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WOMEN’S INC. By Women, For Women, About Women of Central Arkansas

W W W . W O M E N S I N C . N E T


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Mother’s Day issue

Remembering Madelyn


WOMEN’S INC. Editor Lori Quinn Creative Director Stewart Cole Contributing Writers Rachel Parker Dickerson Angie Howard Dr. Patricia Knott Andrea Lennon Jill McCollum Susan O’Keefe Jennifer Stanley Chief Photographer Brandy Strain Contributing Photographers Sara Black Laura Derden Courtney Spradlin Gerald Washington Lindsey Faith Watson Retail Advertising Sales Manager Rhonda Overbey Advertising Coordinators Jackie Black Leah Brown Advertising Sales Sarah Allen Tara Mallett Jesica Talbert Betsey Willbanks


Mother’s Day

n this month of celebrating mothers, how special is it that we can share the story of a mother’s love, a family’s love and a legacy that a daughter left behind. TJ, Rachel and Sawyer Johnston miss their daughter and sister every day. But they have joy in knowing that Madelyn’s life is an example for all of us, at any age, to live by. On Dec. 15 of this past year, Madelyn left this earth. Her family has peace knowing she is heaven. Madelyn was one of those children who lit up a room when she walked in. She was always happy, always helping others and always giving love to those around her. This story, written by Andrea Lennon, is so touching and so real. I am so glad that the Johnston’s wanted to share their story, the story of Madelyn, with our readers. I promise that this precious 8-year-old’s story will change you. I was at the hospital on the day Madelyn was born and from that moment she brought light to everyone around her. In eight short years, she made more of an impact on others than many of us will in a lifetime. I was blessed to know Madelyn, and I will never forget her. I hope you enjoy this month’s issue. Check out our other features including the following: gift ideas for mom, Apple Tree Gifts in downtown, kids 5K running programs, recipes, design and events. Happy Mother’s Day! Until Next Month,

Advertising Artists Jay Prince Tyler Rachel Editorial Advisory Board Nicolle Fletcher Haley Crafton Fowler Beverly Freiley Mary Harlan Becky Harris Nancy Jackson Helen Lockhart Velda Lueders Candace Meeks Misty Morse Carol Patty Lori Ross Mary Margaret Satterfield Traci Kennedy Smith Katherine Thomason Stefanie Holt Vann Jessica Zimmerman Women’s Inc. is published by the Log Cabin Democrat. Questions or Comments? Call (501) 327-6621, e-mail: or write to P.O. Box 969, Conway, AR, 72033 Cover photo by Brandy Strain 4 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013

A Mother’s Love

A Mother’s love is something that no one can explain, It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain, It is endless and unselfish and enduring come what may For nothing can destroy it or take that love away . . . It is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, And it never fails or falters even though the heart is breaking . . . It believes beyond believing when the world around condemns, And it glows with all the beauty of the rarest, brightest gems . . . It is far beyond defining, it defies all explanation, And it still remains a secret like the mysteries of creation . . . A many splendored miracle man cannot understand And another wondrous evidence of God’s tender guiding hand. —Helen Steiner Rice




6 Cover Story

13 Spirituality A mother’s love

Sitting in the home of TJ and Rachel Johnston you immediately sense the vast amount of love this couple has for each other as well as their children. Pictures, notes and scripture passages adorn the walls. The Johnston home truly reflects their priorities — faith and family.


by Andrea Lennon

22 Music The art of DJing, now available in Conway

10 Running from Childhood Obesity

by Preston Palmer

Arkansas consistently ranks among the top states with obese adolescents.

30 Design The designer look

14 Shopping

by Helen Lockhart

Gifts for mom

16 Beauty Services 18 Downtown Debbie Nichols and daughter take leap of faith with AppleTree Gifts

26 Howard Home

45 Book Review “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon review by Susan O’Keefe

Where dreams come true

44 Beauty Why use mineral make-up?

32 Howse Home

by Annie Worley

Keeping things interesting


38 Food

40 Conway Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet

Make Mother’s Day special

41 CASA Kidsfest 1k and 5k

46 Community The benefits of a backpack program

42 United Way Jeans N Bling 43 Summit Bank Grand Opening WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 5


Submitted Photos

6 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013

Remembering Madelyn By Andrea Lennon

Sitting in the home of TJ and Rachel Johnston you immediately sense the vast amount of love this couple has for each other as well as their children. Pictures, notes and scripture passages adorn the walls. The Johnston home truly reflects their priorities — faith and family. It is in the midst of this warm and loving environment, TJ and Rachel invite us to take a glimpse into a tragedy that changed their lives forever, a tragedy that seems too unreal to believe. Their precious daughter Madelyn was involved in a four-wheeler accident on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. In a moment, Madelyn went from living on this earth to living in heaven with Jesus. Madelyn embraced life and lived it to the fullest. Her life was short by human standards, only 8 years, but rich by any standards. TJ and Rachel smile when given the opportunity to introduce you to their daughter. TJ shares, “Madelyn loved good food, fashion, art, the color pink, playing fast-pitched softball and, most of all, people. Nothing brought Madelyn more joy than building someone up and making them feel special.” Rachel recalls the letters that she and TJ received following Madelyn’s death. Several children expressed specific ways Madelyn impacted their lives. Madelyn stood up for children who were mistreated by others. She encouraged her friends to try new things even if they were afraid. She was clever, funny and thoughtful. She lit up a room. Madelyn was a caring person with an adventurous spirit. Rachel shares, “Madelyn was a natural born leader. She saw the best in others. Madelyn was a team player.” Softball was Madelyn’s game. She was known as “Mad Dog,” both on the field and off. Madelyn was an exceptional student at Woodrow Cummins Elementary School. She settled for nothing less than perfection, always striving to make an “A.” She was an accomplished writer, having an ability to effectively communicate her thoughts and feelings. Some of the greatest treasures that TJ and Rachel have are letters written by Madelyn. One letter that is especially meaningful was written four days before her death. They found this letter just days before Christmas. (Page 8) WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 7

position would have regrets. TJ has no reason to have regrets. He was a hands-on dad. He knew the value of the daddy/daughter relationship. His relationship with Madelyn was a dream come true.” In turn, TJ expresses his praise for Rachel. “One of the qualities I admire most in Rachel is her courage and thoughtfulness. As a homemaker, Rachel is essential to our family. She utilizes her talents daily and we are all better for it. She’s the best in our eyes and we adore her.” The Johnstons are committed to walking through this tragedy in a way that celebrates Madelyn’s legacy and provides a healthy environment for Sawyer to develop and grow. They attribute this resolve to their faith in God, the support of their Second Baptist Church family and the outpouring of love from their Conway community. “Our church and community rallied around us when we needed them the most. They met needs that we did not know we had. We were able to focus on grieving Madelyn’s loss as well as supporting one another,” says Rachel. A few days after Madelyn’s death, TJ and Rachel agreed on the best way to honor her life. Once again, Madelyn’s actions prior to her death confirmed their decision. TJ and Rachel thought about Madelyn’s love for her Second Baptist Church family. Madelyn was excited to see Second Baptist Church relocate to their property on Dave Ward Drive. TJ and Rachel remembered that two weeks prior to Madelyn’s death their small group took part in a prayer walk on the

Madelyn thrived in her role as a big sister to brother Sawyer, who recently turned 4. Sawyer adored her. Rachel shares that no one spent more time with Sawyer than Madelyn, willingly taking care of his needs. Sawyer called Madelyn “ma ma” and always wanted to please her. It was important to Madelyn to include Sawyer in her life. When she hit a home-run, Sawyer was the first person she wanted to “high-five.” Sawyer talks about Madelyn daily. He misses his sister. Often Sawyer goes into Madelyn’s room and plays with her farm animals and tea set, the exact toys they once played with together. Sawyer proudly carries Madelyn’s Bible to church. This is meaningful to TJ and Rachel because not long ago Sawyer struggled when he went to church. He did not want to be dropped off at his class. Madelyn helped Sawyer overcome his fears. Now, Sawyer willingly walks into church carrying Madelyn’s Bible. In the months following the loss of Madelyn, TJ, Rachel and Sawyer have grieved and celebrated her life, both publicly and privately. The Johnston’s will be the first to tell you that every day is hard. With 8 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013

tear-filled eyes, Rachel shares how much she misses her daughter. “We feel the void every day. Her chair is empty. Her voice is missing. Going places without her feels lonesome. We are afraid that Sawyer will forget her.” Rachel goes on to talk about the fun times that she and Madelyn enjoyed. Activities like shopping at TJ Maxx, eating at PF Changs and organizing things around their home, provide Rachel with treasured memories. “We were becoming girlfriends, and I miss that. There is an emptiness in my heart. I have moments when it is hard to breathe.” TJ also tears up as he talks about his favorite moments with Madelyn. Daddy/daughter dates were a regular occurrence. Often TJ and Madelyn visited the fountain on the University of Central Arkansas campus. TJ drove Madelyn to school every morning. When asked what he misses the most about his time with Madelyn, TJ simply states, “I miss talking to her. She had a way of putting me in my place. She always brought out the best in me.” Rachel brags on TJ by saying, “Most fathers in TJ’s

Brandy Strain photos

new property. The Johnstons, including Madelyn, prayed over every spot where a classroom would be built. Following the prayer walk, Second Baptist hosted a groundbreaking ceremony. Members were asked to write a prayer that would be placed in a box and buried beneath the foundation of the new church building. This took place on Dec. 2, just 13 days prior to Madelyn’s death. When given the opportunity to write a prayer, Madelyn beautifully communicated the depth of her feelings. Dr. Mark Dance, pastor of Second Baptist Church, found Madelyn’s prayer when he was preparing to officiate her funeral, and gave it to TJ and Rachel (page 8). They were so proud of their daughter and knew that this prayer would serve as Madelyn’s legacy. God gave her everything she needed. Amazingly, at the age of 8, she realized it. TJ and Rachel talked to the staff members of Second Baptist Church. They requested that an account be set up in Madelyn’s name. This account provides a way for individuals to donate money to the relocation of Second Baptist Church in Madelyn’s honor. The money given will be used for the Children’s Ministry wing. TJ and Rachel were excited that a playground was planned as part of the new campus. A memorial in Madelyn’s memory will be placed on the playground. The playground will provide a fun and safe environment for the children of Conway, something that Madelyn would

want especially for her brother, Sawyer. Donations to this account may be mailed to Second Baptist Church, 701 Polk St., Conway, AR 72032. Attn: Madelyn Johnston Fund. When asked about their source of hope in the midst of this unbelievable tragedy, TJ and Rachel turn their thoughts to eternity. “Our hope is found in Jesus Christ. We know that Madelyn is in heaven. We know that we will see her again.” Madelyn gave her life to Jesus in the summer of 2012. Madelyn’s faith in Jesus was unshakeable. Rachel smiles as she states, “We never dreamed that our daughter’s life would teach us how to be the type of Christians that we long to be. We should have taught her. Instead, she teaches us.” TJ and Rachel are thankful for the people who willingly walk through this tragedy with them. On Easter Sunday they were reminded that they will not face their grief alone. Their small group at Second Baptist Church encouraged members to wear pink in Madelyn’s honor. TJ and Rachel were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. They sat in the middle of a sea of pink. TJ states, “It feels good to know that other people love Madelyn and miss her too. Rachel and I hope that people will continue to talk about her and celebrate her life.” Rachel concludes our time with one last thought, “Life is not certain. Do not take things for granted. Every moment is significant.” WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 9


Running from childhood obesity

By Jennifer Stanley We have all heard the dismal statistics: childhood obesity is rampant in our country, and more specifically, in our state. Arkansas consistently ranks among the top states with obese adolescents. “Overweight children have a higher risk of developing diabetes, orthopedic problems, sleep disturbances and kidney problems. In addition, children who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease as adults,” according to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement. However, some Conway elementary schools are doing their part in the fight against childhood obesity by offering school running programs. Though there are multiple schools that provide these opportunities for exercise, we are highlighting the programs at Marguerite Vann Elementary and Jim Stone Elementary. Marguerite Vann Running Club The running club at Marguerite Vann began in 2006 in an effort to prepare students for fifth grade track and to improve their overall health. School administration asked teacher JoDee McKenna to spearhead the effort, knowing she was an avid runner. She agreed, and the club began the following year. “The idea was to show kids they could be fit with very little equipment or money and that running is fun, especially with friends. It was also important for students to set a goal and realize that goal. Our first two years, participants ran the Toad Suck 5K. When Tori Miller came on staff as our physical education teacher, we began our own race. It sort of exploded from there! Sherri Pillow and I have kept it going in the years since she became the physical education teacher,” says Jo Dee. The Marguerite Vann Running Club boasted around 70 third and fourth graders in the 2012-13 academic year. Student participation is voluntary, and the club practices after school, two days per week. They run approximately two miles at each practice and learn pacing and intervals. “We want to give our students something active to do in a safe environment. We want them to realize they can accomplish big things. We also want them to realize it is fun to be fit, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it!” enthuses Sherri. The program has been a huge hit with students and parents alike. “The younger grades look forward to being in third and fourth grade, so they can participate in the running club and the race. The participants have a huge sense of accomplishment. It takes a lot of commitment and dedication to keep practicing twice a week from October until March. The parents are all very supportive of the program and the race. I usually have many parents who run the race with their children. This is a vital part of the race because they help keep our runners safe, and they also encourage and motivate the kids! I have had many parents tell me this was also their first 5K. Sometimes seeing their child doing something to improve 10 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013

their health encourages the rest of the family to get healthier. I also have many parents who volunteer to pin on bibs and stand along the race course to cheer on the students and parents,” says Sherri. This March, the school held their sixth annual Vann Viking Voyage 5K and fun run. Runners included club participants, 30 parents, school principal Bobby Walker, Tina Parks, JoDee McKenna and Sherri Pillow. The entire student body and faculty congregated at the school entry to cheer on the runners and hoist student-made, encouraging signs. Assistant principal Rebecca Decker began the race by leading the school in the “National Anthem.” The runners took off to music provided by Mike Woodrum from Conway Public Schools. The 5K course took the runners down the Tucker Creek Trail and back, and Marguerite Vann’s PTO wrote personalized, encouraging phrases for each runner with sidewalk chalk along the race course. Volunteers from UCA’s PE program, Delta Zeta sorority, Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, Marguerite Vann teachers and many parents lined the course. “We could not do it without our many volunteers! When the runners return to the finish line, they are greeted to an amazing crowd and a medal around their necks. The entire student body received a free snow cone from Yellow Snow Cones, and our goody bags were filled with donations from Conway Chamber of Commerce, Arvest, Sonic, Chick-fil-A and Russell Dermatology. We would like to also thank the Conway Police Department for their escort, making sure every runner was safe,” adds Sherri. “The response from the participants is pure joy! They are always so proud of themselves. There are also usually tears of joy by many of the teachers who are so proud of their students. Many of these students may not excel in other areas or be involved in team sports, so this is a huge accomplishment,” says Sherri.

Jim Stone Running Club The current running program at Jim Stone Elementary began in November 2012, so it is brand new! Mary Swindle and Kristie Moss, school parents, are the coordinators/coaches for the student runners. Principal Mark Lewis, vice principal Dr. Keisha Garland, secretary Sherry Edwards, physical education instructor Laurel Breashers, art teacher Stacy Hammons and media specialist Kristy Bentley are also great supporters of the program and the running coordinators. “Mary and I have a love for running, so when Mrs. Breashers asked if we would be interested in helping with a running program we jumped, and it grew into something really special. We wanted more for the kids than just running, so we gave them a goal: completing a 5K race during school hours. We want to pass on the love of the sport and the love of racing to the next generation. We want to empower them with the knowledge that they can achieve anything when they train and work for it. For some of the kids, this is their first time running as a sport,” says Kristie. The Jim Stone running program is also available to third and fourth grade participants, and they currently have 30 students involved. They practice two days per week, and their runners run anywhere from two to four miles at each practice. “Our goal is to complete the 5K. We started with walking and running, and now the majority of the students can run for 30 minutes without walking!” states Kristie. Jim Stone’s 5K will be held on April 25th at their school. “The students are very excited about the race. They believe they can run this now, and there is a sense of accomplishment in each child. The parents are very supportive and proud of their children, as they should be!” she adds. The entire school is prepared to support the runners. “There will be a disc jockey and an emcee. Students will sing the

JoDee McKenna and Sherri Pillow, Marguerite Vann Elementary


“National Anthem” and will lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. All of the classrooms will be lined up ready to cheer. It will be a day to celebrate hard work, perseverance and accomplishments! We are all very excited about the inaugural Jim Stone 5K!” adds Kristie. When asked about the overall goals of the running program, Kristie responds, “Mary and I have the vision that some, if not all, will now have a love for running. We try to teach that running is great conditioning for other sports they may want to play. We want to show them that with hard work, dedication, and perseverance they can accomplish any goal before them. And they have done great” Kids Run Arkansas Also held in April was the 5th annual Kids Run Arkansas event, which is presented by Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center. According to race director Amy Routt, “Kids Run Arkansas has a goal to get families active together! We encourage families to walk together or run to prepare for the race. One of the goals is to help show kids that moving their bodies can be fun, and it needs to always be a part of their life.” Amy also hopes to see an impact on childhood obesity in Conway, which is also one of the goals for the race. “We have encouraged local schools to offer walk/run clubs and to get kids excited about working towards a goal like Kids Run Arkansas, or any fun event for that matter. Working with the schools on this can impact the community in so many ways because it reaches most of our children.”

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Kristie Moss and Mary Swindle, with Jim Stone Elementary



A mother’s love

mother’s love is special. It is a sweet gift from the Lord. In most cases, no one loves you like your mother. Your mother sees the best in you and gladly cheers for you in life. A good picture of a mother cheering for her child occurred in my life about six months ago. Jake, my oldest son, was participating in pee-wee football. It was near the end of the season and Jake’s team was in the playoffs. The stakes were high and Jake’s team needed a win. Without a doubt I was ready to cheer. I was proudly wearing the team shirt, the team hat was firmly placed on my head and the team pom-poms were accessible in my back pocket. It is safe to say that I love to cheer for my kids. At one point in the game, I found myself running up and down the sidelines cheering for Jake’s team. I was excited because Jake was playing lead blocker, and his team needed to make several first downs. There was no way I could sit still. I had to do something! Jake’s team made the first downs and won the game. Later that night, I told Jake about the way I “helped” his team. Jake assured me that running up and down the sidelines was not necessary. I assured him that I would always be his biggest cheerleader. Why? That’s what mothers love to do!  Mothers have the chance to demonstrate Christ-like love to their children daily. Certainly this does not require running up and down the sidelines at sporting events; but it does require the same level of focus and determination. Christ-like love is unique. It does not happen on its own. Demonstrating Christ-like love requires a person to focus on the Lord as well as to seek spiritual insights regarding how to act and react in the midst of daily life.  When you demonstrate Christ-like love you always look out for the best interest of others. Additionally, you learn to place the needs of others before your own. Philippians 2:3-4 explains what Christ-like love looks like in our daily lives. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (New International Version)  When a mother demonstrates Christ-like love it changes a child’s daily experiences. The child’s reality becomes the very place where God and His word do an amazing work. Christlike love positions a mother to: 

• love her child even when the situation is challenging. • believe in her child even when the world doubts. • open her heart up to her child even if she has been hurt in the past. • encourage her child to be the person God made them to be. • set healthy boundaries for her child and enforce them.  • experience life with her child by making memories that remain even after the mother or the child passes from this life. 

If you long to demonstrate Christ-like love in your home, consider four important steps: 1. Get in the word. Spend time daily reading your Bible. God’s word teaches us how to act and react to challenging situations in life. 2. Pray all the time. It is important to keep open lines of communication with the Lord by talking to Him throughout your day. This constant communication helps you to act and react out of a right heart instead of natural human emotions.  3. Hold yourself accountable. Set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals for yourself. Make the choice to spend time with your children and engage them in meaningful conversation and activities. Calendar these times and enlist another mother to serve as your accountability partner.   4. Be real with your children. When you make a mistake — and everyone makes mistakes — admit the mistake to your child. I know that some of my best parenting moments occurred when I was honest with my children following a mess up.  Never underestimate the importance of a mother’s love in her child’s life. Today, make the choice to demonstrate Christ-like love in the way that you act and react. This occurs when you look out for the best interest of your child as well as place the needs of your child before your own. And if you feel led, it never hurts to embarrass yourself at your child’s next sporting event. Andrea Lennon lives in Conway, Arkansas, with her husband, Jay, and sons, Jake and Andrew. Andrea ministers to the women of Arkansas through a speaking and writing ministry called True Vine Ministry. To learn more about this ministry, access Andrea’s website at



Gifts that were


Crocodile skin pattern Jet Set bag in faux patent leather, $55. Available at Grand on Oak.

Brighton jewelry Necklace, $58. Bracelet, $44. Earrings, $32. Available at Lefler’s. Deep orange faceted multistrand necklace, $41.99. Colorful beaded iPhone carrier and wallet, $19.99. Spring weight orange and cream scarf.

Three strand blue tile necklace accented with a touch of gold, $41.99. Gold filigree medallion earring accented with blue and green, $24.99. Available at The Kitchen Store.

Yellow Hobo bag, $248. Hobo wallet, $110. Available at Lefler’s. 14 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013

Available at The Kitchen Store.

Garmin GPS Forerunner 10 in purple, $129.90. Available at The Sporty Runner.

Sarong Along Tote with rope handles, $21.99. Available at The Kitchen Store.

G. Spinelli vintage necklace with agate pendant, $100. Available at Grand on Oak. Charm bracelet available in 14k and 10k gold. Charms start at $100 and bracelets start at $600. Also available in sterling silver — charms starting at $15; bracelets starting at $49. Available at Fletcher Smith’s.

Caerleon jewelry available in earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets. Interchangeable square or oval bezels available in sterling silver, 14 K gold, 18K gold, or platinum.

Available at Dayer Jewelers.

Green agate and white topaz earrings, $450. Green agate and white topaz ring, $420. Available at Fletcher Smith’s. ASICS Gel Cumulus in turquoise/ lightning/electric melon, $115. Available at The Sporty Runner.

Michael Stars Maven sunglasses, $74.50. Available at Grand on Oak. WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 15

Salon Eleven continues success downtown


nd they said it would never last. Salon Eleven’s fling with downtown Conway has turned to true love. More than a year after opening its doors, the establishment has grown and settled in snugly at its nest at 1027 Front St. Owner Erica Wickliffe is passionate about her life’s work and loves to see clients smile when they get that “just right” cut or color from the staff at Salon Eleven. “We specialize in color.” Wickliffe said. “We’re always up to date on everything new — all the latest cuts and color and foiling techniques. All our girls are good, and most of them have been doing hair for a long time.” Stylists include DeShay Kemp, Corey Short, Becca Lawson, Kacey Barton, Whitney Scudder, Vicki Haile, Elizabeth Scherer and the owner. Services include haircuts for men, women and children; color and highlights; shellac manicures and waxing. Wickliffe said she is proud of her product lines, which include Cristalli, a soothing serum and heat protectant that helps control frizziness; and Kenra blow dry spray, which helps hair dry faster. “I don’t think people realize how much better their hair can be with the right product,” she said. “You spend a little more, but it is so worth it. All of our stylists can recommend a good product. The important thing is asking questions and making sure the client gets what’s best for their hair and their lifestyle.” The salon has a Facebook page and is launching a new website soon at Wickliffe said her first year in business went great. “It was awesome. We grew a lot and gained so many clients. We love our location, and our clients love it too.” — Rachel Parker Dickerson Salon Eleven owner Erica Wickliffe

LOCAL BEAUTY SERVICES ACCENTS SALON 690 S. Salem, suite 306 Conway, AR 72034 501-327-8191 Our warm and welcoming atmosphere at Accents Salon, will have you feeling satisfied, refreshed, and apart of the family. With 30 years of experience, we specialize in hair care for everyone in your family, and walk-ins are always welcome! Our services include hair care, manicures, pedicures, and massages for an all around relaxing experience, with full satisfaction guaranteed! Call us today, and ask about our special offers!

JOLARU SALON AND RETAIL CENTER 2125 Harkrider Conway, AR 72032 (501) 327-2301 16 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013

With 12 stylists to fit any and all beauty needs or wants, and the professional haircare for any style, cut or color to be perfect for you, jolaru salon and retail center takes pride in offering a relaxing atmosphere. Feel like the most important person while being pampered. Everything they do is for you. services include hair care, skin care, nail care, some spa treatments, self tanning products and a retail section. services are offered to men, women and children, and walk-ins are welcome. owned by brad heston, special offers include a $5 lip wax with any chemical service for new clients. You can also receive 50% off your first facial with jennasyn beck when you book two facials. late appointments are available.

K2K SALON 740 S. SALEM RD., suite 103 Conway, AR 72034 (501) 764-1097 At K2K we consistently strive to make our guests feel pampered, nurtured,

and beautiful! We are Conway’s only Oribe and Bumble and Bumble Salon, maintaining the industry’s highest standards. While specializing in Women’s Hair Care and Nail Care, we also accept walk-ins. So come visit Kristy Fruits at K2K Salon, today! Women’s Inc. Readers’ Choice Award Winner for Favorite Hair Salon & Stylist!

OASIS MASSAGE THERAPY 7 Medical Lane, Suite A Conway, AR 72034 501-205-1908 Oasis Massage Therapy is neither a spa nor salon. We focus on one thing; specializing in providing the best bodywork possible. We offer a variety of techniques in a professional, relaxing environment with ample parking and flexible hours. The website allows you access to our schedule 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Simply sign-in, select the service you require, the staff and time. You will receive an immediate confirmation and a reminder the day before. At Oasis our goal is for our clients to leave stress free and with

reduced pain. We love what we do. We combine compassion and nurturing touch to help our clients feel lighter in spirit, with increased mobility and an overall sense of wellness.

SALON ELEVEN 1027 Front Street, suite 1 Conway, AR 72032 (501) 205-8624 Be more than a ten! Our stylists are owner Erica Wickliffe, DeShay Poe, Becca Lawson, Kacey Barton and Corey Short. We are always up to date on the latest hairstyles for men and women. All stylists are color specialists and do highlights and extensions too. We also offer facial waxing and shellac

and manicures. Call today for an appointment!


Solutions Day Spa 1130 Pats Lane Conway, AR 72033 (501) 329-9000 Our goal at Solutions is to pamper and promote wellness through the benefits of true relaxation. Serving Faulkner county for fifteen years in haircare, manicures, pedicures, massages, facials, body wraps, waxing, cosmetics, electrolysis and cellulite treatments. Solutions also carries jewelry to complement every individual style. Spa Packages make a great gift for a friend or loved one. Solutions invites you to come relax with us in our recently remodeled Day Spa.



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Debbie Nichols and Melissa Nichols, owners of Apple Tree Gifts.

Debbie Nichols and daughter take leap of faith with AppleTree Gifts By Rachel Parker Dickerson Photos by Brandy Strain

Debbie Nichols of AppleTree Gifts and Home Décor in Downtown Conway is living out her dream of being an entrepreneur. With the help of her daughter, Melissa Nichols, Debbie offers Conway not only a place to shop but also a place to learn. After being a stay-at-home mom for more than 30 years, Debbie ended up going back to college at the same time as her youngest child, Melissa. She finished her degree in psychology and soon after decided she wanted to open her own store. One night in the fall of 2012, she told her daughter, “Let’s drive around and see what’s for rent.” They found the available space at Mountebanq Place on Oak Street, and the rest is history. Melissa, who serves as store manager, said, “My mom is my best friend. We do everything together. It works out great with our personalities.” Debbie agreed. “It’s nice that I have her to pick things out that the younger generation would like. We pick things we would like in our own house or that we would give as a gift. Every time we open packages, it’s like Christmas.” The store offers a wide selection of gift merchandise – everything from jewelry, candles and home décor to baby gifts, cosmetics and blinged-out iPhone cases. Melissa said, “We captured the perfect store for any budget. We have items that are very cheap and ones that are very quality made, and because of that

they are more expensive. But we have things as low as $1.99.” However, the store does not look like a mash up of price points. It appears more like a deliberately assembled collection. Shopping feels like browsing a friend’s curio cabinet or scanning someone else’s Pinterest boards. Debbie said she spent a couple of years thinking about how she would run, organize WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 19

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and decorate the shop. The mother-daughter team will offer classes on a regular basis as well. Some will be crafting classes, and others may be on health topics or other useful information. A $25 fee will be charged, and participants will always leave with a product, Debbie said. The first few classes, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the shop, are as follows: Flower pot painting on April 23; burlap flower bouquets on May 7; “verse of the week” chalkboards on May 14; DIY body sugar scrub on May 21. After being open less than two months, AppleTree has already made plans to expand into the larger storefront across the hall at Mountebanq Place. Debbie said, “It will be a children’s store with everything except clothes. We will only have those at Easter and Christmas. Our baby items are our third best seller. We have no room to carry more products, so we thought we would just expand.  We will also have craft and educational classes for moms and dads and hope to have a story time once a week along with some other things.”



The art of DJing, now available in Conway

By Preston Palmer


t Preston Palmer Studios, we’re always on the lookout for the next person to add to our team. Since we opened last February, we’ve expanded the instrument teaching that we offer a number of times, and we’re excited to tell you about the latest addition to the PPS family. Jacob Reyes is locally known as one of the best DJs to be found in the state of Arkansas and a master when it comes to constructing beats and composing

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electronic music. What does any of that have to do with a “traditional” music school, you might ask? The fact is, electronic, computer-based music, along with the art of DJing, are becoming more and more prevalent, especially if you like to dance! Turn on any pop radio station, or go to any dance venue in America, and you’ll hear sequencers, keyboards, synths, drum machines and countless digital instruments and effects blended together into a seamless background against which today’s stars construct their songs. Interest in the genre is growing, especially among young people. And when

a kind of music becomes more and more popular, more and more people are going to want to learn how to make it. That’s where Jacob comes in. He’s the guy behind the mixer, working the turntables, punching buttons and twisting knobs. The type of instruction he will be doing will focus on how to DJ, including learning the proper functions and uses of the equipment, how to read a crowd, how to engineer a set and other things associated with DJing. For example, Jacob says that for him, the first step in approaching a live performance is to “... examine the parameters of the gig. I play many different types of music, and depending where I play, I have certain types of sounds I have to include and certain ones that I should probably avoid.” One night he might be playing “clubby-top-40 stuff,” the following might be Dubstep and Trap, and then maybe a set of “really chill and groovy” house music. Far from only being interested in electronic music, Jacob says that he is “...from a musical household. Growing up we were all involved in choir and instrumental music (mostly piano) from the time we were young. Both of my parents are big Motown fans, so around the house if we weren’t listening to the pop music of the day, we were jamming to something from the Motown era. I have favorite artists from a lot of different time periods and genres: Pink Floyd, Genesis, Interpol, Radiohead, Erykah Badu, Tupac Shakur, The Receiving End of Sirens, Dredg, Johnny Cash, Underoath, Tori Amos, Emery ... I could go on and on!” Just as his musical tastes were shaped by those around him, his musical development as a DJ was “... mostly influenced by the DJ community, which can be a bit closed off, but I found that if you were willing to put in the work — showing up to shows early and staying late, helping to set up and break down equipment and promoting show after show — there were those that would notice and help you.” Starting with DJ sets at high school dances and parties, moving up to his first club gig — “...which was more out of the desperation of the owners than any real experience I could brag on ... I was pretty terrible at the beginning!”— to playing several nights a week at Little Rock’s premiere dance venues and opening for acclaimed international artists, Jacob has turned what was a musical hobby into an artistically (and commercially) successful endeavor. And now, Preston Palmer Studios is elated that he wants to share his experiences, gifts and talents with other people through us. Speaking of the new partnership, Jacob says, “I’ve known Preston since we were in the 6th grade. We grew up together, and we always kept in touch. I saw him grow from a musician into a music teacher, then a professional musician and now a businessman who has a passion for teaching and music. I know he’s the best in the business, and I was very flattered he asked me to start this program with PPS. Giving someone tools to express themselves creatively through music is a powerful thing, and I’m honored to get to be a part of that process.” Preston Palmer Studios is a music school and full-service instrument repair shop in Conway. For more information, please visit our website at, give us a call at (501)513-9459, or shoot an e-mail to You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.


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Where dreams come true LAYOUT DESIGNED TO GIVE EACH CHILD HIS AND HER OWN PLACE By Rachel Parker Dickerson Photos by Brandy Strain Angie and Tim Howard of Conway designed a child’s dream come true at their home on Baytown Drive in Centennial Valley. The couple has four children, they home school, and they both work at home. They needed a home that could also function as a school, workplace, meeting place for home school groups and a place where everyone had some elbow room. Angie said, “When we built this house, we built it knowing this is where we’re going to raise them. We wanted to give them enough space to go off and do their own thing, have their friends over, have a separate place to play. We wanted it to be very kid friendly and age appropriate. We didn’t want them to grow out of it in the next year or two. We wanted it to work for how we live.” The children range in ages — Barrett, 9, Anderson, 6, Lydia, 3, and Grant, eight months. “We needed a layout for a wide range of ages where they wouldn’t be on top of each other,” she said. The family loves to go to Disney World and has joined the Disney Vacation Club. Angie designed her children’s bedrooms around the wonder and whimsy surrounding those trips. Lydia’s room reflects not only a love for Cinderella and other Disney princesses, but also for everything having to do with ballet. She is following in the footsteps of her mother, who took ballet classes from the time she was a toddler. One corner is devoted to Cinderella items, where Angie placed a formal, powder blue gown on a dress form. Very evocative of Cinderella’s gown, it is a formal that Angie wore in the Miss Arkansas Teen Pageant at age 16. “I loved that dress,” she said. “My dad worked hard to get that dress for me.” Baby Grant’s room is filled with animals – from WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 27

white giraffe lamps to a cheerful zebra’s head on the wall and a cuddly stuffed orangutan near the crib. The nursery was inspired by the Animal Kingdom at Disney World. Under the staircase, the couple created an area for reading, studying or playing games. A table and two small wooden booths fit perfectly in the area, which would have otherwise been wasted space. A colorful light fixture adds a playful touch. “We tried to make every square foot count,” Angie said. Upstairs, Barrett and Anderson have rooms with similar themes, based on the Wilderness Lodge at Disney World. The two rooms share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom that is decorated in the same theme. Wallpaper that resembles roughhewn logs creates a charming effect combined with log cabin décor. Angie said the Wilderness Lodge is their favorite place to stay at Disney World. The upstairs area also includes a study area with desks for the boys. Their mother used dry-erase paint to make dry erase boards for each of them over their desks. Adjoin28 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013

ing the study area is a play area and home theater room. Children can climb a ladder into a small opening at the top of the wall, where a “clubhouse” is lit by fiber optic lights threaded through numerous openings, creating the illusion of stars. On the other side of the clubhouse space is a curved slide, promising hours of endless fun. The room opens up to reveal the home theater area. On the wall nearest the slide is Lydia’s playhouse, and on the far wall is the couch where the family reclines to watch movies together. The playhouse is a small, enclosed area with a play kitchen and other accessories inside. Angie and her mother painted the outside to look like a sweet cottage with blooming flowers all around. In the theater area, the 3D screen is mounted and may be lowered or retracted with the push of a button. Angie said, “Spending time with our kids is our favorite thing to do. We wanted to make it a home where our kids were happy and had fun things to do. As they get older, I want it to be fun for them to bring friends here. We want them to enjoy being here.”



The Designer Look

Great design is easy to accomplish if you know the right place to look. Every month we will take a look at a room popular on social media and show you how you can get the look right here in Central Arkansas.

Sconce: Quatrefoil Medallion Swing Arm Sconce Green Strip Shades available at $219

Side Table: Antique Ceramic Garden Seat $435

Bench: Upholstered X-Bench Ballard Designs Available in Any Ballard Fabric $300 30 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013

Rug: Sandpiper Seagrass Rug $310

Arm Chair: Torrey All-Weather Wicker Roll Arm Chair Pottery Barn Available in many Sunbrella Fabrics $699

Coffee Table: Changright White Coffee Table Worlds Away $1,147.50

Wallpaper: Giacomo York Wallpaper Sherwin Williams $106 per double roll

Helen Lockhart is the owner of Red Chaise Designs, a full service interior design firm. Red Chaise Designs is located in Conway, where she lives with her husband, Paul, and two children. You can reach her at:

Sofa: 8000-72T Bassett Furniture, Available at Cajun Brothers WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 31

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KEEPING THINGS INTERESTING HOWSES CHOOSE FINISHING TOUCHES FOR HOME IN THE VILLAGE AT HENDRIX By Jennifer Stanley Photos by Courtney Spradlin The Village at Hendrix home of Nathan and Caroline Howse and son Reed is an eclectic, fun space. Visitors enter the home via the cheery front porch and are greeted with a plethora of interesting objects and details. The Howse family moved into their two bedroom, two bath home in May 2011. “We lived in the old Covington concrete factory, and I had trouble with the stairs when I was pregnant. We loved it there, but we had to move into something more manageable,” says Caroline. Nathan’s mother was the first resident in the homes at The Village, so the Howse’s had spent a significant amount of time in the neighborhood. “We loved it. Everything is so interesting and different, and I don’t do cookie-cutter well,” says Caroline. When they decided to buy the home, it was eighty percent finished. Nathan and Caroline were able to choose the finishing touches. The home includes beautiful granite countertops in muted tones and hardwood flooring. The walls are painted in earth tones, and their décor perfectly complements the natural palette. The overall impression is an open, bright space with a bit of a natural, western flair. “I’ve never been able to say that WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 33

I have one style. I see things that I like, and I use them,” states Caroline. A painting of wild horses featured in the living area was a gift from an artist they met while honeymooning in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “We sat next to them at a restaurant, and he was so excited that we chose Jackson Hole for our honeymoon; we got the painting in the mail two weeks later.” In addition, photographs taken by Nathan, who took up photography as a hobby while in college, are displayed throughout the home. Most of the photos were taken in Arkansas and feature subjects such as farm houses, animals, and mailboxes. The latter is hung over the rustic farm table in the dining area. Much of the couple’s furniture is repurposed, including a display table in the living area that was once Nathan’s family kitchen table. Much of their furniture and décor is blended from being relatively


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newly married. A set of recovered, antique chairs sit under a large window. The area above the kitchen cabinets houses a mix of found objects; Caroline explains they have to use this, and other available areas for storage. “You have to be creative with storage in a small space; it’s all about finding space for everything.” The couple also aspires to create a livable space. Reed’s nursery features tones of blue and green. A huge map of the world hangs on his wall; it was salvaged by Nathan, a kindergarten teacher, when smart boards came in to the school. The changing table is also repurposed and is distressed wood. Looking out the black and white curtains at the front of the home, Caroline says, “I feel safe here, and we have great neighbors. We visit everyone’s porch! We also walk to the restaurants often. We have the nice green space behind the neighborhood. We love it here!”


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Make Mother’s Day special By Chef Jill McCollum, CC Photos by Lindsey Faith Watson Have you ever taken your mom out to eat on Mother’s Day? If you have, you know it’s one of the busiest days of the year-if not the busiestwhen it comes to restaurants. Although going out to eat is nice, and means Mom won’t have to cook, it’s a crowded experience that’s soon over and done. Whether you see your mom every day, or you see her once a year, you’ll make her Mother’s Day very special if you can spend time with her on that special day. Some families have a routine where they take Mom out to eat, or come over and fix dinner for her, but this year, why not do something different? Mother’s Day this year is May 12th. I am excited that I already have plans for Mother’s Day! I am going to get to spend the day doing one of my most favorite things-- watching my son, Garrett play baseball! I truly enjoy seeing Garrett and his father, Kenny out on that baseball field. It’s a time where I can sit back and watch the interaction with Dad and Son as my husband coaches Garrett. Memories……we are making memories. Take your mom to the park. Sit on the glider and chat. Enjoy the atmosphere and company 38 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013

Go bowling. Make a day of it! Shoot pool, have pizza or subs, and just have fun. Some moms don’t get out a lot, caught up in the housework and tending kids, so she might enjoy a day of exercise and laughs. Take Mom to the movies. Let her choose the movie, you take care of the snacks and drinks. She’ll have a great time and every time she sees that movie in the future, she will think of you. Consider taking your mom to visit a friend or family member she rarely sees. Driving for an hour or two to make your mom happy is a cool way to spend this Mother’s Day. Go with your mom to get photographs together. You mom will treasure these photographs. Visit a nearby flea market or look for yard sales. Perfect for the bargain shopper mom! Take your mom to a place she enjoyed as a child. Over the years you’ve likely heard your mom mention places she loved as a child so take her to one of these places and she’ll be full of fabulous memories for the day. Offer to take the other children and let Mom have a day alone. A day of peace and quiet, freedom to do whatever she feels like, and not having to deal with children for one whole day could be just what the doctor ordered for multi-tasking moms.

Potato Casserole 2 rolled pie crusts (see my pie crust recipe below) 2 tablespoons butter 1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely 2 ½ cups strong cheddar, grated (10 ounces) ¼ pound potatoes peeled, steamed and diced (or use leftover cooked potatoes) 2 large eggs, beaten 4 tablespoons heavy cream One bunch flat-leafed parsley, chopped Pinch of cayenne pepper Sea salt and black pepper, to taste 1 beaten egg for glaze Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in a skillet and gently fry the onion until softened and translucent, then let cool. Throw the onions into a mixing bowl with the grated cheese, potato, eggs, cream, parsley and seasonings, and mix everything together. Put the bottom unbaked pie crust into a 9 inch pie pan, place mixture into the pie crust. Moisten the edges of the crust and cover with the rolled-out top curst, crimping the edges together carefully. Brush beaten egg over the top and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Cover loosely with foil if crust is browning too quickly.

Cream Cheese Pie Crust 3 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 stick margarine 1 cup all purpose flour Mix well, pat in pie plate.

Classic Bloody Mary 1 ¼ ounce vodka Tomato juice ¼ ounce Worcestershire sauce Dash Tabasco Sauce Salt, pepper and celery salt Ice Pour vodka, Worcestershire Sauce, seasonings and Tabasco into a glass over ice, crushed works best. Add tomato juice and stir well. Garnish with celery stalk and lemon or lime wedge. Picture is shown with sliced bacon and a fruit bowl. WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 39


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Brittny Daubenheyer, Jen Ryken, James Ryken, Latresha Woodruff

Misty Anderson, Donna Townsell

Jackson Joslin, John Sutton, Mollie Sutton

Family costume winners

Donny Bradley, Bradon Bradley

Tate Jackson, Avari Jackson, Annabeth Jackson, Matt Jackson

Volunteers from Target

Kat Dull, Tess Fletcher, Deb Kennemer

Emcee for Kidsfest-Jennifer Trafford Hines with her daughter

Child costume winners

Volunteers from Real Beauty

Bikers Against Child Abuse booth

Julie Elliot and Emma Kate Elliot

Face painting fun at Kidsfest

Hurley Chiropractic booth WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 41


Shelley Youngblood, Amanda Bright, Linda Koger, Mary Goodwin, Shari Hoover

Jeans and Bling Committee Shawn Rea, Kyndell Rea, Helen Lockhart, Paul Lockhart

Nick Hoyt, Michelle Hoyt, Steve Simpson, Laura Simpson, Kim Gullic, Phillip Gullic, Stacy Hefner, Brian Henderson

Alana Graham, Cindy Windle, Renee James 42 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013

Donny Quick, Jenny Morse

Candace Meeks, Lindsay Wygal, Jon Ross Henderson, Kim Williams, Katherine Thomason

Tiffany Duhamel, Rachel Earls, Bart Shaw

Maret Cahill, Sena Lovette Crafton, Kathy Hull

Allison Vetter Cone, Will Cone, Joely Costello

Dennis Spradlin, Minza Spradlin, Kelli Wells, Johnnie Wells

Johnny Adams, Stacia Adams, Hal Crafton

SUMMIT BANK GRAND OPENING Summit Bank recently celebrated the grand opening of its second Conway area location at 545 Salem Road. “Conway is an exceptionally generous community, said Conway Market President Derrek Thomason. Based in Arkadelphia, Summit Bank is a $1 billion institution with 24 locations from Magnolia to Fort Smith. Chairman Ross Whipple said, “We’re very pleased to be opening this state-of-the-art banking center for the dynamic Conway community. We have a very professional and experienced banking team that’s well known in Conway. “Our ‘Summit Surprise’ promotions in other communities have already donated more than $20,000 to recognize deserving charities, organizations and individuals.”



Science made beautiful

Why use mineral make-up? By Angela Jackson


loMinerals makeup is recommended by dermatologists, plastic surgeons and licensed skincare professionals in the United States and abroad. Their advanced formulations are comprised of pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, natural high-pigment minerals, nourishing vitamins and powerful antioxidants to deliver radiant beauty and healthy, glowing skin. Rich and extensive color palettes offer shades for every skin tone and formulas for every skin type. The anti-inflammatory ingredients in GloMinerals are recommended for use after a chemical, microdermabrasion or laser procedure to help correct and protect the skin. GloMinerals provides: • Advanced antioxidant blend of Vitamins A, C, E and Green Tea Extract. • Broad-spectrum UV protection. • Triple-milled minerals for a smooth, flawless finish and lasting coverage. GloMinerals formulations are talc-free, non-comedogenic and free of perfumes and chemical dyes, making them suitable for even the most sensitive skin types, including those with acne and rosacea. In addition, GloMinerals uses neither parabens nor gluten-derived ingredients, with the exception of a few products. The reasons for its popularity are that, this makeup improves the skin’s health and does not contain coarse components. GloMinerals makeup gives an awesome feeling when a woman wears it. In addition, it gives a youthful glow along with a natural look. This makeup is ideal for various types of skin including hypersensitive, oily, and dry skin. GloMinerals makeup helps in covering wrinkles, broken capillaries, red spots, acne scars, fine lines and reflects sunlight. Top reasons to use a mineral makeup: 1. It offers protection from the harmful UV rays, wind, and free radicals. 2. It is 100 % non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic, chemically free, and hypoallergenic. 3. Offers anti-inflammatory properties, provides calming and soothing effect 4. Water-resistant 5. The makeup holds no place for germination of bacteria or microbes. 6. It is widely preferred and used by physicians and skin care experts 7. Protects and replenishes the damaged skin. 8. Mineral makeup reduces redness and is safe for skin with acne. 9. Provides flawless and long-lasting exposure 10. Allows the skin to breathe, as the components are natural. 11. The makeup will not smear or crease on application. 12. Mineral makeup is extremely light 13. It is safe for a woman to go to bed with this makeup (however not recommended) 14. An ideal makeup because it can be used even after laser surgery, microdermabrasion, and chemical peel and thus is free from any types of skin allergies. Angela Jackson, owner of studio SKIN has been a licensed aesthetician for 14 years. Angela is a member of Associated Skincare Professionals, an organization dedicated to the promotion of safe, quality skin care. Angela practiced in the Fayetteville area for over 12 years under the direct supervision of a board certified plastic surgeon. Angela has been offering skincare in the downtown Conway area for the last 3 years. She offers expertise and certifications in corrective skincare, facials, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and make-up. 44 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013


‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafon Reviewed by Susan O’Keefe o some readers, The Shadow of the Wind, seemed a bit long winded. To others, the thrilling prose was worth every extra word. It’s a post-war romance, mystery, and crime wrapped into a 1945 novel set in Barcelona shortly after the Spanish Civil War. The main character, Daniel Sempre, is an awkward 10-year old boy in the first few pages of the book. As the son of an antiquarian bookstore owner, he eats, sleeps, and breathes books, especially rare finds. For his tenth birthday, Daniel’s father introduces him to a secret storage house of books. Think dark and damp streets. Think creaky doors and cobwebs. Think cloak and dagger. As an induction into the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, Daniel is given the privilege of choosing any book he desires. Or as the veterans say, “Allow the book to choose you.” Thus begins Daniel’s journey. The Shadow of the Wind is a book within a book, and several stories within several stories. There are layers of characters, settings, even plots. One book club reader found this element fascinating. “I really bonded with the book. It was a ride that carried me. I liked how developed the characters were.” Shortly after Daniel leaves his inaugural visit to the mysterious depot of books, he learns that the book he chose is one of a kind. He begins to investigate the author, Julian Carax, only to learn that Mr. Carax is dead. But what about the author’s family? When was the book penned and under what circumstances? Every lead lures Daniel down winding roads with baffling discoveries. Someone has been methodically destroying Carax’s other writings. Again, Daniels wonders why? Years pass. Secrets are revealed. And Daniel’s seemingly innocent interrogation turns into a revolving door of murder, madness, and mayhem. Critics have described the book as scary, erotic, touching, tragic, and thrilling. Neatly laced with parallel characters and overlapping images between the novel itself and the book within the book, author Carlos Ruiz Zafron tediously explores evil on Earth with characters like the sadistic policeman and the man in the shadows smoking a cigarette. From poverty to pedigree, there are varying degrees of social classes playing vital roles on all 486 pages. Romance abounds in the book as Daniel longs for love. His mother died before Daniel was five. Painstakingly, he reveals that his memory has failed. He has forgotten his mother’s face. Within the Julian Carax story, Julian and Penelope fight for a forbidden love which has hints of a Romeo and Juliet type relationship. Originally written in Spanish and translated into English, The Shadow of the Wind has enjoyed great success in the United States and Europe. Our club agreed that the twisting of plots and suspenseful situations could make the hairs stand up on the back of their neck. It’s been dubbed a literary thriller with good reason. Political undertones are subtle enough that readers need not have a


wealth of historical knowledge on the Spanish Civil War. Kindly, the author fills in the blanks. As the government licks its war wounds, power struggles continue, and a web of corruption only enlarges. Each thread touches lives in Daniel’s circle that in some way, shape, or form touch lives in Julian Carax’s circle. But Carax is dead. Daniel hopes that isn’t a cautionary omen. Although an engrossing read, The Shadow of the Wind is also evenly overwhelming at times. For readers with a need to totally commit to a story for days (or weeks), this could be a great fit. Be wary, however, to avoid trap doors and strangers lurking in the shadow of the wind. Susan O’Keefe is a wife to Jack, mother to four children, and eager to face the crazy, awesome, fun things God delivers daily. She and her family recently moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where Susan will continue to read and review, instruct fitness classes, and embark on this next adventure in life.



The benefits of a backpack program By Rachel Parker Dickerson Photos by Brandy Strain More than 200,000 children in Arkansas deal with hunger every day — or one in four, according to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. The state’s childhood poverty rate is 27.6 percent, compared to the national average of 21.6 percent. Arkansas is ranked third in the nation for the most incidences of food insecurity, the alliance reported. While these statistics may be shocking or depressing, the good news is that local people are helping to feed hungry children, and there is a way to help. Susie Harvison, school counselor at Theodore Jones Elementary, said she first realized hunger was a problem with children at her school about four years ago when she saw a little boy kicking his backpack down the hall. The child had just come from eating breakfast at the school. “I thought, ‘Why would a little boy be kicking his backpack down the hall right after he ate breakfast?’ He was mad, and he wouldn’t talk to anyone.” Once the sullen boy was in her office, she was suddenly struck with a possibility. “It just hit me, and I said, ‘Are you hungry?’ He said, ‘Yes. I haven’t had anything to eat since Friday.’” Harvison said the boy’s mother worked hard to take care of him, and she didn’t know if he had truly 46 WOMEN’S INC. / MAY 2013

been without food all weekend. But she gave him two Pop Tarts, and he wolfed them down eagerly. Immediately his face brightened, she said. “I really don’t think people in Conway realize how destitute some of the situations are,” she said. “If a kid is hungry, let’s feed them. They’re never going to get to a place where I can talk to them about ‘You can grow up and be whatever you want to be’ if they’re hungry and mad. A Pop Tart did that for him. I guess I was in the right place at the right time with the right question.” Children living in poverty often qualify for free meals at school, but over the weekend, they may be on their own. “Backpack” programs that send food home with kids for the weekend seek to address this gap. At times, what the child brings home may be the only food in the home. Harvison started such a program, gathering portable, child-friendly foods and distributing them to hungry children at her school. Over the years, volunteers joined in from Antioch Baptist Church and St. Matthews Lutheran Church. Donations came from Rice Depot and Second Baptist Church. Other schools began to see the need and joined in. Harvison said, “It’s taken this entire group of unsung heroes — volunteers — who have taken this over. I don’t touch it anymore. We are feeding about

300 kids a week.” Lisa Hill of Conway started a similar program almost five years ago when her daughter, Abby, saw a need for it at Carl Stuart Middle School. “She came home and said, ‘Mom, I want to do this.’ I put her off for a whole six months. We go to First Methodist Church, and we had been talking about world hunger in Sunday School class. She knew there were kids at school who were hungry.” Hill said her family started their own nonprofit organization called Backpacks for Home with $150. The family started taking about eight backpacks per week, and last year the nonprofit fed more than 200 children per week. This year, however, the numbers have fallen to 70 children, because of a lack of finances and manpower. Hill added, “We have had help from Faulkner County Leadership, Conway Corporation, our church and First Baptist Church.” Harvison said people can help by contacting their local school and finding out what programs are available. “Help start (a program) to feed students who need food. Get your Sunday School class, small group or some organization involved in helping collect food that can be donated to Antioch Baptist, St. Matthews or Second Baptist. They will help get the food to the students and families in need.”

Women's Inc. May 2013  

Women's Inc. Mother's Day Issue May 2013

Women's Inc. May 2013  

Women's Inc. Mother's Day Issue May 2013