurts should have 9 grams or less of natural sugar per serving. Flavored yogurts should have less that 15 grams of sugar. If it's higher than 17 grams, it has the same sugar content as two Fun Size Snickers. 




Cheers to frozen wine cubes! 

Cheers to frozen wine cubes! 

According to the July issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, a daily 5-ounce serving of wine may help reduce the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and Alzheimer's disease.

But what really has The O Report saying cheers is the magazine's genius tip that makes sipping on vino in the summer even more healthy and refreshing:

Freeze your favorite wine in ice trays (about 1-ounce per cube). Then pop one or two cubes into a light pour of wine to make it last longer. Or, add a few cubes to sparkling water to keep you hydrated and to make it easier to stay within the 5-ounce limit. 



With sandal season in full swing, it's time to focus on feet. In a feature in the June issue of Better Homes & GardensKaty Bowman, author of Whole Body Barefoot, shared some great tips for keeping feet healthy, which contributes to better body health overall. 

Her main point is that to stay strong, feet need exercise just like the rest of the body. And flexible toes give feet a wider base of support. She recommends these four moves:

1. Foot Stretch. While barefoot, sit near the edge of a chair. Fold the right foot back, tucking toes under so the top of your foot touches the ground, heel centered. Hold. Repeat with the left foot.

2. Toe Tense & Release. Keeping toes on the ground, spread them as far apart as you comfortably can. Hold for two seconds, relax, repeat. 

3. Big Toe Lifts. Raise your left big toe without lifting your other toes. Lower and repeat five times. Repeat with the right big toe. 

4. Hips Over Heels. Most people carry their weight on the forefoot rather than the stronger back part. Stand straight, and shift your weight (hips) back over heels without lifting toes.



Trying to cut down on your carb intake? Or just looking for a fun new way to eat your vegetables? Try the OXO Hand-Held Spiralizer ($14.99; to order, click here.)

It works on a variety of produce including zucchini (perfect for veggie pasta); sweet potatoes (for making healthier baked curly fries); and yellow squash, carrots and beets for salads. For best results, use it on produce that is straight, at least 1.5 inches in diameter and 6 inches long. If it's longer than 6 inches, cut it in half; if it isn't straight, first cut the vegetables into straight pieces. 

Here are three quick and healthy ideas for putting the spiralizer to good use:

1. For veggie pasta, just substitute the zucchini noodles for your favorite pasta in Italian or Asian dishes. 

2. Add spiralized vegetables to lettuce to create a new look for your salad and dress it with a vinaigrette made of a 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

3. To make sweet potato curly fries, toss the spiralized sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until crispy. 




The new issue of Community Table magazine, has some great advice for couples to keep their relationship happy: Remember to be sweet. 

In the article, Dr. Stephanie Weiland Knarr, a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist, suggests spouses remember the sweet things they did for each other and the fun things they used to do in their early dating relationship and try them again. The article goes on to say that although it may sound counterintuitive, revisiting routines from your past is a great way to get out of a current relationship rut. 


Dining out with family and friends is one of life's great pleasures.  Photo courtesy of The Capital Grille.

Dining out with family and friends is one of life's great pleasures. Photo courtesy of The Capital Grille.

Sharing a great meal with family and friends is one of the best things you can do for your emotional health. Entertaining at home is fun, but so is the stress-free option of dining out. 

If you're always looking for new restaurants to add to your list of favorites, The O Report is a fan of recommendations from Open Table, a restaurant reservation booking site. You can learn about top restaurants all over the U.S. and the world on its website.

If your eating out options tend to be a little closer to home, here are a few of Open Table's new Top 10 lists for the Charlotte area.

Best Atmosphere: McNinch House, Webb Custom Kitchen (Gastonia), The Cellar at Duckworth's, Luce Ristorante, Cafe Rule & Wine Bar (Hickory), The Fig Tree, The Capital Grille, Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge (Mooresville), Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House and Ruth's Chris Steak House. 

Foodies' Favorites: Aix en Provence, Heirloom, Namastay Kitchen and Hangout, The Cellar at Duckworth's, Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge (Mooresville), Luca Modern Italian Kitchen, Barrington's, Customshop, The Asbury and Webb Custom Kitchen (Gastonia).

Most Booked Restaurants: Maggiano's, 300 East, The Capital Grille, Fahrenheit, Paco's Tacos & Tequila, Cafe Monte, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, The Pump House (Rock Hill), Essex and Aria Tuscan Grill. 

Neighborhood Gems: Aix en Provence, Dolce Ristorante, Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge (Mooresville), The 220 Cafe (Statesville), Primo Tuscan Grille, Mario's Italian Restaurant (Matthews), Namastay Kitchen and Hangout, Luca Modern Italian Kitchen, Webb Custom Kitchen (Gastonia) and Customshop. 








On those busy days when there's no time to exercise, even waiting for your coffee to brew can be a chance to sneak in extra activity.

On those busy days when there's no time to exercise, even waiting for your coffee to brew can be a chance to sneak in extra activity.

We all have those days when there's just no time to exercise. But there's always time to sneak in a little extra activity in your daily routine. In a recent article in the AARP Bulletin, top trainers Chris Freytag, founder of, and Lindsay Hunt, founder of www.walkon, listed their advice for being more active all day long. Here is The O Report's Top 5 List of their best tips. 

1. While Waiting Around In The Kitchen. Waiting on your coffee to brew or water to boil while you're cooking dinner? Try any combination of these moves: Squeeze your behind 10 times. Tighten your stomach muscles 10 times. Stretch your arms downward behind you and squeeze your triceps 10 times. Rise up on your toes and squeeze your calves 10 times. Raise your arms out to the sides and do 15 circles in a clockwise direction, then 15 circles counterclockwise. 

2. While Sitting Around. Improve your grip strength by keeping a tennis ball at your desk at work and another by your favorite chair at home. At least twice a day, grab a ball and squeeze tightly. Hold for five seconds, then release slowly. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each hand.

3. While Brushing Your Teeth. When you brush your teeth, stand on one foot for 60 seconds and the switch. When that becomes easy, try balancing while lifting your leg to the side.

4. When Getting Out Of A Chair. Every time you stand up from or sit down in a chair, use just your legs (use one hand at first for assistance if needed). Do this 10 times a day and you've done 10 squats without going to the gym. 

5. When At A Stoplight. Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by tightening them (as if you have to urinate and are "holding it") when you're at a stoplight. Hold for 10 counts, then release for 10. Repeat until the light turns green. 


Take your favorite veggies, leafy greens, protein, add in a starch and dressing, and you've just made the new trend in healthy eating: a customizable veggie bowl. 

Take your favorite veggies, leafy greens, protein, add in a starch and dressing, and you've just made the new trend in healthy eating: a customizable veggie bowl. 

March is National Nutrition Month - a great excuse to experiment with one of the biggest healthy eating trends around, customizable veggie bowls

The March issue of Spry Living magazine, published by Parade magazine, makes it easy by listing ingredients from each category needed for a perfect veggie bowl. Choose from this list, or make a list of your own favorites. The key is customization, so these are just ideas to get you started. But remember, it has to contain all five categories (a veggie, starch, leafy green, protein and a topping). 

Veggies: carrots, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes.

Starch: brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, squash.

Leafy Greens: spinach, kale, romaine, cabbage.

Protein: chickpeas, black beans, lentils, tofu.

Extras: hummus, avocado, low-sodium soy sauce, sour cream. 


No matter the season, don't give frozen food the cold shoulder. Buy high quality varieties with no added sugar or sodium.

No matter the season, don't give frozen food the cold shoulder. Buy high quality varieties with no added sugar or sodium.

In honor of National Frozen Foods Day, which was March 6 in case you didn't have it marked on your calendar, writer Sally Wadyka penned an interesting article for Consumer Reports about making healthy choices when stocking your freezer. (To read the full article, click here.) 

Even though we're approaching the time of year when fresh fruits and vegetables are more available, the doctors and nutritionists she interviewed say it's always a good idea to have frozen versions in your freezer for days when time is short, or to help cut down on waste since fresh produce spoils quickly.

Here are four things The O Report learned from reading her excellent article:

1. Look for high-quality frozen foods with zero added sugar or salt.

2. Keep bags of berries and other fruits in the freezer to use in smoothies, parfaits and muffins.

3. Having frozen vegetables handy is a great way to enjoy the produce you love no matter what's in season. And like frozen fruits, frozen vegetables have almost the same vitamin and mineral content as fresh because they're picked fresh and then flash frozen. Just stay away from vegetables packed in sauces.

4. Don't forget whole grains and beans. Frozen bags of brown rice, quinoa, black beans, chickpeas and more are major time-savers and you can find varieties with no sodium added, unlike canned versions of beans which can often have a whopping 400 milligrams or more of sodium per half-cup serving. 


It's time to get serious about having fun because laughing is good for your health.

According to researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center, as reported in an article in a recent issue of Spry Living, laughter releases feel-good beta-endorphins that trigger the release of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow throughout the body including to and from the heart.

According to the article, "Nitric oxide also protects the heart by reducing inflammation and preventing formation of cholesterol plaque. The researchers said the effects of laughter on blood vessels are similar to the benefits of aerobic exercise or the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins. The difference is that laughter is spontaneous and has an immediate effect."

Other benefits of laughter cited in the research are that it can reduce stress hormones, including cortisol and epinephrin, and it boosts the number of antibody-reducing cells which help fight disease.