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Mariam Khoury Briggs

I have had an appreciation for art for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are wrapped up in crayon boxes and stacks of white paper just waiting to be colored on. Today, not much has changed. I still feel the energy of that little girl who used to sit and draw for hours without end, in hopes her creations would make the refrigerator door. This hobby turned into my college major and ultimately into my career. Admittedly, I enjoy dabbling in many genres of art: furniture refinishing, murals, portraits, and wall décor. However, I have recently concentrated on smaller scale pieces, such as portrait work and illustration. My passion for exploring these mediums, coupled with a love for all things art, continually stimulate and shape my creativity. It is an expression of everything that I am, everything I was, and everything I will become.

Mariam Khoury Briggs is a 2002 graduate of the University of Iowa, where she majored in Studio Art and Communication Studies. Her career as an artist began by painting nursery room murals, and she has been building an extensive portfolio for 15+ years. Mariam is a freelance artist who works from her home studio, where she resides with her husband and three children.

Instagram: @yellowbrick_creativestudio
Facebook: Yellow Brick(http://facebook.com/ybrickart)

Molly Crusen Bishop

Molly grew up in Peoria’s historic West Bluff. The humble blue house she called ‘home’ was built in 1885 by her great grandparents, Patrick and Ellen McGowan Needham, who were poor Irish immigrants. They left County Leitrim, Ireland, in the late 1860s seeking job opportunities in the United States, and settled in Peoria, Illinois. Patrick worked for the Rock Island Railroad as a clerk, and Ellen was said to have walked all over the West Bluff raising funds to help build Saint Mark’s Church. Molly was the fourth generation to be raised in this home, which is still standing on Barker Avenue. Growing up in a historic district, and surrounded by beautiful mansions and darling cottages, Molly developed a passion for history and an appreciation for historic architecture. This also shaped her love for researching and discovering the stories of our ancestors, and becoming a story teller for these “Tales from the Whiskey City.”

Golden Reflections by Tracy Geisz

Golden Reflections by Tracy Geisz

“If you want to be young, you need to have young friends,” recommends Shirley Moore.

Can you imagine living 36,500+ days and still having the excitement to see what is next? Shirley Moore is 100 years young, born on May 25, 1921, at Proctor Hospital in Peoria. She graduated from Pekin High School in 1939 and married her high school sweetheart, Alfred “Baldy” Moore, on America’s Birthday, July 4th. They were married for 48 years before Baldy’s passing. She remembers when the going rate for office work or a job at the factory was $0.50 an hour.

It didn’t take long to get this South Pekin resident to start sharing her stories. I only wish you could hear her infectious laugh. She was ready for me to ask my questions as we enjoyed a pork chop sandwich.

Tracy: “What is something you did in your life that was your most favorite thing?”

Shirley: “Going to Charlevoix, Michigan. I love the beach and the water!”

Tracy: “What are you most proud of in your life?”

Shirley: “My son and his two children.”

Tracy: “What are some things you discovered that are most important in life?”

Shirley: “The Lord. My strength. My gift of organization. Having fun. I love to garden and I am not afraid to get dirty. Loving my friends.”

Tracy: “How did you overcome the obstacles you faced in your life?”

Shirley: “With my strength, determination, and persistence!”

Tracy: “What does it take to be happy in life?”

Shirley: “Not a whole lot: two meals a day and a roof over your head. One more thing: Sex on the Beach. The drink.”(There was a great story with that one but I am unable to share.)

Tracy: “What was one of your favorite places to eat, shop, or hang out in Peoria?”

Shirley: “Hunt’s Drive-In was always fun. I loved shopping at Shradskees, Bergners, and Block & Kuhl.”

Tracy: “Who has made the biggest impact on your life and why?”

Shirley: “My Dad. He was a happy-go-lucky Irishman. I could talk to him about anything and everything. He called me “Jack” because he wanted a boy. He never criticized me. He would ask me if I would take the time and think about this or that in my life. Also my Grandma, Ada Barr. She was a feisty, red hot Democrat. She taught me how to cook. She would come over for Sunday dinner and in a teaching way analyze my dinner and give me tips on how to make it better. “Tracy: “What was it about your spouse that you knew he was the one?”

Shirley: “He showed me a lot of love.”

Tracy: “If you could visit any place you’ve already traveled, where would it be and why?”

Shirley: “Besides Charlevoix, Michigan, the time I took Amtrak from Bloomington to Seattle. I loved being on the train with the people and I loved the food.”

Tracy: “How did you get to be 100?”

Shirley: “I have been asked that question a lot lately and it really irritates me! I grew up differently than everyone else. I didn’t go to a doctor until I was 82. When I grew up everyone had a garden, fruit trees, and a grape arbor. We were outside to work in the garden or to play—we were not sitting in our living rooms. It’s also important to have a good sense of humor. Life gives you valleys and mountain tops—just have fun! Also, stop complaining about your aches and pains. We all have aches and pains but I don’t advertise it. My secret to living to 100? Don’t hang out with old people!”

There are five generations alive in Shirley’s family right now. She talked lovingly of her family and told hilarious stories of days gone by. I had the biggest smile in my heart after our interview. Her smile and energy is contagious. I didn’t want the moment to end

Jenny Witt

Jenny Witt is a Certified Montessori Infant Toddler Teacher, a Certified Early Childhood and Primary Teacher, a Director of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Why Therapy? by Amanda Crusen

Why Therapy? by Amanda Crusen

“It could always be worse.”
“I’m not struggling as much as someone else may be.”
“I’m just overreacting.”
“I’m just being too sensitive.”
“I just need to get over this.”
“I should be able to handle this.”
“We’re all in this together!”

Do any of these phrases sound familiar? While they help us to cope, too often they also discredit and invalidate our struggles, causing us to put them off or not deal with them at all. They are frequently the things we tell ourselves that keep us from reaching out to others. But what if instead of shrugging off our struggles, we could face them? What if being brave didn’t have to mean facing things alone, but rather, with a friend? What if instead of convincing ourselves that we can manage, why not just simply ask for help?

Mental health and self-care are overlooked as part of our overall health, yet therapy and mental health are an integral part of self-care. A healthy mind makes for a truly healthy you, because if your mind isn’t healthy, this is going to affect every other part of your life: job performance, friendships, relationships, your ability to parent your children, and even your physical health and well-being.

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that these “unprecedented” 18 months have taken a toll: adjustments, transitions, isolation, cancellations, and so much more. After the year we’ve all been through, more than ever, therapy may be helpful for you and your loved ones. Finding a good therapist may help you go from just surviving and coping, to being able to more fully embrace your life and your experiences.

People choose therapy for a number of reasons. Some of these may include:

Depression: Some experience situational depression or seasonal depression, but others may have struggled with depression symptoms for as long as they can remember.

Anxiety: Not being able to cope with or handle things as you once could; feeling over whelmed or scared for no particular reason. Feeling nervous or fearful about situations that are benign or should be something we can handle.

Setting Healthy Boundaries: So many find it challenging to set parameters at work, at home, and with family members. This may be your struggle if you have a difficult time saying “no” or tend to be a people-pleaser.

Problem Solving: Getting an objective outsider can help you to see a problem from another angle and help to solve the problem.

Life Transitions: There are so many various transitions in life, learning how to adjust to something new: a new job, a move to a new city, a new baby, a new home. Even positive change scan be stressful.

Dealing with difficult family situations and relationships: Families have rich and diverse histories. Every emotion can be experienced here. For some, family life and childhood memories are happy and safe. For others, family life is, at best, strained. When relationships are dysfunctional and family get-togethers cause dread, therapy can help you deal with these situations.

Work Stress: Work can be stressful in general, but many careers can be fraught with trauma. Unfortunately, this trauma can be considered as “just part of the job.”

This list is not exhaustive. Other struggles like stress, past trauma, parenting difficulties, grief, or Postpartum Depression can all be helped with therapy. So what do you do if you would like to find a therapist?

How to Find a Good Therapist for You
Seeking therapy is a brave and strong move. Confiding personal and private things to a complete stranger—things you may have never told anyone else—is hard and requires vulnerability. You have to find someone you trust.

  • Ask your friends, just like you would ask a friend for a hair stylist recommendation.
  • www.psychologytoday.com offers profiles for therapists in your area, detailing their biographies, specialities and appointment hours. This service is free of charge—just type in your zip code and options will be shown.

It is important to understand that not every therapist will be a good a fit for every person—you may have to see a few to decide if a certain therapist is a good fit for you. And if you’ve had aless than favorable experience with therapy in the past, I hope you are willing to give it another try.

Have questions or comments? you can send in your thoughts to [email protected].

DISCLAIMER: The opinions and advice found in this article are based on this writer’s experience. When necessary, talk with a medical professional before making decisions about your personal health. Neither Amanda Crusen nor Construction Beauty Magazine are responsible for any choices made based on this article.

Anne Schutt, MBA

Associate Lead Advisor, Waite Financial Group

Tequila Ria

Here’s a cocktail to jumpstart Hispanic Heritage Month! Mezcal is a refreshingly tart margarita made with mezcal, hibiscus flowers, and fresh lime juice. This cocktail is not only delicious but also healthy! Did you know that research has uncovered a range of health benefits linked to drinking hibiscus tea? The research shows that it may lower blood pressure, fight bacteria, and even aid weight loss.


Hibiscus syrup

  • 1/2 cup (120 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
  • Hibiscus tea bags or dried hibiscus flowers

Margarita (for one drink)

  • 2 ounces (60 ml) mezcal
  • 2 ounces (60 ml) fresh lime juice
  • 4 ounces (120 ml) Hibiscus Syrup
  • Coarse salt and sliced lime for rimming the glass
  • Ice

Make the syrup

  • Whisk the sugar and water in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and add the teabags (or hibiscus flowers). Let steep 20 minutes. Remove teabags or pour through a strainer. Cool syrup completely in the refrigerator until cold. Makes enough for 4 drinks.

To mix one drink

  • Put about 2 tablespoons salt on a small plate. Run the flesh of a lime wedge over the rim of a glass, then turn the glass upside down on the salt, turning the glass to coat the rim. Fill the glass with ice.
  • Pour the mezcal, lime juice, and Hibiscus Syrup in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake or stir vigorously until well mixed. Pour over the ice-filled glass. Garnish with a slice of lime. Cheers!

How is mezcal different from tequila?
Mezcal is sparkling clear just like tequila, but has a seductively smoky finish that brings a very sexy zing to cocktails. Also, Mezcal is made by fermenting agave juice, just like tequila is.
Technically, both spirits fall into the category of mezcals.

In December of 2020 Christell Frausto founded Tequilaria, an unconventional liquor store. She created the shop with women in mind—a place where they feel comfortable, safe, and excited to try new and unique products. Tequilaria specializes in Tequila, Mezcal, bourbons, and offers a wide selection of wine, beer, and spirits. When you visit, you will be welcomed by a friendly staff and can even sample products in the tasting room. Tequilaria is an experience—not just a place to shop. You can keep up with Tequilaria through social media at @tequilariapeoria on Instagram and Tequilaria Wine and Spirits on Facebook.