INvisible Beauty in Pain Artist Spotlight | Alivia Ruiz

We are back in Rochester for our fourth INvisible Beauty in Pain Artist Spotlight.

The INvisible Beauty In Pain campaign’s fourth artist spotlight is Alivia Ruiz

Alivia Ruiz is a Buffalo-born artist, musician, and all around creative. She arrived in Rochester to attend RIT for her Bachelors Degree in Medical Illustration. After completing her degree, she decided to stay in Rochester to pursue a freelancing career, dedicating herself to her creative endeavors. She loves to sing, play piano, dive deep into mythology, write poetry, make jewelry,  paint, and draw.

Her greatest source of peace and inspiration is the beauty of nature, and she relishes asking deep questions to connect with others in ways that cause them to think differently about their world and feel deeply into the beauty of who they are. Her donated artwork is called:

The Entropy of Depression
 About the art piece Alivia says:
“Ever since 2012, I have struggled with depression, and the regret that comes from the missed opportunities caused by this elusive illness. My piece shows my creative self, represented by the orange figure in the center of the piece, constrained by the sorrow and lethargy that is leaking from my heart and paralyzing my hands
During my darkest times of depression, my creative self feels distorted, powerless, and in a loop of stagnancy and regret. The scenes she gazes longingly toward are the visions of her happy life coming from her mind to be manifested, but being sucked in by her sorrow and inability to act, until they disappear into the tiny black hole below her. 

For the rest of KNOWvember, we will feature the biographies and the meaning behind the works of art created by and donated to the INvisible Beauty in Pain Gallery by each of the thirteen artists that submitted work for this campaign.

All works are available to be seen in person at 540WMain and are a celebration of The U.S Pain Foundation’s KNOWvember campaign which you can learn more about by clicking here.

To purchase Alivia’s artwork email Calvin Eaton at or check out more of her work on her Facebook page

540WMain’s Used Cooking Oil Collection Program powered by The Alternative Fuel Foundation

Did you know that you can recycle your used cooking oil and turn it into diesel fuel?

I did but up until now, I’d never knew where and how to recycle used cooking oil. For years I collected it for months in the freezer and eventually built up the gall to toss it (devastating). 🙁

But all that has changed as I’ve partnered with The Alternative Fuel Foundation to launch 540WMain’s Used Cooking Oil Collection Program. 

For the first time ever  Restaurants, homeowners, and everyone else in between can deliver used cooking oil to 540WMain and it will be transferred to The Alternative Fuel Foundation for bioconversion and recycling. You can also schedule a pickup courtesy (moi)  myself for a small nominal fee. It is really as simple as that. Biofuel produces near zero emissions so every gallon burned offsets carbon that would have been generated from the use of traditional fossil fuels. How cool is that?

I am so happy to continue in my odyssey of making my life and career as sustainably focused as possible and giving back to the community through awareness and education.

I am so happy to continue in my odyssey of making my life and career as sustainably focused as possible

If each of us does just alittle it sure adds up to quite a lot. Click —-> The Alternative Fuel Foundation to learn more about the  Foundation and here  about biodiesel conversion. 

Submit  the webform below to schedule a drop off or pickup.

About The Alternative Fuel Foundation

The Alternative Fuel Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization that provides free used cooking oil collection and recycling services throughout the northeast.  All of the vegetable oil collected by the foundation is converted into clean burning biofuel, and all of the proceeds are used to fund green education programs.

Special Announcement: The Workforce Development, Entrepreneur & College Preparatory Program at 540WMain

Dear Readers,

What an exciting time to be alive! Our hearts are full of joy and gratitude for literally EVERY single piece of this LIFE. The happy. The sad. The good and the bad; all of it is the reason  (WE) are here and hopefully finding ways every day to overtake the evil with good. With that, we are pleased to announce more positive actions taking place with the official announcement of The Workforce Development, Entrepreneur & College Preparatory Program at 540WMain

  We are pleased to formally  announce The Workforce Development, Entrepreneur & College Preparatory Program at 540WMain

This unique summer internship has truly been a labor of love and has been made possible in part due to a very special partnership between 540WMain; Rochester first events and education center, Rochester Works for Youth and their Summer Youth Employment Program.

Beginning July 11, 2016 four Rochester interns will embark on a 6-week career focused educational and entrepreneur development internship. The internship provides workforce development training through experiential learning experiences, seminars, workshops, and event planning. Interns will collaborate as a team to co-develop, co-design, and co-lead a series of community based projects (called courses) where they will be learning and developing new organizational management, accounting, business, culinary, communication and leadership, skills all aimed to prepare them for college and beyond.

Hands on learning, coupled with mindful (practice) college level styled educational seminars or “courses” will give the interns a taste of college academia and rigor. Work sessions will combine vocational styled training and college level instruction all modeled after a college level independent study co-op . Students will co-design, co-operate, and co-direct each and every component of the community projects all while learning effective communication, collaboration, and team building skills.

Students will keep daily reflection journals and learn how to be metacognitive learners, thinkers, and leaders. By the close of the summer interns will develop a college or job ready resume, start or continue their college search and application process, as well as a personal workforce development and education binder to use in the field.

Additionally all interns will have lifetime access to:

Educational classes, enrichment, tutoring, business consultation, college application assistance, volunteer opportunities, events, classes, workshops and more at 540WMain, free of charge.

The program is directed, designed, and lead by master educator and our Editor in Chief theglutenfreechef, Calvin Eaton along with a consortium of community partners, teachers, and special guests.

This year’s cohort is made up of four supremely athletic, very accomplished, very driven, and very talented young women and men. 

We are thrilled to announce this one of a kind program and cannot wait to begin work with this accomplished cohort of interns.

Together We Grow,

The Editors

To learn more about 540WMain visit


Gluten free restaurant review: Opa! Authentic Greek Koozina

Since returning to Rochester, I have been on a roller coaster of activity. Between balancing the precarious act of living with fibromyalgia+cfs, re-acclimating myself to living with four other people, and building this blog (and my fibro blog) I have had little time for much else. Last weekend, I devoted one day to bond with my best friend. Both of us made a vow to actually get out and try the amazing cuisine that our city has to offer since we agree that Rochester is a melting pot of culture and cuisine and now that I have left and returned; I can appreciate that more than I did before.

Living gluten zero means that the search for awesome restaurants that meet my various dietary needs is all the more challenging. But when have I ever backed down from a challenge? My friend suggested that our first stop be the relatively new Greek restaurant Opa! I eagerly perused the online menu (analyzing it like a PhD research assistant) to see if it was gluten zero friendly. Greek cuisine is certainly not my area of expertise, and I wasn’t expecting to find much that I would be able to eat. Upon arriving to the restaurant, I was surprised to find that the menu was beautifully labeled with (v) and (G) on several selections; a detail that I had overlooked during my online research. It is always nice to find restaurants that consider vegans and the gluten intolerant when creating their menus and going the extra mile to actually label these on the menu is even better.

The staff was friendly and very accommodating and the restaurant is spacious with plenty of booth and open seating. After being seated and ordering our drinks we received the expansive menu; that includes a plethora of salads, pizza, pannis, a fish fry, seafood dishes, and much much more. The waitress was very friendly and patient as my friend deliberated (and deliberated some more) over his selection.

After much deliberation (nearly 30 minutes to be exact) I chose the SPANAKORIZO which is meat free dish of sauteed spinach, rice, onions and tomatoes topped with a lemon dill broth. I subbed the rice with lemon pepper potatoes and added a side Greek salad. LB (my friend) chose the MOUSSAKA which is basically the Greek version of lasagna with beef, layered eggplant, zucchini, goat cheese, and potatoes. The food is prepared to order; meaning that it is fresh but takes time. We were in no rush and the extra time allowed us to catch up.

Once our food arrived and my Greek salad was retrieved which the waitress initially forgot, we were down to business. My dish was well seasoned with more than enough lemon and pepper. I would have preferred more spinach over potatoes but overall the dish was good. My friend enjoyed his Moussaka and meticulously inspected and savored every bite.

Since gluten zero desserts are a true anomaly; I didn’t even bother to ask to see the dessert menu. My friend however, is a dessert aficionado and as usual requested the dessert menu. I am not sure if authentic Greek cuisine excludes major desserts; but the selections at Opa! are very few. We opted to head over to Dairy Queen instead where I treated myself to a small Vanilla Dish and my friend got the Brownie Sundae.

Opa! gave us a decent Greek experience and even though I would have like to see more gluten zero and vegan selections; the dish that I selected was satisfying and I am not against returning. More importantly, I am happy that I was able to get out of the house and engage in a “normal” weekend activity, catch up with a friend, soak up the sun, and eat outside my typical fare.

Rating 3.5/5

Photo courtes of Closet Cooking (Spanakorizo)

Photo courtesy of Food Network (Moussaka)