Female Factor celebrates one year anniversary

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Written by Whitley Kilcrease

The Studio was adorned with party hat centerpieces and decorations in several shades of pink as women celebrated the first anniversary of The Female Factor on Wednesday.

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The Female Factor, presented by Troy Regional Medical Center and its sponsoring partners, invites women of all ages to gather once a month for lunch and an informational program. On Wednesday, caterer and event coordinator Leslie Bailey of Montgomery was the guest. Some 100 women attended.

Bailey, known for her segment on WSFA called “What’s Cooking, Leslie?” as well as a cookbook of the same name, provided lunch for the guests from her catering service, Leslie Bailey Events & Catering. The company’s slogan is “Good food doesn’t have to be fancy or hard to make.”

Along with pecan-crusted chicken and pimento cheese sandwiches, guests also enjoyed fruit such as grapes and apples, homemade coleslaw and a variation of an Oreo cheesecake. She said her secret ingredient for her recipes is a cupful of love and joy.

Bailey spoke to a full house on several topics, including holiday decorating, “repurposed” items and bargain shopping.

“Be different,” Bailey said. “Do what you want to do. Everybody is an artist on the inside. It’s important you know you can do anything.”

While sharing personal stories of her life, Bailey entertained the crowd with examples of her work, citing her style as “bling-bling” rather than traditional, with a table laden with shiny Halloween skulls, multi-colored holiday trees, glowing orbs and other various odds and ends.

Bailey had the audience laughing as she demonstrated how certain items could be saved and used for several holidays instead of being stored and forgotten year round. She also spoke about finding and using things one already has before buying new decorations.

She suggested to bargain hunt when shopping and to look for after-holiday sales to stretch a budget. For example, she presented a decorative Halloween black cat that was originally $20, but that she found on the bottom shelf post-holiday for $8.

“I really suggest you look on the bottom shelf,” Bailey said. “All of the good stuff is usually hidden on the bottom shelf.”

Bailey recounted the tough years she went through after losing her husband, Paul Bailey, and the challenges she had to face to overcome her grief.

“I took my eye off the prize,” Bailey said.

“But now I’m more committed than ever. I’m just getting back and it means so much to me to be here today.”

Bailey, who began her career as a traveling cabaret performer, closed the session with an a cappella verse of “Amazing Grace” to a tear-filled audience and a standing ovation.

“We really want to thank our sponsors,” Dianna Lee, member of the Female Factor advisory board. “Without them, we really couldn’t do the programs we have every month.”

According to Lee the past year of monthly sessions has been a success.

“Our members have increased over the year,” Lee said.

“Our topics we present are an interest to women and we’ve had a wonderful response from the community.”

The next session of Female Factor is titled “Girls Just Want to Have Funds” with guest speaker Tenise Owens, a senior trust officer at Troy Bank and Trust. She will discuss and reiterate the importance of the role of women in family finances.

“We want to thank everyone for coming out,” Lee said. “And we encourage women to continue to come.”