Susanna Shetley

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I’ve started listening to Christmas music and it’s not even Thanksgiving, but you know what? It’s 2020 and anything goes. Whatever makes the world feel less heavy is allowable. 


I stumbled upon this book one day on Audible. It was suggested based on some other books I’d purchased. I thought, “Hey, why not? Who doesn’t want to learn more about how the menstrual cycle affects overall health?” What I didn’t realize was that this book would change my entire mentality when it comes to periods. 

Try out these products to make your monthly menstration more managable.

Rumble: How did you enter into the world of salt therapy? 

Jodie: We’ve been open eight years this past month. My father is a pharmacist by trade. The salt cave was his suggestion. When traveling from New Jersey to South Carolina to visit me, my parents stopped in Williamsburg, Virginia and came across a salt spa. When they came out, my dad loved it raved about it. My dad has several different lung issues and after his experience at the salt spa, he didn’t have to use his expressive inhaler for two and a half weeks. After watching what the salt did for my dad and meeting with the people at the Williamsburg Salt Spa, I decided to open a salt cave in Asheville. 

Rumble: What are the benefits of Himalayan salt? 

Jodie: There are many benefits of Himalayan salt to the human body. In general, we’re bombarded with positive ions from technology. The salt offers our bodies negative ions. The salt balances the minerals that are lacking or overacting in the body. Every person has a unique make-up and may use the salt for something different. Many people visit us for respiratory issues and skin conditions, such as eczema, rashes, psoriasis and acne. Skin is our largest organ so skin issues often indicate something is going on internally. Other people experience a surge in creativity when doing salt therapy. There is also a great mental health benefit to salt therapy. 

Rumble: In what ways to do people get the salt in their bodies? 

Jodie: The salt cave works by mimicking an actual cave. The moisture and salt combine to offer benefits to the lungs and skin. Sole is water that’s been saturated with Himalayan salt. People use sole in the bath, as a beverage or a compress. More simple ways to use salt would be when cooking, as a salt lamp and in bath products. 

Rumble: How do you see salt therapy affect your clients? 

Jodie: Some of our clients are in a whirlwind when they enter, then we put them in the salt cave and 99.9 percent of the time, those same folks emerge floating, happy and kind. Their mood has totally flipped. We also see many return clients who are experiencing benefits related to physical conditions. 

When the terms “systemic patriarchy” and “systemic racism” became common rhetoric in our society, they made my brow furrow. I wasn’t sure I comprehended the full meaning of these phrases.


Since taking over the family business in 2015, Leah Wong Ashburn has been a breathe of fresh air in the Asheville Brewing scene. She's made it a point to be visible in the community and is so generous with her time, especially when it comes to speaking to other women in the business world. Amid the pressure of taking over such a well-established brewery, Wong-Ashburn has brought her own leadership style to the table and it seems to be working out beautifully, positioning Highland Brewing to maintain a strong brand into the future.

Who would’ve thought a virus could threaten Halloween? Yet, here we are in 2020 with parents shaking their heads in disbelief at yet another new normal requiring adjustment. It’s hard to tell a child that Halloween has been canceled; that the candy-infused, scarily fun holiday they love will not happen as planned. With all that being said, there are some alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating. 

They say when a mom dies a family can fall apart. 

I’d heard this before, in movies and in real life, but I never thought it would be an issue for my family. We’ve always been so close. We always made it a priority to be together for holidays and other special occasions. But when a mother passes, the remaining souls realize it was often she who made all of this happen. 



  • Small Mason jars or another type of glass/porcelain dish
  • Flaked soy wax (can purchase on Amazon)
  • Pencil
  • Glass bowl or lg. Pyrex measuring cup
  • Essential oils (clove, orange, cinnamon)
  • Smokeless candle wicks (can purchase on Amazon) 

Instructions (these steps make one candle)

  • Wrap the candle wick around a pencil and gently place into the Mason jar, set aside
  • Scoop 2.5 cups of wax flakes into glass bowl/Pyrex cup, heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between
  • Add 10 drops of each essential oil, stir (you can continue adding more drops of certain oils until you get the desired scent)
  • Pour the melted wax into the Mason jar or dish 
  • Let it sit until candle is completely hardened, remove the rod or pencil, and cut the wick

One nondescript day in May 2013 we had Sunday lunch plans. The morning had been a frenzy of cleaning and parenting my two little boys. I was excited to get out of the house so someone else could cook and serve me food. 


Address: 187 Garren Rd., Hendersonville, NC, 28792

Hours: Daily 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Cost: Various prices depending on size of pumpkin or amount of apples

Summary: U-pick apples, blueberries and pumpkins. Fun for all ages with traditional fall activities.



Address: 2951 Chimney Rock Rd., Hendersonville, NC, 28792

Hours: Daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Cost: Various costs depending on what you buy and which attractions you enjoy (corn maze, apple cannon, etc.)

Summary: Enjoy a 70-acre family farm with a 5 acre corn maze, cow train rides, apples, pumpkins, family photo stations, goats, and more.



Address: 3403 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock, NC, 28731

Hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Cost: Various costs depending on what you buy

Summary: Panoramic mountain views, orchard ponds with ducks and geese, ‘barnyard’ area with sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys and more, a bamboo forest to explore, picnic areas and, of course, a mountaintop of fragrant apple and fruit trees, pumpkins, and festive atmosphere.



Address: 1136 Browning View Rd., Morganton, NC, 28655

Hours: Open Fri.-Sun. 2-6 p.m. 

Cost: Varies depending on what you purchase 

Summary: Attractions limited due to COVID guidelines; farm store and winery are open



Address: 2 Compton Dr., Asheville, NC, 28806.

Hours: Opens for the season Sept. 25. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they are offering appointment slots to maintain safety and limit the number of people at the maze at once. 


  • 3-5 p.m.
  • 5:15-7:15 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays:

  • 9-11 a.m.
  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • 2-4 p.m.
  • 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Cost: $12 for adults and children 4 and older, children 3 and under are free

Summary: 12 acre corn maze, pumpkin patch, storybook trails, spider web climb, corn box, giant tube slides, and more. All proceeds go to Eliada Children’s Home.



Date: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020

Address: Downtown Waynesville, N.C.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Summary: This popular annual event is hosted by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce. Stroll the streets of downtown Waynesville to shop arts and craft vendors, enjoy delicious festival food and apple delights, and listen to live music. 



Address: 4168 Pisgah Dr., Canton, NC 28716

Hours: Sept. hours are Fri. 4-9 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 1-9 p.m; Oct. hours are Wed.-Fri. 4-9 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 1-9 p.m. 

Cost: $8/person, 3 and under free (hayrides are an additional $2)

Summary: Corn maze, mini-mazes, haunted mazes, pumpkin patch, corn box, camp fires, hay rides. Check or cash only.



Address: 566 South Haywood St., Waynesville, NC, 28786

Dates: Opening Oct. 10, 2020 

Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (until pumpkins are sold out)

Cost: $.50 on up (depending on the size of the pumpkin)

Summary: This pumpkin patch, located in downtown Waynesville, is a fun event for the entire town. It’s not only a great place to purchase pumpkins but also a fun photo backdrop for fall pictures. 



Address: 1126 Jeter Mtn. Rd., Hendersonville, N.C. 28739

Hours: Sat., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sun. 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Cost: Prices vary depending on which types and how much fruit you pick 

Summary: Offers a variety of apple types, pumpkins, blueberries or grapes for u-pick

When I was a little girl we had a Victrola sitting atop the stairs in our split-level home. Occasionally my dad would gently lift the top, place a record on the turntable, wind the crank and set the needle so Hank Williams, Sr. or Johnny Cash could fill our living room with their distinctive voices. My dad would grab my sister or me and we would swing around and dance, the music part of our memories. 


A couple summers ago, my two little boys and I spent four days in sunny Orlando. It was a last minute idea. I was supposed to go on a girls’ beach trip, but childcare fell through. Ultimately, it was God giving me a big fat wink because I wouldn’t trade that Orlando trip for anything.

Lately I’ve been feeling tightness in my chest, an inability to take a nice relaxing breath. When I told my boyfriend this, he asked if I felt OK otherwise. We live in a time where anything related to breathing is immediately connected to COVID-19. How I knew it wasn’t a virus is that when I went on a long run, my breathing got easier, not more labored. When I slowed down for a five-minute meditation, my breathing calmed.


A while back I noticed President Trump does not smile with his entire face. It struck me one day when I saw a photo of him with his signature closed-mouthed grin. The expression did not leave the jaw area. There was no twinkle in the eyes or lift of the cheekbones. I started watching more closely and yep, no smiles or laughs. I even Googled “pictures of President Trump smiling,” and of many images, there was one photo where he sort of looked like he was truly smiling while walking hand in hand with Melania. 


When I became a mom at age 29, I did all the things I was supposed to do, all the things society correlated with being a “good mother.”

From my earliest memories, the back-to-school season has been a flurry of excitement. Both my parents were teachers. I worked in the field for 10 years and have two children who have been in the public education system for seven years. Shopping for new outfits and backpacks, anxiously awaiting supply lists and taking last minute summer trips have been a part of my life forever. 


I’ve been looking at the stars a lot lately. It started several weeks ago. 

It was 10:18 p.m. on a Sunday. We were driving the parkway, windows rolled down, Van Morrison on the radio. My boyfriend, Matthew, looked over and squeezed my knee. 


Every morning around 5:15, the birds start chirping outside my window. The past several months I’ve been trying to figure out which song goes with which type of bird. It’s made me realize why people become fascinated with these beautiful creatures. Each day, at the same time, they start singing their songs. And every morning, no matter what stress I’m under, their songs make me smile. 


Good girls are raised to be quiet, dainty and accommodating. Real boys are raised to be competitive, successful and tough. Girls can cry. Boys cannot. Girls are soft-spoken. Boys are boisterous. 

I’m a mom to white little boys who will grow up to become white men. In America, white men have it pretty easy. They have both privileges that are institutionalized in our society. 


Many are focused on graduations right now. Amidst the pandemic and nationwide protesting, we’re trying to help our young people celebrate this pivotal time in their lives. While the hype is primarily on high school and college graduates, there are other important transitions that have gotten lost due to COVID-19. 


It’s funny how you can hear a story your entire life but don’t see its relevance until it smacks you in the face. 

Since childhood, my parents have told me the tale of the Hong Kong flu (H3N2 virus) during the winter of 1968. They weren’t sure where they contracted it initially. At the time, my dad was a student at Mars Hill College and worked as a short order cook in the student center. My mom was in her first year teaching public school. Both places were most likely rampant with germs. 


It’s been said that when a cardinal appears in your yard it’s a visitor from heaven. I’ve been spending a good amount of time on my porch during quarantine. This daily ritual has offered many moments with the birds and trees. I’ve observed limbs acquire leaves and listened to songbirds serenade the neighborhood. And when a cardinal lands on a branch, I feel like it’s my mom visiting from afar. 


This week Susanna Shetley, sales rep, digital marketing guru, mom blogger extraordinaire, Smoky Mountain Living contributor, shares her top 5 distractions during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  


If you haven’t noticed, the boomers are having a hard time staying home during this pandemic. Doing nothing and performing tasks online doesn’t sit well with the natural disposition of this cohort. 


Growing up, my family spent the week of Easter at Ocean Lakes Campground in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We had a little blue and white camper on Sharks Tooth Trail a few streets back from the ocean. Easter typically fell around our county’s spring break, so once that final school bell rang, we packed up our van and headed south. 


North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a new executive order stating schools would remain closed through May 15 due to COVID-19. I watched the press briefing in a different room from my boys and when it was over, I quietly closed my laptop and sat for a moment trying to process. 


I’m a child of the 1980s. 

With side ponytails on full hairsprayed display, my big sister and I kept busy making mixed tapes, riding banana seat bicycles and collecting plastic charms for our charm necklaces. We stayed up late watching “Dirty Dancing” and “Indiana Jones,” swooning over Patrick Swayze and Harrison Ford. We heated our food in BPA-laden plastic, drank from hoses and ran around our neighborhood for hours before returning home happy and spent and ready to hurriedly eat dinner so we could be in front of the TV by 8 p.m. to watch “Who’s the Boss” or “Growing Pains.” 


 It was a crisp and cold morning. The lake was still, like a mirror. The sun had just risen. Every few seconds the bald eagle would glide through the sky and then swoop down to catch a fish in the water. 

If he missed, he would start over. 


Lately I’ve been pondering the meaning of life. If everyone took their very best skills and traits and put those into the universe, think how amazing the world could be. I’ve also been considering what the future holds for my two boys and other children. With melting glaciers, yelling politicians, sports heroes dying in helicopter crashes and bizarre, deadly viruses spreading across the globe, it’s a wonder our youngest generations wake up hopeful each day.


It’s been a somber few days since the world learned of the death of Kobe Bryant, his teenage daughter, Gianna, and the seven other passengers on that helicopter in Calabassas, California. Hearing of the tragedy and reading the coverage made me realize that mortality stops for no one, not even a sports hero as big as Kobe.


Last October, I turned 40. It made me evaluate where I was physically, emotionally and personally. About a month after this pivotal birthday, I had my wellness visit at the doctor. I be-bopped in, assuming labs and vitals would be just fine like they always are, but a couple days after the visit, I received a call saying my iron, B12 and hemoglobin levels were all significantly below normal. My mom passed away from a blood cancer so issues with blood and hemoglobin terrify me. 


When I was a little girl, my dad would make huge snack trays on New Year’s Eve and pour sparkling grape juice in crystal flutes for my sister and me. He and my mom had their own flutes brimming with champagne. Once we watched Dick Clark count down in Times Square, we’d clink glasses, spin noisemakers and state our resolutions for the coming year. 


It seems a lot of folks are downsizing Christmas this year, me included. My reasoning is specific to my life and emotions, but nonetheless, there appears to be a general theme: Experience over consumerism. 


I was recently introduced to a book called What Made Maddy Run written by reporter Kate Fagan. It’s the story of a beautiful, smart, talented college freshman who jumped to her death from the top of a parking garage in downtown Philadelphia. Madison Holleran was the perfect all-American girl on a track scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania when the pressures of perfection and the demons within created a toxic cocktail.


Tattoos often follow times of darkness or transition. When my mom’s cancer got to a point of no return, I realized how brief and fleeting life could be. Why was this happening to us? She was too young. I was too young. Woven into my grief and anger was an epiphany, a heightened sense of what it means to fully live. Around this time, I had “One Life, One Story” tattooed on the inside of my left forearm. It’s a constant reminder. We’re offered a single chance to craft the narrative of our lives, and we’re not always in control of the ending. 


My two boys are children of divorce. That’s a phrase I never thought I’d say. But then again, life never really unfolds in the way we intend. And when things go awry, we can only shift and adapt. 


I turn 40 years old this week. 

The idea has not been settling well, and I’m not sure why. I’m an optimist on most matters, but this pivotal birthday has been bothering me. Perhaps it’s because I’m not quite where I want to be professionally or maybe it’s because ever since my mom passed away, mortality feels real and life seems fragile. Whatever the reason, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching. 


When I was 7 years old, my dad spent hours assembling my Strawberry Shortcake dollhouse, taking time to ensure every plastic, colorful piece clicked in place so his little girl would squeal with delight on Christmas morning.


This is our annual Living Well issue where we offer suggestions and advice on topics related to fitness, nutrition and wellness. It’s always fun to brainstorm ideas and decide what content will benefit our readers or what’s the hot thing right now for consumers. Is it an eating program like the Keto diet? Is it an exercise craze like Crossfit? Or, perhaps it’s a product like CBD. 


As a kid, I took the Blue Ridge Mountains for granted. They were always there in the background, but I never paid much attention. 


Leaving Watami Sushi & Noodles on Main Street in Waynesville, I smiled at the hostess, a girl named Hannah. She responded with an expression of recognition and we chatted. Hannah is a senior at Haywood Early College (HEC). I’d met her the previous week when I taught a session on blogging. Though we’d only been together a short time, we remembered each other. 


Wed., Aug.14, marks the third anniversary of my mom’s passing. During those early weeks and months after she slipped into the great mystery, I wrote a lot about grief. This column and my blog became healing outlets. Kind, compassionate words from friends, readers and even complete strangers held me up during those early days following her death. 


We had plans to take the kids to a remote island outside of Charleston for a summer beach trip. I had visions of cooking big meals, walking on the barren sand, quiet evenings and mornings on a balcony, perhaps some fishing and kayaking off a sound. 


It’s important for us to name that which brings us gratitude. This week, I’m grateful for the fleas that invaded my home like a tiny insane army. 

One of my favorite writers, Gretchen Rubin, often speaks and writes about a concept called outer order inner calm. In the introduction of her book with the same name, she says, “In the context of a happy life, a messy desk or a crowded coat closet is a trivial problem—yet getting control of the stuff of life often makes it easier to feel more in control of our lives generally.” 


Last Friday, as I watched the U.S. women’s soccer team defeat France at the Parc des Princes stadium, I kept thinking how hot everyone looked. I enjoyed watching the game, but couldn’t help noticing the profuse sweating from players and spectators. 


Burlesque dancing may be in my future. 

Some of us gals at The Smoky Mountain News have been invited to attend a burlesque dance class. As we were mulling around the idea recently, I told them I could only do it on a weekend my boys were with their dad. 


The final school bells have rung. 

When I was teaching, the last few weeks of school were grueling and felt never-ending. Once students were finished with end-of-grade testing, they kind of went wild, as if they’d held it together all that time and could no longer maintain their instinctive desire to run, jump and talk nonstop.


Female empowerment is all the rage right now. From school-age programs like Girls on the Run to the #MeToo movement, the advocacy for equal rights and fem-respect is paramount. As a woman, I’m happy to see our gender being supported and heard. 


I was seven years old when my parents first took me to New York. We couldn’t afford to stay in the city so we rented out part of a home in New Jersey and commuted to Manhattan. These were the days before Airbnb and VRBO, so I commend my parents for being resourceful enough to find a way for us to make the trip, despite a tight budget. 


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