Sweet tooth Satisfy his
Valentineâ€™s Day Treats Pg. 69
Recipe for Love? Pg. 53
t h e L ov e i s s u e f e b r ua ry / m a r c h 2 0 1 2
Fashions Modeled by Missouri Contemporary Ballet Dancers Pg. 62
This is my
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A Love Letter
I was 9 years old the day I met my husband. I was holding my mother’s hand at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. Aaron walked up and handed me a gift. It was a Precious Moments dish that he bought in the gift shop. On it was a picture of a bride and the words, “This day was made in heaven.” Some people believe in fate or destiny, and some think that life is a big game of chance. When I look back on my life, I can’t help but think everything happens for a reason. Experiences, good and bad, have prepared me for where I am today. I mean, honestly, if I hadn’t dated those “stinkers” in college, would I really be able to appreciate my wonderful husband? I don’t think so. Since this is the love issue, I think it is appropriate to ask the question, “What is love?” There are a few good barometers you can use to measure your love for another person: Vacations, for instance. If you leave the country with someone and still want to be in the same room with them when you get back, that’s a good sign. If there is no other person you would rather hang out with on a Saturday night, that is also a very good sign. To me, I think you’ll know when you’re truly in love when you can look clearly at your partner, see their flaws and know the flaws don’t matter. No one is perfect, right? Thank God my husband loves me with all of my flaws. Aaron, you are my perfect valentine. I love you very much. Although not as much as Aaron, I also love this issue — starting with the cover! Thank you to Lily Dawson for styling the fashions, Taylor Allen, our photographer, and the ladies of the Missouri Contemporary Ballet. Make sure you explore the rest of their Valentine’s Day fashions starting on Page 62. We also have profiled many strong local women in this issue. The colorful and talented Sutu Forté shares her adventure from the music world to the dance scene on Page 30. Check out our makeover story on Page 89, “Indulging in Me,” where we outline big changes in the lives of three women and how they found the time to indulge in themselves. We also have a profile of a spectacular artist, referred to us by Ragtag’s Executive Director, Tracy Lane. Her friend, Kristeen Young, is blazing trails locally and following in the pop-star footsteps of Madonna and Lady Gaga. The dishes you should include on your plate this Valentine’s Day are laid out in this issue as well. Ben Parks of Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar suggests a breakfast in bed headlined by his duck hash and a pair of mimosas in The Dish on Page 50. If you really want to heat things up, check out our “Aphrodisiac Foods” on Page 53. Local couples and Isle of Capri chef Jason Martin weigh in on these mysterious menu items. But by far, my favorite recipe is the cake pops in “Satisfy his Sweet Tooth” on Page 69. At our office cookie exchange, my assistant, Lily, blew us away with this recipe. Seriously, you are holding a piece of gold here. Best wishes to all of you during the next few months. I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I do. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.
Edito r i al Betsy Bell, Publisher Betsy@ColumbiaHomeMagazine.com Lily Dawson, Assistant to the Publisher Lily@ColumbiaHomeMagazine.com Katrina Tauchen, Copy Editor Katrina@BusinessTimesCompany.com contribu t i n g E d i to r William Dawson Cons u lta n t Sherry Hockman, Interior Decorating Editor-At-Large MANAGEMENT Chris Harrison, General Manager ChrisH@BusinessTimesCompany.com Renea Sapp, Business Manager ReneaS@BusinessTimesCompany.com Cindy Sheridan, Operations Manager CindyS@BusinessTimesCompany.com DESIGN Kristin Branscom, Art Director Kristin@BusinessTimesCompany.com Beth Snyder, Creative Marketing Director Beth@BusinessTimesCompany.com Rebecca Rademan, Creative Services RebeccaR@BusinessTimesCompany.com MAR KETING RE P RESENTATIVES Teresa White TeresaW@BusinessTimesCompany.com Valerie Mueller Val@BusinessTimesCompany.com Annie Jarrett Annie@JeffersonCityMag.com CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAP HERS Taylor Allen, Casey Buckman, Angelique Hunter, David Owens CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Megan Thomas Davis, Lily Dawson, Stephanie Detillier, Sharon Harl, Kate Smart Harrison, Ellie Hensley, Jill Orr, Katrina Tauchen, Molly Wright Editori al In t e r n Teresa Klassen SUBSCRI P TIONS Subscription rate is $12.95 for 6 issues or $18.95 for 12 issues. Call Cindy Sheridan at (573) 499-1830 ext.1003 to place an order or to inform us of a change of address. Columbia Home magazine is published by The Business Times Co., 2001 Corporate Place, Suite 100, Columbia, MO, 65202. (573) 499-1830 Copyright The Business Times Co., 2007. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of any editorial or graphic content without the express written permission of the publisher is prohibited.
Betsy Bell Publisher columbiahomemagazine.com | 13
Who’s the best Mom you know? Sit down, pour yourself a cup of coffee and enter your favorite mother at columbiahomemagazine.com. Now through the end of March, we’ll be accepting nominations for Riback DKB and Columbia Home’s Magnificent Mothers Contest. Winners will be profiled in the magazine and honored with gifts and prizes.
What makes your Mom so great? Tell us about it! Go to www.columbiahomemagazine.com and click on the Magnificent Mom link.
table of contents
20 A Perfect Balance
Columbia’s Dr. William and Bridgid Kinney prove that a home can balance both contemporary designs with traditional touches.
27 Room at the Table
Renovations help evoke a warm sense of home and family in the Wilson’s kitchen.
30 Dance the Life You’re Given
Already well-known in the arts, pianist Sutu Forté decides to take up dancing at age 57.
62 Code Red
See how you can pull off shades of red this season.
69 Satisfy His Sweet Tooth
No matter your level of baking expertise, learn how to surprise your partner with delicious treats.
73 Part of the Family
A German au pair bonded with and became a part of the Becker family during her stay.
78 A Style of Her Own
Missouri native Kristeen Young discusses her career and how her style has developed since her rise to fame.
83 Lucky Stars
Two people share their astonishing stories about overcoming life’s obstacles and how two Columbia hospitals helped them along the way.
89 Indulging in Me
Three women go through changes and reveal how they discovered themselves through these transformations.
IN EVERY ISSUE
Sweet tooth Satisfy his
Valentine’s Day Treats Pg. 69
Recipe for Love? Pg. 53
T H E L OV E I S S U E F E B R UA RY / M A R C H 2 0 1 2
Fashions Modeled by Missouri Contemporary Ballet Dancers Pg. 62
On the cover
Dancers from the Missouri Contemporary Ballet show off this season’s little red dress, Page 62. Photo by Taylor Allen.
13 Welcome 16 Calendar 39 Expert’s Advice 41 Design Trend 43 Designer’s Palette 44 Dear Kate 47 Welcome to the World 48 Shopkeeper’s Story 50 The Dish 53 Edible Education 57 Book Club 58 Mommy Chronicles 61 Fashion Forecast 97 DIY 100 Entertainment 103 On the Web 104 City Scene 110 Home Bound 114 The Last Word columbiahomemagazine.com | 15
MU Women's Basketball vs. Baylor, Mizzou Arena 7 p.m.
University Concert Series presents Elvis Lives, The Musical, Jesse Hall 7 p.m., $17-27
"We Always Swing" Jazz Series: Chucho Valdes & The AfroCuban Messengers, Missouri Theatre 7 p.m., prices vary
Alice Dade Del Campo Flute Concert, Whitmore Recital Hall 8 p.m., suggested $5 donation
Valentine's Day Emancipator with Little People, The Blue Note 8:30 p.m., $10-12
Valentine's Party, Stephens Lake Activity Center 10 a.m., $6 (ages 2-6)
Good Karma Yoga to benefit True North Shelter, Yoga Sol studio, 210B St. James St. 11 a.m., $15. This event occurs every Sunday at Yoga Sol from 11 a.m. to noon
Mid-Missouri Home & Lifestyle Expo, Hearnes Center Fieldhouse 10 a.m - 8 p.m., $5. The Ultimate Backyard Paradise Giveaway Winner Announced at 3:30 p.m. at the Columbia Home booth.
President's Day, Columbia Public Schools Not in Session
Gospel Explosion & Soul Food Dinner Musical Celebration, St. Luke Methodist Church 3 p.m.
Emerging Artists Showcase, Missouri Theatre for the Arts 8 p.m., $5 suggested donation
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O.A.R., The Blue Note 7:30 p.m. $30
Feb. 15-18 Beautiful Bodies, Warehouse Theater 7:30 p.m., $8
MU Women's Basketball vs. Texas, Mizzou Arena 7 p.m.
Symphonic Band/ University Band concert, Jesse Hall 8 p.m., $5 suggested donation
Kiss & Makeup, Concannon Plastic Surgery & Medical Spa 8 a.m.-5 p.m., free
Love Fest, Artlandish Gallery 6-9 p.m., free
Lewis Black: In God We Rust, Missouri Theatre 8 p.m., $39.50-49.50
Lady Windermere's Fan, Macklanburg Playhouse 7:30 p.m., $14
MU/RBHS Jazz Festival, Rock Bridge High School all day, free MU Men's Basketball vs. Kansas, Mizzou Arena 8 p.m.
African-American Film and Discussion: The Underground Railroad, Armory Sports Center 6:30 p.m., free
Feb. 10-12 Missouri Grand Prix sponsored by USA Swimming and Columbia Swim Club, MU Campus 9 a.m., $11-69
University Concert Series presents Vox Lumiere - The Phantom of the Opera, Jesse Hall 7 p.m., $17-27
Columbia Public Schools Not in Session
Columbia Civic Orchestra presents Images of Hungary, Missouri Theatre 7 p.m.
University Concert Series presents Pro Arte Quartet, Jesse Hall 7 p.m., $9-19
Ronald McDonald House Charities Red Shoe Gala: Experiencing Oz, Holiday Inn Executive Center 6 p.m., $75
National Wear Red Day, American Heart Association
Columbia Public Schools Not in Session
Black History Month Talent Show, Douglass High School Gym 6:30 p.m., free
Nut Race 5K, Reactor Park 9 a.m., $3
MU Men's Basketball vs. Baylor, Mizzou Arena 12:30 p.m.
Lego Land, Columbia Public Library 9:30 a.m., ages 6 and older
Eli Young Band, The Blue Note 8 p.m., $15
MU Men's Basketball vs. Kansas State, Mizzou Arena 6 p.m.
"We Always Swing" Jazz Series: Benny Green Trio Featuring Peter Washington and Kenny Washington, 107 Reynolds Alumni Center 7 p.m., prices vary
Mid-Missouri Home & Lifestyle Expo, Hearnes Center Fieldhouse 2-8 p.m., $5
Mid-Missouri Home & Lifestyle Expo, Hearnes Center Fieldhouse 10 a.m - 8 p.m., $5
March 1-4 True/ False Film Festival, The District
MMCC Piano Ensemble Recital, Whitmore Recital Hall 2 p.m.
MU Women's Basketball vs. Oklahoma State, Mizzou Arena 7 p.m.
Daylight Saving Time/Clocks Change
University Concert Series presents Chancellor's Concert, Jesse Hall 7:30 p.m., $10
University Concert Series presents In the Heights, Jesse Hall 7 p.m., $25-35
March 7-10 3 on 3 Women's Basketball Tournament, Douglass High School Gymnasium $30 per team
Dr. Dog, The Blue Note 7:30 p.m., $15
Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase, Holiday Inn Executive Center 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m., $5
University Concert Series presents One Night of Queen, Jesse Hall 7 p.m., $17-27
"We Always Swing" Jazz Series: Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts featuring Terell Stafford, Gary Versace & Martin Wind, Murry's 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., $18-$37
34th Annual Train Show, Paquin Tower 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., free
March 26-30 Spring Recess, Columbia Public Schools Not in Session
March 20-21 University Concert Series presents Soweto Gospel Choir, Jesse Hall 7 p.m., children $14, adults $19-29
"We Always Swing" Jazz Series: Russell Malone with MU Concert Jazz Band Arthur White, Director, Hickman High School Auditorium 7 p.m., prices vary
University Concert Series presents The Pink Floyd Experience, Jesse Hall 7 p.m., $17-27
March 9-10 Stephens College Annual Dance Company Spring Concert, Macklanburg Playhouse 7:30 p.m., $16
March 16-17 Show Me Opera with University Philharmonic, Missouri Theatre
March 16-18 Wonder of the World, Warehouse Theatre 7:30 p.m., $14
University Concert Series presents Golden Dragon Acrobats, Jesse Hall 7 p.m., children $14, adults $19-29 March 22-23 Wonder of the World, Warehouse Theatre 7:30 p.m., $14
Reverend Horton Heat, The Blue Note 7:30 p.m., $18 March 23-25 Show-Me State Games Hoopin' It Up, various facilities in Columbia
Columbia Civic Orchestra Composer's Concert, Launer Auditorium 7 p.m.
St. Patrick's Day 5K, The District 8 a.m., $30 March 17-18 University Concert Series presents Cirque Dreams Pop Goes the Rock, Jesse Hall 7 p.m., $17-$37
STOP Diabetes 5K, Jay Dix Station MKT Trail Head 8 a.m., $25
columbiahomemagazine.com | 17
20 | february/march 2012
A Perfect By Jill Orr Photos by Angelique Hunter
Dr. William and Bridgid Kinney’s Spring Creek home is a seamless mixture of contemporary design and traditional elements.
The meticulously designed, openplan gourmet kitchen is the heart of the Kinneys' home and includes eye-catching features such as stainless steel appliances, cherry cabinetry, wood floors and warm granite countertops.
r. William and Bridgid Kinney’s home is a study in balance. Contemporary design mixes seamlessly with family heirlooms. State-of-the-art technology lives undetected amid traditional design elements. And the minimalist interior invites the outside in at every turn. In other words, their home strikes the perfect balance between design and practicality, beauty and warmth, form and function. As you walk into the Kinney home, before you notice the white ash wide-plank flooring, the floating gas fireplace or the steel cabled banister, your eye is drawn outside to the stunning views through the large unadorned picture windows that line the back of the house. The home, which sits on a culde-sac in the Spring Creek subdivision, backs up to a large wooded area that extends the length of the view. The result is a very private setting and a tree-house feeling when you are inside looking out. “This,” Bridgid says as she gestures to the beautiful view, “is why we don’t have window treatments and why we will never have window treatments. When you look out here, you feel like you could be anywhere in the world.” The spot is so beautiful, in fact, that in May of 2011, Bill and Bridgid chose to be married on their back patio with the woods as their backdrop — just three weeks after moving in.
The best-laid plans The building process was a true collaboration among the Kinneys, builder Jeff Herigon of Hercon Construction and interior designer Stephen Rust. The Kinneys found house plans online but wanted to make some changes. “We worked together — the whole design/build team — to modify the plans in order to customize the home to their specific needs,” Herigon says. “It was a team effort from the start.” Bridgid agrees: “I cannot overstate how helpful Stephen [Rust] and Jeff [Herigon] were. They were both so open and committed to helping us create the home we really wanted.”
The family that cooks together… At the center of the home is the open-plan gourmet kitchen, meticulously designed to indulge Bill and his son Will’s love of cooking. Contemporary elements such as the stainless steel appliances, cherry cabinetry and wood floors warm black granite countertops. One of the most eye-catching elements in the kitchen is the open shelving unit that Bill custom designed himself. He worked off of a picture he found online and researched how to recreate a similar shelving unit for their kitchen. “The concept is almost like those old industrial commercial roller doors, but he columbiahomemagazine.com | 21
“There is no wasted space in here. We use everything in this kitchen every day. We are a family who loves to cook and eat together, and this space works perfectly for us.” — Bridgid Kinney updated and modified the design,” Rust says. “He has quite a good eye for engineering and was able to use the glass and light in just the right way to create mystery in the kitchen. It’s very cool.” The shelves are lined with LED strip lighting mounted in grooves at the base of each shelf. When the light filters through the glass on the sliding doors, the result is a 22 | february/march 2012
soft glow that illuminates the entire space. This plays nicely against the funkiness of the Italian mosaic glass mounted on the wall behind the Wolf range, Sub-Zero refrigerator and additional cherry cabinetry. The combination of materials, shapes, textures and colors results in a space that is beautiful, unique and above all functional. “There is no wasted space in here,” Bridgid says. “We use everything in this kitchen every day. We are a family who loves to cook and eat together, and this space works perfectly for us.”
A space for everyone The Kinneys have three children: Will, 17, Sarah, 13, and Helen, 7. “The kids were involved in the design process from the beginning,” Bridgid says. “We wanted them to each have places in the house they could use individually but also lots of family spaces where we can be together.” Helen has her bedroom upstairs and a craft room right off the kitchen where she can draw and create, all while being near
the center of the home. Sarah enjoys an entire suite upstairs with a bedroom, a small balcony overlooking the backyard and a Jack-and-Jill bathroom that connects to her own “hang out” room with comfortable seating, funky design and all the high-tech elements a teenage girl could want. Will has his bedroom suite in the lower level of the family home, just steps away from the state-of-the-art, high-definition, 1080p front-projection system with a 110-inch motorized screen, a pool table and a workout room. Even the family’s dog kennel has its own customized system that allows the dog to “let herself out” onto the patio when the need arises.
The master retreat The Kinneys master suite sits on the home’s second level and is accessed through two wide double doors that open into a short hallway lined with Asian-inspired textural wallpaper and sculpted carpet. To the right is the master bedroom, which is decorated in sumptuous beiges, browns and muted
OPPOSITE, LEFT: A Jack-and-Jill bathroom connects daughter Sarah Kinney's room to her own "hang out" room, filled with comfortable seating and high-tech gear. OPPOSITE, RIGHT: Bold colors and patterns make for a fun look in Sarah's bedroom. ABOVE: A white freestanding tub in the center of the spacious and luxurious master bath is the essence of minimalism. columbiahomemagazine.com | 23
ABOVE AND LEFT: Expansive windows offer beautiful views and bring natural light into nearly every room in the Kinneys' house. This is why Bridgid says there will never be a window treatment in the home. RIGHT: The Kinney family at Bridgid and Bill's May 2011 wedding. They had a family-only ceremony in the backyard followed by a larger reception in their new home.
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metallics. These colors complement the gorgeous view of the woods through the six large undressed windows in the room. To the left you will find the master bath, which is at once luxurious and unexpected. Finished with rich brown cabinetry, porcelain tile and accents of glinting glass and mirrored surfaces, the room evokes a spa-like vibe. In the center of the room sits a stunning white freestanding tub with no bulky faucets or platforms in sight — the essence of minimalism. The faucet was actually mounted into the ceiling, and water flows down from that height to fill up the tub. To add to this effect, the ceiling is painted sky blue, which creates a gorgeous contrast with the neutral color palette that runs through the rest of the bath.
High-tech living As manager of the August Systems division of Marathon Building Environments, Bridgid has helped hundreds of people in Columbia plan and implement technology into their homes during the past 15 years, so it’s no surprise that when it came to building her own home, technology played a major role. “We wanted state-ofthe art, but aesthetics are very important to us as well,” she says. Each room in the Kinney home has a touch-screen keypad mounted on the wall. From this control center, a person can access all electronic features of the home such as audio, video, home theater, lighting, security and climate. “All of our electronics are housed in a rack system in the basement, which allows us to watch or listen to nine different sources in eight areas,” Bridgid says. “Sarah can be listening to iTunes in her room while I’m watching high-definition satellite in the kitchen and someone is listening to the Cards game on the deck.” The sound from any of the sources plays through the flush mounted speakers in the ceiling, offering the benefit of the sound and technology without seeing big black boxes and wires everywhere. Rust adds that using this kind of technology actually makes the home easier to decorate. “We didn’t need furniture to house electronics or even any light switches on the walls, which left more room for things that are beautiful, like artwork,” he says. “It allows for a less cluttered look.” Bridgid adds: “We also benefit from the energy savings that comes from easily being able to control the electronics, lighting and heating and air from our room or on our iPhones. It really means that we aren’t leaving lights on in empty rooms, nor are we heating and cooling areas of the house when they aren’t in use.”
Lower-level living In the home’s lower level, there is a large family media room, a workout facility, a glass-door wine cellar, a wet bar complete with a built-in tap for Bill’s home-brewed beer, a pool table and Will’s ensuite bedroom. The décor in these spaces remains contemporary but is definitely cozy as well. “Part of the problem with contemporary design,” Rust says, “is it can sometimes have a hard edge. We used radius curves, textured soft furnishings and things that speak to nature to soften the place and give it a homier look.” The Kinneys have created a home that is highly customized but doesn’t feel quirky. They knew what they wanted and hired the best professionals to help them make their dream into reality. “It was a great experience,” Herigon says. “The Kinneys’ understanding of the building process and their clear vision of what they wanted made the project go as efficiently and as easily as it could, even though we were doing it during the worst winter in Missouri history.” columbiahomemagazine.com | 25
Room Table 26 | february/march 2012
ome kitchens warm you up the moment you step into them regardless of room temperature. A golden glow and the ring of familiar laughter draws you in and makes you want to sit down and dig into hearty winter fare at a table big enough for the whole family and a few good friends. You know you’re in that type of kitchen when you simply don’t want to leave, and Elizabeth and Bruce Wilson’s kitchen evokes this sense of home perfectly. Handsome maple cabinets hug every inch of available wall space, hide all kitchen clutter from view and unify the space. The antique table and wood floors in the dining room are echoes of the same polished shade and lend a slightly rustic look beside the view of their woodsy backyard through the large-panel windows. A reading nook in the corner has two squashy armchairs that are perfect for snuggling up with a book on a rainy afternoon, but the kitchen’s real centerpiece is the island. With a marble lower level for pastry making and a higher woodblock level for chopping, it’s a chef’s delight and the perfect gathering place for a hurried weekday breakfast.
Expanding the space
By Ellie Hensley Photos by Angelique Hunter
In Elizabeth and Bruce Wilson’s renovated kitchen, handsome cabinets, wood floors and ample space evoke a sense of home.
The Wilsons’ kitchen hasn’t always been this beautiful or this spacious. Until 2007 both the kitchen and dining area were sandwiched into one room that was roughly the size of a train car. There was no room at the table to have guests for dinner, and the lack of cabinet space and organization drove Elizabeth crazy. Being organized is the key to keeping her busy family on track and making sure they still have time to be together. She’s an OB-GYN at University Hospital, Bruce teaches social studies at Rock Bridge High School and runs the family’s small cattle farm outside of town, and their two sons, Henry, 12, and West, 17, are involved in various activities that keep them busy, but everyone makes time to eat together at least three or four times a week. Elizabeth considered remodeling for years. She even spoke to Kerry Bramon Remodeling and Design after hearing great things about the firm from friends. She and Bruce weren’t sure if their current home was worth the cost and stress of a remodel, but she liked their neighborhood in southwest Columbia. “We’re still kind of secluded with all the trees and not so close to our neighbors, and that’s one thing we like about the neighborhood,” Elizabeth says. In the end, the folks at Kerry Bramon gave her the little push she needed. “They called a few times and asked me, ‘Do you still want to do this?’” Elizabeth says. “And finally I said: ‘Yes! Yes, I do.’” columbiahomemagazine.com | 27
ABOVE AND RIGHT: Until the Wilsons' 2007 remodel by Kerry Bramon Remodeling and Design, the Wilsons' kitchen and dining room were roughly the size of a train car. Now, the expanded space features maple cabinets, large-panel windows, a reading nook with squashy armchairs and plenty of room to entertain. LEFT: Elizabeth Wilson with the family's dog.
A place to entertain The project started with one goal: to turn their back porch into a space for dining by removing the sliding glass door so the new room would be adjacent to the existing kitchen. But that led to a complete overhaul of the kitchen, garage entryway, mud room and laundry room. Now there is no reason for mail, keys or muddy boots to ever make it into the kitchen, and even better, there’s finally more than enough pantry space. With construction lasting from January through May 2007, it could have been a harrowing experience, but Elizabeth found it surprisingly bearable, and she gives full 28 | february/march 2012
credit to Bramon. “They just guide you through it so well,” she says. ”Even though I didn’t have a plan in my head, the little decisions you make along the way kind of contribute to it overall.” Kerry Bramon agrees that taking one step at a time is the best way to tackle any home improvements. “Make sure you have a good space to work in, and then come back and decorate it,” he says. “Worry about function first, and then put a personality on it.” Now the Wilsons are gearing up for the Superbowl party they’ve been hosting for their neighbors for about 10 years. Six to eight families from their neighborhood bring a dish to the chili-themed affair (one year, someone even brought a turducken!). Traditions such as this make the Wilsons glad they decided not to move. “If you like your neighborhood enough, it’s worth the pain of staying where you want to be,” Elizabeth says of the renovations. Having a spacious place to entertain is definitely a perk of Elizabeth’s new kitchen, but her favorite part is that everything finally has its place. After years of searching, she has found what eluded her most — organization.
columbiahomemagazine.com | 29
By Megan Thomas Davis | photos by david owens
At age 57, celebrated pianist Sutu Forté took up an art she’d admired for most of her life — and became an inspiration in the process.
30 | february/march 2012
“I felt comfortable up on that stage. It has to be more than the correct step. It has to be an expression of something you are feeling inside. When people come to listen or see performers, they want to be given permission to feel those things that those people do on stage.” — Sutu Forté
columbiahomemagazine.com | 31
ix years ago, Sutu Forté looked up from her place in the faded plush red seats of Jesse Auditorium to the brightly lit stage where a group of older women began moving in time to the music. So inspired by their courage and art, she felt her heart go up into her throat and tears fall from her eyes. And something inside began to ache. She wondered if one day she could join the women onstage and dance in front of a packed auditorium. Silently she asked herself, “Could that be me?” Following the moving concert at Jesse for Columbia Dance Academy’s annual student performance, Forté decided to write a letter to the dance studio’s owner of the past 15 years, Jeanne Szkolka. She knows she still has the letter somewhere, Szkolka says, and she remembers the impact it had on her. “I think that was her moment to realize that it hadn’t passed her by,” she says. “That she could still dance if she wanted to. That you’re never too old.” Four years later, Forté decided it was time to move her dream of dance from the backburner to reality. At 57, she didn’t know if her joints and limbs would let her take on the art she had always admired for its beauty and grace. Her consistent desire to say yes to life, however, pushed her into showing up for Columbia Dance Academy’s beginner’s adult class that Wednesday night in Fall 2009.
Love for the arts Walking through the door to her first dance class was a silent act of courage. “You get these don’ts,” Forté says. Her first response to that has always been, “Why not?” Now 59, Forté is about to enter into her third year of dancing with Szkolka’s adult 32 | february/march 2012
class. Since beginning the dance chapter in her fruitful life, Forté ends her piano lessons at 6:45 sharp to pack up her bag and head to dance class every Wednesday for the 7:30 p.m. start. But Forté is no stranger to the arts nor a haphazard participant in them. A highly respected professional pianist and local celebrity of sorts, this musical veteran’s background is as colorful and resilient as Mumbles, her 46-year-old parrot, who likes to caw at her while she nurses the tall tomato plants in her front garden. Born Susan Forcade, she discovered the love of her life during her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. That love came in the form of an ivory-laced piano. “It was my wonderland, ever since I was 3 years old, to just explore the colors of the keys, and gradually that turned into my own compositions,” she says. “I would hear things outside, like birds or sounds in the sky, and I would come in and find those notes on the piano. Sound was so rich to me.” Up until age 18, Forté studied with various teachers in and around San Francisco before winning a music scholarship to Stephens College. She found her niche in the “rockin’ classical music department,” located smack in the middle of Missouri.
Performance and profession Following graduation, Forté won a competition to perform a solo with the St. Louis Symphony under the direction of Leonard Slatkin. There she played the three movements of Ludwig von Beethoven’s “Emperor Piano Concerto” at Powell Symphony Hall. From 1974 to 1978 she attended the Julliard School of Music, where she pursued a master’s degree, though she considered her
experience at the high-profile music conservatory “a real trial by fire.” After the challenging years at Julliard, she moved to New York because she “wasn’t ready to give up.” While in the Big Apple, she debuted at Carnegie Recital Hall, which earned her good reviews from New York critics. She returned to San Francisco in 1985 after making the decision to give up classical music and then moved back to the Midwest in 1994. She began to make a name for herself in Columbia as a highly sought-after piano teacher and performer. Growing up and into her career, Forté’s sole focus was piano. After so many years spent living a life for which the approval and opinion of others was a major force in her success, forgoing what others thought of her choices was a difficult roadblock to pass. For Forté, that was another first. But she took the blinders off and replaced them with her own dancing shoes.
Walking through the door to her first dance class was a silent act of courage. “You get these don’ts,” Forté says. Her first response to that has always been, “Why not?” From piano to dance As the years mount up, so do restrictions from others on what Forté can and cannot do. But with the same amount of energy as many of the 18-year-olds she dances with and wisdom from living 57 years, Forté is nowhere near ready to step back and watch life go by. “I want to look forward to each year as an opportunity to do things I wasn’t able to do before,” she says. That passion hardly goes unnoticed to those around her, especially in class. “She gets out there and gives it every single part of her being,” Szkolka says. “And [the students] could see that; they could see that she was giving it everything she had in that moment. That was a huge inspiration to my dancers.” After her first performance, a young woman who had been dancing with Szkolka since she was a little girl came up to the dance instructor and gushed about how Forté’s backstage presence and “contagious enthusiasm” affected the other girls. The feeling was mutual.
The women in the class have become Forté’s club, and she feels in tune with the group she refers to as her “sisterhood.” With that group of women, Forté performed in her second dance show at the 15th Annual Student Performance for the Columbia Dance Academy in June 2011. Although her first performance a year before had been fraught with both nerves and excitement, the second go at the stage brought nothing but thrill to the dancers in matching red sparkly outfits for Nigel Olsen’s classic ’70s rock ballad “Put on Your Dancing Shoes.” “I felt comfortable up on that stage,” Forté says. “It has to be more than the correct step. It has to be an expression of something you are feeling inside. When people come to listen or see performers, they want to be given permission to feel those things that those people do on stage.” People told Forté after seeing her onstage that night that she “made the connection from being a musician and that feeling I had when playing the piano went into my body.” They said her body was playing the music that naturally pours out from her when she sits down on the piano bench and takes her hands to the keys. Forté’s dark blue eyes light up upon recalling the compliment because that was precisely how she felt during the two minutes and 14 seconds onstage. She wanted the music to flow through her. “I let my theatrical self come out, and I made believe that I was a real dancer,” she says. “And that, that stage was there for me and my buddies, and we were going to have a great time and dance the best that we’d ever danced, the best they’d ever seen.”
Expressing her spirit Mitzi St. John of Columbia was one of the other dancers onstage the night of Forté’s performance. Entering into her sixth year in the adult class, she became involved because the adult class coincided with her then 12-year-old daughter’s class at the Columbia Dance Academy. Except for a couple introductory classes in college, dance had never been on St. John’s docket, but the adult class allowed that to change. “For me it’s a new experience,” she says. “My opinion at my age, because I’m 53, is that there is no reason why I can’t go out and try something new. And Sutu also has that same attitude.” The women enjoy a camaraderie within the relaxed class environment that gives encouragement during practice. And Forté is a major player in that realm, St. John says.
“Sutu has a very electrifying presence,” she says. “She is very sincere in everything that she says and does. And what she participates in she does so passionately.” And passion is only part of it. During her first year of dancing, Forté was mainly worried about whether she could stand on her toes, let alone attempt a plié. The challenge was a physical one, she says. “I want to encourage other women past 50 that as we age you begin to feel your joints, your hips, your knees, your shoulders, your arms,” she says. “Loosen up! When you move, like in dancing, you get the fluid back to your joints. And I always feel the best when I am getting ready for that dance.” In her mind, the decision to take up dance in her 50s was not only a self-fulfilling prophecy but also a means to prove to herself that she could learn this new language. And that is exactly what dance is to her in this new chapter: an entirely new language to soak up. “The big challenge is to be patient with myself and be grateful for what I can do,” she says as she strokes her knees. “I want to be a fan of Sutu Forté. I don’t want to sit there and judge myself. I want to say: ‘You should be proud of yourself that you’re doing this and
you’re doing it consistently. You can be an inspiration to women in their 50s and 60s.’” When asked what dance brings to her life, only one word comes to mind: “Magic,” she says. Forté sees the art as a way to not only strengthen the muscles and joints but also as an elixir for the soul. Through dance, she expresses her spirit.
Dance of inspiration If Helen of Troy had the face that launched a thousand ships, Sutu Forté has the passion for life to inspire a generation. To her, it is not about what she cannot do; it is about pursuing what she still wants to try in the life she was given. They say age is just a number. For Forté and the other women in her class, it might be just that, but it takes strength and a desire to keep learning to live like it is. Every Wednesday during the session, Szkolka sees that excitement of trying something new in the women before her in the studio. “I think some people think that if they reach a certain age and they haven’t been doing it their whole life, that they’re too old to start, and that’s never true,” she says. “You’re never too old to start. And she proved it.” columbiahomemagazine.com | 33
February 24, 25, 26
Hearnes Center Fieldhouse â€˘ Columbia, Missouri Are you building a new home? Want to update your current home? This is your chance to meet local vendors face-to-face and get to know the people in your community. Ask questions, see their work and get inspired for your own home improvement jobs. KMOS is excited to bring Curious George on Saturday, February 25th from 11am-3pm. Come meet Curious George at the KMOS booth.
A portion of the proceeds of the 2012 Mid-Missouri Home & Lifestyle Expo will be donated to The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri. Non-perishable food donations will also be collected.
Enter to win Columbia Homeâ€™s Ultimate Backyard Paradise Giveaway. A $15,000 backyard makeover could be all yours, just visit the Columbia Home Booth. Winner announced Sunday, Feb. 26, at 3:30 p.m.
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Visit www.columbiahba.com and visit the Home & Lifestyle page for an internet special weekend pass. This is your chance to meet over 100 local exhibitors face-to-face... $5 per person, children 12 and younger free Exhibitors Include: Windows, Home Decorators, Kitchens, Baths, Flooring, Lawn and Garden, Green Technology, Sustainable Living Products and More!
Does your backyard need a makeover?
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Visit the Columbia Home booth at the Mid-Missouri Home and Lifestyle Expo on Feb. 24, 25 and 26 at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse for your chance to win BIG! Winner will be drawn at the conclusion of the show, Feb. 26 at 3:30 p.m.
This incredible giveaway is valued at over $5,500! • A Belvedere Fire Pit (square) and a seating wall with column and cap from Midwest Block and Brick installed by Truescape Landscaping • A landscaping package from Truescape Landscaping • A $2,000 gift certificate toward a Jacuzzi® hot tub of your choice from Columbia Pool and Spa • A $1,300 outdoor audio package from Pure Audio with wireless portable speakers and an indoor ipod docking station • A Custom Surface Designs Gift Certificate to stain a 200’x200’ slab of concrete or engrave 2’x2’ MU Logo
MISSOURI CONTEMPORARY BALLET
SAVE THE DATES 4th Annual “LIVE” Show
APRIL 13 & 14
Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts DANCING WITH MISSOURI STARS THURSDAY, MAY 17 SOUTHWELL COMPLEX COLUMBIA COLLEGE
PHOTO: ROMA MARTIN ERB
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE COMPANY OR THE SCHOOL VISIT
WWW.MISSOURICONTEMPORARYBALLET.COM NORTH VILLAGE ARTS DISTRICT | 110 ORR STREET, SUITES 102 & 106 573.825.0095
expert's advice | James Straub
Ask the Expert: James Straub James Straub is a licensed psychologist and an approved supervisor with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. He is the director and senior therapist at the Center for Family and Individual Counseling in Columbia and Jefferson City and has been happily married to his wife Vicki for 41 years. What are the most common bad marriage habits? Putting the marriage on the back burner, not listening to one another and pretending problems don’t exist. A good marriage takes effort. Thinking of marriage as a zero sum game, like a pie that we want to make sure we get our “fair” share of, ultimately damages the relationship. Instead, recognize that marriage can be grown in ways that enhance the lives of both. What is the most valuable quality in a marriage? Listening to and hearing each other. People can be so focused on their own concerns and interests that they don’t stop and truly listen. Being heard and understood is one of the most valuable qualities for most people, so give it to your partner. How do you keep from getting “too comfortable” with your partner? Treating each other and one’s self with at least the degree of respect that would be given to a friend, colleague, customer or employer is important in life and is too often lost in marriages. Never criticize your partner in front of others.
Photo by taylor allen
What is your advice on building better communication in a relationship? Make time to talk with each other without outside interruption. Listen, ask questions and clarify that what you understood is what your partner meant. Listen with your ears, eyes, heart and mind. Learn to understand your spouse’s view of the world, and be aware that your view is not the only one or the only right one. When we learn to see and experience life and the world through our partner’s heart and mind, our world and our relationship grow. What’s the most important way to make your marriage work? People often fall in love based on hormones. Over time these will subside and not be enough to keep the relationship afloat. Good communication is an essential tool in building the kind of deeper love that sustains and enriches the relationship over the decades. Mutual respect, trust, shared values and making the marriage a priority are key ingredients in successful marriages.
What are ways couples can work through conflicts? Arrange a time to discuss rather than bringing up issues on the fly or when you are upset about it. When we are particularly upset, it is hard to be constructive in our approach to significant issues. Remember, it is not a zero sum game. The goal is to win a solution, not your way. What does it mean to “fight fair”? Learning to fight fair includes defining the problem in a way that includes both people’s perspectives. Work toward a mutually agreeable solution. This often takes brainstorming first, so build a list of solutions without evaluating them. Narrow the list down and choose a solution that both agree to try. Then set a date for evaluating how it is working. At that time, make changes if needed. Do opposites really attract? People are usually attracted to each other because of the differences as well as the similarities. Don’t try to change your partner to be like you; the differences become the focus and are magnified, and conflict increases while each tends to feel unimportant. What are ways to help your partner feel special? Find what is meaningful to your partner, such as compliments, especially in front of others, and a note tucked in the briefcase or left on the pillow, taking care of one of his or her chores, a foot massage, drawing a hot bath, taking time to listen or recognizing his or her efforts. What’s the trick to getting along with your in-laws? Make the distinction between who they are and their behaviors. For example, when they attempt to tell you how to run your life, marriage or children, you can thank them for the suggestion and being interested without telling them how off base they might be or that they need to butt out of your life. How important is alone time? Staying active in life with family, friends, work, hobbies and spiritual development all help people grow, and that helps the relationship grow. Having things to do together and separately helps bring freshness and vitality to the relationship. As each person grows and changes over the years, it is important to keep up with each other and continue to discover each other. columbiahomemagazine.com | 39
home design trend | salt and pepper
Salt and Pepper Photos by taylor allen
by Lily Dawson Always classic and clean, black and white transcends the fashion world when applied to the home. Spice up your dwelling with these unassuming opposites. Stark white porcelain alongside black onyx conveys a polished and sophisticated look in any room of your house. Find these and other black and white pieces at local stores such as Ashley Furniture and My Secret Garden.
Product Information (counterclockwise from top left): Damask Print Pillow, Dillard's, $25; Black Pillow, Dillard's, $25; Houndstooth Pillow, Dillard's, $25; Black and Crystal Clock, Ashley Furniture, $30; Rococo Noir Teapot from Rosanna, Tallulah's, $44; Mirror, Ashley Furniture, $6; Zebra Ottoman, Ashley Furniture, $48; Large Gallery Tray, Tallulah's, $99; Small Gallery Tray, Tallulah's, $76; Metal Bird, S. Stewart Home, $12; Black Glass Vase, S. Stewart Home, $60; Moroccan Luminary Urn, My Secret Garden, $173; Mother of Pearl Clock, Ashley Furniture, $30; Wire Vase, Ashley Furniture, $128; Ralph Lauren Houndstooth Rug, Dillard's, $25; Wallpaper Samples, Johnston Paint and Decorating, call for pricing. columbiahomemagazine.com | 41
42 | february/march 2012
designer's palette | antiques
Old is New Again A balance between old and new is Dene Myers’ mantra as she decorates a comfy living room with antique furnishings. By Lily Dawson | photos by taylor allen
No longer just found in your grandmother’s attic, antiques are experiencing resurgence in popularity for new homeowners. Whether it’s the green nature of the period pieces or the nostalgic feeling of owning a piece of history, antique shops and estate sales are gaining more popularity than ever before. “The good thing about antiques is that no one else has them,” says Dene Myers of Dene Myers Designs. “You don’t want your room looking like everybody else’s.” “Uniqueness,” she says, “is as important as quality.” The reason these pieces are still around is due to their craftsmanship. Antiques are classified as anything that is 50 years or older, so by definition antique pieces must be able to withstand a half a century or more of use. When using antiques in the home, Myers recommends pairing old and new
pieces. The juxtaposition of eras adds interest to an otherwise lackluster room. She suggests upholstering antique chairs in up-to-date fabrics and adding new shades to vintage lamps. To find antiques, Myers looks to local dealers such as the Marketplace, Artichoke Annie’s, McAdams’ Ltd., Grace, auctions and estate sales. The real joy in antiquing is the hunt, Myers says. “The trick is finding pieces that cross over into your personal taste.” Myers advises new antique shoppers to start by adding one older piece to a room from a flea market or estate sale. That way you haven’t invested too much in a particular look. She pairs antique pieces with lots of textural fabrics in warm tones and deep colors. columbiahomemagazine.com | 43
Life, love, family and more. Your questions answered.
dear kate,My brother is going through a difficult time fi-
BUILDING YOUR FAMILY TREE, ONE BRANCH AT A TIME.
Join us at the aRC on Sundays at 10:15 a.m.
Heart-to-Heart Couple’s Conference
February 24-25 for more information visit our website
44 | february/march 2012
nancially. He lost his job about five months ago and is the primary care giver for his son from a previous marriage. My husband and I have been helping him financially when possible, not just out of concern for him but also for our 12-year-old nephew. I was initially sympathetic to his inability to find a job, especially given the current job market, but I am starting to lose patience with him. He has put in a few applications and picked up an odd job here and there, but it doesn’t seem like he’s trying very hard to find gainful employment. He’s more likely to sleep in and hang around his house than he is to hit the streets and find a job. He recently asked me if he could borrow more money for his house payment, and I can’t decide what to do. N. R.
Dear N.R. Family and financial assistance is a sticky wicket. Of course we want to help those we love in any way we can, but that help can sometimes turn to resentment if the person in question doesn’t follow through with what he or she says he or she will do. Prior to giving money to anyone, it is critical to realize that once you give it, it’s gone, and you no longer have control over how it’s spent. If you cannot give money or assistance without letting it go after it’s out of your hands, then it might be better not to give it at all. If you initially help someone monetarily and you cannot abide the choices he or she makes with the assistance offered, then look for different ways to help. How could you offer your brother (and nephew) support without feeling resentful or like you are compromising yourself? Instead of providing money, what about providing goods? Maybe groceries, school supplies, clothing, toiletries, etc. Another thought would be to hire him to do work you need done at your home: painting, car detailing, yard work. A final thought would be to connect him to government and community resources for people who are in tight spots financially. Central Missouri Community Action provides an array of assistance ranging from utilities to job training. Temporary assistance for needy families and food stamps, two government programs that provide different types of cash assistance, might be another option to look in to. There are also temporary employment agencies that he could connect with until he finds a permanent job. The bottom line is your brother is going to make whatever choices he feels are right, regardless of what you think he should do. The best thing you can do for yourself is to identify the ways you are comfortable supporting him, and once that support is offered, acknowledge it’s going to be used however he sees fit.
I am a new mother of a 6-month-old baby boy. I have found motherhood to be indescribably rewarding and a challenge of epic proportions. Ironically, the aspect I struggle with the most has nothing to do with my little guy and everything to do with the overwhelming amount of well-intentioned, though unsolicited, advice I receive from friends, family members and strangers on a daily basis. I am not entirely ungrateful for some of the information, but it’s the know-it-all attitude that comes along with it and the slight disdain I feel if I am not doing something they deem appropriate (and my own second-guessing of my ability to mother). How does one graciously deal with these well-meaning, though somewhat self-righteous, individuals? E. G. Dear E.G. First and foremost, there is no such thing as the right way to parent; there are many right ways. And as parents of more than one child often find, what works with the first child doesn’t work with the second or third. Even doctors and science often disagree on what’s right, and opinions change over time. Although there are some (current) scientific rules to follow regarding sleeping, feeding, etc., the rest is figuring out what works. It’s part of the journey you and your child are on, figuring out the puzzle of how you work together and what makes him or her grow into the best person he or she can be. When people approach you with unsolicited information, there’s nothing wrong with changing the subject. If you care to listen, take it in. But if it’s something you don’t feel is helpful or will only serve to frustrate you, turn the topic to something non-baby related. If the person cannot help but return to the topic of parenting, there’s nothing wrong with excusing yourself (when would a dirty diaper be more welcome?). Sort through the endless stream of advice and suggestions, pick out the valuable bits and discard the rest. If you and your baby are thriving and healthy, then you are doing it right. What a child needs most is to be loved beyond measure and to feel safe and secure. If you are doing this, there is nothing to question.
Have a question for Kate? Email email@example.com
Kate Smart Harrison holds a B.A. in psychology from Loyola University, New Orleans and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Missouri. Kate also attended a graduate program in Austria for peace studies and conflict transformation. Disclaimer: The advice provided in this column is for general informational and educational purposes only; it is not offered as, and does not constitute, a therapeutic relationship or psychotherapeutic advice. None of the information presented is intended as a substitute for professional consultation by a qualified practitioner.
columbiahomemagazine.com | 45
46 | february/march 2012
Welcome to the World
Clara C. Wortman Pa r e n t s : Jared and Katrina
What's the most surprising thing about being a parent? From the moment Clara was born, I felt like time started moving twice as fast as it used to. Every day she's
B i rt h w e i g h t:
growing, learning and changing, and I
6 pounds, 4.4 ounces
find myself wanting to just sit back and
B i rt h h e i g h t:
soak up every second with her because if
I blink I might miss something.
Jaxon P. Frisby Pa r e n t: Angela Frisby B i rt h w e i g h t: 7 pounds, 8 ounces
What is the thing that has surprised you the most? How hard the first couple weeks of being a new mom are. I also didn't expect breastfeeding to be so hard and complicated, but my son needs what is in the breast milk to help build his immune system.
Would you like to see your baby featured? Email your cutie to Betsy@ColumbiaHomeMagazine.com columbiahomemagazine.com | 47
shopkeeper's story | williams and hussey
An Eye for the Business
For Shelley Williams, owner of Williams and Hussey Eyecare, a career in optometry offers the professional challenge and personal freedom she needs to enjoy life to the fullest. By Molly Wright | photos by taylor allen
helley Williams, owner of Williams and Hussey Eyecare, didn’t aspire to be an optometrist. In fact, working in her father’s dermatology office from an early age, she dreamed of becoming a medical doctor. But when a college speaker opened her eyes to a career in optometry, everything changed. Now, more than 20 years later, Williams knows she made the right decision in specializing in eye care. With the freedom to set her own hours, spend more time with family and friends and travel whenever she wishes, she also enjoys life to the fullest. Born in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Williams moved with her family, parents Gary and Martha Upton and brother Gary Jr., to Denver when she was only 1 year old as her father began his dermatology career. Five years later, they settled in Long Beach, Calif., but eventually returned to Dallas/Fort Worth. But for Williams, who got her first taste of skiing and learned to snorkel and boogie board along the way, the frequent moves, along with family vacations, sparked a love for travel. Williams also developed a love for the medical profession. At 12, she began filing in her father’s office and over time took on more responsibility as she grew, eventually helping him during surgeries. However, it was the close relationship her father fostered with his patients that resonated with Williams the most. “I liked working with the patients; I liked doing something that left them with an improvement or problem solved,” she says. Determined to go to medical school, Williams attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. During a guest speaker’s talk, however, she suddenly began to question her career choice. “We had a pre-med club where we had a female optometrist come and speak,” Williams says, adding that she had never considered the field of study. “I went to her office and spent time with her and researched it.” The more she looked into optometry, the better she liked it. Upon graduating from TCU, Williams enrolled in Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn., and received her B.S in optometry four years later. Returning to Dallas, she set up her first eye-care business.
get out of school, and you don’t know much about payroll, taxes, HR issues and marketing.” She learned the business fast and prides herself on the merchandising of her frames and retail items due to her experience and knowledge of the products. In January 1996, Williams and her family moved to Columbia, where her brother, Gary Jr., a family doctor, and his family were living. “We moved up here to be closer to my brother and his family and slow down a bit,” she says. “We had young kids and didn’t want to bring them up in the big city.” Williams was also thinking about her parents. With her father originally from Seymour, Mo., “a little stop in the road,” as she refers to the tiny community outside of Springfield, there was a strong possibility they would retire in Missouri as well.
“I liked working with the patients; I liked doing something that left them with an improvement or problem solved.” — Shelley Williams
Practicing medicine while learning retail Although Williams felt her degree prepared her for working with patients, she discovered right away it was lacking in retail knowledge. “I’m running a medical practice, and I’m running a retail store,” Williams says, explaining that often optometrists provide exams, sell frames and eye-care items while also overseeing business operations. “So you 48 | february/march 2012
(573) 445-8780, 2200 Forum Blvd., Suite 102. Hours: Monday, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and every other Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
So many CUSTOMIZABLE OPTIONS, it won’t fit on this page!
At Williams and Hussey Eyecare, Shelley Williams runs both a medical practice and retail store. In addition to providing patients with vision-related expertise, the business sells quality frames and other eye-care items.
In February 1996, Williams opened Georgetown Vision Center at the corner of Forum and Chapel Hill, and she eventually worked with Scott Hussey, O.D. She’s been at her present location at 2200 Forum for four and half years, though Hussey recently moved out of the area. Williams also owns Eyedentity Eyewear next door, where they specialize in unique and exclusive frames.
Research, hobbies and a passion for travel In her spare time, Williams enjoys gardening, especially cacti and succulents, is a voracious reader and still skis when she can. “I love the speed and the wind in my hair,” she says. She’s also passionate about travel and feels that talking about travel with clients helps break the ice. More importantly, she considers travel a great way to understand the world and other cultures better and think more globally. According to Williams, “They might eat different foods, speak a different language, but you feel more of a connection.” Williams also believes in keeping healthy and fit and regularly attends yoga classes. “Physically in my job, you have to hold your arms up a lot working the machines,” she says. “I was having a lot of chronic pain and neck pain, and now that’s all gone.” She says she appreciates the mental and emotional benefits and calming, focused aspects of yoga as well. In fact, Williams has attended two yoga retreats, one in Costa Rica and another in Tuscany. Williams continues to research the future of eye care. She’s excited about the technological advances and the new discoveries in treating eye diseases. In the future she hopes to sub-practice in dry-eye conditions, which she says are a huge issue for many people, particularly in women over 50. She is determined to continue providing exceptional eye care, especially as eye care becomes more and more commercialized. “Eye exams are not just about getting new glasses,” she says. “The eye health part is skipped over sometimes. It’s a lot harder than it looks." Williams loves her job and enjoys working alongside her husband, Barry, a certified optician, who runs the optical department. With their children, Caitlin, 23, and Colin, 18, both in college, she knows she’s blessed as well. Although, she admits with a smile, “I just want to get my kids out of college and stop paying tuition.”
YOUR LIFE. YOUR HOME. YOUR STYLE.
www.lifestylesfurniture.info 573-874-1550 • 63 East Broadway Columbia, MO 65203 columbiahomemagazine.com | 49
the dish | Bleu
Serve a savory breakfast for two with this hash dish from Ben Parks of Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar. ingredients – serves 2 • 8 ounces red potatoes, cut into eighths and boiled until tender • 4 ounces shredded duck confit • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers • 1/4 cup caramelized onions • 1 tablespoon paprika
• pinch white pepper • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin • pinch cayenne pepper • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander • 4 poached eggs • harissa or hot chili sauce, to taste
preparation 1. Fry cooked potatoes in oil until crispy. 2. Add shredded duck, roasted red pepper and caramelized onions. 3. Using a spoon or spatula, smash potatoes and mix all together to create hash. 4. Allow to crisp on the bottom of the pan before stirring. 5. Add dried spices. 6. Plate hash, and top with poached eggs and harissa. 50 | february/march 2012 Ph
columbiahomemagazine.com | 51
What constitutes a romantic meal? Three Columbia couples and a professional chef weigh in. By Jill Orr
columbiahomemagazine.com | 53
He Said/ She Said/ Chef Said
We’ve all heard that certain foods can put people in the mood for romance. Oysters, chocolate, figs and even asparagus are rumored to hike up your sex drive and that of the person you share them with. Although there is little scientific evidence of any food actually causing a heightened state of arousal in men or women, it is widely known that there are certain conditions under which a couple might more easily find romance. We set out to find out what Columbians think constitutes a romantic meal, and we checked their answers against the professional experience of chef Jason Martin, of the Isle of Capri in Boonville. Our three lovely couples are: Dr. Erik and Karen Grossmann, Dr. Jeff and Stacia Coughenour and Dave and Amy Thomas.
Do you believe diners are interested in eating something just because it has aphrodisiac properties?
He said: Dave Thomas: No, I would not eat something if someone served it to me and told me it had aphrodisiac properties. I have a small fear that I might end up in an ice-filled bathtub in Las Vegas missing a kidney. She said: Amy Thomas: Yes. I ate seven days worth of oysters in Florida, and all I had to show for it were a lot of trips to the bathroom.
He said: Jeff Coughenour: No. She said: Stacia Coughenour: Uh, no. Are we really supposed to be trying to increase our husbands’ sex drives? Chef said: Yes, I believe some do. I had a friend who once choked down a whole plate of raw oysters hoping it would
help him later that night. The one thing he forgot is that it helps if she eats them as well.
Is it more romantic to go out or stay in?
He said: Jeff Coughenour: It’s more romantic to go out. It creates a heightened anticipation of what happens when we get home (check email and go straight to bed). She said: Stacia Coughenour: It’s way more romantic to go out. Looking at my dirty house and toys lying around is not a turn-on. Plus, being able to talk without hearing “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!” helps my romantic mojo.
What is your idea of a perfect romantic dinner?
He said: Erik Grossmann: The perfect romantic dinner would be a multi-course meal, served over a long period of time in small portions with good drinks. The restaurant would be quiet enough so you could talk to each other. It also helps if the waiter flirts with my wife. She said: Karen Grossmann: The perfect romantic dinner is one where I don’t have to cook or clean up. I like a nice glass or two of good wine, and I don’t want to feel rushed by the wait staff. If it helps, I’ll flirt back so we can have good service.
Chef said: A romantic dinner would be a private setting with a great view such as a rooftop or large window overlooking the city. Small portion sizes, more than three courses, with each course being light. Not a meat-and-potato meal.
Are there any foods that put people in the mood for romance?
He said: Dave Thomas: Sharing a few rolls of great sushi and a bottle of wine is usually the start of a perfect evening. She said: Amy Thomas: Does red wine count as a food? Chef said: I think fondues are pretty romantic: both cheese and chocolate fondue because they can feed them to each other.
Do you believe it’s more mood than food or food than mood that creates a romantic vibe?
He said: Erik Grossmann: Mood than food. I’ve eaten all the foods claimed to be aphrodisiacs, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference. It’s all about the environment.
She said: Karen Grossmann: I’m not sure what foods are considered aphrodisiacs, so I’ll go with mood. Chef said: I would have to say more mood than food, but if the food isn’t right, that can definitely play a part in it.
Things can go south in a hurry. 54 | february/march 2012
Chef Jason shares a romantic recipe that is sure to get sparks f lying.
Flourless Chocolate Torte 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips 5 tablespoons butter 5 tablespoons milk 5 tablespoons almonds, ground 1 cup sugar, divided 1 teaspoon baking powder 4 eggs, separated Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch cake tin with greaseproof or nonstick paper and grease the tin. Place chocolate chips in double boiler with butter and milk, and allow it to melt and incorporate. Beat egg yolks with half the sugar. Fold in chocolate mixture, almonds and baking powder. Beat egg whites with mixer until frothy; gradually add the remaining sugar, and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Fold in beaten egg whites to chocolate mixture. Place in greased 9-inch pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream and a dusting of powdered sugar. Serves 12. columbiahomemagazine.com | 55
Dr. Willett and his staff will make your smile beautiful. Dr. Kent Willett, D.D.S. Dr. Kent Willett, D.D.S., is a General Dentist practicing in Columbia, since 1981. He is well known for his talents in both sedation dentistry and cosmetic dentistry, while being a long-time member of the prestigious Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, Florida, where he has completed studies in restoring difficult dental cases. He sees referrals from all over the United States seeking high quality dental care. • American Dental Association • Academy of General Dentistry • Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation • Missouri Dental Association Dr Willett is not a specialist, he practices general dentistry. Dr. Willett has completed an American Dental Association approved one year residency program in which Conscious Sedation is taught. Cosmetic dentistry is a non-specialty interest area that requires no specific educational training to advertise this service.
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Today’s dentistry lets us have the smile we choose, not just the smile we were born with. Learn how Cosmetic Dentistry can help dramatically improve your smile, without a care in the world. Oral sedation gives you the peace of mind you’ve always wanted and makes for a totally comfortable dental experience.
1601 Chapel Hill Road • Columbia, MO Office: 573.445.5300
book club | the ruins of us
Struggles of character, study of a country Review of Keija Parssinen’s The Ruins of Us
olumbia Home’s own Keija Parssinen’s captivating debut novel, The Ruins of Us, explores the universal themes of love, betrayal and resiliency set against the backdrop of modern Saudi Arabian culture. American-born Rosalie Al-Baylani lives a comfortable life in Saudi Arabia. She loves her husband, adores her children and has grown accustomed to being a wife and mother in the country she has been fascinated with since she was a girl. But Rosalie’s life is shattered when she learns that her husband of 25 years, the wealthy and powerful Saudi Abdullah Al-Baylani, has secretly taken a second wife. A heavy curtain of heartbreak, bitterness and isolation falls over the Al-Baylani family as they struggle to make sense of their new reality. With Rosalie incapacitated from grief and Abdullah from denial, the couple’s teenage son, Faisal, seeks comfort in a Muslim fundamentalist group with controversial, perhaps even violent, ideologies. This gripping story follows Rosalie as she struggles with fear, country and conscience to make the heart-wrenching choices that will determine the fate of her family. Parssinen, who grew up as a third-generation expatriate in Saudi Arabia, deftly reveals the intricate and at times messy emotional lives of her characters while providing an education on the culture and mores of contemporary Saudi life. Her rich, evocative prose is part love letter to the land where she was born and part critical study of its complexities. At the hands of Parssinen’s skillful exposition, the reader becomes intimately acquainted with the characters’ most profound and visceral desires, particularly in the
By jill orr
case of Rosalie, Faisal and the finely drawn Dan. However, as the story rises to its harrowing climax and readers turn pages faster and faster, they might just find that, much like the characters themselves, they are unsure of what they want to happen next. There is so much to love about this book. There is the intriguing story, the graceful language, the authentically flawed characters. But one fact stands out among the rest: The only thing black and white about this novel is the ink and paper upon which it’s printed. You will find yourself thinking about The Ruins of Us long after you put it down. So be sure to pick it up. Keija Parssinen, The Ruins of Us, Harper Perennial, $14.99
Author Q&A Columbia Home recently sat down with Keija Parssinen to talk about her novel, The Ruins of Us. Q: You, like Rosalie, spent much of your childhood living in Saudi Arabia while your parents worked for Aramco, a Saudi-owned oil company. How did your background influence this novel? A: When I started writing the book, it was a way to travel back to Saudi in my mind. I left when my parents moved back to the United States when I was 12. When you leave Saudi Arabia, they take your visa and you are not allowed to go back. So, in a way, it’s really like your home is taken away from you, physically anyway. I think I felt I was being robbed of memories. But in writing the book, I did a ton of research and in 2008, because my dad was living there, I was allowed to travel back. I stayed with Saudi friends in Khobar and got to experience life with Saudi family and really study the city — what it looked like, the colors, the sound of the traffic. It was fantastic. Q: What were you hoping readers would gain from reading this book? A: I hope they enjoy it, first and foremost! But also, I think the book is an honest look at how cultures clash and why. At its heart, I hope it does convey my belief that the human emotional makeup is universal. Our cultural elements may influence and get in the way of our relationships, but we all experience the same emotions regardless of where we come from.
The Book Femmes Book Club
photo by summer allen
The Book Femmes began with four women who joined to discuss the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in 1999. The all-female group is now fourteen members strong and twelve years old and hosts meetings with special guests and local authors. “Our husbands got so envious that they started their own spinoff book club, the Book Guys,” says member Alice Christensen. Pictured are members of the Book Femmes and Book Guys: Standing (from left): Robin Kennedy, David Bedan, Ron Kucera, Warren Solomon, Joan Solomon, Ron DeLaite, Linda Green, guest author Ibtisam Barakat (in red sweater and cap), Julie Midkiff, Alice Christensen, Ken Midkiff, Mary Sasser, Frank Schmidt, Brenda Peculis, Jim Sasser, John O'Connor. Kneeling or seated (from left): George Kennedy, Terry Gainey, Carole Sue DeLaite, Dick Leuke, Eydie Leuke, Nancy Bedan. Not pictured: Summer Allen, Katy Ottinger, Pam Haverland, Gordon Christensen
Do you belong to a book club you’d like to see featured in Columbia Home? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, facebook.com/ColumbiaHome
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the mommy chronicles | HELICOPTER PARENTING
Beyond Helicopter Parenting
How about rickshaw, limo or ice-cream truck parenting? Carnival cruise parent
By jill orr
These parents want to have fun! They either can’t find a babysitter or feel too guilty to leave the kids at home, so they bring them along wherever they go. The parents continue to behave exactly as they would if their children were not there. They stop occasionally to feed and briefly converse with their offspring and usually utter the words, “Not now,” and “When I’m ready to go.”
Rickshaw parent (also known as field plow and dog sled parents) We all know a helicopter parent when we see one. They’re the moms and dads obsessively bug-spraying, sun-blocking or hat-’n’-gloving their kids while shouting at them not to climb too high, swim out too far or touch anything in the bathroom. However much we may judge these parents (even when we see them in the mirror), there is a sense of satisfaction at being able to put a name to their neurosis. They are helicopter parents, and we know this because a doctor and a parenting guru (Dr. Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay) coined the term in 1990. Since then, the expression has been firmly entrenched in our vocabulary. As far as I’m concerned, helicopter parenting is the best kind of term: descriptive, memorable, catchy and kind of funny. But it’s limited. It only describes one parenting style. And because most of us employ multiple parenting methods throughout the years, perhaps even throughout the day, I feel the list of parenting metaphors can and should be expanded. So, though I am neither a doctor nor a parenting guru, I’ve taken a crack at it myself.
Tandem bicycle parent
These parents attempt to get their children involved in the parenting process with questions such as, “What do you think your punishment should be?” and “How much do you think you should get for allowance?” Much like the tandem bicycle itself, this kind of parenting sounds like it would be fun — but it isn’t. If you choose to parent this way, keep in mind that though the tandem bike may have two sets of pedals, only one person can steer it. I suggest making sure it’s you. 58 | february/march 2012
These parents like to take it easy. They are perfectly comfortable to sit back and direct their children from afar. They tell their kids to take out the trash, rake the leaves and make dinner — all from the comfort of the couch. This kind of parenting works best under a fear-based regime and only until the children grow weary and stage the inevitable coup.
Express train parent These parents are in a big hurry all the time and continually say: “Let’s go! C’mon! Let’s go!” They get things done. Lots of things. They never sit still. They never chill out. They are always in forward motion. Their children often resort to lollygagging in a passiveaggressive form of protest, which often causes the express train parent to go off the rails.
Ice-cream truck parent Almost everyone is guilty of being one of these parents at least once in a while. Ice-cream truck parents get their child to do what they want them to do by promising them a sweet treat if they comply. It’s effective but to be used sparingly. (Admission: My daughter will do almost anything for a Hershey’s Kiss, so in my house this technique is grossly overused.)
Limousine parent These parents want to make sure their kids arrive in style. They want it known that their children are special and deserve to stand out. Limousine parents needn’t know the direction they are going because they’ve hired someone to know for them. They only need to pony up the dough and sit back and enjoy the ride. Be aware: Kids parented in this way may become driven by a lavish lifestyle but not know how to get there on their own.
Motorcycle side car parent These parents have a wild side. They like their adrenaline rush and want their kids to like it, too. They travel in the fast lane and take the kids along as they bob and weave their way down the road. These parents love high speeds and high drama. Note: This can also work in reverse, in which the child drives and the parent goes along for the ride. Either way, it’s best to buckle up. It’s usually a bumpy ride.
Southwest Airlines parent
These parents are on a budget and know how to have a good time. So what if they’re not super organized? Who cares if occasionally they take off without all of their passengers? They are fun! They are wild. They compose funny raps and make wry, witty puns about safety and cleanliness. They might not be the most refined parents around, but they get the job done and do it with a smile.
These parents know where they want their children to go in life, and they will flatten anyone who gets in their way (including the children themselves). It’s best to get out of the way when you see a bulldozer parent if at all possible.
Eurorail parent (aka tour bus parent)
These parents want their kids to see it all, do it all and experience it all. They take their children from museums to galleries to monuments (whether they like it or not). These parents have a continual talk track going about what they are seeing and why it will improve their kids’ lives. Note: Kids generally absorb only 5 to 7 percent of this information: even less when they have access to an iPhone or Nintendo DS.
Private jet parents (aka Maybach parenting)
These parents want their kids to know that they have a lot of money and that they aren’t afraid to spend it.
These parents are looking to recreate the kind of fun they remember having when they were kids. Often, they are remembering things from when they were an older child. But in their zeal, four-wheeler parents will forget this and attempt to relive all their childhood memories when junior is about five years too young. You see them with their 1-year-olds at DoraLive! or off for a hunting trip before the kid can even read or with their American Girl whose face has been colored on with a Sharpie. Note: A mutation of this kind of parent is the go kart parent, which is the deep-fried version of the four-wheeler parent. They function the same way but are frequently drawn to guns, roadside fireworks and yes, go karts.
VW Bug parenting
These parents don’t believe in personal space; they like to be super close to their kids.
Wonder Woman’s invisible jet parents
This is the worst kind of parent. These people have kids, but no one ever actually sees them parenting.
Jill Orr is a stay-at-home mom of two (an odd title because she is rarely ever at home). In her pre-Mommy days, she graduated from the University of Missouri with an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's in social work, with an emphasis on children and family studies. But she wishes she would have gotten a Ph.D. in What's For Dinner and How to Get Bubblegum Out of the Carpet. That would have served her better. Read her blog at jillsorr.com.
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If there is any of my talent that seems good, if any of the photographs stir your heart, if any seem beautiful and lovely, if any seem praiseworthy or if anything that I say or do has a profound and positive effect on you, then I give all the credit, all the praise and all the glory to God and my saviour Jesus Christ, in whose name, and by no other name under heaven, is salvation found.
We ALWAYS give you all of the images on disk - no matter what kind of photo shoot it is.
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Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
fashion forcast | Swank boutique
by lily dawson
photos by taylor allen
Pantone announced â€œTangerine Tangoâ€? as its top color for 2012. Erin Wagoner, owner of Swank Boutique, lends her fashion expertise and ideas for how to wear this citrine hue. She suggests layering the bright color with other solids such as the ones photographed. All are available at Swank in the District.
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Rock the little red dress this season. Dancers from the Missouri Contemporary Ballet break out of their shells to show off this sexy shade.
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Styled by Lily Dawson Assisted by Teresa Klassen Photos by Taylor Allen Clockwise from top: On Karen: Rubber Ducky Sequined Backless Dress, Elly's Couture, $139.99; Miss 21 Earrings, Breeze, $22.50; Ring's Eclectic Ring, Elly's Couture, $99. On Genene: Signature by Robbie B. Dress, Dillard's, $53.60; Hoop Earrings, Britches, $5; Scarf, Breeze, $24. On Elise: see pg. 65. On Caroline: Judith March Cap-sleeve Dress, Elly's Couture, $149.99; Bangle Bracelet Set, Britches, $20; Obra Flower Ring, Breeze, $16.50. On Snappel: Patterned Red Scarf, Breeze, $10.
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Opposite Page: On Genene: Prim Blouse, Swank, $128; Prim Skirt, Swank, $138; Ada Metallic Obi Wrap Belt, Swank, $70; Princess Wood Earrings, Britches $16.50; Adia Kibur Ring, Elly's Couture, $49.99. This page: On Elise: Everly Wrap Dress, Britches, $45; Betsey Johnson Royal Engagement Bracelet, Elly's Couture, $135; Betsey Johnson Royal Engagement Necklace, Elly's Couture, $115.
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Opposite page: On Caroline: Double Zero dress, Breeze, $49; Hair Scarf, Breeze, $10; Paige necklace (worn as bracelet), Lily Dawson Designs, $99. This Page: On Elise: MM Couture Corset Dress, Dillard's, $69; Pixie Dust Sheer Burgundy Shawl, Elly's Couture, $49.99; Triple Pyrite Necklace, Lily Dawson Designs, $50.
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NORTH LOCATION 1414 Rangeline (573) 449-6230 SOUTH LOCATION 3709 Providence Rd. Suite D (573) 874-1186
Owner, Randy Peterson Locally Owned Business for 57 years
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sweet satisfy his
By Lily Dawson photos by casey buckman
Surprise your sweetie with delectable homemade treats this Valentine’s Day. These delicacies taste as great as they look, and decorating them is the half the fun. Whether you’re a cookie artist or a rookie baker, these treats are sure to win the heart of your sugar this Valentine’s Day.
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cake pops 1 box cake mix* Â˝ 16-ounce can frosting Wax paper 1-pound package of candy melts Lollipop sticks Sprinkles** After cake is cooked and cooled completely, mix in food processor until small crumbles form. Add frosting to crumbled cake in food processor and mix until dough forms. Roll mixture into quarter-size balls and place on wax paper-covered cookie sheet (should make 45-50). Refrigerate balls for one hour. Melt candy melts in the microwave per directions on package.
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Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the cake balls (insert about halfway). Place them in the freezer for a little while to firm up. Once firm, carefully insert the cake ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Donâ€™t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off too. While the melted candy coating is still wet sprinkle with nonpareils and other decorations. Place in a Styrofoam block to dry. Store in refrigerator. * Cook as directed on box for 13-by-9-inch cake ** Sugar sprinkles, nonpareil sprinkles, etc.
Recipe adapted from bakerella.com/hope-these-puta-smile-on-your-face/
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oreo truffles 1 package Oreo cookies 1 8-ounce package softened cream cheese white chocolate bark Finely crush five cookies in a food processor or place them in a Ziploc bag and crush into a fine consistency. Reserve for later. Crush remaining cookies in food processor until crumbles form. Stir in softened cream cheese and combine with food processor.
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Refrigerate mixture for one hour. Roll the mixture into 10 balls and place on wax paper-covered cookie sheet. Refrigerate balls for one hour. Melt chocolate as directed on the package and then dip balls into chocolate, tap off extra and set aside on wax paper-covered cookie sheet to dry. You can sprinkle the tops with the crushed cookies for decoration or drizzle with melted dark chocolate. Once dry, they are ready to eat. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 36 truffles. Recipe adapted from bakerella.com/grocery-itemgoes-gourmet/
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By Ellie Hensley | illustration by scott schmidt
he chocolate chip cookies on the coffee table are too tempting for 5-year-old Thomas Becker. He knows he shouldn’t ask his mother, Megan Moore, who is in the kitchen making mushroom risotto, for one because she won’t want him ruining his appetite. But he also knows he has another option. “Fanny, can I please have a cookie?” he asks. “OK,” says Fanny Zoelssman, 19, as Thomas takes a cookie from the plate and tears off into the basement to play. Every weekday, Fanny has cared for Thomas and his younger sisters, Sophie, 3, and Gabby, 1.5. As their au pair, she has also lived with the family for the past year. “Au pair” is French for “on par” or “equal to,” meaning that though Fanny watches the Becker children when their parents need her to, she is also treated as a member of their family instead of an employee. Many cultural exchange programs offer young people the opportunity to be an au pair anywhere in the United States and also to work full time, which most au pairs in Europe can’t do. Fanny watches the Becker children for up to 45 hours a week, whenever the family needs her, but never for longer than 10 hours a day. She gets free room and board, one weekend off a month and two weeks of vacation time, as well as the $195.75 per week the Beckers are required to pay. It’s a bargain compared to regular babysitters as well as an ideal arrangement for their family. “Normally, if you have a nanny, it’s a rush to get home after work because you have to get to home at a certain time,” Megan says. “There’s no leeway, and that’s certainly not something you have to worry about with an au pair.” Megan says she also appreciates the bond Fanny has formed with her three kids. “It’s much more like having a big sister for your children than it is having a care provider,” she says.
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Finding a good match Fanny grew up in Germany in the small town of Schleiz, where she still lives with her younger brother, parents and grandparents. After graduating high school, she decided university wasn’t for her. “I wanted to do something else, see something else and find out what my aim in life is,” she says. “Being an au pair was the best combination of the things I wanted to do. I was able to take care of kids, explore and live the American way of life by living with an American family, travel and improve my English.” She filled out an application with Cultural Homestay International, a nonprofit organization with numerous exchange programs, including one that helps match potential au pairs with families from the United States. To qualify, she had to be between 18 and 24 and Englishproficient; Fanny had been learning English since the fifth grade. Watching her small cousins when she was 13 was her first experience with childcare, but to qualify for the program she needed 200 documented hours, so she worked for several months at a daycare for 1- to 2-year-olds while she waited to be placed. Meanwhile, Megan and her husband, Johannes Becker, were saying goodbye to their first au pair and beginning their search for another. Because Johannes travels every Monday through Friday for his job in consulting and Megan is an assistant professor who teaches French at the University of Missouri, they need someone available every weekday to watch their kids. Getting an au pair was an easy decision for Megan, who spent time in France as an au pair while she was in college and loved it. “Of course it’s always difficult to take care of other people’s kids, but I really enjoyed my time abroad,” she says. “It was nice to be able to reciprocate.”
For Fanny Zoelssman, being an au pair to the Becker familyâ€™s three small children was a warm welcome to America
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Fanny met Megan and Johannes over the phone, then they interviewed her over Skype. They liked that she had experience caring for toddlers and that she could speak French and German because Johannes grew up in Germany and, like Megan, also speaks French. It was a perfect match. When Fanny arrived on Dec. 6, 2010, she had only seen pictures of the children, but they made a wonderful first impression when Megan brought them to the St. Louis Airport to meet her with a bouquet of flowers. “The kids weren’t scared at all,” Fanny says. “On the contrary, they were really inquisitive and asked me tons of questions.” Back in Columbia, Thomas and Sophie excitedly showed her their bedrooms and toys, which made getting acquainted a breeze. Gabby was only 4 months old then, younger than anyone Fanny had ever cared for, but learning was nearly effortless because the baby only cried when she was hungry or sleepy. A typical workday begins at 8 a.m., when Fanny has breakfast with the kids and gets Thomas and Sophie ready for school. They are students at La Petite Ecole, a French immersion school in Columbia, so they will be able to speak French with their parents. Sophie is at school from 9 a.m. until noon while Thomas stays home and plays games or does art projects. Sometimes Fanny takes them to Going Bonkers or, if the weather is nice, the playground. At noon, she picks Sophie up and tries to feed everyone a healthy lunch in the 45 minutes she has before Thomas needs to be dropped off. He’s in class until 4 p.m., so she spends the afternoons doing fun things with the girls, such as baking cookies. When Megan comes home at 4:30, Fanny’s usually off for the day. Johannes and Megan also give her most weekends a month off instead of just one. “I think it’s better in situations where you’re trying to be a family to treat each other nicely,” Megan says.
Living the American way
Live from your iPhone or iPad.
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Compared to her hometown of approximately 8,700 people, Columbia looks like a big city. Fanny loves how late the stores are open, going to the mall and having coffee or ice cream downtown. Once a week she takes a Zumba class at the ARC, and she took a childhood development and a Spanish class to fulfill CHI’s requirement that she take six college credit hours. She’s also made friends with a few teaching assistants at the kids’ school from France and even went to Six Flags and a Katy Perry concert in St. Louis with them. They’re too young to get into bars, but otherwise she’s free to do what she wants and borrow the car as long as someone knows where she’s going. “Megan and Johannes have always treated me like an adult member of the family,” she says. In her short time here, Fanny has managed to see more of the United States than many of its citizens have. Her CHI orientation was held in Washington, D.C., and over Christmas the Beckers took her to Chicago and Minnesota to meet the kids’
“Au pair” is French for “on par” or “equal to,” meaning that though Fanny watches the Becker children when their parents need her to, she is also treated as a member of their family instead of an employee. grandparents. She visited California in June and saw the Grand Canyon with her parents in July, when they came to visit her and meet the Beckers. Her wanderlust also took her to Hawaii, where she vacationed with a tour group. It rained most of the trip, but she did get to swim at Waikiki Beach and tour Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. “America is a beautiful country with friendly, helpful people,” she says. “I didn’t really expect anything different.” Of course, there were a few things to adjust to, such as driving a car with an automatic shift, paying with a credit or debit card and eating American food. Everything was easy to get used to except for the bread here; Fanny says it’s “not good” and misses dark, crusty German bread. She also misses her family, though they Skype once a week for about two hours, which has been enough to ward off any homesickness.
Going home All too quickly, a year has gone by and it’s time for Fanny to go back to Germany and spend Christmas with her family. The Becker family has another au pair coming to stay with them this month, but they’re sad to see Fanny go. “It’s been great seeing her settle in here, and we will miss her a lot,” Megan says. “She has such a strong relationship with all the kids, but Gabby in particular was so close to her.” Back in Germany, Fanny is preparing to take a test for a job with the Customs Department. If she makes the cut, she’ll start attending a special school in August where she’ll learn about the county’s politics and economy for three years before being officially inducted. She credits her experience with the multilingual Beckers for helping her determine which career path to take. “Being an au pair was a great opportunity,” Fanny says. “I became more self-confident and also more independent, and I realize that I can make decisions without my parents.” She has decided that if the customs job works out, she’s going to move out of her family’s house this fall. After caring for three children, Fanny knows now that she can certainly take care of herself.
Ardha Padmasana & Anjali Mudra (Half Lotus with Prayer Hands) Sit with legs folded (or simply sit on a cushion). Lift the right foot and ankle onto your left thigh. Relax and breathe. Inhale arms overhead connecting palms. Exhale the hands in front of heart. Inhale lengthen the spine and gaze over nose. Press the fingertips together and ride the long, soft waves of your breath. Close your eyes. Enjoy.
210B Saint James Street | North Village Arts District Yoga Sol offers a variety of classes for all skill levels. columbiahomemagazine.com | 77
For her latest music video, the incomparable piano rocker Kristeen Young returned to one of her favorite artistic communities: Columbia By Stephanie Detillier
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A Style of Her T
rue originality can be hard to find in the ever-diluted music industry. But this September, Columbians only had to peek inside Mojo’s for a glimpse of it. There, St. Louis native Kristeen Young was filming a music video for “I’ll Get You Back,” a glam rock song she wrote from the perspective of the angry apple tree in The Wizard of Oz. Her edgy, eclectic lyrics and inventive musical arrangements could have been evidence enough of her uniqueness. But her style, especially the over-the-top outfits that she designs and sews, also packs an unexpected punch. “She is a pioneer in her artistic form — a brave visionary, like Madonna or Lady Gaga, but without the diva attitude,” says Tracy Lane, executive director of Ragtag Programming. In the early 1990s, Lane managed Young’s Missouri-based band before the performer took her aggressive piano playing and operatic voice to New York. Since then, Young has toured around the world, most recently opening for indie rocker Morrissey. Although her music has yet to make her a household name, Young takes pride in maintaining her own style rather than conforming to popular standards — even if it means facing tough criticism and making less money.
“I’ve tried sounding or looking like what is popular at a given time, but it’s never quite right,” she says. “I can never get past me, my filter, who I am. I don’t have to concentrate on having my own style. I just do, and it’s always been this way … going all the way back to my early childhood.”
Missouri roots A half-Apache, half-German foster child, Young grew up amid the diverse St. Louis music scene and was adopted by strict Christian parents. She started playing piano but felt frustrated that the instrument had lost its powerful edge in rock music. The energetic piano playing of Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard had faded, but Young was determined to revive piano rock in her own way. As Young began experimenting with several musical styles, she found a welcoming artistic community in Columbia. Splitting her time between Columbia and St. Louis, she often performed at The Blue Note, and when she wasn’t on the downtown venue’s stage, she worked there as a bathroom attendant. “My job was mostly throwing buckets of water in overly used toilets,” she says. “I’m sure they’ve upgraded since then.”
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nor character: Violet Bick in It’s A Wonderful Life, Lucy Westenra in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, Pris from Blade Runner, Old Lodge Skins in Little Big Man, Sarah Jane Johnson in Imitation of Life. And the angry apple tree from The Wizard of Oz. Despite all the creative spinoffs from the 1939 classic, no one had delved into the tree along the yellow-brick road that takes offense at Dorothy picking an apple from its branches. Young felt a commonality with the unlikely character: “The idea of doing all this work and creating something, and someone just happens to pop by and pluck it from you,” she says in her website bio. “That was my complete experience of the past couple years: being food for thieves.” The most obvious example of that is the infamous plastic bubble dress that Young designed, created and wore during the 2007 Morrissey tour, including an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. In 2009, Lady Gaga sported an unmistakably similar, though more refined, bubble dress on tour and on the cover of Rolling Stone. Young’s cult fans were quick to point out the rip-off. After all, Young’s inventive DIY outfits, whether they’re fashioned out of piano keys or Wonder Bread bags, play a large role in her arresting stage presence. Young says she’s al-
Upon moving to New York, she began working with producer Tony Visconti, which led to a contributing vocalist role on David Bowie’s Heathen and the opening act for the 2007 Morrissey tour. After fulfilling her piano-driven goals in her 2009 album Music for Strippers, Hookers and the Odd On-Looker, Young set out to reinvent her music again; she drew on multiple styles from the electro-funk of Prince and Rick James to opera and dark wave. How does she manage to keep up a distinct, fresh style? Young says it isn’t much of a problem because she tends to get bored quicker than others. “I’m usually the one changing, and other people are admonishing me for it,” she says, “but they come around a couple of years later.”
Unexpected inspiration Young recorded music with various Columbia artists, though she wasn’t as involved in the arrangements of her songs as she is today. “Because I was so young, insecure and not very practical-minded, I didn’t understand lots of things and gave control up to other people who appeared to know more,” she says. “They usually did, and sometimes they didn’t. But I loved every nitty gritty minute of my time there, and I learned a lot.” 80 | february/march 2012
It’s quite common for musicians to draw lyrical inspiration from unhappy periods in life, but nothing Young does is ordinary. So when she found herself in a funk, watching Turner Classic Movies and feeling invisible, she decided to explore the personalities of supporting characters from iconic films. Often, not much is known about them, which left Young with an open canvas. Thus, nearly every song on her latest EP, V The Volcanic, carries the perspective of a mi-
ways been driven to make stuff, though she still has room to grow. “I still have many experiments fail, and I’m still very amateurish in the ways I piece things together,” she says. “For example, I sew, but I really don’t know how to properly sew. A real tailor would laugh until vomiting.” In keeping with her continual reinvention, she doesn’t become attached to her custom-made clothing. “I can’t even remember the outfits after they are worn and gone as I’m always obsessed with the next one — the one that I’m trying to find time to make,” she says. “It’s perpetual. I’d like to stop, but I keep getting ideas that tempt me.”
Back to Columbia To depict the apple tree-inspired “I’ll Get You Back,” Young had the idea of performing a brutal danse apache, a Parisian routine from the early 20th century. She approached the video’s choreographer, Karen Grundy of the Missouri Contemporary Ballet, and her dance partner, Fernando Rodriguez, also of the Missouri Contemporary Ballet, with the concept. “I had never heard of it [danse apache], honestly,” Grundy says. “Danse apache has a slight tango feel, so I tried to keep that theme throughout. The rest was partner work: Fernando flipping and throwing her around, and Kristeen pushing him to the ground and taking control of the situation in the end. I was slightly concerned at first because of the violence of the dance, especially towards the woman, but I think we pulled it off pretty well without sending any bad messages.” The rehearsals drew Young back to Columbia, where her old friend Lane helped her find a beatnik-like location to film the video: Mojo’s. Drawing on her experience and connections as executive director of True/False Film Fest, Lane assisted Young with finding resources and extras. “Kristeen is extremely talented and had a clear vision as to how she wanted the video to look and feel,” Grundy says. “We had a lot of laughs throughout the rehearsal process, which was quite strenuous, especially for a non-dancer. Even though there were days when she was really feeling her body in ways she never had before, Kristeen was completely professional and worked her butt off.” With Grundy, Rodriguez and Lane all based in Columbia, it made perfect sense for Young to film her video there. But another part of the city’s allure was the welcome mat it puts out for diverse artists. “My memories of the atmosphere in Columbia are fantastically positive,” she says. “I remember it being a compact and cooperative artistic community and have never found any other residence to be as satisfying in this regard. My whole life has been and continues to be given to artistic endeavor, so this is important to me. I was elated to have the same kind of experience this time around.” columbiahomemagazine.com | 81
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LuckyStars By Ellie Hensley Photos by angelique hunter
Missouri Heart and Stroke Stars, Bob Heiberger and Alice Cunningham
oday a staggering 36.9 percent of Americans have some form of heart disease. Stroke is the third-highest leading cause of death in the United States and claims more than 140,000 lives per year. The chance of actually surviving a brain aneurysm, heart attack or stroke is significantly low. That’s why Bob Heiberger and Alice Cunningham are both lucky to be here, and that’s why both are being honored as Heart and Stroke Stars at this year’s Dr. Hugh E. Stephenson, M.D., Heart and Stroke Ball, held in Columbia at the Reynolds Alumni Center on Jan. 28. University Hospital doctors nominated Heiberger after he survived a brain aneurysm last year, and Cunningham was nominated by Boone Hospital after her speedy recovery following a four-vessel heart bypass. Here they share their incredible stories and sage advice for overcoming life’s sudden obstacles.
Not So Silly Questions Every hour on the hour, one of Bob Heiberger’s doctors came to his bedside. “I’m going to ask you a few silly questions,” he or she would say. “Do you know what your name is? Do you know where you are? Do you know why you’re here?” Heiberger didn’t know any of those things in the beginning. He couldn’t imagine what he’d done to end up in this square, clean room with the fancy machines. He was pretty foggy on personal details, too. He had no idea that he’d suffered a brain aneurysm, and it certainly hadn’t occurred to him that he was lucky to be alive. Aug. 30, 2010, was a typical day until he was getting ready for bed with his wife, Victoria, when he was struck with severe head pains. Then he passed out.
Victoria couldn’t wake him; she couldn’t even tell if he was breathing. Immediately she called 911. While she was speaking to the dispatcher, Heiberger woke up. He seemed coherent enough when the first responder showed up to their home in Brumley, Mo., but he was surprised to find it was their mailman, Mark Whittle, who moonlights as Brumley’s assistant fire chief. He chatted with Mark until the ambulance arrived. The crew didn’t know what to do with him; his vital signs were fine. They asked Victoria what she wanted to do. “Take him,” she said. “He passed out cold, and I couldn’t revive him. That’s not normal.” She followed the ambulance to Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach, Mo., where Heiberger was given a CAT scan that revealed bleeding on his brain. His condition was declining, and doctors recommended airlifting him to University Hospital in Columbia. He remembers the whir of the helicopter blades above his head but had no idea where he was going. Fortunately, he was being delivered into very capable hands at University Hospital’s Trauma Center, which is the only American College of Surgeons-verified level I trauma center in midMissouri. The neurosurgery team quickly determined that the bleeding was caused by a brain aneurysm. “What I learned is that an aneurysm is sort of like a balloon on the side of your artery, and as blood goes through the artery, it weakens the balloon until it finally breaks,” Heiberger says. At 7 a.m., neurologist Dr. Ashish Nanda rushed him into surgery, but he had no intention of cutting open Heiberger’s brain. The aneurysm was in a region that would have been risky to operate on, but its hook-shaped opening made it possible to use a procedure called coiling. Through an incision in columbiahomemagazine.com | 83
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Left: Bob and Victoria Heiberger Below: Alice Cunningham
the groin, Dr. Nanda wound a tiny metallic wire through Heiberger’s artery all the way up into the aneurysm in his brain and filled it with tiny coils like a ball of yarn until blood could no longer rush into the affected area. In the next few days, there was another procedure and another surgery to relieve pressure and swelling from fluid buildup in the brain, but Heiberger pulled through. “If someone has a bleed in the brain from aneurysm rupture, prognosis is not that good,” Dr. Nanda says. “One-third of patients continue to live life the way they are now, one-third of patients will die and one-third will live with lots of deficits and neurological problems. He was in that lucky one-third.”
“Take every day at its fullest because you just never know. When something like this happens, you’re fine, and then two seconds later you’re on the floor. It just shows just how fragile life is.” — Bob Heiberger During his 11-day stay in the neurological/medical intensive care unit, the entire staff went out of their way to make both Heiberger and Victoria feel more at home. “I believe that gets you through so much of the difficult things,” Victoria says. “To be surrounded by people who care if you have
a warm blanket, who care if you’ve eaten, who care about you also.” One nurse, Mallory Trosper, saw that Victoria was exhausted and struggling to keep a brave face in front of her husband, so she made her go home and promised to take her place watching over Heiberger. Mallory also brought Heiberger his favorite banana hotfudge sundae on her day off when he was discharged from the ICU into a regular hospital room. When he went home on Sept. 13, they sent him a detailed thank-you card with notes from everyone who’d known him as a patient. He asked his neurosurgeons what he should do next, and they told him: “Just go back to living your life. It’s fixed.” With no medications or physical therapy required, Heiberger only needed two weeks of time to heal. He started working half days on Oct. 4 at his job as director of maintenance for the School of the Osage and eased himself back into full-time hours. He still enjoys his active lifestyle and coming home to do work in the yard until it starts getting dark, but everything feels a little different now. “Take every day at its fullest because you just never know,” he says. “When something like this happens, you’re fine, and then two seconds later you’re on the floor. It just shows just how fragile life is.”
Alice Cunningham loves the slots. The shiny, colorful machines themselves, the crowd clamoring for the big payday and the thrill of “maybe” hanging in the air bring her back every day with a smile on her face. A slot attendant at the Isle of Capri in Boonville since it opened 10 years ago, Cunningham, 65, has never been much of a gambler, but she does know a thing or two about chance.
Cunningham is living with coronary heart disease, a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries, limits blood flow to the heart and poses a risk of life-threatening blood clots. She was diagnosed when she had a heart attack coming home from work in 2004. At Columbia’s Boone Hospital, cardiologist Dr. Sanjeev Ravipudi inserted several stents to open up the blocked arteries. “She was asked to think about modifying her lifestyle and addressing her cardiac risk factors,” Dr. Ravipudi says. “This included diet, exercise, managing her high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.” Even secondhand smoke from the casino could’ve played a role in her disease, but Cunningham enjoyed her job and needed the money, so she returned full time. She also returned to work quickly in 2007 after her second mild heart attack, which was caused by a blood clot the doctors removed. Cunningham also suffers from peripheral arterial disease, in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs and limbs, which puts her at risk for stroke. In early 2011, she had surgery to remove the buildup that was causing her arteries to narrow as a preventive measure, but the effort backfired. Shortly after the surgery, she was struck with a transient ischemic attack, or “mini-stroke,” which lasted only a few minutes. Yet her greatest scare came last Oct. 14, when she collapsed suddenly in her bedroom. Her husband and son called an ambulance because she wouldn’t wake and couldn’t breathe for herself. The EMTs put columbiahomemagazine.com | 85
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“Faith and family are what get you through. I thank God every day I live. I have more respect for people and try to get along rather than argue and fight. Life is short; you better enjoy it.” — Alice Cunningham in a breathing tube when they arrived before whisking her away to Boone Hospital, where she was admitted for respiratory failure. “Presumably, what happened to cause her to collapse was one of the arteries clotted off and caused a rhythm problem in her heart,” says Dr. Eric Thompson, her heart surgeon at Boone. “It didn’t happen long enough for her to die; without a doubt she was critically ill.” After three days on a ventilator, Cunningham was gradually waking up when she heard Dr. Ravipudi telling her husband, Leslie, that he had found three new blockages in her major arteries and she would need a four-vessel bypass. “Oh, my God,” she thought. “What if I don’t make it?” Cunningham spent the next excruciating week and a half recovering and waiting for certain medications to leave her system before she could have the bypass. On the table at her home in Bunceton, Mo., she set out her insurance papers along with everything else of importance for Leslie, just in case. Cunningham’s bypass, performed by Dr. Thompson on Oct. 25, went wonderfully. “She’s really got a positive attitude, and she’s one of those people who was gung-ho about returning to work ASAP,” Dr. Thompson says. “And when people are motivated, they just do so much better after surgery." Cunningham found Boone’s entire staff to be very helpful and encouraging. “Everybody bragged on how well I was doing so quickly, even the gentleman who comes in to tell you about therapy,” she says. “He took me on my first walk the second day, and he couldn’t believe how bouncy I was.” Four days later, she came home and recovered for three weeks before going back to work full time, resilient as ever. Cunningham’s heart attacks didn’t damage her heart too severely, and she’s allowed to resume her normal activity without limitations or special instructions. She sees her cardiologist regularly, monitors her diabetes closely and takes good care of herself because she knows how blessed she is to be alive. “Half of all people who suffer a heart attack die before they can get to a hospital for medical attention,” Dr. Ravipudi says. “Patients with heart disease, diabetes and peripheral arterial disease are at six to seven times greater risk for developing recurrent problems with their heart and vascular disease and have a much higher mortality rate. She is lucky to still be with us.” Cunningham never dwells on her heart problems, nor does she coddle herself. Her only complaint about her bypass is that it sullied her perfect attendance record at work. Everything else is back to normal, exactly how she likes it. But she still feels “changed” by the experience. “Faith and family are what get you through,” she says. “I thank God every day I live. I have more respect for people and try to get along rather than argue and fight. Life is short; you better enjoy it.” columbiahomemagazine.com | 87
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ot os By by Mo davi lly d Wr ow ig ens ht
In du lg in g
Me For many women, nurture is truly our middle name. We take care of and make everyone feel loved, from boyfriends and husbands to children and best friends, even the family pets. But in focusing all our attention on others, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Three local women share their stories of how they discovered their true selves and the reasons behind the necessity for their drastic changes. We start with Darla, a mother of five, whose experience with a local plastic surgeon is sure to demystify any preconceived notions associated with the procedures. Next is 28-year-old MU graduate student Tara, who has completely changed her lifestyle and lost 134 pounds in the process. Lastly, Linda agreed to a Columbia Home makeover after we posted the call on our Facebook page. We were with Linda every step of the way to get her to a new look that brought out the true beauty she had been hiding throughout the stresses of her life.
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Darla Honn intends to “grow old gracefully” but not in the conventional way. With breastfeeding, losing and gaining weight and unrelenting gravity to contend with, Honn believes women’s bodies need a little touching up as they get older, so for this self-proclaimed “finish-it kind of gal,” the question was never if she would get cosmetic surgery, but when. Darla’s time came once her five children were old enough and she had a break from her teaching job in the summer. She consulted multiple cosmetic surgeons in Kansas City and Columbia about a breast lift and tummy tuck procedure. She wanted the best possible experience at any cost and was determined to find it. Columbia plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Concannon stood out among her top choices because of his relatable bedside manner, honesty and reasonable opinions. “He never tried to talk me into anything; he never misled me on anything,” she says. “He gave me realistic expectations from the beginning.” Together they decided a tummy tuck and breast lift would be her best option. She was adamant with Dr. Concannon on giving her back her pre-baby body. Honn is a natural DD-cup size, and many surgeons advised she have a breast reduction, which didn’t sit well with her due to her stocky frame. She appreciated Dr. Concannon’s understanding in keeping up her original body shape,
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just putting things back where they belong. “I didn’t want to look different, I just wanted to look like me,” she says. “The recovery,” Honn says, “had no complications at all.” Her breasts looked great from day one, and scarring and other problems associated with the lift have never been an issue. The whole process was about restoring the body, which Honn is glad to say, “the team at Concannon Plastic Surgery exceeded all my expectations.” Although Honn had considered cosmetic surgery for a while, she realizes many women may still think “going under the knife” is purely for vanity. “We're not afraid to maintain our home, put shingles on, paint or refinish our hardwood floors,” she says. “But we think we're being selfish or vain taking care of ourselves. We're living longer, and times are changing; you just have to maintain, that’s all there is to it. Fortunately there are doctors out there, like Dr. Concannon, who can provide the care necessary to make you feel better about going into your 50s.” columbiahomemagazine.com | 91
Overweight since kindergarten, Tara Lukehart was considered obese when she entered middle school. But she had never really thought about her weight until some friends pranked her into calling 1-800-fatgirls. “It destroyed me, destroyed the child,” Lukehart says, remembering the humiliating call. “The emptiness I felt at that moment will never go away.” From then on, Lukehart felt as if people were constantly watching and judging her. “It was almost debilitating for me.” So in high school, Lukehart concentrated on weight loss and got down to a size 14, and she maintained her new slimmer figure through her freshman year in college. She got her first boyfriend in college and began enjoying some of the extracurricular activities such as drinking. But her new lifestyle began to reflect on her scale. By the time she graduated in 2007 with her degree in criminal justice, her 5-foot-8-inch frame was supporting 210 pounds. “I was in a really dark spot,” Lukehart says. She returned to her hometown of Columbia and got a job bartending; she slept all day, worked nights and once again turned to food for comfort. In October 2008, at 260 pounds, Lukehart was pregnant. Although she was engaged not long afterward, she was miserable. “I hid behind, making jokes of myself,” she says, acting like she was “cool with her weight and size,” but inside she was dying. When her son, Parker, was born in May 2009, Lukehart, now 290 pounds, had reached her physical and emotional limit. “I knew I couldn’t be the person my son needed,” she says. “I wasn’t ready to be a wife. I was insecure.” With just three months before the wedding, Lukehart called off the ceremony. “I made the best decision of my life by calling it off,” Lukehart says, because things began to change. Although depression initially followed her abrupt change in plans, Lukehart also felt a bit relieved, and as a result her emotional eating slowed. In fact, by August she had lost 20 pounds, and she began to get hopeful. “I was excited for the first time in a long time,” she says. Determined to stop the yo-yo weight cycle, she started educating herself on nutrition and switching out high-calorie foods for lighter fare. “I didn’t want to pass along my insecurity to my child, that I didn’t care enough about myself to be healthy for him.” Although she continued to lose weight without exercise and dropped about 80 pounds, she wanted to firm up and feel better about her body, so Lukehart started boxing. For the next eight months, twice a week she punched away the weight and posted her results on Facebook. Little things
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such as “I’m so excited I got to eat this today” prompted unprecedented numbers of friend requests, which boosted her confidence. Lukehart eventually switched to a more high-intensity workout program called ChaLEAN Extreme and was hooked. In addition, her social media popularity soared. Wanting to help others find the happiness she was experiencing, she launched a Facebook support group called Full Recovery Health and Fitness. Today she mentors and encourages about 40 members, who also keep her on track. At 156 pounds, Lukehart, 28, is proud to say she lost 134 pounds since June 2010. She’s also thrilled she can do more activities with her son than when she was heavy. “I’m glad I’m in shape so I can keep up with him,” she says, adding that she encourages her son to make good food choices and eat age-appropriate foods. “I know I can’t control his eating forever, but I can shape his mindset now.” But perhaps the best part of Lukehart’s weight-loss experience is her chance to help others. “Paying it forward for me, that’s the biggest love affair of all,” she says.
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Linda Bedsworth says her mother often told her, “God only gives what you can handle, and what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.” According to Bedsworth, based on past hardships, “I ought to be one strong woman.” But in 2011, a divorce, a new city and a new job all in just a few months were a lot for anyone to handle. So when Columbia Home contacted her about a makeover and photo shoot, Bedsworth, though hesitant as first, accepted. For Bedsworth, an R.N. with her M.B.A., life has always been about others. Working from the time she was 14 at the Dairy Queen, married the first time at 17 and eventually raising three children, “me time” was almost unheard of. “I have close friends that have said, ‘Linda, you’ve got to stop being so nice to people,’” she says. “I have been told more times in the last three months that you have got to learn to be selfish because all I do is give all the time, and I work constantly.” Bedsworth also admits she’s been in a fashion rut when it comes to clothes. “I’m pretty monochromatic: It’s black, gray and solid colors, never ruffles, never prints,” she says. For the most part, she relies on knit sweater dresses, knee-high boots and skinny jeans. In fact, daughter Jessica recently said, “You look awesome, but that’s all you wear.” Bedsworth, like many women, wasn’t sure what she should be wearing. “I’m at the age where I’m very conscientious about trying to dress age-appropriate,” she says. “I don’t want to be 52 trying to look 25.” Columbia Home sent Bedsworth to Calena’s Fashions in Holts Summit, where owner Calene Cooper offered her expertise. According to Cooper, women often narrow their clothing choices over time by telling themselves “that doesn’t look like me” instead of trying on something they don’t usually wear. Cooper, however, encourages customers to step out of their comfort zone. “Maybe trying a different look that takes you beyond your normal is what you’re looking for,” she says. With Cooper’s help, Bedsworth found two outfits that were perfect for her photo shoot: the first, a bright multi-colored tiered shirt over dark contemporary jeans, topped with a textured white, ruffledetailed jacket; the second, a white scooped-neck, sleeveless dress, again with texture, which could also be paired with the white jacket. With clothing decided, the next step was hair and makeup. Although Bedsworth was enjoying the makeover, she was nervous about the haircut. “I’m a little obsessive compulsive with my hair,” she says. “I really don’t care about the color, but I don’t want it to be really short because I often wear it up.” With her job requiring so much travel, she was looking for something she could take care of easily. Bedsworth was in good hands with KeLani Salon and Spa owner Rose Ditter. Ditter, who listened to Bedsworth’s requirements, said she would give her a style that was “more of a whisper talk than a scream and shout.” Using four color formulas, Ditter first darkened Bedsworth’s color a bit, then followed with a flattering shoulder-length cut. “I'm updating the color and cut,” she says, “giving her a more contemporary flair yet a professional look. It’s important to create not only volume and excitement but to complement with texture as well.”
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Next, Bedsworth consulted with KeLani makeup artist Alana Lucas. Lucas, who emphasizes that healthy skin is the first step, applied a moisturizer before brushing on a liquid mineral and pressed powder foundation that complemented Bedsworth’s skin tone. She followed with an under-eye concealer one shade lighter than the foundation. To give Bedsworth more dramatic eyes for the photo shoot, Lucas applied a thin line of smoky gray shadow beneath the lower lashes and used pencil liner for the upper ones. She accented specific eye areas with slate brown powder and white shadow, and for the brow she used powder one shade darker than Bedsworth’s hair. White liner on the inner bottom lids and natural-look false eyelashes finished the look, and a bright orange-red gloss made her lips “pop.” Although Bedsworth’s experience with the CH makeover is over, the experience has caused her to consider updating other areas in her life as well. “I want to have more ‘me’ time,” she says. “I want to be more in control of my time and have a job where I make my own hours and travel.” columbiahomemagazine.com | 95
diy | fortune cookies
Fortune cookie messages are a fun twist on the standard Valentine
Cut your cardstock and/or scrapbook paper into 4- to 5-inch circles. Using a circle cutter makes this step super easy, but you can also use a cup or coaster as a guide for tracing.
S t o r y an d p h o t o s b y K a t r ina Ta u c h e n
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to let that special someone know just how special he or she is, but sometimes the same old cards just don’t fit the bill. This simple project is an unexpected twist on a Love Day classic. They’re easy to give and even easier to make. What’s not to love about that?
Here’s what you’ll need to get started: • cardstock and/or scrapbook paper (various colors/prints) • glue dots
Gently fold your circle in half so that one end slightly overlaps the other without making a crease in the paper (paper will look sort of like a cannoli). Stick a glue dot in the center of the rough end to hold the roll together.
• white paper • pen
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Find the center of the opposite end and push gently with your finger so the paper folds in on itself.
Bring the pointed ends together until the Valentine looks like a fortune cookie. Hold the ends in place with another glue dot placed up near the fold.
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Write your Valentineâ€™s message or fortune on a small white strip of paper and slip it into one of the open ends of the cookie. If youâ€™d prefer the fortune be completely hidden inside the Valentine, slip it in after Step 2.
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entertainment | happenings about town
You must do this season
By Lily Dawson
Cirque Dreams Pop Goes the Rock
High-flying acrobats and carnival funhouse artistry all accompanied by live music for every age are sure to entertain in the upcoming must-see show from Cirque Dreams. Feats that will amaze the audience are put to the music of your favorite hits of today and the past. This Cirque tour celebrates pop and rock tunes with the “Cirque Dreamers,” a talented group of singers, dancers and musicians. The family will marvel at this theatrical celebration at Jesse Hall for two shows: March 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. Don’t miss this rock ’n’ roll party full of popular music hits. Tickets range from $19 to $39 and are available at concertseries.org or (573) 882-3781.
26 24. b Fe
Mid-Missouri Home & Life style Expo
Have plans to remodel your home but don’t know where to start? Have no fear; the Mid-Missouri Home & Lifestyle expo is here. For more than 50 years the Expo has brought together local building specialists to guide you on your home improvement ventures. More than 100 vendors will gather in the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse for this three-day event in late February. While you’re there, get inspired and meet the local individuals face to face who will elevate your projects to the next level. Stop by the Columbia Home booth while you’re there and enter to win the Ultimate Backyard Paradise Giveaway. Tickets to the Home & Lifestyle expo are available at the event for $5 per person. The show runs Feb. 24, 25 and 26. Find out more by visiting columbiahba.com.
Enter for to nce your cha
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University Concert Series Presents In The Heights
A story of a lively community in Manhattan is set to raucous Latina tunes and hip-hop music in this new musical. A 13time Tony-nominated show, In the Heights has gained praise from critics and national spectators alike. In the production the community is experiencing a time of change, but traditions seem to stick around: Residents are hopeful and don’t lose sight of their dreams. You don’t want to miss this one-night-only performance at Jesse Hall March 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $27 to $37 and are available online at concertseries.org or by phone at (573) 882-3781.
National Wear Red Day
Wear red this February! One of the simplest ways to show your support for the fight against heart disease is participating in National Wear Red Day. There are no tickets to be purchased, no fancy dress to buy; just add some red to your outfit on Feb. 3 to spread the message of prevention. Heart disease claims more lives in the United States than any other cause and is a major source of disability. Wearing red this February reminds your peers to educate themselves on coronary illness prevention and reduce their risk of developing serious heart problems. Find out more about Go Red events throughout the year at heart.org.
Missouri Grand Prix
Can’t make it to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics? This is your chance to see Olympic hopefuls swim with other potential competitors on our turf. This is the sixth year that Mizzou Aquatic Center has been part of the seven-meet Grand Prix series. The Grand Prix will prepare candidates for the Olympic Trials and London Olympic Games. Other locations include Minneapolis; Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Charlotte, N.C.; and Santa Clara, Calif. Past Olympic swimmers Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin, Chloe Sutton and many others have tested MU’s waters in the Missouri Grand Prix competition and may even make guest appearances at this year’s competition. If you have never seen the state-of-the-art Missouri Student Recreation Complex, take this opportunity to check out the space and some elite athletes at the Missouri Grand Prix. The competition begins at 9 a.m. on Feb. 10 at the Mizzou Aquatic Center at the Missouri Student Recreation Complex and lasts through Feb. 12. Finals for each event begin at 5:30 p.m. daily. Ticket prices vary (preliminary competition, finals, all-day and all-session passes) and are available at missourigrandprix.com.
O.A.R. at The Blue Note
Known for their captivating melodies and lyrics, O.A.R. is one of the most exciting live show bands touring today. Having just released their seventh studio album, King, they have won over audiences with early career hits “The Wanderer” and “Crazy Game of Poker” and most recently “Shattered” from their 2008 album, All Sides. For King, the five members visited one another’s hometowns for inspiration and created this album as an homage to their past. The band hasn’t been to Columbia since 2003. During that performance they played many fan favorites and covered songs from rock legends Elton John, U2 and Bob Marley. This year’s show promises to be equally as entertaining. Tickets are available at The Blue Note box office for $30. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. with doors opening at 7:30.
True/False Film Festival
If you have not experienced True/False Film Festival, run, don’t walk, to truefalse.org and get your tickets. Film buff or not, each screening is a unique experience that will make you laugh, cry and feel good about people who harvest so much talent to produce the documentaries featured. The topics of last year’s films ran the gamut from serious to sublime, and each left viewers entertained. David Wilson and Paul Sturtz, founders of the fest, handpick the collection of documentary films including selections also featured at the Sundance Film Festival. Award-winning filmmakers will be in attendance for screenings and Q&A sessions following the showings. There is something for everyone at True/ False, and the experience of being in the mix is half the fun. This is the ninth year for the four-day festival that has grown from 4,200 attendees in 2004 to more than 23,000 in 2009. The festivities are not limited to documentary film either. True/False hosts a parade, chances to meet the filmmakers, opening and closing night parties and a 5K run/walk downtown. Tickets and passes for True/False are on sale now at truefalse.org and range in prices. Festivities take place at various locations in The District including Ragtag and the Missouri Theatre.
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Russell Malone with MU Concert Jazz Band
You won’t want to miss this season’s "We Always Swing" Jazz Series “Artist in Residence” Russell Malone. This Grammy-nominated performer will spend three days in Columbia. Malone’s stay will culminate with a concert accompanied by the MU Concert Jazz Band on March 8. The sole rehearsal on March 6 is open to the public; the MU Concert Jazz Band will back up Malone’s signature Southern soulful sound on the Hickman High School stage. Russell Malone has performed with greats such as Harry Connick Jr. and Diana Krall and was voted “2011 Guitarist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association. He will conduct a free Community Lunch Time Forum, “History of Jazz Guitar,” at the Daniel Boone Regional Library on March 7 at noon. This will be followed by a workshop, free to students, $8 to the public, at The Bridge at 1020 E. Walnut St. Tickets for these events are available at the Jazz Series box office, located at 218 N. Eighth St. or (573) 449-3001. columbiahomemagazine.com | 101
on the web | Home décor
Dressing the Nest Looking for a little house loving? Check out some of our favorite home décor blogs. b y K a t r ina Ta u c h e n The home of your dreams might be closer than you think. With amazing photos, design advice and detailed tutorials, these home décor blogs have just what you need to take your place’s style to the next level.
The DIYers Young House Love | younghouselove.com Husband and wife DIYers John and Sherry Petersik document the trials, successes and every ounce of love that goes into renovating their 1960s ranch-style home. From simple décor ideas to an entire kitchen remodel, the Petersiks take readers through every process step by step, with plenty of photos, money-saving tips and hilarious writing along the way. And with daily updates and an archive of more than 2,000 posts, there’s no shortage of ideas and inspiration to peruse.
The Budget-Friendly Thrifty Decor Chick | thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com Blog author Sarah started Thrifty Decor Chick under the premise that everyone deserves to have a beautiful home, no matter how much money they have to spend. Her site shows how a little money and creativity can go a long way in creating a home you love.
There’s an a pp for that Fun (and free!) home apps for the aspiring decorator
Pinterest This digital pin board keeps track of all your inspiration ideas in one easy-to-find and easy-to-use location. Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap Snap a photo of your color inspiration item, whether a blade of grass or your daughter’s sweater, and ColorSnap will find the paint color and/or palette to match.
The Eye Candy Apartment Therapy | apartmenttherapy.com If you’re looking for pages and pages of decorating inspiration and too-pretty-to-be-real design, look no further than Apartment Therapy. In addition to showcasing unique décor items found all around the Web, the site also features home tours and decorating solutions from amazing small spaces located in cities across the United States. A clean layout makes the site easy to navigate, and beautiful photos keep you clicking back for more.
iHandy Level Don’t have a fully stocked toolbox? Turn your phone into a functional level, and hang pictures with ease.
Katrina Tauchen is an avid blogger and Google Reader devotee. You can read about her latest home and kitchen adventures at splashofsomething.com.
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city scene | Diamond Night
Priya Batchu and Michelle Towns
Randy and Vee Boehm
Christine Simon, Martha Boswell, Amy Sprouse and Laura Cole
Barb and Jeff Glenn
Clockwise from top left: Kim George, Kat Cunningham, Kate Grant, Pati Pelaccio, Linda Bachmeier, Michele Towns, Melanie Hodges and Mary Ropp
Tracy and Kyle Batasch
Megan and Joe Bechtold
Mariel Liggett, Kat Cunningham and Kim George
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104 | february/march 2012
Dave and Jackie Baugher
Shelley Ravipudi and Julia Norregaard
Brad Boswell and Keith Simon
city scene | Diamond Night
Richard King, Jim Collier and Dave Baugher L' Mont Betz, Patricia Robinson, Kathi Betz and Gary B. Robinson
Julie Dorn, Kim March, Heidi Derryberry and Joy Madole Mills Menser and Mary Ropp
Mike and Amy Monahan
Patty King and Dana Collier Lindsey Stineman and Brad Ekwerekwu
Derek Chievous, Mike Monahan and Lynn Hardy
Lisa and Steven Dresner
Barb Schlemeier and Tracy Barnes
Kevin and Amy Sprouse
The sixth annual Diamond Night event benefitting Boys and Girls Town of Missouri was held Nov. 17 at the Tiger Hotel. The evening was hosted by Joe Bechtold of Truck Stop Missouri and featured a live auction with jewelry from KT Jewelers, Gary B. Robinson, Buchroederâ€™s, Betz Jewelers and Tuckerâ€™s. Proceeds benefitted abused and neglected children.
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city scene | BTC Holiday party
The Business Times Company Holiday Party
Aaron and Betsy Bell and Angelique Hunter
Tami Turner, Betsy Bell and Rebecca Rademan
Mills Menser and Mary Ropp
Jason and Beth Snyder Lauren Nichols and Taylor Allen
Lauren Young and John Springli
Casey and Kim Buckman
Teresa White and Ashley Eaton
Valerie and Eddie Mueller
Sally and Bob Shoemaker
The Business Times Company hosted its annual holiday party at the Tiger Hotel this year. Dinner was served, and comedian Steven Scott performed. In attendance were the staff, writers and photographers from the Columbia Business Times, Asphalt Pro and Columbia Home and Jefferson City magazines.
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city scene | MU Deptartment of Textile and WSMS
History’s Closet II
Katie Jones, Matt Kritis, Laurel Wilson, JessicaBell Ridgeway andOttinger Laura McAndrews Betsy and Noah
The MU Department of Textile and Apparel Management held a reception and silent auction showcasing the items from their Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection. MU’s School of Music performed at the event, which was held on Sept. 30.
Kim Hughes and Kate Conley-Hughes Nancy Schultz, Steve Jorgensen and Mary Kay Blakely
Laurel Wilson and Jana Hawley
Bill Sheehan and daughter Samantha Sheehan
Pam Norum, Kitty Dickerson and Jana Hawley
WSMS Cookie Exchange
Grace, Dawn, Christian and Chris Heston
Windsor Street Montessori School students, their families and teachers got into the holiday spirit at the school's annual cookie exchange, Dec. 6. In addition to sharing lots of yummy treats, hot chocolate, cider and egg nog, WSMS elementary students presented a musical performance as part of the evening program. School cook Dan Bené, wellknown for his baked goods, provided a traditional holiday stollen as a raffle item to help WSMS's Parent Organization raise funds to support the educational mission of Columbia's only Montessori elementary school.
Marie, Robert and B.J. Hunter
Jennifer Aubrey and son Lucas Front: Ben and Henry Cohen. Back: Sam Cohen and Kristin Bowen Top: Brian and Jennifer Toohey Bottom: Grayson, Aidan and Ella
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Age: 3 months old (female) Breed: Domestic Medium Hair Temperament: Loves to play and be cuddled. Great for anyone.
Age: 4 months old (male) Breed: Domestic Long Hair Temperament: Very curious and playful guy. Loves to play with toys, people, cats and dogs.
Age: 1 year old (female) Breed: American Pit Bull Terrier Temperament: Calm, has experience with kids. Wants to be a lap dog. Laid-back, well-mannered and affectionate. House broken, crate trained and full grown.
These friendly faces are at the Central Missouri Humane Society.
Age: 10 months old (male) Breed: Domestic Short Hair Temperament: Shy at first but loves attention. Really loves his brother and feels safe with him. He is great with both dogs and cats.
Age: 2-3 years old (male) Breed: Doberman Mix Temperament: Gentle and easygoing. Loves attention and is very playful. Once a stray. Neutered.
Age: 2 years old (male) Breed: Aussie Mix Temperament: Really friendly and outgoing. Loves to run around and play. Great with everyone. Sits, walks on leash and full grown.
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ADVERTISER INDEX Albright Heating & Air Conditioning..........................68 All Vacuum Care........................................................68 American Heart Association.....................................40 Anastasia Pottinger Photography...........................106 Andrew Stone Optometry.........................................95 Angelique Photography............................................113 Anytime Fitness........................................................46 Boone County National Bank...................................... 8 Boone Hospital............................................................ 7 Buchroeder's............................................................116 Busenbark Carpet Outlet............................................ 6 Business Conference & Showcase...........................86 Calena's Fashions.....................................................84 Carlisle Collection.....................................................86 Carpet One................................................................60 Casey Buckman Photography...................................56 Columbia Facial Plastic Surgery...............................42 Columbia Landcare.................................................106 Columbia Pool & Spa................................................55 Commerce Bank................................. 104,105,107,109 ComoRealty................................................................51 Concannon Plastic Surgery......................................... 2 Cultural Homestay International...............................93 Custom Surface Designs..........................................55 David Owens Photography........................................60
Designer Kitchens & Baths.......................................42 Diamond Banc.......................................................... 111 Doncaster Clothes....................................................88 Downtown Appliance................................................ 81 Dr Gregory Croll........................................................ 81 Dr Willett...................................................................56 Dungarees.................................................................82 Fechtel Beverage & Sales Inc.....................................11 Focus On Learning..................................................108 Girl.............................................................................88 HBA Home Show.................................................34-37 Innovative Designs....................................................84 Interior Design Associates........................................59 Isle Of Capri...............................................................88 Jenny Craig................................................................ 12 Joe Machens Ford.....................................................96 Johnston Paint & Decorating. ...................................82 Ke Lani Hair And Day Spa......................................... 76 Kerry Bramon Remodeling & Design.......................... 9 Kliethermes Homes.................................................... 5 Laser Body Sculpting........................................... 18-19 Lifestyles Furniture....................................................49 Majestic Homes........................................................46 Martellaro Marble And Granite................................. 91 Mary Moss................................................................ 91
McAdams Limited....................................................... 3 Mid-West Remodeling...............................................29 Missouri Contemporary Ballet..................................38 New Life Community Church....................................44 Organize That Space.................................................93 Penquin Spark............................................................51 Pure Audio................................................................. 76 Reece And Nichols-Denise Payne.............................99 S. Stewart & Co., LLC................................................47 Shelter Insurance Agents.........................................112 Smarr Custom Homes..............................................45 Spillman Contracting................................................98 Studio Home............................................................115 Superior Garden Center/ Rost Landscape.............112 Sycamore.................................................................110 Tallulah's....................................................................25 Taylor Allen Photography.........................................110 The French Laundry & Alterations............................ 10 The Tiger Hotel........................................................102 Truescape Landscaping..........................................108 University Of Missouri Health Care..........................52 We Always Swing Jazz Series....................................87 Williams And Hussey Eyecare..................................... 4 Wine Cellar & Bistro..................................................99 World Harvest Foods.................................................84 Yoga Sol.....................................................................77
Columbia Home & Lifestyle magazine is published by The Business Times Co., 2001 Corporate Place, Suite 100, Columbia, Mo., 65202. (573) 499-1830 Copyright The Business Times Co., 2008. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of any editorial or graphic content without the express written permission of the publisher is prohibited.
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the last word | Sharon Harl
What is Love Anyway? The perfect Valentine’s Day? Maybe there’s no such thing. By Sharon Harl | Photo by taylor allen
K, this is a test. Close your eyes and tell me what you got for Valentine’s Day last year. Unless it was an engagement ring, I’m betting most of you can’t remember. Of all the celebrated gift-giving days, Valentine’s Day has got to be the dumbest. What began as a day to commemorate a Roman Christian martyr has become a commercial bonanza. Even the Catholic Church thinks the observance is a bunch of phooey. The church dropped good ole St. Valentine from its official Roman calendar way back in 1969. I didn’t become jaded overnight. As a child I bought into the whole Valentine exchange; I decorated a shoe box, handed out paper hearts and had my box filled with identical Valentines. I’m amazed that the public schools are still allowing the celebration of Valentine’s Day since they canceled Halloween, birthday parties and Christmas. But I digress. Valentines took on a whole new meaning once puberty took over my being; Valentine’s Day without a boyfriend was endured in deep depression. With a beau, the flowers or locket would have deep meaning. I would spend days trying to ascertain the true reason Biff bought me red carnations instead of roses. Back then I thought it was because roses were so pedestrian. I was well into my 20s when I discovered that roses cost 10 times more than carnations. I still held out hope during the first years of our marriage that I would get the perfect present. Finally I had to face the facts. First of all, Valentine’s Day is a girl thing. I’ve never heard a guy say, “I hope my wife buys me those black silk boxers stamped with big red lips.” And secondly, I have the greatest husband in the world, but he doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body. If I drop rose petals on the floor of our bedroom, he doesn’t see passion; he sees a mess. A bunch of lighted candles is not a prelude to love but a fire hazard. A bathtub is for bathing not playing — and he’s allergic to bubble bath. He once made reservations to a great restaurant for an “intimate” dinner. The notion that we were having a romantic meal was absurd. Somehow being shoehorned into a room with 200 other couples isn’t my idea of warm and cozy. Throughout the years my husband has made valiant attempts at purchasing the perfect gift that says, “I love you.” I must have six or eight heart-shaped pendants, charms and rings. He once presented me with a set of knives. I almost used them on him! About six years ago, my husband hit the jackpot. I walked into the kitchen to see the table set with our good china, silver and a beautiful flower centerpiece. There was a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge (I hate champagne), and best of all he had made dinner: steak and baked potatoes. (It’s the only dinner he knows how to fix). Anyway, I was delighted. He realized after that year that he couldn’t top himself, and every year since he gets into a funk. Two years ago, he started whining at the beginning of February. “I don’t know what to get you,” he simpered. “Just forget it,” I responded. He did, and I didn’t forgive him until May. Last year, I finally let my poor hubby off the hook. I went shopping two days before the big day and purchased a lovely gift for him, and then I bought a lovelier gift for me. I had him open both of them. The result? He was happy. I was happy (sort of), and he finally got some sleep. This year I’m skipping V-Day. I don’t want overpriced flowers, and I gain weight just looking at a box of chocolate. I have enough heart-shaped objects to open a boutique, and my poor nonromantic husband doesn’t need the extra stress. I say we should celebrate our love every day, not just once a year. So beginning this year, whenever I think of how much my husband loves me, I treat myself to a little love gift. 114 | february/march 2012
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116 | february/march 2012
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