Go Red for Women!

The American Heart Association is one of the non-profit's I am super passionate about! I have had the opportunity to volunteer and partner with them for several events around the Birmingham area. AHA does really awesome work and has made great strides bringing awareness to heart health and overall wellness. Today is AHA Go Red for Women, which is a campaign to bring awareness specifically to women's heart health. I sat down with Danya Segrest, Director of Development for the Birmingham Heart Ball, to learn more about this campaign and the work they are doing! 

What is the American Heart Association Go Red for Women day all about?

National Wear Red Day is the American Heart Association’s special day to bring attention to the number one killer of women – heart disease. This is the day we encourage everyone to wear red, show their support, know their cardiovascular risk, and take action to live longer, healthier lives.

Why is the focus on women?

Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day and Donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. Here are some general stats about heart disease in women:

  • An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.
  • 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
  • Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.
  • Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.
  • The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood – even by some physicians.
  • Sweating. Pressure. Nausea. Jaw pain. Believe it or not, these are all symptoms of a heart attack in women. They are also symptoms that women often brush off as the flu, stress or simply feeling under the weather—which could put their lives in jeopardy.

Symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. But it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

How has "going red" helped AHA spread awareness?

On National Wear Red Day, people start to see others wearing red, buildings going red, social media pages filled with red pictures and posts – it brings attention to a subject that isn’t commonly talked about – heart disease risk in women. 1 in 3 women are affected by heart disease, and yet 80% of all heart disease is preventable. Because it helps us educate more women to know their risk, learn their numbers, and to help build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease, National Wear Red Day has the ability to save lives. That’s why we ask people to wear red today so we can jumpstart a conversation about heart health.

Where can we learn more? 

For more information about Heart Disease and Stroke in women, visit https://www.goredforwomen.org/ or www.heart.org.  

Healthy Holiday Tips

Hey friends! I've got a fun video to share with you! Friend and fellow #GIRLBOSS, Megan LaRussa and I teamed up to give you a few Healthy Holiday Tips as part 3 of her Style More, Stress Less video series. You might remember Megan from a webinar we did together last year, but if not, check out the video below then pop over to her page! My favorite aspect of her style coaching is that Megan helps truly empower clients to feel authentic and confident. She encourages clients to practice self-care, yoga, and nutrition in addition to teaching how to find individual, classic style! 

Much Love & Holiday Pleasure


More Style, Less Stress video series with Megan LaRussa

The Reason for the Season

As I was habitually scrolling through Facebook tonight, I came across a message that stopped me in my tracks. I don't typically post content like this, but it just resonated with me so much I wanted to share. This was posted my a friend of mine. Her dad, George Sarris, wrote it years ago and was published my the Birmingham News. George Sarris is a pillar in the Birmingham Community, as owner of The Fish Market. This description of life is one of the many reasons I fell in love when Greek culture when I was there. Honor. Authenticity. Simplicity. I believe this message is important on so many levels, but I will let you read it and draw your on conclusions. Much love, Emilie

I sent this to Birmingham use few years ago and I want to share with all my friends
By George Sarris

Every holiday season, I hear people saying "we need to remember what Christmas is really all about," and "remember the reason for the season."

As a small business owner in Birmingham, it is easy to get caught up in the chaos of the Christmas season. But, while sitting with my son this past week, I began to reflect on my childhood in Greece, and the ways we would celebrate Christmas in our village. Christmas seemed so real to us then. America is a melting pot of various traditions and ideas, so I thought it would be nice to share some of my childhood holiday memories with you.

On Christmas Eve, we would sing carols in the morning around the houses in the small mountain village and receive sweets and maybe a coin or two. The sweets were always very exciting, but we were not allowed to eat them until Christmas Day, as we had been fasting for 40 days.

On Christmas Day, we would wake up very early, about 4 in the morning, to gather around and pray in front of the family's religious icons. We also would kneel in front of each family member and ask each other for forgiveness for any wrongdoing we may have done to one another, so we could have a clean conscience for communion that morning. I vividly remember my 80-year-old grandmother asking me for forgiveness when I was only 8 years old.

Soon after prayers, we would join the rest of the village in the streets to walk to church. Only 200 people lived in our village, so we would wish everyone "ke' epi yis erene," or "peace on Earth." This was a more timely message back then, because Greece still suffered from World War II and the civil war after that. Of course, if we have peace on Earth for 100 years, how our life would be amazingly unlimited.

It was always very cold, sometimes snowing. Sometimes it was clear, and we would look for the "bright star."

Walking to church, you can hear the bells from the goats and sheep in the mountains. This came to my mind more vividly when I was playing with the channels on television and saw the show "Christmas With the Stars." Of course, I think we are regressing some; the stars they were talking about were Hollywood stars.

We always thought that Jesus being born in very humble surroundings was the most magical message. We did not give gifts on Christmas; this day was only a religious holiday. After church, we would have a meal with only our immediate family, and then visit other family later in the day.

My brother, sisters and I would always ask our parents about the story of Jesus' birth. My parents told me about the star the Wise Men followed to find the Nativity and the animals that accompanied Mary and Joseph in the manger.

Our home had three rooms, one of which we kept our livestock in. When my parents told us about the animals with the bells around their necks, we could relate. It felt as though Bethlehem was only a stone's throw away.

I would spend Christmas night searching the sky for the star the Wise Men followed. I would pester my parents until they would point out exactly which star it was. It was all so real: Jesus in his manger, Mary, Joseph and the animals, the Wise Men, their star, all of it. Every Christmas it was as though Jesus was born again.

We were not concerned about Santa or gifts; that did not come for us until New Year's. Christmas was about family and history.

I feel that today, it is so easy to lose sight of the star. As I told my sons, Dino and Yorgo, and my daughter, Dorothy, we would rather look for the star, the animals and the shepherds, the message of the infant Jesus of peace on Earth, of love for one another, which only God can provide in us, than for Santa and his gifts.

During this holiday season, I wish you all a very merry Christmas, "ke' epi yis erene" and a happy New Year.

George Sarris is owner of the Fish Market Restaurant on Birmingham Southside.