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Eustis farm creates plant-base makeup. ARTSY MESSAGES

Teacher reaches students through sidewalk chalk art.

JAN '21


A D VA N C E D O R T H O P E D I C S I N S T I T U T E Expanding the Boundaries of Possibility in Joint Replacement

E.R. care backed by a name you trust. More than ever, you want to be sure of where to turn for quality care, the moment you need it most. As part of the only regional health care system backed by the experts at University of Florida Health, our emergency room offers advanced stroke and cardiac care, air medical services, lifesaving treatments and access to over 100 specialists — right where you call home. Learn more at: TheVillagesHospital.org

Close. Caring. Connected.

THE VILLAGES® is a federally registered trademark of Holding Company of The Villages®, Inc., and is used under license. UF Health The Villages® Hospital is a part of University of Florida Health.


1560 Santa Barbara Blvd 1950 Laurel Manor Dr, Ste. 142 8485 SE 165th Mulberry Ln Dr. Glick 1501 N US Hwy 441, Ste. 1102


Primary Care Cardiology Vascular Surgery URGENT CARE Nephrology 201 La Grande Blvd, Lady Lake Lab Services OPENING 2021 Brownwood ® Center for Limb Preservation LEESBURG Radiology Services 511 Medical Plaza Drive, Ste. 101 Vascular Access Center Dr. Bello 25010 US Hwy 27, Units G&H 601 E Dixie Ave, Ste. 805 Urgent Care 802 E. Dixie Ave URGENT CARE

27637 US Hwy 27 352.350.5704 fhvhealth.com



Liz had ImageLift, Laser, and filler treatments. Results are typical and do vary.

Kathy had a Laser ImageLift. Results are typical and do vary.



WATERFRONT INN Wednesday, January 6th @ 2 pm 1105 Lakeshore Drive

BROWNWOOD HOTEL AND SPA Thursday, January 28th @ 2 pm 3003 Brownwood Blvd •

Masks are required for guests and staff • Very limited seating CALL NOW TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT!



is a Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon as seen on:

*Patient and any other person responsible for payment has a right to refuse to pay, cancel payment, or be reimbursed for payment for any other service, examination, or treatment that is performed as a result of and within 72 hrs of responding to ad for the free, discounted fee, or reduced fee service, examination, or treatment.

8630 East CR 466, The Villages www.IMAGELIFT.com

At Babette’s, we understand that whether you are shopping for one or two rooms or an entire home, it can be overwhelming. Our talented decorators specialize in making the process simple, working with you every step of the way. Scheduling a design consultation whether in our store or in your home, is the perfect way to begin planning a design vision for your home. Whether you are looking for a custom look or want to start with a pre-designed package, our design process is all about each individual customer and we really personalize it. View our design portfolio and schedule an appointment at


(352) 617-6001 8345 US Highway 441, Leesburg 3691 Meggison Rd., The Villages


LIVE LIFE PAIN FREE, AGAIN. At Advanced Orthopedics Institute we specialize in hips, knees, shoulders, ankles, wrists...and golfers. If you are experiencing hip pain, playing a round of golf, climbing stairs, walking through the grocery store, even driving can be a challenge. Our experience has expanded the boundaries of possibility in joint replacement, providing you with the most effective solutions for your unique needs, so you can get back to doing what you love most. Get moving. Call 352.751.2862.


AOI-HealthyLiving-Spreads-all-2020-R2.indd 3-4

John T. Williams, Jr., MD

Alfred J. Cook, Jr., MD

1400 N US Hwy 441, Suite 552 | The Villages, FL 32159 phone 352.751.2862 | fax 855.420.1047 | goaoi.com

9/4/20 2:44 PM

Wishes you a Healthy & Prosperous New Year! L HIL AK TO A E RV ESE PR


9060 NW 19TH ST, WILDWOOD, FL 34785 Let’s Build your Custom Dream Home right here. LOT 78 features 10.08 Acres nestled in the Cul-de-Sac with rolling hills. This Prestigious & Gated Equestrian Community’s Deed Restrictions allow for your barn and horses with open pastures. Surrounded by horse farms, four board fencing and 100 acres of horse riding trails, underground utilities and street lights. $110,000 | MLS# G4838375




6010 POLOCHECK PLACE, THE VILLAGES, FL 32163 Dynamite location! This LIGHTLY LIVED IN 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath “SUNFLOWER 5” Designer home is perfectly located in the Village of Southern Oaks. Featuring; Gable roof, 2-Car and Golf Car Garage, leaded glass front door, foyer, white GOURMET style kitchen, gas, ceramic tile throughout the main living area, recessed lighting, Roman shower, and nova purified water system. TWO New Golf courses are coming SOON! $335,000 | MLS# G5031948



1104 BECKER AVE, THE VILLAGES, FL 32163 BEAUTIFULLY-APPOINTED 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath “Avondale” Bungalow Courtyard Villa nestled in The Village of Pine Ridge on a CORNER Home site. Solid Block and Stucco construction with a Two-Car garage, privacy wall, completely “Turnkey furnished”! Income producing/Tenant Occupied w/2-Year Lease $1,800/ Month. $334,500 | MLS# G5027614

9899 NW 26TH ST, WILDWOOD, FL 34785 Build your Custom Dream Home on LOT 48 at the end of the Cul-de-Sac. These Gorgeous 13.95 Acres are located in the Gated PRESERVE AT OAK HILL Equestrian Community! Deed Restrictions allow for your barn and horses. The Preserve at Oak Hill offers quiet country living right in the Heart of Sumter County. $149,000 | MLS# G5015190


9453 SE 173RD PLACE, SUMMERFIELD, FL 34491 This DYNAMITE 3/2 “Holly” Model comes completely “Turn Key” FURNISHED with Brand new AC (10/2020) and move-in ready! Nestled on an elevated home-site in the Spruce Creek South 55+ Active Adult Community. Open and spacious split bedroom floor plan. Featuring; 2-Car Garage with a painted garage floor, Garage service door, front porch, glass front storm door, 12’ X 10’ rear Enclosed lanai, inside Laundry Room and VAULTED CEILINGS. $168,950 | MLS# G5034990

14329 SE 170TH ST, WEIRSDALE, FL 32195 Private and Secluded! 10 Absolutely Gorgeous Acres of Land to build your dream home and bring your animals. Surrounded by citrus trees and farms, this Dynamite location in Weirsdale is just minutes to Lake Weir, The Villages, Grand Oaks Resort, Carriage Museum and Orange Blossom Opry. The Owner has already cleared a portion of the property to build your home and has poured the 20’ x 46’ slab for your pole barn. $175,000 | MLS# G5033687


Spruce Creek Professional Plaza | 10935 SE 177th Place, Suite 201, Summerfield, FL 34491

Rosanna Holmes Bookkeeper

Maria Covella

Sharon Bassett, Owner/Broker



Chris Szymanski

Director of Marketing


Kyle Willman Realtor®

Jenelle Littizzio Broker Assistant


5031 SE 115TH STREET, BELLEVIEW, FL 34420 SIX GORGEOUS ACRES centrally located in Belleview! ZONED R-3 with a Retention pond at the backside of the property designed for MULTI-HOUSING. Seller provided Plans, TOPO and ENGINEERING reports. Perfect site for apartments, duplexes and/ or townhomes. Great location near shopping, restaurants, medical, and much more! The Two-story home on site can be remodeled for your Sales Center! $349,900 | MLS# G5031672


17834 SE 107TH TERRACE, SUMMERFIELD, FL 34491 3/2 FURNISHED “Holly” model in the Spruce Creek South 55+ Active adult Gated Golf Community. The exterior of this Charming home has great curb appeal with the covered front porch, decorative epoxy driveway, walk way and garage, privacy screen on garage, gutters and downspouts, front entry with storm door and lush green bushes. Open home with natural sunlight, knockdown texture vaulted ceilings, ceramic tile in the foyer and carpet throughout the living room. $159,995 | MLS# G5034931


10717 SE 178TH STREET, SUMMERFIELD, FL 34491 Lovely FURNISHED “Pecan” 2/2 home with a 2-Car oversized garage, plus a golf cart garage, enclosed Florida Room and covered screen lanai and nestled on a water enhanced homesite in the Spruce Creek South 55+ Active adult Gated Golf Community. This all electric home features; a Galley Style Kitchen with newer stainless steel appliances (2019), a glasstop range with a mounted microwave above, newer stainless sink & faucet, newer Culligan Water Softener system and 3 Ton HVAC System. $155,000 | MLS# G5034753 G1 DIN N PE



19 GORGEOUS ACRES near Lake Weir! Zoned A-1. Let’s Build your Forever home right here! Enjoy the serene COUNTRY LIVING amongst the Towering Oak trees, 5-Stall Barn, Three board fencing, well, septic, water and electric available. Just minutes to The Villages, Shopping, Medical, Restaurants and much more! (4) 3-ACRE parcels are available. $498,750 | MLS# G5034434


9604 SE 173RD LANE, SUMMERFIELD, FL 34491 BEAUTIFUL 2/2 “Chestnut” model in the Spruce Creek South 55+ Active adult Gated Golf Community. The exterior of this Lovely home has GREAT CURB APPEAL with walk way, privacy screen on garage, gutters and downspouts and front entry with storm door. Enter this Super bright and Open home with natural sunlight you will notice the knockdown texture vaulted ceilings, Ceramic Tile throughout the Living, Dining, Kitchen and Hallway. $140,000 | #G5035421


1037 RIDGEVILLE ROAD, THE VILLAGES, FL 32162 LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION! Come and enjoy The Villages Lifestyle in this GORGEOUS 2/2 “TURN KEY” Furnished “Colony” Patio Villa. This home is nestled in the Village of Sable Chase! Professionally manicured landscaping with decorative borders and a beautiful palm tree, screened covered front Lanai, light, bright and open floor plan with Volume ceilings, Eat-in Breakfast nook, closet pantry, plantation shutters, enhanced lighting and GAS appliances, 1-1/2 car garage with room for your golf cart. $220,000 | MLS# G5034349

JAN'21 V.17

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040 40 under 40

While Lake and Sumter counties continue to thrive economically, future generations of talented professionals will be responsible for maintaining that momentum. Fortunately, the leaders of tomorrow have already established themselves as the leaders of today. Here are 40 professionals under age 40 who are making a mark in their respective fields. COMPILED BY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG, THERESA CAMPBELL, ROXANNE BROWN, JAMES COMBS

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r a e Y w e N Happy

ancial! n i F B T t staff a from the



We Listen. We Care. We Educate.


TBFinancialGroup.com 3261 U.S. Highway 441/27, Suite F-2 Fruitland Park, FL 34731



Jan. 21st @ 9a.m.


Jan. 5th & 28th @ 9a.m. BROWNWOOD HOTEL & SPA 3003 BROWNWOOD BLVD,


Seating is very limited and by RSVP only.

Liz Cornell, CAS®


TB Financial Group Inc. is a licensed insurance agency for life, health, and annuities. We are not securities licensed. We are not tax advisors. Our seminars are very general in nature and not meant to replace the advice of your CPA, Tax Preparer, Investment Advisor or Attorney. We will not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax or legal professional for these matters.

JAN'21 V.17

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healthy living


104 120




A n m b u f w






134 136

130 144




Eustis farm creates plant-based makeup. ARTSY MESSAGES

Teacher reaches students through sidewalk chalk art.


Eustis farm creates plant-base makeup. ARTSY MESSAGES

Teacher reaches students through sidewalk chalk art.

JAN '21



Chillin’ with Quan Nguyen, 37, owner of Duct-Man Mechanical.

Meet the young professionals who bring fresh eyes, different perspectives, and new energy and ideas to their respective fields.

A D VA N C E D O R T H O P E D I C S I N S T I T U T E Expanding the Boundaries of Possibility in Joint Replacement

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Lake and Sumter Style

Village Edition

Photo: Douglas Tyler Model: Quan Nguyen

Photo: Nicole Hamel Model: Advanced Orthopedics Institute

“ A i i u b 1



At American Family Homes we believe you deserve your new home, your way. This includes custom changes that make your home personal and special to you. That’s always been part of the American Family Homes experience. Bring us your ideas. Let’s collaborate on style, color and design features to create an energy efficient custom home, within budget, just the way you want it.


“Designing and building a custom home is a long process. A thousand decisions need to be made, one just as important as the next. The first decision you need to make is to hire the right builder with the right experience. Don’t underestimate the importance of the relationship with your builder. American Family Homes is Committed to Quality and 100% Satisfaction. We invite your inquiry today.” - Mike Neace CUSTOM HOMES “ON YOUR LOT” FROM THE $200s OFFICE/DESIGN STUDIO 312 South Bay St., Eustis FL 32726


BUILDER OF THE YEAR Let’s get started. Call me today.

Mike Neace: 352-589-6004 Award Winning Home Designer, Builder, Licensed Contractor

“Committed to Quality & Satisfaction” AmericanFamilyHomesInc.com State License Number - CBC058306


Young professionals make their mark Meet the hottest rising stars in business. know what it’s like to be young, ambitious, and hungry for success. I fell in love with publishing when I was in my 20s. I started as a sales representative for a local newspaper, then became a sales representative for two local magazines. During those years, I learned the ins and outs of what it takes to put together a quality magazine. Eventually, I put that knowledge to good use. In 2008, I launched my own publishing company, Akers Media Group. We produced Healthy Living, the area’s first magazine exclusively dedicated to health. I felt blessed to be a woman in my mid-30s living my dream.

Two years later, I purchased Lake and Sumter Style, which was previously produced by a publishing company in Ocala. That was super exciting for me. Why? Because Lake and Sumter Style had employed me as the marketing director. Both Healthy Living and Lake and Sumter Style have won multiple awards from the Florida Magazine Association, Florida Press Club, Florida Society of Professional Journalists, and other prestigious organizations. More importantly, I love what these publications have done for the community, how they’ve changed lives and brought awareness to important issues. Now that I’ve told you my story of being a young go-getter, I want to share the encouraging stories of the many high achievers coming up in the generation behind me. We’re proud and excited to introduce them in this year’s 40 Under 40 feature.

Yes, our area is blessed to have many young professionals who are excelling in a wide range of careers—from businessowners and politicians to doctors and financial gurus. Not only do they strive for greatness in their chosen profession; they are also working to raise their families in Lake and Sumter counties. How exciting is that? Our future is on its way to being very bright knowing this year’s crop of 40 Under 40 are going to be tomorrow’s leaders. One last thought. We’ve eagerly awaited the opportunity to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021. I hope this year brings you a life filled with joy and blessings. Work hard, play hard, and consider each day a gift from God. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2021!

Have a story to tell? We’re always looking for stories about people who live and work in our area. Send suggestions to editorial@akersmediagroup.com.

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Kendra Akers Doug Akers

OWNER/PUBLISHER kendra@akersmediagroup.com




PRESIDENT doug@akersmediagroup.com




Steven J. Codraro James Combs

CREATIVE DIRECTOR steve@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER james@akersmediagroup.com

Michael Gaulin Theresa Campbell

SENIOR DESIGNER michael@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER theresa@akersmediagroup.com

Volkan Ulgen Victoria Schlabig

ART DIRECTOR volkan@akersmediagroup.com

Megan Mericle Roxanne Brown

GRAPHIC DESIGNER megan@akersmediagroup.com


Eustis farm creates plant-based makeup. ARTSY MESSAGES

Eustis farm creates plant-base makeup. ARTSY MESSAGES

Teacher reaches students through sidewalk chalk art.


JAN '21


Chillin’ with Quan Nguyen, 37, owner of Duct-Man Mechanical.

STAFF WRITER roxanne@akersmediagroup.com


Nicole Hamel Gary Corsair

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER nicole@akersmediagroup.com



Meet the young professionals who bring fresh eyes, different perspectives, and new energy and ideas to their respective fields.

A D VA N C E D O R T H O P E D I C S I N S T I T U T E Expanding the Boundaries of Possibility in Joint Replacement

Joe Angione

Anthony Rao

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/ VIDEOGRAPHER anthony@akersmediagroup.com




PHOTOGRAPHY douglas@akersmediagroup.com

Teacher reaches students through sidewalk chalk art.

STAFF WRITER victoria@akersmediagroup.com



Lake County has bushels of berries and a bounty of agritourism sites.




Launch yourself into endless waterways and discover scenic wildlife areas.

Explore a fishing mecca with countless hot spots for anglers of all skill levels.

By land, sea and air, visitors can find adventure, sightseeing and recreation.

Hot off the press! The latest editions of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Edition Style, and Welcome to Lake County.

Get yours Subscriptions: Order a subscription of your favorite magazine to be delivered directly




Tim McRae

VICE PRESIDENT, SALES tim@akersmediagroup.com

Mike Stegall


Melanie Melvin Shaena Long

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING melanie@akersmediagroup.com

ADVERTISING COORDINATOR shaena@akersmediagroup.com

to your home for just $84. Each subscription includes 12 consecutive issues of Lake & Sumter Style and Village Edition Style. Choose 2 or more magazines for $108 per year. To order, call 352.787.4112 or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. Change of Address: If you are a seasonal resident or have moved, send your address change request to general@akersmediagroup.com or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. Back Issues: Order a single issue by mail for $8. To pick up a back issue from our office, please call 24 hours in advance.

A D M IN IS TRATION Aubrey Akers Simmons OFFICE MANAGER aubrey@akersmediagroup.com

Digitize your life


Visit the Apple or Android app store today and download the Lake & Sumter Style online magazine app for your mobile device.

Scott Hegg

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER scott.hegg@akersmediagroup.com

Akers Media is a proud member of

Winner of 200+ Awards for Excellence

Lake & Sumter Style. Published monthly by Akers Media, 108 South Fifth Street, Leesburg, FL 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2020 by Akers Media. All rights reserved. Lake & Sumter Style is a registered trademark of Akers Media. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. For back issues or billing information, call 352.787.4112. Return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts and artwork if they are to be returned. Manuscripts are welcomed, but no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. “Paid Promotional Feature” denotes a paid advertising feature. Publisher is not responsible for claims or contents of advertisements. The ideas and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of Akers Media.

Find us on social media


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By Gratitude & Compassion Pre-planning your funeral is a smart decision. Planning with our knowledgeable, Trusted Advisors is

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Final opportunity to receive 2020 Pricing. Lock in your Price & Savings!

Vital water was founded with a clear vision in mind: help people experience ultimate hydration and feel confident in their health.


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Family Owned. Quality Repairs. Satisfaction Guaranteed.

352.787.8077 | communitycollisionrepair.com 018 /

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Must Present Offer Use one or BOTH coupons

606 SW 2nd Ave Ocala, FL 34471


*Offers above are based on select pre-arrangement packages and are not retroactive to previous purchase. Beneficiary must be present with ad at time of purchase. Limited time offer. SALES CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE


Top cop Keshia Rytter makes schools safe.

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THERE SHE IS… LEESBURG’S 2021 REPRESENTATIVES CROWNED During the recent 34th annual Miss Leesburg Scholarship Pageant hosted at Leesburg High School, the following girls were crowned to represent the city at special events, parades, and community activities: • Tiny Miss – A’Zyrani Taylor, a first-grader at Beverly Shores Elementary in Leesburg. • Little Miss – Shaylin Shumate, a fourth-grader the Villages Elementary of Lady Lake. • Junior Miss – Caliza O’Bryan, a seventh-grader at The Villages Charter School in The Villages. • Teen Miss – Kierstyn Riley, an eighth-grader at First Academy in Leesburg. • Miss Leesburg – Riley McDowell, a 2020 graduate of The Villages High School. The new Miss Leesburg will receive a $3,000 cash scholarship to the college of her choice (made payable to the college) at the end of her reign. First runner-up, Jacklyn Paul received a $1,000 scholarship. Winners of the four younger age groups received $100 cash. Additional awards were presented at the pageant: a $1,500 Community Service Scholarship, sponsored by the OBG Lions Club, was awarded to Riley McDowell, and a $1,000 Kind and Humble Award in memory of Sharon St. Cyr was given to Brianna Shufelt. “We are committed to stressing the importance of education through the scholarship program,” says Linda Watts, founder and director of the program. “Our goal is to promote pride in the community by active involvement in many areas, including volunteer service work.”

SING FOR SUPPORT Longtime Clermont resident, dad, husband and Tuscanooga Baptist Church of Groveland’s Worship Leader Patrick Gibson, a singer/ songwriter nationally known in the country music world, has expressed his support for law enforcement in a recently released song, “The American Prayer.” In the song, produced by Dakota Hurley, Patrick sings about how important law enforcement is to people’s everyday lives, but also of the sacrifice each officer gives in the daily routine. Patrick says his intention is to encourage law enforcement officers, both locally and on a national level, and to let them know that he and others are standing behind them and praying for them and nationwide unity. The song is available for streaming and download on all digital music platforms and the video can be viewed by scanning the QR code below.

For more information about Patrick and his newest release, visit pgcountry.com.

Left: Kay Hallgren, the first Miss Leesburg from 1952. Right: Shaylin Shumate, Caliza O’Bryan, Riley McDowell, A’Zyrani Taylor, and Kierstyn Riley

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SOUP’S ON! Spend your Saturdays in cozy slippers and pajamas while you whip up a batch of soup to last the whole week. No old family recipes? Soup recipes and ideas are plentiful on the internet. Enjoy a hearty minestrone, black bean soup, or creamy butternut squash soup. And if cooking isn’t your forte, no worries. So many soups can be made just by throwing ingredients into your slow cooker. Some of our favorite places to browse are gimmesomeoven.com, bonappetit.com, delish.com, tastemade.com, and allrecipes.com.

80% OFF FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS AFFECTED BY PANDEMIC Kudos to Lake Technical College for partnering with Lake County to provide what school officials call an “amazing” opportunity: Elevate to Essential scholarships for students enrolled in the spring 2021 term, which starts this month. Individuals who lost their jobs due to COVID-19, are underemployed due to coronavirus, or have been seeking new training due to the pandemic, were encouraged to enroll and apply for the Elevate to Essential scholarship, where some students were eligible for up to 80% of tuition and fees for any Lake Technical College program. “This year, more than ever, our community needs skilled workers to meet the needs in our area,” says Dr. Diane Culpepper, the college’s executive director, in a news release. “For over five decades, Lake Tech has provided career and technical training to

thousands of essential workers in Lake County and the surrounding region.” Thirty career and technical programs are offered by Lake Tech, which is known for preparing individuals for a rewarding profession in approximately one year. To learn more about the college’s offerings, visit laketech.org or call 352.589.2250.

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DID YOU KNOW? Grantland Rice, an early 20th-century American sportswriter, referred to the Dora Canal as the “most beautiful half-mile of water in the world” when he cruised down the subtropical waterway in the 1930s. One can only imagine how awestruck he was after seeing 200-year-old towering cypress trees draped with Spanish moss, turtles sunning on logs, great blue herons sitting statue-like on the bank, and large alligators sinking quietly beneath the surface of the water. Indeed, Lake County is a place where beauty comes naturally.

PROMISES, PROMISES… Do you have a New Year’s resolution in mind? If so, you are probably not alone, but did you know that the tradition is thousands of years old and started as promises to the Gods at the start of each year to do things like lose weight, spend more time with family, spend less money, stop smoking, and more? According to history.com, the ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year—though for them the year began not in January but in mid-March, when crops were planted. The website adds that during a massive 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. At that time, the Babylonians “also made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed with an understanding that if they kept their word, their (pagan) gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor.” A similar practice has early Christian roots, but overall, the website cites research revealing that although as many as 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, only eight percent are successful in achieving their goals. At Planet Fitness in Eustis, a manager named Lee says that the start of the year for most gyms is a historically popular time for new membership start-ups because of ever-popular health related resolutions. Lee says most gyms, including theirs, offer discounted pricing in anticipation of the usual surge of

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new enrollments, only to see about 50-75 percent of new members drop off after a couple of months. He also says that although some patrons become gym regulars, some continue paying for memberships, yet rarely step through the doors for a workout. In 2021 however, who knows what the trend will be due to ongoing COVID-19 related concerns, but if your New Year’s resolution is to exercise more or to lose weight, don’t let anything stop you. Joining a gym is one option, but if still leery, you may also consider at-home alternatives, including online-based classes and training, or simply getting out and exploring the many beautiful walking trails throughout Lake County and beyond.

REST AND RELAXATION ON THE HORIZON The start of a new year inspires many to take a step back and think about everything we would like to accomplish in the upcoming weeks and months. Self-care is an important part of resetting your mind and body. Light a candle, take a hot bath, and curl up with a good book, put on a mud mask, and take time to unwind whenever you can. Maybe even treat yourself to a day at the spa or salon!

SUPER MEMORIES With the Super Bowl right around the corner, it’s appropriate to remember the only student-athletes from Lake and Sumter counties who played in the big game. Ron Dixon, a 1994 graduate of Wildwood High School, played in Super Bowl 35 with the New York Giants as a starting wide receiver. The whole world witnessed his electrifying speed that game when he returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. That was the only touchdown that day for the Giants, who lost to the Baltimore Ravens 34-7. Danny Trevathan, a 2008 graduate of Leesburg High School, played in Super Bowl 50 as a starting linebacker for the Denver Broncos. He reached the pinnacle of his sport that day when the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10. Like Dixon, he had a memorable performance, recovering two fumbles and leading the Broncos in tackles.

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Keshia Rytter School resource deputy with Lake County Sheriff’s Office has a heart for kids. INTERVIEWER: THERESA CAMPBELL


What do you enjoy most about your job? It’s not about how many arrests you can make or how many tickets you can write, it’s about how many lives you can steer in the right direction. Working in the schools you aren’t just a deputy, you become a mentor, a counselor, and a positive role model in these children’s lives. I’m seeing the impact I’ve had on several kids that disliked law enforcement. They eventually see me for me, not just the uniform I wear because I was able to have one-on-one time with certain children and an open-door policy of being visible where kids felt comfortable talking to me. Just hearing the kids say, “Thank you for being here, thank you for keeping us safe, thank you for what you do” is rewarding in many ways. L V I TA AT S ST

• Born in New York and moved to Groveland as a child.

years with Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

• Resided in Leesburg for 14+ years before moving to Davenport last March.

• Has supportive boyfriend, Maurice, who is employed with Orlando Police Department.

• Has worked in law enforcement seven years; the past two

• Family includes daughter, 3; son, 12, and Maurice’ two daughters, 5 and 7.

Know a person of interest? Tell us!

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How do you feel about about working for LCSO at East Ridge Middle School? This was where I was meant to be. My day-to-day life as a school resource deputy, I am not just a deputy, I am part of the East Ridge Middle School family. That is exactly how I am treated, and I enjoy being a part of their team. Changing

lives, opening young minds to the important things in life.

What are your goals with the youths? Not only do I enjoy improving youths’ life skills, including leadership, communication, trust and confidence, but I have made my own goals for the kids teaching them how important education is. I have set up incentives for the kids who receive As and Bs on their report cards to be entered into a drawing at the end of each quarter to receive an award from me.

What is on your bucket list? To travel the world; add more stamps to my passport. Who was your hero as a child? My dad. What are the words you live by? “Be brave to stand for what you believe in even if you stand alone.”—Roy T. Bennett.

Email your recommendation to theresa@akersmediagroup.com.

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Parker Kruse Florida FFA area vice president has big plans for his future.



• 18 years old. • Plans to finish his AA at Santa Fe College in 2021.


• Plans to major in agricultural communications or animal science at UCF. • 2020 South Lake High School graduate.

What is the Florida FFA (Future Farmers of America) association? The Florida FFA is a dynamic youth organization that allows students to grow in the fields of premier leadership, career success, and personal growth through agriculture education, and the way I got

Favorite bands/ musicians? My top three would probably be Stevie Wonder, Luke Combs, and the Beatles. involved was mainly through my mom and my older sister. Seeing them both have success and have fun in the organization just naturally made me want to join as soon as I could, so I joined FFA in the 6th grade.

How did you get elected as vice president of Area 3 and what made you want to run for candidacy? I had a lot of influential people in my life who were state officers and seeing their impact on me made me want to do the same thing for other students. We go through tests and interviews, and then people from each school within Area 3 vote. Then this year due to COVID we had a virtual celebration, and at the end of the week they announced who the state officers are.

How will your experience with Florida FFA influence your future career? FFA has really helped me discover that I really like working with other people, and that has led me to the interest of working in journalism and public relations. I feel that some of my public speaking and teamwork skills that I’ve learned through the organization are going to help me in any career I choose.

Words to live by: This was actually my senior quote, but one of my favorite quotes is “Don’t let the worries of tomorrow overshadow the joys of today.” Favorite TV shows? “Parks and Recreation.”

How do you spend your free time? I really enjoy fishing, I have a portable hammock that I can hang between trees and I really enjoy just lying in that and reading my books, my bible, or watching Netflix. Being so busy, I don’t get a whole lot of time with my friends so whenever I get free time, I also like to hang out with them.

What is something you think more people need to know or learn about? I wish more people knew about exactly where their food comes from and how it comes from the field to the grocery store and to the table. I’d like to see us, as a country or society, get a better understanding of that.

Know an outstanding student? Fill us in!

Email your recommendations to victoria@akersmediagroup.com





IN THE 2018 AND 2019




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“We can honestly say that whilst we were somewhat reluctant to sign with Wiseman owing to the long lead time from contract signing to completion, the finished product was well worth the wait. The custom design is exactly what we asked for and we maintain that the craftsmanship of the pool, spa, equipment, pavers, screen enclosure, and summer kitchen are second to none.” — TOM & LYNDA MURPHY

We know that every single customer is unique—Building Unique Pools is our company motto—and so every project we undertake is delivered to a client’s signature set of personal tastes and, where necessary, solves any challenges their property may present. 352-431-3766 | www.WisemanPools.com | 1517 W Main St., Leesburg Wiseman Pools is a family-owned-and-operated, licensed residential and commercial swimming pool builder with an extensive portfolio of projects. From the small—fountains and in-ground spas. To the large—million dollar installations with multiple pools and spas. Our customers, large and small, demand a quality swimming pool for a fair price. And we deliver.

Working Together for the Greater Good PA I D




ealthcare providers are often our first stop for cancer support, but care can extend beyond the doctor’s office. Agencies, charities, and businesses frequently work together to help keep our community healthy. Robert Boisonneault Oncology Institute is a community partner of the H.U.G.S. (Heartfelt Unconditional Giving) charity in Ocala. RBOI social worker Amy Roberts, LCSW, chairs the Cancer Alliance of Marion County. She said at a recent meeting, “People need to get screened, but what happens if the ‘free’ screening reveals a very highly suspicious possible cancer?” In other words, what if someone can’t afford the cost of follow-up testing? Fortunately, the H.U.G.S. Bridge the Gap pilot program has partnered with the Marion County Medical Society’s We Care program and Gastroenterology Associates of Ocala to help. Federally qualified health centers in Marion County provided initial colon cancer screening and coordinated care. People whose tests

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raised red flags but who couldn’t access more testing on their own were referred to We Care, which provides free specialty healthcare to those in need. Patients who qualified for Bridge the Gap received colonoscopies at Gastroenterology Associates. Family medicine specialist Dr. David Willis explains, “Seventy-three percent of the patients who went through had precancerous polyps, and we actually found one cancer, and that patient … is being treated for their colorectal cancer.” The H.U.G.S.-funded program had spent about $25,000, but such an investment can save many times that amount in the long run. “If we prevented one early stage cancer, we avoided $112,000 worth of care,” Dr. Willis continues. “And if it had been found late, it would have been more like $260,000 worth of care.” According to the American Cancer Society, the cure rate for early stage colon cancer is close to 90 percent, but plummets to

around 14 percent if found at a later stage. Removing precancerous polyps can help patients avoid treatments like chemo and radiation. This pilot program is one example of the ways in which multiple sectors in the community can join forces to help people while ultimately driving down healthcare costs. “You can see how all the different agencies feed into each other,” Roberts says.

More than

25,000 Referrals aided by the Marion County We Care Program

More than

Helping People Help Researchers Clinical trials are the gold standard for cancer research. But finding participants can be challenging, especially where travel and lodging costs are concerned. The recent IMproving Patient Access to Cancer clinical Trials (IMPACT) study used a financial reimbursement program (FRP) that returned up to $1,500 a month to lowincome patients. “Importantly, FRP benefited racially/ethnically diverse populations,” says Hala Borno, MD, addressing the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 2020 Quality Care Symposium. “[T]he proportion of nonwhite patients enrolled in our IMPACT pilot trial was higher compared to the proportion of non-white patients seen at the comprehensive cancer centers in which the pilot study took place.” Clinical trial cost burdens can exclude patients of low socioeconomic status. The IMPACT study shows how to help bridge that gap so that more cancer patients can benefit.


Financial assistance provided by H.U.G.S. Patient Financial Assistance Program in Marion County

The Challenge of Meeting Health Care Needs


The Rural Women’s Health Project found that 15% of Latina women surveyed in Alachua, Marion, and Levy counties received their medical care through health fairs and health screening events, while 18% received no care at all.

COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund grant awarded to the Citrus Aid Cancer Foundation (serving Citrus County) by the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation

2/27/21 Nature Coast Cancer Crusaders’ second annual cancer walk to benefit patients in Citrus County

Patient-centered radiation oncology close to home The Villages 352.259.2200 Ocala 352.732.0277 Timber Ridge 352.861.2400 Inverness 352.726.3400 Lecanto 352.527.0106 RBOI.com

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Looking for a new vehicle can be a daunting task. Our plan was to drive to different dealerships in the area just to see what I might like. Our first (and only) stop was Plaza Cadillac! We met Jonathan Molzof who put us at ease right away. He truly helped guide us to several options; He gave us space when we needed it but was right there to answer all of our questions. We were at such a ease through the entire experience. Even coming back for follow up service was fast and easy. They really take such great care of their customers. Coming to Plaza Cadillac is a great experience. Everyone is personable yet professional. I can't imagine going anywhere else!

Thank you Plaza Cadillac and Jonathan Molzof —ALLEY & RICK WILLIAMS

P L AZ A 8893 US HWY 441 LEESBURG, FL 34788 352.787.1323


Alley & Rick Williams

Tony Pagano, General Sales Manager (right) Jonathan Mozof, Salesperson


When we walked into Plaza Lincoln, we had no idea that we would eagerly purchase a Nautilus that day. Gaige, our salesperson was so knowledgeable about all the vehicles and we then realized that yes, the Nautilus, was exactly what we needed. With that, came a professional commitment from Plaza Lincoln. A win-win for us!


P L AZ A Tony Pagano, General Sales Manager (left) Gaige Tracy, Salesperson

John and Janette Carlile


8925 US HWY 441 LEESBURG, FL 34788 352.787.1255


We come to you! Stay Home. Stay Safe. Heal in Comfort. Rapha Wound Care Associates’ provides convenient, physician-led medical care services in the home for patients in need of: • Wound Care • General Adult Medicine • Covid-19 treatment • Urgent Care • Medical Marijuana certification L-R: Nikki Langston, LPN; Martin Schnell, MD; Feather Moore, Admin

“Where faith and science meet, real healing begins.”

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Visit our showroom in The Villages across from Brownwood Paddock Square!



NO HOSPITAL STAY Many patients are recovering faster at home following outpatient hip, knee and shoulder replacements Alfred J. Cook, Jr., MD

John T. Williams, Jr., MD


1400 N US Hwy 441, Suite 552 | The Villages, FL 32159 phone 352.751.2862 | fax 855.420.1047 | goaoi.com

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Most patients can be treated non-operatively. We lay out every option. And we have a lot. Many of our total-joint replacement patients can go home the same day.

Joint or muscle pain, stiffness, locking, giving way (buckling), creaking, swelling or an inability to walk or play without pain can occur because of traumatic injury, arthritis, or overuse. And that’s not okay with Dr. Alfred J. Cook, Jr., and Dr. John Williams, Jr., founders of Advanced Orthopedics Institute (AOI). “We’re not just treating knees, shoulders, and hips,” said Dr. Williams. “We’re treating grandparents and golfers, kayakers and workers, weekend warriors and elite athletes. And we’re not going to be satisfied until we get every one of them back to where they’re happy in their lives.“ “Similar conditions can impact two people in totally different ways,” said Dr. Cook. “Someone who leads an active lifestyle may find an injury totally upends their life, while someone who is less active may be happy just to relieve their pain. We have the expertise to help them enjoy the lives they love, again.”

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Dr. Cook is among the nation’s leaders in reverse shoulder replacements to restore rotator cuff function, performing more in a year than many orthopedic surgeons do in a lifetime. The majority of his shoulder replacements are now being done as outpatients.

Dr. Williams is at the forefront of hip and knee replacements and revision surgeries nationally. He now performs over a third of his total knee and hip replacements on an outpatient basis for patients who are good candidates. Megan Benoit, MSN, FNP-C, APRN, RNFA works with Dr. Williams, seeing patients, providing pre- and post-op education and care, visiting patients in the hospital and rehab facilities and assisting in surgery. Heather Fleming, MSN, APRN-C, RNFA works with Dr. Cook in clinic and the OR, and is excited to help educate her patients, prepare them for procedures, and coordinate their home health, rehab, transportation and other care needs.

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AOI OFFERS A FULLY INTEGRATED APPROACH TO ORTHOPEDICS Our orthopedic surgeons, nurse practitioners, radiology technologist, medical assistant, physical therapists and aides, and support staff take pride in providing fully-integrated orthopedic care. Our state-of-the-art facility includes on-site X-ray and outpatient physical therapy to get you back in motion more quickly.

Onsite X-Ray Gives Our Surgeons Instant Insight Erika King, RT has been a radiology technologist since 2005, and her expertise and knowledge in orthopedic imaging in private practice and urgent care settings will make your experience better. With our onsite digital x-ray room, you can have your images made during your appointment, and the doctors can see the extent of your injury or how well you are healing from a procedure in real time. X-ray images are an essential tool for diagnosing and treating conditions such as arthritis, dislocated joints, fractures, bone spurs, and infections, and for demonstrating the proper alignment and stabilization of bones after a fracture.

Physical Therapy at AOI Any condition that causes pain or limited functional mobility as a result of an injury to bony or soft tissue structures in your body may benefit from specialized orthopedic physical therapy. Our PTs and PT-As are helping patients regain mobility, strength and range of motion that may have prevented them from enjoying normal activities. They also focus on making sure patients heal quickly and safely from injuries and following surgery.

Let’s Get You Back to Living For all of our advanced technologies and leading-edge breakthroughs in joint repair and replacement, the advancements we are most proud of at AOI are those that our patients make in reclaiming their quality of life. If you are experiencing pain or weakness in a knee, shoulder, or hip and feel it’s time to do something about it, there’s no time like right now. If you have other musculoskeletal problems that are causing you pain, get moving and call for your appointment to come see us. We’re here for you.

1400 N US Hwy 441, Suite 552 | The Villages, FL 32159 phone 352.751.2862 | fax 352.751.5541 | goaoi.com

12/14/20 9:51 AM



AOI INTRODUCES ITS OWN LINE OF CBD PRODUCTS Benefits include: • Minimal (if any) side effects • Few known medication interactions • Reduced inflammation throughout the body not just joints, muscles and tendons.

AOI CBD products are available to patients and non-patients by visiting the office during normal hours, and include: People who suffer from arthritis and other types of joint pain may have considered cannabis-based treatments, such as cannabidiol (CBD) oil, as an alternative to opiod and other prescription medications. They may also be unsure about which ones to buy, and where to buy them. After considerable research and due diligence, AOI has introduced its own line of CBD products to give patients a healthier alternative for pain relief.

• Pain Management CBD Salve • Full-Spectrum CBD Sublingual Tincture (Peppermint and Natural) • CBD Salve/ Pain Stick • Massage Oil Lotion


1400 N US Hwy 441, Suite 552 | The Villages, FL 32159 phone 352.751.2862 | fax 855.420.1047 | goaoi.com

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Style Director of Photography Douglas Tyler, 35, sinks his teeth into his work, as he directed our 40 up-and-comers during their shoots. Hidden talent: He can spin anything on his finger — pillows, towels, plates — as long as it has a somewhat flat surface.

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The leaders of tomorrow have already established themselves as the leaders of today. Here are 40 professionals

UNDER FORTY who are making a mark in their respective fields. COMPILED BY STYLE STAFF. PHOTOS: DOUGLAS TYLER + NICOLE HAMEL

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Lance Kinney | 36 Occupation: Commercial Risk Advisor at LassiterWare. Family: Wife of nine years, Jaimie, and kids, Easton, 7, and Jack, 2. Advice I’d give my younger self: Get out of your own way! Sometimes a personal lack of confidence will get in the way; I’ve learned not to let that happen anymore. With the right mindset and hard work, one can achieve many things that they never thought possible. Hidden talents: Karaoke master. I love to sing karaoke and did a lot of it in my much younger years. Pet peeve: People using their speaker phone when having conversations out in public. Desired superpower: X-Ray vision to see everything the way it really is. Philosophy of life: “Don’t stop until you are proud” is my current philosophy that aligns with giving 100% of myself in every aspect of life. I want to create a legacy that my entire family can be proud of. Guilty pleasure: My sister-in-law’s sweet potato casserole that only comes around for the holidays, once or twice a year! If I had $5 million: I would definitely invest first and then give a portion to people less fortunate, especially those raising children in single-parent homes where there may be a lot of need.

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Raimey Livingston | 28 Occupation: Office manager/ controller at Pike’s Electric, Inc. Love of your profession: Electric is a large part of any new home. I enjoy making customers’ dreams come true. Working in a trade is so rewarding; you have a service that will always be needed. Greatest career accomplishment: Bringing the Florida Electrical Association (FEA) apprenticeship program to Pike’s. Seeing our employees excel in the program and bring themselves to the point of being licensed electricians is so fulfilling for me. Working in a family business: My parents started Pike’s Electric and it has been such a big part of our lives. I admire my parents’ leadership and their hard work and how that made Pike’s an amazing company. Our employees are a big part of our family and that’s the way I always want it to be. I couldn’t wait to be part of the business. Advice for aspiring electricians: Find a good mentor; someone to teach you all aspects of the business. Learn all sides of the business—commercial, residential, service, and the administrative aspects. Then decide what you enjoy the most. Hidden talent: I am surprisingly good at hunting with my bow. I love the thrill of it. Desired superpower: Juggling motherhood and work can be overwhelming sometimes. I would love to be able to be in a couple places at once. Guilty pleasure: Shopping. Philosophy of life: “It is a privilege to do what God has entrusted me to do.”

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Anthony Sabatini | 32 Occupation: Attorney and Florida State Representative. Family: wife Francheska Sabatini. Hobbies: Reading, shooting, running, and Florida history. Guilty pleasure: Old Bordeaux. Describe yourself: Very, very blunt. Favorite things to see or do in Lake County: Eustis Gun Club. Boating. Lakeridge Winery. Pet peeve: Government. Advice I’d give my younger self: To not take advice from politicians. Hidden talents: I am a sommelier. Desired superpower: Time management. Philosophy of life: “Be bold.” If I had $5 million: I’d buy some Bitcoin. Most embarrassing moment: The first time I competed in speech and debate in high school, I got demolished—but it made me better.

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Alejandra Perez | 29 Occupation: Teacher of 11th grade US History at Mount Dora High School. Accolades: Lake County Rookie Teacher of the Year for the 2020-’21 school year. A leader I admire: Former President Obama for his consistent message of hope and urgency that we continue to participate in our democracy and look out for one another. Advice I’d give my younger self: Stop looking at the setbacks as failures and start seeing them as setups. Hidden talent: I am a really good chef and love getting to cook vegetarian dishes for my friends and family. Guilty pleasure: French fries. Describe yourself: Ambitious, funny, stubborn, and optimistic. Desired superpower: The power to control time. Not travel through time, although that would be included. But, control time for sure. If I had $5 million: I would invest a large portion of it back into Lake County Schools because I am a product of this county. I would set up a board made up of parents, teachers, school leaders, and students to design and implement a strategic plan to maximize the funds. I would also pay off my parents’ mortgage and use a small chunk of it to purchase an apartment or townhouse by the beach. I would donate the rest of the funds to non-profit organizations that I admire. Philosophy of life: “It is your personal responsibility to leave this place better than you found it.”

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Kathryn Deen | 31 Occupation: Communications director for the City of Clermont. Family: Husband Andy and cats Kit Kat and Pumpkin. Guilty pleasures: Dark chocolate, bubble baths, cappuccinos, massages, and fine dining. Philosophy of life: “Every day is a gift.” Words of wisdom: Be kind. You never know what people are going through. Also, we are all children of God. Greatest career accomplishments: Being entrusted with leadership and management positions at a young age: I was promoted to associate managing editor of a news team and managing editor of two magazines; I launched my own digital magazine, and I was hired on as the youngest director in the City of Clermont – all in my 20s. I followed in my dad’s leadership footsteps in a way: He was the youngest to receive his firefighting promotions and rose to captain. Hobbies: My husband and I love sailing, traveling, and cruising. I treasure time with family, and especially playtime with my nephew, Angelo. I’ve always enjoyed writing, photography, and arts and crafts. My mom introduced me to yoga about 15 years ago and I became a certified instructor. I like to bake, and my signature dessert is spicy dark chocolate brownies. You’ll always find a book or two in progress on my nightstand. I go through phases with running, and Andy and I completed the Lake Minneola Half Marathon together.

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Vale Anoa’i | 35 Occupation: ESE (Exceptional Student Education) teacher assistant, artist, and author. Family: fiancé Julio (getting married on Halloween, 2021) and a dog. Bet you didn’t know: Played the role of the pharmacist in the movie, “The Wrestler.” A leader I admire: The ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Hatshepsut. She was not just a queen, she was a pharaoh in her own right, who reinvented herself, ruled for 21 years, and set the standard for female power in the ancient world. Hidden talents: Dance! I’ve been belly dancing for over 10 years and I’m learning ballroom and Latin dance. My favorite is the Argentine Tango. Greatest career accomplishments: Hosting my very first art show in 2017, which was a huge undertaking as it was a fundraising art show for Usos – The Samoan Family Foundation. I contacted many local artists who eagerly agreed to sell their art at the event, with half of the proceeds being donated to the foundation. I myself sold 13 paintings that evening! I worked very hard on every aspect of this event and was thrilled with how successful it turned out. Pet peeve: Entitled people who don’t appreciate what they have. If I had $5 million: I would pay off my parents’ house, buy myself a small house, make a $1 million donation to Lake Hills School that would be split evenly between buying wheelchairs and assistive technology for students and giving every hardworking staff member a cash bonus, and open my own combination art gallery, studio, entertainment venue, gluten-free cafe, and bookshop.

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Braxton Bennett | 26 Occupation: Singer/songwriter, performs all over Lake County. Desired superpower: The ability to not break guitar strings! Guilty pleasures: It’s been said that I buy and trade too many guitars. Sometimes I feel guilty… other times not! Describe yourself: Creative, driven, hardworking, and ready. Philosophy of life: “If it’s God’s will for something to be in your life, then there’s nothing you can do to stop it.” If I had $5 million: I’d make an album with the finest production and push it to the radio. Advice I’d give my younger self? Don’t stop playing guitar when you get frustrated with it and learn something new from everyone. Which of your songs is your favorite? Honestly I love them all but if I have to choose — “God’s Right Hand.” Greatest career accomplishment: Being voted Style’s Best of the Best for local musician 2020. Who do you credit with helping get your career started? Aside from my wife, Madison, and the rest of my family; Rod Padgett, John Blake, Joe Hand, Sammie Fillmore, Brandon Smith, Josh Williams, Joel Wright, Matt and Ginger Biegler, and Casey Carnley. These are people who have truly invested time in me, shown me friendship and how to be successful. I’m grateful for each and every one of them.

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Mike Sparks | 37 Occupation: Owner of Central Florida Roof Rescue. Bet you didn’t know: U.S. Army Reservist and an excellent ice skater. Describe yourself: Loyal, compassionate, determined, and honest. Most difficult aspect of being a roofer: Predicting the weather. Love for your profession: Doing labor with my crews, being a civilian, serving the community, and helping people in need. Greatest career accomplishment: Being able to support families by providing employment. Pet peeve: Weather and time management. Advice I’d give my younger self: Don’t hold back, don’t settle for ordinary, and never stop improving. Philosophy of life: “Try to always leave things better than you found them.” If I had $5 million: I’d start another business to employ veterans.

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Kara Sparks | 33 Occupation: Owner of Larue Kay Salon and CEO of Central Florida Roof Rescue. Love for your profession: I love to be able to make women feel better about themselves and showing them their true beauty inside. Transitioning from the beauty industry to roofing industry: When my husband was faced with deployment overseas, I scaled back from my salon to take full control of our roofing business. The hardest part was being taken seriously as a female leader and being respected by our employees. How do you feel about being a woman in a male-dominated industry? I feel great about it. Men have great respect for a woman who multi-tasks and who possesses construction knowledge. Greatest career accomplishments: Opening my salon eight years ago as a single mom with $23 in hand. Advice I’d give my younger self: The best is yet to come. Just pray. A leader I admire: Ivanka Trump. Desired superpower: Work without sleep. Guilty pleasure: Reading a book on vacation. Describe yourself: Reliable, committed, determined, and creative. Philosophy of life: “Fake it until you make it.” If I had $5 million: I’d invest in my kids’ futures and help people in need.

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Dillon True | 26 Occupation: Owner of True Closings. Most memorable comment from a client: “Where have you been all my life?” Describe yourself: Honest, authentic, and goofy. Philosophy of life: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 Favorite part of the job: I feel blessed to be able to play a part in a huge milestone in someone’s life. Whether that is through a couple buying, selling, or refinancing their home. Although all closings start off with the important mortgage stuff they are signing off on, most closings tend to turn more into us sitting around a table exchanging life stories while going over the paperwork at the same time. This makes a closing a lot of fun and interesting. Besides playing a small part in a major life decision, a very close second would be meeting so many interesting people on a daily basis. Greatest career accomplishment: Business relationships that develop into strong personal relationships. It’s great when you walk into an office and you hear four different voices, each from a different direction, say ‘Hey Dillon!’ It’s crazy to think that we were just strangers two months ago and now I’m invited to their son’s second birthday party. Hidden talents: Given that I am on the road quite a bit, I have mastered the art of eating while driving. (Kids, this skill was developed out of desperation and necessity. Do not try this at home). Guilty pleasure: I have a late-night sweet tooth that will not be satisfied unless there is a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough involved. Advice I’d give my younger self: Don’t plan your life. Make the right decision in the present moment and an amazing life will unfold.

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Kaitlyn Schutt | 30 Occupation: Stay-at-home mom of five kids. Hobbies: Fishing, roller skating, and playing “Call of Duty.” Guilty pleasure: Little Debbie Christmas Tree cakes. Describe yourself: Silly, loyal, fun, and nice. Greatest career accomplishment: My career right now is being a full-time mom to five kids. My oldest is disabled. My greatest accomplishment, but really my son’s, is the day he started walking. It was one of the biggest days of my life. He was one month shy of 6 years old and the doctors had told us he’d never walk. Your daily motivation: Consume caffeine. Philosophy of life: “Be the reason someone smiled today, go out of your way to be nice to people and help when you can!” Favorite meal: Meatloaf with macaroni and cheese and green beans. Most embarrassing moment: When I was in middle school, I was in the car rider line and I accidentally got into the wrong car. Pet peeve: I have tons because of my OCD, but one of them would be someone not picking up after themselves. A leader I admire: She’s not really a leader, but I really admire my mother. She is my best friend and has always been there when I needed someone.

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Ashley Sellars | 28 Occupation: Office manager at Southern Land and Fence, LLC and stay-at-home mom. Love for the land-clearing business: My husband’s family has been in the land and timber business for a long time. Therefore, it was a natural choice for Austin. For me, it was a chance for us to build a company from the ground up. I do not know much about what needs to happen on a job site, and he doesn’t know much about what needs to take place in the office. We make a great team. Also, doing this together has allowed me to stay home and take care of our babies. Most challenging aspect of your job: Finding balance. My kids are home with me most of the time, so I have to learn to be a great multi-tasker. Juggling snack and nap times, phone calls, emails, laundry, and office deadlines gets a little overwhelming at times. Greatest career accomplishment: Simply making it through our first three years of business and marriage. No one tells you the sacrifice owning your own business comes with. A leader I admire: Linda Watts, director of Florida’s Hometown USA program. She may not be a national or global leader, but she has done more than most people know for the youth of this town and the State of Florida. Describe yourself: Energetic, faith-filled, outgoing, resourceful. Guilty pleasure: Shopping! I could shop when I am happy, mad, or sad. Thankfully, we have two very busy girls to save my wallet. Philosophy of life: “Trust in God because you may not understand what He is doing at the time, but trust that He is working.”

Matthew Len | 30 Occupation: Sales Manager at Danny Len Buick GMC. Love for the automobile industry: I love being around my family every day. I think that’s what makes our dealership unique. We are a family business, and when you come to Danny Len Buick GMC you get to see the whole family. Favorite vehicle on the market: GMC Sierra because I drive one. Greatest career accomplishment: In the car business all accomplishments are forgotten at the start of next month. So, any accomplishments I’ve had professionally, I don’t dwell on. Admired leader: Michael Jordan. Advice I’d give my younger self: Try to enjoy the daily grind as much as possible but don’t be consumed by it. Stay positive and keep looking forward. Desired superpower: Teleportation, no doubt. Describe yourself: Positive, focused, friendly, and funny. Philosophy of life: “It is what it is.” Guilty pleasures: Pizza, bacon, cheeseburgers, and late-night cookies.

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Cameron Lucas | 29 Occupation: Owner of Lucas Air. Can’t live without: His hardworking team of employees. Hidden talent: Restoring classic vehicles. Pet peeve: Unorganized tools. Guilty pleasure: Boat shopping. Best part of the job: Forming long-lasting relationships with customers. I strive to form a bond with each customer I meet, and my favorite compliments are when customers refer us to their family and friends. Greatest career accomplishment: Growing the business in my first year from just myself to four employees. Now in our third year, we have a team of eight. Philosophy of life: “Never stop dreaming and achieving.” If I had $5 million: Invest in real estate and start a non-profit to assist veterans struggling with PTSD.

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Danielle Daugherty | 35 Occupation: Co-owner of Mia Bella Salon and Spa in Fruitland Park. Describe yourself: Determined, honest, and kind. Philosophy of life: I believe a kind and genuine heart can overcome anything. Desired superpower: I would love to be able to read people’s minds. Favorite hairstyle: It’s a tie between doing all my curly hair babes and offering all the boho and Viking braids. I am really proud that I can help women learn to love their curly hair and give them the skills to completely rock it on a daily basis. And doing braids is a way for me to release all of my creativity and allow people to feel like walking art. A leader I admire: My beautiful momma, Dawn Coulliette. My whole life I have looked up to her. She is a constant inspiration to me. She raised me as a single mother who worked three jobs at one time, put herself through school, and still found time to always make me feel so completely loved. I am the mother I am today because of her. I am the boss I am today because of her. I am the wife I am today because of her. She is the strongest, kindest, hardest worker you will ever meet. Plus, she is completely stunning inside and out. Greatest career accomplishments: Within four years of opening Mia Bella, we expanded three times, have grown from a team of four to now 25, and landed contracts with corporations to travel and do hair in over 26 states. Hidden talent: I can measure anything under 2’ just by sight, like down to the centimeter, which comes in handy when clients ask me to only cut off 2”. No worries, I got you. Advice I’d give my younger self: You are going to have a lot of people who are not going to always see your heart or your intentions. They are not going to always understand why you do what you do. It’s like this: You can be the best blueberry pie ever, like super flaky, warm, and just the right amount of sweetness, but there are still going to be people out there who just don’t like pie, no matter how good it is. They only like cake. Girl, you’re not cake, so be that pie, and be proud!

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Madison Licciardello | 26 Occupation: Co-Owner/Venue Manager of Licciardello Farms. Family: Husband Angelo Licciardello. Desired superpower: Flying. Greatest career accomplishment: Leaving my full-time job as a legal assistant to work for one family business, Licciardello Home Improvements, while opening another, Licciardello Farms. My husband took over LHI after his dad passed away, and my mother-in-law is our partner in the venue business. I give my husband credit for encouraging me to quit my job and for constructing the barn at Licciardello Farms. Advice I’d give my younger self: Slow down and enjoy where you are. Guilty pleasures: A good Netflix binge with Chinese takeout. If I had $5 million: A little frivolous spending matched by a generous donation. Philosophy of life: “Just keep livin’” —Matthew McConaughey. Biggest event held at Licciardello Farms: We had a celebration of life that about 400 hundred guests attended. It was the most beautiful display of community and such an honor to be a part of. Most memorable wedding at Licciardello Farms: Our first wedding; a friend of mine was our first bride. I was a bridesmaid, coordinator, and venue owner all at once!

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Sarah Coursey | 39 Occupation: Police Lieutenant/Road Patrol Commander, Tavares Police Department. Family: significant other, Jason Merill; daughters, Kaelyn, 7, Parker, 16, and Sami, 13; dogs Rolex and Mittens; and a sugar glider named Clyde. Hobbies: Boating, golf, snowboarding, surfing and going to the gym. Pet peeves: Excuses and no solutions to a problem. Guilty pleasure: Friday night margaritas. Favorite thing about my job: The fact that I was born and raised in the City of Tavares makes working here that much more special to me. This is home and these people and the area itself have a special place in my heart, so being involved in keeping it a safe place to raise a family are important to me. A leader I admire: Robert Greenleaf, founder of the servant leadership, which encourages diversity of thought, creating a culture of trust, having an unselfish mindset, and helping others achieve their leadership potential. Greatest career accomplishment: This is two-fold for me, as I was able to obtain my master’s degree while working full time and also being the first female to promote through the ranks into administration at the Tavares Police Department. Philosophy of life: “We are only here for a short time so make the most of it, love those around you, make a positive impact in their lives, don’t take yourself too seriously, and forgive often.” Desired superpower: To be able to rewind time and see loved ones who are no longer with us. Advice I’d give my younger self: Our parents are right, listen to them, they know what they are talking about.

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Dr. Danny Soares | 39 Occupation: Double Board-Certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Medical Director at Village Institute of Plastic Surgery, and Associate Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at UCF College of Medicine. Family: One of six brothers and the oldest of triplets; two pet dalmatians. Pet peeve: Not taking pride in what you do, whatever it is. Hidden talent: I can play guitar with it strung upside down. Greatest career accomplishment: Certification by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. It literally took me 15 years to achieve from the time I joined pre-med in college. Guilty pleasures: Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), reflexology, my motorcycle. Most embarrassing moment: Falling off a treadmill at full speed at a packed gym. It’s impressive how far you’ll land on the floor, really. What can people do to maintain a youthful appearance? It boils down to three components of aging: skin quality, for which people can use sun protection, Retin-A, vitamin C, skin peels and Botox, facial volume, which can be maintained by way of a healthy diet, stable weight and hyaluronic acid fillers, and tissue laxity, which comes from exercise, stable weight, radiofrequency, and tissue tightening. Advice I’d give my younger self: Stick to what you love. Hobbies: Fitness, swimming, music, graphic designing, and videography.

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Brittany Britton | 31 Occupation: Accounting and payroll/human resources manager of Carter’s Ace Hardware. Describe yourself: Empathetic, positive, and humble. Desired superpower: It would be super speed because sometimes I feel there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Guilty pleasure: Binge-watching reality television. Favorite part of my job: The sense of fulfillment that I have every single day in knowing that I am growing our family business. I am lucky enough to be a part of this third-generation family business and being able to wake up every day knowing that I am a part in the growth of that provides immeasurable joy. Philosophy of life: “You are the master of your own mindset. To piggyback off of that, I will quote Tony Robbins: ‘Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.’” A leader I admire: My stepdad, Cadie Carter. He puts God first, next to his family, and that to me is the true meaning of a leader. His character, giving heart, and drive is exemplary bar none. I could only hope to be half of the business owner he is. Pet peeve: When people complain about things that they have full capability to change. You create the life you want to live; if you don’t like something, change it!

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Sarah Trembley | 28 Occupation: Co-owner and general manager of Water Gypsy Coffee Co., Leesburg. Family: Husband Andrew, son Luke, 4, and cats Scotchie and Gracie. Hidden talent: I play bass guitar. Describe yourself: Kind, creative, and goofy. Greatest career accomplishment: Opening my own coffee shop with Maria Stefanovic, a trusted friend and business partner, before I’m 30. Philosophy of life: I think it’s incredibly important to remember to take a step back and try to gain perspective from the other person’s point of view. Everyone is different and has different life experiences, temperaments, and triggers. Be respectful and understanding with others and act in love. Personal go-to coffee order: A triple shot of espresso over ice with vanilla and a splash of half-and-half with caramel drizzle. Advice I’d give my younger self: I’d tell younger Sarah that her individuality is not something to hide or be ashamed of, it will help you grow into the woman you’ll become. Also, don’t try to straighten your hair, it makes your frizz angry! Most embarrassing moment: I may or may not have accidentally hit someone I respected when they tried to pull a prank and scare me… I no longer trust my reflexes. To this day, you’ll never catch me at a haunted walk or scary event; it’s the better choice for all involved. Desired superpower: I’d love to be able to breathe underwater and communicate with animals. Hobbies: I love crafting, art, music, and spending time with my family and friends. Guilty pleasure: Watching “Murder She Wrote.” I love Angela Lansbury!

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Tristan Ciceri | 23 Occupation: Electrician at Electrical Works. Hidden talent: Playing piano. Describe yourself: Hard-working, logical, considerate, and committed. Love of your profession: I really enjoy the problem-solving and critical thinking nature of the field—how to make something work, diagnosing a problem, or even just thinking of the most effective way to complete a task. Most challenging aspect of being an electrician: The troubleshooting aspect of the field. It can be extremely challenging, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. Greatest career accomplishment: After Irma decimated the Florida Keys in 2017, I went down and led the complete rewire of two large RV parks. I was down there for over a year and completed each of them well under deadline with little to no hiccups. A leader I admire: Senator Rand Paul. He is very consistent and principled. He doesn’t seem to have any agenda other than protecting the freedoms that the American people have and making this country as great as it can be. Advice I’d give my younger self: I would tell myself not to attend college. I can count on one hand the amount of things that really meant anything to me or stuck with me from my two years of college. Guilty pleasure: Debating. Philosophy of life: “If you don’t pick up the ball and run with it, someone else will.”

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Brittany Rudolph Montgomery | 33 Occupation: Teaches 8th grade English Language Arts at Carver Middle School. Family: Husband, Roderick Montgomery II, and children, Roderick “Trey” III, 2, Christian, 11, and Jace, 13. Education: Attended Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. A leader I admire: Michelle Obama. I admire her grace, class, and compassion for people. I also admire her education and career accomplishments. I hold her quote, ‘When they go low, go high’ near and dear to heart. It keeps me humble and reminds me to treat people kindly regardless of how they treat me. Greatest career accomplishment: I recently received my master’s degree in education specializing in curriculum and instruction. This degree was special to me because I completed the program as a wife, mother, teacher, and evangelist. I learned the art of time management and balance. Hidden talents: I have a small business, Classic R and B Designs, LLC. I create t-shirts and tumblers. Guilty pleasure: Binge watching crime shows for days at a time. If I had $5 million: I would give a portion to my church, build a community center for at-risk youth, create programs to serve families in the community, invest a portion in real estate, and save the rest. Describe yourself: Determined, resilient, hard-working, and compassionate. Philosophy of life: “If one shows grace, love, and compassion to all mankind, change can happen.”

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Lisa Gonzalez | 30 Occupation: Nurse practitioner at Immunity Health Spa. Why I chose nursing: This was an easy decision for me early on in my teenage years. I’ve always loved school and had a strong interest in anatomy and physiology. Having a career that is challenging and interesting while also making a difference in peoples’ lives is important to me. Greatest career accomplishment: Obtaining my certification as a family nurse practitioner. Why I love my profession: I leave work with complete satisfaction when I know I’ve done all I can do to make a positive impact in someone’s life. I enjoy helping patients take another step closer to feel their best and healing disease. How I keep myself in tip-top shape: Truthfully, I enjoy eating healthy and working out. It helps me look and feel my best. I also owe some credit to my personal trainer, Isaac Charles, at MVP. He motivates me and holds me accountable for getting my workouts in. Pet peeve: When someone doesn’t take accountability of his or her own actions. Advice I’d give my younger self: Know your worth and what you deserve. Never settle. Describe yourself: Determined, kind-hearted, perfectionist, and down-to-earth. Guilty pleasure: The Real Housewives reality television show. I watch The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Real Housewives of Dallas, and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I don’t discriminate!

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Tyrell Rachel | 38 Occupation: Fitness trainer (The TFIT Way). Family: Married to Ashley Rachel. Hobbies: Basketball, weightlifting/working out, running, cycling, reading, and videography. Hidden talents: Making greeting cards and napping. Best advice for keeping fit, mind, body and soul? Find your why, then no excuses will come between you and your goals. What’s something you do to motivate yourself each day? Pray and worship! Listen to motivational podcasts. Most embarrassing moment: I started barking and growling at my neighbor’s cats and when I looked up, she (neighbor) was standing at her door watching me. Guilty pleasures: My shoe investment. A man’s shoes can tell a lot about their personality. A leader I admire: My mom, Linda Rachel. She truly knows the power of example. My mom always prefers to lead by her example. Greatest career accomplishment: Winning Style Hot List trainer in 2014, 2015, and 2020. Pet Peeve: When someone tries to ask me a fitness question during my workout. Advice I’d give my younger self: Don’t be paralyzed by fear of failing. Don’t be afraid of change or taking risks. Desired superpower: Teleportation or super strength like the Incredible Hulk. #HulkSmash

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Katie Gifford | 27 Occupation: Owner of Katelyn Virginia Photography. Favorite equipment: A 35mm lens. Philosophy of life: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” Advice I’d give my younger self: Never stop learning. Pet peeve: When someone puts a filter on images she’s spent a long time editing. Favorite part of my job: I love that I get to travel and see so many different sceneries and venues, the amazing people I get to meet, and probably the coolest thing is being included in really special moments in people’s lives I wouldn’t otherwise be a part of. Best compliment: Getting told I made someone feel comfortable is the best. If I had $5 million: Travel, build my dream home with my dream barn for my ponies, and donate to a lot to charities. Most embarrassing moment: When I was in high school track, I was put in the 400-meter dash against girls who went to state and it didn’t even look like I was running the race compared to them!

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Rich Billings | 38 Occupation: Head baseball coach at Lake-Sumter State College. Love of coaching: I love that no two days are the same. Every day is a different challenge, and if I miss an opportunity to impact the lives of my players, I have nobody to blame but myself. Most memorable coaching moment: In 2011, we beat Seminole State College on the last day of the regular season to earn our first trip to the FCSAA State Tournament. I’ll never forget the feeling of knowing that all of the work and time invested had paid off. Greatest career accomplishment: Last spring I became the winningest coach in Lake-Sumter State College history, passing my former coach and current boss, Mike Matulia. Values I instill in players: More than anything, I want them to be honorable men who understand the value of persistence in all areas of life. A leader I admire: Tony Dungy. I love everything he stands for, the way in which he carries himself, and the love and respect that his former players have for him. The consistency of his attitude and his actions are extremely admirable. Advice I’d give my younger self: Just because you wouldn’t do it doesn’t mean your players aren’t going to. Show them a little grace and love them anyway. Describe yourself: Simple, organized, encouraging, and diligent. Philosophy of life: “Do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do.” Most embarrassing moment: During our wedding, my wife, Betsy, and I were exchanging our vows and I started sweating uncontrollably in front of everyone. Sidney Brock, who officiated the ceremony, called a quick timeout to get me a towel so I could wipe my face off. It happened again later that night during our first dance, and I already hate being the center of attention.

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Christian Germeroth | 26 Occupation: Owner and manager of Prime Cleaning Concepts. Guilty pleasure: Fishing for long amounts of time. A leader I admire: Jordan Peterson hands down! If you are struggling finding meaning and purpose in your life, especially 20-25 years of age, I highly recommend consuming as much content from JP as possible. His bootstrapping approach on life is very important to hear in my opinion. Jordan Peterson is a psychology professor at the University of Toronto and has become quite an influential leader via YouTube and podcasting. Greatest career accomplishment: Starting my own company. Advice I’d give my younger self: You are the sum of the small decisions you make on a day-to-day basis. Make the hard decision to do the right thing from day to day and you will become who you are supposed to be. Don’t get caught up in the glamour. Stay focused. Hidden talent: Grilling. Desired superpower: Mind reading. Describe yourself: Ambitious, obsessive, and caring. Philosophy of life: “It is what it is, so make the best out of the hand you’ve been dealt.” If I had $5 million: I’ve always wanted to start a non-profit group to help teens and young adults get on their feet based on the premise of ‘giving our young community a hand up and not a handout.’

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Summer Barcal | 28 Occupation: 40K VIP Brand Promoter at Le-Vel (makers of Thrive), Mount Dora. Family: fiancé Brandon; daughters Adalynn and Amelia; and dog Lulu. Hobbies: Spending time outdoors, home decorating, and antique shopping. Describe yourself: Loyal, loving, dedicated, and hard-working. Desired superpower: The power to read minds. What do you do to keep healthy? I am very passionate about overall health and Thrive is premium nutrition that fills all of your nutritional gaps. It is an easy to take three-step process our bodies need to properly function and become in balance, achieve optimum nutrition and experience all the benefits of weight management, mental clarity, metabolic support, and clean energy. Pet peeve: I like to be organized, so clutter and disarray are both pet peeves. I am also extremely loyal, so when I feel someone being disingenuous, it brings me to my knees. Greatest career accomplishment: Hitting my Auto Elite bonus. Having my auto paid for by our company each month is a huge blessing to our family. If I had $5 million: I would finish paying for our upcoming wedding, buy our dream home, help family members with financial debt, and provide financial support to local outreach programs for underprivileged youth. Advice I’d give my younger self: Don’t worry so much, trust that God has you always! Love hard, you will never regret it! Give all you have to what you believe in and always give your best! You are amazing!

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Taylor Rogers | 28 Occupation: Content Creator. Family: Husband, Matthew, children Paisley and Bennett, dog Maggie, and cat Jessi. Describe yourself: Creative, outgoing, motivated, and stubborn. Guilty pleasure: Online shopping. What do you like most about helping other people succeed? Helping them realize something was possible that they once thought wasn’t! Favorite social media: Instagram because it is a huge platform full of positive and friendly engagement. It’s a place to go to learn and be inspired! A leader I admire: Ben Carson. I admire his courage to proudly speak of his faith and Christian morals in a world that doesn’t always accept it well. Philosophy of life: “Anything is possible with a positive attitude and a little effort.” Greatest career accomplishment: Creating content that’s been featured by some of my favorite large brands. Advice I’d give my younger self: Not to grow up too fast! Desired superpower: Freezing time with my babies! If I had $5 million: Pay off my entire family’s mortgages/debt. Put money back for children’s and grandchildren’s vehicles and first family homes.

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Ashley Bowden | 31 Occupations: Owner of Drizzle Cookie Co., personal trainer and nutrition coach at Ashley Bowden Fitness, and physical therapist assistant for Encompass Home Health. Desired superpower: To slow down time. Guilty pleasure: Cookies 100%! Describe yourself: Hardworking, caring, compassionate, and optimistic. Advice I’d give my younger self: Always go after the things you think are impossible! Philosophy of life: “Live in every moment, do everything you can, and never settle.” If I had $5 million: Give more than half of it away to charities, quit my job as a therapist, and open a cookie/ice cream shop. Favorite type of Drizzle Cookie Company cookie: The Velvet. It’s a red velvet cookie stuffed with white chocolate chips and Oreos then topped with vanilla drizzle and an Oreo. Largest order Drizzle Cookies has ever received: 180 cookies! It took 13 hours to complete. A leader I admire: Will always be my grandmother. She is the most professional, loving, and hard-working woman I know. If I could be half as outstanding as her, I would be doing life right.

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Emily Pelton | 24 Occupation: Owner of Hair and Make Up by Emily. Favorite accessory: False lashes. “The perfect touch to any makeup look.” Guilty pleasure: Watching murder mystery shows. Hidden talent: She is a competitive baton twirling coach with Tri-City Dance Twirlers. Philosophy of life: “Give it to God.” Favorite hair or makeup look: I love doing hairstyles with big curls and pancaking braids. My favorite makeup look is a subtle eye color with a pop of pink. Advice I’d give my younger self: I would definitely have told myself to be more confident in who I am and not to question myself so much. Desired superpower: I would want to fly so I could travel easier and faster. Most embarrassing moment: I fell in the center of a gym floor and spilled two drinks during Kids College and everyone in the entire gym saw it.

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Dr. Alexandria Purdy | 30 Occupation: Dentist at First Impressions Dental in Lady Lake. Leaders I admire: Jesus Christ and Tim Tebow. Hidden talent: I’m an excellent shot, especially with rifles and shotguns. Guilty pleasures: Junk food and cheesy horror movies. What is the best thing people can do to maintain a healthy mouth? PREVENTION! Brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist at least two times per year. Greatest career accomplishment: Graduating on time when I gave birth to my twins while in my last year of dental school! Advice I’d give my younger self: Don’t compromise your happiness to try to please others. If I had $5 million: I would pay off my student loans, then I would probably have just enough left over to buy a meal from Chick-fil-A. Most embarrassing moment: When I was younger, I stood on a shelf at the store to see what the cashier was doing. Suddenly the shelf collapsed, and the products rolled all over the floor, which made a huge mess. To this day, I am mortified that happened. Desired superpower: Teleportation. Describe yourself: Dedicated, friendly, strong, and creative. Philosophy of life: “Because nice matters!”

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Mike Vedder | 36 Occupation: Co-founder of Vedder Holsters. Family: Wife Brooke (who co-founded Vedder Holsters with him) and their two children, Luke, 4, and Claire, 2. Greatest career accomplishment? Starting our company from literally nothing to employing over 50 employees in eight years. Guilty pleasure: Watching “The Office.” Philosophy of life: “Take risks and enjoy life because we aren’t promised tomorrow.” Your first gun: I grew up around guns and my dad liked to do competitive shooting when he was younger, but the first gun I purchased was a Beretta 92FS when I was 21. Your gun of choice: GAU-8A Avenger… but for concealed carry, a Sig P365. Most embarrassing moment? Have had too many to list, but I do suggest to own your embarrassing moments, laugh them off, and learn from them. Hidden talents? I can shoot in the low 70s in golf.

Dylan O’Brien | 28 Occupation: Owner of O’Brien Construction Company. Philosophy of life: “You can’t buy happiness.” Hidden talents: Can change his daughters’ diapers in record time! Guilty pleasures: Chocolate milk. Describe yourself: Humble, honest, reliable, and a kid at heart. Favorite part of my job: Building customer relationships through honest work and integrity. Even though sales are important to our success, I don’t see myself as a salesman. Being straightforward with customers about the project along with getting to know them outside of work is what drives us every day. There have even been instances where we have joined our clients for breakfast before we start our day. A leader I admire: My dad. Being around the construction industry my entire life, I’ve acquired the skills and professionalism to be successful. Following in the footsteps of a general contractor has led me to endless opportunities and a great reputation. Love ya, Pops. Greatest career accomplishment: We are celebrating five years in business this year with the help of word-of-mouth clients. Along with serving over 1,000 Lake County residents, maybe my greatest sense of pride is our perfect 5-star Google rating and A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Advice I’d give my younger self: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Pay attention to detail and take your time; if you do that, your phone will always be ringing for work.

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Landi Hicks | 21 Occupation: Professional dancer/ choreographer at Dance Dynamix and licensed esthetician and wax specialist. Bet you didn’t know: I was a top-40 finalist in the 2020 Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader auditions. Guilty pleasure: Loves ice cream way too much. Philosophy of life: “Be the good you want to see in the world.” Working with young dancers: I pride myself in developing individuals with qualities such as self-esteem, confidence, dedication and character, creating the foundation for lifelong personal integrity. A leader I admire: Linda Watts. I have been volunteering with her and her programs since the age of 4. I’ve never met someone so giving and selfless. I’ve idolized her my whole life. Most embarrassing moment: When I was 6, I performed a solo for a competition, and I wore two big curly hairpieces. One wasn’t pinned in good enough and fell off in the middle of my dance! I was mortified. If I had $5 million: I would start by paying off my student loans, then I would open my own dance school and spa. With the rest of the money, I would donate to different organizations I’ve worked with such as Give Kids the World, the Ronald McDonald Houses, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Pet peeve: When someone says they can’t do something, but they haven’t tried hard enough or worked to get it.

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Courtney Stokes| 35 Occupation: Science teacher at Tavares High School. What I love about my work: The look on a student’s face when they finally understand something they’ve been working hard on. I hope students leave my class with more curiosity about the world around them. I also love that science is constantly evolving and incorporating new knowledge and new ways of observing the world. Bet you didn’t know: I was chosen as a finalist for Lake County Rookie Teacher of the Year for the 2018-’19 school year. A leader I admire: David Skorton, former president of Cornell University. He remembered the name and major of every student he talked to (even just once) and was always so accessible and kind to students. Hidden talents: I don’t know if I’d call it a talent, but I’ve recently been learning to play cricket with a club in Ocklawaha. I also fenced in college. Most embarrassing moment: We still laugh about me kicking my music stand down a set of stairs during a jazz band performance in New York when I went to Oak Park Middle School. At the time, I was so mortified. Philosophy of life: “Always keep learning and improving. I would tell my younger self if you have the opportunity to try something that interests you, go for it!”

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Davis Talmage, 39 Occupation: Investment advisor with Talmage Financial Group and commercial risk advisor for LassiterWare. Bet you didn’t know: Admires astronauts and enjoys good bourbons. Love of finance: I am fortunate to work with people from all walks of life. Each bring unique circumstances to the table. I enjoy providing solutions to those different challenges. Best financial advice: Cash flow is king. Managing your cash flow is the most important financial tool an individual, family, or business can develop. Greatest career accomplishment: Seeing clients’ goals come to fruition. Many have transitioned successfully from owning their own business to living the way they desire in retirement. It’s rewarding for me to see they are meeting their goals. Pet peeve: Lottery ticket purchasers at the convenience store. Get in and get out. Advice I’d give my younger self: Step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself sooner. Hidden talents: Ability to read people and scratch golfer. Describe yourself: Focused, driven, accountable, and prepared. If I had $5 million: I’d invest it, of course!

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Sierra Ford | 29 Occupation: Owner of Sierra Ford Photography in Mount Dora. What I love about my profession: Photography is my favorite creative outlet because I love people and the connections between them. Photography allows me to document those in a tangible way that can be enjoyed for generations. Favorite photo: A black-and-white photo of my mom. She’s sitting on the bow of our boat looking off at the water laughing. I love the genuine smile and memories tied to it. That was the trip where I realized I wanted to pursue photography and the first time I really used a camera. Pet peeve: As it relates to photography, fake smiles and stiff poses. In life, it’s clutter. Greatest career accomplishment: The way my clients feel about their experience is what is most important to me. I am extremely proud of the 150+ 5-star Google and Facebook reviews my clients have left us and the longevity of our business. Describe yourself: Curious, passionate, social, and spontaneous. Hidden talent: I can make a weirdly realistic-sounding goat noise. Guilty pleasure: Chick-fil-A. Philosophy of life: “Life is as good as you make it!”

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Lacey Morgan | 27 Occupation: Family nurse practitioner. Pet peeve: When someone lacks punctuality. Philosophy of life: Everything happens for a reason. Love of nursing: I love caring for my patients, advocating, and being a listening ear. To be the ideal nurse, you have to: Have empathy for your patients and an open mind. I learn something new every day. Greatest career accomplishment: I recently graduated with my master’s degree and started working as a nurse practitioner. Advice I’d give my younger self: If you work hard, everything works out in the long run. Hidden talent: I love mountain biking. Guilty pleasure: White, fudge-covered Oreos. Describe yourself: Active, organized, motivated, reliable.

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A massage is a gift with just the right touch. From detoxifying massages to body treatments, we use herbs and products that are 100 percent organic and rid the body of toxins.



Celebrate yourself this Christmas with a full facial rejuvenation. We use 100 percent organic products to help you deeply cleanse and exfoliate your skin, leaving you feeling renewed and vibrant.




Breathe easy this holiday season with salt therapy. As you lay comfortably in our salt cave room, you inhale salt-enriched air down into the lungs, reducing inflammation and opening up your airway.

We do spring cleaning in our homes, so how about a little cleaning of our bodies? Detoxification means resting, cleansing and nourishing our bodies from the inside out. By removing toxins, we protect our bodies from disease and renew our body’s ability to maintain optimum health.


‘Tis the season to look younger than ever. With Botox, we’ll treat wrinkles, fine lines and other effects of aging. Botox gives skin a taut appearance, making us feel better and look younger.


Don’t forget your vitamins this holiday season. When vitamins are administered intravenously, they have a 100 percent absorption rate because they bypass the digestive system and delivered directly to your cells.






When your skin features a glow, it makes for happy and healthy holidays. Eminence uses all organic ingredients with no toxic chemicals or additives, resulting in firmer, cleaner and wellmoisturized skin.



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care and services. Because our sole focus is Memory Care, our team gets to know your loved 352.742.0484 2754 Dora Ave, Tavares kaplansleepsolutions.com


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Your Now Open

Memory care Inspired • Engaged • Fulfilled

7330 Powell Road | Wildwood, FL 34785

Assisted Living Facility License Number Pending


Finding the right doctor is essential to good health. The 2021 Health Pros Guide is designed to help make that decision easier. Categorized by Practice, Procedure, and Profile, it’s an easy-to-use directory of the best health-care providers in their field. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

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A heart for helping Spending time and listening to patients is one of Dr. Vatsal Inamdar’s biggest strengths.


earing the news that you have a heart condition can be extremely frightening. Therefore, it’s important to choose a reputable electrophysiologist as the first line of defense. That’s why patients with arrythmias put their heart care in the hands of Dr. Vatsal Inamdar, an electrophysiologist with Village Heart and Vein. Dr. Inamdar has an impressive list of credentials. He is certified in clinical cardiac electrophysiology and cardiovascular disease by The American Board of Internal Medicine. He also completed two fellowships—one in electrophysiology at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and one in echocardiography at the University of Alabama. But perhaps the most important quality he possesses in his medical toolbox is the time and capacity to listen to patients, hear their stories, and educate them fully on their condition and treatment options. This is extremely important. After all, modern medicine’s true healing potential requires more than a doctor’s credentials and skilled surgical hands. It also requires shared knowledge between physicians and patients to create a viable care plan. “For me, it is essential to explain their condition, help them understand what is

Village Heart and Vein

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happening to them, and form a solution or resolution to their problems,” Dr. Inamdar says. “That means I have to spend an adequate amount of time with my patients. Having the patient involved in their care means you get a better outcome.” That patient-centered approach explains why many of Dr. Inamdar’s patients come to him. “As a practice, Village Heart and Vein is very welcoming,” he says. “We provide the best care and we also put our patients at ease by making them feel at home. We’re all very approachable.” As an electrophysiologist, he treats issues with the electrical signals in the heart that cause arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms. Treatment options such as pacemaker placement or catheter ablation can resolve the problem. And that is what excites Dr. Inamdar about being an electrophysiologist.

352.674.2080 / 8575 NE 138th Lane, Suite 203, Lady Lake / villageheartandvein.com

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Ironing O out the wrinkles Offering more than vision care, Ocala Eye can help you look and feel your best.

cala Eye offers multiple aesthetic services, from facials to fillers. Botox and dermal fillers can be used, each in different ways, to soften lines and wrinkles as well as add or restore volume to areas like the lips, cheeks, and lower face. When deciding whether you should get a Botox treatment versus dermal fillers, you should focus on what your goals are for your skin. “Botox is typically used for fine lines and wrinkles in areas such as the crow’s feet, lines between the brows, and forehead lines. Dermal filler products we offer are most used to restore volume and a more

youthful look in the lips, lower face, and cheeks,” says APRN Megan Lefebvre. The process of getting Botox or fillers begins with a consultation, where you will make a plan with the APRNs to discuss your goals. “We take pride in providing the client with a comfortable experience and the treatment includes a complementary consultation to really get to know what the client is looking for, and to develop a plan together while discussing different options,” Megan adds. At this time, you will also discuss how to prepare for your Botox and/or fillers and what

Ocala Eye

to expect after the treatment. “These things are unique to each patient and we like to customize this to fit their individual lifestyle,” Megan says. “I truly enjoy the art of aesthetics, which allows me to give my patients a more youthful but natural appearance,” says APRN Sarah Cooper. “My favorite area to inject dermal fillers is in the lips because it is one of the first things you notice about a person and it can make a tremendous impact on their overall appearance.” Schedule your complimentary consultation at ocalaeye.com

352.873.9311 / 3330 SW 33rd Road, Ocala / ocalaeye.com

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Lake Centre Home Care M

ost patients, after a medical procedure, surgery, or new diagnosis, cannot wait to get home, but the most important thing is recovering and rehabilitating properly and as quickly as possible to get on with life as they know it. And that’s where Lake Centre Home Care, a skilled home health agency, comes in. CEO and Administrator Shayna Grunewald says her team of licensed and skilled clinicians, including nurses, physical, occupational and speech therapists, home health aides, certified nursing assistants, and social workers, are on hand to provide the care and services patients may need to thrive as they work towards getting back on their feet. “More and more people are using skilled home health in place of in-patient rehab. And while there is a purpose for an in-patient rehab, statistically, you’ll find that people actually improve more and see improvement faster when they’re in their own home to rehabilitate versus somewhere else,” Shayna says. She explains that patients who may benefit from skilled home healthcare are those deemed homebound or recently diagnosed with a new disease or condition, post-surgical patients recovering from heart, orthopedic, or

Lake Centre Home Care

knee replacement surgeries, various cancer surgeries and more. The only requirement is a physician’s order, and with that, the team at Lake Centre Home Care can set up a plan for specific services and instruction. “We have therapists to help patients get back to being able to do things on their own, plus we can help with things like food care and administering IV or pick-line medicines from the home,” Shayna says. “Sometimes people will go home from a surgery and they’ll need things like antibiotic infusions, and we can do all that, but no matter what the service is, there is a lot of teaching that goes into it as well.” Shayna says no matter how simple or complicated a service, her team of specialists at Lake Centre Home Health are there to ensure every patient feels as comfortable as possible with what needs to be done. “For instance, if a patient is diabetic and is on a new insulin and they need to be taught about the disease and how to help themselves or how to use the insulin, we can help. There are also patients who are really weak after strokes and who are left with different deficits, and we have a wide variety of therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, that can go into their homes to teach them all about that too,” Shayna says. “We thrive on building a healthy community for all individuals.”

352.315.0050 / 310 Market St., Leesburg / golchc.com


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Yalieski Garcia, MD L ike many people today, Dr. Yalieski Garcia, a family practitioner at Aegis Medical Group’s Wildwood office, has been waiting with bated breath for the highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine. And now that the first wave is being administered, Dr. Garcia, based on his medical knowledge and experience, says benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine are greater than the risk of contracting the disease. “By conducting clinical trials, scientists found out if you get COVID and survive it, you have immunity for about six months, and although they don’t know how long you’ll be protected with the vaccine, the FDA and all the companies producing it are estimating at least six months or more,” Dr. Garcia says. Dr. Garcia says that although the exact time period of lasting immunity falls within a gray area, the vaccine’s effectiveness stands at 95-percent, with only a few known side effects. And out of thousands of people who participated in clinical trials for the vaccine, only a handful contracted COVID-19 after getting vaccinated, he adds. “The main thing is not to worry about side effects and all that. Sure, in some cases, the vaccine is causing fever and muscle pain, but you have to keep things in perspective,” Dr. Garcia explains. “Ask yourself: ‘Is it better to have some fever and muscle pain and not get the disease, or skip the vaccine and end up with COVID, which we know already, wreaks havoc and in some cases, manifests itself down the road as Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome?’” Dr. Garcia says if getting COVID-19 is not bad enough, some patients

develop serious issues months later, a condition deemed Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome which causes severe muscle pain, weakness, shortness of breath, fatigue, brain fog, “and many other symptoms we don’t want to have.” Dr. Garcia says with all that in mind, people should not be fearful about the vaccine because it was fast-tracked. He says in this case, producing and administering the vaccine, and as quickly as possible, is essential in getting the virus under control. He says vaccinations will go to first responders and high-risk individuals first and by spring, should reach the general public. If problems arise, the vaccine can be tweaked. “We just have to start vaccinating the entire population and see what side effects emerge through all this by way of something called post marketing surveillance. It is something that happens with every vaccine that comes onto the market,” Dr. Garcia says. And just as importantly, he says people can help the process along by doing their part in diligently following other safety protocols that go hand-in-hand. “The main idea here is that people should follow the CDC guidelines and doctors’ advice of practicing social distancing and wearing masks at all times and when the vaccine comes up, please just go and get vaccinated,” Dr. Garcia recommends.

Aegis Medical Group


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Roxanne Glode F or 27 years, Roxanne Glode has worked as a nurse, first at a nursing home, and now, as a charge nurse in the emergency room, or E.R., at UF Health Leesburg Hospital. In November, she was named the hospital’s 2020 nurse of the year and was recognized in a surprise ceremony in the E.R. “I was a little overwhelmed because I’m not one that likes to be the center of attention. It’s very nice though, and very flattering and I appreciate the recognition,” Roxanne says. Roxanne says she has always liked the medical aspect of science and when making a decision about which occupation she wanted to pursue, her mother encouraged her to become a nurse; a decision she is very proud of today. She says she enjoys caring for patients and is grateful for the many great people she’s met along the way. “I love caring for the patients and seeing them experience a great outcome,” she says.

UF Health Leesburg Hospital

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Roxanne says she also loves working with other people with a heart for making a difference and relishes in the teamwork that goes along with nursing. “You must have teamwork, and I work with so many great nurses who step up when things get hectic. My co-workers are awesome; I couldn’t ask for a better team than the one I work with,” Roxanne says, adding that through the COVID-19 pandemic, the support of her team has become an even bigger lifeline than ever. “The stress level has increased for everyone in the medical field, including nurses. We are there long hours, wearing multiple layers of personal protective equipment, and the anguish we see our patients and families endure is hard,” she says. “When someone is actively dying of the virus, their loved one is not always allowed to visit so it is our honor and responsibility as nurses to be at their bedside to comfort that person and take care of them. Although a

600 E. Dixie Avenue, Leesburg

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sobering experience, it is also an honor to be able to serve my patients in this way.” She says this is a tough time for everyone, but through it all, there have been a few positives. “I strongly believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has made people more aware of and sensitive to the needs of others, and I honestly believe it has made people more compassionate,” Roxanne explains. In general, Roxanne says she tries her hardest to be there for her patients every step of the way, no matter what their condition. “I like to inform my patients of what’s going to happen before I do it because once they have an idea of what to expect, they can relax and focus on their recovery. I also like to add humor into their care plan if appropriate; it kind of puts them more at ease,” Roxanne says.


Amanda Dunn A manda Dunn has always been drawn to helping others so when contemplating her future career path, she decided that nursing was the perfect choice to make. Fast forward 20 years and Amanda says it was definitely the right decision. “I love helping people; I’m a helper at heart. I really like feeling that I am making a difference in the lives of others. In addition to delivering compassionate clinical care, nurses also serve as a main point of contact for patients and their families; answering questions, explaining the treatment, easing fears, and preparing patients to be discharged from the hospital. It’s hard work, but is very rewarding,” Amanda says. Amanda began her nursing career as a licensed practical nurse, but four years ago she became a registered nurse. She’s worked at UF Health The Villages® hospital for nearly 10 years and today she is

the charge nurse in the intensive care unit, or ICU. In November, her efforts were rewarded with a surprise recognition as the hospital’s 2020 Nurse of the Year. Amanda says she didn’t even know she’d been nominated but that her director asked her to attend an ICU leadership meeting because the ICU was receiving an award. “I thought that I would merely accept an award in honor of my department, but when they presented me with the Nurse of the Year award, it was quite a surprise. I was very honored,” she says. Amanda is grateful for the recognition but is quick to point out that she could not excel in her role without the support of her entire team. She says they make every day brighter, especially now with the fear and uncertainty of COVID-19 and its farreaching impact on the world and especially in the health care field. “The pandemic has definitely increased the level of complexity associated with delivering high-quality nursing care,” she says. “To protect the community, we’ve limited how many visitors

UF Health The Villages® Hospital

patients can have in the hospital, and if someone has COVID-19, they are there alone, so we take extra special care of them. I’ve held the hands of patients as they passed because their families can’t be there, which is heartbreaking. It takes a toll on us as clinicians, but that is what we are there for — to be by our patient’s side through each step of their care journey.” Amanda notes that with the added pressure of working in the midst of a pandemic, the support of her family and five children — one of whom is a nurse at another department in the same hospital — and of the other nurses she works with in the ICU, is more important than ever before. “We lean on each other a lot. You talk to your colleagues, you cry on their shoulders, but there’s always somebody that needs you, so you have that moment and then you pull it back together and keep going,” Amanda says. “Every day, I just keep looking forward to seeing that light at the end of the tunnel.”

1451 El Camino Real, The Villages

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The doctor will see you … in your living room A local physician has revived an old tradition by visiting patients in their homes.


attling coronavirus often entails a long, difficult road to recovery. Dr. Martin Schnell knows this from firsthand experience. Last November, he was diagnosed with the virus and missed 18 days of work. His symptoms included fever, chills, body aches, night sweats, a bad cough, and mild shortness of breath. “It was very tough to go through that,” he says. Now, Dr. Schnell, owner of Rapha Wound Care and Homebound Medical Consultants, is focused on lessening the severity of the disease in coronavirus patients. In January, he hopes to become one of the first Central Florida medical providers to offer antibody therapies from two national biotech companies, Regeneron and Eli Lilly. Ideally, antibodies infused early in the course of infection prevent the virus from entering into cells, reducing both symptoms and the longevity of the virus.

Rapha Wound Care

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“We’ll be offering it as an outpatient therapy,” Dr. Schnell says. “Patients will come in a separate entrance, go straight to the treatment room, and then go home. Normally, a virus has to enter your cells for you to produce antibodies. This treatment is a synthetic form of antibody that is administered when patients first come down with the disease. I’m excited to help people avoid going through what I did.” The antibody therapy will be available to elderly patients afflicted with multiple diseases or medical conditions. Of course, this isn’t the first time Dr. Schnell has treated people with the virus. Last March, he began providing in-home care for homebound coronavirus patients. He felt there was a significant need last spring when government officials warned the public to avoid visiting doctor’s offices, hospitals, and emergency rooms. “We started out testing patients, but the problem was whether they had coronavirus

or not, they were sick and had nobody to take care of them,” he says. “We’ve really enjoyed helping them and now we’re ready for the next wave.” Making house calls is nothing new for Dr. Schnell. That became his practice model in 2016 after spending 28 years as an emergency room physician. Today, he provides wound care services, general medicine, urgent care, and medical marijuana services to homebound patients. His nurse/ clinical coordinator, Nikki Langston, says visiting patients in the comfort of their homes helps foster better relationships and communication. “It’s very rewarding,” Nikki says. “They love having a medical provider come in their home to change their outlook and brighten their day. For us, we get to learn a lot about patients and the nature of their disease. We become a big family. Patients give us homemade quilts, coffee, baked goods, and pizza. Relationships are at the core of good health care.”

352.409.4404 / raphawoundcare.com / “Where faith and science meet, real healing begins.”

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Don’t forget your vitamins Immunity Health Spa offers various IV vitamin infusions to effectively treat clients suffering from different health problems.


n a perfect world, our diets would provide us with the proper nutrients and vitamins we need to maintain our health and live optimally. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. Busy schedules, hectic lifestyles, and lack of willpower often keep us from eating a balanced diet. There’s some good news, however. Intravenous (IV) vitamin therapy is an excellent way to complement our diets and provide our bodies with essential vitamins. Immunity Health Spa in Lady Lake offers various IV vitamin therapies that serve different purposes. They produce healthier skin, hair, and nails, strengthen muscles and joints, protect the body from airborne illnesses, and supercharge the immune system. Some clients even receive IV vitamin therapy after a hangover to reduce headaches, fatigue, and dehydration. Unlike supplements, administering vitamins intravenously allows vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to go directly into the bloodstream and delivering more effective results. “They bypass the digestive system and ensure a 100 percent absorption rate,” says Lisa Gonzalez, nurse practitioner at Immunity Health Spa. “We have people of all ages who come here to receive IV vitamins for different reasons. Some are athletes who benefit from the amino acids that are good for tissue repair and protein syntheses. Some use it to treat acute or chronic illnesses.”

Immunity Health Spa

Others come to boost their immune systems. This is extremely important during flu season. The immune system is improved because all the vitamins and antioxidants are delivered directly to your cells. This is extremely important because ALL diseases occur at the cellular level. Thus, IV therapy allows for a rapid improvement in cellular function and a decrease in disease states.

“People with adrenal fatigue syndrome and many other auto immune disorders benefit from our intravenous vitamin treatments, too,” Lisa says. “Healthy people and those with challenges will all improve their health when feeding the body vital nutrients.” While receiving IV treatment, clients can relax in heated recliners while listening to soothing music play in the background. The IV treatments last approximately 45 minutes.

352.750.9909 / immunityhealthspa.com / 480 N US HWY 27/441, Lady Lake

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Hip, hip, hooray! Thanks to the the meticulous surgical skills of Dr. J. Mandume Kerina, a patient no longer lives with agonizing hip pain.


fter having dealt with pain for many, many years, William Chester had enough. That is why he was so pleased to be rid of it within less than five weeks of his total hip replacement, done using Dr. J Mandume Kerina’s new, anterior method. William says that after having lived with the pain for so long, he was relieved when it was reduced dramatically the day of the surgery. In addition, the recovery process was much easier than he expected. “The rough part of it was probably three days and it was just the swelling in my leg, and then it progressively dwindled, and it hasn’t been five weeks,” William says. It was a huge surprise to him as he’d expected to be in bed 23 hours a day. “The first week the pain wasn’t unbearable. I walked with a walker for the first week as much as I wanted to. Dr. Kerina encourages you to walk all you want,” he says.

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By the middle of the second week into his recovery, William began walking with a cane for a few hours a day and used it until week four. Now in week five of his recovery, he only uses it periodically. Additionally, though he was prescribed tramadol, he only took two pills the first week before switching to about six Tylenols a day. By week three, he wasn’t taking any pain medication, and his pain is now almost completely gone. William was also happy to return to his fishing boat just two weeks after his surgery. He was able to go out on a quiet day during calm weather and catch a few fish before heading back home. At five weeks post-op, William returned to work, where he is on his feet for a minimum of nine hours a day. William says that pre-hip replacement, the pain had gotten so bad it affected every aspect of his life whether at work or home adding that: “I didn’t have any balance before, so

the surgery helped everything. I haven’t even smiled for the last two years and now I can’t stop smiling because I don’t have that pain anymore.” And he’s not the only one happy about it. William’s girlfriend, Angela, notices a complete transformation in William’s demeanor following his hip replacement. “He would always stand up, and he would have to stand still for about 15-20 seconds before he could move. After the surgery he could get right up and move. And that look of pain that was on his face that I’ve been watching forever, is not there anymore,” Angela says. William says he recommends Dr. Kerina for anyone needing hip surgery. “If Dr. Kerina is performing the surgery, I would suggest it in a minute. With this new technique he doesn’t have to cut muscle or tendons, so that just allows the recovery process to go so much faster.”


Medicare Now Covers Outpatient Total Joint Replacement Surgery Beginning this year, Medicare will cover outpatient total joint replacements. In the past, total joint surgeries have required extended hospital stays or a rehab facility while the patient recovers. Now, with better anesthesia and surgical techniques, plus improvements in prosthetic implants that have significantly reduced the recovery time after a joint replacement, that’s no longer required. What does this new Medicare rule mean? The new Medicare rule represents a recognition that patients often recover from surgery better in their own homes versus extensive hospital stays that are no longer necessary for post-operative rehabilitation. These surgeries are now classified as outpatient, meaning that the patient may be discharged as soon as they meet discharge criteria. This gives patients more options regarding their care; including choosing the location, price-point, and quality of care. What are the benefits of outpatient joint replacement? When it comes to patient safety, outpatient surgery has lower infection and complication rates. Patients can recover easier at home in a comfortable setting, as opposed to staying overnight in a hospital. Outpatient surgery is also much more affordable than in-patient hospital surgery. Are you a candidate for outpatient joint replacement? Patient safety is the primary driver as far as where surgery can be done. There are many contributing factors that determine if a person can qualify as an outpatient joint patient. Single health factor concerns such as having diabetes or being overweight are not automatic disqualifiers. Schedule an appointment at UNOVA Hip & Knee to see if you are a candidate for outpatient total joint replacement surgery. UNOVA Hip & Knee can perform multiple types of outpatient joint replacement surgeries at the TLC Surgery Center. Currently, patients using Medicare can only have outpatient total knee replacement surgeries performed at our surgery center by Dr. J. Mandume Kerina and Dr. Thomas H. McCoy. Patients with commercial insurances like Aetna and Blue Cross can have other types of joint replacement surgeries done at UNOVA’s surgery center. The outpatient joint replacement surgery has been optimized for the patient’s best surgical experience. Patients who have their total joint surgeries done with UNOVA Hip & Knee can benefit from opioid and narcotic-free anesthesia, as well as a rapid recovery postoperative program.

Unova Hip & Knee Center

888.847.4895 / 539 Rolling Acres Rd, Lady Lake / unovahealth.com

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A History of Firsts F or over 30 years, Mid Florida Eye Center has provided quality care to all those who enter their doors in Central Florida. When Dr. Jeffrey D. Baumann and Dr. Gregory J. Panzo opened Mid Florida Eye Center in 1987, they had a clear vision of making it a comprehensive multi-specialty practice where patients could receive general eye care, surgical eye care, and laser eye care under one roof. In 1992, Mid Florida Eye Center opened the area's first surgery center dedicated solely to eyes. When Dr. Maizel came to Mid Florida, he became the first Retina specialist to practice in Lake County. In 2008, Mid Florida Eye Center opened a new 8,000-square-foot Ambulatory Surgical Center in the Stonecrest location of The Villages. This eye surgery facility was the first one in The Villages, dedicated completely to eyes. Drs. Keith Charles and Shawn Wilker of Mid Florida Eye Center have contributed to

Mid Florida Eye Center

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numerous clinical trials regarding the latest procedures, treatments, and devices and have a strong commitment to being innovators in the field of ophthalmology. With a history of firsts, the physicians at Mid Florida Eye Center blend technology and experience to maintain and restore visual health.

Cataract Specialists: Restoring Mid Florida Eye’s Vision The cataract specialists at Mid Florida Eye Center have restored the vision of 100,000+ cataract and laser procedures patients. Recently, Dr. Baumann became the first surgeon in Mid Florida to implement the PanOptix multifocal advanced technology lens, and Dr. Panzo became one of the first to implement the Vivity multifocal advanced technology lens. Drs. Keith Charles, MD and Gregory J. Panzo, MD received 1st and 2nd place in Lake

352.735.2020 / midfloridaeye.com

L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M • J A N ' 2 1


& Sumter Style Magazine’s Best of the Best — Ophthalmologist category this year. Mid Florida Eye Center offers four convenient locations in the area, including 2 locations directly adjacent to The Villages. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 352-735-2020 or visit our website at MidFloridaEye.com SPECIALTIES: • Cataract Surgery • Advanced Technology Lenses • Retina • Diabetic Eye Care • Glaucoma • Cornea • Dry Eye • Hearing • Vision Correction • Comprehensive Eye Care


The Great Outdoors Come experience beauty and tranquility at Fenney Springs Nature Trail.

The write stuff Author Yvonne Combs inspires others through her book, “Metisse.”

Keep the romantic fire burning Meet the 2nd Honeymoon Club.



Yvonne Combs Villager strives to encourage others, fulfills childhood dream to become an author. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

vonne Combs looks forward to becoming involved in Villages activities and meeting more people who call The Villages home. “I’ve met the kindest people here; the people are so loving,” says the Vietnam native who became an American citizen in 1975. “We will overcome the global pandemic challenges and emerge stronger than ever. I’ve learned through life lessons it takes patience, faith, and trust to get through life’s changes… I encourage people to press on and have hope.” Yvonne, 72, grew up in wartorn Vietnam, the daughter of a Vietnamese mother and French father during the Indochina War. One of her goals is to inspire others to have hope and faith, which she touches on in her autobiography “Me'Tisse” (a woman of mixed ancestry), where she tells of being abused by school peers who considered her an intrusive “halfbreed.” She also pens of being raped, surviving war, fire, flood, family chaos, the grief of widowhood twice, and the death of her only child. However, Yvonne chooses not to let adverse times control her life. “Life’s storms are capable of generating powerful winds,” she

Email theresa@akersmediagroup.com

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writes in her book. “When times get tough, I continue to love, support, and encourage others. Even at the lowest, most stressful points in my life, sometimes the most healing that you can do is be there for others to help the gloom of dark days turn to sunshine.” Living in The Villages allows Yvonne to see the beauty of each day. Yvonne’s first husband, Charlie Combs, was a World War II prisoner of war. They were married for 39 years before he died in 2009. She was married to her second husband, Dr. David Dietrich, for 10 months. He died in 2018. She’s happy to have found love again. Yvonne is engaged to Judge Michael Abrams, whom she was introduced to by Villages friends Judy and Dan Matthew. Yvonne has three granddaughters, Samantha, Amanda, and Vanessa; two great-grandsons, Gabriel and Aiden; and daughterin-law, Susan, whom all live in Ocala. The Villager recently finished her second book on the 2,000-year history of Vietnam, and she continues to do book signings of “Me'tisse” to benefit veterans.

Do you know an interesting Villager?


“I love the veterans,” she says. “We need to honor veterans and appreciate them with a grateful heart.”


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‘Off we go into the wild blue yonder...’ Air Force service was filled with fun and frolic. STORY: JOE ANGIONE

ecently, while cleaning out my garage, I found my old Air Force uniforms. They were 50 years old and too decrepit to keep. But they got the memories flowing about five years of Air Force service during which I never flew a plane, dropped a bomb or fired a gun in anger. As I demilitarized the uniforms (removed the buttons bearing the shield of the United States – you’re supposed to do this), I began remembering the “good old days.” They brought tears of joy to my eyes... so much travel... so much sightseeing... so much free time for new cultural experiences... so much low-cost living and benefits... all paid for by Uncle Sam for both my wife and me. I felt, then, that I was dallying and not doing anything to serve my country. But what could I do? Military assignments are “at the needs of the service.” And so, I received no flight training. Instead, they sent me to Officers Training School,

then to supply school, and then to West Germany, to a Communications Squadron. My job for three and a half years was to help keep Air Force navigational aids running smoothly. I had airmen and German nationals to do the work. But I was their supervisor and so the Air Force made me responsible and liable for a hundred million dollars’ worth of air traffic control equipment. If any got stolen or damaged, I’d be liable for the replacement cost... out of a salary of $222.20 a month! Man, was I lucky! My last year and a half was with the Air Force Orientation Group at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio. My job was displaying Air Force art and equipment exhibits across the nation, and I often traveled with them... more great sightseeing at government expense. To those who think military duty is nothing if it isn’t combat with plenty of blood and guts, they’re wrong. Most military work is sitting around doing lots of repetitive, routine things. No war stories to tell the grandchildren. For every man on the front lines of war, there are a dozen behind the lines supporting him... including me. I’m sure there are many ex-military here in The Villages just like me. We prepared for war, but it just didn’t happen. But like the English poet John Milton wrote: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Joe Angione loves to share stories of his adventures. If you want to contact him, email joeangione@aol.com.

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Due to covid*

I Have a Dream...


for strong immunity and a life full of sexuality & longevity! Join Brian & Anna Maria Clement, co-directors of Hippocrates Health Institute as they bring much needed information on health, vitality and immunology to The Villages FL.

Monday, January 18th Session 1: (10am-12pm) Sexual Vitality & Longevity “The best years of your life” Session 2: (1pm-3pm) Immunology “On demand real knowledge” Comfort Suites 1202 Avenida Central Lady Lake, FL 32159 Please RSVP www.ceaone.com/villages Donation of $10 accepted at door

Brian Clement, Ph.D., NMD, L.N. & Anna Clement, Ph.D, L.N. Brian Clement, Ph.D., L.N. has spearheaded the international progressive health movement for more than three and one-half decades. He is the Director of the renowned Hippocrates Health Institute, West Palm Beach, Florida (U.S.A.), the world’s foremost complementary residential health center. Over the last half century he and his team have pioneered clinical research and training in disease prevention. Brian Clement has written over 20 books focused on health, spirituality and natural healing. For more than 40 years Anna Maria Clement has been an international leader in the progressive health movement. Prior to coming to the United States to join Hippocrates, she was the Director of Sweden’s Brandal Health Center in Stockholm, an internationally recognized and highly regarded center for health recovery.


*Due to social distancing requirements, seating is limited. We ask that you register to attend one session or the other to allow everyone to have a chance to hear this important information. Please email: health@ceaone.com if you would like to attend both sessions and we will put you on a wait list should space allow.



call to

nature Sights and sounds abound in peaceful setting of Fenney Springs Nature Trail. STORY: JAMES COMBS

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ajestic oak trees—an emblem of the South— drip with Spanish moss. An alligator quietly surfaces without making even a tiny ripple. A blue egret stands tall and statuesque on a log hanging out from the water. An anhinga, also known as a snakebird, spears a fish with its dagger-like bill. No wonder George Streeter of The Villages comes to Fenney Springs Nature Trail four times a week. For George, a self-described “amateur photographer,” it’s a wonderful way to capture the area’s beauty. “I love the blue water and all the different colors of the plants,” he says. “The sheer beauty here makes this place wonderfully relaxing.” The Villages is a gargantuan retirement community better known for rooftops, golf courses, and town squares. But a trip to Fenney Springs Nature Trail gives visitors a more natural perspective. As guests meander along a wooden boardwalk spanning more than a quarter mile, a woodpecker provides nature’s soundtrack with the rat-a-tat-tat hammering of its beak into tree bark. Fenney Springs Nature Trail opened to the public in August 2017. The trail is situated near Fenney Recreation Center, designed to depict Florida’s rural charm. The décor includes artwork donated by Villages artists. The center

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also has a resort-style pool, fitness center, bar and grill, and a fire pit. The area’s natural beauty is what convinced Nancy Garrison to purchase a home near the trail in the Village of Fenney. “When we toured The Villages two years ago, the trolley turned into Fenney and I immediately knew this is where I was supposed to be,” she says. “This is the prettiest area in all of The Villages.” She and her friend, Stacey Burns, walk Fenney Springs Nature Trail every Thursday. “We pick up trash because we want to keep it as clean and beautiful as possible,” Nancy says. “We love the animals, the trees, and the water.” Fenney Springs is one of numerous springs located in a nine square-mile area encompassing the southern half of Lake Panasoffkee. It discharges approximately 18 million gallons of water per day and the temperature remains at 73.6 degrees year-round. “To hear the water bubbling up to the surface is a magnificent sound,” says Jim Wahl, a Villages resident and frequent visitor to the spring. “Then you add the plant life, the wildlife, and all the colors, and it’s just an awesome experience to come here. I don’t get to see these things in my native Ohio.”

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Visitors can become educated, too. Signs along the boardwalk provide information about the flora and fauna found throughout Fenney Springs. For instance, visitors will learn that the cabbage palm is Florida’s state tree and that the bud of the tree is edible. They’ll also learn that the leaves of sweetbay—one of two species of magnolias located near the boardwalk—emit a fragrance when crushed. The educational component is satisfying to Jim and Terry Willard, who are both retired schoolteachers from Maine. They moved to The Villages 16 years ago and have witnessed the explosion of growth. For them, having a natural, quiet area to walk is a godsend. “It would be nice if there were more places in The Villages like this,” Jim says. “You can come out here and really feel at peace. But the things I like most are how this is well-shaded and that

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we see different species of animals every time we visit.” Indeed, there’s no shortage of wildlife at Fenney Springs. Mammals are abundant with river otters, bats, bass, bream, and mosquito fish. Reptiles include the popular Florida alligator, black snake, cottonmouth, yellow rat snake, and turtle. However, this area seems to be for the birds. Guests will see everything from red-shoulder hawks and the tufted titmouse to snowy egrets and little blue herons. Wetland plants are equally plentiful with ironweed, American elm, water paspalum, marsh pennywort, water oak, sand cordgrass, and sweetgum. Those are sights Mike and Carolyn McGillick seldom see in their hometown of Long Island, known for its high-density urban areas. “We would have to go to upstate New York to enjoy nature,” says Mike, a resident of The Villages. “Now, we don’t have to travel far at all to see such a beautiful, natural setting. We come here three times a week and just today we saw an alligator and blue heron. How awesome is that?” Visitors to Fenney Springs can enjoy a nice picnic, too. A few picnic tables are located in a grassy area slightly away from the boardwalk and near a man-made pond. Stately oak trees are located in this area, providing shade from the sizzling Florida sun. Since Villagers are involved in sports and clubs, some say they’re busier now than when they were raising a family. With the clearheaded calm that washes over people when they hear water flowing down a stream or birds chirping merrily in the background, a visit to Fenney Springs may be the perfect antidote to their busy lifestyles. Fenney Springs is located at 3212 Fenney Way in Wildwood. For more information, call 352.674.8460.

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Keeping romance alive Couple strives to make every day a second honeymoon for themselves and others. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN


fter five years of riding the shock of his wife leaving him, Mitchell Sheinbaum forced himself to attend a friend’s party, only to walk into a five-star hotel in Short Hills, New Jersey, and witness a young couple’s engagement in the middle of a ballroom filled with about 700 people he didn’t know. On his way past the scene, he saw three women examining the ring and heard one jokingly ask the couple if they’d just met that night. Intrigued by her playfulness, Mitchell, a successful businessman, told the woman he’d ask her to marry him if only he had a ring on him. To his surprise, she obliged. “She turns around, takes a ring off her finger and hands it to me, and I said, ‘Ok, now that I have the equipment, will you marry me?’ and she said, ‘Of course I will.’ We pick a day to get married and a place to go on our honeymoon and I said, “Oh, by the way, what’s your name?” Mitchell tells. “Now that was 25 years ago, and I have never from that moment, been so happy.” Mitchell and Michelle, married over 24 years and now living in The Villages, are still going strong.

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They have made it their mission to keep the romance alive in their marriage, but also to bring romance to other married couples by way of the 2nd Honeymoon Club – a group they started after their first Valentine’s Day following their official retirement to Florida. “Places advertised Valentine’s Day meals, but there was nothing special, so I decided to create something special,” says Mitchell, explaining that he invited six other couples to join him and Michelle (14 people total in honor of Valentine’s Day) for a night of fun and romance. Mitchell rented a room at the Nancy Lopez Country Club, and though each couple purchased their own dinner, he supplied all the romantic fixings, including fresh roses, heart-shaped balloons and picture frames, boxes of chocolates, and plush animals for each lady. He said a comment by one of the men that night became the genesis behind the club. “At the end of the meal, one of our friends said, “Boy I can’t wait for next Valentine’s Day, this was fantastic,” and I looked at him and said, ‘You mean to tell me you’re happily married, you’re retired, and you have to wait a year to do something romantic? Why don’t we plan to do something romantic once a month?”

Mitchell continues, “Everyone loved the idea, so the club basically started with a concept that doesn’t relate to golf, politics, or work; just romance.” Fast forward 12 years and the 2nd Honeymoon Club is at capacity with about 1,100 members and 400 people on a wait list. Pre-COVID-19, members gathered at the Savannah Center for monthly meetings, complete with entertainment, and again during the month for an outing, whether it be a show, concert, cruise, or other special event. “It just works. You reach a certain point in life when health comes first and doing things with friends come before what kind of car you drive. There’s just something very enjoyable about doing things with friends and if the common denominator is that all of the friends have a great marriage, it makes it that much nicer,” Mitchell says.

Michelle says, for her, the club is primarily Mitchell doing his thing. “After the initial honeymoon period in the marriage, a lot of men and women take each other for granted, especially when they get overwhelmed with household or work stuff,” Michelle says. “But Mitchell does romantic things all the time. Typically, he comes home with flowers, he’s always cooking me special meals, he makes me coffee in the morning and brings it to me in the bedroom when I’m waking up. He’s always thinking of what he can do for me and it makes me feel very much appreciated.” Mitchell says that mentality keeps them close. “The only reason to join the club is to be with other couples who love each other and want to do romantic things. There is no hidden agenda; it’s really simple,” Mitchell says. As nice as it may sound, all club activities have been postponed due to

Want to see your club in Social Club Spotlight?

the coronavirus pandemic. Their last meeting was in February 2020. “Everything’s been put on hold until COVID becomes a non-issue,” says Mitchell. Ray Struski, an original member and organizer – and the one who said he’d enjoyed that first Valentine’s Day gathering – says he and his wife Rosemary enjoy the camaraderie and new friendships the 2nd Honeymoon Club brings and cannot wait to return. Mitchell says he hopes members are embracing the club’s concept at home by doing romantic things like watching movies together, snuggling, playing cards and planning future vacations and activities like he and Michelle do each day. “If you’re with someone you love, every day has the potential of being like a second honeymoon,” Mitchell says.

Send your suggestions to roxanne@akersmediagroup.com.

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Normal People By Sally Rooney. A story of friendship, love, and happy-ish endings. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

et in County Sligo and Dublin, Ireland, Sally Rooney tells the story of Marianne, a high school outcast from a rich family, and Connell, a popular athlete whose mother cleans Marianne’s house and is known around town for having Connell out of wedlock. Sally and Connell begin an unlikely relationship and deep connection, applying to Trinity College in Dublin together. The relationship lasts only a few months before ending on a sour note due to Connell’s treatment of Marianne, but the two soon reconnect at Trinity, and find over the next few years that they are unable to escape one another.

“Normal People” follows Marianne and Connell as they date other people and spend periods of time apart, but always seem to find each other again. Connell struggles with mental health issues and an uncertain future, and Marianne deals with toxic relationships with boyfriends and family, but they keep getting back together because they understand each other unlike anyone in their lives. With melancholy undertones, the story of Connell and Marianne will have you rooting for them as a couple, although they can’t seem to admit to themselves or each other that their love spans beyond friendship, or that they might belong together despite familial and social differences that have seemingly kept them apart for so long. “Normal People” was later produced (April 2020) as a miniseries for Hulu starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, and has received critical acclaim, including four Emmy nominations at the 72nd Emmy Primetime Awards.

Want to read more about the story of Marianne and Connell? “Normal People” can be found at Target, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, or on Amazon.

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L-R: Dr. Julio Ugarte, Dr. Steven Rivers, Dr. Erin Dariano, Dr. Anthony Desmarais

A new location: Just what the doctor ordered Rivers Family Medicine, which has enjoyed a stellar reputation for 16 years, is opening a second office. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

hen Dr. Steven Rivers opened Rivers Family Medicine in 2004, he had a clear vision. He wanted to establish a practice that delivers a high standard of care and offer a warm, friendly environment. More importantly, he wanted patients to receive care from a doctor who is personal, knowledgeable and accessible. In other words, a physician who is willing to take the time to thoroughly answer patients’ questions, inform them of their options and treat them as people rather than just patients. Sixteen years later, it’s safe to say he has fulfilled that vision. Hundreds of residents in Lake, Sumter and Marion counties make Rivers Family Medicine their medical home. Moreover, the practice has expanded from one physician to four physicians.

Those feats are a clear indication of long-term commitment to excellence in health care. That vision has fueled the growth for a second location. Rivers Family Medicine is opening another office in Brownwood Paddock Square. The office, which will be 2,400 square feet, is expected to open by Feb. 1, 2021. “It’s an opportunity to serve the southern half of Villages,” Dr. Rivers says. “We look forward to establishing new relationships with patients who live closer to Brownwood and serving all their health care needs.” Patients who live on the south end of The Villages will benefit from the wealth of services offered at Rivers Family Medicine. Those services include an inhouse laboratory, ultrasound, echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, pulmonary function testing, joint injections, skin biopsies and immunizations. “We’re excited to extend our unique patient services and unique approach to health care to even more residents of The Villages,” says Dr. Anthony Desmarais, who joined Rivers Family Medicine 13 weeks ago. “Our new facility will offer a well-rounded and comprehensive approach for all patients as we continue to foster an environment of excellence and compassion.” Patients can look forward to expert, accessible medical care at Rivers Family Medicine. Moreover, doctors go above and beyond to form lasting relationships with patients who entrust them with the care of their health.They also listen attentively to help assist patients with making their own informed decision about their personal health. “Each of our physicians practice differently, but what we are is a practice that focuses on the person and their needs,” says Jimmer Roy, business manager of Rivers Family Medicine. “Our doctors also find what the problem is rather than focusing on what the ailment is. Discovering where a problem is originating from allows us to effectively treat the ailment rather than masking symptoms.”

Rivers Family Medicine 352.750.8220 / 1503 Buenos Aires Blvd., Bldg. 110, The Villages / riversfamilymedicine.com COMING SOON: 2771 Brownwood Blvd, The Villages / Sandspur Ice Plant Building

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On Top of the World, Ocala’s Premier Active-Adult community offers an exceptional new home value, quality construction and a lifestyle beyond compare. #13535-1/21

©2021 On Top of the World Communities, LLC. A 55+ community in Ocala, FL by Colen Built Development, LLC. On Top of the World Communities reserves the right to change or withdraw any offer at any time. Prices, features, specifications and availability are subject to change without notice. Not to be combined with any other offer. See Sales Associate for specific details. *On Top of the World will continue to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization’s recommendations, and state guidelines regarding safe travel and social distancing. Therefore, offers dates are subject to change and/or may be limited by availability. At least one guest must be 55 years of age or older to participate in our World Tour Adventure. Offer valid from January 1 through January 31, 2021. All guests must be at least 18 years of age. Offers valid only for customers interested in purchasing a new home. A tour with one of our knowledgeable Sales Associates is required. Accommodations are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. A 3 Day/2 Night World Tour Adventure is $149.00; rates subject to sales tax. Must qualify to be eligible for a World Tour Adventure.


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Membership is open to anyone in Alachua, Marion, Lake, and Sumter counties.3 May not be combined with any other offer. Offer subject to change without notice. One bonus per household. Offer is not available to members with an existing CAMPUS checking account. 1. Credit approval and initial $50 opening deposit required. Member must elect to receive eDocuments. 2. Within the first 60 days, member must use their debit card as a non-PIN based transaction (online purchase, contactless purchase, or swiping your debit card without using a PIN) at least 6 times within 60 days. If requirements are met and the account remains open after 60 days, the $150 reward will be made available to the member. $150 is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT. 3. Credit approval and initial $5 deposit required. Insured by the NCUA.


Teacher Amy Nichols used creativity to color a brighter world for her students.

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Pipe dreams Scottish bands, musicians, and games will be featured at the Mount Dora Scottish Highland Festival. The festival celebrates the city’s Scottish culture and will include dancing, sheep herding, and games such as caber toss. Jan. 15 & 16 from @ 10 am-5 pm / Gilbert Park / 310 S. Tremain St., Mount Dora. / 352.735.7183.

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jan.ON STAGE Enjoy quality entertainment on the many stages of Lake and Sumter counties. THE 20S ARE BACK

1/8 @ 2 pm

Charlie Grinker, an Emmy® and Peabody Award winner, takes the audience back to the Roaring 20s, a decade fueled by music. He’ll share stories about musical greats such as Duke Ellington and George Gershwin. Clermont Performing Arts Center, 3700 S. U.S. Highway 27, Clermont. 352.394.4800. ON A HIGH NOTE

1/8 @ 3 pm and 7 pm Enjoy the beautiful sounds of the Villages Philharmonic Orchestra. This professional orchestra, founded in 2003, will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21. The Sharon, 1051 Main St., The Villages. 352.751.7799 THE KING RETURNS

1/8 @ 7 pm, 1/9 @ 2:30 pm There’s going to be two guaranteed Elvis sightings! Elvis tribute artist Cote Deonath will perform some of Elvis’ greatest hits from when The King ruled Las Vegas on Friday. Cole presents Elvis The 68 Comeback on Saturday afternoon. Orange Blossom Opry, 16439 SE 138th Terrace in Weirsdale. 352.821.1201. REMEMBERING FLEETWOOD MAC

1/16 @ 8 pm

Tusk, a tribute band, features five musicians who recreate some of Fleetwood Mac’s most memorable songs, including “Dreams” and “Go Your Own Way.” Clermont Performing Arts Center, 3700 S. U.S. Highway 27, Clermont. 352.394.4800. LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

1/18 through 1/24 @ 8 pm

Tick, Tick … BOOM! is a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jonathan Larson. Enjoy this wonderful production about an aspiring playwright/composer trying to write his breakthrough play. The State Theatre, 109 N. Bay St., Eustis. 352.357.7777 PURE COUNTRY

1/24 @ 7 pm

Hear pop/country music legends the Bellamy Brothers, who hit No. 1 with “Let Your Love Flow” and followed it with “If I Told You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me,” and “Redneck Girl.” Orange Blossom Opry, 16439 SE 138th Terrace in Weirsdale. 352.821.1201. DOLLY’S WORLD

1/29 @ 7 pm

9 to 5, The Musical. This comedy is based on the 1980 movie with the same name and features songs by country music legend Dolly Parton. The Sharon, 1051 Main St., The Villages. 352.751.7799

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jan.JAMS Move to the beat of one of your favorite performers at one of these great concerts or local venues!

1/8 @ 3 pm and 7 pm

1/17 @ 2:30 pm and 7 pm


DION PRIDE Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

1/8 @ 7 pm ELVIS IN LAS VEGAS Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

TOMMY MARA AND THE CRESTS Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

1/9 @ 1 pm

1/24 @ 2:30 pm and 7 pm

JIMMY HUNTER Lake Harris Hideaway, Tavares

BELLAMY BROTHERS Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

1/9 @ 2:30 pm

1/29 @ 3 pm and 7:30 pm

ELVIS THE 68 COMEBACK Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

STARS OF THE SIXTIES Clermont Performing Arts Center, Clermont

1/9 @ 7 pm

1/29 @ 5 pm

SEPTEMBER DOGS Puddle Jumpers, Tavares

MANFREDI ROCKS Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille, The Villages

1/15 @ 5 pm


HIDDEN TREASURES AWAIT Renninger’s Antique Extravaganza features one of the largest gatherings of antique dealers in the South. More than 800 dealers will showcase their antiques in the show field, antique center, and under on-site pavilions. Jan.15 - Jan.17 @ 8 am-5 pm / Renninger’s Antique Center / 20651 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora. / 352.383.8393.


MANFREDI ROCKS Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille, The Villages

1/29 @ 9 pm

1/15 @ 9 pm

1/30 @ 2:30 pm and 7 pm

SEPTEMBER DOGS Frank’s Place, Leesburg

TG SHEPPARD Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

1/16 @ 2:30 pm and 7 pm

1/31 @ 2:30 pm and 7 pm

RUMOURS Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

JIM STAFFORD Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

CRYSTAL DAGGER Oasis Saloon, Sorrento

1/16 @ 8 pm TUSK Clermont Performing Arts Center, Clermont

* Dates and times are tentative due to COVID-19 guidelines. Contact the venues for updates.





Eustis 1st Friday 6-9pm Historic Downtown Eustis

Clermont First Friday Food Trucks 5:30pm-9pm Downtown Clermont

Clermont Farmer’s Market beginning at 9am Downtown Clermont

Downtown Mount Dora Village Market 9am-2pm 230 N. Alexander St. Mount Dora

Events are subject to change and cancellation.

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1/23 @ 2:30 pm and 7 pm

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Coloring their world STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

n the early phases of distance learning from COVID-19, teacher Amy Nichols connected with her Pine Ridge Elementary kindergarten students in a fun, artistic way: she drew sidewalk chalk drawings of their favorite storybook characters. “I missed my sweet kindergarten students,” says Amy. “I wanted to do something special for them each individually. Since I love reading and art so much, I thought it would be fun to draw each student’s favorite book character and then send them a picture of it with an encouraging message, personalized just for them.”

Wanna see more of Amy’s work?


She drew 18 pictures between April and May 2020. Each drawing was a surprise, measuring 8-by-8-foot, and signed “Love, Mrs. Nichols.” “Many parents described, in detail, exactly how their students responded when they saw their pictures,” she says. There was clapping, jumping up and down, squealing, pictures printed and hung on walls. It made my day to see that it brought so much sunshine to their lives.” Amy, who has been teaching 16 years, also gave each student a framed photo of his or her art piece, along with a pack of sidewalk chalk to enjoy, and a note that read: “Go color your world with kindness.” “My goal has just been to encourage and make people happy,” she says. “Besides

drawing doodles with my own kids, I had not done any chalk art before this. It didn’t even cross my mind to try it. However, I had always loved painting and drawing so it was exciting to try something new.” Amy was a high school junior the last time she dabbled in art, over 20 years ago. “My biggest passion is showing my students how to fall in love with reading,” she says. “I also have had dreams of becoming an author of children’s picture books and middle grade fiction books, and hope to have some of them published soon. I may even try to illustrate them.” Due to the pandemic, Amy is currently teaching third-grade language arts and social studies at Lake County Virtual School. She hopes to be back at Pine Ridge Elementary in August.

Visit her chalk art Facebook page at facebook.com/Something-to-Chalk-About-108167120960573

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From left to right: Kairi Marrero , William Locke. Moving around the circle from there is William Roberts, Audrey Burkhalter, Asher McGee, Colt and and Cash Lewis, Amy Nichols, Ava Hartman, Justen Dameus, Ben Moberg, Merida Sanfilippo, and Amelia Wilkinson

Clermont teacher creates personalized chalk drawings to make students feel special.



The sweet smell of success Business owner from Miami is looking forward to a bright future in Eustis. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

ake County will soon be home to a company whose owner is taking the candle business by storm. Karen Lawrence, who owns Lulu Candles in Miami, is relocating to a 26,000-square-foot building under construction at Cobb Commerce Park on County Road 44 in Eustis. The industrial park is being developed by Jerry and Nan Cobb, owners of Cobb’s Triangle Tractor next door. “As soon as I drove up to the property, I said,

‘This is it. This is where I am going to build,’” Karen says. Karen, originally born in Columbia, grew up in Brazil. She came to the United States when she was 13. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Karen moved to Miami and worked as an industry consultant for SunTrust Bank. But she was not satisfied. “I decided I needed to become an entrepreneur; that I was not meant to work for someone else,” she says. For 20 years since then, Karen has manufactured high-end private label candles for resorts, hotels, spas, and other businesses. Her main products

Jerry Cobb inspecting the constructions at the Cobb Commerce Park

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≈ PHOTOS: ANTHONY RAO were being imported from Columbia, but years ago, after noticing a decline in quality and consistency from her supplier, she considered alternatives. “I took matters into my own hands and started researching and experimenting with making my own candles,” Karen says. “It took me a good four years of trial and error to let go of importing completely and depend solely on my own personal product with the quality I needed to be able to compete in the U.S. market.” Nearly three years ago, Karen rolled out a line of her own, Lulu Candles, and her company exploded when it hit the Amazon scene.


Photo of Karen Lawrence is provided by Karen Lawrence.

— K A R E N L AW R E N C E

“People just love the look of my candles and the scents we offer are very unique, as compared to any other brands,” Karen says, explaining that she never realized how hard making candles is. “I first tried making soy candles in 2006 and it was a disaster. It’s not as easy as people think, or just putting fragrance to wax. There’s a whole science behind it,” she adds. “If I wasn’t so persistent in the development process, it wouldn’t have worked, but I was determined. I wanted to make the best candle and I decided I wasn’t going to stop until I figured it out.” Today, Lulu Candles are rated as some of the best candles on Amazon, with scents like bamboo rose, passion fruitinfused mango, Tuscan tangerine, white tea and fig, wild lemongrass, and sexy man, starting at $14.95 for a 6 oz. lidded candle that burns for up to 50 hours. Karen says her top sellers are fresh linen and pineapple evergreen, but she believes the long-lasting burn and cost-to-quality ratio of her hand poured creations have put her on top. “We are a high-end candle being sold for discounted prices,” Karen says. Last year, Karen began looking for a place to build her own facility instead of continuing to lease. Karen said land in Miami is expensive, but someone told her to consider Sanford, so she took a trip up. During that visit, she found Mount Dora and immediately knew she wanted to live there and began looking for land zoned light industrial nearby. She was introduced to the Cobbs and fate did the rest. Karen purchased three of the eight available lots at Cobb Commerce Park to accommodate her new manufacturing and shipping facility – two-and-a-half times the size of her current location – plus give her plenty of room for future expansions. Jerry says he’s looking forward to Lulu’s opening, expected in mid-2021. To expedite the process of developing the land and attracting business prospects, the Cobbs have been working with city officials, who waived water and sewer impact fees and created an economic development incentive program to cover other costs.

Jerry says the idea of Lulu Candles and other businesses setting up shop in Eustis is great because it will diversify the local economy and create more job opportunities for local residents. “If you look at your tax base in a city, it’s the commercial entities that make the world go round and everybody benefits from that,” Jerry says. “The arrival of this company will bring attention to the whole park.” Karen says she currently employs about 50 people in Miami, and since only about half are coming with her, she will definitely be hiring locally. Karen is ecstatic about her move and her future. “It’s mind-boggling to be honest. I always worked very hard and I always wanted to be successful, but to be considered one of the #1 candle companies in the U.S. is big and I am grateful to Amazon because they’ve put my product in front of millions,” Karen says. “I’m so proud to have created something people love. It’s very rewarding.” Karen Lawrence

You know of a cool place you’d like us to feature in Attractions? Contact us at least three months in advance and provide all the details to roxanne@akersmediagroup.com.


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HI, SOCIETY! Noel Rodriguez, Scott Backer, Ricardo Matos, and Ricardo Espericueta

Erica Lebo and Stephanie Clark

Jordan Hawkins, Andre Nacaye, and Bill Wonus Nate Berube, Thom Fross, Steve Autry, and Michael Simoniello Shelly Scarbrough and Shirley Boyd

Michelle Partin, Rich Decker, Eric Borman, and Fred Partin


Dean Pendleton, Sean Webb, Chace Crowe, and Andy Kleinsteuber

Al Toro, Robbie Padgett, Rick Ramkissoon, and Robert Reilly

Jon McGraw, Chris Langley, Brad Weber, and Jodie Nelson

Austin Carlson and Jose Betancouizt


Sam Sofia, Rich Bruno, Laurie McKay, and Sam Self

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See all the photos for this event at lakeandsumterstyle.com/hisociety

Jennifer Kahde, Hannah Wickham, Tara Bleakley, and Rania Sadrack


UF Health Leesburg Hospital Foundation hosted its inaugural Bourbon, BBQ & Bustin’ Clays fundraiser on Nov. 20 at Blackjack Sporting Clays in Sumterville. This exciting sport is often referred to as “golfing with guns” and is touted as being enjoyable for both beginners and experienced marksmen. The event included ammunition, golf cart rentals, clays, continental breakfast, a barbecue lunch. Proceeds benefitted Leesburg Hospital Nursery.


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Josie Atkins

Brenda and Rob Mangiamele Beth Parker and Donald Hines

Nicki Haber, Lauri Grizzard, Jackie Croft, and Julie Grimes

Adrienne Walton

Ruth and Charlie Quevedo

Craig, Brooke, and Cindy Yox

BOTTOMS UP! @ DOWNTOWN LEESBURG ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. The annual Leesburg Craft Beer, Wine, and Food Festival was a success on Nov. 20 at Historic Downtown Leesburg’s Towne Square, allowing festivalgoers to enjoy the holiday atmosphere while sampling dozens of craft beers, wine, and food from the area’s finest restaurants. Live music was performed from rockers Hypersona.

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See all the photos for this event at lakeandsumterstyle.com/hisociety

Emily Gaulin, Melanie Melvin, Michael Gaulin, and James Combs




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Hair Growth Pain Management Regenerative Medicine Aesthetics Sexual Health Contact us to learn more about our compassionate, effective, and comprehensive aesthetic and regenerative services. 352.525.2825 | nonsurgicalsolution.com 1400 US Hwy 441 N, Suite 906, The Villages J A N ' 2 1 • L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M

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Shannon Bryant, Raj Ayyathurai MD, and Sharon Beaudry

Troy Thurston, Joe Sprouse, Fran Pulice PA, Martin Thompkins, and Colleen Clayton


Gina Barns CAO, Edward King MD, Saumil Karavadia MD, Harvey Taub MD, Ann Marie Attaway, and Dee Barroso David Celano and Bruce Campbell

Carlie and Joshua Phillips Kim Amigliore and Elizabeth Hofferman

Carole Gordon MD, Dee Barroso, and Edward King MD

CEL EBR ATI NG AU I’ S N EW FACI LI T Y @ ADVANCED SURGERY CENTER OF OXFORD ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. Advanced Urology Institute (AUI) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 11 at its new Sumter County location at 12109 County Road 103, Suite 1, Oxford. AUI offers a wide range of outpatient urology procedures at the facility, allowing board-certified urologists and other skilled medical professionals to treat patients in outpatient settings where primary, less complicated interventions are provided.

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See all the photos for this event at lakeandsumterstyle.com/hisociety


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CARISSA KASE TERI BENDER Astatula Elementary Beverly Shores Elementary

SHANNON CLARK Eustis Heights Elementary


VANESSA VILLA-REYES COURTNEY WELCH Lake County Virtual School Lake Hills School


TRACI SICKELS Minneola Charter


SANDRA SCOTT Eustis Middle

s e e n i m o N

JASON KOVACSEV Clermont Middle

CHRISTINA CALDWELL Cypress Ridge Elementary

RIKKI PARISOE KATIE REESE-SHEPPARD KIMBERLY RYDZEWSKI Fruitland Park Elementary Grassy Lake Elementary Gray Middle

MEGAN MARTIN East Ridge Middle

SHELLY MENESES Eustis Elementary

JENNIFER FERRARO-BOSSIER TARA WILLIAMS Imagine South Lake Groveland Elementary

MARIA METCALF Lake Minneola High

PETER YELVERTON Lake Success Academy

BETH THORNTON Lake Technical College


HEATHER MEDINA Mount Dora Middle


DENICE RANSOM Pine Ridge Elementary


MARY BLACK Round Lake Charter


KELSIE REEDER Spring Creek Charter

SARAH GARBACK Tavares Elementary


MATT EPP Tavares Middle

CAITLIN FLYNN LAUREN LONG CRISTINA MILLER Sawgrass Bay Elementary Seminole Springs Elementary Sorrento Elementary

BRANT PAWLOWSKI Treadway Elementary

STEPHANIE ROGERS Clermont Elementary


AARON PICKREN Triangle Elementary

BRITTANY GIRDICH Umatilla Elementary

BRYAN TOTTEN Umatilla High



Presented by Marian S. Shuck Trust

LARAH SHEPPARD Villages Elementary

BRIAN WILLIAMS Windy Hill Middle

healthy living MIND. BODY. SOUL.

Through drumming, Marcela Malvido bangs up better health.

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Feel the beat Clermont woman spreading the healing joy of drumming. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

arcela Malvido is known for drumming on her African djembe, or anything else she can tap a rhythm on. Marcela drums daily, and recently started the Clermont Drumming Circle, where she teaches the ancient art of playing the djembe – a word she says that when translated, means “community in peace.” Most Friday and Saturday evenings, people are welcome to join her near the shoreline at Victory Pointe Park in downtown Clermont, right before sunset, with Lake Minneola as a backdrop. Marcela, 60, a massage therapist, hopes people experience the healing benefits and happiness drumming elicits.

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL “It’s important to feel your heart and try to breathe very slowly, very nice, and after that, you start drumming with that feeling of peace in your heart,” Marcela explains. “And whatever feeling comes, whatever is killing you, you just pull it out from inside of you, drum that feeling and let it go, and the instant you do that, it’s sweet.” Marcela says whether it’s anger, anxiety, sadness, thankfulness, or feeling under the weather, you focus on the feeling. “Sometimes people say, ‘How I wish I had this, if I only had that,’ but what if we say, ‘Thank you for what we have right now’ and just drum the thank you?” Marcela asks. “The energy transforms into something beautiful, something good, and you just start laughing, feeling alive and joyful, like you have the opportunity to fix anything, to get better every day and be healthy.” Marcela says drumming transformed her life, starting about 22 years ago during one of her darkest times. She knew she was a type 1 diabetic. For decades, she was in and out of comas to the point she suffered neurological trauma to her brain. No one realized she was allergic to a medication in her insulin. At her wit’s end, Marcela’s mother took her to a Chilean neurobiologist in Mexico City conducting a study for NASA focused on holistic healing and medical alternatives. That’s when she was introduced to her first drumming circle and a concoction of pure cacao, hot water, and agave honey. Using those things, her health improved. Marcela says drumming is very healthy on its own. Being outside connecting with nature makes it even more magical, she adds. “This is my way to meditate, to pray, I guess, but it’s not really about religion. Drumming is more about letting go, but in a good, creative, artistic way.” “It’s hard to explain in words, but you carry it with you long after because it’s a consciousness, something from inside of you and it’s like opening a beautiful, beautiful world. It’s like you lift the veil that’s been covering up all the happiness.” To learn more, follow “Clermont Drumming Circle” (@ clermont_drumming_circle) on Instagram.

Do you know someone who is a healthy inspiration? Email your recommendations to roxanne@akersmediagroup.com

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Plant-Based Makeup Health diagnosis leads Eustis woman to start skincare brand with natural, homegrown ingredients. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

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atricia Walker began paying closer attention to what she was putting into and onto her body after being diagnosed with thyroid disease in 2004. “My first symptoms were a noticeable puffiness around my eyes as well as shaking hands. Graves’ Disease triggered my immune system to create antibodies against my thyroid which also led to inflammation behind my eyes. Having never heard of Graves’ Disease, I was surprised when my ophthalmologist suggested I have my thyroid levels checked. I was 38 years old when I was diagnosed,” Patricia recalls. Researching Graves’ Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes overactive thyroid, Patricia discovered that many so-called “natural” products are actually riddled with toxic ingredients. Inspired by the simplicity of her 600-acre plantationstyle farm in Eustis, complete with a 40-acre tree farm, 20 acres of citrus, a greenhouse, and 200+ acres of pine forest and hidden trails, she decided to create her own plant-based skincare brand. In 2012, she launched Board and Batten, now known as Farm to Skin, a product line Patricia has grown to encompass 10 products (and counting), each formulated with the purest organic ingredients, many of them from her farm here in Lake County.

“Our farm gives us the unique opportunity to curate at every stage of creation,” says farmtoskin.com. “From propagation to distillation, we see first-hand nature’s beautiful simplicity and complex variations.” Patricia’s healthy living habits are about more than addressing her thyroid disease; it is about taking control of her long-term health. She ascribes to a daily regimen of exercise and a plant-based diet, which prevents (as well as reverses) lifestyle diseases such as coronary artery disease, obesity, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases such as Graves’ Disease, Patricia says. “Keeping our bodies as healthy as possible is the best defense against any autoimmune disease. Studies have shown that chemicals and environmental toxins can impair our immune system. We are committed to providing the most beautiful, thoughtfully curated products using nature’s purest ingredients to balance, treat, and restore your skin,” Patricia says. Looking back, she believes her former lifestyle played a role in her diagnosis. “My husband and I had four young children, and my eating habits were not so great. I basically ran myself ragged,” Patricia says. She decided to switch to a plant-based diet and lifestyle in 2012 after reading “The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications

Alyson Andrews, Patricia Walker, and Katie Andrews

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for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health” by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell. “Today I am in my mid-50s, still living an active lifestyle and feeling better than ever. I believe it is because I am taking better care of myself overall, including my diet, learning to rest when needed, and using my preservative-free plant-based skin care,” she says. In formulating Farm to Skin’s products, Patricia researched plant

oils and discovered that each plant contains unique compounds that provide numerous health benefits. “The role of phytonutrients in plants is to protect the plant from disease, drought, sun rays, and pollution, and many of these benefits can be applied to human health as well,” Patricia says. Applying these plant oils topically via skin care products gives our bodies vitamins and nutrients in whole form. “Flavonoids, flavones, and ferulic acid are


just a few of the vital cofactors necessary to neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress,” she adds. While Patricia’s farm in Eustis is capable of producing honey, magnolia, nettle extract, rosemary extract and other ingredients, Farm to Skin partners with organic farms across the U.S. as well. Patricia found many of Farm to Skin’s partners through a well-known teacher and researcher of aromatherapy who has first-hand knowledge of well-respected

organic farmers from traveling all over the country conducting workshops and training sessions. Farm to Skin offers facial skin care that is chemical free, certified organic, synthetic fragrance free, and with the exception of the Get Fresh cleanser, preservative free. According to farmtoskin.com, “Never, ever, ever will you find parabens, synthetic fragrance, petroleum, sulfates, phenoxyethanol, animal by-products, or harsh chemicals.” The products are handmade in small batches to ensure quality, freshness, and effectiveness, and hand-poured at Patricia’s farm. “It is a difference you and your skin can feel,” Patricia says. One of Farm to Skin’s most popular items is the Discovery Set, which includes everything you need for a complete daily regimen, and a helpful guide to show you how to use each product. The set comes with two cleansers, a hydrating anti-inflammatory, skin-restoring moisturizer, facial oil, overnight facial balm, nourishing multipurpose balm, and an organic facial shammy for removing masks, cleanser, or makeup. “It is a great way to try our line and discover which products you like the best,” Patricia says.

The Healthy Trio mix and match, with your choice of a cleanser, moisturizer, and essence, is also a best seller. Farm to Skin also offers essential oils, skin buff and masks, body oils, eye cream, bar soaps, and gift sets such as the at home spa kit. The therapeutic essential oils and plant essences display nature’s subtle variations in color and scent, says farmtoskin.com. “These whole-food nutrients are blended with advanced formulation in their complex yet balanced form to work together and restore healthy skin.” Farm to Skin’s blends are precisely formulated without cutting corners. To maximize effectiveness, Patricia chooses organic unrefined oils and bioactive hydrosols, never water, aloe, or filler. If you find yourself loving Farm to Skin’s products, consider joining the Coop Loyalty Program. Points towards products can be earned by joining the program, following @farmtoskin on Instagram, leaving

a review of a product, sharing on Facebook, and members will get points for their birthday as well. The Coop allows members to earn points towards product discounts and special offers, and you will gain access to exclusive Coop loyalty rewards promotions, savings, and discounts.


FIND ONLINE: farmtoskin.com FIND IN STORE: Jarboe Inc. 1225 N. Orange Ave., Orlando 407.895.6878

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Josh Oakley dishes out culinary creativity.

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Cooking Classics Legendary chef Josh Oakley gets rowdy in the kitchen, says you can too. STORY: GARY CORSAIR

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osh Oakley’s tenure as Lake County’s top chef was like a butane cooking torch caramelizing sugar atop crème brûlée – blue-flame hot, bubbling with possibilities, and oh so sweet. The February 2019 hiring of Josh as chef at 1921 Mount Dora was a hot topic, but like glazing of a delectable custard dessert, the show didn’t last long. The self-taught chef who for 21 months regaled diners with deftly-cooked dishes like crispy pork belly with blood orange mojo, pork and duck country terrine, and Ponce Inlet cobia with vegetable cream, peas, asparagus, trumpet mushroom, and wild ramps has left Mount Dora to cook good ole’ fashioned fare for acclaimed Orlando restauranters Jason and Sue Chin. Josh is head chef at The Monroe, which will open in early 2021 in 5,000 square feet on the ground floor of The Julian Apartments, a swanky 14-story, 409-unit complex at Creative Village in downtown Orlando, where the original Amway Center stood. “I wanted to do something a little more rowdy and casual. I wasn’t actively looking. As much as I enjoyed my time in there, but the more I thought about it, this is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for for a long time,” says Josh. “It’s just really re-energizing to have this new opportunity after everything. I just count my lucky stars. It was divine intervention almost. This job just fell in my lap. I’m going to make the most of it and run with it.” Rowdy and casual? Yeah, that’s how Josh prefers to roll. And that’s exactly why the Chins wanted Josh to run the kitchen in their fourth restaurant in The City Beautiful. “It’s gonna be a fairly casual place, a little lower price point,” Josh says. “We’re kind of billing it as modern comfort food. A lot of humble ingredients, not too fancy, just a lot of good food done right. One of the big things we’re setting ourselves up to do is fried chicken, which is one of my favorite things. We’re getting a big pressure fryer, which is hands down the best way to cook chicken. Fried chicken can be tricky. It takes a long time and it’s easy to burn. It’s hard to put on your menu, because if you sell too much of it you can’t keep up, but we’re




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“THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND GREAT going to have a system in place where that’s kind of going to be our calling card, I think.” That’s right, one of Central Florida’s most highly regarded chefs, would rather make sausage from scratch, smoke BBQ, and fry chicken than plate truffles, pâté, and foie gras. “The classics are the classics for a reason. There’s nothing wrong with carrying on with them. There’s always room for creativity and new things. Just keep it simple and make it good. At 1921 we had a burger. We could put anything else on the menu and the best seller would still be the burger. There’s really nothing wrong with that. We had a great damn burger over there. It was $18 but it was worth it. It was a good burger. We’ll definitely have one of those at The Monroe as well,” Josh says. Josh also says that you can make your own $18 burger. The 45-year-old chef who began his amazing career in his dad’s taco/sandwich shop before working at Wendy’s, operating a “glorified hot dog cart,” opening the wildly popular Smiling Bison eatery in Orlando, and wowing guests at 1921 Mount Dora says anyone can be great in the kitchen. “Everybody can follow a recipe. A chef who’s been cooking for 20 years is going to know the techniques to make it better, but there’s really no secrets anymore.” “A lot of it is just having good habits and paying attention to detail whether you’re making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or some crazy fancy $40 entrée. You should really go at it with the same attitude and mindset.” “Keep it simple and constantly ask yourself, ‘What can I do to make it a little better?’ The difference between a good dish and a great dish can just be a pinch of salt or vinegar or lemon juice or acid to balance something out. Attention to detail. The difference between good and great is actually not very much.” Ready to cook? Here is one of Josh’s favorite recipes for you to try.

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cup stone ground grits


teaspoons black pepper


cups water


teaspoon Tabasco


tablespoon salt


tablespoons butter


bay leaf (optional)



cup grated Parmesan


Bring water, salt, and pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add bay leaf and butter. When butter melts, slowly add grits, while stirring rapidly with a wire whisk. Return to boil, then immediately turn heat to low. Cook until done, about 45 minutes. Season with Tabasco. Whisk in the Parmesan. Using a rubber spatula, transfer grits to a baking sheet and spread out in a thin layer, place in refrigerator to cool. Chef’s note: Best when prepared the night before. Grits need to be cooked then fully cooled before proceeding with the recipe. GRIT CA K ES INGREDIENTS


batch cooked grits


tablespoon chopped parsley


cup all-purpose flour


cup panko breadcrumbs


large eggs, beaten


tablespoon grated Parmesan


Separate cooled grits into ping pong sized balls, gently flatten between your palms to form small patties. Combine panko, parsley, and Parmesan in a small bowl and mix well. Line balls in a row with the flour and egg wash, each in their own bowl. One at a time, gently toss each patty in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip each patty in egg wash to lightly coat, then gently toss in the breadcrumb mixture. Arrange on a plate or baking sheet and return to refrigerator until ready to fry. Deep fry at 350 for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and season with a little more salt to taste. Place cakes on large plate, arrange mushrooms and tomatoes over top. Garnish with fresh chives and/or parsley. If you don’t have a fryer: Put about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in medium to large skillet and place on medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, carefully add grit cakes and cook 2 minutes per side until golden brown.





ounce mushrooms, any mushrooms will work, something more “exotic” than button mushrooms are best


teaspoon salt


teaspoon black pepper


garlic cloves, crushed with your palm or the flat side of a knife


sprigs fresh thyme


tablespoons vegetable oil


teaspoon sherry or red wine vinegar


Put oil in a cold frying pan with the thyme and garlic and put on a burner set to medium-high heat. As soon as thyme and garlic start to sizzle, add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and quickly toss to evenly coat, then let them settle into an even layer on bottom of pan. Let cook for about 2 minutes until a little browning develops, toss and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat, immediately add vinegar and toss well. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a paper towel. Pick out garlic cloves and thyme stems and discard.



grape or cherry tomatoes, halved


tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


cloves garlic very thinly sliced


teaspoon sherry or red wine vinegar


teaspoons salt


teaspoon cayenne


teaspoon sugar


sprigs thyme, leaves picked and stems discarded


CHEF’S NOTE This is a wonderful combination, but there are several good uses for grits, tomato, and mushroom techniques on their own or in other dishes.

Set oven to 250F. Toss all ingredients in mixing bowl to evenly distribute. Arrange tomatoes on wire rack over a baking sheet, skin side down. Pour remaining oil over tomatoes. Roast at 250 for about 1 hour until tomatoes have browned a little and are somewhere between the texture of a fresh and a sun-dried tomato. Chef’s note: Tomatoes and mushrooms can be done ahead of time and gently re-heated while you’re cooking the grit cakes.

Hey, readers! Do you have favorite recipes or know a chef we should profile? Comment on this article or send story ideas to gary@akersmediagroup.com.

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A magical move Visit a real British pub without leaving Lake County. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

hil Barnard clearly remembers the final evening of a vacation he and his parents enjoyed 16 years ago. They were sitting outside on the patio of a Mount Dora restaurant called The Gables. Phil says they were visiting Florida from England and ended up in town when searching for a place near Sanford to stay, and found the Lakeside Inn. During dinner, his mother turned around and commented on how much she’d enjoyed “the most amazing holiday of a lifetime,” and expressed a desire to buy a vacation home in beautiful Mount Dora. His mom’s wish never came true. She died just months after returning home to England. Phil purchased a home in her honor. About seven years ago, Phil moved to Mount Dora and remarried. He and Kate opened an English restaurant and gastro pub they named after a London butcher shop his dad ran in the 1960s, The Magical Meat Boutique, which quickly become a favorite hang-out and eatery downtown on Third Avenue. After realizing they needed a bigger space with more seating Kate and Phil Barnard for their growing clientele, Phil’s

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vacation memory came full circle. In the fall of 2020, after celebrating its six-year anniversary, The Magical Meat Boutique was relocated across the street to 322 N. Alexander Street and into the very building once home to The Gables. Sitting on the patio where he sat with his mom so many years ago, Phil says he feels at home. “I always thought this building was too big to rely solely on food sales and knew it had to be more of a pub and social place and it happened to be available when we wanted it. It was the right time,” Phil says. The new location has taken the popular restaurant from 1,400-square-feet to more than 4,600, with plenty of seating inside and out, plus room for future expansions. There is also a separate dining area (the McKenzie Room) reserved for private parties and events, and ample space for live musical entertainment, dancing, and fun, especially on karaoke nights on the weekends when the place is open until 2 a.m., and monthly for Scottish pub nights. The main seating area is complemented by a bar near the center of the restaurant, featuring taps from the UK and Ireland. Off to the side is a gin bar similar to what you’d find in an actual pub in England. “There are hundreds and hundreds of types of gin and we’ve brought about 30-40 of them over from England and Scotland,” Kate says.

Phil and Kate are also ecstatic about the size of their new kitchen, complete with a vast prep area for in-house orders and catering jobs, walk-in coolers and freezers, and plenty of storage space. “Our guys used to produce miracles out of the tiny kitchen we had,” Phil says, adding that with all the new upgrades, they can concentrate on finer dining, private parties, and special events for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and more, plus their signature Sunday carvery, which features all-you-caneat prime rib, turkey, and more for $18 per person. “We were a bit casual over there, but we’ve managed to cross the border a bit into having an area that’s much nicer,” Phil continues. Additionally, the Barnards plan on expanding an already extensive menu to delight locals and British natives who come looking for familiar tastes of home like very specific cuts of bacon, perfectly seasoned sausage (called bangers) and English-style bread traditionally made without sugar.

Let’s do lunch or dinner


“There are a lot of the Brits in this area and we get them in all the time,” adds Phil. I, with fellow Style writers Theresa and Victoria, visited The Magical Meat Boutique’s new location to sample some of its most popular dishes. We were not only taken by the food, but by the friendly service, British décor, delightful music, and ambiance. Victoria, who ordered the Camden Doner Burger, made with lamb and spices and topped with chopped tomato,

onion, mint parsley, and garlic sauce, says, “The burger was tender and well-seasoned with fresh herbs, and the toppings added a tangy flavor to the distinct taste of lamb. I enjoyed a side of rosemary shoestring fries which were crispy and seasoned excellently.” Theresa had the Real Shepherd’s Pie, made with ground sweet Australian lamb, swede, carrot, and onion in a bistro stock with red wine, cinnamon, French herbs, and a dash of chocolate puree, all topped with mashed potato, leek, and melted Somerset cave-aged cheddar. Theresa says, “Overall, I found this ‘real’ Shepherd’s Pie simply a delightful taste sensation of ingredients I would have never imagined melding together so wonderfully.” I opted for breakfast, served all day every day, and after relishing the Full English that came with two eggs, pork sausage, back bacon, black pudding, saucy beans, griddled tomato, breakfast spuds and fried Yorkshire bread, I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed a true English breakfast fit for a queen.

Tell us about a great restaurant by emailing roxanne@akersmediagroup.com.

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A toast to creativity Chop House serves drinks with a shots of innovation. STORY: JAMES COMBS

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verything can be improved by adding bacon. Double cheeseburger? Add bacon. Scrambled eggs? Add pieces of bacon. A hurricane is about to ravage Florida? Add lots of bacon. However, some may not realize bacon can beef up one of America’s most popular alcoholic drinks—the flexible bloody Mary. At least that’s how the drink is served at the Chop House at Lake Sumter. The original Bloody Mary I knew with vodka, tomato juice, and celery seems to have evolved. And that’s a good thing according to my co-worker Victoria Schlabig, whose bloody Mary was served with large chunks of bacon hanging out of the glass. “I am a big fan of bloody Mary’s, and yes, I usually opt for one over a mimosa at brunch,” Victoria says. “That said, I’m a sucker for a bloody Mary with lots of add-ins. Kind of a prebrunch appetizer. The Chop House Mary satisfied that, with a celery stalk, seasoned rim, blue cheese olives, cherry tomatoes, and crispy bacon on top. I like a spicy Bloody Mary, which the bartenders happily accommodated.” A bacon-filled bloody Mary is one of many interesting drinks at the Chop House at Lake Sumter, where modern mixology has advanced as bartenders modify classic cocktails to please contemporary palates. General manager and mixologist Michael Dillenburg puts a lot of elbow grease and trial and error into concocting tasty drinks. He definitely thinks outside the box. Or, in his case, outside the bottle. Beer drinkers do venture there, but most come for the specialty drinks. “What we want to do at the Chop House is reinvent some old classics that have been around since the beginning of time,” he says. He’s not just blowing smoke. He’s making it. His smoked cocktail drinks have patrons all fired up, particularly the popular Jackson Ray Old Fashioned. This drink is made with Jim Beam Double Oak Bourbon, orange bitters, and organic maple syrup. The glass is smoked with cedar wood, and he uses a fresh orange peel to squirt the rim of the glass with fresh citrus. “Every time they put their glass to their mouth, they get a little bit of that citrus taste, which takes down the punch to the face so to speak,” he says. The Apple Cider Old Fashioned is another of Michael’s cocktail inventions. The combination of Jim Beam Double Oak Bourbon, pure apple cider, maple syrup, and a sliced apple makes for an enjoyable drink. “The cool thing about this drink is that it’s served with a cinnamon stick that is used as a stir stick,” Michael says. “The more you stir, the more cinnamon flavor you enjoy.”

Michael also delights in making seasonal cocktails. This winter’s selection includes a Pumpkin Spice White Russian, a Caramel Apple Martini, a

That’s certainly good news for wine connoisseurs, who will undoubtedly be pleased with the Chop House’s extensive wine list. Popular white wines—including


Visitors can drink inside or on an outside patio. The restaurant’s elegant décor features chandeliers, modern art, upholstered chairs, and white linens. On the outside patio, music plays softly in the background without drowning out conversation among friends. Overhanging fans and outdoor heating lamps help guests remain comfortable during Florida’s unpredictable winter weather. If you’re going to enjoy a few drinks among friends, you cannot go wrong with Chop House at Lake Sumter, where creative cocktails and high-end wines are aplenty. Just don’t forget the bacon.



Pumpkin Spice Martini, and a S’more Martini. And what’s brunch without a delicious drink? The brunch drink selection includes Bloody Marys, the Chop House Mimosa, and a Blackberry Bliss. “We try to be different here and we want our drink selection to be wellrounded,” Michael says.

Pinot Grigios, Chardonnays, and Sauvignon Blancs—can be found from top wine-producing regions in Italy and California. Red wines like Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons come from France, Oregon, and Washington State. “We serve wines that people can’t find everywhere,” says Ezekiel Springs, director of culinary operations. “Our high-end wine selection is definitely restaurant-driven.”

1045 Old Camp Road, The Villages Hours: Mon. – Thu. 11 am to 9 pm Fri. 11 am to 10 pm Sat. 10 am to 10 pm Sun. 10 am to 9 pm For more information call 352.750.6000 or visit Chophousedining.com

Do you know a place where we can drink? Comment on this article or send story ideas to james@akersmediagroup.com.


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OUT From classic diners and lakeside restaurants to fine dining and everything in-between, Lake County’s culinary scene is booming. Your favorite meal is sure to be served with a side of hospitality. Denotes locations where you can find Lake & Sumter Style A S TAT U L A


Race Car Diner 25641 Monroe St. 352.253.6940

Akina Sushi Bar & Asian Fusion Bistro 4300 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.8988

ASTOR Blackwater Inn 55716 Front St. 352.759.3802 Castaways Restaurant 23525 US SR 40 352.759.2213 Sparky’s Place Restaurant 24646 SR 40 352.759.3551 Williams Landing 55716 Front St. 352.759.2802

Cheeser’s Palace Café 707 W. Montrose St. 352.404.9431 Clermont Brewing Co. 750 W Desoto 321.430.2337 Corelli’s Italian Restaurant 1042 E. Hwy. 50 352.989.5924


Devenney’s Irish Pub 16909 High Grove Blvd. 352.432.3925

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s 2586 W CR 48 352.568.7000

El Cerro Restaurant 811 W. Hwy. 50 352.241.9884

Darryl’s Diner 2237 W CR 48 352.444.2318 Howie’s Family Restaurant 840 N. Main St. 352.793.8582 TJ’s Family Restaurant 412 W. Belt Ave 352.793.8877

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Friar Tuck 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd. 352.404.6818

Stavro’s & Sons of Eustis 2100 W. CR 44 352.589.9100

Lil Anthony’s Pizza 7965 SR 50 352.429.7499

Taki’s Pizza House 2824 S. Bay St. 352.357.0022

Red Wing Restaurant 12500 S. SR 33 352.429.2997

Thai Sushi America 925 N. Bay St. 352.357.1949


The Crazy Gator 402 N. Bay St. 352.589.5885 The Oyster Troff 936 N. Bay St. 352.357.9939 Tillie’s Tavern & Grill 31 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.602.7929 Tony’s Pizza & Subs 2760 E. Orange Ave. 352.589.9001 F RU I T L A N D PA R K Fruitland Park Café 3180 US Hwy. 441/27 352.435.4575

Guru Restaurant 2400 S. Hwy. 27 352.241.9884

Troy’s Cuban Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.241.4295

ibar-be-que Express 3170 Hwy. 27 352.315.4227

Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.243.1118

Uncle Kenny’s BBQ 157 Hwy. 27 352.394.1225

Legends Cafe 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.728.0006

Lilly’s on the Lake 846 W. Osceola St. 352.708.6565 Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill 230 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.394.0036 Robata Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar 1500 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.404.9688 Root and Branch Bistro and Bar 1200 Seaver Dr. 352.708.4529 Sanctuary Ridge Bar & Grille 2601 Diamond Club Road 352.243.0411

G’s NY Pizza 12346 Roper Blvd. 352.243.8900

Sarah’s Greek Cuisine & More 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd., Ste. 305 352.404.8031

Gators Dockside 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.242.1825

The Crooked Spoon Gastropub 200 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.404.7808

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EUSTIS Jeannie’s Place 209 E. Gottsche Ave. 352.359.0027 Gators Dockside 15241 US Hwy 441 352.357.1255 Kiku Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar 15211 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.483.8288 LaCabana Mexican Bar and Grill 2060 S. Bay St. 352.357.4600 Nalan Sultan Mediterranean Grill 1 N. Eustis St. 352.357.4444 NightOwl Caribbean Restaurant 929 S. Bay St. 352.589.0256

NY Deli N Diner 3325 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.365.0051 Rae Rae’s Restaurant 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.323.1595 Stavro’s 3223 US Hwy. 441 352.315.0028 The Rose Plantation 200 Rose Ave., Fruitland Park 352.805.4340 G R OV E L A N D Coyote Rojo 214 W. Broad St. 352.557.8999 Ikaho Sushi Japanese Restaurant 7965 SR 50, #900 352.557.8988 James Barbeque 262 W. Orange St. 352.557.4050

Frank’s Place 201 N. 1st St. 352.323.1989 Gator Bay Bar & Grill 10320 CR 44 352.365.2177 God Café 300 W. Main St. 352.801.7447

JB Boondocks Bar & Grill 704 S. Lakeshore Blvd. 352.324.3600

Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room 311 W. Magnolia St. 352.474.2739

La Hacienda Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.3910

HP Grill 1403 S. 14th St. 352.314.0006

Nicker’s Clubhouse Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.2718 L A DY L A K E Bamboo Bistro 700 Hwy. 441 352.750.9998 El Ranchito 1 Lagrande Blvd. 352.750.3335 Harbor Hills Country Club 6538 Lake Griffin Rd. 352.753.7000 Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant 504 S. U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.753.2722 OakWood Smokehouse & Grill 860 S. Hwy 27/441 352.751.5640 Takis Greek and Italian Restaurant 13761 U.S. Hwy. 441 N. 352.430.3630 LEESBURG Bloom’s 610 W. Main St. 352.787.1004 Brick & Barrel 209 W. Main St. 352.431.3069 Cedar River Seafood 8609 S. U.S. Hwy. 441 352.728.3377 Chesapeake Bay Grill 4467 Arlington Ridge Blvd. 352.315.0066 Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.2442

Ichiban Buffet 10301 Hwy. 441 352.728.6669 Kountry Kitchen 1008 W. Dixie Ave. 352.323.0852 La Palma Mexican Grill 1690 Citrus Blvd. 352.323.1444 Lilly’s Super Subs 2339 CR 473 352.343.4663 Magnolia’s Oyster Bar 201 W. Magnolia St. 352.323.0093 Main Street Cantina 205 W. Main St. 352.435.7279 Mamma’s Pizzeria 27405 US Highway 27 352.728.2020 Mammoth Oak Brewing Company 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.326.0100 Mrs. T’s Place, Southern Restaurant 305 Pine St. 352.431.3217 Naples Italian Restaurant 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.323.1616 Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill 2775 U.S. 27 352.435.4633 Arigato Steak House 1401 Citrus Blvd. 352.728.0788 Pine Street Bar-B-Que 408 Pine St. 352.728.1293 Plantation Oaks Restaurant 4720 Plantation Blvd. 352.530.2680

Ramshackle Café 1317 N. 14th St. 352.365.6565 Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 US Hwy. 27 352.319.8093 San Jose’s Original Mexican Restaurant 1337 S. 14th St. 352.805.4174 Sip Restaurant and Wine Bar 707 W. Main St. 352.435.7840 Stokes Seafood Market and More 719 W. Main St. 352.787.3474 Sully’s Smokehouse 10820 CR 44 352.483.7427 Takis Pizza Restaurant 1205 N. 14th St. 352.787.2344 The Florida Porch Café 706 W. Main St. 352.365.1717 The Kitchen Cafe & Cooking School 712 W. Main St. 352.901.6537 The Mojo Grill & Catering Co. 9925 US-441 352.787.0494 The Old Time Diner 1350 W. North Blvd. 352.805.4250 Turners 114 S. 5th St. 352.530.2274 Wolfy’s 918 N. 14th St. 352.787.6777 MASCOTTE Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 Rainbow Restaurant 704 E. Myers Blvd. 352.429.2093 MINNEOLA Lil Anthony’s Pizza 205 N. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.1516 Minneola Grill 117 W. Washington St. 352.394.2555 Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 Hwy. 27 352.243.7500

The Surf Bar and Grill 650 N. Hwy. 27 202.527.0100 Tiki Bar & Grill 508 S. Main Ave. 352.394.2232

Olive Branch MediterraneanItalian Grille 115 W. 3rd St. 352.729.6734


One Flight Up 440 N. Donnelly St., Ste. 100 352.758.9818

1921 Mount Dora 142 E. Fourth Ave. 352.385.1921

Pisces Rising 239 W. 4th Ave. 352.385.2669

Anthony’s Pizza 17195 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.357.6668

PizzAmore’ 722 E. 5th Ave. 352.383.0092

Barnwood Country Kitchen & Smokehouse 3725 W. Old US Hwy 441 352.630.4903

Shiva Indian Restaurant 140A W. 5th Ave. 352.735.4555

Beauclaire Restaurant at Lakeside Inn 100 N. Alexander St. 352.383.4101 Bocce Pizzeria 925 E. First Ave. 352.385.0067 Café Gianni 425 N. Alexander St. 352.735.3327 Cody’s on 4th Cafe 111 E. 4th Ave. 352.735.8426 Copacabana Cuban Cafe 320 Dora Drawdy Way 352.385.9000 Fiesta Grande 421 N. Baker St. 352.385.3540 Frog & Monkey English Pub 411 N. Donnelly St. 352. 383.1936 Highland Street Café 185 S. Highland St. 352.383.1446 Jeremiah’s 500 N. Highland St. 352.383.7444 J.K. Thai & Sushi 116 E. 5th Ave. 352.385.5470 Let’s Do a Maine Lobster Roll 426 N. Donnelly St. 352.735.3702 Magical Meat Boutique 322 N. Alexander St. 352.729.6911 Mount Dora Pizza & Subs 2718 W. Old U.S. Hwy. 441 352.383.5303

Sidelines Sport Eatery 315 N. Highland St. 352.735.7433 Sugarboo’s Bar-B-Que 1305 N. Grandview St. 352.735.7675

Hurricane Dockside Grill 3351 W. Burleigh Blvd. 352.508.5137

BlueFin Grill & Bar 2738 Brownwood Blvd. 352.571.5344

Kalua Hale Beach Bar 181 S. Joanna Ave. 352.609.5910

Cane Garden Country Club 1726 Bailey Trail 352.750.0627

Lake Dora Sushi & Sake 227 E. Main St. 352.343.6313

Chengs Chinese and Sushi Restaurant 4050 Wedgewood Ln. 352.391.9678

Mary’s Kountry Kitchen 15945 CR 448 352.343.6823 O’Keefe’s Irish Pub and Restaurant 115 S Rockingham Ave. 352.343.2157 Palm Gardens Restaurant 1661 Palm Garden St. 352.431.3217

Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant and Bar 320 Colony Blvd. 352.753.3824 NYPD Pizzeria 4046 Wedgwood Ln 352.750.1994

The Mason Jar 37534 State Rd. 19 352.589.2535

Palmer Legends Country Club 1635 Palmer Way 352.750.4499


China Gourmet III 343 Colony Blvd 352.750.4965 Chop House at Lake Sumter 1045 Old Camp Rd. 352.750.6000

RedSauce 1000 Canal St. 352.750.2930

Continental Country Club 50 Continental Blvd. 352.748.3293

Evans Prairie Country Club 1825 Evans Prairie Trail 352.750.2225

Ricciardi’s Italian Table 3660 Kiessel Rd. 352.391.9939 Sakura 265 Colony Blvd 352.205.7393

Puddle Jumpers 111 W Ruby St. 352.508.5862 Ruby Street Grille 221 E. Ruby St. 352.742.7829

Giovanni’s 3439 Wedgewood Lane 352.751.6674

The Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille 925 Lakeshore Dr. 352.753.7800

The Country Club 1900 Country Club Blvd. 352.735.2263

Sunrise Grill 462 E. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.7744

The Goblin Market 331-B Donnely St. 352.735.0059

Tavares Ice Cream 214 E. Main 352.508.5342

Glenview County Club 3914 Glenview Rd. 352.753.0077

Tierra Del Sol Country Club 806 San Marino Dr. 352.753.8005

Vincent’s Italian Restaurant 5914 Orange Blossom Trl. 352.735.4578

The Hideaway 11912 Lane Park Rd. 352.343.3585

Habaneros Mexican Grill 3551 Wedgewood Ln. 352.633.2080

VKI Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 1004 Old Mill Run 352.259.9887

Whale’s Tale Fish House 2720 W. Old U.S. Hwy 441 352.385.1500 SORRENTO Del Franco Pizza Place 31436 CR 437 352.383.8882 Lisa’s Kountry Cafe 23911 CR 46 352.735.3380 TAVA R E S Bella Nona Pizzeria 280 Silverado St. 352.508.9370 BTW (Burgers, Tacos & Waffles) 115 E. Main St. 352.508.9287 Fish Camp Lake Eustis 901 Lake Shore Blvd. 352.742.4400

Tiki West Raw Bar and Grill 118 W Ruby St, Tavares 352.508.5783 THE V I L L AG E S Amerikano’s Grill 998 Del Mar Dr. 352.633.8027 Belle Glade Country Club 446 Moyer Loop 352.205.8208

Shang Hai Restaurant 531 N. Central Ave. 352.669.2004

Orange Blossom Country Club 1542 Water Tower Circle 352.751.4501

Fiesta Grande Mexican Grill 297 Colony Blvd 352.751.0400

The Bavarian Haus 433 N. Alexander St. 352.735.8387

Old Crow Real Pit Bar-B-Q 41100 SR 19 352.669.3922

Hemingway’s at Havana Country Club 2484 Odell Circle 352.430.3200 Legacy Restaurant Nancy Lopez Country Club 17135 Buena Vista Blvd. 352.753.1475 Margarita Republic 1102 Main St. 352.753.4600

China Jade 420 W. CR 44 352.330.5913

Cotillion Southern Café 101 N. Main St. 352.748.1223 Los Magueyes Mexican Restaurant 346 Shopping Center Dr. 352.461.0577 O’Shucks! Oyster Bar and Grill 1016 S Main St. 352.399.2200 Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria 2468 Burnsed Blvd., 352.626.1059


Traditions Café 3107 Hwy. 44 352.748.1077

Combat Café 831 S Central Ave. 352.483.0250

Woody’s Bar-B-Q 1220 S. Main St. 352.748.1109

Fish & Chix 100 N. Central Ave. 352.669.7145


Gators Dockside Grill 9 N. Central Ave. 352.669.6969

Yalaha Bakery 8210 CR 48 352.324.3366

Greg’s Haystax 526 Umatilla Blvd. 352.669.1555

Nicker’s Clubhouse Restaurant



Majestic views are prominent inside Nicker’s Clubhouse Restaurant at Mission Inn Resort and Club. Glance out the floor-to-ceiling glass windows and you’ll see palm trees gently swaying in the wind The panoramic views and elegant décor— including chandeliers and beautiful woodwork—set the tone for a superb dining experience. On the lunch menu, you can build your own sandwich or burger. Or, you can order delicious favorites such as blackened chicken breast quesadilla, the County Club Wrap, and a variety of soups and salads. Also, be sure to come for Nicker’s popular Saturday night prime rib, seafood, and sushi buffet. 10400 County Rd 48, Howey In Hills / 352.324.2718

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The Kitchen Café

Tuesday-Saturday 9am-2pm

352.901.6537 | 712 W. MAIN ST., LEESBURG GETCOOKINGWITHZE.COM Culinary creativity comes alive at The Kitchen Café, tucked away inside the Southern Gardens Mall in Downtown Leesburg. The “create-your-own-bowl” option allows diners to choose a base product such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, good rice and riced cauliflower. From there, pick your choice of veggies, and a plant or animal based protein options like citrus grilled, herb roasted chicken, or personal meatloaf. Other menu items include thier made from scratch soups, chicken salad, and flavorful breakfast items like sweet potato hash, and a breakfast sandwich made with homestyle yeast rolls. Partnering with local food purveyors bring “fresh” back to the table.

Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant 352.753.2722 | 304 US-441, LADY LAKE Mom and Dad’s Italian Restaurant in Lady Lake has the distinct honor of calling itself a true family-owned restaurant. In fact, five generations of family members have represented the restaurant since its humble beginnings in May 1962. As many generations of customers have dined there throughout the years thanks to the outstanding service and scrumptious dishes such as Spaghetti a la Bruzzi, Delmonico steak, and lasagna. This food savvy family prepares everything from scratch, crafting everything with love to satisfy your taste buds.

Subway SUBWAY.COM LADY LAKE | 208 W. GUAVA ST. | 352.750.4929 EUSTIS | 469 PLAZA DR. | 352.357.7827 MOUNT DORA | 18870 U.S. HWY. 441 | 352.735.4376 LEESBURG | 2013 CITRUS BLVD. | 352.787.6442 10135 U.S. HWY. 441, SUITE 4 | 352.326.3234 27405 U.S. HWY. 27, SUITE 4 | 352.314.8847 THE VILLAGES | 1580 BELLA CRUZ DRIVE | 352.750.9600 8796 S.E. 165TH MULBERRY LANE | 352.750.9991 1070 LAKE SUMTER LANDING DRIVE | 352.205.8535 349 COLONY BLVD. | 352.391.1657 WILDWOOD | 480 W. GULF TO ALANTIC HWY. | 352.748.8800

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Wednesday-Sunday 4pm-9pm Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Full Gluten-Free Menu

Custommade, fresh sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads made right before your eyes. The “healthy” alternative to fast food.

Open Daily 8am-7pm

Yalaha Bakery 352.324.3366 | 8210 STATE ROAD 48, YALAHA

A German Bakery Like No Other!

The family owned German Bakery since 1995, is an award-winning Bakery that offers to customers high-quality German products made with the highest culinary standards. Fine European pastries and breads are made with organic flours, chocolates, and spices, butter, and imported European ingredients. Take home tortes, tarts, and wonderful pretzels, but before you go home, enjoy something from our delicious deli menu. We serve breakfast from 8-11am and lunch and dinner are served 11am-7pm. Enjoy German specialties like Nurnberger breakfast, Hunterschnitzel with Spätzle, Bratwurst, Reuben, Quiche, typical German soups, and maybe Semelknoedel (bread dumplings with mushroom sauce) for lunch or dinner. We offer a fine selection of German beers and wines. Whatever time of day, you’ll find something you love at Yalaha Bakery. On the weekends you can come and enjoy various events and music concerts on Saturdays and Sundays at our Beer Garden. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter or via our website www.yalahabakery.com

Would you like to see your restaurant in our dining section? CALL US AT 352.787.4112

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Kindly speaking Don’t just think it, say it. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

ost days of the month, every month, have a national cause for celebration attached to them, and January is no exception. Of the month’s 31 days, 18 of them, according to nationalday365.com, are reserved for various, somewhat nonsensical causes. For example, National Spaghetti Day is observed on Jan. 4. And the list goes on to include National Hat Day on Jan. 15, National Hugging Day on Jan. 21 – which will probably be cancelled due to social distancing guidelines – and National Spouse Day on Jan. 26. There’s even a National Winnie The Pooh Day and a National Chocolate Cake Day in the mix, but the day I found totally worth observing is National Compliment Day on Jan. 24. The description encourages the exchange of energy boosting verbal compliments and I think that’s awesome and somewhat easy, since I oftentimes do that already every day. On the flip side, National Puzzle Day on Jan. 29 is one day I’m steering clear of because during the 2020 quarantine, I, like many people, bought a few puzzles that my family and I worked together on to pass time. The thing is that the activity, at least for me, was sheer torture! Although I can understand it is enjoyable for some, I decided I hate puzzles.

Either way, and regardless of the day and its corresponding label, I think 2021 should be focused on being kind to one another. Not to sound cliché, but now more than ever, it’s important everyone at least give it a whirl despite general differences of opinion. Just think of all the things people never imagined having to endure, like the sudden and heartbreaking loss of friends, co-workers, loved ones; and just hearing so much about death on a daily basis. And that’s not to mention dealing with things like unemployment, homelessness, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, depression, financial strain, weight gain, addiction, and who knows what else. The battles of 2020 were unprecedented and are ongoing, so you may never know when a kind word or gesture will make all the difference to someone’s mental state. One kind word has been known to inspire a smile, bring hope, or simply make someone feel better. Based on that, my plan is reminiscent of that 1993 Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day,” in that I plan on making every single day of 2021 my own personal Jan. 24. I will speak at least one sincere compliment or kind word to someone from day one and at least 364 more times in hopes of making even the tiniest bit of difference. I invite everyone to join me in doing the same and honestly, I wouldn’t mind a compliment or kind word or two myself here and there.

Hey, readers! Is there a particular subject that you would like me to write a commentary about? Tell me, via email, at roxanne@akersmediagroup.com.

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Profile for Akers Media Group

STYLE Magazine, Village Edition, January 2021  

Lake and Sumter Counties' Premier Life+Style magazine brings you all the happenings in the number-one-ranked active-adult retirement communi...

STYLE Magazine, Village Edition, January 2021  

Lake and Sumter Counties' Premier Life+Style magazine brings you all the happenings in the number-one-ranked active-adult retirement communi...