Nutrition Goldmine

January 27, 2014

Nutrition is a luxury many of us take for granted – a responsibility some of us avoid.  I took the time to get to know the owner of my favorite nutrition store a little better and I am glad I did.  Jessica Neal is the owner of New Life Nutrition in Albany.  During our breakfast together Jessica gave me a glimpse of the journey that led to the birth of New Life Nutrition.  Getting to know the woman behind the business really brought its shelves to life for me.  Jessica is gentle and courageous – humble and bold.

The eldest of 5, Jessica learned the value of nurturing and nourishing at an early age.  She took on the role of second mother to her siblings which instilled a strong sense of responsibility in her.  Growing up in a health conscious home and being raised close to the earth cultivated her interest in natural healing

Upon graduating from high school in Lebanon she began working for the local natural product store-Vital Health.  After 5 years Jessica learned a lot about how to run a health food store.  More importantly she grew a passion for helping people heal themselves through the power of natural medicine and nutrition.

Her father noticed her blossoming interest and encouraged her to open a store.  He owned some real estate in Downtown Albany that would be a great location.    Her father’s entrepreneurial spirit and business experience came in handy in starting New Life Nutrition.  Her mother also helped get the store going and continues to work there several days a month.  Jessica described her parents like farmers cultivating interests in each of their children.  Such an appropriate analogy from this awesome earth Mamma.

New Life Nutrition was opened in 2006, located at 240 SW 2nd in Albany.  it is a fantastic resource for anyone who needs vitamins, toiletries, cosmetics and they even have some natural food items.  Jessica is very knowledgeable about the inventory and natural remedies.  She can refer you to other resources and provides classes as well.  I have leaned on her over the years  – She and her store are a blessing.

Jessica was one of the first people to know that I was pregnant with Vai.  I knew how important nutrition is to a healthy pregnancy so I went to see her right away.  She was warm and helpful.  Honestly, I was a bit of a wreck at that point. I will never forget how at ease she made me feel.

Jessica has recently given birth to a beautiful and healthy daughter of her own.  It was so special to me to talk with her about this new adventure she and her husband Tyler are embarking on.  As a woman business owner we face similar challenges in balancing career and motherhood. I am excited to see her apply her beautiful nurturing spirit to this new life.

After 7 years in business, Jessica is getting to a place of growth with new Life Nutrition.  Unsure what that will mean right now, there is no doubt continued support from her family and her own tenacity will allow her to make her dreams a reality.

Jessica is on a mission to empower people not only to heal themselves through the power of natural medicine – but also to encourage them to take responsibility for their own health.  Responsibility by definition brings with it difficulty and reward.  Truly we cannot look to anyone else to make choices about our bodies.  It is up to each of us.  That is why I am grateful to have Jessica in my life.  There are plenty of places in our area to get natural products, but there is nowhere like New Life Nutrition.    Jessica a wonderful woman to know and her store is easy to shop in.  You can find what you need quickly, it is priced clearly and the staff is knowledgeable and un-intrusive.  Take a drive or a stroll to downtown Albany and treat yourself to a nutrition goldmine.




Workshops being held twice a month all summer long

Call or Text Marnie to reserve your seats 541-224-1254

Meet Kathy Ward.  Kathy is the owner of Credit Team – a credit repair company.  Her service is amazing!  I have many business associates that have been referring clients to Kathy for years.

Unlike credit counseling services, credit repair does not involve negotiating down or eliminating bad debt.  Credit repair enables consumers to remove false data and outdated information from their credit report.  In many cases a few simple steps with help you raise your credit score .  Some people need to put in a lot of work to get their credit reports to show accurately.   Whether the job is big or small, Kathy can help.  In fact, most of us wouldn’t even know where to begin. We get paralyzed – We get scared.  Knowing that there is someone out there who cares and is experienced can make all the difference.

If you have any concerns about your credit score or reports, I highly recommend you contact Kathy at

Almost everything in our lives is effected by our credit – take steps to protect yourself and improve your future.  You will not regret it.  And BTW her inital consultation is only $49!!

I started the Community Snapshots video blog because I wanted to explore the culture of Corvallis, and get to know the people better. Videos are short and I love to write.  So, I’ve revamped this blog to give greater attention to my guests, and hopefully you will get to know them, too. And once you know someone…well, who knows?

Culture-my new focus. My handy dictionary (online, of course…how did we ever live without it?) defines culture as “the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time”. The features of our everyday existence in Corvallis include shops, restaurants, art, night life, parks and schools.  At the heart of each one of those features – the visionaries who put on the show that is Corvallis.

So, with my new focus on culture, I can’t think of a more perfect person to debut my new blog than Kimber Hoang.  Kimber is a local icon.  I’m guessing you will be surprised when you find out how wide her influence is over the culture of our town. I know I am.


Luscious – that is the one word I would use to describe Magenta, my favorite restaurant in town.  Fusion best describes the menu at Magenta.  Not narrowing it down to any particular cultures allows a broader creativity and a more exciting menu. The moment I pass through the floor-to-ceiling curtains, I am transported to a world of luxury and tranquility.  The food is as exquisite as the décor – a spa for your taste buds.  A few sips of its namesake cocktail, Magenta!, brings me to bliss – the dim sum menu caters to my love affair with little bites of richness.

I knew I wanted to meet the owner and chef at Magenta.  Once I finally did meet Kimber, I knew I needed to know her.

She was born in Savannakhet, Laos and immigrated with her family to Corvallis in 1978. Forced from their home because of war, Kimber’s parents and their 8 children left everything they owned behind in Laos.

Adversity has a way of bringing beauty from ashes.  Kimber’s mother was gifted in the kitchen.  Self-taught, she cooked out of necessity; with 8 children, she was constantly in the kitchen.  “When you are cooking all the time you want to make it fun”.   What was born of necessity has become a culinary adventure.

Kimber left a job as store producer with Nike to return to Corvallis in 1998 so that she could be closer to her mother.  She also had a vision of expressing her love of combining flavors from all over the world to create great food, the love she inherited her from mother’s incredible palate. Encouraged by family members to start a restaurant, she opened Magenta

When you are starting a business, she says, “Focus on your vision and never stop until you have achieved it.”  Just about everything you see at Magenta was created or hand-picked by Kimber.  Growing up, she learned to create what she needed, a skill that came in handy for all er business ventures.  Kimber achieved her vision for Magenta, and then expanded her vision to The Snug Bar downstairs and Kimber was involved in creating the Baguette, Southeast ,Street Dogs and Alley Gyros. Each of these eateries adds value and variety to the culture of Corvallis.
Over the past year Kimber has been in her words, doing time – working night and day at Magenta while also taking on a new project.  She excitedly told me of her plans to buy the Garden in the Woods.  The rural venue includes; lake, gardens, a gazebo, and indoor ballroom and bridal accommodations.

In October it will be hers.  Kimber will be living on the property and overseeing the business while continuing to run Magenta.  Kimber will add catering to the services available at the garden in the Woods.  The event venue is a dream come true. “I am looking for forward to living on the property and enjoying the quiet moments in the morning looking out at the garden almost as much as running the venue”.

As I listened to Kimber’s dreams for the Garden in the Woods, I got excited for her– and for Corvallis. I started to see how the dreams of one person, this woman who came to Corvallis as a war refugee, can have an impact on the culture of a whole town. At Kimber’s restaurant, we enjoy our everyday existence together- date night, girls night out, a quick happy hour meeting.  In October we will have a beautiful place to share the important times of our lives.

Kimber Hoang is a very talented, inspiring woman, and getting to know her has strengthened my belief that with faith and hard work, anything is possible.


Community Snapshot #9 Host Marnie Zoa featuring Rachel Lang of In Light of Design.

Marnie Zoa interviews Rachel Lang owner of In Light of Design – a Home Staging and Design Company. Learn more about Rachel’s service and get some quick tips you can use at home.
Marnie Zoa is a licensed Realtor and promoter of Local business. (541)224-1254


Check out this Community Snapshot where host Marnie Zoa interviews Jessica Klein co-owner of Mod Pod – a colorful decor and gift shop in downtown Corvallis.

Learn about Calyx Press – A publishing Company in Corvallis that promotes the art and writing of women!  This video interview features Kelsey Connell, the Director of Calyx.


Marnie Zoa is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Oregon.


Marnie Zoa, real estate broker with Keller Williams Realty,  shares her recent observations of the real estate market in Corvallis.

Community Snapshot #6 Host Marnie Zoa Featuring Kate Humiston.