Archives by: Estelle Rodis-Brown

Estelle Rodis-Brown

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About the author

Estelle Rodis-Brown is a freelance writer and photographer from northeast Ohio whose insatiable curiosity secures her enduring commitment to lifelong learning.

Estelle Rodis-Brown Posts

NEO Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Local, Off-Beat and (Just a Little Bit) Lazy

2018 Editions Latest News Magazine November December 2018 Resources


You make your list; you check it twice. Then there’s nothing nicer than settling back in your comfy chair and shopping online for all the gifts you need for the holidays. This season, you can support small, local business owners who sell meaningful, creative gifts while enjoying the convenience of online shopping.

Earlier this year, votes from 36,000 Northeast Ohioans were compiled into The Cleveland Hot List, featuring 6,690 businesses competing for the title of greater Cleveland’s best through CityVoter, an online ballot. Within that listing were 58 nominees for Best Gift Shop.

We whittled finalists into these top-rated gift shops that also offer online shopping. From fun stocking stuffers to keepsake legacy items, you can buy creative and meaningful gifts from local shopkeepers — all from the comfort of your own home.


STEM Handmade Soaps

This small company offers premium handcrafted soaps, using 100 percent all-natural ingredients. Only high-quality pure vegetable oils and high-concentration glycerin are innovatively combined to create hydrating soaps. Products also include lip balm, deodorant, body butter, scented candles, men’s grooming products, hygiene accessories, pet shampoos and gift sets.

Price range: $3-$40

12405 Madison Ave., Lakewood

Wood Thingamajigs

A female veteran-owned and -operated woodworking shop, this may be Northeast Ohio’s premier source for all custom furniture, home items, decor and outdoor games. Products include cutting boards, Cleveland- and Ohio-themed wall hangings, customized family trees and special orders.

Price range: $10-$125

Newbury Township

Earth Angels Holistic Health

Earth Angels Boutique provides “Tools for better living — Release. Balance. Restore.” Products include incense sticks and burners, worry stones, selenite and quartz products, gemstone sets, salt lamps, sterling silver/stone jewelry, and even an Amethyst Geode Calcite Quartz Healing Empowerment stone.

Price range: $2.50-$185

3518 Scranton Road, Cleveland

The Framer’s Gallery

Choose from a wide selection of artwork and gifts created by local, regional, national and international artists.

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Yvonne’s Story: Determination + Staff Teamwork = a Successful Homecoming after Rehab

Health & Wellness Relationships
Yvonne speaks all five languages better than ever. A few months ago, she addressed an audience of 200, speaking in fluent Latvian. And now, she is writing a book (in English) about her childhood. She plans to renew her expired passport and travel back to Europe. The sky’s the limit. ...
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ER, Urgent Care or Home Remedies? Make the Right Call at the Right time

Grandparenting Health & Wellness Magazine September/October 2018
A child should be seen right away if they seem sluggish, won’t eat or drink, appear mottled, have cool hands and feet (suggesting shock), have difficulty breathing or have an unusual rash such as purple spots under the skin. ...
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Lucy’s Story: Motivation, the Hidden Ingredient in Cookies

Caregiving Personal Improvement Relationships
Cookies aren't just cookies when they're Lucy's homemade cookies. They are an overwhelming expression of thanksgiving, a motivation for healing, and an inspiration for the rest of us to follow as we continue to serve our community in measurable and meaningful ways. ...
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Backyard Bounty – Community Gardens Nurture Neighborhoods — and Neighbors

Food & Nutrition March/April 2018 Outdoors Things to do
“Every time I step into this garden, I’m transported to a place of green that inspires me to be strong and beautiful, like the plants growing here. My garden has been a huge mentor. It has helped me to slow down, slough off the cares of the day, and remind me of the joy of seeing the first blossom on the tomato plant. I experience renewed joy and awe every time I see another one.” — Argerie Vasilakes ...
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Giving is Good for You – So Now What?

2017 Editions Health & Wellness November/December 2017 Personal Improvement
It makes sense: the more we give, the more we get. But what exactly are we getting? This year, why not develop your generosity gene and reap the rewards - you'll be glad you did. ...
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Freedom Finding

Featured July/August 2017 Personal Improvement

Let Freedom Ring

Define Your Time




By Estelle Rodis-Brown



Ahh, freedom.


From the page of our nation’s Declaration of Independence to the pages of our lives, nothing’s quite so sweet as the intoxicating ring of freedom — the certain unalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.


Yet, if you really think about it (or read the full Declaration), you must accept freedom from something before you can pursue freedom to something better.


Stretching Limits


After midlife, we experience a cascade of new freedoms, if we can see change in a positive light. Whether it’s a newly empty nest, the absence of a partner, retirement or downsizing, each change represents a freedom from old obligations and expectations. This opens up new possibilities: freedom.


Suddenly, you find yourself with time and space that you didn’t have before. Don’t fritter them away on daytime TV and falling into the same old ruts left over from that previous life. Instead, satisfy old longings you never gave yourself permission to pursue before. Join that class you were afraid someone else would think was silly. Take that trip you talked yourself out of before. Paint your living room that bold color you always wished you could. Reach out for better relationships. Because guess what? Now you can.


Big Changes, A Life Redefined


Perhaps no one better illustrates the dramatic before-and-after equation of life than Brenda Formberg of Ravenna.


When midlife hit Formberg, so did a slew of unwelcome changes: She divorced. Her daughter left for college. There was a second cancer diagnosis, job loss, and the resulting need to find a new home.


Her outlook seemed hopeless as pieces of her once-stable life fell apart. Eventually, Brenda emerged with renewed vigor for the pursuit of life, liberty and, yes, happiness.

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The Value of Play

Health & Wellness Hobbies May/June 2017 Personal Improvement

Recess for Grown-ups

Up Your Play Game


By Estelle Rodis-Brown


“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”


As it turns out, this old proverb rings true, far into adulthood. Too much work and not enough playtime can damage your attitude, your social life and — in full circle fashion — even your productivity. So put play to work for you.


Do You Play?


Our society tends to reject play for adults. Play is considered unproductive, petty, even a guilty pleasure. Adulthood forces us to get serious and set aside childish ways. Between personal and professional responsibilities, there’s no time to play anyway — or so we think.


However, play is just as important for adults as it is for kids, and it should not be neglected. Play brings joy and rejuvenation. It’s also vital for problem solving, creativity and relationships.


In that case, what qualifies as play? Kathryn Orantek is the personal training coordinator for health, physical education and recreation programs at Lorain County Community College. She says, “Play is any activity, structured or unstructured, that allows adults to let go of their inhibitions, forget about the outside world and just have fun.”


Considering her background in health and wellness, Orantek “would love to see people spend more time engaging in physical activity while playing, but I suppose you could apply it to games, coloring, puzzles and such.”


No Goal? That’s the Idea


Play is a state of being that’s purposeless, fun and pleasurable, psychiatrist Stuart Brown, M.D., says in his book “Play.”


The focus is more on the experience than on accomplishing a goal. Play can be art, books, movies, music, comedy, flirting and daydreaming, says Brown, who founded the National Institute for Play.


Ultimately, play is a process that stirs up surprise, pleasure, understanding and strength of mind, body and spirit.

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