We welcome you to Rochester Women Magazine’s artist column, our first in an ongoing series featuring women in the arts. There’s nothing like good music that vibrates your bones, moves your soul, makes your heart beat faster or raises the hair on the back of your neck. This issue’s arts column highlights three must-see female musicians from Rochester who do just that. Check out the local live theatre scene this winter as well.


Rochester author Catherine H. Armstrong has written a new book, “Roam,” which will be released February 5. Armstrong’s first book, “The Edge of Nowhere,” was published in 2016.  


Armstrong wrote an article for the November/December 2014 issue of Rochesterwomen magazine that she describes as a “life-altering event.” The article, “Saturday Noon Meals Provide More Than a Simple Meal,” describes meals—supported by donations—offered to those in need at Christ United Methodist Church at 12 p.m. every Saturday. Armstrong explains one woman used to organize it and volunteers served the meals.


When Jessica Amos reflects on her career, she’s reminded of the saying, "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." For the owner of Hair Studio 52 and The Salon Professional Academy, she's found this to be true: When you love your job, your employees and your industry, you experience a joy that makes even a difficult day at work easier. Amos is on a mission to empower more men and women to join the field of cosmetology and realize the life-changing opportunities the industry offers.


No two days are the same FOR WORKERS AT Rochester International Airport (RST), and it’s a perfect fit for Tiana O’Connor. Her journey began in 2005 with a part-time temporary assignment helping the airport with accounting and marketing. It has evolved into a fulfilling career for O’Connor, where she serves in the role as the airport’s first full-time marketing and communications manager.   

O’Connor is responsible for guiding strategy for all communication, including public relations, media relations and advertising for the airport and its newly established routes and services. “A compelling brand story needs to be authentic in order to make connections. It’s really about the big and small stories inside that help tell a bigger story. I love my job because I get to find and tell the real stories inside the airport.” 


THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO FIND A CONVENIENT BANK, CREDIT UNION OR LENDER IN ROCHESTER. Check out the map (on page 19) to find a convenient location near you*, or browse the bank or credit union websites to evaluate your options. 


National banks generally provide all the financial services you may need, plus they have many convenient branches and ATMs wherever you may travel. However, local banks and credit unions offer competitive rates and fees and tend to be more involved in the local community.


I can easily spend hours in lighting stores. The textures, finishes and shapes mesmerize me. Sometimes my husband gives me a look, cueing me that we’ve been under the lights too long. Like a child getting kicked off an iPad, I try to soak up every remaining minute. I completely understand why someone would choose a career in lighting because it’s where form meets function.  

I’ve had the privilege of speaking with three Rochester women who work in the lighting industry: Becky Holmen, Ami Olson and Heather Hughes. They’ve been able to combine their knowledge of lighting with their love of people. Their insights may even pique the interest of anyone looking for a “bright” career.


Lighting is an essential element of any home. Real estate agent and builder, Mickey Rowland of Excel Homes, understands firsthand the importance of lighting and its impact on the enjoyment of a home. To get the lighting just right, Rowland works with a lighting professional to incorporate solutions into the homes he builds, including his own home.  


Rowland completed his personal home in early 2018, which features a rustic, modern farmhouse look. Warm wood tones, neutral classic colors and timeless custom finishes carry the farmhouse aesthetic throughout. Wide-planked hardwood flooring blends with sleek chrome hardware and Restoration Hardware vanities. The home includes custom cabinets and woodwork, beautiful Cambria countertops, and carefully chosen lighting to complement the design.


I went on a bike trip to China in 1982. I felt that China was so familiar to me—as if I knew it from a past life—that I became a tour manager in order to return to China. Tibet was included in my tours in 1993. After working for Chinese tour companies, graduate school coursework for East Asian studies and immersion in Chinese culture and language, I began organizing my own tours in 1997. In addition, I lived in Shanghai for two months in 1999 and spent 19 days in Tibet in 2007, on “kora” (pilgrimage) to Mount Kailash in central Tibet with additional travel to western Tibet—both times on my own.  


My last trip was in 2012, and I thought I had retired from organizing tours. After long consideration and inspired by my commitment to my Buddhist life and study and my work with our initiative declaring Rochester a Compassionate City, I organized a different kind of trip for the end of October 2018. 



Celebrate Chinese New Year: Right here in Rochester

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Written by Cindy Mennenga

Rochester has a vast international dining scene given its size. There are numerous fantastic Asian restaurants in town—some are trendy and upscale presenting new twists on classic dishes, while others are traditional and beloved by visitors and locals alike.  

In honor of Chinese New Year (February 5, 2019), my husband and I wanted to explore a sampling of new and established Asian restaurants in Rochester. There are several excellent Asian eateries, but we chose to visit Hunan Garden and Asia Fusion. 



Wines of the World: Supports Bear Creek Services

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Written by Margo Stich

For the past 28 years, Wines of the World has offered an opportunity to enjoy a fine evening of food and wine tasting, while supporting the mission of Bear Creek Services. Rochester International Event Center is transformed to a showcase of more than 200 wines and delicious food, along with select beers and craft spirits, auction items, live music and more. The event closes with an opportunity to order wines featured at the event, at special event prices. Plan to enjoy these at a later date, in your souvenir wine glass. 


At an event like this, where there is so much to sample, remember, you don’t have to try it all–well you can’t–and you don’t have to like everything you try. That said, being open to hearing why someone likes a wine you don’t can help you better understand, and identify, those wines which you are more likely to enjoy. Such insight can help you make better decisions when ordering wine at a restaurant or purchasing a bottle at a wine shop.


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