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Fall 2011

Horsing around My Old San Juan


up Madison

Parties by a pro

Bellyfeathers brings soft touch to event planning

Sunshine Oaks Farm makes every day a little brighter

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You hold in your hands a labor of love that has been months in the in the works. “What are we all about?,” you might ask. Or “Why do we need another regional magazine?’ is one we’ve heard a few times. The answer is simple: We love this community and want to showcase the people, places, events and attractions that make it special. And we think we are uniquely positioned to do it as well or better than anyone else. As part of Madison Publications, LLC, most people are familiar with our core products – The Madison Record newspaper. We simply want to feature all that is great about our home. Arts & Culture, Living, Homes, Food, Shopping, Dinning, People. Those will be thinks that make us go and readers find standing features they can look forward to each edition. Excited to have you join us on this adventure.

Erica Slone, Publisher

MANAGEMENT Erica Slone President & Publisher EDITORIAL Michael Hansberry Editor Laura Maxwell Staff Writer Laura Vaughn Staff Writer Miranda Murphy Staff Writer MARKETING Chris Dickey Marketing Consultant OFFICE MANAGER Laura Samples Customer Service PRODUCTION Daniel Holmes Design Jamie Sparacino Design Sarah Brewer Photographer Madison Living P.O. Box 859 Madison, AL 35758 Advertising Iquiries 256.772.6677 Madison Living is published four times a year by Madison Publications LLC. Madison Living 3

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Custom build your dream home without compromise Discover benefits of single story luxury living Full design capabilities on site Built by your “Hometown Builder” (48 yrs. exp.) Be “Wowed” by our standard amenities Thirty-one exclusive lots adjoining Millcreek Greenway and conveniently located to new Hospital, Research Park, Redstone Arsenal, Airport, Bridge Street Town Centre, and Madison City Schools Choose outdoor features such as: Outdoor fireplaces/ kitchens In-ground swimming pools Detached garages and more Visit our model home which is open daily and remember ”What you see, is what you get.”

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Directions: Hwy. 72 West, South (left) Balch Road, 2.8 miles, subdivision is on the right School: Mill Creek Elementary Liberty Middle Bob Jones High Contact Information: Melody Zielinski ReMax Distinctive 256 683-7730

features 6

Arts & culture NEW TIME POTTERY




to your heAlth gOINg gREEN IN THE gARdEN




out & About OuTINgs AROuNd TOWN



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style 13



home 17



food 22

lets eAt MY Old sAN juAN sPIcEs uP MAdIsON


recIpes MY Old sAN juAN sHAREs THEIR sEcRETs

22 9 Madison Living 5


New time pottery WRITTEN bY AllIe hulcher PHOTOgRAPHs bY sArAh breWer

6 Madison Living


y day Ned Corron is a Redstone Arsenal scientist. But when he’s not spending his time “thinking about physics,” Corron happily adopts the title of potter. His pieces grace the gallery shop at 16 Main in downtown Madison, where he creates his pottery. From short, rounded pots with a crackled affect, to tall, rectangular metallic pieces, each item crafted by Corron is a unique piece of art. With a day job he characterizes as “paper and words,” Corron welcomes his opportunities to create. “It was nice to actually have something completely different, in the art world,” Corron said. “I can work with my hands as opposed to working with my head.” The mellow Corron feels at home in his studio at 16 Main. He has everything he needs – clay, glazes, spinning wheels, kilns and plenty of shelves to put his pieces on. Corron’s work as a potter is two-fold. He makes what are considered “functional” pieces of pottery, like plates and mugs. But the purely artistic pieces of raku pottery don’t hold water – literally. Raku is an originally a Japanese

style of pottery. Since the clay is fired at lower temperatures, it doesn’t bind enough to be able to keep water in. The glaze on a piece melts and turns into liquid glass while in the kiln, creating a dripped affect, like that of melting honey. Raku is also characterized by its speed – it’s a fairly quick trip from kiln to display table. Corron explained the process as he got everything into place – stuffing crumpled newspaper into metal trashcans, turning on a fan to cool the pieces for a crackled effect, pulling on heavy, thick gloves to protect himself… well, mentally, that is. “These gloves don’t do you any good, but psychologically, they help,” Corron said, laughing. “If you tried to pick a piece up while it’s at 2000 degrees, it would go right through this glove.” Corron admits he’s lost hair since doing raku. He sports a “raku do” – a phrase coined by Corron’s wife, designating the hairs he has singed while peering too close into his special raku kiln. Chemistry has a big part in why raku looks so unique – it’s all about keeping as little oxygen present as possible to bring out the colors of the glazes. However, Corron says he tries to keep his scientific work out of it, if he can help it.

LEFT: When a pot is glazed and then fired, the glaze becomes liquid glass, giving the pot a dripped affect. RIGHT ABOVE: Corron checks on pieces in his raku kiln, which gets to about 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. RIGHT BELOW: Corron requires his students to practice first - getting a feel for the tongs by picking up old pots.

“I think there is a beauty in the

process, and the appreciation of a raku piece is magnified by that experience.”

— Ned Corron Madison Living 7

“You can try to explain it all that way or you can just say it’s magic, and it work,” Corron said, shrugging. Corron cranks the top of the kiln straight off, allowing a 360 view of the pieces inside. He uses tongs to carefully grip a piece. With this particular pot he wants a crackled affect, so he carries it over to the fan, waits to hear the pinging sounds of cracking pottery, and then places the piece into the trashcan. He quickly puts the lid on, creating a burning chamber. Corron will never know exactly what a piece will look like until he opens the lid later – and that’s the beauty of it. “It’s the idea that a piece is not static but represents a process,” Corron said. “I think there is a beauty in the process, and the appreciation of a raku piece is magnified by that experience.” Chicago native Corron came to Madison in 1999 and has been

doing pottery since 2004. His sister opened Pottery By You in Madison, and he would leave a few of his pieces there. Before long, people wanted to buy his work. Corron, who sells his pottery under the name Muddy Road Pottery, says he has improved much since those days and can still stretch his abilities. “I want to explore the art and creative aspects more, to use the technical skills to make something interesting,” Corron said. When asked how he has seen the art scene grow, he replied “I’ve seen it grow since I’ve paid attention.” Corron notes the successes of 16 Main, Lowe Mill and even the Tennessee Valley Ceramic Art Guild as evidence that this area has more going for it than people may realize. Corron’s own story is proof

Corron’s work on display at 16 Main. He experiments with different textures and glazes.

enough of a bustling art scene. He has sold his pieces at shows such as Athens Art on the Square, Panoply and the Monte Sano Art Show, Huntsville Sidewalk Art Stroll and Madison Street Festival.

“There’s a natural reaction that since it’s a small town you think there’s nothing to do,” Corron said. “But Madison is quietly exploding right now. I think there’re some very positive things going on.”

Caring for children is their specialty. Specializing in compassionate medical care for children of all ages, Drs. Erik Henninger and Andrea B. Reynolds are dedicated to the wellbeing of each child they see. Whether diagnosing an illness, providing routine checkups, or offering preventative care, Dr. Henninger and Dr. Reynolds will help you and your child feel at ease. For more information or an appointment, please call 256-429-4500. Open Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m. – noon Same-day appointments available

Erik Henninger, D.O.

Andrea B. Reynolds, M.D., Ph.D.

610 Airport Road, Suite 201 Huntsville, AL 35801 (on the Crestwood Medical Center campus)

Members of the Medical Staff at Crestwood Medical Center Crestwood Medical Center is directly or indirectly owned by a partnership that proudly includes physician owners, including certain members of the hospital’s medical staff.

8 Madison Living 56817_CRES_Peds_7_7x5_12c.indd 1

7/21/11 11:00 AM


Horsing around

WRITTEN bY mIchAel hAnsberry PHOTOgRAPHs bY sArAh breWer


unshine Oaks is known as the farm that never closes. Owned by Tamera Powers, Sunshine Oaks farm offers riding lessons to people all ages. The farm’s genesis however did come with some turmoil.

Madison Living 9

Hannah Haynes poses with Miss America at Sunshine Oaks.

After Powers’ divorce, she said she was left with the farm and all its responsibilities. With no steady income and animals to care for, she started offering riding lessons last year in order to generate revenue. It turned out to be a big hit. “My place has always been a safe harbor for children and animals,” Powers said. “I have children that just appear here one after the other to learn how to ride and care for horses.” A Huntsville native, Powers has been surrounded by horses

her entire life. She calls them her “little, gangly, long-legged babies.” She first fell in love with horses when her friends would let her ride when she was younger. The farm houses an array of animals including a goat named Shrek, a pig named Fiona, Koi fish, dogs and a new cat which they found inside of the wall in the barn. The farm is open six days a week, but operating it is a 24/7 job.

Clare Pinney, 31, works on the farm and is also Powers’ adopted daughter from England. Pinney came from England to intern at Sunshine Oaks 10 years ago and liked it so much that she decided to stay. “I flew back home and three days later, I called and asked if I could stay in the apartment above the garage and I’ve been here every since.” Pinney works around the farm everyday, exercising and feeding the animals and teaching riding and jumping.

“At my age, I should probably be thinking about doing less work because it takes a lot of to run this farm,” Pinney said. “It takes, long hours to maintain the farm. However, when I am greeted with an array of contented animal voices and smiling young people, I realize I want to, and must continue my dream which has now become theirs as well.” Pinney is also responsible for cutting the grass on the 55.8-acre property, with the help of Johnny Burgreen, who

“To see the kids from where they first start riding and they really

don’t know what to do, and they take those first jumps, it’s like your child graduation college.” — Tamera Powers 10 Madison Living

graciously volunteers his time completing daily chores. “It’s always busy here,” she said. “There’s always something going on. More than once we’ve had the police come by and say a horse is out,” she said with humor. But, the farm’s main attraction are the 30 horses. She buys them as weanlings and keeps them until they are old enough to be sold. “[Horses] don’t have any reason not to trust people. We have los of thoroughbred, warm blood, crosses. It produces an elegant looking horse with a good mind and has comfortable movements to ride.” The farm sponsors two horse shows a year, where riders get a chance to compete in Eventing, which is the horse triathlon. “To me, to see the kids from

when they first start riding and they really don’t know what to do, and they take those first jumps, it’s like your child graduating college,” Powers said. “You’re so thrilled at the improvement.” Powers put the farm up for sale because of financial troubles. “We are looking to sell 49 percent of it and retain 51 percent so that we can continue to live here and provide a safe place for children and young people in our community,” Powers said. She has been soliciting businesses interested in donations toward competition and riding programs. “The children are the ones that’s most upset that I may lose this place,” she said. “But, I’m really proud of what we started and what it has turned into.”

Matilda List balances on top of Barney Rubble.

Madison Living 11

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Trendy tykes


clOTHEs bY posh mommy & bAby too PHOTOgRAPHs bY WhIspers photoGrAphy

Oopsy Daisy Baby top with bow, $39.99 and Chiffon pettiskirt, $47.99 Madison Living 13

Charlie Rocket T-shirts, $22.99 each

Pink tangerine by Nay 2 piece jean skirt set with ruffle back, $54.99 Aqua tank swimsuit with satin ruffle by Kate Mack, $46.99

Letop 2 pc short set, $37.99 and Letop 1 pc striped romper, $29.99 14 Madison Living

Mud pie lobster swimsuit with matching hat; Suit, $24.99 and hat, $14.99

Tiered aqua halter dress, $59.99 Stephen Joseph rain gear; Jacket, $37.99 and Boots, $27.99 and Umbrella, $13.99

I Play Ants Collection; Hat - $14.99 and Rash guard -$16.99 and Swim shorts, $17.99 and Swim shoes, $14.99 Madison Living 15

Frumpy Rumps; Shirt with tiered skirt, $54.99 and Splash bow, $4.99

Anchors Collection; I Play hat, $14.99 and Rash guard, $16.99 and Swim short, $17.99 16 Madison Living


ThereÕ s no place like home

WRITTEN bY lAurA mAXWell PHOTOgRAPHs bY sArAh breWer

Madison Living 17

ABOVE: The couple’s patio features wicker furniture and a bed the two sometimes nap on in the afternoon. RIGHT TOP: The couple collects and creates their own pieces to accent the house. RIGHT: Debbie and Tom Overcash have lived in the house for more than 20 years.


ome is where the heart is, and Debbie and Tommy Overcash have truly put their hearts into making their house a home. This is the third home they have lived in since they got 18 Madison Living

married about 31 years ago. Before they bought it, they were actually planning on building a home. Debbie would drive down the street on her way to see the plot of land they were considering building a house on, and she would always pass this house.

It had a sign saying it was sold. Something happened, though, and the deal must have fallen through. Because one day as she was driving by, she saw that it was for sale. She and Tommy looked at another house in the neighborhood that was closer

to their price range. But after comparing the two, Debbie said, “I knew it was mine.” The home is about 4,000 square feet, not including the exterior living spaces such as the patio. There are two floors, four bedrooms, two full baths and two half baths.

Madison Living 19

One of the first things noticed upon entering the house are the vibrant colors used for decorating. “I think we’re sort of traditional and eclectic,” Debbie said. “I like vivid colors, and I like nice artwork.” One of their sons, Mason, is an artist and teacher. An abstract painting of his adorns the wall of their living room. One of Debbie’s favorite things about the house is its open floor plan. “It’s got a lot of room for entertaining,” she said. “We love to entertain. My favorite things that we’ve ever had were when we had all three boys’ rehearsal dinners here in the backyard.” As for the décor, they have

some family pieces, such as Tommy’s grandfather’s roll top desk and Debbie’s greatgrandmother’s wicker table and chair. She said much of their furniture was bought at auctions. “When Tommy and I were first married, that’s what we did on the weekends,” she explains. “We went to auctions, and we bought a lot of the furniture then and refinished it.” She said they enjoyed doing that together. Their home is filled with framed photographs of family members, as Debbie said family is very important to her. Their “wreck room,” as Debbie calls it, was built

LEFT: The kitchen is the center of the home. RIGHT: The living room’s tan color compliments the blue accents.

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when their children were in junior high school. There’s one wall in particular that she said she’s very proud of. It’s filled with framed Eagle Scout uniforms. “My daddy’s an Eagle Scout, my husband is an Eagle Scout and all three of our boys are Eagle Scouts. And after you work so long to do it, I was not about to put it in a box, so that’s our Scout wall.” Their back porch looks out to a beautiful backyard, of

which Debbie and Tommy handle the gardening themselves. Now, they have been in this home for about 20 years. “It is a house that little boys grew up in, and now little babies are coming back to,” she said. “We don’t plan on downsizing.” And they have no intention of moving. “This is our home,” Debbie said. “And Madison’s our home.”

“It is a house that little boys

grew up in, and now, little babies are coming back to. We don’t plan on downsizing. This is our home.” — Debbie Overcash

Madison Living 21


My Old San Juan


up Madison WRITTEN bY mIchAel hAnsberry PHOTOgRAPHs bY sArAh breWer

22 Madison Living


estled in the back of the M a d i s o n Shopping center in Madison sits a restaurant unlike any other in the area. Don’t look the exterior fool you with the banner covering the old Gone Fishin’ sign, but once customers enter My Old San Juan, they’re taken into an original Puerto Rican environment. The name is derived from the capital of Puerto Rico. My Old San Juan is the only Puerto Rican restaurant in North Alabama. Owned and operated by Puerto Rican native Carmen Acevedo the restaurant offers authentic Puerto Rican and Caribbean dishes guaranteed to please your palette.

“It’s like being in Puerto Rico without really being there,” Acevedo said. “No flying or traveling necessary. Just good service and authentic Puerto Rican food.”

Humble beginnings She moved to the United States in 2003 for “life opportunities.” Acevedo was born in the small town of Aguada. An entrepreneur at heart, she has owned a beauty salon and boutique on Governor’s Drive. She opened a similar type restaurant in Athens, but it closed because of slow business. She worked three jobs to save enough money to open the Madison location. “The business isn’t where it’s supposed to be just yet,”

TOP: My Old San Juan offers authentic Puerto Rican dishes such as pechuga Rrelleno with tostones. ABOVE: Carmen Acevedo opened the restaurant in February. Acevedo named the restaurant after Puerto Rico’s capital.

Madison Living 23

she said. “I’m still going through a hard time trying to make it a hit, but I expect it to get better.” The best she can do is stick to her daily routine of working 12-plus hours to serve the area in the only authentic Puerto Rican restaurant in North Alabama.

Menu Acevedo offers customers lunch and dinner. The restaurant’s signature dish, which also stands as Puerto Rico’s signature dish, is the mofongo- a mashed mound of plantains combined with vegetables, seafood or meat. Of course, being a restaurant that serves foreign food, the staff sometimes finds it difficult to entice customers into trying new foods. The menu even has vegetarian-friendly foods. “We always give samples before they order something they’re not going to eat,” she said. Acevedo’s right-hand girl, Irene Garcia is a waitress in the restaurant who has been there since its opening. She helps customers chose the best dishes for them and shows how to eat certain

foods. “A lot of customers go without understanding how you’re supposed to eat some of the food,” Garcia said. “They’re always asking what I recommend.” Acevedo said she’s had customers come in to try the food before actually going to Puerto Rico.

Going forward Acevedo has plans to open another restaurant in the near future. Her infamous drive and ambition to please customers is what keeps her forging through whatever financial problems she is experiencing. “She’ll do anything her customers ask,” Garcia said. “If there’s a problem, she’ll fix it. We had a customer come in during closing time and she told the staff to go on home and she’ll take care of him.” As to why she wakes up every morning at 4 a.m. and works well into the night, Acevedo said it’s simply her affinity for cooking. “I just love cooking, plus I like being with people,” she said. “I appreciate everyone who has come and spread the word about us.”

RIGHT TOP: Enjoy a plantain sandwich as an original Carribean meal. RIGHT BOTTOM: My Old San Juan’s flavored beverages are one of the restaurant’s many trademarks.

“It’s like being in Puerto

Rico without really being there. No flying or traveling necessary. Just goot service and authentic Puerto Rican food.” — Carmen Acevedo 24 Madison Living

Mofongo 1 green plantain 1.5 tbsp. of butter GarlicFry the plantain until it floats and mash with butter into a ball. Serve it by itself or with your favorite choice of meat including seafood, pork or chicken.

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Pina Colada 4 oz. of Cocoa nut milk 4 oz of pineapple juice 3 oz. rum (optional) 2 cups of ice Mix well in a blender and garnish with pineapple or cherry. 26 Madison Living

Yuca (Cassava) 3 Yuca 1 tbsp. of butter Sweet pepper Onion 1 teaspoon vinegar Salt & pepper

Boil the yucca for 10 to 15 minutes depending on how much 3 pieces of yucca serves one. Add in a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vinegar, onion and peppers. Top it with pepper, olives, lettuce, lemons

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The future of health care arrives in 2012.

28 Madison Living


Going Green

in the Garden

WRITTEN bY lAurA mAXWell PHOTOgRAPHs bY sArAh breWer

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“Being a Master Gardener is not

all gardening; it’s being involved in the community and doing things for the community through gardening. ”

— Sue Blish

30 Madison Living


ue Bish grew up gardening. As a little girl, she used to visit her grandfather who had a vegetable garden and flowers. When she was a little older, her aunt, an avid gardener, took her under her wing and taught her much about gardening. When Bish became a homeowner in Ohio, she wanted to have a pretty garden. So she signed up to take a Master Gardener’s course to learn more about gardening and to get involved in the community. “Being a Master Gardener is not all gardening; it’s being involved in the community and doing things for the community through gardening,” Bish explains. When she and her husband moved to Alabama, she took the course again to get re-certified. Part of the Master Gardener course involves learning about soil. Alabama is known for its copious amounts of red clay. But Bish has a solution that is sure to make any garden abundant with life—lasagna gardening. “I actually brought lasagna gardening—the whole idea— down to Alabama,” Bish says. She learned about lasagna gardening in her Master Gardener course in Ohio. “It’s an organic layering method that produces just wonderful black, crumbly soil,” Bish says. All types of things from the yard can be used in the layering method, such as chopped leaves, grass clippings and compost from the garden. “There’s no tilling involved, which is what captures everybody’s attention,” Bish says. “Instead of going out and tilling up your garden to plant your vegetables, if you do lasagna gardening it’s ready to go every year.” She said to find a level spot in the yard, and mow down the weeds and the grass. “Then you lay down at least eight pages of newspaper,” Bish says. “It can’t be the color paper, and they have to be wet. What that does is it breaks down the clay underneath.” That also draws worms up, which are a very crucial aspect of any garden. The worms are self-tilling, and they drop off casings that serve as organic fertilizer. They also help to aerate the clay. Bish says to layer the garden with things such as peat moss, compost, straw, etc. Then put mulch on top. Granted, there is more to lasagna gardening. But that covers it in a nutshell. “It’s extremely high in nutrients,” Bish explains. “It’s very most. You hardly ever have to water it—and it draws the worms. It’s an excellent way to start your garden.” Almost all of her gardens in her yard are lasagna garden. Her gardens are young, though. Some are 5-years-old, and others are just 1-year-old. “It’s very easy for a beginner,” Bish says of lasagna gardens. “It’s very easy for an older person. It’s very easy for somebody who doesn’t have a lot of time… As long as whatever you put in is sterile, you really don’t get any weeds.”

Sue Bish

Bish offers the following advice for beginner gardeners: Have a plan of what you want to do. Do you want shrubs, flowers, trees, herbs or vegetables? Try not to start too big. Put the right plant in the right place—meaning, can it take full sun in Alabama? It’s very important to put the right plant in the right place or it won’t survive. Look at tags when buying plants, and if it says it needs to be in the shade, don’t put it in the sun. It will die. If a sun plant is put in the shade it will not bloom. Make sure to have good soil. That’s the foundation—that’s the food; that is everything for a plant. It’s like a human being—if you’re not going to eat good food, you’re not going to be healthy. They really need good soil to get their roots established. And lasagna gardening is probably the best thing you could possibly do. Buy plants that are native to Alabama. Or look to have plants that are seen thriving in other people’s yards. If a plant is not seen anywhere around, it’s probably for a reason. Madison Living 31

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Graduation party The party was held in the back yard/ pool area of Tim and darla Malueg. The menu was international and was inspired by julia Malueg’s pursuing an international business degree at Auburn university. The gift table featured a blessing bowl where guests were asked to leave thoughts, prayers, advice, and wisdom for julia. 1. gracie jackson, Maegan dean, julia Malueg and jill Odom


2. debbie Overcash, Karen Morris and Marie Newberry



3. Vicki and Rich Kretzschmar 4. (Front row) jilliam dye. (second row) laura cauthen, leeanne Kavanagh and liz dye 5. darla Malueg and carol jones 6. Tommy Overcash 7. x 8. x 9. Amy Moore, julia Malueg and Karen Morris



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10. julia Malueg and jill Odom 11. Roger cross, joe Newberry, jimmy Moore and sandy Morris 12. x 13. x 14. (First row) gabby White, April southerland, shelby Kile, Anna dailey, Maegan dean, Meredith brannon, grace jackson. (second row) Renne catoire, julia Malueg, jill Odom, Anna Florence and Emily gaines


11 12



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carnival birthday party


Everybody was a winner at the swearengin brothers’ birthday bash. A carnival-themed birthday party was held brothers Noah and sam swearengin. The party took place at Edgewater. Their mom, stacy, had face painting, fishing, canoe rides, potato sack races, a bouncy blow-up boat and a carnival tent. The swearengin brothers turned 4 and 6, respectively.


1. stacey and Noah swearengin 2. x 3. x 4. x 5. sam and stacey swearengin


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business after hours: tommy’s pizza at bridgestreet x 1. Faith Miller, lori King Taylor and joe Knoch


2. greg Orr, david Perkins and dennis Toney

2 4

3. Mike brazier and bryson Mason 4. Rick Werp, Ryan davis and lauren davis. 5. james Mazikowski and de’Andra stewart 6. susan Wright and Patricia Hurston




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The soft side of


Party planning WRITTEN bY lAurA mAXWell PHOTOgRAPHs bY sArAh breWer

Madison Living 39


etsy Pruitt has a knack for adding a soft touch to party planning. Pruitt has been running her company, Belly Feathers, for about two years. She runs her business on top of her full-time job as a marketing communications manager for Digium. Belly Feathers began when Pruitt realized how much she enjoyed making party favors and helping friends by being a hostess for their various events. “I loved when friends would have baby showers and I could help as being hostess and making invitations and all that,” Pruitt says. “And so I just thought it would be fun to do that as a business and ABOVE: Pruitt creates personalized favor bags to filled with her homemade margarita recipe, a lime and margarita salt. BELOW: Jarritos Mexican sodas make a great addition that will add color and flavor to any margarita party.

40 Madison Living

meet new people.” She began her business on, which Pruitt explains is a marketplace for handmade things. Pruitt recalls how she chose the name Belly Feathers for her company. She needed a username for, but the names she came up with were taken. “That’s when my husband suggested Belly Feathers,” Pruitt explains. “He calls our giant black cat, Robin, Mr. Belly Feathers because he has fluffy tummy fur that blows around when he walks.” She said the name was available, and the rest was history. “The name Belly Feathers makes me laugh when I say it out loud,” Pruitt says. “It’s kind of silly sounding, but it seems to really stick with people.” She later created her own website, www.bellyfeathers. com. “I mainly get most of my clients from my blog where I write about party planning ideas and shoot photos of fun little things I make to kind of give people ideas for what they can do for their events,” Pruitt says. When planning a party, she usually tries to think in terms of colors. “If I’m out at T.J.Maxx or Marshalls or something like that and I see an interesting drink dispenser that catches my eye, I’ll kind of plan a party around that,” Pruitt says. For this party, Pruitt found a tray that matched the tablecloth and thought it would be pretty to build a party around them. Pruitt says her fee for

TOP: Dianne Reynolds and Teri Brgham enjoy laughs and drinks while at Belly Feathers’ themed margarita party. ABOVE RIGHT: A great Mexican treat Pruitt makes is fried ice cream. You can make the dish at home by using corn flakes, honey, cinnamon and vanilla ice cream. RIGHT: Pruitt mixers a variety of festive flavors, providing mild and spicy salsa with chips to complement the margaritas. ABOVE: Pruitt tailors themed parties to suit clients’ interests. For the margarita party, Pruitt set up a lovely display of homemade margaritas, glasses, fresh limes and guacamole.

Madison Living 41

Belly Feathers offers highly personalized party ideas and beautifully detailed handmade invitations, party favors, party decorations, and more.

planning a party starts at $250. “I normally do all of my parties remotely, so I have clients worldwide,” Pruitt says. “I’ll kind of plan out a whole party, document it with shopping lists and everything for online stores, so that’s what $250 is.” For another fun summer party idea, Pruitt suggests hosting a backyard movie night. She’s been thinking hosting one herself and having popcorn, movie snacks, a family-friendly movie and just spending time with family, friends and neighbors. And while Pruitt has yet to plan a wedding other than her own, she has done favors for weddings. “People just kind of tell me what they’re looking for, and I fill in the gaps,” Pruitt says. It’s the little things about party planning that Pruitt enjoys most. “I really like the details,” Pruitt says, “like the little signs that might go on the table that tells you what different menu items are or the party favor that people take home.” 42 Madison Living

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44 Madison Living

Parrots of the


WRITTEN bY AllIe hulcher PHOTOgRAPH bY sArAh breWer

(L-R) Dennis Sanders, Debbie Overcash, Karen Morris, Diane Korb Martin Folgmann, Peter Alvarez and Ron Klein

There’s a barn on Martin Road in Madison, notable at a glance for the faded painting of palm trees on its sides. But once a year, Hawaiian print shirts, live music, prizes and a dance floor prove there can be life in the old barn, yet. The annual “Parrots of the Caribbean” fundraiser is hosted by the Rotary Club in Madison. The 9th annual Parrots is sure to be well-attended, to say the least, considering the over 600 person turnout last year. The guests won’t be disappointed, either – two bands will be filling the air with the music. Zooks, a rock band with island influences, will open for the main attraction, Four on the Floor which will be playing rock favorites from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. And there is sure to be at least one Jimmy Buffett song in the mix. “Parrots is a takeoff of Jimmy Buffett,” said Rotarian Karen Morris. “People come in their flip flops and Hawaiian shirts.” The food for sale will be provided by none other than Dreamland BarB-Que, and wine, margaritas, beer and soft drinks will also be available for purchase. The Rotarians are “known for their baskets,” and there will be plenty available for raffle, ranging from ones filled with signed football gear to ones that are spa, jewelry, or martini themed. With an atmosphere of laid-back attire, live music and drinks, how could people not be taking advantage of the dance floor? “By the second song, people are out there dancing,” Morris said. “It’s just all good dance music.”

As purely enjoyable as this summer night may seem, the purpose behind it couldn’t be more serious. The Rotary Club of Madison was founded about 10 years ago. When it was about two years old, the club decided to have a fundraiser to raise money for the causes it champions. The Club has reached its helping hand towards international crises, by eradicating polio, supporting the Salvation Army, and sending humanitarian support to Honduras and Haiti. Locally, the Club has had a part in aiding the Triana Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, Relay for Life, and Bob Jones. This year Morris said some of the money will go toward tornado recovery efforts. “People come to us, saying ‘we want to get this started,’’ Morris explained. “And we help them.” All money from fundraisers can go to these causes directly because the Rotarians pay for their own operating costs. “Everything we raise goes back into the fundraising,” Morris said. “We’re strictly a service organization.” The first Parrots consisted of a few Rotarians and no food vendors, and has since become the bustling event it is now. Morris has been a Rotarian herself for three years now. She stressed the point that the Rotary club is more about “just writing a check.” “We do write checks but we also work hard,” said Morris, who is chairing the Parrots event this year. “I like a club that believes in giving back.” Tickets are 20 dollars in advance and 25 dollars at the door. To buy tickets, contact the Rotary Club of Madison at 256-564-2075 Madison Living 45


Lauren Ammons, a frequent visitor to Sunshine Oaks rides Waylan, a 10-year-old American Paint Horse. Ammons is has been taking riding lessons at the farm. PHOTOgRAPH bY sArAh breWer 46 Madison Living

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