Hobby Jam

What People Do For Fun

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Gina Marta

Gina Marta is a Registered EEG Technologist who works at several hospitals in the Chicago area. Even after attending EEG school at the Medical Careers Institute and becoming board-registered, Gina still believes that there is plenty of room for growth and continued on-the-job education. Working as a Registered EEG Technologist gives Gina the opportunity to interact with a dedicated team of medical professionals, all workings towards the goal of helping patients feel better. While at work, Gina strives go above and beyond, not just completing the EEG exam but also making patients feel at ease and relaxed throughout the entire procedure.

Although Gina Marta very much enjoys her career as a Registered EEG Technologist, she believes that everyone needs activities to unwind and de-stress. Here are a few of her favorite hobbies:

What is your hobby?

I have several hobbies that I’m very passionate about. I enjoy Kriya Yoga and Meditation and reading, but I also very much enjoy cooking.

How did you get started with these hobbies? What inspired you?

With work comes stress. I think that everyone needs effective ways to de-stress so that their daily worries don’t overcome them. I can’t remember exactly when I discovered Kriya Yoga and Meditation but I’m thankful I did. It keeps me feeling Zen and helps me put things into perspective.

As for cooking, I’ve always been interested in food. My mother was always a great cook and I picked up a lot from her. When I travel or read about food from different countries, I like to try to re-create that food for my family and friends.

What do you love about cooking?

It’s a great way to bring people together and transport yourself to other places. Not everyone can afford to travel the world, but food can be a great way to explore. There are so many unique foods that come from so many far away places and most of the ingredients you’ll need can be found at a local grocery store.

Most recipes you can find online but there’s something special about receiving handwritten recipes from loved ones. Cooking by yourself is fun but I love cooking with other people as well. Food is a great way to bring people together.

Have you invested in any gear or equipment for your hobby? If so, what?

There is always new cooking equipment that I’m picking up. The basics like pots and pans but also items that are used more for exotic food items. I just recently picked up a tofu press, which gets all the water out of your tofu without having to use multiple paper towels, eliminating unnecessary waste.

I’m constantly finding new things that I want to buy for my kitchen and could spend ages in a cooking equipment store. I’ve accumulated quite a collection at this point but there is always room for more.

How would you say your hobbies have changed your life?

I would say that my hobbies have made my life much happier. Kriya Yoga and Meditation helps me relax and cooking is what I enjoy doing and sharing with my friends and family. Without my hobbies I think I would have a lot more stress and a lot less happiness.

Do you have any advice for others just getting into any of your hobbies?

For yoga, don’t be afraid to go to classes. It’s always intimidating trying something new, but I guarantee that everyone in the yoga studio or Kriya center is looking for the same thing you are: relaxation. For cooking, go outside of your comfort zone. There are a ton of good foods out there from all over the world. You won’t know if you like if you don’t try it!


To learn more about Gina’s career as a Registered EEG Technologist, visit this link:




Jonah Engler

Jonah Engler is an intrepid philanthropist and business owner from Brooklyn, New York. He enjoys every aspect of the giving community from mentoring young kids to running his own charities. His background allows him to bring unique methods and ideas to the table as a business owner. Jonah has developed efficient and synergistic methods to deliver the best aspects of non-profits. However, Jonah is not always all about business; he enjoys seeking out new foods, the next best cup of coffee, and family time with his children. Jonah was first introduced to charity through his mother at a young age. He carries the tradition on through his children today. Jonah believes including his family in his endeavors creates a closer bond and develops values they can learn from. He wishes more organizations followed what they preach when it comes to charities. If more organizations followed the methods Jonah created, more can be accomplished, and the affects can carry into their mission productively.

What is your hobby?

It is difficult to just pick one, but I would say giving back. I really enjoy running and working with charities.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

Charity was instilled in me when I was young, my mother works for United Federation of Teachers (UFT) where she showed me the inner-workings of a charity and all the good they can do.

Tell us what you love about it.

The aspect of giving back and helping others is the absolute favorite part of what I do

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

There are many that deserve to be mentioned; however, that list would be exhaustive. The top charities I work with, aside from my own, are Children of Promise, National Breast Cancer Foundation, AIDS fund, and Robinhood Foundation.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I have not personally had to invest in much other than the typical laptop. However, we have acquired many recreational items and electronics to help others through our charities.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

We look to get equipment through local sources to support the community further.

Are there any good books for beginners?

Nonprofit Startup: A Simple Guide to Starting a Charity and Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits are both excellent books to help anyone interested in starting a charity.

How has this changed your life?

Charities have drastically changed the way I act and treat others. Not that I was a bad person before or anything (Chuckles), it’s more that I engage in conversation more, listen to what people have to say, show interest in what interests them, for starters. Growing up in a city where everyone is in a constant rush, it can completely change your outlook if you just take the extra time to converse with others.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

If you want to start a charity for a cause you believe in, first make sure there isn’t already an existing one. Make sure you have the passion and legitimate means to put forth the effort in creating a startup. Starting a charity is not an easy task and it will take a lot to achieve, but if the cause is worth it, it is worth it to do.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

When I am not working with others you can find me eating food and drinking coffee. My passion for delicious food and coffee is more than enough to be considered a hobby.

Jacques Poujade

Jacques Poujade has spent his entire adult life in the working in different areas of the financial world. Currently, he is a managing partner at LendPlus, an alternative mortgage lender. Despite being in the mortgage business, he still has time for his favorite hobby, playing piano. Here is a closer look at what he loves outside of the office.

What is your hobby exactly?

Piano at first was looked at as something I was forced to do. I’m sure a lot of people have been forced to take lessons as a youngster. I soon realized though that it was very fun and enjoyable. I stepped away from it during my teenage years, but have been playing steadily since college.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

My inspiration came from my family, as most everyone is able to play at least a little bit. It’s a fun way to learn a musical instrument, and I wanted to be like everyone else.

What do you love about it?

When I look at the piano, I look at it as a frustrating way to relax. Most might not think that frustrating and relaxing go together, but it is a fun type of frustration. I’m constantly trying to improve, learn new songs and more, but it’s enjoyable. Since it’s a hobby, I don’t stress out about it.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I’m not much of a performer, although I will play in front of family and friends. I kind of like that part about the piano. I can do it on my own time. So I don’t really participate in groups related to the piano or anything like that.

Have you invested in any gear or equipment for your hobby? If so, what?

In the beginning, I pretty much just played on older pianos that I received for free. It wasn’t until I was established in my career that I started to invest a little into my hobby.

Currently, I have one main piano, and then a digital keyboard that can be packed up and stored away. I like to play both of them. The main piano sounds a lot better, but it can’t be played late at night. With my digital piano, I am able to plug in headphones and play at all hours of the day. Not only that, but it also helps to take the piano on the road if I am going to visit family or friends.

In total, I’ve probably invested a few thousand dollars into piano. That might sound like a lot, but anyone who is familiar with really nice pianos know that this hobby can get super expensive.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I haven’t made a purchase for my piano playing in a while, so I don’t necessarily have a go-to supplier at the moment. For my hobby in particular, it is best to shop online for new and used. A lot of gently used pianos are out there on the market for people to consider. If you can end up saving 50% off the sticker price because someone used it a few hours, it’s worth it.

Are there any good books for beginners?

There are so many piano books out there that it would be impossible to count them all! However, I will say, I think YouTube is perfect for people who are trying to learn. Seeing the hand placement and everything can help out a lot more than reading music. It takes a pretty advanced piano player to read music properly.

How has this changes your life?

I think that piano has really helped me relax in my job. I don’t worry about things when I’m playing piano. I really do get lost in the music.

Any advice for those trying to learn piano?

Like anything, just stick with it. If it is something you enjoy, eventually it will click. There is a learning curve, but the breakthroughs are worth it.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I like to run and stay active when possible. My favorite sport is probably tennis. I also enjoy traveling when I can.

How can people connect with you?

I have my own website at www.jacquespoujade.com. I am also active on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium.

Brett Balick

Brett Balick is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a graduate of Queens University of Charlotte, earning his bachelor’s degree in business management. He is currently working in the supply chain management industry, shipping air freight globally.  He is currently exploring his options for a new position within the industry.  In addition, Brett Balick is anticipating a relocation to a large metro area. He is considering areas such as Atlanta, Washington D.C., or Chicago to continue his career.

As he is creating his new future, Brett Balick spends his free time drumming. He has a love for music and his passion for playing the drums. It has become a daily routine for him as of late. Drumming came naturally to Brett. In fact, he has been playing drums since he was in the seventh grade. It has been ten years since he first began to play. What may have inspired him according to Brett, is his father. He was a D.J., so perhaps it is in his blood. He plays every single day. He just purchased a new drum set. This is the hobby that continually excites him.

The art of drumming has expanded Brett Balick’s appreciation for different artists and different kinds of music from eras gone by. He can be playing on his own or with friends, either way, it brings him joy. Brett Balick suggests that new people who may be starting out with drumming as a new hobby, to first take lessons before making any kind of large investments.

What is your favorite hobby?

When I was in school, I played lacrosse. I still play from time to time.  I really enjoy snowboarding.  I go snowboarding whenever I can get the opportunity. Aside from snowboarding, I also occasionally play poker with friends. I watch sports, particularly college basketball. I am a big Duke fan.  My favorite hobby of all is playing the drums. I believe that my passion for playing drums is primarily because I find it to be therapeutic. No matter what mood you’re in, it will always get better.

How did you get started playing drums? What inspired you?

I use to play guitar hero a lot (a video game) when I was a kid. I was pretty good at it and I really enjoyed it. More specifically, I thought it might be something that I’d be pretty good at. I started taking lessons at a place called Music Matters. I took lessons for two years. At that time, I did a number of performances with other band members and on my own.  I discontinued lessons but I continued to play. Drumming has just come to me very naturally.

Tell us what you love about it?

I enjoy the freedom of playing the drums. It gives you the ability to express your creativity. You can listen to any music and apply the drums to that music. It has expanded my taste in music. I appreciate the music of many eras. It brings me full spectrum.  It also works great to get rid of anger or aggression.

Are there any groups you’re a part of our events that you attend related to your hobby?

I do not have any events right now. I have two friends, one who plays the piano and the other who plays guitar. When we get together, we always play. We have a great time. Perhaps in the future, I will be able to spend more time with a band. Right now, it is more of a hobby. It is something that I do for fun.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you ’ve bought?

I have an acoustic drum set and I also have an electronic drum set. I have invested a lot of money on this hobby. The equipment is quite expensive. I have acquired what I wanted little by little, piece by piece over the past ten years.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I shop locally for my equipment as well as any supplies. I usually buy my supplies at the Guitar Center or from Sam Ash.  Both places are located in Charlotte.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I have never read books on how to drum. Instead, I took lessons. I would recommend that beginners take drum lessons.  It takes quite a long time to learn. It is a slow process but it eventually builds up and it becomes something that is really great to do. This is a physical activity. If you want to learn about the history of music or the story of a great drummer, then reading a book would be the way to go. But, if you want to learn how to play the drums, I would recommend taking lessons.

How has this changed your life?

I feel like drumming has made me a much more creative person. It has sharpened my taste for music.  I learn to appreciate music more and more each day. I am constantly finding new artists to listen to and it is all through my drumming. Music is where I go to express myself or to change or enhance my mood. It is a great thing for me. It is very therapeutic.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would tell them not to be impatient.  Also, if you are taking lessons, learn how to play jazz music because it is very technical and very hard. However, if you can learn that music you will be able to play any music. Also, practice your rudiments. The rudiments are your basics. Once you get that down, you sound much better than you really are. It is the fundamentals that you have to get down. After you get the fundamentals, it is a matter of practice and repetition. Then you get to the point where it is just like riding a bike and everything will come naturally.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I have other hobbies, I enjoy watching football and college basketball and hanging out with my friends. Typical stuff.  I played Varsity lacrosse in High school, and I go snowboarding any chance that I get, but there is nothing that surpasses drumming for me. It is my passion.

You can learn more about Brett Balick at:

Matt Redhawk

Matt Redhawk is the founder and CEO of My Patriot Supply. Providing a range of survival and preparedness products to a growing public, the company has achieved an amazing level of success in the past ten years. Matt Redhawk is not only an entrepreneur, but he is also an author and filmmaker. Together with his business dealings, Redhawk believes in living off the grid. He has made a homestead in the wilderness of Idaho, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

Redhawk focuses on providing safe and affordable solutions for families and individuals who are concerned about the possibility of a natural disaster or another disruptive event.

Matt advises others on business and preparation topics alike through public speaking. He has also mentored many other beginning entrepreneurs, helping their companies achieve success in highly competitive environments. He is particularly interested in helping new entrepreneurs learn to manage their money, believing that solid financial foundations are the key to success in this economy.

Matthew believes in the value of teamwork in building a solid business plan. He encourages his mentees to build productive business relationships with their employees, customers, and investors. With proper education and follow-through, business owners can find success in their own chosen fields.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is fly fishing.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

When I was younger, my grandfather loved to fish. I often tagged along on his fishing trips, and I spent a lot of happy days by a river or stream. As my life became more stressful, I decided that I needed an outdoor hobby to keep myself from feeling too cooped up in the office. I bought some elementary fly-fishing gear and decided to teach myself.

Tell us what you love about it.

It was frustrating to learn by myself at first, but I quickly came to love the sport. I love the quiet in the woods. It’s amazing to be by yourself in the wilderness and to feel such a connection with nature. I also believe in living off the land as much as possible, so I always appreciate a fresh fish when I can get it.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

Not really, though I have been encouraged to join a local hunting and fishing club. I just don’t have the time right now to devote to joining such a group. Fishing is my “me” time and I sneak away whenever I can.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Fly fishing doesn’t require much of an investment — a fly rod, some waders, and flies — but the prices can add up quickly. Whenever I’m in a fly shop, I lose myself looking for the perfect flies for my next fishing trip. I’ve learned to tie my own flies, both for fun and to save money with the sport. I have recently bought a new pair of waders because you can’t cut corners when the entire lower half of your body is in freezing cold Idaho waters. I have also recently replaced my old fly rod.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy most of my supplies at a local fishing shop. I have bought some things online, but it’s nice to be able to handle the merchandise yourself before buying it. I know this is ironic coming from someone whose major income source is online sales, but each method of buying gear has its advantages.

Are there any good books for beginners?

There are many great books that can get you started with fly fishing. My favorite is “Fly Fishing for Beginners” by Chris Hansen. It explains some of the confusing topics in fishing and keeps you from getting bogged down in any one area of the sport.

How has this changed your life?

I am constantly on the go, and fishing forces me to slow down and enjoy the moment. I have a lot of demands on my time, between the businesses, my film work, my writing, and spending time with my family. It’s given me a way to unwind and to enjoy the wilderness as it was meant to be enjoyed. As my daughters grow up, I hope to introduce them to the sport. I want to share the feeling of peace with them.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

When you’re just starting out, fly fishing can be incredibly frustrating. Spend some time teaching yourself to cast on dry land before you try it in the water. Try to stay away from trees and overhanging wires or you’ll get caught. Trust me, you don’t want to do that. If you can, find a local friend who can give you some pointers in person. I learned by myself, and it was a challenge to be sure.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I also love to grill. I have been practicing smoking meat and I think I’m getting good at it. My wife is always happy when I can do the cooking.

Eric Dalius

Eric Dalius is a marketing professional and entrepreneur who has successfully generated over $100 million since the start of his career in 1990. Through a number of profitable business ventures and smart investments, Eric has become a worldwide leader in the field of marketing. After working at a telecommunications company early on in his career and becoming the top salesman in the nation, Eric decided to bet on himself and start his own business. One business led to another and Eric quickly became an unstoppable force in the world of marketing.

Currently in a state of semi-retirement, Eric Dalius has decided to focus his efforts on helping those in need by starting the Eric J. Dalius Foundation. Through this charitable venture, Eric aims to help under-privileged youth in America attend post-secondary education.

What is your hobby?

Anything to do with cars. I have quite a collection now. I’m a real gear-head.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

Well, I’ve been very fortunate in my business ventures with the amount of success I’ve had. I’ve always had an interest in cars but obviously I couldn’t afford the ones that I really wanted until I became successful.

What do you love about cars?

It’s hard to describe really. I guess there’s always a boyish wonder when it comes to stuff that goes fast and looks shiny. Figuring out what all the buttons inside do. Feeling the difference in the handling and the throttle response. Every car feels different and has its own personality and it’s not hard to really make a connection with a car.

How would you say your hobbies have changed your life?

I’d say I’m a lot happier. I know that material possessions aren’t supposed to be the key to happiness, and I agree with that, but I really love my cars and they make me happy. It’s a great amount of fun taking cars to the track for a few laps or going to car shows to talk about cars with other people that feel the same way as me.

What’s your favorite car at the moment?

I always love my Lambos. There’s something special about Lambos that’s hard to put your finger on. Everything about them is just kind of bonkers in the best possible way. That’s what Lambos are about, I think. Just absolute insanity in a devastatingly beautiful package.

What car do you want but not have?

Honestly, I’d have to say a Bugatti Veyron. The speed that those cars can reach is really unbelievable. I’d never be able to actually reach the car’s top speed, but it would still be a cool feeling to own one of the fastest production cars in the world.


For more on Eric Dalius, check out these links:


Eric Dalius on the Value of Continued Education



Colby Lee Burke

Colby Lee Burke is a popular travel writer based in both Charleston, South Carolina and Portland, Oregon. He has a gift for capturing the essence of the culture in the cities he visits. His work is frequently published by both large and niche travel publications. He grew up in Portland and attended the University of Oregon as an English major. His sophisticated writing style appeals to readers from a wide variety of backgrounds. He is also working on a novel to be published in the coming year.

Burke’s favorite travel destinations include Edinburgh, Scotland, and Florence, Italy. He enjoys immersing himself in local culture and daily life around the world. He has also taken fruitful trips to Germany, France, and Japan. He is planning a trip to Antarctica in the coming months, where he plans to spend time with the scientists who are making breakthroughs in their field.

Burke is well-read thanks to his background as an English major. He enjoys works of literary fiction and criticism. His favorite author is Paulo Coelho. Whenever he travels, he takes a few good novels with him to read in case of layovers.

Burke especially enjoys writing about newly opened accommodations. He is able to provide an objective review of new hotels and bed and breakfasts, giving his readers solid information that they can use to plan their own travel experiences. He is also drawn toward writing about local festivals, enjoying the special activities that make each city unique. Colby Lee Burke Hilton Head is a valued member of the travel writers’ community, and his work is much sought-after by publications at all levels.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is swimming.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I’ve always loved to swim. I learned at a very young age thanks to lessons at our local YMCA. My parents felt like swimming was an important life skill that would keep me and my siblings safe in the future as well as giving us a fitness activity that we could enjoy throughout our lives. I was a member of my high school swim team and I never lost my passion for the sport as I grew up.

Tell us what you love about it.

Being in the water is incredibly peaceful. The water is its own special world, and the troubles and concerns of daily life just melt away when I’m swimming. My life is stressful, and it’s good for me to have a centering activity. I also love that it keeps me in good shape. I need to be in good shape for my job, and for its own sake as well.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I don’t belong to any organizations related to swimming. It is a solitary pursuit for me. Swimming is where I find peace when I am by myself. I might consider joining a group if I could find one in either Portland or Charleston. I do belong to private pool clubs in both cities, where I can get in my workouts in a safe setting with a lifeguard.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Thankfully, swimming is a sport that doesn’t require much by way of equipment. A good quality swimsuit and a towel is all you really need. I bought an Apple Watch when they came out with a model that could be submerged and track your swimming workouts. That has helped me integrate my swimming activities into my total fitness plan. I would definitely recommend that anyone who is serious about working out buy a fitness tracker of any kind.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy most of my supplies at a specialty website for swimmers. It’s called All American Swim. The site has great prices and easy shipping. I also buy things from Amazon and from local sporting goods stores. I do like to try on my new swimwear, and it’s hard to try things on and then return them if you buy online.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I would recommend that novice swimmers check out Swimming Made Easy by Ace McCloud. It’s a great primer on the basics of swimming and also helps novice swimmers build their skills. I have used this book for hints on how to improve my strokes. The book also helps new swimmers build their confidence in the water.

How has this changed your life?

Swimming has changed my life in so many ways. It is a meditative activity for me. Whenever I am feeling tense, I try to get to the pool and put in some laps. The repetitive rhythm of swimming soothes me when I am feeling anxious. I also enjoy competing with myself to beat my personal bests in the pool.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

It can be intimidating to see experienced swimmers in the other lanes at the pool, but remember that it’s never too late to learn. I would recommend that you take private lessons if possible so you can be supported by a dedicated coach.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I also love to read and hike. I hope to return to Yosemite National Park in the near future.

Loretta Gallagher

Loretta Gallagher is the President and owner of Gallagher Associates, LLC an IT firm located in Wayne, New Jersey that works primarily with healthcare organizations all over the United States implementing electronic medical records. Loretta started her IT firm just over 25 years ago when the wave of technology was just picking up both professionally and personally. Most people were just getting computers in their homes 25-30 years ago, and internet was still dial up, and AOL was widely used for personal email and internet browsing.  How quickly times have changed.  Gallagher Associates, LLC has transformed as the industry has transformed in the past few decades. Loretta and her team of associates work closely with hospital systems to ensure these large scale projects stay on time and stay within budget. Working with health care organizations that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year can be stressful. Therefore finding time or she says “making time” to decompress and do something enjoyable is important. Keeping the balance between home, family, friends, and work is key to continued sustainable long-term success.  Loretta Gallagher has been married almost 30 years, raised three daughters while running her business; making time to disconnect from work and decompress doing something she loves helps her keep this balance.


Loretta finds cooking with and for family and friends an enjoyable and rewarding hobby. She also loves some down time disconnecting at the beach.


Not really sure how I got started with cooking.  My mom always cooked, but I do not think she would say it was a hobby or relaxing to her.  My grandmother when I was very young would often gather the family on summer weekends for barbeques and good meals.  Again I do not recall cooking with my grandmother, but always remember what fun it was to have everyone together and looked forward to those weekend meals with them.


Loretta loves the togetherness of working in the kitchen with her family and friends, learning other people’s favorites, and making new traditions. Her family has created a few new holiday weekend traditions to share with family and friends. She has an annual Mardi Gras party in New England where she hosts 30-40 friends. They fly in crawfish from Louisiana, make the largest pot of Jambalaya; using a recipe from a dear friend who taught Loretta his family recipe. Loretta Gallagher explains another traditional event is the annual Friendsgiving. She explains as we all see our families during the holidays, making time for friends is essential too. Friendsgiving is a fall event to gather with friends for great food, good wine, and lots of laughs.

Loretta Gallagher explains how she has always loved being in the kitchen, but when her daughters came along it was something they loved doing with her. From the youngest of ages; her girls would pull a step stool over to the kitchen counter regularly. By the time they were three or four years old all three would help with preparation. Loretta explains it was fun quality time we would spend together. It is time they look forward to as much as I do. Even with my three daughters all grown up we still take a fall weekend to make a dozen or so holiday pies and always enjoy a weekend of Christmas cookie baking.


Often on vacation we will find a chef offering a cooking class and will take it.  The Vermont Culinary Institute was a fun winter weekend away where we took a great cooking class.  Another fun one was in Savannah Georgia at a Marriott property we stayed at; The Mansion.  They had a fun interactive cooking class.


Loretta laughs when asked have you had to invest in equipment? She explains she has just about every kitchen gadget one can think of. She does have some favorites, her pampered chef’s apple corer is a must for pie making, a good lemon press and you never have enough wooden spoons.


Loretta has found some great buys are the William Sonoma outlet and loves her pampered chef items also.


Yes, there are tons – but I do not follow recipes often.  I like to read a few and then put my own spin on them.  Creating my own flavors, presentations and creations are part of the fun for me.


My hobby has kept both family and friend near and dear.  The quality time we have all spent together either preparing a meal, or if they are not cooks and just enjoy a meal I have prepared are priceless.


For anyone afraid to try things out in the kitchen, Loretta Gallagher suggests you dive in, learn to laugh, and have fun, she says. Cooking should not be stressful and the more hands the better. Whoever said “too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth” was doing it wrong.  Find people you love and enjoy spending time with and make new traditions with them.


Anything that involves sand and salt water.  Whether it is a walk on the beach or boardwalk, watching the tide roll in, sitting with friends in the sand a catching up or making sand castles with the little kids.  The ocean is my happy place.

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Juanita Causey

Juanita Causey was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada.  At the age of 8, her father died in an accident and she along with 7 siblings were raised with meager means with their mother having to work 2 or 3 jobs to support a family of 8 children.  When Juanita was 16, she moved with her mother to Corpus Christi, Texas where her mother got a job in nursing at a major hospital.  Juanita got married and had 2 children in Corpus Christi before moving to Houston where she went to work for a bank.  After nearly 6 years in the banking business, she decided to start a new career as a Financial Planner/Advisor.  In 1994, she went to work for John Hancock Financial Group where she received training and support for the first few years of her new career.  In 2000, Juanita Causey decided to start her own company “Houston Financial Center” and became a completely independent financial planner/advisor.  She has grown her practice over the years and currently employs three full time and one part time employee to help her manage over 1,000 clients that she has accumulated over the past 24 plus years.  Juanita has a passion for helping people secure their financial future.  She learned first-hand how difficult life can be on a widow and children when a spouse dies without enough life insurance to keep the family in their own world.  It’s her passion that has helped her build a successful practice where she is ranked among the top 2% of all Insurance & Financial Professionals worldwide as stated by the Million Dollar Roundtable where she consistently qualifies as Top of the Table.  Her passion has also drawn her to constant study to be the best that she can be in her profession.  For this reason, she has 7 significant professional designations, namely, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, AIF®, CAP®, CASL® and LUTCF which places her among very few advisors that have reached this level of professional education.  Although Juanita Causey has achieved many awards and much recognition for her accomplishments, she says her greatest achievement is the close relationships that she has developed with her many clients, most of whom she considers her best friends.


My favorite hobby is participating in group exercise programs at my gym.  They include Zumba, Kick Boxing, Pilates, Yoga, STEP, Body Works and Power Circuit.  In addition to being involved in group exercise, I like swimming, cycling and going on long walks.


For about 9 years, my mother was in a nursing home with limited physical ability to get around due to a fall and a couple of strokes.  In addition to working long hours in my business, I visited her almost every day and would take her on walks in her wheelchair which she enjoyed.  Over time, the long hours and lack of sleep ran me down to the point of exhaustion.  After she passed away, I decided to start taking better care of myself and used the extra time to start exercising, swimming, etc.  I had a gym membership for many years, but before my mother passed away, I had little time to use it.


I really enjoy the camaraderie that is developed in group exercise as well as the extra incentive it gives me to give it my all.  It’s much more fun working hard in a group, than on your own.  It also gives me a sense of pride that I am doing something that is good for me.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

Since I have been working out regularly, I have also done volunteer work for a non-profit group that assists with gymnastics scholarships for children with disabilities, both mental and physical, as well as children from poor families that could not otherwise afford gymnastics memberships.  I have since become a board member for this non-profit foundation.


Other than my gymnasium membership and workout clothes, my investment in equipment has been limited to a bicycle and a few hand weights that I sometimes use when walking.


I don’t buy equipment or supplies at any particular place.  The clothes and shoes are purchases at various stores in the mall.  The bicycle and weights were purchased at a local sporting goods store.

Are There any good books for beginners?

I have not personally read many books on exercise, but there are literally thousands of books on this subject.  I have gained knowledge about the various programs from the gym and from various articles and sties on the internet, but not any one in particular.


This regular exercise has made me feel better, both physically and mentally.  I have more stamina, my blood pressure has gone down, my weight is controlled and I feel proud that I am able to keep up with others in my groups that are much younger than I am.  I know I am healthier as a result.


Start by getting a physical exam and permission from our doctor to start an exercise program.  Then check out the gyms in your area and inquire about their group exercise programs.  Some gyms have very few and others have many.  Some charge extra fees and others do not, so take your time and shop for a good gym that is convenient to your home or work so you will have time to go.  Then try it out before you make a long term commitment or spend too much money on clothes, shoes, gym memberships, etc.

Another hobby is spending time with my grandchildren, taking them to parks, the zoo, museums and places that children like.  I love to do kid stuff with them.  I often keep them overnight to give their parents a break.  I have accumulated a lot of kid stuff at my home so we can play together when they stay over.


A third hobby that I enjoy is traveling with my husband.  He is a renowned scientist and visits many parts of the world giving lectures and presentations.  By joining him, I have had the opportunity to visit many cities around the world which are too numerous to list at this time.  While he is working, I use my time to walk many miles around the cities, vising points of interest and learning about the various cultures.  I feel that this has given me a vast amount of knowledge, wisdom and understanding that most people are never able to attain.


Dr. Rohit Arora

Dr. Rohit Arora is the Chief of Cardiology and the Head of the Department of Medicine at the Captain James A. Lovell Health Care Center in Chicago. During his time as a cardiologist in Chicago, Dr. Arora has trained dozens of doctors and authored over 400 academic papers. Although kept busy for many hours of every day with work, Dr. Arora still regularly makes time to participate in clinical research studies with his students and his peers.

Dr. Rohit Arora earned his medical degree from Topiwala National Medical College after attending medical school at the University of Bombay. Dr. Arora had his residency program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and soon after completed his fellowship in nuclear cardiology at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Dr. Arora’s typical day involves 12 to 16 hours at the healthcare center tending to his patients. While there, Dr. Arora is also responsible for educating residents and fellowships in addition to regular investigative research into various health areas.

What is your hobby?

I have several hobbies that I am particularly fond of, but some of my favorites include: traveling, reading, football, and contemporary art.

How did you get started with these hobbies? What inspired you?

Well traveling is something that I have always loved. I traveled as a child with my family and was always fascinated by other cultures. I was always interested to see how people in other areas of the world lived and how they just went about their days.

I’ve also always been a big reader. My parents showed me what a joy reading can be and how it can transport you to far away places and put yourself in the shoes of others. When I’m not able to travel, reading a book can be a great way to travel in my own mind.

What do you love about traveling?

Traveling is a great way to escape from your worries and to empathize with people around the world. The best way to see how other people live is to go and experience it for yourself. Not only that, but when you travel with friends and family, it can be a great bonding experience.

What was the last purchase you made relating to one of your hobbies?

I buy books all the time. I find myself making trips to the book store or ordering books on Amazon all the time. Sometimes I order books faster than I can read them! Before bed I try to always spend 20 minutes or so reading just to unwind and relax. Fiction books are great to immerse yourself in a story and nonfiction works can be very educational, so I try to find a mix between both.

How would you say your hobbies have changed your life?

Well, I would say that I’m much happier and more balanced because of my hobbies. Constant work with nothing else in life can be a recipe for disaster so my hobbies help me to stay grounded. While I love my job and I love helping people, I think everyone needs activities outside of work so that they can diversify their lives and be more rounded as people.

Do you have any advice for others just getting into this hobby?

When travelling, avoid the really touristy spots. If you want to find the best restaurants, the best views, and the most interesting spots, ask a local. The tourist spots are always crowded, and the food is often nothing special. Find the restaurants off the main strip that the locals stick to and I guarantee the experience will be much better. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path when travelling because sometimes that’s where the best experiences can be found!


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