Category Archives: Uncategorised

A Creative Collaboration for Stunning Results

OVER THE YEARS, I HAVE TOURED HUNDREDS OF BEAUTIFUL HOMES ALL FEATURING KITCHENS BOASTING THE LATEST TRENDS IN DESIGN, LAYOUT AND GADGETRY. Walking into this spectacular newly remodeled kitchen in northwest Rochester stopped me in my tracks. I expected to see a gorgeous kitchen, but what I encountered was out of this world. 

The homeowners, Sue and Tom*, have lived in their home for 12 years and have long dreamed of remodeling their kitchen. To accomplish this feat, the couple reunited their dream team: Jennifer Christoffer, interior designer and owner of Satory Interior Design, and Kevin Reckinger, expert remodeling contractor and owner of Bricewood. The four had worked together on two previous remodels in the owners’ home, and they were all eager to collaborate once again.

Once the team was assembled, the group got to work designing and modifying the plan as their vision for the remodel came into focus. The general concept for the remodel was to flip-flop the kitchen with the family room, open up three exterior walls and insert large picture windows to allow in natural light and a view of the beautiful trees in the lush private backyard. 

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My journey over the past eight years has taught me to find balance, to let some of the “knowing” go and feel my way forward. It started with a medical mystery, which led me on a quest for answers in the modern medical world. Eventually, my journey led me to a different type of healer: those who draw upon the wisdom of the heroes of the past, the spiritual realm and source energy. It led me to several alternative methods in the health and wellness arena, including acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice of inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points to cure disease or relieve pain.

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If you’re looking for fresh, festive spirit this Christmas season, look no further than Decorah, Iowa. Settled peacefully in snowy bluffs, it is worth an hour drive to experience the magic of Christmas in Decorah.

Spark the Christmas feeling early with a visit to the Holiday Lights, Magical Nights at Pulpit Rock Campground November 25-29, December 3-6 and December 10-26 from 5-9 p.m. Freewill donations from this drive-through light display support Helping Services for Northeast Iowa. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Santa Claus and experience the cheerful music of Santa’s Village.

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Women & Whiskey: Becoming a Whiskey Woman

Move over men, women want your whiskey. Although whiskey is notorious for being a masculine drink deeply connected to artists and poets, modern women are enjoying the earthy flavors of this classy, amber-colored liquor.


If you’re an aspiring whiskey woman, you need to pay a visit to Ari Kolas, part owner and whiskey aficionado at Apollo Liquor. “Whiskey was invented in Ireland and comes from a Gaelic word meaning ‘water of life,’” Kolas says. Kolas travels to distilleries in Ireland to learn the history and background of a variety of whiskeys. He’s always eager to share his findings with customers.

Typically at a whiskey tasting, Kolas discusses the difference between bourbons and whiskeys. He teaches whiskey lovers how to make different cocktails with whiskey, like a mint julep or an old fashioned. Many of his tastings are in-home for Bunco groups, book clubs and other private parties.

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Flattering Fashion Finds, Go for Basics, Belts and Bohemian This Summer

I was given a mission to track down the latest flattering styles for women. My adventure took me to Mainstream Boutique for personal styling and Camy Couture for a group fashion party. During the group styling party at Camy Couture, Alissa Cornell shared the importance of “wearing something that’s classy but comfortable.” Mariah Mihm agreed, adding, “Always have lipstick on too.”

Here are some tips on what should be in your closet to embrace the fashionable tigress wanting to come out in the midst of baby spit up and unkempt hair.

For more on Flattering Fashions, pick up the Rochester Women magazine, May/June 2015 issue at a stand near you.

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jorrieJORRIE JOHNSON, MBA, Publisher, 507-259-6362


I started RochesterWomen magazine fourteen years ago with a passion for helping women connect with each other and the community. I enjoy knowing area women and telling about their successes, challenges, needs and wants, and helping them make connections to better their lives. I’m also passionate about supporting non-profit organizations in the community by working with them and helping them communicate with area women. I’m happy to be a part of a thriving community.


Sacred Survivor Retreat – A day for hope, healing and peace for women who have experienced trauma

It’s just one day. A beginning.

Women helping women transform pain to peace is the focus of the one-day Sacred Survivor Retreat in Rochester on Saturday, April 14. It is a day to be with women who have experienced something unwanted, unexpected and life changing.

Trauma is all around us

Did you know that 5 out of 10 women will experience some kind of trauma in their lifetime? Yes, that’s one out of every two
of us.

    Trauma can take many forms: divorce, receiving a diagnosis of a life changing health issue, betrayal, living with chronic physical challenges, childhood sexual or physical abuse, institutional abuse, harassment, rape or assault, domestic violence, witnessing violence, exposure to death or constant threat of death or injury (military service is one example), psychological coercion (cults), and spiritual abuse. It may be an experience that rocked your life and your dreams. About 1 in 3 women will experience a sexual assault in their lifetime.

    Look around you as you go through your day. We all know someone who has experienced trauma, whether or not we are aware of it.

Called to act

The event is the dream of Sonja Hallworth and the culmination of the efforts of many women, all with a passion for reaching out to other women to offer opportunities for healing and growth.

    This project started about a year ago when a Cambodian missionary spoke at Sonja’s church regarding the atrocities suffered by young children through the sex trade. 

    That day Sonja became deeply aware of the challenges women face throughout their lives. “I didn’t know how or when I would be a part of a solution. I just knew God had touched my heart in an amazing way.”

    That day was the first in a series of events: a conversation with her mom led to a meeting with a woman who had been to Cambodia herself. This woman told Sonja about the book “Terrify No More.”

    “In that book I read a quote that haunted me: ‘All that is necessary for evil to prevail is that good men do nothing.’ I was doing nothing, and it hit my heart hard again.”

    Still wondering how and when and where to become involved in a solution, Sonja saw an article for training through DFO Victim Services to learn how to be a victim advocate. As Sonja went through the training she became aware of the many different types of trauma.

    “It became blatantly clear that women and trauma were to be my focus. … I began dreaming about a day where women who have experienced trauma of any kind could have a day of peace and hope. I started sharing my idea with everyone I knew, and the response stunned me. In no time, there were 40 volunteers willing to help with this day of hope.”

Move Your Mountain

Do you feel like you are alone in your pain? Do you feel that no one could possibly understand your experience? Do you need a day filled with hope, healing and peace? Consider attending this retreat.

    It will be held at Christ Community Church with some off-site activities at HOPE Ranch. Women of all faith communities are welcome. Survivor-speakers will focus on spirit, mind and body. Activities, discussion groups, music and testimonies will be designed to renew and encourage participants. All activities will be optional.

    Confucius said, “The person who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Perhaps the Sacred Survivor Retreat will be an opportunity for you or someone you know to begin moving your mountain, one small stone at a time. Maybe you can assist someone in carrying away that first small stone.

    Cost is $25 per person. Scholarships are available. For more information visit or contact Sonja Hallworth at 951-775-4229 or

    Please note this is not intended to be or replace psychotherapy. It is an opportunity to know that you are not alone, and to share ideas about healing and growing through and beyond trauma. Local resources include: Victim Services Hotline: 507-289-0636 and the Women’s Shelter: 507-285-1010

Kit Muellner is the founder and owner of HOPE Ranch, Center for Growth and Healing, founded in 1999.


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