Angelina & me

Sometimes the seeds that are planted in one chance meeting blossom beyond anything you could have imagined.

This woman. 

Intentional. Generous. Empathetic. A force of nature. 

Her soul shines through a smile that lights up the whole room.

When she pulls you in for a hug, she’ll adjust you first. She’ll say, “No. It needs to be heart to heart.” And she will move her heart to yours. It is so easy to be emotional around Angelina. Her spirit allows you to be yourself, even if you’ve only just met.

Back in June, I took my kids to the Black Kids Matter celebration in Penfield, NY because I knew we’d meet great people and have a lot of fun. There were incredible African musicians there and lots of black owned businesses. I met so many fantastic people that day including children’s author Nykki L Matthews, twelve year old entrepreneur Trinity Jackson and, of course, Angelina. 

I introduced myself and asked her if my husband, Chris, could take her photo. She talked about Native Made with so much excitement. Chris sent me the photo he had taken and I was so glad to see how he had captured that joy in her eyes and smile. 

I knew then that I was going to tell my editor, the fabulous Christine Green, about Angelina and beg her to let me write an article about her. Not only did Christine agree to let me write it, it ended up being chosen for the cover story and now everyone gets to see Angelina’s beauty radiating from the COVER of the magazine!

I was thrilled to join Angelina at the (585) photoshoot. You would never know that she was completely out of her comfort zone the way she rocked different poses, changed outfits and shot lots of film inside and outside of Innovation Square. After the shoot, the incredibly talented David Turner allowed us to take a peek at some of the images. This gifted photographer, who has photographed celebrities like Audrey Hepburn, was so gracious with us both, allowing us to give our opinion on the best ones.

As Angelina sat there looking at photos and starting to come down from the adrenaline high, we had the best talk about what it’s like to have a dream you want to pursue in this stage of life, both of us being moms who give most of our time away to our children, spouses, the household. We struggle to manage our time, balance our relationships and workload, all while remaining present with our families. We laughed and cried together, bonding over our similarities.

Months later, I was standing in my kitchen, scrolling on my phone, when I saw the cover of (585) Magazine. I screamed and texted Angelina. She had seen it a minute before I did and was screaming in the parking lot of the Penfield Target. I got to celebrate with her at the magazine’s Happy Hour for the November issue.

I am so grateful that the Rochester community will get to see this woman. This fierce advocate for Indigenous People. This mother, daughter, sister, wife, steward of the Earth and my friend. 

I wish her Gramsy were still alive to see Angelina at this moment, in this beautiful stage of her life. But I’m so thrilled Angelina’s children will have this to keep forever. Please enjoy this article on Angelina Hilton and mark your calendars for the Native Made Market which will take place the Saturday right after Thanksgiving.

Native Made

Angelina Hilton has been traveling back to the reservation in Kansas every year since she was a little girl. She recently made the decision to bring her Native traditions and culture home to the people of Rochester. 

Native Made, Hilton’s small business, provides marketing services for Native American–owned businesses. She has made it her mission to increase Indigenous visibility and reduce barriers for Native people to enter the marketplace. Last November, she saw an opportunity to share her heritage with her Rochester neighborhood. Hilton hosted Indigenous vendors and presenters at the first Native Made Market at POP ROC, the pop-culture cafe she cofounded with her husband, Jason.

Hilton is listed on the roll of the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri and is the sixth-generation granddaughter of Rantchewaime (Flying Pigeon) and Iowa Chief Mahaska (White Cloud). Her family moved to the Rochester area when she was a child, where she learned her new home was rich in Native culture and history, being the land of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Hilton cherished the […] [Nov/Dec 2023 issue]

Thank you, RACWI!

It has been an absolute honor to serve as President of RACWI this past year. The Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators is a group of kidlit creators living in the Rochester, NY area. Thank you to all of you who made me feel welcome and capable in this new leadership position. I had a blast preparing our monthly meetings and lining up guest presenters. 

This year we were treated to presentations by Heather L Montgomery, Kekla Magoon, Mindy Yuksel, Keely Hutton, Achut Deng, Jackie Yeager, Marsha Hayles and Jen Rofé.

We ended the year on a high note with the incredibly talented London Ladd who presented to the group and showed us his art studio.

More highlights from the year:

Peggy Thomas, Andrea Page, Susannah Buhrman-Deever, Keely Hutton, Sarah Mead, Vivian Vande Velde at School No 12
  • I spent a day reading to the amazing second graders at Rochester’s Anna Murray-Douglass Academy No.12 and sharing my writing process.

Kekla Magoon, Sarah Mead, Yuko Jones, Bruce Coville

  • I got to perform in a ridiculous musical with Kekla Magoon, Yuko Jones, Bruce Coville and many more at our annual post-festival dinner!

  • I found an amazing critique partner.

Our group has so much to look forward to…

RACWI meetings are about to start up again at Writers and Books. We have a writers retreat coming up at the Gell Center in Naples with guest speakers Linda Sue Park and Dee Romito. Festival to Go is happening again in October. Here’s how to donate a book to an RCSD student. And planning is heavily underway for the Rochester Book Festival in November!

I have been a member of this group of local authors and illustrators for fifteen years. Being immersed in their talent, love and generosity has improved my craft, enriched my life and given me beautiful friendships. I am so grateful for each and every one of you.

If you live in the Rochester area and you love to write or illustrate for children, send me a message. You belong here. Come and check us out!

Rediscover the Beauty Around You

When Joseph Nardone bought his current home in 1999, the simple backyard consisted of a pool, a white fence, and a lonesome walnut tree. After knocking down the fence, he discovered he had been given a blank canvas to decorate. That’s when he started planting. 

“I learned as I went,” Nardone says. “I just kept adding.” […] [Sept/Oct 2023 Issue]

A Fairy Tale Cafe:

Coffee and Smoothies and Cheesecake, Oh My!

Just as Dorothy was transported to the land of Oz, you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world when you walk through the doors of the Old Farm Cafe. Stepping inside out of the bitter Rochester winter, I am instantly transported to a sunny summer day on the farm. “That’s the idea,” says owner Eric Vaughn Johnson. […] [March/April 2023 Issue]

High Flying Fun:

Thrills for All Ages at the Rochester Airshow

Do you hear it? The whir of the wings. The roar of the engines. After a four-year hiatus, the Rochester Airshow returns! Get ready to welcome back the Thunderbirds, the official air demonstration team of the United States Air Force. Mark your calendars for August 12 and 13. The show will be hosted at the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport.   […] [Summer 2023 Issue]

Hitting All the Right Notes:

The Benefits of Playing a Musical Instrument

Before you send your child back to school this fall, consider encouraging them to choose an instrument and join the school band or orchestra. Find out what is offered at each grade level. In our district, children start learning bowed stringed instruments in second grade and band instruments in fourth grade. Later, they can join the fiddle club, marching band, and indoor percussion ensemble. […] [Summer 2023 Issue]

Here’s The Scoop:

The Best Handcrafted Ice Cream around Rochester

Nothing says summer like a refreshing ice cream cone after a long bike ride. In no particular order, here’s the scoop on some of the best ice cream near you and a few places that are worth a drive. […] [Spring 2023 Issue]

Kindness Rocks

A Rock-Solid Hobby for Christina Smith

On his way to school one morning, an eight-year-old boy spies a brightly colored object peeking out from under a leaf. He bends down to check it out and finds . . . a rock. Painted to resemble a puppy, this is no ordinary rock. He tucks it into his pocket as he smiles. Across town, an orthodontist is unlocking the office door when she catches something out of the corner of her eye. She picks up a rock painted like a tooth with the words “Follow Your Dreams” written in bold lettering. She holds it in her hand and chuckles. Locals are finding painted rocks everywhere in Victor: at the library, on hiking trails, even at the foot of their own mailboxes and porches. Someone here has started a movement, and her kindness has become contagious. […] [Winter 2023 Issue]

Beat the Winter Blahs!

Rochester winters can be dreary, dark, and colder than cold. There comes a point every winter where I start browsing real estate in warmer parts of the country. We find ourselves daydreaming about tropical vacations and long summer days. When the monotony of the cold months starts to affect your mood and patience, try changing things up with one of these boredom busters: […] [Winter 2023 Issue]

About Me

Sarah grew up surrounded by books and loved her notebooks and pens. She loved writing plays and performing them with her siblings. Her long stories won her the future author award in elementary school. As a fourth grade teacher, Sarah earned a Masters degree in writing curriculum, but decided that writing children’s books was much more fun! When she isn’t writing or reading, you can find her dancing to old records, playing board games or watching movies with her husband and three kids. She has a mini-goldendoodle named Oliver who likes to sleep on her feet while she writes. Sarah lives with her family in Victor, NY.