Community Connections


No matter what your game this fall season, Ability Beyond is setting its sights for a hole-in-one and ace on the court by hosting its Annual Golf Championship and Tennis Tournament on Monday, September 16, 2019 at Ridgewood Country Club in Danbury, CT.


The competition is one of Ability Beyond’s largest fundraisers, attracting over 120 golfers each year. Proceeds will help Ability Beyond provide critical supports – including home care and job training – to more than 3,000 people with disabilities in Connecticut and New York.

A round robin tennis tournament was added to last year’s charity event and became an instant hit with more than 20 players. Mt. Kisco Truck and Auto Parts is once again serving as the tennis sponsor.

“Last year’s event raised over $90,000 and we are very optimistic that we can surpass our goal as more supporters can enjoy a day of ball for all,” said Jim Kennedy, Ability Beyond Board of Director Vice Chairman and Chair of Golf Event Committee. “In addition to having a great time on the links or on the court, participants will be helping Ability Beyond empower every person, no matter their ability, to live, work and thrive as members of their community.”

The cost is $350 for an individual golfer and $1,400 for a foursome. Registration for the tennis tournament is $175. Deadline is September 12, 2019 and everyone can register online at Those who are unable to attend but still want to support the organization can also donate through the website.


After a day of play, attendees will enjoy a silent auction with fantastic items and a live auction featuring coveted prizes like a Hudson National Golf Club package at the private golf club located in Westchester County, New York and many more! Opportunities to win on the course include two chances to win a car with TWO hole-in-one sponsored by Colonial Automobile Group of Danbury and Ingersoll Auto of Danbury and awards for closest-to-the-pins and longest drive. The day kicks off with registration at:

  • 10:30 am followed by:
  • 11:00 am Lunch
  • 12:30 pm Golf Shamble Shot Gun
  • 2:00 pm Tennis Tournament
  • 5:00 pm Reception and Silent Auction viewing
  • 6:30 pm Dinner and Live Auction

The local business community is encouraged to join Ace sponsors Maplewood Senior Living & Network Support Co. in supporting Ability Beyond through a variety of sponsorship opportunities. Please contact Densie Musser at 203-942-9168 or for more information.

The Ridgewood Country Club is located at 119 Franklin Street Ext in Danbury, Conn.


Ability Beyond is a 501{c} (3) organization headquartered in Bethel, Conn. and Chappaqua, N.Y. It provides a wide range of services for over 3,000 people with a disability that inhibits their activities of daily living — including numerous residential alternatives, employment training, career counseling, job placement services, cognitive and life skills instruction, clinical and therapeutic support, and volunteer and recreational activities. Today, its services extend far beyond the Danbury community throughout Connecticut and the Hudson Valley, New York. For more information about Ability Beyond go to


The wage gap costs Black women $23,653 a year, according to new analysis by the National Women’s Law Center.

This Thursday, August 22, is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day—which marks how far into the year full-time Black women workers need to work to make what their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts typically made in the prior year alone.

Over the course of a 40-year career, the typical Black woman loses a staggering $946,120 to the wage gap. Assuming she and her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart begin work at age 20, a Black woman would have to work until she is 86 years old to catch up to what a white, non-Hispanic man has been paid by age 60.

Key findings of the analysis include:

Black women working full time, year-round are paid only 61 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts. But Black women face even steeper wage gaps in some states. In Louisiana, the worst state for Black women’s wage equality, Black women are typically paid 47 cents for every dollar.

Black women stand to lose more than $1 million over a 40-year career compared to white, non-Hispanic men based on today’s wage gap in eight states: California ($1,155,480), Connecticut ($1,255,160), Louisiana ($1,196, 840), Massachusetts ($1,144,040), New Jersey ($1,352,280), Texas ($1,041,360), Utah ($1,077,240), and Virginia ($1,005,280).

Despite having the second smallest wage gap in the nation for women overall compared to men overall, the wage gap between Black women and white, non-Hispanic men in Washington, D.C., is larger than the gap in 49 states: Black women in D.C. typically make just 51 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men make and will lose $1,899,080 over a 40-year career. This means they would need to work until age 98 to catch up to what a white, non-Hispanic man has been paid by age 60.

Black women experience a wage gap at every education level, even when they have earned a graduate degree.

Among doctorate degree holders, Black women typically make 60 percent of what their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts are paid—an annual loss of nearly $49,000, or more than $1.9 million over the course of a 40-year career.

Black women with professional degrees are typically paid 61 percent of what their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts are paid (leading to a lifetime loss of more than $2 million).

Black women have the highest student loan debt of any racial or ethnic group. For an undergraduate degree, the average Black woman carries nearly $30,400 in debt, compared to $19,500 for white men. The wage gap lessens Black women’s ability to pay off educational debt, creating an additional barrier to saving money that could be used to buy a home, start a business, or use for emergencies.

Body, Mind, & Soul

Hijacked By Emotions At Work? Name, Tame, And Transform Them


The workplace can make people feel a full range of emotions — sometimes more intensely and frequently than one experiences at home.
The difference is, people are often reluctant to show or acknowledge to themselves their full emotions while on the job. But burying those emotions can cause bigger problems, says Cynthia Howard, author of The Resilient Leader, Mindset Makeover: Uncover the Elephant in the Room.
“Emotions are part of your survival kit,” says Howard (, an executive coach and performance expert.  “But for too many, emotions are the black box in the aircraft. You look at them only when there has been a crash or a tragedy.
“In the workplace, emotions get ignored for a variety of old assumptions, such as they’re a sign of weakness. But the message that one can separate their emotions and still function well is a myth. Research shows that when you can identify your emotion, you are able to slow your reaction. Thus you can name it, tame it, and then can take the right action to shift those feelings.”
Howard suggests using a journal to evaluate the following common emotions experienced at work and turn them into positives:
  • Anger. “Get to know your anger,” Howard says. “When ignored, anger turns to rage, resentment, heart disease, and it shuts down your ability to be happy.” Anger alerts you to set boundaries and facilitate change. Ask yourself these questions: What happens as a result of experiencing anger? How does it affect other people and interfere with your goals? Who or what flips your anger switch on?
  • Anxiety. “Anxiety arises from thoughts,” Howard says. “It can catch you in an endless thought loop. Did I sign off on that contract? Did I forget something? Anxiety can also serve as a messenger to help you clarify a situation, so you can take action.” Use your phone to create lists or download one of the many aps that will help you stay organized and focused. Consider these questions: How does anxiety interfere with your goals? Who or what flips your anxiety switch on? What would you like to experience instead?
  • Sadness. This emotion often brings a desire to withdraw and the need to cry. “It’s a cue you need time to reflect and let go of things that are not working,” Howard says. “Sadness gives you a window into what you value. And when you can acknowledge your own sadness, you increase the ability to demonstrate empathy. You develop the courage and ability to do other difficult things.”
  • Discouragement. When left unchecked, discouragement can erode confidence,  motivation and momentum. “Go from discouraged to determined,” Howard says. “Reframe it by identifying three things that are going well for you. Recognize that the discouragement is not permanent. Find a safe person to talk to, then let go of discouragement and focus on your big vision.”
“All these emotions tie into stress,” Howard says. “Chronic, unmanaged stress, often caused by an unwillingness to confront these emotions, interrupts the ability to think clearly, work well with others, and in general, perform. Identifying your emotions leads you to having more control over them.”
About Cynthia Howard, RN, CNC, PhD
Cynthia Howard ( is an executive coach, performance expert and the author of The Resilient Leader, Mindset Makeover: Uncover the Elephant in the Room. She researched stress and its consequences in performance during her PhD. In the past 20-plus years she has coached thousands of professionals, leaders and executives toward emotional agility and engaged leadership.


Health & Wellness



Protecting Your Fertility
By Dr. Spencer Richlin, Board-Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, Partner and Surgical Director with RMA of Connecticut.

Based on 20 years of experience working with patients struggling to conceive, I believe reproductive aging and autonomy need to be openly discussed. With advancement in the uses of alternative reproductive technologies, considering planned-conception earlier can assist women seeking to create or expand their families.

If you think back to your high school health class, there was an emphasis on students learning about contraception and safe sex. Fertility aging was never discussed. Early education, included in high school health curricula, I believe, can help patients protect their fertility potential and help to ensure an easier family-building journey.

Women are designed biologically different from men. A fundamental biological and reproductive difference between men and women is the production of male sperm vs. female eggs, “oocytes”. Men make new sperm every 90 days. Yet, women are born with their full complement of two million eggs for their lifetime. Healthy pregnancies require 23 chromosomes from the egg and 23 chromosomes from the sperm. As women advance in age, the ovaries release eggs without 23 chromosomes. This diminished ovarian reserve increases the chance for an unhealthy pregnancy and an unhealthy baby.

Here are some relevant tips and guidelines to help both women on their
family-building journey:

Maintain (or create) a healthy lifestyle. For women, a healthy lifestyle can protect their eggs. A healthy lifestyle includes exercise, such as yoga, making healthy food choices and getting enough sleep (recommended 6-8 hours a night). If a woman is trying to conceive, she should start taking a prenatal vitamin. Some of my patients even do acupuncture, reporting positive results. Engaging in safe sex practices and using condoms decrease the chance of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Often, STDs have no visible symptoms alerting patients that there’s a problem. Undiagnosed STDs can damage a woman’s fallopian tubes making pregnancy more difficult. Lastly, limit alcohol intake and avoid smoking as it ages oocytes.

Fertility tests. For women, there are three simple fertility tests that will give information on the health of her ovaries. These tests are usually done on day three of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The first test is a transvaginal ultrasound which will enable a physician to count the follicles of a woman’s ovaries. The greater the number of follicles, the better. In addition to this ultrasound, two hormone-blood tests should be drawn. The first test is follicle stimulating-hormone (FSH) and the second is the Anti-Mullerian Hormone test (AMH). The results of these hormone tests reflect oocyte quality and reproductive potential and may influence a patient’s reproductive timeline.

You don’t have to wait for the perfect partner! You do not have to find the perfect partner to become pregnant. I work with many women who know their egg quality will decrease with advancing age. Using donor sperm can assist many single moms-to-be who are ready to become pregnant without a partner.

Freeze your eggs. Excellent news, egg freezing is no longer experimental and is considered mainstream. In fact, companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google cover egg freezing for their employees. Many patients are protecting their fertility and extending their reproductive years by doing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and freezing their “eggs.”. When I see patients who do not yet have a partner or are not ready to build their family, I often tell them, “Your eggs will never be younger than they are today.” Doing a cycle of IVF and freezing oocytes is fairly uncomplicated and often takes less than three weeks. These oocytes can be used in the future with a partner or donor sperm.

Cancer patients should seek counseling and fertility preservation. All cancer patients, before undergoing any treatment, should sit down with a reproductive endocrinologist and investigate the options of egg or embryo freezing. We have patients with cancers who are going to need chemotherapy as part of their treatment. Even while treatments like chemotherapeutic agents save lives, they can damage a women’s eggs and make her infertile. Before a patient undergoes cancer treatment, we can do IVF and freeze oocytes or embryos for future use. After a patient’s treatment is successful and she is ready for family building, these oocytes or embryos can be thawed and transferred back to the uterus. This is truly fertility preservation.

As a veteran, Board-Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, I can say with confidence, family building truly has no barriers. When it comes to fertility, I encourage my patients to be informed and proactive. Earlier understanding of reproductive aging can provide women with greater autonomy in making informed choices towards family building

Beauty Beat


KIERIN NYC only recently launched, but is already on theise as the first and only niche-fragrance celebrating the real stories of NYC life illuminated by fragrance.

We are a clean, conscious, cruelty-free, vegan, sustainably sourced, gender-inclusive brand. Diversity and inclusion are core to our brand, not just an afterthought. We use art (graffiti, mural, pop-art) as muse in our celebration of real people, young people of all ages and individualists boldly inspired to Be.

KIERIN first four scents are:

strong>Nitro Noir: an irresistible rendezvous with the city night. Hypnotic, sensual head notes of orris flood the senses with intense heart notes of vibrant pink-berries and a pucker of bergamot infused in a delectable dry down of earthy patchouli for a scent that is sexy and impossible to resist! Youtube review by Tiff Benson (here).

10 a.m. Flirt: a magnetic encounter with the city’s limitless possibilities. Fresh, clean and crisp head notes of gardenia flood the senses with a flirty, green scent and move through the heart notes of fig drying down onto woodsy notes of sandalwood and cashmere wood for a magnetic attraction. YouTube review by ImagineScents (here).

Santal Sky: a soulful retreat from city life in the midst of it all. Intimate, incandescent head notes of sandalwood moving serenely through warm heart notes of saffron and cardamom with an indulgent dry down infused with notes of vetiver refresh your soul for a scent that leaves you wanting more. YouTube review by Brooklyn Fragrance Lover (here).

Sunday Brunch: a scent story of a luminous ritual with “city family”. Charismatic, effervescent head notes of Italian bergamot moving lightly to heart notes of lemon with a dry down infused with base notes of Earl Grey Tea for a scent celebratory of good times! YouTube review by Mallory Corneilson (here).

As a fierce female founder, I care deeply about what our brand stands for. We frequently collaborate to give back to the causes we support and are a community oriented, disruptive, digitally-driven brand. I would be honored and thrilled to have the chance to chat with you for 15 minutes and explore the possibility of collaborating, or providing you with content as a resource on the topic of trends, the future of fragrance, sustainability, green beauty, clean beauty and gender-equality.


Mona Maine de Biran of KIERIN NYC appeared on covers and in magazines, catalogs and on television throughout Europe, Asia and America during a successful career as an international model.


My passion for perfumes came to me later in life, though I’ve always been emotionally touched by scent. Two of my earliest scent memories are of fascination, the smell of freshly spritzed Chanel No. 5 comingled with that of patchouli incents hovering in the air around my mother as she prepared for a night out, and the scent of comfort wafting into my room in the morning, aromas from a distant kitchen of freshly made southern biscuits, cherry pie and Halston cologne. My experience of perfume has rarely been pure, always tainted by the place in which it was experienced.It took years for me to realize fragrance lived in the moment, not just in a bottle, and was meant for more for than just sniffing. I credit my husband, a veteran in the beauty and fragrance industry, for exposing me to this awareness. Whether consciously or subliminally detected, scent has a primal ability to move people’s moods and leave an imprint on both the individual and, by consequence, the world. My passion for perfumes was born when I became aware of scent’s ability to deeply connect person-to-self and people-to-people. Perfumes weren’t just precious things in pretty bottles. I fell in love with niche-fragrance for its uniqueness and talent for wordlessly communicating a whole scenario or state of being within the individual.

Whether by virtue of nature or nurture, I’ve been a fiercely independent character since I was a child. My early years were marked with feelings of being an outsider, a bit of a rebel without a cause. This led me to branch out and travel the world- for work, discovery and pleasure. Fortune favored me, gave me the opportunity to be a professional model, a career I chose to pursue mostly abroad to fulfill my own yearnings. Everywhere I went a book, paper and pen were in my hands. I would jot down stories, poems, questions and musings of my own “Mona Moments.” Country to country, I traveled on my own but was never alone. A people person, I applied myself to a self-study of languages and became fluent in French, Spanish and Italian. I even got by in Greek and Japanese during the years I spent in those countries because, however new or hard the task, it has always been in my nature to persevere and express. My love and respect for individualism, diversity and support for equality and inclusion grew in those years living abroad. So, too, did my understanding and appreciation for the human experience

Book Review

Flip-Flops and Desktops…Easy decluttering and organization for back to school!

By; Tracy McCubbin

Just when we get into the swing of summer—wham! It’s time to head back to school. Tracy says the best way to ease the transition from flip-flops to desktops is to get organized and decluttered before the first day. While getting organized may seem like a lot to tackle, there are small steps you can take now to ensure a smooth, stress-free transition to back to school.

Some of these suggestions include:

 Grab a dry erase board. To kick the school year off to an organized start, try putting a dry erase calendar where everyone can see it

Purge last year’s paper and artwork. Pull out all of the homework and artwork from the previous school year (empty old backpacks, desk drawers and those piles you’ve meant to tackle) and pick the best of the best.
Don’t be afraid to donate. especially backpacks. Before the deluge of birthdays, birthday parties and upcoming holidays, take time to donate (or toss if they are broken) toys that didn’t get played with all summer. Most kids get brand new backpacks every school year, but, if last year’s pack is still in good shape, think about donating it to a local nonprofit that works with foster kids.

Purge books that won’t get reread. Did summer reading lists create a glut of books in your home? Time to do a purge of the books that won’t get reread or won’t ever be read.

Evaluate which clothing fits. Do a pass and make a pile of clothes you think are too small or worn out. Have your kids try them on to make absolutely sure if they’ve outgrown them or not.

 Stock their desk only with the necessities. An organized desk is essential for a new school year. Make sure the desk is stocked with all of the necessary supplies like pencils, pens, erasers and paper.

About the Author:

Tracy McCubbin is the author of Making Space, Clutter Free: The Last Book On Decluttering You’ll Ever Need (releasing Tuesday June 4, 2019). She has always referred to herself as “Obsessive Compulsive Delightful,” but who knew she could turn that trait into a booming business? While working for a major television director in Los Angeles, Tracy discovered she had the ability to see through any mess and clearly envision a clutter-free space. Coupled with keen time-management and organizational skills, Tracy soon found more and more people were asking her for help. Before she knew it, dClutterfly was born.

Ten years and thousands of clients later, dClutterfly is Los Angeles’ premier organizing and decluttering company. Tracy is a regularly featured expert on Hallmark’s Home & Family, has a column on MindBodyGreen, and has regular declutter segments on Fox 5 and ABC Eyewitness News, KTLA Morning Show, KCAL9, and Good Day Sacramento. She and her company have also been featured in Real Simple, Women’s Day and ShopSmart.

When not decluttering, she is the proud Co-Executive Director of OneKid OneWorld, a non-profit building strong educational foundations for children in impoverished communities throughout Kenya and Central America.


Body, Mind, & Soul

Parents are stressed with back to school schedules

Many parents report feeling frazzled and overburdened by the back-to-school schedule. In fact, a new survey by Coinstar found that 3 out of 5 parents are stressed about back to school prep – and its not wonder due to the demands on parents that sharply increase with their kids’ sports, adjustment to school, $chool $hopping, paperwork, fee$, and meetings.

What’s more, a study by found that moms and dads both agree getting their kids up for school was the most stressful part of the new year and about 65 percent of moms and 55 percent of dads said they were stressed about money and financial pressures of the school year a head. Additionally, the study shows that the logistics of after-school activities increase stress for parents.

But back-to-school doesn’t have to end in parent burnout! “Win back some of your precious time, keep self-care front-and-center, and focus on the benefits of the school year schedule,” Laurie insists. “It’s all about strategizing and mindset.”

In an interview ahead of Back To School season, Laurie discusses expectation management, and stress-reducing techniques for parents, and how to maintain a fall schedule that includes attention to your own well-being, including:

FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE : Our kids’ lives being back on a schedule brings a welcome structure, allowing for strategic “task-chunking.” Also, the school schedule typically affords us 7 hours a day where our kids are in a safe, enriching environment, and are in contact with their friends. This can be a huge relief!

SET A BUDGET: Have a clear idea of what the family can afford to spend on clothes, school supplies, sports fees, and class photos for the first 2 months of school. And stick to it.

MAKE A TO DON’T LIST: Reclaim your time by listing out your top 5 biggest time wasters and commit to not doing them for at least a week. You’ll likely find you never needed to do them in the first place.

A LITTLE BIT OF HELP GOES A LONG WAY! Get extra help via Instacart, Amazon Prime and meal prep services whenever possible. Delegate tasks among all family members, and create a private FB page or email group with other local parents for ride-sharing for after-school activities, and for childcare swaps.

 Manage the expectations of others with clear boundaries. Be transparent about what you can and can’t do – for the school, for your kids, and at work.

Care for your physical body with Laurie’s Top Four Non-Negotiables. Food choices, sleep, hydration, and exercise are all powerful influencers of your ability to remain healthy and energetic, to stay centered, and to manage stress. Simply starting your day with an easy nutrient-dense breakfast can be a game-changer.

Laurie Warren is a holistic well-being expert, speaker, corporate consultant, clinician, and author of the forthcoming book WILD WORLD, JOYFUL HEART: Unlock Your Power to Create Health and Joy.

Incorporating her master’s degree in clinical and integrative nutrition with training in biochemistry, functional medicine, and herbalism, Laurie works as a healing facilitator, specializing in weight loss, digestive health, endocrine balance, immune function, and nutritional support for cancer survivors.

Early in her post-graduate career, she realized the effect of mind and spirit on both physical health and life experience, leading to her extensive research in neuroscience and experiential training in wisdom traditions. A student of psychology for over 30 years, Laurie advocates for using the mind as a bridge – instead of a barrier – for creating empowered well-being in body, mind, and spirit.

With an undergraduate degree in business finance, Laurie also spent a dozen years in leadership positions in finance and sales in the high tech industry – experience that makes her a powerful ally to her corporate clients, while helping them to build a progressive wellness culture. Her unique ability for synthesizing complicated ideas and making them entirely relatable, understandable, and enjoyable, makes her a sought-after speaker. Laurie is also a regularly featured expert in the media, with appearances including HLN, WTTG-TV, and WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C.

Laurie lives in the Greater Boston area and enjoys her four children, her two grandchildren, and the gift of life. She invites you to visit her website at