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Breast health 101

Know your risk factors

by Emily Koon

 

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the ideal time for women of all ages to begin determining their risk for breast cancer. More than 200,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. But the good news is that with early diagnosis and treatment, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer patients now is 96 percent.

 

“To be among that 96 percent, there are a number of steps that even younger women can begin taking,” says Dr. Judith Hopkins, an oncologist with the Derrick L. Davis Forsyth Regional Cancer Center at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

 

“The first step is finding out what your risk is,” she adds. “Being aware of your risk factors means that you and your physician can form a plan of action to monitor your breast health more closely. If breast cancer does develop, then it can be caught early, and that gives patients the best chance for successful treatment.”

 

Hopkins recommends looking at the following risk factors and discussing them with your doctor:

  • Age. Are you 60 or older?
  • Family history. Do you have a family history of breast cancer? Specifically, did your mother, sister or grandmother develop the disease before age 40?
  • Race. Caucasian women generally are at a higher risk for breast cancer than Latin American, Asian and African-American women.
  • Reproductive factors. This includes menstruation before age 12, later-onset menopause after age 55 and being older than 35 when you have your first child.
  • Activity level. Being physically inactive or obese increases your risk.

While most of these factors are out of your control, Hopkins says there still are steps you can take to lower your risk. Most importantly, begin getting annual mammograms at 40, or earlier if you’ve been determined to be at a higher risk.

 

Women of all ages, regardless of their risk factors, also should get into the habit of performing monthly self exams to identify any changes in the breast, such as:

  • A change in how the breast or nipple feels, such as a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm
  • Tenderness in the breast or underarm
  • A change in the appearance of the breast or nipple, such as size or shape; scaly, red or swollen skin; or a nipple that is turned inward
  • Nipple discharge

Simple lifestyle changes can lower the risk for breast cancer and other diseases. These include:

  • Exercising at least 30 minutes daily
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy, low-fat diet that includes at least five servings of fruit or vegetables each day
  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

Another valuable tool in the fight against cancer is genetic counseling if you have a family history of breast cancer. A genetic counselor can help you develop a family health tree to highlight cases of breast cancer that can raise your risk, and a simple blood test can identify possible genetic links to breast cancer if your risk is high enough.

 

“The important thing to remember is that when it comes to breast cancer, there is no such thing as too much information,” Hopkins says. “If you think you might be at risk, then develop a three-generation family history and discuss your concerns with your doctor.”

 

For more information on breast cancer and your risk factors, contact the Forsyth Regional Cancer Center at (336) 277-0198 or visit www.forsythmedicalcenter.org/cancer.

Unsightly scars

Treatment is key to minimizing their appearance

by Dr. H. Christopher Coley

 

 

Do you have a scar from a procedure or injury that you wish you could erase? Fortunately, with today’s technology there’s something you can do to prevent and minimize its appearance.

 

A scar is formed as a natural healing response to an injury. This healing process and scar remodeling can last for months. Depending upon the depth of injury, scars can be mild or severe. They vary in their characteristics, including shape, size and color.

 

Common types of unsightly scars include hypertrophic scars, stretch marks and keloids. Hypertrophic scars are those that are slightly wide, raised or thick in appearance. Typically, they’re confined to the original injured area and are formed by excess collagen formation. Stretch marks are caused by the stretching of the skin during pregnancy, bodybuilding or excess weight gain. Keloids are a type of hypertrophic scar that continue to grow outside the boundary of the original injury and can become large and unsightly.

 

Different areas of the body scar differently, with better scars occurring in areas where the skin is thin such as the face and neck. Areas where the skin is thicker, such as the back and trunk, generally scar worse. Genetics also can play a factor in scarring.

 

Minimizing scars

Surgical scars can be minimized in several ways. The key factors to help prevent surgical scars include delicate handling of tissue during repair, avoiding excess tension on the repair, and using proper technique and supplies. Removal of stitches and staples at the proper time also is important. Good wound care after the injury is just as important. It helps prevent infection, avoiding excess drying or moisture, limiting motion, and protecting the incision from the sun.

 

Some scars are inevitable due to circumstances surrounding the injury or condition. In some cases, incisions can be placed to help camouflage the scar in a natural skin fold. Other surgical techniques also can be used to minimize scarring.

 

To further minimize scarring, there is evidence that gentle compression through taping or a specialized bandage can aid in preventing hypertrophic scarring. Because hypertrophic scars essentially are excess inflammation and collagen, an injection with a steroid — a potent anti-inflammatory — or a topical steroid can prevent or correct a hypertrophic scar.

 

Other common scar remedies include topical antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. There are numerous other additives and home remedies that can help with scar formation as well. One of the best and well-known is silicone, which has been shown to prevent hypertrophic scars and improve the appearance of older scars. Two popular formulations available are Scarguard and Hybrisil, both of which are available by prescription.

 

Other ways to treat hypertrophic and unsightly scars include surgical excision or scar revision, laser resurfacing, and dermabrasion. Current research also suggests that there might be a role for radiation and treatment of severe hypertrophic scars and keloids with some potent medications and even chemotherapeutics.

 

If you have an unsightly scar, then obtain a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon to discuss your options.

 

Dr. H. Christopher Coley, board-certified and fellowship-trained in both cosmetic and hand surgery, is owner and chief surgeon of the Coley Cosmetic & Hand Surgery Center in Greensboro. To learn more, call (336) 617-8645 or visit www.coleycosmetic.com.

Life after cancer

Survivorship programs focus on wellness, support

by Ginny Gaylor

 

When you receive a cancer diagnosis, odds are you don’t spend much — if any — time thinking about what life will be like once you’re done with treatment. You worry about chemotherapy or radiation, or if the cancer will go away. You think about how it will affect your family, your savings and your job. You might even think about losing your hair. So when treatment is done and your cancer is in remission, you suddenly realize, now what?

 

You are not alone. But Triad area cancer patients are fortunate. With five major hospitals to choose from, treatment is never far away. Best of all, each of these medical centers has programs geared toward guiding cancer patients and survivors through each stage: diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. From support groups to exercise classes, each provides a range of activities to support cancer patients.

 

Celebrating survival

Sometimes it’s important to simply celebrate survival, and that’s what programs at Forsyth Medical Center and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center offer. Forsyth’s program, Feel Good Fridays, takes place the first Friday of every month. During the program, survivors can get haircuts, manicures and massages; practice reiki; and enjoy crafts and food.

 

“The event is a day for survivors and their families to enjoy,” says Laurie Mathis, a breast oncology nurse navigator with the hospital system.

 

Judy Dobson, a breast cancer patient, enjoyed participating in Feel Good Friday so much that she ended up volunteering to decorate tables for the event.

 

“It’s one of my favorite support systems there,” she says. “Just being around people who understand more about the situation I’m in helps, and I really do like the atmosphere.”

 

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC) offers a similar program on a quarterly basis called Just 4 You Day. The event includes breakfast, lunch and snacks, and offers professional chair massages, makeovers from Belk’s cosmetic artists, haircuts, manicures, live music, a DJ, and door prizes. Area military staff as well as personnel from Coldwater Creek and Home Depot also have stepped in to help out during events.

 

“They have shown tremendous enthusiasm for being a part of this special day for our survivors,” says Marcy Poletti, MSN, RN, the hospital system’s oncology service line program administrator.

 

Finding a new normal

At Moses Cone Health System, Finding Your New Normal (FYNN) is an eight-week program geared toward people who have completed cancer treatment. The program was built on a wellness concept using a model developed by a UNCG professor of counseling.

 

“We combine a focus on issues survivors need to know about and are affected by, and introduce some kind of exercise each week,” says Terry Moore-Painter, the hospital systems’ chaplain.

 

She adds that FYNN groups tend to bond pretty closely and often continue to meet even after formal sessions are over.

 

Fran Rinehuls knows firsthand the benefits of the FYNN program, although she was reluctant at first.

 

“I remember when I finished with my treatment, I expected to be me again, and it doesn’t quite work that way,” says Rinehuls, a breast cancer survivor.

 

“I thought about going, but I hesitated,” she adds. “I thought it was going to be really depressing. I had this preconceived notion of what a support group was going to be.”

 

Fortunately, her idea of what a cancer support group was and the reality were worlds apart.

 

“Within five minutes of the group starting, I thought, ‘This is just wonderful.’ I fit in immediately,” Rinehuls says. “All of us were in the phase of getting our hair back, so we all had the same haircut.”

 

During the first session, Rinehuls recalls an instant connection and empathy among the group’s members.

 

“We knew what the other person was going through. There was no need for explanations,” she says. “We still get together.”

 

Helping hands

Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington takes a slightly different approach with Wings to Recovery, a cancer survivorship program that pairs a cancer survivor mentor with a current cancer patient.

 

“We try to match diagnosis to diagnosis,” says Rosa Davis, a chemotherapy-certified registered nurse and the program’s coordinator.

 

“We even try to match mentors and patients on specific types of treatment,” she adds. “The mentor is someone who has been through it, walked down that path and knows how the new patient feels.”

 

Mentor Dave Forsyth wishes this kind of program existed when he began receiving treatment for multiple myeloma.

 

“I think the most encouraging part is to see someone who has survived cancer. That gives them hope,” he says. “Not in words, but just to see someone nine years after treatment walking, talking, functioning — that is the greatest thing about the program. Things may well have changed, but there’s still life after treatment.”

 

Fit to fight

Many of the area’s hospital systems offer fitness and exercise programs geared toward cancer patients and survivors, but the one at High Point Regional Health System is slightly different.

 

“We have the only medically certified fitness center,” says Janet Forrest, the hospital’s oncology program planning liaison.

 

Cancer Fit, one of the center’s programs, is a guided 12-week exercise workshop run by an exercise physiologist. The idea is to increase stamina and decrease cancer-related fatigue. While the program does have a fee, there are scholarships available.

 

“It shouldn’t be closed to anyone because of finances,” Forrest says.

 

Cancer Fit also is designed to help build bonds with other survivors.

 

“We have mini classes and discussions,” Forrest says. “We also go on outings together because the classes have bonded so much.”

 

Ginny Gaylor is a freelance writer based in Greensboro.

 


Shining lights

While there are various programs available at area hospital systems for cancer survivors, there are two nonprofits specifically designed to help women prevent and live with breast cancer. Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test focuses on prevention of the disease, while Alight Inc. — a new group — focuses on helping newly diagnosed patients.

 

For the past 15 years, Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test has worked toward funding research for an earlier biological test to detect the disease. It also celebrates survivors during its annual lunch and dinner events each October.

 

“We get a lot of folks who come and bring a friend who’s a survivor,” says Kara McBurney, the organization’s events coordinator. “They come as a group of survivors, or they purchase a table in memory or in honor of someone.”

 

Cynthia Holliday, Alight’s executive director, says the organization’s first goal is to make sure local women focus on treatment and wellness.

 

“We have an emergency assistance fund to help if someone is having issues like paying their utilities, job loss or child care so that they can come to treatment,” she explains. “We don’t want anyone to forgo treatment or not focus on wellness because of finances.”

 

The group also provides patients with tote bags that contain a breast cancer treatment book, notebook with community resources and pillow to use during treatment.

“Alight is a different piece of the puzzle,” Holliday says. “We help people right now, locally, today.”

The celiac facts

Options increasing for those living with the disease

by Leslie Mizell

 

If you’re one of the many people in the Triad living with celiac disease, the bad news is that you have to say farewell to fast-food burgers, deep-dish pizza, and hot dogs and beer at the ballpark. The good news is that you won’t have to take daily fistfuls of pills or incur large medical expenses — and that there are tasty new sandwich, pizza, and beer substitutes coming out every day.

 

Living with celiac disease takes a significant lifestyle adjustment, but it’s quite possible to lead a normal existence with it — although admittedly, one in which grocery shopping takes at least twice as long.

 

The facts on celiac

Celiac disease is a condition in which a person’s immune system reacts to the protein gluten — found in wheat and other cereal grains — resulting in a cell-mediated inflammation of the lining of the small intestine. Unlike a wheat allergy in which there’s a rapid response to the product, celiac is a chronic illness that continues unabated as long as gluten is part of the sufferer’s diet.

 

Because it’s caused by ingestion of gluten, the only treatment is a gluten-free diet. This means eliminating barley, brewer’s yeast, malt, oats, rye and wheat. Once gluten has been eliminated, symptoms generally go away. Undiagnosed or severe celiac disease, however, can result in several complications.

 

“Celiac causes damage to the lining to the small bowel, where we absorb all of our nutrients,” says Dr. Tom Orli, a gastroenterologist with Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

 

“A variety of nutrient deficiencies can result,” he adds. “Common ones include iron deficiency, which can lead to anemia, and low calcium, which can lead to osteoporosis.”

 

Knowing no bounds

An equal-opportunity disease, celiac occurs worldwide, striking both men and women, children and adults.

 

“Celiac prevalence seems to be about 1 in 300 in the U.S.,” Orli says. “It’s much more common in Caucasians, and heredity does play a role. Several gene locus have been identified that pre-dispose people to the disease.”

 

Those with a high risk include people with another autoimmune disorder such as hypothyroidism, Type 1 diabetes or Down syndrome. Celiac sufferers also frequently have osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anemia, nervous-system disorders or liver disease.

 

“A year after I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I was listening to ‘The People’s Pharmacy’ on National Public Radio,” says Shelby Soderlund, a blogger with Gluten Free Greensboro (glutenfreegreensboro.blogspot.com).

 

“I had never heard of celiac disease, but they said it was highly correlated with Type 1 diabetes, and the long list of multi-systematic symptoms sounded a little familiar,” she adds. “I asked my doctor to test me for it, and the rest is history.”

 

A complicated diagnosis

The official diagnosis of celiac disease is the easy part: a blood test, which if it’s positive is followed by an upper endoscopy and biopsy of the small intestine.

 

However, celiac’s dozens of broad symptoms mimic so many diseases, disorders and ailments that it often takes years before the list is narrowed down. In fact, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness reports that approximately 3 million people in the U.S. have celiac disease, but only 120,000 have been diagnosed.

 

“There is now very good and accurate testing available for celiac, but a physician first has to think about the disease being a possibility before it can be diagnosed,” Orli says.

 

“Because of increased awareness, this is happening more.”

 

Classic symptoms include diarrhea, bloating, abdominal discomfort and weight loss. Less common symptoms can include constipation, mood and nervous-system disorders, and skin problems. Maddeningly, celiac disease also can be asymptomatic.

 

“I think I’ve had the disease since puberty, and I’m 35 now,” Soderlund says.

 

“I linked some of my symptoms together, but it was laughingly that I asked my doctor to test me.”

 

Orli recommends that patients be evaluated if they’re suffering from chronic diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain and fatigue. Parents — especially those with a family history of celiac disease — also should have their children screened if they notice symptoms such as frequent diarrhea, weight loss or poor growth.

 

Dietary changes

Within the past decade, it’s become increasingly easier to stick to a gluten-free diet as a virtual flood of products has found its way onto grocery shelves. Soderlund took gluten out of her diet in September 2009 following a last hurrah of pizza, sandwiches and other foods she expected to miss. Her first year has had its ups and downs — she misses tomato sandwiches, hearty 12-grain bread, pizza, and beer — and grocery shopping has become not only more expensive but also more time-consuming.

 

“Gluten is hidden in places you wouldn’t expect, like salad dressings, soy and barbecue sauces,” she says.

 

“It’s also hidden in some cheeses, deli meats, beef and sausage.”

 

To help those adjusting to a gluten-free diet, Greensboro’s Earth Fare hosts a gluten-free support group and recipe swap on the third Wednesday of each month. It also offers a tour of its store, including taste tests of some of its gluten-free products.

 

Restaurants are a different story. People with celiac disease share horror stories of getting sick after ordering from a supposedly gluten-free menu. The problem is that most people don’t fully comprehend how little gluten it takes to make a celiac sufferer ill. It can be something as simple as a dinner roll bumping up against another, or a salad being tossed in a bowl that recently held croutons.

 

“Some people with celiac will bring the manager to the table and make a big deal about it to make sure the food is being handled properly,” Soderlund says.

 

“I made the mistake of not going with my instincts when I doubted the gluten-free menu at a steakhouse in Chicago, and I paid for it,” she adds. “I got sick and was miserable for three or four days.”

 

Hidden dangers

While it would be nice to think that eliminating a majority of carbohydrates from your diet would have a positive impact on your weight, that’s not necessarily the case. Soderlund switched from Cheerios to Rice Chex after her diagnosis, but she soon discovered that it was lower in fiber and higher in carbs. She advises those who don’t begin to see improvements on a gluten-free diet to check out their medicine cabinets in addition to their pantries.

 

“There’s actually hidden gluten in a lot of medications,” she says.

 

“Because medications aren’t required to include the ingredients on their labels like food and beverages are, the only way to find out if the medication is safe is by calling the company that manufactures it.”

 

Leslie Mizell is a freelance writer based in Greensboro.

A tasty alternative

Lindy Clark has never bought a gluten-free packaged mix. Diagnosed with a wheat allergy in February 2008 in which she must also avoid eggs, dairy and soy, the cooking enthusiast hit the pots and pans and began working up her own gluten-free recipes. By November 2009, she had more than 100 collected in her self-published “Lindy’s Gluten-Free Goodies and More!,” available at local and online bookstores as well as directly from www.glutenfreebylindy.com.

 

The book contains illustrated recipes for everything from soups and sandwiches to desserts, with an emphasis on the latter. Each item was taste-tested by folks on both typical and gluten-free diets.

 

“A lot of people didn’t think they had an option to packaged food,” she says. “I got an e-mail from one woman who said my gluten-free pizza crust had given her hope. That kind of feedback thrills me to death.”

 

Clark, who moved from Ohio to High Point with her husband, Don, to be closer to their daughter, suddenly has found herself in demand for speaking engagements and cooking classes. There’s also a gluten-free restaurant, Lindy’s Goodies, in the works, as well as a second cookbook.

 

Here’s a tasty recipe courtesy of Lindy Clark:

 

Fudge Nut Bars

(makes three dozen)

 

1 cup or 2 sticks butter, softened

2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/2-cup granulated sugar

3/4-teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4-teaspoon salt

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4-cup walnuts, chopped

3/4-cup pecans, chopped

1/2-cup milk chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

 

In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, xanthan gum and salt, and beat until crumbly. Set aside 1 cup for topping.

 

Press remaining crumb mixture into prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until set and edges begin to brown.

 

While the crust is baking, combine milk and 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Cook — or microwave at 30-second intervals — and stir until chips are melted. Stir in vanilla. Spread the chocolate mixture over the crust.

 

Combine nuts, milk chocolate chips, remaining semi-sweet chocolate chips and reserved crumb mixture. Sprinkle over chocolate layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until center is set. Cool on a wire rack, then cut into bars.

To learn more

For more information on celiac disease, visit:

 

Teaching diversity

Culture abounds at area private schools

by Danielle Jackson

 

It’s no secret that the Triad’s private schools offer students an unparalleled, well-rounded education. But how do they prepare the next generation for life outside the classroom?

 

Very well, it seems. The private schools we talked with offer a variety of engaging cultural opportunities for students, from learning a new language beginning in preschool to studying abroad.

 

Bishop McGuinness

Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School in Kernersville prioritizes cross-cultural understanding in everything from its design of foreign language curricula to its secondary school exchange programs. Specifically, the school places a high priority on service to foreign students from Europe, Asia and Africa as a way to broaden their multicultural experiences.

 

“American perspective in the 21st century — unless it’s broadened through the education process in ways that previously were untried in American schools — is going to be far more limited than the times demand,” says George L. Repass, principal.

 

“It’s essential that our culture’s tendency to be inward-looking rather than focused on connection and networking on a global scale be addressed,” he adds. “This is best done at the secondary-school level, where opportunities for broadening young people’s perspectives are limitless.”

 

Caldwell Academy

At Caldwell Academy in Greensboro, all students are taught Latin from third through eighth grade as a foundation for the acquisition of other languages. Spanish is offered to students in its Rhetoric School and are encouraged to pursue other languages of interest as well.

 

“As a classical school, Caldwell’s students are expected to be cultured, which means that they are to be knowledgeable of their culture and able to act justly within it,” says Dona Hedgecock, curriculum coordinator and assistant principal.

 

“Since language is a transformational aspect of culture, a Caldwell education is centered around the proper use of language.”

 

The school also has hosted cultural events and international students from Vietnam, Ethiopia, and other countries. All Caldwell seniors travel to Italy as a culmination of their study of the humanities, and all students can participate in mission trips to places like Guatemala and the Philippines.

 

“Caldwell students have a heart for the world,” Hedgecock says. “They know it’s their responsibility to be stewards and caretakers of it.”

 

Calvary Baptist Day School

In addition to offering Latin, Calvary Baptist Day School’s curriculum features extensive Spanish instruction, allowing students to learn about the history and culture of Spanish-speaking countries. The capstone of students’ Spanish experience takes place with a senior mission trip to La Carpio in San Jose, Costa Rica.

 

“The trip serves as a tremendous learning experience for students as they’re immersed in another culture and are able to view life from a different perspective,” says Karen Walter, director of admissions for the Winston-Salem school.

 

“They are stretched as they seek to give where there is need and end up receiving gifts of even greater value in return.”

 

Other mission opportunities allow students to connect with children and adults in need from places like Myanmar.

 

“Students become attuned world citizens as they understand and come to appreciate people whose language, customs and beliefs differ from their own,” Walter says.

 

“Their life perspective is broadened, equipping them to become contributing members of the world community.”

 

Canterbury School

At Canterbury School in Greensboro, students and their families are given an opportunity to enjoy a variety of cultural offerings throughout the year. This includes everything from a middle school Mexico exchange and a summer trip to Italy to multicultural festivals and culturally themed dinners.

 

Students also begin foreign language instruction in kindergarten, and each year they read from a broad selection of multicultural literature.

 

“In every subject, they explore content from a variety of perspectives,” says Penny Summers, assistant head of school.

 

“Our commitment to offering a superior academic education and to preparing students to participate in the global economy requires us to develop programs that reduce stereotypes, expand cultural awareness, and provide opportunities for students to work collaboratively and respectfully with others.”

 

The Elon School

Both the French and Spanish curricula at The Elon School extensively cover the cultures, countries, and regions in which each language is spoken. Students also have traveled to Spain and France through immersion programs to further enhance the experience.

 

The school also has a heavy focus on music, theater and visual arts, with students taking day trips to places like the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham and the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh.

 

“We feel that cultural arts make students more well-rounded, and we provide a means to expose them to art, music, and culture,” says Jay Lasley, admissions director.

 

“Our hope is that students develop a deep appreciation for the cultural arts, and we’re proud that we’ve created a community where they support and appreciate their peers’ artistic talents.”

 

Greensboro Day School

While Greensboro Day School has an extensive Spanish curriculum, its Lower School has opportunities to explore many more cultures, from Japan and China to Kenya and England. Different grade levels have different projects to help students learn about and connect with other cultures.

 

Its Upper School already has an Australia exchange program, while its Middle School will host an exchange with students from Paris for the first time this year. Upper School students also participate in the Community Development and Leadership Summit, an international conference held each year in India.

 

“Studying cultural similarities and differences around the globe is a necessity if our students are to become prepared for life beyond school,” says Ed Dickinson, Middle School director.

 

“Our students’ studies, activities, community awareness, and involvement in service learning and outreach reflects a strong commitment at Greensboro Day School to growing sensitivity to, respect for, and interaction with many different cultural orientations.”

 

New Garden Friends School

At New Garden Friends School in Greensboro, Spanish is introduced in preschool, building on itself through eighth grade. At the high school level, Spanish is offered in addition to several other languages, including Mandarin, Latin, French, and German. The school also offers a trip to a Spanish-speaking country every other year for those in seventh through 10th grades, and is developing a service learning trip to the Dominican Republic as part of its honors curriculum.

 

Each year, New Garden Friends School also hosts Diversity Day, featuring age-appropriate workshops where students can learn more about different cultures.

 

“Most of our graduates will live and work in a culturally diverse world,” says David Tomlin, head of school.

 

“Any and all ways that a school can help a student understand and prepare for this new, smaller world will be beneficial.”

 

Noble Academy

At Noble Academy — formerly Guilford Day School — in Greensboro, students are exposed a variety of cultures through Spanish instruction, trips to places like the Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro and the Museum of Anthropology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, hands-on activities like building the Berlin Wall, and visits from speakers from Ghana and other countries.

 

“As a school for children with learning differences, Noble Academy helps prepare students for the world that lies ahead by providing a nurturing and respectful environment where diversity is highly valued and respected,” says Clare Abel, academic dean.

 

“When students are taught in an environment such as ours — where each student’s learning style is unique and valued — they learn to critically think about themselves, others, and their learning,” she adds. “Topics such as fairness, tolerance, bias and prejudice are frequently explored. Actively participating in this learning environment helps prepare them for the world that lies ahead.”

 

St. Leo Parish Catholic School

At St. Leo Parish Catholic School in Winston-Salem, students in kindergarten through fifth grade can study Chinese, French, and Spanish language and culture, while Middle School students can specialize in a specific language.

 

Additionally, the student body celebrates the Chinese New Year each year and International Peace Day each September.

 

“Students wear heritage clothing and pray for understanding among all peoples of the world,” says Georgette Schraeder, principal.

 

“The celebration of cultural diversification brings hope for peaceful solutions to the world’s concerns regarding the environment, respect for individual freedom and nurturing of creativity,” she adds. “Students need to know a comfort with cultures different from their own.”

 

Westchester Country Day School

At Westchester Country Day School in High Point, the foreign language curriculum begins with both Mandarin and Spanish instruction in kindergarten. Students can continue to study these languages through high school and can add French in middle school.

 

Every three years, the school’s modern language department sponsors an International Day in which the community comes together to experience native foods, customs and music of different cultures.

 

“This day provides many of our families with a wonderful opportunity to share their family traditions with their children’s schoolmates,” says Betty Flythe, faculty dean and director of college guidance.

 

The school also recently hosted 24 students through the German American Partnership Program, while 13 Westchester students studied abroad in Germany.

 

“Whether we are talking about economics or education, our world is seeing borders dissolve,” says Gardner Barrier, assistant head of school and head of Westchester’s Upper School.

 

“It’s clear that multiculturalism has happened and that young people will need to be culturally fluent,” he adds. “The world that lies ahead is full of technological advancements that will mean that our students are heading into a world that is fast, diverse and global.”

 

Danielle Jackson is editor of Triad Living, Wake Living and Fifteen501 magazines.

Sweet aftertaste

Wines with dessert heighten culinary delight

by Despina G. Demetriades and Su Peterson

 

This fall, lift your next dinner to a higher level of culinary delight by topping off the evening with an exciting wine paired with dessert. We follow the philosophy that wine selection comes first, then choice of dessert; actually, we encourage this for all courses.

 

Some terrifically tasty autumn desserts include poached pears in red wine, La Tarte Tatin, key lime pie, pumpkin cheesecake, Three Berry Crème Brulee Pie with macadamia crust and Greek walnut cake, or Karidopeta. Alternative desserts include the three Cs: cookies, cheese and chocolate. At the end of a lovely dinner, they hold their own with the right wines and add a tantalizing joy to the evening.

 

Exquisite pairings

Poached pears in red wine make a perfect dessert after a red meat-focused dinner. While lighter than many desserts, the pear’s delicate flavors become elevated when paired with Brachetto d’Acqui. A sparkling red wine from Italy’s Piedmont region, Brachetto d’Acqui is a sweet, refreshing accompaniment to this dessert. Pears also can be poached in white wine and paired with Sauternes or German Riesling.

 

Julia Child herself prepared La Tarte Tatin on TV decades ago. Her recommendation to balance this buttery, caramelized apple and sweet cream dessert was a sparkling Vouvray wine. Vouvray, made with the Chenin Blanc grape, comes from France’s Loire Valley, which is known as the garden of France. A demi-sec sparkling Vouvray complements the caramelization in this dessert while adding a palate-refreshing experience with the Vouvray’s sparkle and freshness.

 

Key lime pie has just the right acidity, sweetness and intensity of flavor to release a waterfall on the palate. Such a zippy, sweet dessert needs a wine with a hint more sweetness while still having good acidity. Pair it with Beaumes de Venise, a sweet wine from France’s Rhône Valley that’s made with the Muscat grape. The aromas of tropical fruit, hints of honey and white flowers follow through onto the palate, matching perfectly with the pie’s flavors.

 

Pumpkin cheesecake — a fall staple — marries a favorite taste of autumn with a favorite dessert to deliver an outstanding taste experience, especially when paired with Sauternes or Champagne.

 

Berries abound this time of year, so bake a Three Berry Crème Brulee Pie with macadamia crust and enjoy it with Banyuls — a port-style sweet red wine — or Ruby Port. Karidopeta is an easy-to-prepare dessert that pairs exotically with a Greek Muscato or a Pessito from Italy.

 

The three Cs

Twice-baked cookies — better known as biscotti in Italy, Paximadia in Greece and Carquinyolis in Spain — come in a variety of flavors and consistencies. At the end of a delicious yet filling dinner, savor this dessert with a glass of Vin Santo, a sweet wine from Tuscany that’s made with Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes. Italians dunk their biscotti into Vin Santo, so when in Rome …

 

An intriguing, tasty pairing with regional cheeses is Jurançon, a sweet white wine from Southwest France. Regional cheeses include Roquefort, a blue cheese; Cabecou, made from goat’s milk; Cantal Laguiole, made from cow’s milk; and Ossau Iraty, made from sheep’s milk. Dessert-style Jurançon, typically made with Petit Manseng grapes, is not as sweet as most Sauternes but has flavors reminiscent of pineapple, orange zest, and honey drops, with floral notes. The winemaker might toss in some lesser-known grapes like Camaralet, Courbu and Lauzet for taste.

 

Last but certainly not least comes the dessert option of chocolate with a complex wine. Several selections pair nicely with white chocolate, including Moscato d’Asti and Muscat d’Orange. With milk chocolate, the palate likely prefers sparkling wine, Champagne or a good Ruby Port. Bring out a rich Pinot Noir for dark chocolates around 55 percent and Banyuls for fine chocolates over 60 percent. Generally aged about eight years in oak, Banyuls exudes red fruit accented with vanilla bean flavors. It’s a classic match that will create a splendid memory.

 

Whether you select a dessert before wine or take our audacious path of selecting wine first, visit your knowledgeable, independent wine retailer for assistance. The bottom line: Have fun and live.

 

Despina G. Demetriades and Su Peterson are co-owners of Zeto, a wine and cheese shop in Greensboro. To learn more, call (336) 574-2850 or visit www.zetowines.com.

 


How to serve dessert wine

A general rule of thumb for serving dessert wine is that it be sweeter than the dessert itself. Chill the wine to between 53 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit and serve a three-ounce pour per person. Taste the

Simple fall fare

by Chef Tara Davis

 

It seems that once the humidity subsides and the air becomes crisper, the entertaining commitments begin to stack up. We’ve all been there. You’ve been invited to a friend’s house for dinner far too many times, and now it’s time to reciprocate. But you’re tired, busy and are at a complete loss as to what to make.

 

Most of us have certain foolproof dishes to turn to when company is coming, yet often it’s the other required courses — namely dessert and appetizers — that leave us feeling overwhelmed.

 

In an effort to relieve some of this stress — and, dare I say, let you actually enjoy the cooking process as well as your guests — I’ve come up with a few dessert options that capture the flavors of the season and a super-easy appetizer that literally never disappoints.

 

Fall fare wouldn’t be complete without apples and pumpkins. In fact, I rarely cook with them other than this time of year. I’ve always loved apple crisp, in large part due to its irresistible buttery, crunchy streusel topping. It’s a brilliant contrast of texture with the softened apples and hits some of the salty-sweet flavor profile that I continually strive for in my cooking.

 

When I was younger, I used to make an apple-almond crisp — or should I say many of them — during fall months. A few years ago, I started making it into a pie instead. I know what you’re thinking: Why complicate things? But if you use a refrigerated pie crust, it makes putting this together a lot easier than making one from scratch, and you still get the benefits of both a pie and a crisp. To me, this is a match made in heaven.

 

I’m a big proponent of almonds and try to sneak them into different recipes. They’re rich in protein and omega 3s and are a good source of fat, and a little goes along way. I love how they complement the apples in this pie. Serve it warm à la mode with vanilla ice cream, and your guests will be reminded of the family dinners of their childhoods.

 

I also like to use almonds as a well-placed garnish for baked brie with apricots and honey. This is a quick, delicious appetizer that can be assembled ahead of time or à la minute, and it never fails to delight. You also can make a few at a time and give them out to friends or take to the next potluck. Simply layer phyllo dough sheets with melted butter, place a small wheel of brie in the center, top with apricot preserves, seal it up, and bake until golden brown and flaky. Then drizzle it with good-quality honey and sliced almonds. It’s wonderful served with whole-grain crackers and a sliced baguette. If you’re not a big fan of apricots, then you also can make this with fig preserves — both are equally delectable.

 

My cousin is a big fan of pumpkins, so each year I like to come up with new ways to surprise her. This year, I made a parfait. I start out with crushed gingersnaps, then make a pumpkin filling with whipped cream cheese and the standard pumpkin pie spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. I layer it with the cookies and a fresh cinnamon-scented whipped cream and let it sit overnight. It becomes a cool, creamy, almost cheesecake-like dessert with lots of pumpkin spice flavor. This makes a perfect end to a fall meal. It looks lovely and sophisticated served individually, yet it also gives that familiar taste of comfort that we’re all looking for this time of year.

 

I’m always searching for ways to cut down on day-of cooking time. These three recipes can be prepared ahead, leaving you with less to do before guests arrive — and hopefully enough time to do your hair.

 

Tara Davis is a personal chef and cooking instructor based in Chapel Hill. An active member of the Slow Foods USA/Triangle and a supporter of the local farm-to-table movement, she frequently offers group cooking demonstrations through her company, The Studious Chef. To learn more, visit www.studiouschef.com.

 


 

Fall recipes

Recipes by Chef Tara Davis  |  Photography by Flint Davis

 

baked brieHoneyed Baked Brie With Apricots and Almonds

(serves six)

 

12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

1/3-cup apricot preserves

1/4-cup sliced almonds

3-4 tablespoons honey

1 small wheel brie cheese (about 8 ounces)

1/4-cup butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay one sheet of phyllo vertically on the baking sheet, and brush with melted butter. Place another sheet of dough on top and brush with butter. Do this with six sheets. Then place the seventh through 12th sheets horizontally so that you have a cross of dough.

 

Place the brie in the center. Spread the apricot preserves on top.

 

Gently lift one end of the phyllo dough and bring it to the center. Holding it with your thumb and forefinger, fold and cinch the dough around the brie to make a bundle. Brush with remaining butter and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and flaky.

 

Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with almonds. Serve with crackers or a sliced baguette.

Pumpkin ParfaitPumpkin Gingersnap Parfaits

(serves six)

 

For the Parfaits and Pumpkin Filling:

1 cup gingersnap cookies, crushed

12 ounces whipped cream cheese

3/4-cup pumpkin puree

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4-teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4-teaspoon ground cloves

1/2-teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch of salt

 

For the Cinnamon Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

 

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and salt, and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.

 

To assemble, line up six parfait glasses or custard cups and sprinkle the bottoms of each with 1 to 2 tablespoons of gingersnap cookies, then cover with a large spoonful of the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle each with more gingersnaps, then a large spoonful of whipped cream. Repeat, layering until all ingredients have been used. End with a layer of whipped cream and garnish with remaining gingersnaps. Refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.

apple pieApple Almond Streusel Pie

(serves eight)

 

For the Streusel Topping:

1/2-cup unsalted butter, diced

1/4-cup all-purpose flour

3/4-cup brown sugar

1/2-cup oats

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4-cup sliced almonds

Pinch of salt

 

For the Pie:

1 refrigerated pie crust

5 Braeburn, Gala or Jonagold apples, peeled, cored,
and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1/4-cup all-purpose flour

1/4-cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4-teaspoon almond extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the streusel by combining all topping ingredients a bowl. Mix with your hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture forms small, pea-sized clumps. Set aside.

 

In a large mixing bowl, toss apples with flour, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and almond extracts until evenly coated.

 

Press pie crust into a 9-inch-deep pie plate and crimp the edges. Add apples to pie plate and sprinkle topping in an even layer over apples. Bake for 25 minutes, then place aluminum foil over the pie to prevent overbrowning. Continue to bake for another 25 minutes or until the top is golden and juices are bubbling.

Fine wine

Fine wine

Tours showcase state’s bounty

by Danielle Jackson

 

It’s hard to believe that almost 100 wineries call North Carolina home. The state — ranked No. 7 in the country in wine production — also is quickly becoming one of the top wine destinations in the country. And for good reason.

 

Located everywhere from the mountains to the coast, wineries offer a homegrown taste of what the state offers. And a growing movement is making sure that North Carolina residents know what’s available locally.

 

“Despite the fact that we have so many wineries, there are still people just realizing that we have a wine industry here,” says Margo Knight Metzger, executive director for the North Carolina Wine and Grape Council, an advocacy group established in 1986 to promote the industry.

 

“We try to make sure everyone knows that there’s a winery nearby,” she adds. “No matter where you live in the state, there’s a winery within 100 miles.”

 

The state of grapes

Winemaking actually is quite a tradition in North Carolina. The first commercial winery was established in 1835, with 25 wineries in operation by 1900. The state was leading the country in wine production by the turn of the 20th century, but in 1919 Prohibition drew everything to a halt.

 

“A few wineries managed to stay in business making juice and Communion wine,” Metzger says.

 

The late 1990s were a time of resurgence for the North Carolina wine industry, with the number of wineries jumping to 34 by 2004. Today, there are 96 throughout the state, with the heaviest concentration in the western Piedmont.

 

“The Piedmont area is becoming known for it vineyards and excellent wines,” says Scott Stanley, owner and general manager of Autumn Creek Vineyards in Mayodan.

 

North Carolina wineries focus on two varieties: native Muscadine and European-style Vinifera grapes.

 

Muscadine grapes — also known as Scuppernong, the official fruit of North Carolina — thrive in the hot, sandy conditions of the coastal region, while Vinifera — with varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, and Viognier — primarily are grown in the Piedmont and western regions.

 

“If you think about the state and how varied it is from the high mountains to the foothills to the clay of the Piedmont and sand of the flat, coastal plains, you’ll see that we grow different grapes for all of these places,” Metzger notes.

 

“Each wine has a sense of place, wherever it’s coming from.”

 

Autumn Creek, for instance, has a 100-acre farm with 15 acres of vines and offers 12 varieties, from dry reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to whites such as Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio.

 

A whirlwind of wine

To showcase these varieties at wineries throughout the state, the North Carolina Wine and Grape Council helps promote the dozens of wine trails available.And with N.C. Wine Appreciation Month in September, it’s a better time than ever to see the state’s wine growers in action.

 

“It’s farming at its core,” Metzger says of the industry.

 

“I have been amazed at the resiliency of the people in this business, and impressed with their ability to weather a variety of storms, both economic and traditional.”

 

Autumn Creek is one such success story. The vineyard, which features a tasting room in addition to cabins for weekend getaways, is adding a 6,000-square-foot pavilion for hosting larger indoor and outdoor weddings and other events.

 

“We are committed to becoming the premier vineyard in the Triad and plan to continue to add to our facility with the addition of two more planned cabins, as well as with the planting of additional grape vines,” Stanley says.

 

Metzger notes that in addition to the quantity of wineries available today, quality has improved as well.

 

“There are so many North Carolina wines that I’m proud to pour for people,” she says.

 

“For those who think they know North Carolina wine but haven’t tried it lately, I’d suggest trying it again.”

 

Danielle Jackson is editor of Triad Living, Wake Living and Fifteen501 magazines.

 


On the wine trail

Fall is the perfect time to head to any one of the region’s many wineries and explore all that winemaking in North Carolina has to offer.

 

Check out these trails — all within an hour or so — to take it all in. For a full list or for a map of the state’s many wine trails, call toll-free (877) 362-9463 or visit www.visitncwine.com.

 

Haw River Wine Trail: Conveniently located between the Triangle and Triad, this set of four wineries follows the path of the Haw River and features European varietals such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Savignon, Muscadine wines like Carlos and Magnolia, and dessert wines made from blackberries and strawberries. Wineries include Benjamin Vineyards & Winery in Saxapahaw, GlenMarie Vineyards & Winery in Burlington, Grove Winery in Gibsonville, and Glen Iron Gate Vineyards in Mebane.

 

Piedmont Heritage Wine Trail: This relaxing drive through the rolling hills and farmland of the northern Piedmont region includes stops at Stonefield Cellars in Stokesdale, Grove Winery in Gibsonville, Chinqua Penn Vineyards in Reidsville and Autumn Creek Vineyards in Mayodan. These wineries feature almost every type of wine imaginable, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Muscadine varieties like Carlos and Niagara.

 

Yadkin Valley Wine’s Lexington Loop: This tour of four Yadkin Valley wineries takes you through prime farmland just southwest of Winston-Salem. Wineries on the tour include Childress Vineyards, Weathervane Winery and Junius Lindsay Vineyard in Lexington, and RayLen Vineyards in Mocksville.

 

Yadkin Valley Wine’s Scenic 421 Corridor: This trail — which meanders along a section of U.S. Highway 421 — stretches from Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge in Purlear to Alison Oaks Vineyards and Hanover Park Vineyard in Yadkinville to Westbend Vineyards in Lewisville.

Key West kick

The Village Grill remains a local favorite after 25 years

by Danielle Jackson

 

In July 1985, Randy Cox’s dream of opening his own restaurant came true. After eight years in food service and seven as manager of The Cutting Board Restaurant in Burlington, Cox was eager to have a place he could call his own. When property owners approached him with an opportunity to open his own place on Huffman Mill Road, he jumped at the chance.

 

Twenty-five years — and two additional restaurants — later, Cox’s creation, The Village Grill, still stands as one of Alamance County’s most popular eateries.

 

The restaurant — best described as an American grill with a Key West feel — is known for its signature Key West Chicken and fresh seafood specialties.

 

“The folks at The Cutting Board had been very good to me, and I didn’t want to be in direct competition with them as another steakhouse,” Cox says of his decision to focus on white-meat entrees.

 

A focus on fresh

Cox and his business partner, Wayne Bunting, say their focus on fresh, locally grown foods is a primary reason for The Village Grill’s success over the years. There’s no such thing as a bagged salad or frozen seafood at the restaurant, and all dressings and desserts — including its signature key lime pie, chocolate pie and strawberry shortcake — are created on the premises.

 

The Village Grill also serves North Carolina-raised poultry, locally made beer from nearby Red Oak Brewery, wines from Iron Gate Vineyards & Winery in Mebane and Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, and fresh local produce whenever possible. A new fresh seafood item is featured every week, from mahi and ahi tuna to crab cakes and grilled Atlantic salmon.

 

But the restaurant’s Key West Chicken remains a fan favorite. There’s an entire section of the menu dedicated to the specialty, which is marinated and tenderized on site. The marinade, which has a citrus and lime juice base, includes a specialized mix of brown sugar, red wine vinegar, and mustard, among other ingredients.

 

“We put a lot of time and energy into it,” Bunting says of the marinade.

 

The eatery’s décor — designed as an island theme with help from local artist John Wade — ties into its Key West theme. The Village Grill includes an open, airy dining room that seats up to 150 people and a bar in the back.

 

“We’re a restaurant in the bar business, not a bar in the restaurant business,” Bunting notes.

 

Cox and Bunting — who met while working for Biscuitville and also own the Blue Ribbon Diners in Burlington and Mebane — often can be seen around the restaurant, clearing tables after a busy lunch. It’s this focus on customer service that they also say keeps patrons coming back.

 

“Offering good service and good food have always been key elements in the success of The Village Grill,” Cox says.

 

Danielle Jackson is editor of Triad Living, Wake Living and Fifteen501 magazines.

 


Shrimp and Grits

(serves six to eight; recipe by Wesley Cook)

 

For the Stone-Ground Cheese Grits:

1/3-cup or about 1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/2-cup onion, thinly diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 quarts or 6 cups chicken or shrimp stock

2 cups water

2 cups stone-ground grits

1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2-teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded

1/4-cup Parmesan, shredded

2 ounces butter

1/2-cup heavy cream

 

Rub the red bell pepper with some vegetable oil. Roast at 425 degrees or under a broiler until skin turns black, constantly turning it over to cook evenly. Place pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to help loosen the skin. Remove blackened skin and core, then dice and set aside.

 

Place a teaspoon of oil and diced onion in a saucepan and sauté on medium-high until softened and golden. Add garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add roasted red pepper, stock and water, and bring mixture to a boil. Add grits and stir vigorously with a whisk. Let the mixture come back to a boil, then let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. While grits are cooking, prepare the shrimp (see below).

 

After grits are cooked, remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Cover with foil and set aside.

 

For the Shrimp:

36 to 40 shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails on

2 tablespoons blackening spice or Creole seasoning

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large tomato, diced

1/2-pound Andouille or another spicy sausage, diced

1/3-bottle white wine

 

In a bowl, toss shrimp with spices. Heat a large sauté pan on medium-high with oil, then add sausage and tomato and cook until sausage starts to turn a darker brown. Add shrimp to pan and cook on one side. Turn shrimp over and deglaze pan with enough white wine to cover the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until wine has mostly evaporated and shrimp are opaque. Remove from heat.

 

To serve, scoop grits into large bowls or plates and place about six shrimp on top of each. Pour tomatoes, sausage and wine over top.

 


If you go

The Village Grill is located at 580 Huffman Mill Road, across from Holly Hill Mall in Burlington. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To learn more, call (336) 584-1497 or visit www.bestfoodintown.com.

Make way for fall

Some fashion trends making a comeback this season

by Meg Wilkins Strader

 

 

Fall offers a wide range of opportunities to enjoy special occasions or outdoor activities. As we slip out of summer and head into fall, keep some of these updated trends in mind when sprucing up your wardrobe.

 

As always, color plays a major role this season. But the vibrant shades from the spring and summer palette are toned down, with jeweltones of amethyst, peacock teal, and maroon appearing in designers’ offerings. For added appeal, these colors and designs are frequently accented with sparkling sequins, hand-sewn leather pailletes, and other forms of leather trim.

 

Leather jackets are back, and the fashion industry has done a fabulous job of keeping them affordable, especially with new faux leather fabrications.

 

Skirts are always an important element, and this fall the tulip cut is a flattering option. It’s a sophisticated silhouette that can be complemented with a nice pair of patterned tights. This season’s tights range from dots and stripes to argyles and cable knits. Leggings are back as well, offering versatility in both denim and Ponte, a versatile fabric.

 

Ponte is great for its comfortable stretch that maintains its shape. It’s also ideal for travel because it packs and wears well, and you can dress it up or down. Corduroy has made quite a showing in fall offerings as well. Both corduroy and Ponte can be found in multiple colors.

 

Denim, of course, remains a timeless favorite and is available this season in boot, skinny, and straight legs. Be sure to look for denim that’s lacquered, a treatment process that gives it a sheen that’s perfect for a dressier look.

 

If you weren’t quite ready for the exposed zipper that found its way into many spring and summer designs, then you have another shot to embrace it this fall. It can be found all over and offers a simple statement of interest on classic styles.

 

Studs also can be found on a wide range of designs, from leggings, pants and jackets to shoes, handbags, and tops. Shoulder pads also have found their way back into tops this season, as well as a high-low hemline that offers more coverage over the hips. This is a sleek look that works well with a military-style jacket and skinny pants.

 

Cool weather always beckons us to make some much-needed wardrobe changes. Keep these trends in mind as you’re shopping this fall, and incorporate them into your own personal style.

 

Meg Wilkins Strader is owner of Simply Meg’s, a clothing boutique located at The Shops at Friendly Center in Greensboro. To learn more, call (336) 272-2555 or visit www.simplymegs.com.