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Merry Christmas!

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20| HOME FEATURE 1: Cindy McCord of Cindy McCord Interior Design takes us

into her home that exudes classic Christmas all throughout.

32| HOME FEATURE 2: Local floral phenomenon John Mark Sharpe tells a

Christmas story through his decor in this East Memphis home. 8 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

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20 home feature 1 Classically Christmas 72 entertaining Holiday Dessert Swap TRAVEL + CULTURE 32 home feature 2 A Happy Holiday Story 80 dining out Moondance 46 travel La Dolce Vita in Tuscany 40 in the garden Paperwhites 56 experience this Come Home to Collierville 84 in the kitchen Brown Sugar Candied Pecans 62 social Mid South Happenings 68 wedding Mazanti/Martin IN EVERY ISSUE FOR YOU 14 publisher's note 89 sources 10 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

16 healthy you Ring in 2020 Anew 90 on a good note 100 Women Who Care

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At Home Memphis & Mid South doesn't accept unsolicited manuscripts. To inquire about freelance opportunities, send a letter, resume and three writing samples to—Editor, At Home Memphis & Mid South: 320 South Walnut Bend, Suite 11, Cordova, TN 38018.

SUBSCRIPTIONS Call 901.684.4155 or subscribe at athomemms. com. Annual subscription rate: $19.95. Single copy price: $4.99. At Home Memphis & Mid South is published 12 times a year. Postmaster: Send address changes to At Home Memphis & Mid South, 320 South Walnut Bend, Suite 11, Cordova, TN 38018. We make every effort to correct factual mistakes or omissions in a timely and candid manner. Information can be forwarded to Trip Monger; At Home Memphis & Mid South, 320 South Walnut Bend, Suite 11, Cordova, TN 38018 or to


12 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

December 2019 • | 13

P U B L I S H E R ’S NOTE What a year this has been! I can’t believe we have put to bed our final issue of 2019 and the next one will be 2020! Another year of beautiful homes is literally in the books and while you all are busy decking the halls, we just photographed our February home two days ago!

I have to admit I am struggling a bit with my letter to you this month. I absolutely love this issue but the truth is, this is the latest I have ever waited to put up the Christmas decorations at my house, so I am just not there yet. Decorating our tree is something I love to do and it officially jumpstarts my Christmas spirit. Unlike the beautiful trees in some of our holiday features over the years, our family tree is not professionally decorated. It doesn’t even have the beautiful Radko ornaments and designer ribbon. Our family Christmas tree is covered in much more precious ornaments, some that our children made by hand and others that we’ve acquired along the years. They may not be as visually beautiful, but they represent priceless memories.

Some friends gave us an ornament shower before we were married and although I can’t remember what I did five minutes ago, I still remember who gave us each ornament at that party when I unwrap it. I might not think of some of these people all year long and some I have even lost touch with, but once a year when I hang that ornament I think of them and it makes me smile. The handmade ones from my children bring back memories that no amount of money can buy. On every vacation we have taken, our children have picked out an ornament. There is the giant panda from the St. Louis Zoo, Tinkerbell from the Magic Kingdom, the pair of skiers from Park City, and Harry Potter, to name a few. When I place them on the tree I am immediately taken back to that spot with them and can feel the joy of that moment. Decorating our tree is my time and I love every minute of it.

I hope 2019 has been good to you and yours, and I wish you all the best in 2020. May this holiday season bring you abundant joy and memories much like the ones I feel when I decorate our tree. Season’s Blessings to you all!

Margaret Monger, Publisher

Photo by Steve Roberts 14 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

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healthy you

Ring In 2020 Anew!

Story: Michelle Johns

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” —C.S. Lewis ’Tis the season when all is merry and bright. ’Tis the season of time with family and friends celebrating life. ’Tis the season to prepare for the year ahead. Regardless of what 2019 held for you, celebrate! Celebrate the successes, celebrate the challenges; for in all things, there is growth. Celebrate and look forward to the new year.  What are you planning for 2020? Will you eat better, exercise more, start a new hobby, grow spiritually, learn something new, elevate your career? To manifest your intentions for 2020, you’ll have to spend some time thinking about what you want to change. What’s stopping you?

“Things don’t change: We change.” —Henry David Thoreau One of my favorite song titles is U2’s “Get Out of Your Own Way.” We can make a list a mile long of reasons for and against changing. We can find roadblocks and blame circumstances outside our control for every reason we find in favor of change. Research shows that people who weigh the pros and cons of change equally are less likely to take immediate action. In other words, if you don’t see more of a reason to change than not to, you likely won’t take the necessary steps to change. If you’re planning to make changes in January of 2020, you must be intentional and prepared. People who prepare are likely to make changes within the next month.

“It is the truth we ourselves speak, rather than the treatment we receive, that heals us.” —O. Hobart Mowrer

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healthy you The story you tell yourself is the story that will be written. If you tell yourself every day in December that on Jan. 2 you will change your life, and you have a plan for making that change, you will likely do it. If you tell yourself you will make the change and you have no plan, you probably won’t. It is said, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change.” In order to make change, you will have to see that the pros outweigh the cons. You can hire professional trainers, counselors, educators, mentors, life coaches and even add in a bit of prayer, but until you decide to make a change, it won’t happen. Self-talk evokes motivation.

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are headed.” —Lao Tzu You are the best expert on you! Although making change is up to you—no one else can make change for you— having a skilled professional guide you along the way can be extremely helpful. You still have to do the work, and making changes is work. So, what’s it gonna be? 

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” —William James If you’re serious about starting 2020 with a new version of you, here’s a surefire method to help get you on your way: Start a wellness journal. You don’t have to buy a fancy new book; in fact, my best work has been done in a spiral notebook. On page one, write this heading:

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spotlight healthy you

2020 Transforming Wellness Goals Whole wellness encompasses a balanced quality of life in physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual health. Under the heading, answer the following questions for each category: • Physical Wellness: What is the condition of my physical body? Exercise, nutrition, weight, drugs (prescription and non), alcohol, smoking and self-care impact the physical body. • Emotional Wellness: Encompasses self-awareness and self-regulation. How am I dealing with common emotions including joy, fear, sadness, anger and happiness. • Social Wellness: What is the condition of my relationships with others such as family, friends and coworkers? • Intellectual Health: The condition of the brain and cognitive abilities. Do I maintain and enhance intellectual health through career, hobbies, learning new things, practicing memorization or sharpening mindfulness skills? • Spiritual Health: Do I have an awareness of the meaning of life? Examples of spiritual health include a belief in life beyond the physical life, and a desire to serve outside of one’s self. For each category note what, if anything, you need to change, and answer the following questions: • Why does a change need to take place? For example, you might have been told to make a change by your physician recently. • What are three to five reasons for making the change? Write them down. • On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most important, how important is it for you to make the change? • How will you make the change? Think in terms of resources and time. What will you need? Who will guide you? How much time will you need to devote each day, week or month? For example, if you need to exercise, you many need to plan for 30 minutes, three days a week. • Will you make the change? If so, write it down and speak it out loud to someone you know will support you. For example, if you will need to go to a gym to work out three days a week, go ahead and set up the membership with your start date. Put a reminder on your calendar to remind you of your start date. Think about your start date with enthusiasm and curiosity. I’d love to hear from you and about your 2020 goals and intentions! Please take a moment to email me, introduce yourself and share your 2020 intentions with me at It is genuinely a joy for me to get to share information with you each month via this article. May the Lord bless you, make His face to shine on you, be gracious to you, and give you peace! Merry, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Michelle Johns is a corporate onsite health promotion specialist, integrative health and wellness educator, yoga teacher, food literacy educator and a green smoothie connoisseur. She graduated from the University of Memphis with a B.S. in psychology, is a certified health coach from the Institute of Integrated Nutrition and an RYT 200 yoga teacher. Her approach to well being and living your best life every day focuses on the foundations of self-awareness, self-care and self-discovery through whole mind, body and spirit nutrition. Johns educates clients through a journey focused on the way the whole self is nourished through food, career, relationships, exercise and spirituality. Her ultimate goal is to help clients discover not only how to live longer, but to live better by honoring the unique individual with compassion and self-love as they were created.

Photos: Courtesy of Blake Dubinski and GenTeal Apparel

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Classically Christmas Story: Terri Glazer | Photography: Ross Group Creative

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home feature

“Less is moreâ€? are words interior designer Cindy McCord takes to heart in her work. That mantra is evident in her own home year round, and particularly when it comes to decking the halls for the holidays. December 2019 • | 21

home feature

The French chateau-style residence McCord shares with her family exudes a classic Christmas feel from the mailbox out front, all the way to the back porch, and everywhere in between. That doesn’t mean every square inch of the Collierville property is covered in decorations, however. In fact, McCord achieves an understated, yet festive ambiance using just the right amount of carefully collected and placed pieces. Although she makes minor changes from year to year, McCord keeps basically the same elements in her front yard design: greenery, red ribbons and clear lights. The three classic Christmas standards combine to create a striking effect, especially around the entryway, where fresh garland wound with white twinkle lights frames the double front doors, dressed up with traditional green wreaths accented with red bows.   Once inside the home, the holiday trimmings blend seamlessly with McCord’s updated traditional decor. In the foyer, festive tabletop trees made of brass jingle bells accent a marble-top table. A wreath with a gold ribbon bow hangs from the oversized mirror, while eye-catching gold and white wallpaper sets a stunning backdrop. 22 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

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In the family room, soft neutrals in shades of beige, gold and straw are punched up with color by way of artwork and lush green velvet pillows, but for December, stunning red poinsettias in a generous basket on the coffee table provide holiday flair. Cute wooden reindeer and bowls of pine cones add a rustic element. The family’s Christmas tree, yes, there is but one tree in this classically designed holiday decor, is filled with adornments McCord holds near and dear. “All my collection of Christopher Radko ornaments, and there are some on there that friends have given me and others that are special. They’re basically all old or special to me and my family,” she says. Lavish velvet ribbon and gold leaf accents provide rich warmth to the tree.

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home feature Five matching stockings, one for each of the three McCord children, as well as for Mom and Dad, grace the mantel over the family room fireplace, accented by more greenery and pops of gold. Dignified crown holders keep the stockings ready for Santa’s arrival, while gold magnolia leaves interspersed with the evergreen garland atop the mantel give the decorations a distinct Southern accent.

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home feature In the adjacent dining room, the table is set for a Christmas feast. McCord’s beautiful Royal Worcester Holly Ribbons China takes place of pride. The sprouted paperwhite bulbs that grace each place setting are a reminder of the new life that Christmas represents. Metallic ribbon and evergreens make a reprise in the centerpiece, along with floating candles in tall, gold-accented glass holders. Overhead, clear and gold glass ornaments in an array of sizes hang from the chandelier, suspended by cream satin ribbons. Although McCord says she’s usually a stickler about putting holiday decor away just after Christmas, she admits that the whimsical balls hang in the dining room until New Year’s. “I love to leave things like that up a little way through January because they’re just happy and festive,” she says.  

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McCord admits that she’s always happy to see the large nativity scene when her decorations go up every year just after Thanksgiving. The large set, ornately carved and finished in shades of white, has been in the family for years. Its placement on the dining room buffet signals the start of the Christmas season in the house. 26 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

home feature

“Less is more” is exactly who I am. I don’t think it takes too much decoration to make a home. I think it just needs to be warm. — Cindy McCord

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Another favorite piece brings holiday cheer to the home’s back porch, an area often neglected when it comes to seasonal decorating, McCord says she pays special attention to dressing up her home’s cozy outdoor room, and a nine-foot-tall, fully lit grapevine tree is the star of the show. “We’re out there all the time, even in the winter,” she explains. “We build a big fire in the fireplace.” She admits that the grapevine tree is the one holiday decoration she puts up earlier than Thanksgiving and leaves in place, sometimes through February. “If it snows, it’s breathtaking. I leave it on all the time.” Even if the weather outside were to turn too frightful for the family to sit on the porch, they’d still enjoy it. McCord says, “It’s part of our house; we see it from every single room. The house is built in kind of a U shape, and every room looks out on that porch. So even if we can’t get out there, we see it and we love it!” McCord credits the understated, traditional elegance of her Christmas decor to her love of simplicity. “I’m pretty simple. I don’t like a lot of decoration at Christmas, I just like basics.” Her sincere approach to holiday decorating produces a look that embraces the spirit of the season, using the perfect combination of timehonored and much-loved pieces in just the right places.

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Dining Room (top Frida print): @jesi.lee 30 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

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home feature

A Happy

Story: Terri Glazer | Photography: Anna Haley 32 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

home feature

Holiday Story Just like the chapters of a well-written book, the holiday decor in each room of this East Memphis home tells a different part of the story. Created by local floral phenom John Mark Sharpe, the home’s holiday design plan is cohesive, yet varied. “Each room in this house stands alone, has its own theme, but I put traces of each room throughout the whole house so it follows through,” he explains. Whimsical to wintery to elegant, all the themes of a great Christmas story appear in the River Oaks residence. From the front door in, a festive mood rules, and just as the feel changes from room to room, it also evolves from year to year. The homeowners turn to Sharpe and his team from John Mark Enterprises to create their holiday decor. “I never do anything the same,” Sharpe says. “Each year we can use the same materials, but I always make it different in some way so it’s not the same old thing.” Because these homeowners like to write a new book every year with a drastic change in their holiday decorating scheme, Sharpe gets to come up with different looks annually. “These are really great clients. They fully trust me: they give me free rein and they’re good with anything I do. They give me the keys to their house for the day and my team and I come in and transform it top to bottom. When they get home that night they’re surprised.” December 2019 • | 33

home feature And thrilled, no doubt, even before they walk in the door. Like a novel that draws the reader in from page one, the home’s front entry is spectacular. As the prologue, Sharp adorned the front entry of the neutral stucco residence in whimsical style. “I feel like if your house is farther away from the street, you need something with bright color or pop—something to help it be seen,” he explains. Deep reds and bright greens team with white to welcome guests to the home. “Any time you throw in white with red and green it creates whimsy and it gives it a wintery feel at the same time,” says Sharpe.

Woven in with the playful reds and greens is a bit of metallic gold, a foreshadowing of what’s to come inside the home. In the elegant foyer, the mood is decidedly dressy. From the soaring ceiling to the ornate iron railing to the stunning diamond-patterned marble and hardwood floors, elegance reigns, and Sharpe reflects that formality in the Christmas embellishments. The tree is dripping with ornaments in lush jewel tones and gold leaf, and the garland on the grand staircase reprises the sumptuous look. 34 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

home feature

In the elegant living room, a generous rectangular space, conversation areas occupy both ends. Here the focal point is the grand marble fireplace and mantel, decked out in equally grand style for the season. Sharpe created a winter wonderland feel with icy silvers and golds in the pair of topiaries and showstopping garland on the mantel as well as the room’s tall, slender tree, resplendent with ribbons and frosty garnishes. An oversized cased opening, also dressed up with luxurious garland, leads to a solarium, where a grand piano sits ready to produce the sounds of the season.

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home feature

The home’s handsome dining room is the epitome of stately year-round, and the understated look it takes on for the holidays fits it perfectly. The decor focuses on natural elements. Wooden lanterns and magnolia leaves, accented with glittery fronds, grace the center of the dining table, while golden wheat stalks in arrangements on a pair of half-moon chests flanking the room’s massive window pick up warm tones in the artwork hanging above.

Whimsy makes a comeback in the kitchen, and in a big way. The homeowners’ grandchildren, and anyone, for that matter, should know they’d better behave—Santa’s helpers are watching! Playful elves peek out from traditional red and green arrangements on the ceiling light fixtures and from the top of the Christmas tree in the adjacent keeping area. Jumbo peppermint discs suspended from the ceiling complete the magic in the large, European-style kitchen, the most ideal setting for Christmas cookie making—or munching.   Sharpe says he had a blast creating the kitchen’s holiday look. “Sometimes we love to go kind of off the wall. It’s Christmas so you can have fun in certain areas. I think the kitchen is always an area where you can have fun and it doesn’t have to be so matchy-matchy [with the room’s year-round decor].” 4.

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home feature

In every good book, the same theme runs from cover to cover. This home’s holiday decor a Brent Heath in Cordova with Naturalized Jonquilla story with the time-honored theme of warm and happy holiday wishes to family and December 2019 • | 37 friends of all ages.


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Story and Photos: Roger Dale Skaggs, ASLA, Director of Horticulture, Dixon Gallery and Gardens

For the last 20 years at the Dixon we have grown and sold paperwhites for the holidays. It is amazing to have these plants blooming on the shortest day of the year. The paperwhite is the December birth flower and symbolizes good wishes, faithfulness and respect. Paperwhites provide beauty on holiday tables and in centerpieces with their white, fragrant flowers. These plants are started from bulbs that are actually a type of daffodil, and share the same first part of a scientific name: Narcissus. They belong to a group called tazetta that is a subset recognized as one of the 13 divisions of daffodils. Most of the plants sold today are hybrids. The cultivars ‘Ziva’, ‘Ariel’, ‘Inbal’, ‘Galilee’ and ‘Jerusalem’ are all pure white, while the ‘Grande Soleil d’ Or’, ‘Israel’ and ‘Nazareth’ cultivars have some yellow. Tazetta type daffodils have naturalized and grow freely in the warmer parts of many countries. Narcissus papyraceus is one of the parents, originally native to the Mediterranean region from Portugal to Turkey. These tazettas are also grown commercially in southern France for their essential oil. It is no surprise that the paperwhite is one of the world’s most popular indoor flower bulbs. The white flowers and heady fragrance are certainly part of its appeal, as is another trait you cannot see. The bulbs don’t require the chilling period that most of the other 12 groups of daffodils do. This process of exposing the bulbs to cool temperatures to initiate flowers is called vernalization. It varies by bulb type but usually means exposing bulbs to 40˚ for around 15 weeks. 40 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

in the garden

The fact that tazettas don’t need this vernalization period makes the process of forcing the flower blooms indoors much easier. The lack of chilling requirements also makes them a popular outdoor flowering bulb in warmer USDA hardiness plant zones 9-11, like the Gulf coast and southern Texas, where most other spring flowering bulbs won’t work due to the lack of vernalizing temperatures. This trait alone is really what makes them an easy-to- grow holiday flower. Paperwhites can be forced in gravel, water or soil in various containers. Glass containers and water culture give the added benefit of watching the roots develop. If growing in water, avoid the cultivars ‘Inbal’ and ‘Ariel’; they perform best when planted in soil. Growing in pebbles is also easy since the gravel anchors the roots while the water fills in all the spaces between the gravel in a pot without drain holes. You don’t need to be a horticultural genius to flower paperwhites; just look at the calendar and plant them about six weeks before you want them to flower. Give them plenty of sunlight and water in a 60˚-70˚ environment and you’ll be right on time. Plant four to five bulbs in a container for the best effect, add a holiday bow and you’ll have a great gift. I really enjoy watching paperwhites grow and develop, so if I’m purchasing plants, I like them rooted and with the buds rising instead of being in full flower. One of the biggest problems I find with cultivating paperwhites is their tendency to stretch and become leggy. This is often a problem when they are grown indoors where the sunlight is decreased, and they reach for the light. Moderate stretching can be remedied with a few tree branches cut from the yard to stake them and ribbon or raffia tied in an attractive way. American sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) with its winged, corky bark creates a rustic look, and redtwig dogwood (Cornus sericea) offers bold, red stems for the holidays.

Story: Emily Steen | Photos: Courtesy of Visit Corinth December 2019 • | 41

in the garden

Another way to keep them compact that is backed by scientific research is to add ethanol to the water. The effect is to stunt their growth by lessening water uptake in the stems. Since this a holiday plant, there is generally an ample supply of alcohol for festivities to share with your flowers. If you’re a little uptight and find that your paperwhites are getting too tall, relax, have a drink and share a little booze with your flowers. It might be just what you both need. Adding just a little alcohol to the water you use with the bulbs will cause the flowers to have much shorter, sturdier stems while blooming at the same time with the same size and fragrance as non-treated plants. This trick was discovered by bulb researcher William Miller of Cornell University, who found that, to a point, the higher the alcohol concentration, the shorter the plants will grow. He recommends using only about five percent alcohol to water. This means adding one part isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to ten parts water, or one part clear “hard liquor” (typically 40% distilled spirits) such as gin or vodka to seven parts water. Too much alcohol can kill the bulbs, so stick with these ratios. Start the bulbs out with plain water until roots appear, then pour that off and begin using the alcohol/water mix. Most folks toss their paperwhites after the holidays, but if you are like me, and you hate to ever throw out plants, give them a try in your garden. We are at the cusp of where you can plant them outdoors. They can take a light frost, but sometimes, depending on the weather, bloom too early and get hit by a freeze. When planted outdoors it might take a full growing season for the flower bulbs to be back on their regular blooming schedule.

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in the garden

Glowing Embers Japanese Maple

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in the garden

Civil War Relief Sculpture 44 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

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Text by: Glenda Owen Photographs Courtesy of: Regency Travel, Inc. 


46 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019


Interest in the Tuscan region of Italy extends beyond its cities to the charming villages and beautiful countryside. The varied landscapes of Tuscany present mountains, hills, inland basins, valleys and coastal plains with stretches of woodland and numerous streams and rivers that run down the Apennines into the Mediterranean. It is a lovely region with abundant vegetation from coniferous forests in the mountains to the olive groves, vineyards and verdant pastures in the rolling valleys.   Italians are known for their generous spirit and extraordinary quality of life. There is no better way to experience “La Dolce Vita” than in the smaller, offthe-beaten-path towns, where warmth and hospitality are a given. Exceptional cuisine is a trademark of the Italian lifestyle; the fruits of the land are as diverse as the landscapes. Italy is famous for both food and wine, and no region of the country offers better examples of both than Tuscany.  

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Carrara In the northern region of Tuscany lies Carrara, home of Michelangelo’s marble. Running parallel to the Tyrrhenian coastline with sharp limestone peaks, the Apuan Alps are known for high-quality marble. Carrara lies in the foothills of these mountains; it is the most important center in the world for the production and shipment of marble. Famous Renaissance artists used this stone to create some of the finest sculptures and architecture. Tour a marble quarry and visit the Civic Museum of Marble which tells the story of this valuable mineral—its history can be traced from the Romans to contemporary sculpture. The museum includes an exhibition displaying tools and machinery that documents quarrying techniques. While in the area, stop and sample the local specialty, flavorful bacon prepared and aged in shells of marble!

San Gimignano San Gimignano, with its walls and 15 towers, represents the pinnacle of ancient commercial wealth. One of the best-known villages of Tuscany, it sits high on a hill. The town presents itself beautifully; in 1990, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 48 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019



To appreciate the view from the village, walk along the old Via Francigena passing under the arch of the ancient gateway of San Giovanni. On the Piazza del Duomo visit the collegiate church of Santa Maria, which was built in the 12th century and is Romanesque in style. Within this complex, see the cloister of San Giovanni, the chapel of Santa Fina, and frescoes by the Florentine artist Domenico Ghirlandaio. From behind the church, at the fortress of Montestaffoli, the forest of towers can be seen as they emerge from the red roofs of the village—an impression that few other places in the world can offer! Monteriggioni, south of Siena, is a symbol of military power. Dante Alighieri described the town in his Divine Comedy: “In the round circlet Monteriggioni crowns herself with towers.” Before departing, try the region’s traditional fare, spelt soup, a medieval broth made with saffron and the classic Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine.

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Silver Dollar

Next, explore Cortona, which overlooks the Valdichiana Plain and the sparkling Lake Trasimeno, near the site of the epic battle between the armies of Hannibal and the Romans. Set in a landscape of olive trees, vineyards and graceful cypresses, the picturesque locale makes Cortona a quintessential Tuscan hilltop town. Early Etruscan settlers left burial mounds scattered over the plains. Although the graves have long been plundered of their precious artifacts, some items are now in local museums. In the 18th century the Etruscan Academy in the Palazzo Casali was formed with an archival library to provide a research and conservation center for the Cortona treasures. The Ruga Piana, or Via Nazionale, is Cortona’s main road. Around the hill stand the Hermitage delle Celle, the Abbey of Farneta and several medieval churches. Many historical landmarks in Cortona have been converted into lovely hotels where one can savor the charm of this delightful area. The town frequently hosts expositions including the National Market Exhibition of Antique Furniture every September and the National Copperwork Fair annually from August to April.

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Dominated by a citadel that stands guard over its medieval center, Montepulciano sits perched on a rock cliff. The town is a treasure trove of 16th-century Tuscan architecture, more Florentine than Florence itself, some say! The Piazza Grande is the heart of Montepulciano and the town is laid out according to the contour of the hill, with steep, winding streets alongside imposing palazzos. Outside the town walls, the church of San Biagio (dating to 1515) is considered the masterpiece of architect Antonio da Sangallo the Elder. Lovely hotels full of Tuscan features and ambiance can be found throughout the area. Be sure to try the famous pappa al pomodoro (tomato soup), and Brunello, a legendary wine aged in oak and chestnut barrels. On the way to Pienza, stop at the Cugusi for a sampling of sharp pecorino cheese.  

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Enea Silvio Piccolomini (also known as Pope Pius II) was born in a castle in a rural village located on a hill in the Val d’ Orcia, then called Corsignano. When he came to power, he ordered all the buildings torn down and rebuilt to accommodate his court! The “new” town of Pienza was accomplished in three years and three months. The piazza which bears the name of Pope Pius II is home to the 15th-century Palazzo Piccolomini, now the Diocesan Museum, which holds an impressive collection of paintings, tapestries, sacred objects and wooden sculptures. The square —though really trapezoid-shaped— is paved with Tuscan Cotto (terra cotta) tiles and surrounded by significant buildings of the period. Two historical buildings now host travelers. A night or two in a 15th-century convent converted into a hotel or a 17th-century farmhouse full of antiques would make for a delightful stay in Pienza.

Volterra Proceed to Volterra, the city of alabaster and a charming medieval hill town with traces of Etruscan history. The central Palazzo dei Priori has medieval frescoes and a bell tower with expansive views of the countryside. The cathedral was originally built in the Romanesque style but was later refurbished and enlarged, and so possesses a late-Renaissance style. It has a marble entrance, a gilded, coffered ceiling and many noteworthy sites within, particularly the masterful Deposition, a Romanesque carved-wood sculpture dating to 1228 and one of the oldest in the world. 52 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

travel Nearby are the remains of the Etruscan Acropolis. The Guarnacci Etrurian Museum has a collection of archaeological artifacts and the Roman theater complex includes the ruins of third-century baths. This charming town also boasts a convent that has been converted into a delightful hotel as well as a lovely villa dating to the 17th century which has views of the hills and sea. Numerous eateries offer the traditional sweets of Volterra, cantuccini, anise and almond biscuits which are best enjoyed dunked in coffee or sweet wine. Since Etruscan times, Volterra has been a center for artists working in alabaster. Visit local workshops and see the artisans making their creations. Select a piece of alabaster to remember this lovely hill town.         Although the larger towns and cities of Tuscany offer art museums, cathedrals, restaurants and shops, the charming small villages and exquisite countryside highlight just how much the region has to explore and enjoy. It would take a lifetime to truly discover Italy!

For more information on a vacation in Tuscany, call the travel advisors at Regency Travel, Inc., at 901.682.9065 or visit December 2019 • | 53


Spirit of Detroit Statue 54 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

Celtic Cross December 2019 • | 55

experience this

Come Home to Collierville

Story: Terri Glazer | Photos: Courtesy of Collierville Contemporary Club

No matter where you come from, you can come home to Collierville for the holidays! The annual Christmas in Collierville Home Tour is sure to bring on that warm, fuzzy feeling that only happens this time of year. Set for Sat., Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event is sponsored by the Collierville Contemporary Club, a women’s community service organization dedicated to supporting charitable and civic causes in and around the town. Proceeds benefit a variety of local nonprofits.

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experience this

The tour will showcase four Collierville homes, both new and historic, dressed to the nines for the season, indoors and out. From rustic to modern, traditional to whimsical, the decor will delight and inspire. Included in this 11th annual edition of the event are the homes of Wendy and Larry Boyd, Carol and Ken Klein, Sheila and Mark Moody, and Megan and Brandon Toms. A free shuttle to homes on tour day will offer pick-up and drop-off from Tom Brooks Park, just off the Collierville Town Square at Walnut Street. Parking is available at Tom Brooks Park and the Collierville Schools Central Office, located at 146 College St., just off Poplar Avenue. Parking will not be available at the homesites during the tour. December 2019 • | 57

experience this travel

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experiencetravel this Saturday, December 14, 10am-4pm. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the tour. They are available from any Contemporary Club member and at the following Collierville and Mid South locations:

Other Collierville Locations • Collierville Chamber of Commerce, 485 Halle Park Dr. • D'llands Hair Salon, 1016 W. Poplar

On the Collierville Square

• Headlines, 940 Collierville Arlington Rd.

• Bazaar, 88 N. Main St.

• Mane Street Salon, 175 N. Main St.

• Bible Museum on the Square, 140 E. Mulberry St.

• Past & Presents Collective Boutique, 307 W. Poplar

• Highlander, 78 N. Main St.

• Sheffield Antique Mall, 684 W. Poplar

• Patricia’s, 124 E. Mulberry St.

Other Area Locations

• Square Beans Coffee, 103 N. Center St.

• Debbie's Hallmark, 9155 Poplar, Germantown

• The Brooks Collection, 110 E. Mulberry St.

• Novel, 387 Perkins Extended, Memphis

• The Silver Caboose Restaurant, 124 E. Mulberry St.

• Online at event/4399735

The event is not recommended for children under 12 years of age. For more information visit, email, or find the club on Facebook, @colliervillecontemporaryclub.

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30th Annual Charity Gala in Jackson, Tennessee Text and Photos: Courtesy of Jim Norton

Nov. 8 and 9 marked the 30th annual Charity Gala in Jackson, TN, benefiting Ayers Children’s Medical Center and Kirkland Cancer Center. Friday night, Jim Norton and Robert Walden hosted the annual Patrons Party in their historic home, Oakmont Estate, for over 300 guests. The following evening, 700 guests gathered at the Carl Perkins Civic Center, which had been transformed into a massive circus-themed gala! Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception and seated dinner, and danced the night away to the music of a live band. Jim Norton, the gala chair, says the weekend raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to benefit the two worthy charities. 62 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

social Gelato

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Women’s Foundation

for a Greater Memphis Power of the Purse Auction Text: Courtesy of Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis Photography: Andrea Zucker

The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis recently held its Power of the Purse Auction at the Children’s Museum of Memphis. The evening featured designer purses, shoes, jewelry, entertainment and vacation packages generously donated by local and national businesses. This year was the most successful auction yet, raising more than $57,000. All proceeds from the event will enable WFGM to award grants in ZIP Code 38126, one of the poorest areas in the city of Memphis. 

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social Mykonos Mission Windmill Church

Buff City Soap Collierville Franchise Opening Text: Katie Mattix Photos: Courtesy of Camille Vollmer and Katie Mattix

Rudy Herzke and Kevin Herzke opened Buff City Soap Collierville, their second Buff City Soap franchise, on Nov. 9. A line of almost 3040 people waited for an hour in 35˚ weather for the doors to open at 10 a.m. The first 15 customers received free soap for a year! Says Rudy Herzke, “The grand opening was very successful and we could not be prouder of our team for handling this very busy day with such grace.” 

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social social wedding getaway

Danielle Martin Alex Mazanti September 16, 2018 Memphis, Tennessee Parents of the Bride: Michelle Unsell, Karen & Bill Martin Forsyth Fountain Parents of the Groom: Angela & Mark Mazanti 68 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

getaway wedding social social


Rehearsal Dinner: Napa Cafe Wedding: Annesdale Mansion Reception: Annesdale Mansion Florist: Angela Mazanti with Everbloom Designs & Chad Conley Event Planner: Angela Mazanti Event Design Photographer: Elsy Photography Videographer: Sammi Sue Studios Wedding Rings: Walsons & Co. Hair: Hair by Whit Makeup: Natasha Ransfer Entertainment: The Memphis Allstars Caterer: Wade & Company Baker: The Flour Garden Invitations: Bella Figura with Mrs. Post Wedding Dress: Low's Bridal Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids Rentals: White Door Events

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holiday dessert swap STO R Y & EV EN T DE SI G N : G I N N I J O N E S

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Every year I plan on hosting a fun holiday shindig for my friends. Also every year, the holiday season creeps up, and before I know it, it’s already the new year! This year I promised myself I would plan ahead so I could enjoy the holidays with my friends before everyone parted ways to spend time with their families.

This busy and exciting season is packed full of Secret Santa swaps, holiday luncheons and happy hours, and even Christmas parties where you get to dress to the nines. I wanted to do something a little different that would allow my friends to be part of the party preparation, so I settled on a Holiday Dessert Swap.

Set the stage.

As with any party, I turned to the ladies at Social in East Memphis to help me set the table. From the stunning shop’s numerous lines of beautiful holiday dinnerware, I had my eyes set on some holly wreath adorned Relish melamine plates and bowls the second I walked in. Placed on top of bright green La Gallina waxed linen placemats set with gold flatware and Busatti striped Italian fringed napkins, they couldn’t be more festive. Social saved the day once again. To top the table off, I called the wonderful Elizabeth Harville of EHBlooms. Since she started in 2016 with a flower subscription service, Harville’s dream has blossomed into special orders, event and wedding design. For the table, she created the most gorgeous garland and arrangement. She brought bright eucalyptus, wintergreens and hellebores together and tied them with a handmade string of cranberries. Scattered throughout the garland were fresh pomegranates, figs and more cranberries. For the arrangement, Harville used magnolia branches, eucalyptus and winter greens, with pops of white tulips, hellebores and paperwhites.

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Now let’s talk dessert.

This year on the dessert menu were: Mimi’s Martha Washington candies, a Hazelnut S’mores Tart, Pecan Pie Snowflake Cookies, Mini Gingerbread Men, Bite-Sized Caramel Swirl Cheesecakes, a Red Velvet Cake, beautiful hand-painted watercolor cookies and a Buche de Noel. Some of my friends are talented bakers, like Caroline Hughes, who in her free time paints the sweetest themed cookies for parties all over the South. And some of my friends are excellent cooks, who know their level of baking skills and visited Frost BakeShop fordesserts like the mini caramel cheesecakes and the red velvet cake.

Mimi’s Martha Washington Candies

Recipe by Elizabeth Dallas 2 boxes confectioners sugar 1 stick salted butter 1 tsp. vanilla 1 qt. nuts or coconut (whichever you prefer) 1 12-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips ¾ box paraffin wax Mix well the first 5 ingredients. Roll into small balls, stick a toothpick in each, and then chill overnight or several hours. Melt chocolate chips and wax over boiling water, then dip balls in chocolate and allow to cool. We crushed candy canes and sprinkled them on top of each ball, but you could also melt peanut butter and drizzle it on top. Store in refrigerator.

Hazelnut S’mores Tart

Adapted from Kitchen Konfidence For the crust: 1 cup skinless hazelnuts, toasted and chopped 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar ¾ tsp. fine grain sea salt ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes 3 Tbsp. ice water recipe continues on next page



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For the filling: 1 cup heavy cream ½ cup milk 10 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped 2 Tbsp. sugar ¼ tsp. salt 2 large eggs, at room temperature 1 bag of marshmallows (regular size) Instructions For the crust: Place hazelnuts, flour, sugar, butter and sea salt into a food processor and pulse until the texture resembles a coarse meal. Add water and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Transfer the dough to an ungreased 4 x 14 tart pan, pressing the dough evenly into the sides and bottom of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes (or up to 1 day). Preheat an oven to 350°F and bake until the crust is lightly golden (20-25 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. For the filling: Heat the heavy cream and milk in a pot over medium-low heat until it simmers slightly around the edges. Remove from heat; add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smoothed out. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until well incorporated. Beat the eggs in a small bowl until blended and add them to the chocolate mixture; stir until completely blended. Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell and bake at 325˚F for 30 to 35 minutes until the filling is set and the surface is glossy. If you see any bubbles or cracks forming on the surface, take the tart out right away; that means it is beginning to become overbaked. Cool. Just before serving, top the tart with marshmallow halves (Place the cut side down and the rounded side up). You should be able to fit 9 or 10 rows of 3. Place the tart under a hot, preheated broiler just until the marshmallows turn golden brown. Keep an eye on this as the marshmallows can burn quickly. December 2019 • | 79

dining out

Moondance Grill

Story: Lesley Harris Colvett | Photography: Jay Adkins

“Moondance” is the title of a popular Van Morrison song from 1970, and now it is the name of one of the Mid South’s newest and yummiest restaurants. Moondance Grill opened Sept. 12 at Thornwood in Germantown, to a warm welcome from the community. Owned and operated by Tommy Peters, president of Beale Street Blues Company, and his wife, Liz, managing director and director of digital marketing for Beale Street, Moondance has been a fun project for the couple. Liz describes it as a “local concept...upscale yet casual, with great food, wine, cocktails and service. Forsyth Fountain 80 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

The Peterses have opened eight new restaurants in the past six years and operate a total of 12, including B.B. King’s Blues Club and Itta Bena on Beale Street, Lafayette’s Music Room in Midtown Memphis, Lucille’s Eatery in Montgomery, AL, and B.B. King’s Blues Club in Nashville. “Moondance is a little bit of ‘this and that’ from our other restaurants, Itta Bena and Lafayette’s, as well as restaurants we have eaten at when traveling. Tommy and I found menu items and dishes we thought our customers would enjoy when we traveled, and Oscar Pena, Beale Street corporate chef, re-created them for the Moondance menu. For example, the shaved brussels sprout salad and the chicken wrap came from a club that we belong to in Florida,” Liz says.  Other popular menu items at Moondance include the lamb lollipops, lobster roll, lemon caper chicken, sand dab, sea bass and steaks. Liz describes the restaurant’s decor, which features warm tones of copper, teal and rustic wood, as intimate, traditional and comfortable. She worked closely with her husband, as well as Lon McDermon and Deb Ross, to design and lay out the floor plan. “We made changes as we went along with everyone contributing to the design and decor. It was fun to see the whole thing come together,” she says. To complement the warm, yet rustic theme, McDermon found a unique piece of weathered cottonwood and used it to make the mantels in the dining areas. “This restaurant is upscale, yet casual. People can come have fun at the bar, or have more privacy in a booth,” Liz says. The bar is large and offers plenty of seats and televisions along with the perfect setting for a drink and conversation. Adjacent to the bar is the dining area where the booths are cozy, spacious and constructed with comfort and conversation in mind. “Since we have experience with music venues, we incorporated different elements into the design of the restaurant so that anywhere a person sits in the restaurant they can carry on a conversation. The ceilings all have acoustical tiles, so instead of hearing sounds bouncing around the room, you are able to hear each other, and it is not too loud,” Liz says.  “You never have to get wet or get out in the elements when coming to Moondance because we offer free valet parking as well as underground parking beneath the development,” she continues, adding that an enclosed patio currently under construction should be ready in time for the Christmas holidays.  With the opening of The Grove at GPAC, an outdoor concert venue set to debut next spring, Moondance is the perfect addition to this thriving and growing section of the city. “We are serving a need, and happy to be here. We want to make sure everyone who comes in here has a great dining experience,” Liz says.  December 2019 • | 81

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December 2019 • | 83

entertaining entertaining in the kitchen

Brown Sugar Candied PecansÂ

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inentertaining the kitchen During the holidays, everyone has their favorite family recipes...sweet potato casserole, cornbread dressing, Grandma’s pecan pie, all the traditional favorites. So instead of trying to duplicate a recipe that most of you probably already have a favorite version of, I thought I would share a little something different. My Brown Sugar Candied Pecans are easy to make and guaranteed to disappear quickly. These delicious, crunchy nuggets make a great snack while family and friends are waiting for the main event—I promise you’ve never seen your candy dish empty so quickly! (They make great hostess gifts, too.) Enjoy!

Check out Jim Norton on social media! Facebook @thenortonrecipe Instagram @the_norton_recipe

Ingredients 1 lb. or 4 cups pecan halves ½ cup brown sugar 

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. water

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Drizzle of honey

1 cup sugar


Preheat oven to 250˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Add the brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and salt to a gallon-sized plastic bag. Shake well to incorporate the ingredients and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg white. Add the vanilla, water and honey. Whisk until a nice froth is created. Add the pecan halves and toss to thoroughly coat.  Transfer all the coated pecans to the plastic bag. Close bag and shake until all the pecans are coated with the sugary mixture.  Spread the coated pecans evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Open oven and give the pecans a good stir with a wooden spoon. Bake another 15 minutes and give the pecans another stir. Do this every 15 minutes until the pecans have baked for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool.  To store: I like to keep them in the freezer. They stay nice and fresh for months. December 2019 • | 85

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dining out


Special thanks - Michelle Johns


Special thanks Cindy McCord Interior Design


Heather Donaho Owner

Special thanks - John Mark Sharpe 901.310.4840


Special thanks - Dale Skaggs of Dixon Gallery & Gardens


Special thanks Collierville Contemporary Club


Special thanks Ginni Jones: EHBlooms: Frost Bake Shop: Social:


Special thanks - Moondance Grill


Special thanks - Jim Norton


Special thanks - 100 Women Who Care Memphis

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on a good note

The Gift of Giving

100 Women Who Care: Story: Emily Adams Keplinger Photos: Courtesy of 100 Women Who Care

It’s that time of year when people are making their lists and checking them twice. But for one group of women, the giving season lasts all year long. The 100 Women Charitable Foundation has a mission to encourage women’s involvement in philanthropy and give them a means to make a significant difference in their local community. “The Memphis chapter of 100 Women Who Care was founded in 2017 and is what is known as a Giving Circle,” explains founding member Madelyn Gray. “This type of organization has formed all around the world to help make communities stronger in tangible ways.” According to Gray, the local group relies on 100+ members to consistently participate by nominating, selecting and funding a variety of area nonprofits. The rules are that only members in good standing can nominate a charitable organization, and each member can nominate only one agency per session. Prior to every giving circle meeting, the names of three nominated organizations are drawn randomly. Groups that are nominated but not selected are returned to the pool for the next drawing. And to keep the focus truly local, nominations for national nonprofits are not accepted; however, local branches of those organizations are eligible for consideration.  “Each chosen organization sends a representative to speak for five minutes at the meeting about why they deserve our vote,” says Gray. “Then our members vote on the cause of their choice, and the nonprofit with the most votes receives a check from each member for at least $100. That’s 100 women giving one hour of their time, three times a year (January, April and September), to raise tens of thousands of dollars for area nonprofit organizations.” 90 | At Home Memphis & Mid South • December 2019

She adds, “Each year we give away 100 percent of the funds raised by our membership. Our method is simple: ‘Show Up, Bring a Blank Check, Listen and Vote.’ Our organization allows women an opportunity to make an immediate, direct and positive impact on our community. And since the impact of each individual’s check is multiplied by no less than 100, you can see how this simple and effective approach truly helps individual donors make a very real difference.” Because individual donors donate directly to the nonprofit organization with the most votes, each member gets a record of her charitable contributions for tax purposes. Payments are usually made by personal check, Paypal or Venmo. There’s even an absentee voting form for those who cannot attend a particular meeting. To be considered as a potential recipient of 100 Women Who Care Memphis donations, an organization must: be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) organization; be located in West Tennessee, North Mississippi or West Memphis, Arkansas; have been in operation for at least three years; and be willing to send a representative to the 100 Women Who Care meeting to share how donations will support their nonprofit’s mission. Over the last two years, 100 Women has donated funds to All 4s Rescue League, Camp Chambers, DeNeuville Learning Center, Memphis Inner City Rugby, Room in the Inn and Tunica Humane Society, The total amount that has been gifted is $88,000—well above the three-times-a-year, $100 per member minimum. For more information about 100 Women Who Care Memphis, visit the organization’s website at

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